Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Tim Kaine's Plan

Gov.-elect Tim Kaine said yesterday he'll keep a campaign promise and push legislation to give localities more authority to restrict development if local roads can't handle it. The Wash Post did a story, though this isn't really news. Kaine's been saying this for a while. He doesn't seem to be talking about an adequate public facilities law, but what he called a 'narrower' approach: making clear that localities can consider traffic impacts when they're reviewing rezoning requests.
The Home Builders Association of Virginia gets quoted as the apparent opposition.
'[Exec VP Michael] Toalson said his organization is preparing legislation that it will offer as an olive branch to Kaine in lieu of the enhanced authority for local governments.The home builders' proposal would require better coordination between local land planners and the Virginia Department of Transportation and a traffic impact statement for all proposed developments. Kaine called for both of those ideas during the campaign.
Toalson said going further would increase the cost of housing and force developers to spread to outer counties in search of land. He said home builders will find a way to meet the demand for housing from new workers.
"Those jobs have to have a place to go rest at night," he said. "If we can't build them in the place where the jobs are being created . . . we're just going to be building them farther and farther away."'
Meanwhile House Speaker Bill Howell says Kaine's proposal won't get passed, and that localities already have the power to turn down development.


At 5:34 PM, Blogger Toomanytaxes said...

The Speaker of the House is seemingly correct. There is an Attorney General's opinion that concludes: "It is my opinion that a Virginia locality may adopt, as part of its comprehensive plan, a proffer policy that considers an adequate public facilities requirement, with criteria as set forth below, before applications for rezoning may be approved." (I've been given similar counsel by a senior member of the House of Delegates.)

Whether this existing authority is adequate is subject to fair debate.

The biggest problem is that local officials, with the apparent exception of those for the City of Chesapeake, simply ignore the authority and instead castigate both the General Assembly and the late Judge Dillon. Some, including those from Fairfax County, go so far as to simply deny that they can do anything whatsoever about development. Read the general "horse manure" spread by several of Fairfax County's leadership in response to complaints by a citizen.

Virginia needs an honest and fair discussion of development, its benefits and costs, the winners and the losers. That need is hardly satisfied by those who would distort the state of the law simply to provide themselves with political cover. Where are the Ronald Reagans and Harry Trumans in Virginia? Certainly not on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Bob Burke said...

I would hope the debate would go toward asking why localities make zoning decisions that are seemingly not in their self-interest. Because if you look at their motivation - raising real estate tax revenue - it will lead you back to the General Assembly, and their decisions on how much funding localities should receive for things such as education, public safety, etc., as well as how localities can raise money on their own.

Yeah, an honest and fair discussion is a good place to start. But you know the saying- follow the money.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Toomanytaxes said...

After several years of analyzing Fairfax County's budget, I'm persuaded that the BoS is fixated with cash flow -- sufficient cash flow to sustain annual increases in spending that measure more than 6%.

Increasing cash flow is important for local governments. But there are other equally important issues, such as fairness to taxpayers.

Also, look at the Post's editorial on Kaine's promise to link growth to transportation. In its typical, liberal, Inside the Beltway manner, the Post pays lip service to Kaine's concept, blames GOP legislators for supporting development (as if Bill Thomas has not kept many Democrats in tow for the developers for countless years) and urges its only solution to all problems -- raise taxes.


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