Monday, January 16, 2006

Saving Goochland County

The Times-Dispatch this morning writes an advance story about a meeting to discuss some zoning changes intended to help Goochland County protect its "rural character."
'Tomorrow night, a 250-page set of proposed zoning changes will be discussed at a joint meeting of the county's Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Thursday night, the Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the changes.
The changes include provisions that promote growth in nine designated "village centers" and encourage open space everywhere else.
County officials see these provisions as tools to manage growth. But many residents are concerned that the changes could cost them money.'
We're talking here about those residents who plan to sell land to pay for sending children to college, or for their own retirement. But those land values will be subsidized by new roads built and maintained with public dollars.


At 9:59 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Of course, they can always sell to someone who can afford to keep the land in rural character, at a loss.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Don't be surprised that if they build the roads with their money, that they will calim they own the roads and want to charge everyone else tolls to use them.

That way we won't have to pay for the roads.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Bob Burke said...

Sounds like an opportunity to explore the creation of a transfer of development rights program.

I don't see it happening, but I wish more landowners complaining about 'taking' their land values would up and build their own roads, and charge whatever they think the market can bear.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Isn't that is what happening in Gainesville? If that builder steps up and puts in the interchange and railroad station and grade separation ------ and 6800 homes, how cna the local government turn that down? On the other hand, who is smart enough to know if it is a good deal or not.

My guess is not. The situation there is out of control and it is a poster child for the situation where you need to link land use with transportation. Hard to do if the cat is out of the bag.

Now suppose you've got a guy with land, and thirty years ago the state ran a highway through his property, taking 20% of his land.

Now that development finally comes to his neck of the woods, should he have to pay into the road fund too?

Or take the guy who had development rights at three per acre, like in Loudoun county. After re-zoning he has development rights at one per twenty acres.

THEN the county wants him to participate in a purchase of development rights program for the remainder. Is the county paying their full cost for the benefit they get? How do you think the landowner feels?

He might feel like someone was taking his land, or at least the value out of it.

Recently there was an article in the paper about a proposed development in Opal. After the usual handwringing about traffic, infrastructure, development etc. they interviewed one of the owners.

"Well", he said, "if someone wants to preserve it and pay the taxes, they can buy it." From his point of view that would mean they would have to pay full price.

Think it will happen?

You have people saying developers aren't paying their full costs.

Certainly conservationist aren't paying anything like their full costs. Their whole deal is how to control the most land with the least cost.

They have deliberately and openly exploited the takings clause and have used it as a reason not to be concerned about asking for ever more stringent and overlapping restrictions. Drainage protection, endangered species, viewshed, right of ways, farmland protection, historic districts, etc. To the landowner it is like being pecked to death by ducks.

The government controls land use saying they need to be able to provide expensive services and infrastructure in an orderly manner for its own fiscal benefit. But it doesn't share those benefits by paying rent for land it holds off the market for future development. It is renting the cash savings it gets from orderly development from the rural landowners without payment. Is government paying a fair share for what it gets?

Then when the land is finally allowed to be developed it then wants the developers to pay full price for the services the government used as an excuse for keeping land off the market.

Or even worse, use Kelo to take the land and hand it over to someone else, as Charlottesville is apparently preparing to do.


The next thing will happen is the developers will do just what you say. And if they are paying full cost, they will be able to demand the right to develop.

How is government going to control what's going on if they aren't footing the bill? Who will they have to blame for sprawl then.?

The Bananas, conservationists and the Prevent-Development-to-Inflate My-Home-Values lobby will go , well, bananas.

Now the government could just own all the land and then sell it off a piece at a time when they wanted it developed. By controlling the supply they could get a price high enough to cover the development costs.

Oh, that's right, they already did that once, I think they were called land grants.

Nobody likes change, they want a nice secure, predictable environment: they want to save whatever is around them even if it is called Gooch Land. So the one thing they are willing to change in order to get security is --- The Rules.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Here is an example of changing the rules:

"The proposed code has four kinds of subdivisions, and the higher density the more incentives and bonuses to developers. The way this works in other cities is that a developer who sets aside a prescribed percent of the units as “affordable” or sets aside a percentage for green space can receive a density bonus that allows more homes per acre. Also, in exchange for higher density, the governments reduce fees, expedite the review process, refund all county review fees and consider paying for landscaping. It’s unlikely that the code here will include these incentives, but thankfully, it is moving in the right direction."

what was that about everyone paying their own costs?


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