This week there was some discussion over at TC regarding the resolution introduced by Wally Covington which seeks to impose a moratorium on residential rezonings by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. The resolutions operative clauses are:
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Prince William County Board of Supervisors does hereby call for an immediate halt to any new housing rezonings until December 31, 2007, during which time the 2008 Comprehensive Plan will undergo update, deliberation and implementation, or until the 2007 General Assembly passes a comprehensive transportation plan to reduce traffic gridlock in Prince William County, whichever comes first;
FURTHERMORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Prince William County Board of Supervisors does hereby respectfully request Governor Timothy M. Kaine and the 2007 General Assembly to prioritize the upcoming legislative agenda to include passage of Adequate Public Facilities legislation to empower local officials to determine land use as it relates to available or planned transportation infrastructure.
This development is fascinating. Wally Covington, who has not been out in front on holding back development, has seemingly jumped in with both feet. During the discussions regarding the Brentswood proposal Supervisor Covington was not among the public detractors, and seemed to stake out the position that the proposal to add 6,800 residential units in the Brentsville and Gainesville districts was worthy of consideration. In the wake of Corey Stewart’s election, which should be interpreted as a strong anti-development victory particularly in Gainesville and Brentsville, maybe this is a case of Supervisor Covington reading the handwriting on the wall and making a shift. Or perhaps this was just an opportune time for him to demonstrate his concerns. Either way, Supervisor Covington is now solidly on board and this may bring some momentum in support of Chairman Corey Stewart’s legislative agenda.
Whether this will change anything in the General Assembly is doubtful. The Adequate Public Facilities legislation, which would allow counties to control “by right” development to some degree is an important goal of the new Chairman, but such legislation would unfortunately face significant hurdles in the 2007 session. A strong push for APF, particularly if echoed elsewhere, might be the most important actual outcome of this resolution but the most difficult to achieve. Without that, there will be very little actual change if this resolution is adopted as “by right” development is likely to account for the majority of residential development in the county for some time. Enact APF, and that huge chunk of developments that do not require rezonings will still fall under some degree of control by Board of Supervisors.
And that’s what’s driving folks like Roy Beckner of SW Rodgers, and those at Stanley Martin, Graystone Homes and the Peterson Companies nuts.
UPDATE: The Manassas Journal-Messenger picks up the story and reports that this resolution may well receive unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors, provided a review by the county attorney finds no legal problems with the resolution.
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