The Board of County Supervisors accepted a proposal to add between 2,500 and 3,500 high-density residential units as part of the master plan for North Woodbridge this week. I’m sure on some level this makes sense, but I sure don’t get it. The county really isn’t in much need of high density residential development, and we certainly aren’t in need of the political demographic that accepts commune-style, stacked-on-top-of-each-other housing as an acceptable way to live. Above all, I can’t imagine North Woodbridge is all that attractive for folks to move to prior to leveling a vast majority of the area and turning it into a pasture. But if Prince William County’s enclave of communists is going to survive, in the name of diversity of political thought, I guess this is the only bone the Board of Supervisors could possibly throw.
Only Republicans, or in this case a Republican-majority board, would ever lay the demographic groundwork for their political opposition. I’ll bet Frank Principi is all excited about the future construction of “Arlington-lite” in his district, though. He and Gerry Connolly positively salivate over such a thing.
Here’s what I see happening: I don’t see the demographic explosion of the county continuing as it has over the next ten years. Aside from fluctuating immigration, there simply hasn’t been the birthrate sufficient to justify massive high density residential development in the county, so any hopes of demanding sky-high rents and condo fees for this is utterly ludicrous. Developers will have some pie-in-the-sky idea that an investment like this is going to make sense, they’ll build the darned thing, and then they’ll lose their shirts as they find they won’t be able to fill such a monstrosity. It’ll become a terrible mess.
Then we’ll have two options. Either this becomes affordable assisted living housing, or Section 8 housing. After the baby boomer demographic moves through, those options will be narrowed to one. Then North Arlington is going to be a really special place. The communists will absolutely love it. The rest of us? Perhaps not so much.
I was under the impression the Board of Supervisors intended to get as much commercial development going in the county as possible in order to reduce the distance people have to travel to their jobs and improve the commercial-residential tax base balance. Both conservatives and liberals like that idea, and not too rarely for largely the same reasons. Instead, it looks like some folks insane enough to think they’re going to make money building a facsimile of Arlington in Woodbridge have convinced the Board to go a different route, and pretty much no one is likely to come out ahead in this deal in the long run.
Well on the other hand, watching high-rise public housing developments get blown up is amusing. It just takes so darned long between the time a development sinks into the morass of crime and poverty and the time it’s amusingly blown to bits with a ton or two of trinitrotoluene. People get impatient waiting so long.
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