An article in today’s Washington Post discusses a decision by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to approve a rezoning request after the developer significantly increased the value of the proffers.  The story has parallels to Albemarle County’s discussion of proffers, phasing of development, retail absorption, and major transportation infrastructure needs. 

See if any of this sounds familiar…

The vote came after months of negotiations with the developer… which this month agreed to scale back the maximum number of residences from 1,569 to just over 1,000 and to upgrade the intersection of Route 7 and Ashburn Village Boulevard. In addition, the company will donate a 20-acre plot for an elementary school, among other proffers.

“This applicant has really stepped up to the plate with its proffers,” said Supervisor Lori L. Waters (R-Broad Run), who brokered the agreement. “It is a complete package. I believe this is a real winner for Loudoun County.”

Board Chairman Scott K. York (I) and Vice Chairman Bruce E. Tulloch (R-Potomac) voted against the rezoning, however. They said that there are many shopping centers in the area, including Dulles Town Center, and that they feared there would not be enough demand to support additional retail.

“We are already maxed out in both on-the-ground and planned retail uses,” York said. “I’m just trying to understand why we need a whole lot more retail on Route 7.”

In the next month, the Albemarle County Fiscal Impact Advisory Committee will be bringing the Board of Supervisors recommendations for an improved proffer system.  In the meantime, I thought it might be helpful to compare our local proffers to this project in Loudoun.  This past Tuesday, Attorney Steve Blaine presented information on the proffers for Biscuit Run.  He described the proposed Biscuit Run proffers as having a value of $33.5 million and indicated his belief that additional cash proffers (i.e. per household) are not appropriate given the magnitude of the other contributions being proposed. Further, Mr. Blaine told the Planning Commission, “I would challenge you to find any project that’s come close to a fraction of the value of those proffers.”   

Presumably Mr. Blaine was referring to other projects locally, but let’s compare Biscuit Run to this one project in Loudoun County.

AttributeBiscuit Run One Loudoun
Status of rezoning Under review Approved 1-16-07
Start of project 20052004
Housing Units 3,1001,040
Non-residential (retail/office) 0.15 million sq.ft. 4.4 million sq.ft.
Total proffer value
(excluding internal roads)
Proffer value per residential unit $9,369$29,269
Addl cash proffers per housing unit NoNo
Phasing of development NoYes
Biggest road improvement Adding 2 lanes on Route 20 for $5.5 million New interchange on Route 7 for $20.24 million
Biggest road improvement as % of total proffers 24% or $6.86 million 66% or $20.24 million
CPI escalator on other cash proffersNoYes
Elem school site profferedYes, 11 acres (1.3% of land) Yes, 19.7 acres (5.5% of land)

Update 1/22/07: Elaine Echols, Principal Planner with Albemarle County, has said that the proffer proposals presented by Mr. Blaine to the Planning Commission “are preliminary and have not been verified.”  Charlottesville Tomorrow will track the proffer proposals as they are further refined during 2007.  Some will become part of the development work and not be considered actual proffers.  Others will be added.  Many will change in value as calculated by the County and developer. This analysis is intended to help inform that discussion for the public.

Brian Wheeler

A "T" on a purple circle

Charlottesville Tomorrow

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