Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Smart Growth?

I just returned from the Committee of 500’s second of three forums on Smart Growth in Spotsylvania. Is it working? Is it here? How can county officials bring it here? All of that has been discussed. A story about the forum will be in Monday’s paper.

But absent from the article was a suggestion lifelong Spotsylvania resident Rupert Farley offered to the panel. Farley is a regular opinion piece writer to FLS. But what he said today caught some off guard: “Kill the institution,” he said.

Kill what? Well, everyone at this event was scared to use the “S” word, which is Sprawl. Yes, sprawl. I said it.

What Farley  suggested was killing sprawl with two pieces of legislation.

One law would be to require all developers to pay for every impact a project has on a community, from roads and schools to public safety and libraries, whether it’s by-right or a rezoning. That’s a lot of money. Impact fees are used in by-right development; proffers are used in rezonings. Tricord just vented frustration in the FLS about the county looking at increasing the proffers, which supervisors tabled.

“Greed can give us smart growth in the future just like it’s creating sprawl now,” Farley said.

His other law was to not allow the Commonwealth Transportation Board to spend any money on auto-related infrastructure until there is a more solid transit infrastructure.

Bob Wilson, executive director of the George Washington Regional Commission, said that’s unlikely too. Focusing more on transit is feasible, but completely shutting off funds for road projects is unlikely in a region dependent on the automobile.


Seems Farley’s ideas were a bit too drastic for some. What do you think?