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Proffers and Tricord

Tricord once again battled with county staff on how proffers are calculated. After speaking to a few supervisors today, I’ve come to learn that none want the developer to fail at anything. Success for Tricord means success for the county. But when it comes to proffers, the two sides just cannot seem to agree.

So, at last night’s planning commission public hearing for Tricord’s 150-townhouse development off Tidewater Trail, the proffer debate took center stage once again.

Instead of former Tricord spokesman Hart Rutherford leading the charge, it was local attorney Ron Maupin, a former county attorney who helped write almost all of the county’s building codes and ordinances. After that, he made a career representing developers here. 

The problem at last night’s meeting was Tricord is voluntarily offering cash proffers that are significantly less than what the county requires to have development pay for itself. Tricord offered $834,000 in cash proffers to offset the costs to the school system, fire and rescue, police and other government services that will be needed to support the development. But the county’s guidelines call for at least $3.2 million.

 

Tricord for years has battled with county staff and the Board of Supervisors on how proffers are calculated. One chief reason Tricord decided to scrap its plans for the 5,900-home Summit Crossing project near Massaponax was because supervisors expressed great concern that the cash proffers they were offering were considerably lower than county standards.

The county is in the process of using a "per capita" formula to calculate proffers, but Tricord still came up more than $2 million short on even the revamped scale. 

Maupin said the county uses a flawed and unfair method to calculate proffers. Commissioner Cliff Vaughan didn’t appreciate Maupin making it sound like the county planning department is inept. Tricord doesn’t seem to want to budge on proffers, which are voluntary contributions, and they’ve had a real hard time getting any projects passed.

But Maupin pointed out that the county will bring in almost $2 million in permit fees for this project–before even one house is built. He said that averages out to almost $13,000 per unit. Add the proffers to the mix, and Maupin made it seem as if the system is putting developers under the bus. 

At one point, Planning Commission Chairwoman Mary Lee Carter tried to silence Vaughan’s questioning of the project by saying that the public hearing had been closed; the hearing was still open, and commissioners are allowed as much time as they want to ask questions about a project. There is no timeline for the commission, but residents have three minutes. She later apologized, and Vaughan went on to say that he doesn’t think the county should be subsidizing any developer. 

Commissioners decided on a 6-1 vote to continue the public hearing to June 3.

 

 

 

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/spotsygovt/2009/05/07/proffers-and-tricord/

  • Fredtastic

    There was also alot of discussion on the need for affordable housing and the lack of incentive/allowance within the proffer guidelines for affordable housing units. Mr. Maupin attempted (and I thought did a pretty good job) at explaining the difference between a $350K single family home and a townhouse selling for $175K. The county can’t expect an affordable housing development to pay proffers that also apply to homes that sell for twice that amount. And don’t forget that Tricord proffered a HUGE number above and beyond the proffer guidelines for New Post and got shot down because of Vince and the AP Hill scapegoat. If the County truly wants their business, they better make some concessions.

  • lgross

    I was amused at the Chair attempts at “parliamentary procedures” and brought
    back memories of prior BOS days conducted similarly.

    The county, for years and years routinely approved subdivision after subdivision
    without collecting adequate fees for infrastructure and then finally after an
    election on growth – got more serious about the issue – To Their CREDIT.

    However, TRICORD is a home-town developer who has demonstrated a
    commitment to Spotsylvania – the preservation of Slaughter Run for an
    example.

    I watched the broadcast and I can see where Mr. Vaughn might have taken
    some umbrage but I had given Mr. Maupin the benefit of the doubt on the
    points he was making – and I thought his points were substantive.

    The county needs to collected proffers – there is no question about this but they
    do need to be fair, targeted and up-to-date and county staff has struggled over
    the years to justify their methodology to insure the proffers are defensible
    policy.

    What Tricord did essentially was compute the number of kids that would be
    likely from a development with homes with less total bedrooms that
    development with larger homes with more bedrooms each.

    I think had a point and they found a bit of a chink in the county’s proffer armor.

    But even more important was the discussion on what is classified as “affordable”
    and what incentives the county should be offering for “affordable”.

    I think the county does have a responsibility to it’s deputies and teachers and,
    in fact, all the folks who actually practice so-called “Smart Growth” by choosing to
    work locally for less salary – and they need an affordable place to live or else
    we’ll be encouraging them to leave Spotsylvania and head north with the rest of
    the thundering commuting herd.

    I don’t think the county should roll over on the proffers. They need to not repeat
    the errors of the past but they may need to set up a process to make them
    more targeted (which may be hard legally) and a process to more automatically
    adjust to the economy.

    Finally, the point made about tying the proffers on a per capita share of the CIP
    deserves a harder look but a careful look because it seems to presume that the
    CIP is a truly complete accounting of future infrastructure needs and that may
    not be true as the county.. despite all of it’s efforts at estimating proffer costs
    has up until now – always assumed that VDOT would be building SOME new roads
    and that is no longer the case – and what that means is that no matter what
    level of growth we end up with, whether it’s 5% (I sure hope not) or 2% – even
    at 2% – the county WILL need to expand/improve roads – and that money will
    have to come from the folks who move here (and already live here) because it’s
    not likely going to come from Richmond.

    So.. if I had to predict…. Tricord will win the battle and lose the war. The County
    might revisit the number of kids per dwelling issue and adjust in Tricords favor
    and then revisit the road issue and wipe out whatever reduction made.

    It was one of the more interesting and relevant PC meetings in recent memory
    though the deja vu imperious approach to parliamentary procedure was
    downright embarrassing.

  • tpkeller

    How can a proffer be a voluntary contribution, when if it isn’t generous enough, you are prohibited from conducting your business?

    I’m just saying… maybe we should pick a word that better fits what seems to be really happening here. Extortion? A dark, smoke-filled scene from a Godfather movie comes to mind.

    Of course, I do understand the concept of passing along new costs to new homes, but it should be remembered that that is exactly what happens here, it’s the new home owners who are paying these costs, AND likely financing them for the next 30 years.

    For services that are traditionally paid for by real estate and property taxes, it seems financially unsound to finance this cost over 30 years thereby paying twice as much in interest.

    And what is probably the most ironic twist of all, proffers drive up the cost and therefore the assessed value of the new homes, subjecting them to even higher real estate taxes! The county is literally taxing their tax on new homes!

  • lgross

    this may well be one of those “beer” questions that takes a while to work
    through.

    But I’ll ask – who should pay for a water/sewer hookup?

    Should it be the person who buys that house or should it be county
    taxpayers?

    In other states – with impact fees – they are not “voluntary”.

    Any new homeowner must pay their fair pro-rata share of water, sewer, fire
    house, rescue squad building, libraries, schools and roads.

    All taxpayers pay for the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure –
    that’s fair.

    but who should pay for the infrastructure for new homes?

    If you believe that the folks who buy the homes should pay but you
    disagree with how much is charged – that’s one path

    but if you fundamentally disagree with the concept of new homes paying
    for infrastructure -that’s the other path.

    which path are you advocating?

  • lgross

    I don’t think you are prohibiting from doing business if your proposal is turned
    down – necessarily.

    The County’s job is to protect the taxpayers interests – the ones who will end up
    paying for the infrastructure expenses of new development if the new
    development does not pay for it.

    That’s why the fiscal analysis is important in determining the cost/benefit.

    If each new home in the county ends up costing the “county” a thousand dollars
    - we need to recognize that the “county” is not some money-printing entity – the
    county, in fact, is other taxpayers whose property taxes will go up to pay for the
    shortfall.

    The crux of the matter is that if you take schools (and now roads) out of the
    equation – the rest of it is a nit… it only amounts to a few thousand dollars total
    - spread out over 30 years – not a problem.

    But school cost 10K or more per student seat AND 10K (4k locally) per year per
    student in operational expenses (your taxes).

    If you look at your own property taxes – chances are that you don’t pay 4K a
    year if you have a kid and definitely don’t pay 8K or 12K if you have more than
    one kid so where does the rest of this money come from?

    Well.. it doesn’t come from other folks who also have kids – they add to the
    costs.

    It comes from folks who don’t have kids and let’s stipulate that it is a valid and
    legitimate duty for all of us to pay but it does get a question of how much is
    fair.

    and this goes back to who should pay for new schools.

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument that we do away with proffers and all
    taxpayers pay.

    Do they pay no matter the growth rate?

    So if we one, two or three new schools a year (like Loudoun County did) should
    the taxes on existing residents keep going up higher and higher to pay for the
    new schools?

    From a practical – political perspective – we know what happens in that case.,
    The BOS who raises taxes significantly year after year gets thrown out of office.

    And we’ve been down that path – at least a little – when we had a high growth
    rate and were being told that taxes had to go up to pay for the infrastructure
    needs… OR… start charging proffers….

    The General Assembly established a study commission on this issue – about two
    years ago and they were supposed to bring in a report and a recommendation
    two years after – probably some time this summer or fall…

    What they were looking at was the potential of having a state-wide impact fee
    schedule to replace the proffer system since it varies quite widely in policy and
    implementation and methodologies. The counties that charge proffers were
    concerned that a one-size-fits-all approach would not take into account – local
    costs.. i.e. building a new school in Henry County will have a different cost that
    the same size school in Prince William county.

  • therestofthestory

    give me a break…there are 107 or more homes under foreclosure in the 22408 zip code alone! Most unaffordable homes 2 years ago are now affordable. The Realtor/Developer/Mortgage Banker/Wall Street/White House/Congress/Idiots housing bubble is over. No more can Tricord expect 300K for a townhome and 500K for a new McMansion. Proffers were not incresed when these people were reaping the windfall but they what us to bail them out now. Should have saved for a rainy day and a more realistic housing market.

  • lgross

    did you watch the broadcast and hear the answer
    to the question about how much these units
    would sell for?

    that’s where the affordable index came into the
    discussion.

    They are selling them for LESS than what the
    county says is affordable price (in part because
    the county is using 2007 data).

    so the question was – was Tricord going to build
    TRULY affordable homes ..and if they were.. how
    much proffer would be appropriate?

    The number of bedrooms that were being
    proposed for the units would not likely attract
    folks with lots of kids so Tricord checked what the
    kid rate was for TH of the size they were
    proposing and found a difference and then
    proposed an adjustment in the proffers
    consistent with their numbers.

    I’m not advocating for them but just pointing out
    facts – that we ought to be working off of in the
    dialog.

    The real question is – is it a proper role of local
    Government to have a policy that supports and
    encourages the building of housing stock that
    falls within the thresholds of what most consider
    to be “affordable” or “workforce housing” or just
    simply housing that deputies, entry-level school
    teachers, and others who work locally rather than
    commute – can afford?

  • tpkeller

    “Of course, I do understand the concept of passing along new costs to new homes”

    I just don’t think we should call it a voluntary proffer when clearly (both in action by the county and in your eloquent explanation of why) it is not voluntary, but a necessary part of new development.

    It does pain me to know that this cost is usually doubled due to interest over 30 years, and again, that it results in the taxing of taxes, which somehow seems inherently wrong.

    I’m no financial wizard, but it seems like it would make more sense for some sort of payment system over some period of time, made directly to the county, rather than lumping this cost into the value of the house and financing.

    This is probably not practical, but hey, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for some levels of government these days, so why not…

  • lgross

    The reason they are “voluntary” is because
    Virginia is a Dillon-rule state and the local
    governments cannot assess fees and taxes that
    the State does not authorize them to do.

    But the alternative to the “voluntary” is “NO”
    rezones.

    Most counties know that rezones without proffers
    mean – higher taxes for existing taxpayers –
    which is political suicide.. in many circumstances.

    So you have a choice. No rezones or “sneaky”
    rezones. pick your poison.

    as far as financing is concerned.. not sure I
    understood your “better” alternative?

    I don’t know how you build a school up front
    without proffers.

    You still have to do the bonds because even with
    proffers – the proffer transaction takes place as
    the time the property is moved into – at which
    point that family is expecting a real-live school
    for their kids to attend.

    These bonds – by the way – affect the county’s
    bond rating and their ability to borrow for other
    projects – like roads – all of which have to be paid
    back with interest.

    The proffers – by the way- my understanding is
    that they are anywhere from 10-20K SHORT of
    the actual costs for new schools so the other
    county taxpayers pick up that cost anyhow.

    For me.. whether the proffers are “voluntary” or
    not is not really near as germane as the bigger
    issue of where new schools, fire stations,
    libraries, etc come from when we have growth –
    new houses….

    We can call them “negotiated impact fees” if that
    feels better… but it’s the same thing…

  • MAVRICKinc

    I’ll start out working from June 10, 2008. It’s on the County website under Board of Supervisors, June 10, 2008 AGENDA. The Board was supplied a copy of the 2007 Major Land Use and Planning Legislation: URBAN DEVELOPMENT AREAS (UDA)-15.2-22223.1, Code of Virginia [HB 3202]. Your read will be just one of the stepping stones to what’s in store for Spotsylvania County.

    June 24, 2008, the Board was presented with an Affordable Housing presentation which came with a Power Point presentatiion on Affordable Housing Guide Principles, Goals and Policies to the Comprehensive Plan.

    July 8, 2008 the Board set for approval an Affordable Housing RESOLUTION. The Spotsylvania County Planning Manager provided their background comments which reads “Planning Staff had work sessions on affordable housing with the Board of Supervisos on April 22, 2008, June 24, 2008 and with the Planning Commission on February 20, 2008.

    I can also recount a presentation made before the Board in 2008 when the Fed, on the issue of affordable housing pitched to the Board dollars availble from the Fed that could assist the proposition of affordable housing for the County.

    The Boards first question of the Fed. about the monies was whether these sums of money would or could be considered “discretionary spend.” The Board was visably disappointed when the presenter said that all money’s used to support Affordable Housing would have to be documented and come with receipts.

    The Planning Department supplied me with their DVD video of the Commissioner’s May 6, 2008. This morning I got to view the April 28, 2009, again.

    Worked from there to previous and current comments on the issue of Tricord, one of this County’s favorite sons. and necessarily immune from the ravages of failure and fiscal crisis.

    I will never question the leverage this County’s favorite sons have on their vision of what Spotsylvania County will look like in the next ten years.

    I’m still trying to get an invitation to the Planning Department’s May 14, 2009, 1PM Focus Meeting with construction, development, engineering and assorted other levels of experts in the field of plotting our destiny. I know Mary Lee Carter is looking for an invitation too.

    Back to the playing field.

    The first of 9 comments on this blog came from from “thatguyb”, titled HD Development. When i read “Let’s see, rezone 100 3ac lots out in the middle of nowhere-check no problem. The last time I heard this description was at the Board of Supervisors on March 10, 2009, was when Supv. Gary Skinner gave testimony to the fact he had already negotiated 100 3acre lots. I’m not sure how the Constitution would handle this conversation, but I’m not going there at this moment.

    Part of the TRICORD track record starts with their New Post project, just down from Mallard Landing (Rt 2 and 17) that made it to the drawing board, but three questions later, when the subject of financing the project was fully vetted by then Supv. Vince Onorato, the project was pulled. I recall the proffer amount somewhere in excess of $50 million and residents were quite enamored with that kind of cash flow to the County until TRICORD announced where that money was really coming from.

    The next project was Summitt Crossing and 5,900 additional building sites in the Lee’s Hill district. While the project was rejected by the Board of Supervisors, it is still on the Boards. Check with Planning if you have doubts. Simply said, it is really just a work in progress, and the Board of Supervisors have not as yet changed every land use and taxing “ordinances” to accomodate a project of this size. It’s coming though. Last weeks 3 hour tour by the Planning Commission has yet to be detailed, but we will first see it described under title of “Smart Growth”

    When we pull up the Massaponax Corridor Traffic Study, you will see another piece of the puzzle. The County Administrator and Capital Improvement have copies for public inspection. I know the FLS has a copy since we attended the same meeting where the documents are displayed.

    When you pull up the FLS’s copy of the VRE MASTER AGREEMENT 07-2007 you will understand better why joining VRE is really nothing more than a money pit and it has nothing to do with a 2% gas tax being sold by the Committee of 500, Stafford County, Frederickburg City, the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce or members of FAMPO.
    One day you’re going to have to ask yourself how the Commonwealth of Virginia can put up $300 million dollers to CSX to build a 3rd rail from Richmond to Washington, and can’t afford to have VDOT conduct any more than one grass cutting per year. Money is short everywhere. How does VRE/CSX/Amtrac, etc etc manage their business model.

    The best is yet to come and I’m at 95% of my reader comment. I’ll start from this point with an interpretation of how Mallard Landing fits into what can reasonably be described as a big picture, without polite conversation or distractions.

  • lgross

    not sure why this article ended up being not very visible but it has direct
    bearing on this conversation:

    Planners tour area targeted for growth

    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2009/052009/05052009/463530

    My impression of the County and especially the Planning Commission in years
    past was a reluctance to take a proactive stance with regard to how growth
    would occur and how the infrastructure needed by it would be provided.

    In years past.. and what the PC seems to be most comfortable with is
    “reacting” to growth rather than actually guiding it.

    Long story short – roads have always been considered a VDOT responsibility
    and until recently – the PC did not even consider the impacts of development
    in the pipeline relative to new proposals.

    In other words, they looked at the road impacts of each specific proposal
    without looking at the broader picture and instead of accepting some level of
    responsibility for master planning.. they were much more happy letting VDOT
    do it.

    Problem was/is that – that kind of growth is not planning and it causes
    expensive consequences to road infrastructure since VDOT has no idea what
    to prepare for 10, 20 years down the road if the PC itself is going to deal with
    growth – one project at a time whenever it comes up before them.

    Problem #2 – for years and years VDOT and the PC were perfectly happy
    keeping what was essentially a bogus wish list of future projects that “would
    be needed”.

    NO CIPs..no construction start dates… etc… just a list of future roads and
    lines on a map.

    Then the revelation (only to those who had their head in the sand to start
    with) that VDOT not only did not have the money to build any of those roads
    but never did… again..just a paper list of what the county said they wanted..
    and VDOT was happy to write down projects… in case of future funding…

    Okay – so the point here is – that the State has dropped a bomb on the PC in
    that they want them to actually plan – what a concept.

    They want them to designate UDA – Urban Development Areas – sufficient in
    size to accommodate 10 years worth of growth and what that means is that in
    order to actually do that – they have to think about infrastructure –
    water/sewer… roads…

    Just can’t draw a square on a map and say “this will be where development
    will occur” and then say “VDOT ..please fix the roads for this” – because VDOT
    is essentially out of the local road-building business.

    Spotsy took the first step a few yeas ago in recognizing that the rate of
    growth directly impacts… infrastructure deficits, quality of life degradation and
    tax increases… if done willy nilly at higher rates than 2%

    now, we are at the point where we need to deal with the “willy nilly” …. in
    terms of infrastructure consequences – even at a 2% rate…

    As the stealthy article said: at a 2% rate – it means “For 10 years of growth,
    the county would need about 3,300 acres for 13,792 housing units for 29,929
    people. At a 2 percent growth rate, 26,103 people will move here in 10 years.”

    13,792 housing units at 10 automobile trips per day – has direct traffic
    consequences….. that will require.. oh horror of horrors.. PLANNING.

  • lgross

    Proposals will be made. Some of the problems and issues that the county have are not due to
    conspiratorial ruminations as much as just plain old human nature… different ideas about growth and how
    it should happen….when,, where, how, etc.

    So you end up with Planning Commissioners who essentially do not agree with the Comp Plan nor do they
    willingly accept the idea that UDAs should be designated.

    UDAs are essentially a mandate to … Master Plan growth. Something that Spotsy and most other
    smaller/growing counties find challenging… and not inviting…

    Are there developers, PC, BOS folks and others who favor certain projects… on certain places that may or
    may not fit into any kind of a proactive plan for growth? In other words is there with us – an Ad HOC
    …somewhat Foobar approach to growth?

    of course.. it’s the nature of human beings…

    Tricord is making proposals… in my mind .. proactively and with some innovation that challenges the status
    quo… and they’re doing this in part because the county does not have a tight focus of where they really
    want growth to occur (and not).

    Bottom Line – Growth IS going to occur on the Route 17 corridor. The only question is whether or not it will
    be Master Planned or ad hoc… or something in between the two.

    In my mind – Tricord had made a proposal that had some Master Planning aspects to it. It had some
    issues… that required counter-proposals… negotiations.. and on the part of the county itself – some
    thought about how to put their own Master Plan around the Tricord proposal and what they did basically was
    to bail out of all of it… essentially… saying… that they’re going to go back to dealing with growth – one ad
    project at a time – to some – that is easier and much less threatening than Master Planning.

    so you have two choices for the Route 17 corridor – do it like we’ve always done development – Ad Hoc..
    then later react to infrastructure deficits.. or Master Plan.. but the one option you do not have is to say that
    Route 17 is not going to be developed.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: Glad to see you getting up so early in the morning to dress up my comments as not being very visible. Your read of my comments, while taken out of context, would surely make me invisible, when all I did was ask questions, put some history on the boards that is public knowledge, and suggested someone else, besides yourself, take a look and make up their own minds, instead of you doing their thinking for them.

    I was genuienly disappointed, but not surprised that you would play the Conspiracy Theory card. I’m able to now conclude you are one of the designated hitters for Spotsylvania County family values, change and those of special interest.

    You have concluded our problems and issues are born of human nature. Greed should necessarily be part of this genome equation and your collective thoughts.

    It goes without question your knowledge is tenured and is well respected by those who wish to leverage our future.

    All I do is ask questions and connect dots. You and everyone else are free to read only one side of the ledger. I just turn the next page and comment on what I found.

    While my comments of late were about recorded history and what the BOS and Planning Commission had before them on the issue of Affordable Housing, over a year ago.

    My viewing of the Planning Commission’s May 6, 2009 meeting, would lead me to believe they didn’t have a clue about the role Affordable Housing would play out in TRICORD’S proffers that came with their Mallard Landing Project.

    I can still hear the “passion” for Affordable Housing from Tricord’s attorney Ron Maupin and the Commissions Chairman, Mary Lee Carter.

    Your latest comments appear to navigate around this issue, as Ron Maupin negotiated with the Commission to build on the cheap by realigning Spotsylvania County’s Proffer Guidlines and calculations.

    Two years ago this BOS eliminated 13 oversite committees from their rosters so that THEY could work more efficiently. Supv Marshall didn’t want to share his ideas with anyone on the Board or the office of then County Administrator: Wheeler. Land-Use planning has been mauled beyond recognition. There is so much more, and it’s all a matter of public record. I can only suggest that you supply us with those dreary facts, before you draw your line in the sand.

    If you are to be the voice of tomorrow, I will at all times remain tuned-in to your channel, for want knowing what’s goes on behind closed doors, or the other side of this mountain of information.

    As far as I know the 3 hour trip the Commission took last week was attended by planning who took minutes of this meeting that has to be pub;lished.

    The VRE Master Agreement is still on the table, but our leaders continue to describe it as a contract that is not perfect, but full of possibility. If you are comfortable with these politician’s overview, without detail or comprehension is a bed without sheets, a blanket or a pillow to rest your head on.

    While there isnothing so constant as change, I’ll take the road least traveled. History will record what the high road had to offer, with no possibility of ever looking back. The need for speed will only best serve greed.

    I’ll try my very best to remain invisible and leave you to stage center I’ll hold on to my applause until the last act.

    I’m not easily distracted, and will continue with my questions and your answers.

    Coming up next is Ron Maupin’s age old skills to tell a good story, while maintaining the most professional bearing, staging and stage management of his client’s cause. There is no equal in all of the Fredericksburg family and this region. Anyone who would say otherwise would be lost to the tall grass that surrounds this community. He too is one of Spotsylvania County’s favorite sons. I personally and professionally have no reason to believe otherwise.

    Since I don’t want to get off message that I started out with, this past Friday.

    I am however curious. There comes this moment in time when the protest is far greater than needed. It’s sort of like when there’s a question on the table that no one can or wants to answer, so they start first with indignation and name calling and questioning someones character. After this drama, and the question is still on the table and yet to be answered, and no where else to go except to answer the question by not answering the question or just stand up and leave the room.

    There is still something about human nature that remains as transparent as the perspiration on their forehaed, and looking from side to side to see where the door is.

    So far, asking questions and connecting dots appears to raise the hair on the back of the neck, and for no reason. What do you think? Too much, or too little?

    It’s my nap time. See you on the morrow.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Mr. Gross is absolutely correct. Rt 17 will be developed, whether we like it or not.

    The Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors have been changing the landscape of Spotsylvania County with their land-use agenda that’s been in play for the last two years. In oder for us to be where we are today, the Board has changed and put into place Ordinance language that serves only this County’s favorite sons; Silver, Cosner, Welsh, Meadows, Tricord, Committee of 500, etc. etc.

    The 4 lane “clover-leaf” bridge over Rt. 95, roads leading to, around and past the hospital, currently under construction is the first leg of a “Planning Agenda” for Spotsylvania County that’s already on the boards. The Cosner taxing districts have already been put in place. As a matter of record Silver Cos. couldn’t get financing in the open market, so they came to the Spotsylvania County Board of Supvisors to use the County’s line of credit and the purchase of General Obligation Bonds to finance the construction of the bridge over Rt 95 and road infrastructure necessary to support the Hospital. Had the Board not conceded the bond purchase Silver would not let the Hospital get their occupancy permit. Simply said, the hospital was being held hostage until Silver brokered his proffer and the deal County Supervisors approved just weeks ago.

    If you were to pick up a copy of the Massaponax Corridor Traffic Study’s September 2007, you will catch a glimpse of what the relocation of Rt 17 is going to look like, that comes with Supv. Gary Skinner’s vision of what the Lee’s Hill District will look like. Simply said, Rt 17 is already planned. It’s going to be a major throughway to the east coast. Our tax dollars will pay for the relocation and reconstruction of Rt 17.

    With the VRE Master Agreement, Mr. Skinner will get his Train Station, parking lot and roadway at tax payer expense, with VRE and CSX staging the need for yet another train stop only 3 or 4 miles from the Fredericksburg train station and tracks owned by CSX. VRE and Amtrac just pay for the right to put their business on CSX property and train tracks with a 2% gas tax initiative that doesn’t look anything like the VRE Master Agreement thatno one wants to talk about. Larry Groos has his copy but is not allowed to detail the terms, conditions and contract language of the Agreement. Why? You’ll have to take up this part of the discussion with your BOS representative.

    When the subject of return on investiment for Stafford County and Fredericksburg comes up, and the only number recited is $24 million, you will want to divided this number by 7 before you speak next. You may or may not come to the same conclusion I have. What’s the big deal? Fredericksburg’s share of the money went to the construction cost and debt service that came with building a parking garage in downtown Fredericksburg. If I’m not mistaken, all money’s received from VRE go toward paying off the cost of the garage and nothing else. If heard wrong, please tell me so. I got the message from Matt Kelly during a Town Meeting being conducted by Hap Connors, for his constituents and the VRE equation. There were two reporters in attendance at the meeting. They were recording the event and all I did was take copious notes and ask a few question that got no answer.

    Now that the Lee’s Hill District has been better defined, it would be absurd to think or believe that “smart growth” would be the calling card to sprawl.

    TRICORD continues to mount their attach and lay seige to the County’s proffer and calculation guide lines.Since the battle is being waged in the outskirts of the Lee Hill District, with little at stake, it makes since to negotiate the parameters of proffers downward. If Tricord’s efforts are successful and make there way to County Proffer Guideline books, I would caution this County to watch out for what Tricord is wishing for. This is not about Mallard Landing and 150 townhouses. It’s about 5,900 homesites, two and three layers thick in the Lee Hill District, that can’t get off the ground until the price is right…for TRICORD, not Spotsylvania County. Once the proffer guidelines are mangled beyond description, “smart growth” will certainly raise it head and take off running.

    Summitt Crossing is still on the boards for want of appropiate funding. What better way to go than with proffer incentives/guidelines on the books that don’t come anywhere close to reality.

    It’s not my position to speculate about “smart growth” The writing is already written on the walls, No amount of paint will ever make it go away. Smart Growth is high density populations and will consume thousands of acres in land on either side of Rt 17. and all points of contact with our eastern shore line.

    My next stop will be Spotsylvania County’s “Technology Centers” I took one look at their “Client List” and wondered whether I was in a war zone or not. Multi-Module transportation is no longer theoretical.

  • Minuteman

    It appears that increasing the maximum
    comment length, while well intentioned, was a
    mistake.

  • MAVRICKinc

    I can only assume Minuteman has a distaste for details. I have no affiliation or knowledge of his/her business agenda, but will assume enlarging this website doesn’t fit within his/her version of knowlege and the value of soundbites.

    Maybe the FLS should withdraw. Censorship comes in all kinds of disguises, and maybe we should just keep the comments section to 512 characters so Minuteman can cruise the internet and this blog, without having to reflect on another version of the truth.

    I’ll assume from the request, Minuteman must have voting stock in the Free Lance-Star. If he’s having problems with the dialogue maybe he/her should just stop reading the comments section of this blog and stick to the headlines.

    Not knowing is a good thing, if you only want your version of your truth to be the only truth.

    I gather you are one of Spotsylvania County’s favorite sons.If you and the FLS want to ignore my messages, it’s really very simple to cut the line back to 512. It’s only then that I would have to use Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, etc, etc to say the same thing that I can say in a single comment.

    Let’s agree on one thing. When you see a comment authored by MAVRICKinc, MGWORK or Marty, just page down to the next comment. Maybe lgross and Gramps are more to your liking. I’m not required reading nor ever will be.
    To page down shouldn’t take you any more than a nanosecond. You can make me as invisible as you want.

    You get to make the decision, not me. If you don’t like what I’m saying is a matter of opinion, and you certainly have that right to confine your life’s agenda to 60 seconds.

    Please note with some level of concern, you haven’t said anything except to ask the FLS on how to best conduct their business.

    If you wish to be nothing more than a sound bite, that’s OK. Different strokes for different folks, unless of course your 60 seconds are as good as it gets. Unless advised to the contrary , I’ll assume you have drawn your line in the sand and not open to developing a constructive dialogue. That too is OK. I’ll list you on my spreadsheet as 1 with 120,000 more to go.

    I just came half way. The other half is solely your call.

  • lgross

    I’d ask for one topic at a time.. without “connecting” all the dots in such a way as to be
    accusatory and inflammatory.

    on topic – and instead of whacking away at what you don’t like and attacking the BOS
    and personalities…

    present YOUR vision for how the county should grow and get better as the end of your
    diatribes about what is not good in your opinion.

    I don’t find your writings effective at anything other than great dollops of generalized
    hate and discontent.

    give it a rest at least in volume and veracity … or at least spend at least as much time
    talking about how you’d do business in a different and better way and you might get
    some responses… and perhaps some useful dialog…

    that’s a request – a polite request. Thank you for considering it.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: I gather from your remarks and characterizton of my work, your feathers have been ruffled much along the same lines afforded me by the BOS in Septembe 2007 when they attempted to renegotiate freedom of speech under the terms and conditions of a changed By-Law that would call for me not to come to their podium to speak except every 6 to 3 months. Struck a nerve? Yes. Over what?

    It’s a matter of public record. By sepate cover I will address your comments but without your anger an angst.

    At the moment I’m caught up with developing today’s presentation to the BOS. I’ll make room for you in today’s presentation.

    Later then

  • lgross

    I don’t dispute the issues nor the need for
    improvement and even perhaps some whacking
    on some wrongdoers… on occasion but I also
    think that anyone who has a complaint.. needs
    to follow it with what they think would be a better
    way of proceeding…..

    otherwise…I’m not sure what the complaining
    accomplishes other than to annoy others and
    ultimately just turn it into a big “_issing” contest
    which to tell you the truth.. bore me… almost as
    much as it annoys me.

    so .. don’t hold back.. give us some good ideas
    to go with your complaints…

    thanks.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: Thought I would round out my day with responses to comments at this blog site dated May 12, 2009 8:58am and May 12, 2009 4:03pm.

    I gave up complaining a long time ago. It’s an avenue to only one way conversations This is why I show up, detail what I have found by connecting the dots, and discretly ask hard questions. The math is simple and easy; 2+2=4.

    So, at the end of my business day I add everything up. If it doesn’t equal 4 and comes back as a different number, I do what anyone would do; take a recount. How else would anyone balance their check book or budget?

    I don’t confine my findings or conclusions to a single line item, time or topic. I don’t whack away at anything or anyone. Saps your strength and ability to stand on your own two feet.

    Personalities don’t desrve too much of our attention. It’s the very foundation of stealth, disguise, and our many perceptions of reality and ourselves. We lie to ourselves and others all the time. Personality is just veneer. Do I trust. Yes. I trust everyone along the same path we took 30 years ogo to present time. The thing about trust is that it’s constantly being measured against “not being found out.”

    “Dollops” is a word I had to look up since I’ve never had occasion to use the word. In its stead I normally use the term “lumps or blobs. Apply either to your constructive evaluation of my writing. This is what it reads like in your words: I (lgross) don’t find your writings effective at anything other than great dollops (lumps/blobs of generalized hate and discontent.

    I for one would not consider this an invitation to sit down and put puzzle pieces together. My objective is to depict the big picture, as best I can, on limited information, with the rest being stacked behing closed doors. If you’re looking for my vision you will be dissappointed.

    I make informed decisions and arrive at conclusions when we have all the documentation, most of which is still stacked behind closed doors.

    Larry, I’ve been doing this for a long time, with and without the emotions. I started this journey October 2005. It’s abundantly clear you haven’t read anything I have written. If you need to bone up on what I’ve said in the past, to current time, you can always stop by the County Administrators Office. I’m not a secret.and my opinions and ideas are a matter of record. We even have it on film (DVD and VHS). Our local library’s have copies as well.

    What corner did you have in mind to back me into? I can assure you that I don’t have to back anywhere. Instead of me slowing down, you might want to consider picking up the pace.

    Please feel free to leave the room any time you want. I’not in a “-issing contest. You are, with me, for more reasons than even you can account for. Why else would you keep coming back to this blog to diasect yet another part of my dialogue for want of having me become invisble.

    My cards are on the table. I have no secrets. I’m really nothing more than an open book. Turn any page, turn to any chapter.

    When the BOS makes their agenda on growth and the VRE equation as transparent as the few hairs I have on my head I won’t be holding back. I’ll probably be somewhere at the front of the line.

    Instead of calling me out, you might want to consider sitting down with your district leader and see what their vision is. The paper trail starts with them, not me. I’ve already written my book, and can assure you I didn’t hold anything back.

    What you should be looking for is your truth, not mine. Happy hunting.

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