Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Supervisors Jackson and Marshall continue to battle over 3-acre rural lots

Supervisor Emmitt Marshall said today that there have been 11 applications for 3-acre rural lots, a policy he proposed earlier this year and that passed. This is the second time Mr. Marshall has announced the number of applications, to counter the concerns raised when he first proposed this zoning amendment that it would lead to rural sprawl and could create thousands of new lots in rural Spotsylvania County.

Supervisor Gary Jackson said he doesn’t mind Marshall reminding residents each month about the number of applications, but he warned him that he should tell the whole story.

"Each one of those 11 lots is going to cost us $50,000 a piece," Jackson said, because the county does not collect any cash contributions (proffers) for the services that these homes will require from the county, such as public safety. 


Mr. Marshall quickly chimed in that maybe he could get those homes included in an Urban Development Area, which ties in with the discussion supervisors had earlier in the meeting, and which is the subject of my deadline story for tomorrow’s paper. 

It sounds like these two may go back and forth for some time about this issue because as of 6:44 p.m., no one has registered to challenge Mr. Marshall in this November election. There is still 15 minutes left, but it looks like Mr. Marshall is going to win re-election without a challenge. Jackson is not up for election until 2011. 

As an update, Chris Yakabouski has registered to challenge Supervisor Benjamin Pitts. Yakabouski resigned his seat in 2007 to challenge Sen. Edd Houck. He did not win that election. 

D.J. McGuire will challenge Supervisor Gary Skinner. I was told that former Supervisor Vince Onorato, who spoke today during the public comment portion of the meeting, has not officially registered. Either he changed his mind or he could not get enough signatures to run. I did not have a chance to ask him because I found out after he had left. 




  • lgross

    to .. expanding where water/sewer is made available. This prospect has never bothered Marshall nor the other rural sup Waddy
    - both of whom think it would allow their rural areas to “develop” and let landowners become “prosperous”.

    I’ve never been able to understand if they really appreciate the consequences of such a thing…

    but there is no doubt at all in the mind of Mr. Jackson – such a thing would be an unmitigated disaster in terms of the ensuing
    growth that would explode from such a thing.

    the view is that 1/4 acre subdivisions fueled by the availability of water/sewer is what the “market” (the market being NoVa
    commuters in search of affordable housing) want.

    I found the BOS collective perspective of UDAs and their potential use/role is different from the Planning Commission though it
    appears that more of the PC have views closer to Marshall/Waddy than Jackson/Pitts.

    to me.. it’s all about whether one thinks the county should play a more direct role in deciding where residential growth will be
    focused… concentrated… and what kinds… or should the county do (as on PC said) .. “let the market decide?”.

    So.. the UDAs really do confront the BOS/PC to come up with more specific, more defined policies on where they want growth to
    occur and not.. and in what timeframes….. something the BOS has confronted before with the neverending issue of where
    water/sewer should be (and not be).

    I sometimes get the impression that Marshall/Waddy would have no problem at all with water/sewer extended all the way to
    Caroline/Louisa/Orange county lines…

  • lgross

    model and expand it to other facilities – including

    when you designate a UDA – you are making a
    declaration to provide water/sewer AND the other
    infrastructure that will be needed to serve the

    and the 600lb gorilla is transportation.

    in a dense area with transit and walking/biking
    infrastructure – the belief is that there will be less
    need for more expensive auto-dependent

    .. in a world where VDOT is not waiting in the
    wings to “build it”.

    So the county by designating a UDA is saying that
    they are knowingly making a land-use decision
    that has infrastructure and budgetary
    consequences…. much like when water/sewer are
    provided – someone has to pay for the expansion
    of the water/sewer to serve the new homes.

    I’m not sure this law is a whole lot more than a
    “run this up the flagpole and see who will salute
    it” exercise as I’ve not seen what the penalties
    are for non-compliance much less who would be
    deciding what actually constituted non-

    The other 600lb gorilla is the apparently real
    possibilities that the current Proffer system will be
    scraped and replaced with a state-mandated
    impact fee system.

    If that comes to be – it could dramatically change
    many counties, including Spotsylvania’s approach
    to growth and growth management…

    we could well end up with a “just say no to
    residential rezones” philosophy…

  • gramps

    Waddy and Marshall only worry about their portions and NOT the county as a whole. It sounds to me like “wall-to-wall” county water and sewer would be a fast track to “Fairfaxizing” the county. If this happens, goodbye to rural Spotsylvania.

  • lgross

    My basic view is that Spotsylvania is going to
    have growth – that’s a given.

    and that Spotsylvania can do one of two things
    about it.

    they can stand back out of the way (as they have
    tended to do) and wait for “proposals” for various
    places in the county – some in the primary
    settlement area, some not – and essentially deal
    with them on an Ad Hoc basis in terms of how to
    accommodate them infrastructure-wise.

    Water/sewer, schools, libraries, fire stations,
    roads are all delt with separately in therms of
    planning and CIPs… basically in a reaction to
    where the growth is occurring…

    at least with water/sewer – they have two things
    that provide some discipline and that is – first –
    there has to be available capacity to serve a
    proposal and second the hook-up fees are
    designed to go into a CIP for future expansion.

    the other infrastructure is not done the same way
    per a proposal.

    for instance, most of the time the traffic
    generation is done specific to the immediate area
    usually around the entrance – as opposed to the
    nearest major arterials and second… there is no
    Transporation Master Plan – like there is a
    Water&Sewer Master Plan.

    The Master Plan basically lays out how the funded
    CIP will be used in expansion plans (and in doing
    so -how it will NOT be used, i.e. no plans for
    expanding water and sewer to … where they don’t
    want it).

    Ditto Schools, Libraries, fire houses, etc.

    So they just approved townhomes on Route 2
    and other than the availability of water/sewer..
    not much discussion about the other
    infrastructure needed to serve it except for a
    discussion that they were “cut-off” from the
    nearest fire/rescue if a CSX train was on the

    What the UDAs do is they attempt to encourage a
    water&sewer Master Plan approach on a wider
    scale to include the other infrastructure also – and
    to plan explicitly towards providing all the
    infrastructure that will be needed for a given –
    specified area – as opposed to waiting until the
    infrastructure is being stressed and needs to be
    upgraded – after the fact – which can take years
    or decades to do – as we are seeing right now
    with the 140 million dollars worth of “catch-up”
    infrastructure for our roads.

    the new approach is even more important now
    that VDOT’s finances are bare bones.

    What that means is that VDOT is not likely to
    come in after the fact and upgrade roads
    anymore – not that they were able to do that
    anyhow but now it’s clear and explicit that they’ll
    not do that.

    So.. every new proposal that the county approves
    also means they are agreeing to use up existing
    road capacity (assuming they even have it) and
    must plan to upgrade/improve just as the
    water&sewer master plan operates now.

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