Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
If you build it, they will come.
If you don’t, they will come anyway.
That was the message at today’s Spotsylvania County work session on urban development areas. The meeting was a joint session between the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission. Some supervisors asked about how the county would pay for the 40,000 new county residents expected in the next 10 or 20 years.
“What we’re doing here is planning to concentrate that in one area,” said planning director Wanda Parrish.
Consultants told the supervisors that the new residents would use schools, fire stations and roads regardless of whether they go into high-density developments or are spread out through the county.
But in a high-density neighborhood, county officials could ask developers to pay for that infrastructure, consultants said.
T.C. Waddy said, “What it all comes down to is the taxpayers, the homeowners. They’ve got to dig deep to pay for this and the people in Richmond are just sitting there telling us what to do.”
Supervisors made several references to Richmond, where state legislators created a law requiring fast-growing localities to create UDAs.
But a consultant told Waddy, “Actually, this will save taxpayers money.”
Parrish said the proffer system would still be in place, and so developers could be asked to provide new roads, schools or fire stations.
Supervisor Benny Pitts said it’s up to county officials to make sure the developers provide such perks. He said the UDAs allow the county to tell the developers what officials want, instead of developers telling the officials what they want.
“I see this as a great opportunity for Spotsylvania County,” Pitts said.
Supervisors and planning commission members also worried about the levels of density proposed and about the access road planned for the UDA near the proposed VRE station near New Post.