Friday, September 14, 2007

Will $41.1 Million Mitigate Biscuit Run Impacts

Jeremy Borden's Sept. 14, 2007 Daily Progress article "Developers ready to build: Officials glad long debate over Biscuit Run has been finalized," states that "the proffers that were accepted will likely be one of Biscuit Run’s lasting effects. What supervisors deemed worthy or unworthy for proffer credit will be a model for area developers and may serve in the near future as the policy itself."

I question if this is the right way to establish a proffer policy. Charlottesville Tomorrow has provided terrific coverage of the proffer discussion related to the Biscuit Run project and it is not clear that $41.1 Million will even cover the transportation improvements needed to accommodate the project. You can see VDOT's analysis of Biscuit Run proffers which I believe underestimates the true transportation cost impact of the project. I provided comments to that posting showing that $32 million may be needed to improve Route 20 alone as a direct result of the Biscuit Run project (because no widening of Route 20 would be needed without the project).

I believe Albemarle County supervisors should resist having the process used in 'negotiating' Biscuit Run proffers be the model for future proffer decision-making, but instead develop a project specific approach to evaluating actual needs (and the associated costs) to mitigate future project impacts.

County taxpayers will be the ones footing the bill for all of the additional infrastructure needs not adequately covered by proffers, and I believe these costs are likely to be substantial.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County staff would do well to work together and determine an objective way of analyzing impacts from these large rezoning projects to ensure that current residents are not paying more than a fair share of the very high costs of growth.

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