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Fairfax County Endorses Tax Hike for Tysons Transportation

Supervisors voted Tuesday to back a funding plan for the next 40 years.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday endorsed a plan that would require Tysons developers and landowners to fund billions of dollars worth of transportation improvements to help the area become the county’s new urban center.

But support of the plan is split among stakeholders. About half of the 25 speakers during a two-and-a-half hour public comment period Tuesday night vocally opposed the plan, which sets up a special tax district that will require some residential landowners to pay higher taxes along with developers.

The Board’s 7-2 vote to approve the plan brings the special tax district one step closer to fruition. With a tax hike of 7 to 9 cents per $100 of assessed value, the district is expected to generate approximately $250 million over the next 40 years.

Supervisor Lynda Smyth (D-Providence) made a motion to try to exempt residential properties from the tax increase after hearing opposition from residents, but her colleagues killed it for fear the General Assembly wouldn’t support such a provision when the plan gets reviewed in Richmond.

“This is a major step in the right direction for realizing the Vision of Tysons,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said after the vote. “Investing in Tysons is an investment in the future of Fairfax County.  Never before has such a long range, comprehensive plan been developed to support a major redevelopment initiative.”

Many of the plan's detractors were Tysons residents who didn’t want to see their property taxes increase.

“It’s a nightmare of endless taxation that goes on for 40 years for the residents and the small businesses of Tysons,” Michael Bogasky, president of the Rotonda Condominium Association, said of the plan.

David Lee, another Rotonda resident, echoed similar sentiments.

“I think you pay for what you get in real estate, and we don’t want to pay twice for what we have,” he said in his testimony.

Lucille Weiner, a recently widowed Tysons resident, urged supervisors to protect residents like her, who would likely have to move if property tax rates go up.

“I’ve read that the people who benefit the most get taxed the most,” she said. “But who is benefitting the most? It sure isn’t me, who will have to move if this happens.”

Developers were more supportive of the Board’s action and the plan as a whole.

Tom Fleury of Cityline Partners, a company that has development applications pending, was one of those in favor.

“We’re very much in favor of this proposal,” he said. “If I ever there was a day that I would come and ask you to approve $13 a square foot in transportation proffers and ask you for a 7 to 9 cent tax on top of that, I probably should have retired, but that’s what it takes to get the job done.”

Other speakers called the plan fair and praised it for taking all of the stakeholders into account in an equitable manner.

Smyth and Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) voted against the endorsement of the plan. Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) was not present for the vote.

Herrity wanted to see a reduction in workforce housing and for developers to fully fund the transportation improvements. He too made a failed motion to nix the tax district.

A vote to officially establish the tax district is expected later this year. The Board will hold a public hearing on the issue between now and then.

Kim McCoy October 26, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Let's recap...OK?...without becoming mired in the minutia. I believe that the people of the region who have spent generations building the community should have the final say in how their hard-earned tax money should be spent. They should actually get to decide if they want to fund a multi-billion dollar transit project that "central planners" tell them is the best solution. I don't believe that people who may want to move to an area that may become someplace they may want to spend 8-15 years living in should get to dictate to the long-term residents...even if it is for "the collective good" of the local economy. You believe that growth must be centrally orchestrated, costly feasibility studies of all kinds should be performed over decades, projections must be made base on current trends (that can change at any time), comprehensive plans must be carried out to realize optimum mass, ...because, the little people just can't see that everything being planned for them is for the best...they just don't understand, right?
Navid Roshan October 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Yikes so many things. Indoctrination? You think Virginia Tech teaches people to be sustainable? When I was there it was the height of engineer bigger road culture. I learned these things by observing through years in our field that the solutions of engineering wouldnt work without the solutions of building community and better land use indicative of what was America before WWII. Feasibility studies are minute, beyond minute, in cost compared to construction. We should be doing MORE feasibility studies so we DONT spend wastefully on things. You are saying expensive? 100k to save 500 million is a pretty effective resultant. You say people should decide what is done? People do, its called elections. People have elected this BoS. People have in multiple polls said that better transit and alternative transportation options is important to them. You have issues with those polls? Go argue about them. To say that only the people who are from out of town want these things is ludacris and devoid of what people (LIKE ME BTW, you keep acting like I havent been here as long as you have and therefore dont have the right to my own beliefs on this area). The majority of people side with better and more progressive transportation options. PS you are whining about spending money on transit, 3 times more goes towards roads. We get 1 transit project in a decade and that is wasteful?
Navid Roshan October 26, 2012 at 03:31 PM
You continue to disregard public opinion, you continue to disregard good practice, you continue to argue about proper transportation design with a person who has actually worked in the damn field. Roads have a finite limit, a diminishing return. You cant just build out Route 66 infinitely have the same return on the dollar that you did when it went from 4lanes to 6, and 6 to 8. It plateaus. And when you have enough people living in a specific corridor, the use of transit becomes the most effective way to relieve traffic per dollar spent. No one is taking away your car. This is about options, but the current GOP in virginia doesnt want to provide other options for some reason even though they might be the best solution for a particular situation. We? We means us, all of us in Fairfax. Not just your group of anti-transit nuts. All of us that have lived here and care about this place, because guess what your opinion of what Fairfax should be is not the end all be all opinion. I have just as much right to my view on what improvements should be made. The way that those differences in America are resolved are via elections. If you dont like the way that those elections keep going then I suggest you figure out what your plans are. You can build a coalition, you can spread information to help your case, you can run for office if youd like. But pretending that the public is behind you, is head in the sand stuff
T Pender October 27, 2012 at 01:43 PM
avid states "This tax is supported by the majority of residents of Tysons," That's pure BS. I refer you to the minutes of the Oct 16 hearing; the RESIDENTS of Tysons, and I am one, resoundingly objected to imposing the tax on residents. 5 of he 7 Fairfax supervisors vorted FOR imposing the tax on residents--guess how many of them represent RESIDENTS of Tysons. NONE. We have been bearing the brunt of the METRO et al for years, the Developers don't have to commute through the mess they are making of my neighborhood but I do DAILY. Now you want me to pay ADDITIONAL taxes for the privilege. I agree developers have a right to a reasonable profit BUT they leave me to pay for the improvements when they finish their development. The Politicians tell me this will increase the tax base. Sounds good. However if it is such a fiscal benefit my taxes should go down as a result. Have you EVER seen that happen?
KK January 18, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Navid, I'lve lived in Fairfax County, born in Alexandria, for over 50 years. Your comments show your ignorance. I currently live walking distance to Nordstroms. No one wanted this tax increase and its yet another example of our illustrious Fairfax Board of Supervisors caving to developers and big business. The democrats answer to everything is tax the people so I'm not surprised by all of this crap. For the distinct pleasure of putting up with increased smog, noise, dump trucks, pissed off drivers, construction, major traffic jams, (did I say noise?), and accidents, we are given the pleasure to pay more taxes than any other homeowners in Fairfax County. It's BS and once again the people are screwed. Thanks Fairfax County Board of Supervisors! (now you can get back to your lunch with the developers.). If I could in any way play a role of having Sharon Bulova thrown off the Board...I would!

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