Legislator Proposes Eliminating Proffers

Legislation before the General Assembly would force us taxpayers to pay for new developments, Scott Weaver explains in C-Ville Weekly. SB768, proposed by Sen. John Watkins (R-Midlothian), would eliminate proffers entirely, replacing them with straight-up impact fees. Under this system, the $41M in proffers for Biscuit Run would have been just $25M, leaving Albemarle citizens holding even more of the bag than we are now. (If I may mangle a metaphor.) Incidentally, Sen. Watkins has received more contributions from developers than any other business sector, $155k and counting. The bill has passed committee, and is likely to pass the Senate shortly, from which it will pass over to the House for approval.

Incidentally, a pair of those links are to Richmond Sunlight, a site that I run about the General Assembly. Since the legislature is in session right now, as they will be for the next month, every bit of my spare time is spent on Richmond Sunlight. If y’all are feeling ignored here lately, that’s why.

5 thoughts on “Legislator Proposes Eliminating Proffers”

  1. We understand. A system based upon impact fees can be fairer than one based upon proffers if they follow a formula. It is very unrealistic however for the State to say that impacts are the same in every locality and therefore one fee fits all. For example, the impact upon the existing fire service in a city should be far less than the impact upon fire protection in a rural area of a county that currently has no stattion nearby. Exactly what formula the State should use is beyond me.
    I find the City’s approach towards proffers to be very interesting. The City is proposing that the State allows them to accept proffers (closed door agree upon charges) to be dedicated to as-yet-undefined “affordable” housing initiatives in exchange for increasing the allowable densities in a new apartment building. At the same time, it is asking the Planning Commission to reduce the number of allowable apartments in the downtown area so that the developers would have to pay, throug proffers, to build the same number of apartments through a special use permit that they currently can build anyway without extortion. I’ll bet the State legislators are not aware of that. What an honest group in our local government; so honest that I always leave my wallet at home when I know I’m going to be around them. Will this measure make housing cheaper in Charlottesville? No, the developers’ added costs will pass on to their clients.

  2. I started to read the full text of the proposed law, but I gave up on about the 10,000th word. Anyway, as someone on the Sunlight forum pointed out, wouldn’t this law change simply result in far fewer rezonings begin granted? At least now the localities can bargain with developers to cover a reasonable percentage of the costs of a rezoned property. Without that ability, why grant a rezoning at all?

  3. I’ve been told that any property owner who wishes to re-zaone his property from agricultural must be able to do so by State law. It’s what he can re-zone to that produces the impact. I wonder what impact fees they would pay if the requested industrial using a water-intensive process.

  4. I wonder if Rooker would like it better if the bill substitute $17,500 for $5,000.
    The article in the Weekly failed to mention that the City is in the process of down-zoning Main, Water and South Streets.

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