In 1998 our County Supervisors realized that continued suburban sprawl was unsustainable and would lead to increased taxes and traffic congestion. As a result, the Board of Supervisors defined a “rural area” for low-density development and a “development area” for higher density development.
Higher density development was steered into the development area where it was more cost effective to provide roads, schools, other infrastructure and public services. The Rural Area located at the edge of the county is the most expensive area for extending sewer, water, roads, and other public infrastructure.
The concept was a fiscally sound way for smart growth, while effectively minimizing the need to raise property taxes and rapidly expand the size of the county’s government. It makes even more sense today.
Today, the rural area now known as the Rural Crescent is under assault by developers. Whether you live in the Rural Crescent or not, the decisions by your Board of Supervisors are having negative long term effects on our entire County. Let’s look at a few ---
Traffic and Infrastructure
Expanding suburban sprawl into the Rural Area will require the extension of sewer and water lines, a cost borne by all County residents. Traffic on rural roads will increase with higher residential density. Secondary and tertiary roads in the rural area are neither slated for significant improvement nor designed to handle the forecast traffic. Widening rural roads to accommodate the additional traffic would force the County to issue another round of road bonds requiring even higher taxes and taking scarce resources away from already overcrowded roads that exist in along I66, Route 28 and the entire eastern end of the County.
As a Virginia resident, you already pay state income, sales and property taxes. Some of those taxes go to VDOT to pay for our roads. So why should Prince William County residents pay an additional tax burden created by more road bonds!
Schools and Overcrowding
The state of the schools in the county is a matter of prime concern to its citizens, and greatly impacts students and teachers. Overcrowding is a problem throughout the County. In the western districts the middle schools and high schools are severely overcrowded. In the eastern districts the scales of elementary school overcrowding is staggering.
A review of the High School’s capacity for the four schools principally serving the two western districts reveals that as of September 30, 2018, the School Division has crammed 9160 students into facilities (buildings and trailers) designed to educate 7625, making them 20% over capacity on average and in the case of Battlefield High Schools. 46% over capacity. The addition of a 13th high school will provide little or no relief to Battlefield or Patriot High Schools, as it will open at or above capacity. A similar dynamic exists for the elementary schools in the eastern districts.
The existing inventory of “approved” but unbuilt housing ensures schools in all districts cannot accommodate additional students generated by higher density development in the Rural Area!
More details on school overcrowding at www.citizensallianceofprincewilliam.org
School overcrowding is caused by out-of-control residential development and County Supervisors who refuse to "just say no" to developers and their campaign contributions. The overcrowding problem is exacerbated by the School Division’s Development Impact Statements, which are inadequate in assessing true negative impacts, lack transparency, are misleading, and are biased toward project approval. Planning staff and elected officials rely on those statements when approving new developments in our County.
School overcrowding is mitigated when our County Supervisors exercise prudence and say NO to developers and their campaign contributions. It is the job of the Citizen Majority to unite and demand their voices be heard and acted upon. !