The old one–two developer punch

Loudoun Republican Supervisor (but I repeat myself) Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) certainly has no shortage of chutzpah when it comes to carrying water for the commercial developers who bankrolled his election campaign.

This week he sent out another one of his “newsletters” bemoaning the terrible fact that “Loudoun’s residential-commercial imbalance has led to one of the highest property taxes south of the Mason-Dixon Line.”

Let us parse this statement. For the past dozen-plus years, every time the local developer-run Republican Party gained a majority on the Board of Supervisors (the Dale Polan Myers board, the not-technically-indicted-Bruce-Tulloch board), they made it their No. 1 mission to abandon all sensible limitations on residential growth or zoning that protected Loudoun’s farms, and threw the county open to massive residential housing construction that made it the fastest growing county in the nation year after year. The population of the county has almost quadrupled since 1990, sending property taxes soaring — mostly to pay for all of the new schools required to serve that burgeoning population.

So now that they created this disaster, what do they do? They turn around and act like it was a natural phenomenon visited upon us, and that the solution to the “imbalance” is to . . . throw the rest of the county open to still more development, this time in the form of malls, strip malls, big box stores, and other commercial development.

And what is this Mason-Dixon line business? That’s about as relevant as saying that Loudoun has “one of the highest property tax rates in all states beginning with the letters V, W, T, and S.” It’s not geography that has determined our tax rate. It has been the fact that the Loudoun GOP made us the darling of Toll Brothers for two decades: the developers made millions while passing on the costs to the suckers who lived here already.

Presumably, Mr. Williams will live up to his “principles” and vote against the eight pending rezoning applications that would change currently commercial zoned property (which Williams says is good for the tax base) to residential (which Williams rightly admits is bad for the tax base), adding more than 10,000 new homes and requiring more than $280 million in new capital facilities costs and add $37 million to the school budget.

But that would require (a) consistency and (b) standing up to the developers, not something Williams or the rest of the all-Republican Board is known for.

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