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The Commonwealth of Virginia is referred to as a "Dillon Rule" state, which means that local governments only have the authorities expressly granted to it by the state legislature. Unfortunately local governments do not have the ability to charge home builders for the expansion of county infrastructure needed to support the future residents of the home, nor to limit dwelling construction to a rate the community can afford to support.
Local governments are allowed to ask for and accept "Voluntary Proffers" offered by builders, but this only applies to property requiring rezoning to allow more homes to be built than what can be built "by-right" based on the zoning of a given property. The table below provides a comparison of the "guidelines" for proffers for Fauquier, Prince William, and Stafford Counties.
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When a home is built by-right these infrastructure expansion costs to support the new home residents are paid by existing county property owners through their real estate property tax. Using Fauquier County proffer guidelines, for every 1,000 single family homes built "by-right" a bill for $28,613,000.00 for just infrastructure expansion is added to the county expenditures. This cost of growth is a major reason why a 21% population growth resulted in a 93% expenditure growth from 1997 to 2006. The graphic below shows how these expenditures driven by growth have impacted the real estate taxes paid for a typical Fauquier home.
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The presentation which Loudoun supervisor Jim Burton shared with Fauquier County Supervisors at their November 2009 work session on the "Cost of Growth" titled "Unbridled Growth" can be accessed by clicking on this link. The briefing describes the impact when a large number of new dwelling units had been approved without capturing proffers to off set the infrastructure expansion in Loudoun County, and the impact on residents and their children when developers proceeded with construction at their own pace and the County had no means to control the rate of construction.
Copyright 2006 to 2010, Citizens for Fauquier County