The wildly unpopular Warrenton Comprehensive Plan seeks to change Warrenton, and that change would be forever. The plan strives to drive a population increase of 50 percent within 20 years. Traffic would explode. Quiet neighborhoods are targeted for through streets. Taxes will increase.
Historic, charming Warrenton would become reminiscent of the faceless, congested Northern Virginia suburbs many of us fled.
If Warrenton Town Council approves the comp plan, the big winner will be developers, who could build lucrative residential complexes up to six or more stories, likely without the rezoning’s and special use permits that are currently required for tall buildings.
The comp plan was quietly on its way to being approved first by the planning commission and then by the town council. The skids were greased, but then Covid 19 happened. Residents with time on their hands began wading through hundreds of pages of suggestions, directives and mandates to discover that something was lost in translation. And that something was Warrenton’s small-town feel and character.
After receiving blistering comments from 56 of the 62 citizens who participated in the first public hearing, the Planning Commission was tasked with redrafting and streamlining the comp plan.
The revised plan, released February 23, although shorter, does thankfully remove most of the directives in the plan to implement its new vision by-right, but otherwise is not materially different from the original plan. Unless residents of Warrenton and Fauquier County voice their concerns directly to Town Council, nothing will change.
The plan bets the future on residential growth by turning the town’s few remaining undeveloped industrial plots over to mainly homebuilders, instead of reserving that land for jobs brought by light industry. Without revenue from business and industry, higher taxes will make up the difference. And that’s just for starters.
The comp plan, as proposed, will be a costly enterprise for Warrenton and Fauquier taxpayers:
· Warrenton taxpayers will help foot the bill for costly water and sewer projects, even raising the dam on the reservoir because there isn’t enough water to support a housing boom.
· Residents of Warrenton and Fauquier will help pay for the controversial Timber Fence Parkway, knifing through two neighborhoods and skirting Rady Park, and the unneeded Southern Bypass. New Warrenton-funded road connections between quiet neighborhoods will create through streets with through-traffic, eroding our quality of life.
· Fauquier County taxpayers will be squeezed to provide new schools, public safety and other services required by a town experiencing tremendous growth.
Please write or call your town council member today and say that Warrenton deserves a comp plan that works for all of us, not just developers. Reduce the building heights and curb the growth rate. Go to Save Warrenton on this site for council contact information. A public hearing may be scheduled for March 9 and April 13. Check back for the latest information.