By Chris Bonner
The wildly unpopular Warrenton Comprehensive Plan will change Warrenton, and that change will be forever. Population will increase by 50 percent within 20 years. Traffic will explode. Quiet neighborhoods will become through streets. Taxes will increase.
Historic, charming Warrenton will become 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 stories of any design without citizen review.
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.
A revised plan, to be released any day, is not expected to be materially different from the original plan. Unless residents of Warrenton and Fauquier County voice their concerns directly to Town Council, nothing will change.
In their rush to get the comp plan adopted by council, supporters gave away the store.
For example, the plan:
Tosses the keys to Warrenton’s future to builders who will have a free hand in designing and constructing almost anything they want — up to six stories — without citizen review.
Bets the future on residential growth by turning one of the town’s few remaining industrial plots over to homebuilders, forgoing high-paying jobs brought by 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 foot the bill for costly water projects, and even the drought reserve may be threatened because there isn’t enough water to support a housing boom.
Residents will also pay for the controversial Timber Fence Parkway, knifing through two neighborhoods and skirting Rady Park, and the unneeded Southern Parkway. Quiet neighborhoods will become through streets choked with cars, 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. A council vote on the plan could be next month. Please visit citizensforfauquier.org for the latest information.