Growth Pays For Itself, Right?

By Loudoun Insider

Wonder why Loudoun County taxes continue to shoot through the roof?


  • jeffersonian1 says:

    I suppose they shoot through the roof in hopes of hitting the first floor conference room in the building where Eric Cantor’s campaign rents a third floor office?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I think you posted this in the wrong thread!

  • TruthSeekerVA says:

    In the late 1990’s major businesses (AOL/MCI WorldComm) were viewing Loudoun as the place to be due to the county’s family friendly neighborhoods and its proximity to an International Airport (Dulles) and the Nation’s Capital. So what changed? Dulles and DC didn’t move and our neighborhoods are still friendly, right? What happened was a chant from Western Loudoun “Smart Growthers” (whatever that means)that scared businesses away over the past 8 years (see VW choosing Fairfax Over Loudoun). This compounded with the Internet bust really hurt Loudoun economically. The houses are still being built and families are still moving here at a rapid rate (see LI’s link). Many of these new residents live here but work elsewhere due to the lack of opportunities in the county. Unfortunately we have once again become the bedroom community we were in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    You can’t blame all the business issues on slow growthers, but some of it probably factors into it. The county bureaucracy has a big share in this as well.

  • jeffersonian1 says:

    LoudonInsider: It was a bit of a joke….shoot through the roof, eh.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    OK – I thought this was more in reference to the Tis Has To Stop post. I can certainly see the shoot through the roof analogy to our property taxes!

  • Tired of Good Ole Boys & Girls says:

    Until we get some true economic development, the tax burden has and will fall on individual residence. The word is very prevalent in the business community, and has been for at least eight years, that Loudoun is not a good place to do business. One, is the uncertainty in a business making a development request. Will the board approve it. Which way is the wind blowing today. Second, the approval process is elongated and full of staff that make unreasonable requests that adds millions and if not granted will substantially stall their project. Third, is the wide spread belief that all development is bad thus anyone who has a choice will look elsewhere. Fourth, we do not have the infrastructure in place to attract high class commercial development. Last, and most importantly, Loudoun needs a Board of Supervisor’s that has some business sense and understands time is money. Does that mean you waive all good regulatory guidelines. No. It means apply them consistently and throw up as few roadblocks as possible. And if you meet all the rules, the business should know it will be approved. That is not, and has not, been the case in Loudoun. Case in point, we currently only have 18% of the tax base commercial. Most believe 30% would provide the relief of the tax burden that we all feel right now. Just my viewpoint after being frustrated for years by all the back and forth in Boards and policies.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Good points. I’ve seen first hand some of the back and forth stuff from staff people. And the pendulum swings at the BOS are legendary. I still can’t get over them not approving a few cell towers in western Loudoun, and live with the gaps in coverage on a regular basis. All this in a supposedly high tech county?
    Unfortunately the stage has been set perfectly for a return to the next build build build BOS. We’ll see if the LCRC can avoid that trap for a change.

  • Leej says:

    Growth has been kicked around in this county for years and years. The woodlands Texas that I was part of planning as a apprentice while in architecture school is a example of one of the best planned cities in the world. and still is. Why?? It was planned by pros. And has a sense of community and balance. Loudoun does not!! The Woodlands was not planned by citizens or planning commissioner amateurs or by committees, such as our Planning Commission and Loudouns planning dept. and our BOS. Just because you have a degree does not mean you are any good. Citizen influence on developments should be minimal. Let the pros do their jobs. For years the pros said our road system was terrible in this county and our PC and BOS including the people in office today and their appointments all suck at making it better. The current people in power are the worst ever. Including Millers super bad judgment wanting to help a private developer buddy of his with 20 to 40 million of taxpayer money. What a joke. And now he has A PC that can’t keep his mouth shut and even had a blog thread shut down for awhile with his nasty statements. And then comes out with people have obsessions with him. ha ha ha ha What a loser and he did put his whole life into the hospital wars and lost on that. Still the loser want to be. πŸ˜‰ The only obsession is in his own mind. ha ha ha And how is he going to do his job with any credibility as PC if he and his boss miller constantly disagree?? only Millers vote counts. And I could go on with other PC’s in this county the same way such as McG’s architect PC who is only there to give her credibility and justify McG’s bad decisions for ED and she thinks the feds are a pot of gold to solve everything . well where is this pot of gold McG??? But it looks like you might of skimmed your pot of gold from us using your position on the BOS????? I am saying this to make a bigger point why there will be NO decent ED in this county until hopefully we get a new board that understands Economic Development and what it takes to bring it into Loudoun before it it is too late and the prime land is taken over by out of place development like Data and industrial on land that can generate far more tax money then data and industrial can. I am not against data and industrial they just need to be on 606 for the most part not next to the front doors of our metro’s. Yes I repeat myself, that is what you have to do for the public to realize our county is being run by amateurs from the BOS and Planning commission who most have never built or put up a dime of their own money to build any developments and now they are experts on controlling others billions of dollars who are supposed to guide this county to Economic success. Give me a break. They already have had enough time to bring ED in and it is all going to fairfax and other counties.

    I will make it simple first we need to fix the gridlock in this county and metro is not that godsend. We need Mix use with urban housing. Reston town center has urban housing. Leesburg Village has urban housing. ANy mixed use or the redevelopment of rt 28 without Urban housing will be dead on arrival. Remember urban flight during the sixties and seventies to the suburbs. Well then people started to move back to the cities. Lesson learned people want what the city offered and a city without housing was also dead. You need both for a balance and a robust life. Hence mix use has come into the picture to balance it all. And it has proven to be the best of all worlds.

  • FedUp says:

    I agree that balanced growth is the key. So far, this board has done nothing to improve on the 18% commercial tax base even though most of them, especially Stevens Miller, promised a 50/50 split between residential and commercial. They need to be hammered on this at election time next year.
    Leej – You have a lot of good stuff to say, but you may want to make use of some paragraphing to make it easier for us to read.
    BTW – I’m not the FedUp that has been commenting on the LTM site!

  • vacliff says:

    Ah, the right of free speech.

  • loudouninNC says:

    Once again, I agree with you completely. The failure to adequately plan around infrastructure has left the county a mess. Addressing those issues and turning some attention to actual economic development initiatives would be a nice change of pace. The overreliance by terribly planned residential communities on the few arterials in the county has got to end and a variation in housing stock and design would go a long way toward that.
    I had no idea you were part of The Woodlands design process. Wow! Where are you working now? Care to hire a Planner with ideas and initiative?
    Also, what are your thoughts on the economics of mixed use? I have been hearing from real estate and developer colleagues that the financing structure of mixed use deals is incredibly complex, as it’s difficult to underwrite both on the same deal.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Various members of the Loudoun BoS have been (selectively) against discussion of CDAs, wich have a bit of a checkered history.

    It would address a lot of the issues re infrastructure and who pays for it, and get the infrastructure in first, with a payment back to the initial funder through fees attached to the businesses and homes (thereby making the newbies pay for it).

    The upfront costs are huge, for the businesses as well.

    Most of new urbanism, now mixed use, tries to produce whole the organic development of an Old Town Alexandria or other long-term redevloped and evolving place, from the get-go.

    There has to be a mechanism to pay back the risk of the businesses that come in in advance of the rooftops to fully support them, just as there has to be a mechanism (much as with utility infrastructure, where hookups pay back the cost of laying the lines) to pay back for the massive upfront costs of the roads.

    CDAs are worth discussing, IMO, but there will always be disagreements (particularly here) on the percentages of the mix.

    One good thing has happened recently in Loudoun, through some of the discussion re Rte 28–at least our FAR has been increased!

  • Leej says:

    loudouninNC those were the days and I was very very young ha ha ha

    I have stories that people around here would find it hard to believe πŸ˜‰

    People involved in the woodlands, looked like they were right out of Texas folklore ha ha two of the architect planners I worked for were best friends of George and Johnny Mitchel who owned Mitchel energy and development. George had a zillion kids and one was one of the first to build with the environment and energy in mind in his homes in the Woodlands. Johnny collected real movie stars as his brother joked. And Ian the brilliant and famous landscape architect from Scotland was a character. We were a small team that that did much of the design and big picture of the woodlands and our work was fed to a very large architecture and planning and engineering firm that did the grunt work of all the details to make Ian’s and the firm I worked for detail and engineer our designs. Politics was right out of the wild west including one arrested and died of a heart attack right before he was to enter jail. ha ha ha

    Anyway loudounin NC I went from that to getting very lucky to designing extremely large homes in champion forest and the country club and even laying out streets and where the commercial and whatever went. I quit college and did extremely well in my very early twenties. Even started my own building company in dallas called Classical homes and coined the name Texas Basement which was not really a basement and you now see that term used all over Texas and I won 6 or 7 national awards my first year building these 2,000 to 2400 sq ft homes and Dallas never saw anything like until that time. . All this was during the oil boom years and while the rest of the country suffered and sat in gas lines money could not be made fast enough in Texas. Then the savings and loan crisis and everything collapsed. I got lucky before just before I was about to starve to death a builder developer from here Northern Virginia and saw my project in Dallas and brought me to DC in the later eighties and hence I became known as the castle designer builder here. All you saw here at that time was red brick boxes and I put a turret on the corner of a box and the rest became history. The first homes built in ashburn farms are still known as the castle homes. ha ha ha ha And they are all over northern virginia. And then at that time this developer put me back in business building and developing and I built through my compamy again named classical homes a 25,000 sq ft spec home and it became the largest home ever to be chosen as the National Symphony Decorator Show home in 1990. It was a big success. And from that success I decided to move to the beach in southern California and make movies, well after many years trying it was not meant to be and moved back here as the recession here the nineties was just coming to a close. Been designing mostly extremely large homes and boutique hotels and restaurants mostly in other parts of the country and the world. But this recession has been the killer one of all times. Although I have stayed busy and just got to design two extremely large beach homes on the ocean near Virginia beach it is not even close to the good old days. ha ha ha

    I still plan to make the movie ha ha πŸ˜‰

    But it really kills me how Loudoun is destroying itself since the time in the late eighties when we built the first homes in ashburn farms. When I came back from California I was in shock how many out of place projects were being built with no rhyme or reason especially data and industrial which were popping up everywhere and visually trashing prime pieces of property including the front door of the ashburn metro station and it continues as we speak. That short term thinking is hurting the long term economic development of loudoun. In the short term we get some immediate tax dollars but are losing the big tax dollars in the future. And Data and industrial should be hidden and built mostly on 606. And now I talked to the developer of Kincora finally a few months agao. And who ever I talked to on the phone is very serious about building Kincora by right which will be as he says mostly data and flex and industrial and no vital road connections. ANd he is dead serious. If that tragedy happens because of our planning commissioners and BOS they will go down as the short sighted people that would give one developer 20 to 40 million of taxpayer money on one hand and reject a development that would give us two vital road connections and a huge green space and land for the theater and arts. THat will go down in history as as the dumbest decision Loudoun has ever made, the same if rt 28 is not rezoned and yes to make these developments work we need URBAN Housing like reston etc. Not the kid magnet suburban housing like miller increased in a project fairfield and his dumb proffers are a widen road to nowhere and two traffic choking lights and a ton of more kids.

    OK I will shut up as my wife Dalyn always tells me ha ha ha ha I can hear right now just shut up Lee and leave those people on the blogs and forums alone. ha ha ha

  • Elder Berry says:

    Business does not need to be paid back for taking a risk, the purpose of business is to take a risk, but a smart and calculated one. AOL and Worldcom did not fail because of Loudoun County government, and there is no reason that taxpayers should have to take a risk or pay money on behalf of business. The short term thinking is typical business these days. Corporate management gets rewarded for short term thinking and is long gone by the time the long term results come home to roost.

Leave Comment