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Fairfax Board Defers Vote on Tysons Tax District

Supervisors needed "time to digest" testimony after Tuesday's public hearing.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors deferred Tuesday a decision on whether to hike taxes on Tysons Corner residents and developers to fund wide-scale transportation improvements.  

In October, supervisors endorsed plans for a special service tax district that would require landowners and developers to help pay for billions of dollars of transportation projects meant to help Tysons thrive as the county’s new urban downtown area. With a tax hike of 7 to 9 cents per $100 of assessed value, the service district is expected to generate approximately $250 million over the next 40 years.

Tuesday’s decision to defer was made after a two-hour public hearing during which about 20 speakers testified before the board – the majority of them not happy with the idea of their taxes going up.

Michael Bogasky, president of the Rotunda Condominium Association, said the tax district would end up hurting longtime Tysons residents and people who move into the newly developed area in the future.

“Do you really care about us?” he asked the Board of Supervisors. “Do you care about the future of residents that you are trying to attract to Tysons? This service district creates a negative impact on residents new and old.”

Bogasky also criticized the Board for its endorsement of the tax plan last month. In particular, he said it was “shocking” that a motion from Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) to try to exempt residential properties from the tax had died on the floor without being seconded.

“This service district segregates us,” he said, “and therefore, we become an acceptable casualty.”

Molly Peacock of Morgan at McLean Condominiums said she failed to see any of the benefits from the tax district and subsequent transportation projects.

“The impact is nothing but negative … noise, nuisance, increased crime,” she said. “Basically, it appears that the property owners are being punished. We’re having to pay for a negative impact.”

But Tom Fleury of Cityline Partners, whose 20-acre Arbor Row development in McLean was approved last month, said he supported the plan, though it might not be ideal for everyone.

“This may not be perfect,” Fleury said. “But if not this, then what?”

Chairman Sharon Bulova made a motion to defer the vote on the tax district’s creation to the Board’s Jan. 8 meeting.

“I think it would benefit the Board of Supervisors to have time to digest and to think about what we heard from you before taking action,” Bulova told stakeholders and speakers in the auditorium at government center.

Supervisors approved the motion unanimously, but Penny Gross (D-Mason) said she wished the Board had been able to vote on the matter before the New Year.

“I’m disappointed that we’re not able to take action today,” she said. “Many of our partners are ready to go … We must come to consensus and closure on this very critical path for our future.”

The Board of Supervisors will vote on the formation of the tax district Jan. 8.

DGeorge December 11, 2012 at 09:20 PM
".............needed for a region to grow. " Grow? Grow? Does that mean improve?
Lilguy December 11, 2012 at 09:30 PM
So, Navid, cutting through the semantics in your response, you are not saying the the proposed tax is FAIR. I won't push you to say that it is NOT FAIR. Thanks for the dialogue--free of epithets and cliches. I hope others are reading what we've both said.
Lilguy December 11, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Hmmmmm, NO!
Navid Roshan December 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Lilguy, Is any tax ever really fair? To who would the fairness be judged? I would say, compared to alternatives as to how to fund infrastructure (something that frankly the state should be doing given we send them 11 billion dollars per year from NOVA and they barely send back 10% of that for transportation), that this tax is VERY fair. Why? Because those in the area are paying for those improvements that help their lives. Developers and residents are all paying a share. You could say that developers are not paying a high enough share, but this tax is at the same rate for both developers and residents, and unlike residents developers properties are assessed at FAR larger price tags. For instance Tysons 1 is assessed at a half a BILLION dollars alone. They are paying very large amounts of money to help fund our infrastructure, and this tax only extends that amount. I have problems with plenty of stuff with this. For instance, much of this tax rate wouldnt be needed, YES A HUGE CHUNK INDEED, if glut projects were removed from the "must have list" created by VDOT and FCDOT. For instance, why in gods name is Route 7 widening on this list? It costs a half billion dollars by itself, runs parallel to a brand new metro rail, a dulles toll road, and high frequency bus system. Why do we HAVE to spend 500 million to widen it two extra lanes?
Navid Roshan December 11, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Other problems I have? Not that residents dont get to vote on the tax, but that residents have virtually no say on what those funds go to. The total cost of bike and pedestrian improvements anticipated over the next 40 years for all of Tysons is a meager 77 million dollars for 40 years. THOSE improvements should be the very first incorporated, and yet I doubt they will be. I bet Route 7 will somehow find its way to being a first MUST HAVE on FCDOTs list. THAT is what I find terrible about the current agreement, not the fact that building improvements cost money. What else do I find annoying? That we in Fairfax, the wealthiest county in this region, if not the mid-atlantic, with 25% of the wealth of the entire state in it, must squabble for pittance off the table of the state budget. We beg for a few million here and there for assistance on road projects, all the while Richmond sends 800 million dollars to build a road in coal country WITHOUT A SINGLE CENT being paid for by the coal companies it aids. Or how about the Charlottesville Bypass, of which 70% of residents object to, costing 200 million dollars. Or how about 460 expansion for a couple hundred million. Strange how those rural (GOP heavy) and non-money making regions of the state keep finding hundreds of millions, and yet we anticipate 10 million per year MAXIMUM from the state over the next 40 years.

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