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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.

RKO December 05, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Surely there must be some way the tax burden can be taken off the developers and put on the backs of everyone else. Where in God's name was Cathy Hudgins? Why wasn't she fighting tooth and nail for developer profits? I heard an interesting story. Two developers have yachts on the Potomac. One was boasting to the other that the bell on his yacht was gold plated, as opposed to the other developers chrome plated. Clearly thought the second developer, something must be done. He went in, had a talk with Cathy Hudgins, and she went up against residents to fight on behalf of the developer at BOS meetings. The developer got his wish, some less than intelligent investors were found to fund the project, and up went yet another empty building. But the developer...ahhh, the developer... he went out and got himself a solid gold bell to replace his chrome bell on his yacht, and now the other developer feels inferior and must make amends. Fortunately, Cathy is there to fight residents on his behalf. She knows what's important - not those insignificant NIMBY residents, not those stupid school teachers, fire fighters, and police, not the ability of residents to make a reasonable living in an area with reasonable commutes. Cathy knows what's important - shiny objects. Cathy will fight tooth and nail against residents so the developers may pursue their need for shiny objects. ... you would think she was a Republican.
Kathy December 05, 2012 at 09:35 PM
This special "service" tax district requires NO vote from those being taxed. Only a public hearing. And the residents of Tysons have had their public hearing. Next time the Board of Supervisors votes in January, they will approve this tax district and an increase of residential property taxes. And will this surcharge ever go away? Hmm, we are still paying for the Reston Community Center after the bond was paid off. We paid off the Dulles Toll Road and instead of taking off the tolls, the road was given away to MWAA, and we now face yearly tolls of $2,000 to commute to our jobs. What does Tysons have to do with Reston? This "service" tax district is the same mechanism the county will use to raise money to build roads for the new buildings in the Dulles corridor around our three Silver Line Metro stations. There aren't that many residents in Tysons, only about 17,000. So the Board of Supervisors doesn't have to pay any attention to their opinions about this. Roads and bridges which used to be funded by state and county governments will now be funded from local residential property taxes in Tysons. Stay tuned for Reston's fate. In Maryland developers have to pay for infrastructure to support their developments. But this is Virginia. Kathy Kaplan Reston
The BSD Guy December 06, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Fairfax County must certainly be the poster child for special interest politics. It also proves that neither political party can be trusted or is above reproach. You can turn on "The Ed Show" on MSNBC and see Democrats fighting on behalf of the middle class against Republicans who are clearly fighting on behalf of the upper, upper 0.001%, and then you come to Fairfax County and see the exact opposite - Democrats fighting against virtually every single resident in the county to make sure that 0.01% of the "Developer Elite" make a killing. Developers have done nothing but cause problems for everyone else. Tysons Corner is a big, fat mess. I avoid it at all costs. If Hudgins and the developers have their way - and they're already well on their way to getting it, Reston will soon be nothing more than a wall-to-wall concrete pig stye.
Navid Roshan December 07, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Developers are paying? More than residents because they pay this tax, the tax for the silver line, as well as a higher regular rate for commercial taxes. Also they pay by building all the roads through their property and then dedicate that property to VDOT. Also they pay through the separate road fund and proffers. If you are uneducated on the actual values involved, you shouldn't stand on a soapbox in an attempt to make this about Reston.
Navid Roshan December 07, 2012 at 12:28 AM
You people are ridiculous, and so are the residents of the Rotonda. 1) Rotonda residents have seen a 60% increase in their condo value over the past 3 years since Silver Line was announced. Their condos now sell for only marginally less than comparables in Arlington of that age. If they want to cry and whine about development, but all the while reap the benefits of it, then they are not serious voices of concern. If you are afraid of development then you shouldnt have moved into a city. There are plenty of bucolic regions of this county and state for that matter. I'm sure the tidy profit you will make on the sale will more than make up for moving costs. 2) This is why our state funds are in ruin. Any time we try to find a way to raise revenue we hear all the whining voices come out. YES the state is a problem and the fact that the gas tax hasnt gone up in 20 years is the reason why our transportation funds no longer exist... but Im sure the same people on here would be complaining if that were raised too. Until that gas tax is resolved, and until Fairfax gets real representation in the state house that can return funds here, then we need to find a gap measure. This is it. You can scapegoat developers as much as you want, it comes off pathetic though. The developers in Tysons are providing more than any other city in the region, arlington, DC, all of them. I live in Tysons, and I am for this tax rate increase
Navid Roshan December 07, 2012 at 12:29 AM
So you dont even live here, yet you feel you need to complain about a tax rate that has no impact on you. Get a life loser
The Analyst December 07, 2012 at 07:30 PM
WOW!! Looks like we have a developer on board, telling everyone to shut up. Taxes are taxes and the only thing that comes out of over development are more problems and more taxes. Tyson's Corner as far as I'm concerned, isn't even an area worth visiting any longer. If I need to do mall shopping I take my business out of Fairfax and head over to Loudoun's Dulles Towne Center - You can actually get into and out of the place in a few minutes, not a few hours. "You can turn on "The Ed Show" on MSNBC and see Democrats fighting on behalf of the middle class against Republicans who are clearly fighting on behalf of the upper, upper 0.001%, and then you come to Fairfax County and see the exact opposite - Democrats fighting against virtually every single resident in the county to make sure that 0.01% of the "Developer Elite" make a killing." I think when it comes to local politics party affiliation should be ignored - for all practical purposes, Hudgins is a developer in Democrat's clothing, and about as far, far away from Obama in class, ethics, integrity, as one could possibly be. She is by the developers and for the developers at all costs. People fail to pay attention to politics and then they can't understand how someone like Hudgins or some of the Tea Partiers with obtuse "visions" for America come to power. They often run unoppposed - Hudgins did!
Kathy December 07, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Mr. Roshan, Of course the developers are going to pay for part of the Silver Line. They voted to shoulder the tax for this. Residents of Tysons are not allowed to vote on the "service" tax district. The public hearing they attended was the only voice they are allowed under state law. And it IS about Reston. Reston developers are going to insist on the same deal here that the developers in Tysons are getting: a service tax district with homeowners picking up a substantial share of the tab for infrastructure costs with no option to vote on the issue. You can hurl insults in my direction, but it doesn't alter the facts. Tysons residents are being shafted by our county government. Soapboxes are good ways to communicate with people. I am not a developer who can hire someone to spend time posting on Patch articles. I have to do it myself. Kathy Kaplan Reston
Navid Roshan December 08, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Not a developer, just someone who is actually educated on the subject and a resident of tysons. But that's fine you want to call me a developer to make yourself feel better. Scapegoating the people who bring business to or county is idiotic. Attacking the mechanism that brings that business, lower lease rates via efficient land development, is dangerous. But you want to blame someone. You want to blame people like city line who are putting more money into development than any developer I have ever heard of. That just shows ignorance on the issues. And to the mall commenter. You know nothing about what makes tysons, the mall are you serious? It's like ying DC is defined by museums. It is an infantile assessment and again shows uneducated chatter on a website because it is easy to bash instead of learn.
Navid Roshan December 08, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Kathy you and I have butted heads on a separate discussion also. I don't think we are necessarily opposing views, but you live in Reston and that is a whole other story. Most of the funding for silver line is being created via toll roads for Reston unlike in tysons. Also Reston's land use plan is far less ambitious over the next 40 years than Tyson's and will not need such a substantial funding source. Additionally much of the infrastructure for Reston exists and the demand from commuters is far less. All of these are reasons why you can't just compare apples to oranges. I could go on and on but for some reason I think that it's just easier to pick on Tyson's for people are fairfax, dc, Arlington. We are the whipping boy for angry people who want to vent, so in that respect please feel free to continue to use tysons to make your wholly unrelated point
Navid Roshan December 08, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Sorry last comment wasn't directed at you Kathy it was for "the analyst"
The BSD Guy December 08, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Typical developer BS, Navid - nothing more, nothing less. Companies that need employees and are growing create jobs, not buildings that may or may not be filled up. In Reston, and dare I say, Tyson's corner, there's far too much empty or partially filled commercial property. You might be able to sell this load of BS to a bunch of stupid county supervisors, like Cathy Hudgins, but the rest of us bear the brunt of your careless, greedy, and possibly corrupt development fiascos. For those of you who aren't familiar with the developer's sales talk, here's how it goes: 1. I'm not a developer, just a big fan of it (YES, we all like congestion, taxes, and investor bankruptcies from those dumb enough to be talked into developing an over developed area. The companies that invest in these fiascos are going bankrupt all the time and the costs are passed on to the rest of us in one way or another.) 2. Putting up a building will magically bring businesses (No it won't. We have many buildings in Reston AND Tyson's that have had zero to limited occupancies for over 15 years. The crack-pipe economic theory, namely "If we build it they will come" is total BS. The only thing that stands true with this is that costs will be passed off to residents,) Any time developers are confronted with impact taxes they hate it. It forces them to actually THINK about what they're doing to see if it's profitable or of benefit to anyone. Developers are only interesting in taking other's money.
Lilguy December 08, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Navid-- Yes, commercial landowners in Tysons are paying a larger share of the burden of urbanizing Tysons, but there is a reason for that: They will be able to dispose of that burden in added rents and selling prices for their clients/customers/purchasers. To whom does the Tysons resident pass on his or her extra taxes???
Lilguy December 08, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Navid-- Re Rotonda values increasing 60%: Those increases don't put one additional nickel or dime in the hands of residents to pay taxes now.
Navid Roshan December 10, 2012 at 11:19 PM
BSD, As I said before, Im not a developer. You can think I am if you want, but you are the one who is completely out of touch with reality. I doubt you live in Tysons Corner, and are likely just some internet troll who likes commenting on every tax increase. PS your BS on Tysons is total and utter crap. Tysons has a lower vacancy rate than Atlanta, DC, and Philadelphia. In Class A it is actually the lowest occupancy rate for a city with more than 15 million square feet on the mid-atlantic. How do I know this? Because I run a blog which discusses it. I am a civil engineer, not a developer. But again, you want to lie to people by using statistics that arent even true, about how properties have been vacant, etc. The opposite is true in fact, residential units are impossible to find in Tysons for purchase and rental prices are through the roof because demand is higher than supply. Just this week the only speculative project in Tysons announced it found a 200k leaser who is moving out of DC to move into Tysons. You are just lying through your teeth because to you taxes = bad. If you dont live in Tysons, then butt out.
Navid Roshan December 10, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Thats an interesting point Lilguy, and I know this is a terrible thing to say, but if they dont want to pay the extra 500 dollars in tax a year (what it would equate to for a 2br condo in Tysons) then they can sell their unit, and make 100k+ in profit on what they bought it for even if they havent owned it for very long. Anyone who says that a $500 a year increase is going to break the bank is flat out lying. More than this increase is the far larger assessment increase that has occurred since the silver line came in... but I dont see anyone complaining that their home is worth too much. Why? Because the County built them a cash cow. Rental rates for units within walking distance to a metro are over $1000 higher than those that are not metro accessible PER MONTH. We are talking about $500 per year increase in taxes, vs $1000 per month improvement to rent it out. Give me a break. As I said, I live in Tysons and my condo has gone up in price nearly 70k from when I bought it only 3 years ago based on recent sales and more importantly I could rent this out in a few years and make nearly 1000 dollars over my current mortgage and tax cost. The county isn't screwing anyone in Tysons over, they are making a city work. A city that if it comes to fruition means continued value increases.
The Analyst December 11, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Navid is right. All of you critics should SHUT UP!!! JUST SHUT UP!!! You have no right to have an opinion. Does overdevelopment cause problems? Of course it does! Does it put a burden on the lower income people? Of course it does. Is it needed? Of course not. The problem with all you 1 million plus people in the metro area is simple: 1. You're all selfish and should be thinking of Navid and the developers first. 2. You should be willing to make unlimited sacrifices on behalf of Navid and the developers. As for you, Navid, a job well done. But I do possibly detect a problem. Please do a web search on the following term: Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)
Lilguy December 11, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Navid (responding to your Monday reply below): So why is it fair for residents to pay a tax now that they can't pass on to customers and clients? Are you suggesting they should move out to avoid it? And you want them to pay the same cap gains tax that developers would pay in cheap future dollars if they sold the property they have been TAKING AS A DEPRECIATION EXPENSE ON THEIR TAXES (as its value grows) as an operating expense in today's dollars for all the years they held it? Please explain how that is FAIR.
Navid Roshan December 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM
First of all LilGuy, its not them. It is we. I am a resident here so please dont say that I am telling them to do anything. Secondly, I am not saying anyone should be forced to do anything. This tax, like all taxes, is a needed element to make things work in Tysons. If you dont want to be a part of that next era in Tysons then I suggest you move out, because its not gonna be all sunshine and rainbows. I am here for the long haul, because I know the urbanization of Tysons is going make my unit valuable over the long term and a very good rental option as well (which btw does make money for home owners). Beyond that I know that the improvements to the infrastructure will help me get from point A to point B much more easily, with more alternatives, and thereby improve my productivity. I know that the improvements to Tysons are going to continue to draw good firms and companies (which it already has been doing since the SIlver line started construction and was announced) there by improving the job market in an area where I can walk to those jobs, and thereby reduce my expenses. To put blinders on and say, oh there are NO improvements to residents only developers is absurd, and if you really think that, then why are you even living in Tysons in the first place? There are establish urban areas, and suburban areas that will not have this issue.
Navid Roshan December 11, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Hahaha Back to your little cave troll. I dont debate with people who dont have the capacity to make cogent arguments. Over development creates problems ay? tell that to the 25 best economic centers of the world, all in cities. Development when planned and done in congruence with a funding system by developers is healthy and needed for a region to grow. I suggest if you dont believe that you find a nice cheap home in the middle of nowhere. I hear the job market is great.
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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