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Fairfax Planners Propose Tax District to Help Pay Tysons Corner Transportation Costs

Tackling how to pay for transportation needs of the "new" Tysons Corner.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has proposed creating a special tax district in Tysons Corner to help pay for $1.2 billion in transportation improvements needed to transform the area into a city of 100,000 people in the next 40 years.

The Planning Commission holds a public hearing tonight on its proposal to ask the Board of Supervisors to create a tax district that would include  developers and existing residents.

"Half of the funding ($253,000,000 in 2012 dollars) should be generated by a Tysons-wide tax district, whose boundary would be the same as the Tysons Corner Urban Center," the proposal states. "The Tysons-wide Road Improvements will be contained within this boundary and will serve to benefit the entire community within Tysons."

The proposal also says: "The Tysons Corner Urban Center would by law also include residential property owners. These residential property owners are currently exempt from the Dulles Phase I Rail District taxation*, but would be subject to this service district. As of January 1, 2012, residential property owners make up approximately 10 percent of the total assessed value of properties in Tysons."

The Fairfax County Board rezoned Tysons Corner in 2010 to transform the melange of parking lots, car dealerships and office building into a new city that would be the economic generator of new dollars for Fairfax and Northern Virginia.

The plan calls for a new city of high-rise offices, hotels, apartments and condominiums, restaurants and shops  around the four new Silver Line subway stations now under construction along Route 123 and Route 7. The subway acts as the spine of the new city.

"The boundaries of the proposed Tysons service district are those traditionally used to define the 2,100 acres that are Tysons Corner: Dulles Toll Road to the north, Magarity Road to the south-east, Gallows and Old Courthouse Road to the southwest,"  said Michael Caplin, executive director of the Tysons Partnership, which represents primarily Tysons' developers.

The tax district proposal comes from "the committee that worked through the issues of the comprehensive plan," said Providence Supervisor Linda Smyth. "They have a very good record of trying to work through the issues. . . this is just a step in the process," she said.

The vast majority Tysons Corner is located in the Providence District.

The transportation plan for Tysons Corner includes everything from widening Route 7 from Route 123 south to the Beltway, building Jones Branch Road over the Beltway so that it connects to Dolley Madison Boulevard to new streets,  sidewalks, bike and walking paths.

That transportation "infrastructure" will cost an estimated $1.2 billion over about 30  years.

The developers will pay also the total costs all of the new streets. They will build those streets as they build their new developments around the metro stations.

 Cost: $561 million.

The idea of the new city of Tysons is to get people out of their cars and onto public transportation. To do that the county will ask the state and federal government to pay for expanded bus service to  get riders from the subway stations to their offices or homes and to get residents and workers around the new city.

Tonight's public hearing: 7 p.m. in the Board Auditorium in the Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA
22035).

Committee mark-up of the proposal: June 26th on 7 p.m. in Rooms 9/10 in the Government Center (12000 Government Center
Parkway, Fairfax).

*The Tysons Corner business community created a tax district earlier to help pay for the new Silver Line from Falls Church through McLean and Tysons Corner to Reston.

Navid Roshan June 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM
There are already several schools that serve the general region that have been analyzed for improvements and can take more students at this time. If significant residential construction occurs, many of these developments such as Arbor Row, are providing schools properties as part of their concessions. Spring Hill Station has already dedicated a fire station as part of its construction/property. It is not chicken and egg, it is called trigger development. The facilities will be built slightly ahead of when they might be "fully" needed. As far as condos in tysons, to my knowledge the mix of rent vs condos is going to remain similar to most cities in the world based on my review of the projects (though market conditions do shift) at about 4 rental units for every 1 condo unit. The affordable housing I believe will be incorporated into the rentals not the condos to my knowledge. The "affordability" of them is what is in question and what has been debunked from (Old Man, a description of his general carmungenous) estimate of 500 million which is just pulling numbers from thin air. This isnt about subsidized housing (which many are painting it out to be) its about making it so the new city will NOT only be affordable to corporate execs. That cost is indirectly hidden in the cost for services/food/business in a city which doesn't control its affordability. Its a smart move to ensure blue and white collar can be part of the change.
Navid Roshan June 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM
If people in 1960 saw that widening Route 50 for 8 miles would cost 150 million dollars, I believe their heads would explode at the thought and people would scream that the county will be saddled with a debt that can never be returned. Thats the funny thing about 40-50 years, its a long time, and how we view an amount of money is completely different. In 1960 a 25,000 salary was also a solid living, anyone think that today?
Rob Jackson June 25, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Navid, you raise good questions. Why does anyone care about 2051 dollars? People care because the Supervisors are going to make a decision on funding that will obligate taxpayers until at least 2051. People want to know how much taxpayers will be obligated to pay. A key factor not being discussed is that most people living near Tysons oppose the urbanization. They may not think Tysons works well, but most don't want to grow even more because they fear more congestion and higher taxes. Very few people who don't own property in Tysons or who don't work for a landowner or developer believe development in Tysons will benefit them. Ordinary people don't believe development keeps their real estate taxes lower. And that big development will keep them even lower. Table 7 lists the projects Fairfax County believes are necessary to make Tysons function at 84 MSF. Some are located within Tysons and other outside. Yet if you ask the question, but for the added growth at Tysons would the ones outside Tysons be needed on the same scale and schedule as set forth in Table 7? No. If Tysons will not function at 84 MSF without one of these projects being constructed, it belongs on Table 7 regardless of where it’s located. Moreover, it is likely Table 7 will get larger and more costly.
Rob Jackson June 25, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Much of the $5.46 B is the cost of transit, which is necessary for Tysons to grow beyond 84 MSF. The Strawman puts those costs on taxpayer even though the cause of the costs is development at Tysons. A lot of people don't like the Strawman's allocation of costs. The McLean Citizens Association and the Reston Citizens Association support making landowners/developers pay 75% of all costs, with certain adjustments for state and federal money. I know a number of people from all over the political spectrum who believe developers should pay 100% of the costs. The County needs to do more disclosure about Tysons and not less.
Mike DeMeo September 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
www.tysonscornerurbancenter.com

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