The development community seems up in arms because Gov. Kaine is actually doing what he said he would do. The bill in question is one developers supported. Many thought Kaine’s efforts to fulfill his campaign promise to better control land use were half-hearted. He didn’t get all he asked for and critics charged he didn’t really care.
But he has surprised many with his full-throated support for reforming land use and has used the tools the Assembly passed, one measure by a unanimous vote.
“The development industry thought: ‘We get to have our growth-control ticky mark for all the people who are shouting for growth controls, and we get off not harmed,’ ” said state Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William), the bill’s chief patron in the House.
“But what they didn’t realize, and it’s not written in the legislation, of course, is that people were going to talk about this stuff. They didn’t think that VDOT might send this stuff to the press and that the press might write a story about it.”
It’s rare that a politician would do something intentionally but would not want publicity for it. I thought the study on the traffic impact of the big Loudoun development was a brilliant move. Who cares if it was politically motivated? Aren’t politicians supposed to do things for political motives?
What’s truly remarkable is how naïve or politically dense the development community seems to be.
Many of the lobbyists who helped the initiative sail through — notably the state’s powerful home-building industry — might not have known what Kaine intended. They expected the studies, but they didn’t expect the publicity or the involvement of Kaine’s closest advisers.
“I’m just very disappointed in the governor,” said Michael L. Toalson, chief lobbyist for the Home Builders Association of Virginia. The builders “did not oppose” the legislation but are unhappy with the way the governor is using it, he said.
“The Kaine administration, without any guidance from the General Assembly, has injected itself and VDOT into a local land-use decision,” Toalson said.
Exactly how did they expect the legislation to be used, as it…?
Provides that prior to adoption of any comprehensive plan or amendment the locality shall submit such plan or amendment to the Department of Transportation for review and comment. The Department shall provide written comment on the proposed plan or amendment within 90 days of receipt thereof. Also, upon submission to a locality of an application for rezoning, the locality shall submit such application to the Department of Transportation within 10 business days of receipt thereof. Such application shall include a traffic impact statement if required by the locality by ordinance. Within 45 days of its receipt of such application, the Department shall either (i) provide written comment on the rezoning application, or (ii) schedule a meeting, to be held within 60 days of its receipt of the application, with the local planning commission or other agent and the applicant to discuss potential modifications to the application to address any concerns or deficiencies.
Sounds to me that VDOT is indeed to inject itself into local land use decisions.
Score one for the Kaine administration and it’s ability to get the message out. To the development community, you need to mean what you say and say what you mean. Uh, there I go being naïve.