The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of March 28, 2016.
Proffer and Firearms Reforms; the Electric Chair ReturnsIn the past two weeks, I reviewed action on my legislation and the state budget. This column covers some of the major bills to pass the state legislature.We passed legislation to reform the proffer process for residential rezoning. Many localities have abused the process by requiring builders to make flat cash payments as high as $40,000 per home instead of improvements linked to increase infrastructure demands created by a specific rezoning. This practice abuses the intent underlying the proffer process, drives up the cost of housing and lacks any meaningful accountability in Virginia’s courts.Going forward, for rezonings, proffers must be tied to an infrastructure impact specifically caused by the proposed development. Additionally, the law completely excludes commercial rezonings and at the request of Fairfax County, excludes rezonings in tax districts servicing Metro stations and land zoned for higher densities adjacent to transit facilities – e.g. most of Route 1. These changes will incentivize local governments to zone future development as mixed-use, higher-density, “smart growth” instead of more sprawl.