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March 6, 2018 · OPINION

Supporting the Remington Technology Park rezoning

By Thomas H. Valk

Based upon several news articles and two Fauquier County Department of Community Development staff reports, the board of supervisors will consider approval of the proposed Remington Technology Park on Thursday, March 8. The proposal involves rezoning of 234 acres, situated near the intersection of Remington and Lucky Hill roads, northeast of the Town of Remington, from Residential (R-1) to Business Park (BP). This conversion would eliminate 199 residences that otherwise could be built.

On average, based upon the Weldon Cooper study of 2015, residential development costs more in county services (schools, roads, water, sewer, fire and rescue, police, etc.) than received in real estate taxes. The elimination alone represents a significant positive fiscal impact to the county and to its taxpayers. In addition, commercial development is on average significantly tax positive for the county.

The land would be home to the Remington Technology Park: six commercial buildings, each from 240,000 to 310,000 square feet, to be leased to large internet companies. Estimates of potential income to the county are between $5 million in year five of operation to $8.7 million in year six. Estimated job creation is between 120 to 180 upon completion and leasing along with some 200 full-time equivalent construction jobs during building.

Construction would take between five and seven years and require $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion. It is noteworthy that the county planning commission unanimously voted in favor of the rezoning and building of the park.

In return for such rezoning, the owners of the 234 acres of R-1 land would be allowed to decrease their proffer to the county for residential development in nearby Fox Haven from $14,700 per house to $3,073. This decrease, however, would only occur when at least 200,000 square feet of data center space has been built and occupancy permits granted. These developers would also be allowed to build 66 houses per year instead of 33.

Fiscal estimates provided by TischlerBise indicated that the building of the park when compared to keeping and developing the 199 residences now zoned, including all changes in proffers, would net the county a positive difference of $9,200,750 of annual fiscal benefit! And that number does not consider commercial business taxes on firms leasing the park’s buildings.

Taken as a whole, the building of the Remington Technology Park is an excellent example of innovative efforts to bring tax positive commercial development to Fauquier County.

The Fauquier Taxpayers Association strongly supports this rezoning proposal, related proffer and per year building limits. We urge the board of supervisors to approve both the proffer changes and the rezoning at its upcoming public hearing on March 8. Supporters of this effort should contact their board members as soon as possible.

The writer is the Fauquier Taxpayers Association chairman.
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