Land use, APFs and the public good

There is a good discussion over at the Road to Ruin about this article in the DP that highlights the conflict, yet necessary relationship between private developers and the public good/public infrastructure.

Note also Bacon’s Rebellion’s discussion about the recent forum held by the State’s new Economic Development Executive Director.

I won’t step on their discussion. If you’re interested, check them out. The land use issues are ones that will continue to affect us as growth continues.

The parallels between NoVa and what we are seeing here on a daily basis are striking and frightening.

If you unbridle the developers and let them build at any density, they will build at the density that maximises profits. As multiple developers do this, they will tend to overbuild somewhat, and prices will fall. That does not mean the cost of living will fall, which is what affordable housing is really about. There are many other costs associated with living in Fairfax, which some people will choose to avoid.

What we see instead is that developers will be required to provide some affordable housing units as a quid pro quo for higher density. This way the government can try to mollify people like TMT who don’t want more density by saying they are looking out for the little people and the public good. The price of those units just gets tacked on to the price of the other units.

APFs are the perennial “chicken before the egg” discussion. At some point though, someone has to take responsibility for managing the infrastructure development. Pointing fingers solves nothing.

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