A County in Denial

Orange County is in the midst of their comprehensive plan review, deciding what the land use plan for Orange County will be through 2025. The Board has set a public hearing for Tuesday, October 22, 2013 and this might be the last time for citizens to weigh in.

We believe the draft under consideration is a plan to recruit residential growth at great cost to existing residents, rather than accommodate the natural growth the county is likely to experience. To make matters worse, the county plans to offset the cost of this residential growth by chasing economic development, a strategy that is rarely successful.

By designating thousands of agriculturally zoned acres for mixed use and economic development, county officials claim they are attempting to balance the tax base. But this denies experience—no county has ever grown it’s way to lower taxes. Just look at some of Virginia’s most developed counties. They all have higher tax rates than in Orange.

This vision for sprawl threatens our strongest economic engine, one that does not require substantial infrastructure and has been proven to keep taxes low—Agriculture—and the associated tourism industry that relies on our open spaces and historic resources.