Editorial: Supervisors should back new policy

Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hanover supervisors are looking at a policy that would charge residential developers a fee based on the impact their development will have on local transportation infrastructure.

Late last year, the board removed its policy charging developers who rezone land $19,503 per lot once they break ground on a new home. These monies went toward growth-related costs such as road infrastructure, education and public safety.

The previous policy was criticized as unfairly “taxing” new construction; a home built on land that didn’t need to be rezoned was not required to pay cash proffers.

The fee was also the highest in the region.

The new policy as proposed by Public Works Director Mike Flagg strikes us as an even-handed approach to requiring developers to pay their share of the growth-related costs they create. The jumping off point is $2,306 per lot, a fee that would increase based on a development’s impact.
New residential development creates new traffic. With each new home comes a car or two. A 50-lot subdivision, therefore, comes with 50-100 cars using Hanover’s road infrastructure. It makes sense to treat smaller developments differently than larger ones; the overall impact to Hanover’s infrastructure is different.

And the county will need the dough.

Over the next 15 years, there are $61.4 million of local road projects waiting in the wings. A combination of funding from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, VDOT and Hanover leaves $14.45 million to make up, presumably, from development. That’s a lot of bricks and mortar.
Some supervisors still have their reservations with the new policy. It’s coming up again next Wednesday. We hope they will adopt it or come up with a better way to pave our roads.


A postal disservice

The National Newspaper Association has challenged a deal between Valassis, Inc. and the U.S. Postal Service that undercuts the American tenets of free enterprise and competition in our markets.

This week, the NNA filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit arguing that the Postal Regulatory Commission ignored federal law in approving the deal, which gives Vallassis deep postage discounts for tearing advertisers out of newspapers and into a weekend direct mail piece, a nice description for “junk mail.”

The NNA says the deal will have a heavy impact on hundreds of newspapers nationwide. In addition, the severe postage discount awarded Valassis stands to distort local markets.

NNA attorney Steven Douse had it right when he said firms have been forced “to compete with the Postal Service and Valassis with one hand tied behind their backs.”

The Postal Service has a statutory monopoly in this instance and has taken sides in what is clearly a power grab for extra revenue as it follows the dodo bird’s path.

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