Change proffers and boost the economy
Date published: 11/10/2011

There’s been a lot of news about Marion Hicks’ request that the county reduce the existing proffers on his Summerfield property, and nearly all of it has been negative.

Developers and those who generally oppose residential growth are missing the point. The country and the world are in an economic downturn that will most likely take the rest of this decade to fix. The real estate markets and the construction industry have been devastated by the financial crises.

Doing things the way they have always been done is no longer feasible. We must look forward and not back for the answers to the economic problems that afflict the community.

Spotsylvania County and surrounding municipalities must think outside the box and come up with new policies and new plans to assist the business community in the creation of jobs. The old policy of levying ever-greater taxes in the form of proffers on housing will not fix the problem. You cannot tax housing back to health.

Taxes in the form of proffers must be cut in order to provide incentives for capital formation, jobs, and economic growth to occur.

Proffers, left as they exist, provide no incentive for development. The existing levies on Summerfield, in the form of proffers, make it uneconomical to develop. Without relief, the property will just stay as it is, and no economic benefit will be derived. This is a problem that affects not only Summerfield, but also the numerous projects in Spotsylvania County and the region.

They cannot be developed because either the existing proffers are too high, or the existing proffer system renders the project not economical, even if one were to gain approval for development.

The absence of the sound of construction activity around the Fredericksburg area is deafening. Spotsylvania and surrounding municipalities must work together with the real estate, development, and business communities in new ways to assist in the creation of new jobs and economic development. This will require setting the past way of doing things aside and embracing a new way of thinking.

The sounds that we need to hear are those of hammers and machinery that would herald the return of the real estate and construction industries. The sites that we need to be seeing are crowded restaurants and busy shopping areas, filled with people having put in a hard day’s work and mindful of a job well done.

David Blackwood