This is a project near Signal Hill Park near Manassas Park that proposes to change an area planned for office to high density residential, building 174 homes that would include townhouses and condominiums. Link to the staff report: http://eservice.pwcgov.org/planning/documents/PLN2013-00187.pdf
This project had a public hearing before the Planning Commission in June and was deferred to their July 15, 2015 meeting due to various concerns, some of which were the same as those outlined in the MIDCO letter below.
MIDCO letter to the Planning Commission:
Dear Planning Commissioners,
Regarding the Richmond Station project that is on your agenda for June 17th, we agree with staff on a number of aspects of the project. This proposal would convert planned office to residential and therefore undermine the county's effort to diversify our tax base. In your work session recently you were told that office won't work, that we need to drop it from our plan. If we do that we will doom taxpayers to forever increasing residential property taxes.
What we need to do is to redouble our efforts to recruit, encourage and incentivize tenants to come and build in our county. Every project that converts office to residential is a step in the wrong direction. In this instance, the applicant argues that high density residential fits this parcel better than office. However, the same arguments they use in support of their contention actually work much better to support office uses. Nearby rail access, adjacent industrial, the Walmart loading dock and highway access to Liberia Road all would either serve or be less disruptive to an office use than residential. The argument that the lone nearby office building is semi-occupied and therefore indicative that office won't work here is misleading. The whole point of an office node here is that one needs more than one building to draw clients to an area and make it viable. Building a lone building and calling it unsuccessful is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For the reasons above, please recommend denial on Richmond Station as presented. We can and must do better if we want to change the paradigm and move from a bedroom community towards being an employment center.