It’s sad when elected officials try to rewrite history in order to justify their past bad decisions rather than admit they made a mistake or were wrong – especially when facts to the contrary are so easy to prove.
Self-delusional? Forgetful? Ignorant? Deceitful?
Those are the only real options to explain Prince William County Board District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan’s (R-Potomac) tortured excuse that she gave last night to residents of Southbridge attending the community’s annual HOA meeting. At issue was her 2001 vote against the rezoning that made Potomac Shores and the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course possible.
Caddigan almost immediately launched into a defense of her vote, telling the audience that they may have heard a lot about it lately in a veiled reference to our recent blog post (which is the only place that it has been raised as of late.) She stated that the developer back then had come to her asking what he could do for her to get her vote to rezone the land for the project. Caddigan said that she responded, “What are you going to do for the residents of Southbridge?” and when he wouldn’t commit to anything that she voted against it.
Only it didn’t happen that way. Not even close.
This very simple timeline sinks the entire premise of her excuse:
January 17, 2001 – The vote on the rezoning took place around 3 a.m. at the conclusion of the Tuesday, January 16, 2001, Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting.
- The property being rezoned was then part of the overall Southbridge development.
- The entire Southbridge property was owned at this time by developer Legend Properties, Inc., a subsidiary of Aker RGI.
- The developer that Caddigan referenced was named Mike Anderson, Legend’s Property Manager for Southbridge.
December 11, 2002 – Legend Properties, Inc. announced that it was selling the undeveloped portion of Southbridge to KSI, Inc. at which time the property was split off from Southbridge into what became known as “Harbor Station” before finally being realized as Potomac Shores under developer SunCal.
So there you have it. Why would Caddigan have to ask Anderson “What are you going to do for the residents of Southbridge?” when Legend Properties, Anderson’s employer, owned Southbridge and the rezoning was actually for Southbridge?
In fact, the land that was rezoned by that vote was still a part of Southbridge until 23 months after that vote was taken.
It is clear that Caddigan just can’t admit that she was wrong when she said in 2001 that this project wouldn’t be built. That she was wrong to vote against more than 3 million square feet of additional commercial space in the county; to vote against 2,500 homes that have a positive tax base; to vote against steering new development away from the Rural Crescent; to vote against a new VRE station; to vote against a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Instead, she clings to excuses that don’t hold water when put up against the slightest of scrutiny.
The bottom line is if Caddigan had gotten her way, there would be no Potomac Shores today. Period.
On an interesting side note, we also learned last night from Caddigan herself that she opposed putting a Home Depot in off of Route 234 near Montclair behind the Fortuna Shopping Center where there is a Target and a Shoppers supermarket among other stores. Instead, high-end apartments “with fountains” as she excitedly stated, have been built there.
So rather than getting true additional commercial tax revenue without an increased demand for residential services that Home Depot would have brought, we get so-called “commercial” tax revenue that increases demand for residential services. Furthermore, a Home Depot at that location would have helped residents throughout the Potomac District who now must fight the traffic (and thereby add to it) to travel to Woodbridge to visit either the Home Depot or Lowes there.
One bit of good news we did hear was ground will be broken in July for a new Chick-fil-A on Route 234 near the intersection with I-95. (Good news at least for fans of the restaurant, not for those wanting the county to concentrate on solid economic development that brings good paying jobs to the county.) The bad news is we first heard about this well over a year ago, probably close to two years.
That says a lot about the regulatory and business climate in Prince William County. In California, it takes nearly three years from concept to construction for a Carl Jr.’s restaurant (the West Coast name for Hardee’s and similar in size and scope to Chick-fil-A). In Texas, that span is 30 days. As a result, even though they are headquartered in California, Carl Jr.’s has almost completely stopped building new restaurants in California while it is adding new ones hand over fist in Texas.
Yes, its sad but true. Prince William County’s business climate is more like California’s than it is like that of Texas. Is it any wonder that is the case when we have people like Supervisor Caddigan, our very own Nancy Pelosi clone, running the show?