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Old 10-03-2012, 12:50 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,771 posts, read 10,673,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I agree with all that. What I was really suggesting was that, while there are undoubtedly people within the Fairfax County government who spend time looking at things like out-migration to Loudoun, and the fact that the median income gap between Fairfax and Loudoun is widening, and theoretically could spend money to produce a report for public consumption expressly comparing the two counties, I don't think they'd do it, whether it's due to arrogance, a greater sense of security, fiscal conservatism, or a combination thereof. In comparison, MoCo has made no secret of the fact that it compares itself to Fairfax.

When you are in trouble you do best practices comparisons to see what you could do better. MoCo certainly feels pressure on a number of metrics, and while I think there are differences in things like legacy housing stock, industry mix, etc, arguably FFX is still a pretty good comparison for MoCo - both beltway straddling suburban counties of comparable size, comparable age (more or less) comparable demographics (more or less), comparable evolution from DC bedrooms to employments centers (more or less) etc, etc.

What FFX would learn from a Loudoun county comparison is mainly that its really good (at least in the short run) to have lots of vacant land on which to build shiny new SFHs, which quite frankly isn't that useful a lesson. FFX can't immitate Loudoun overall just as it can't immitate ArlCo in overall. MoCo, OTOH, arguably COULD imitate FFX. (though I think the arguments that it can't are strong too)
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:11 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,615,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
When you are in trouble you do best practices comparisons to see what you could do better. MoCo certainly feels pressure on a number of metrics, and while I think there are differences in things like legacy housing stock, industry mix, etc, arguably FFX is still a pretty good comparison for MoCo - both beltway straddling suburban counties of comparable size, comparable age (more or less) comparable demographics (more or less), comparable evolution from DC bedrooms to employments centers (more or less) etc, etc.

What FFX would learn from a Loudoun county comparison is mainly that its really good (at least in the short run) to have lots of vacant land on which to build shiny new SFHs, which quite frankly isn't that useful a lesson. FFX can't immitate Loudoun overall just as it can't immitate ArlCo in overall. MoCo, OTOH, arguably COULD imitate FFX. (though I think the arguments that it can't are strong too)
If the Fairfax-Montgomery comparison is more apt - and I agree it is - I guess Fairfax taxpayers can thank their counterparts in MoCo for footing the bill for the comparative study of the two counties.

I think there are data points from Loudoun that weigh on the minds of some in Fairfax, but can be acted upon without any type of formal, public study that becomes a matter of public record. For example, quite a few people in Fairfax are cognizant of the fact that LCPS has smaller high schools and later start times than Fairfax schools, which aren't insignificant. If I worked in Western Fairfax or Eastern Loudoun, I might well consider living in Loudoun for those reasons alone.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:29 AM
 
1,403 posts, read 1,847,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virginia Prime View Post
Frankly, I don't find these statistics strong enough to claim a "win." What I see is a slightly higher median income and slightly lower unemployment. Big deal. And the job creation statistics can be disingeneous since I'm sure there are Montgomery residents holding some of those new Fairfax jobs, and Fairfax residents holding some of those new Montgomery jobs.
My "win" comment was half in jest -- hence the smiley face. However, those differences are not "slight" in statistical terms -- they are rather pronounced.
Quote:
Now, we could talk about the future of Fairfax vs. the future of Montgomery, and that's where tax and development policies could be seen to make Montgomery's economic future relatively dimmer, but I don't envision Montgomery ever falling significantly behind Fairfax.
Smart money would bet on that, but then again such developments are stochastic and a risk-averse man should not bet that the current trajectory would last forever.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
I wouldn't want to underestimate the challenges facing MoCo which I beleive are substantial - but I would point out that comparing median incomes gets dicey between jurisdictions with different mixes of household size and age (Im thinking of that as much in terms of PWC vs MoCo or PWC vs FFX as MoCo vs FFX)
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
When you are in trouble you do best practices comparisons to see what you could do better. MoCo certainly feels pressure on a number of metrics, and while I think there are differences in things like legacy housing stock, industry mix, etc, arguably FFX is still a pretty good comparison for MoCo - both beltway straddling suburban counties of comparable size, comparable age (more or less) comparable demographics (more or less), comparable evolution from DC bedrooms to employments centers (more or less) etc, etc.
I disagree with your former sentiment and agree with the latter. As far as real world jurisdictions go, the two counties are quite comparable and hence a useful set of "laboratories" in observing how different policies affect outcomes.
Quote:
What FFX would learn from a Loudoun county comparison is mainly that its really good (at least in the short run) to have lots of vacant land on which to build shiny new SFHs, which quite frankly isn't that useful a lesson. FFX can't immitate Loudoun overall just as it can't immitate ArlCo in overall. MoCo, OTOH, arguably COULD imitate FFX. (though I think the arguments that it can't are strong too)
Fairfax has far more in common with Loudoun than it does with Arlington. That would be particularly apparent to those who live outside the Beltway, especially in western part of Fairfax that shares the major job centers with eastern Loudoun.

While the empty spaces most certainly helped, that is not the only reason and likely not even the major reason why Loudoun has grown so much at the expense of Fairfax (judging from net migration numbers). The political climates are different, the development policies are different and so on. When a neighboring county that has strong similarities gains people, income and businesses at one's expense, it IS good to study the lessons carefully rather than dismissively blame it on a single factor: "Pah, there is nothing to learn -- they just have more land on which to build shiny new homes." That, to me, is the very epitome of the head in the sand attitude. At minimum, there are neighborhoods in western Fairfax that are quite similar to those in eastern Loudoun and have not fared well compared to the latter for a variety of reasons, none of which has to do with the former's availability of vacant lots. It would be foolish for Fairfax policymakers to dismiss why this is so.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:48 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,771 posts, read 10,673,360 times
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I suspect strongly that if we had data for built out areas in eastern loudoun (sterling?) and areas slightly further out with more vacant land, like brambleton, we would see similar migration patterns.

As for movement of employment, that seems to be motivated by access to skilled labor (which in LoCos case brings us back the relatively inexpensive shiny new housing) to airport access, and to cheaper office space (the most recent data Ive seen shows office rents in Reston slightly higher than in LoCo, in Tysons higher than in Reston, and in ArlCo higher than in Tysons - call me a raging capitalist if you like, but I think price conveys information). Taxes IIUC are about the same in LoCo as in FFX. So unless you think that the letter (R or D) next to the names of the county supervisors matters (which I doubt) I dont see what differences other than those I have discussed would be driving this.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:51 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,771 posts, read 10,673,360 times
Reputation: 2498
as for MoCo, while I can see FFX and MoCo are similar enough for MoCo to use FFX to look for best practices, I also do beleive that MoCo median income is impacted by a larger percent of singles, possibly more retirees, and an older housing stock that has enabled the migration of relatively less affluent people.

Im sorry if those realities conflict with an agenda of trying to use counties as laboratories to make a partisan or ideological case.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:00 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,615,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Fairfax has far more in common with Loudoun than it does with Arlington. That would be particularly apparent to those who live outside the Beltway, especially in western part of Fairfax that shares the major job centers with eastern Loudoun.

While the empty spaces most certainly helped, that is not the only reason and likely not even the major reason why Loudoun has grown so much at the expense of Fairfax (judging from net migration numbers). The political climates are different, the development policies are different and so on. When a neighboring county that has strong similarities gains people, income and businesses at one's expense, it IS good to study the lessons carefully rather than dismissively blame it on a single factor: "Pah, there is nothing to learn -- they just have more land on which to build shiny new homes." That, to me, is the very epitome of the head in the sand attitude. At minimum, there are neighborhoods in western Fairfax that are quite similar to those in eastern Loudoun and have not fared well compared to the latter for a variety of reasons, none of which has to do with the former's availability of vacant lots. It would be foolish for Fairfax policymakers to dismiss why this is so.
Not sure about that. I think inside-the-Beltway Fairfax has more in common with Arlington than Loudoun; most of outside-the-Beltway Fairfax has more in common with Loudoun than Arlington; and that Tysons doesn't have a lot in common with either (and, perhaps, down the road, will have more in common with Bethesda and Arlington than with anything in Loudoun).

I would be curious as to your thoughts as to what Fairfax might learn from Loudoun at this point in time, given that Fairfax is older and further along the development cycle. I have noted things about LCPS that FCPS might be well advised to consider, particularly in Western Fairfax, but am less sure as to what other "lessons" or "best practices" Fairfax should take to heart from Loudoun. As for eastern Loudoun, certainly places like Lowes Island and Cascades have a quieter, more affluent feel than parts of Herndon or Chantilly, but on the other hand many of the less expensive townhouse complexes in South Riding and Ashburn are pretty much the 2005 version of the 1950s garden apartment complexes in places like South Arlington and Bailey's Crossroads or 1970s townhouses in places like Annandale and Springfield. Do you think Fairfax should raze current developments and office parks so it can build more "traditional" subdivisions, or do you just wish Fairfax elected more conservative politicians, or is there something else?

Last edited by JD984; 10-04-2012 at 08:11 AM..
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,026 posts, read 19,850,532 times
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Interesting link posted in the Maryland forum that might be relevant to this thread: MontCo has region's richest communities | WashingtonExaminer.com
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Leesburg
799 posts, read 1,128,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Not sure about that. I think inside-the-Beltway Fairfax has more in common with Arlington than Loudoun; most of outside-the-Beltway Fairfax has more in common with Loudoun than Arlington; and that Tysons doesn't have a lot in common with either (and, perhaps, down the road, will have more in common with Bethesda and Arlington than with anything in Loudoun).
Thinking of Western Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun (surrounding Dulles) as a contiguous geography makes a lot of sense. Compare that to the differences between Eastern Fairfax and Western Loudoun, two different universes.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
108 posts, read 177,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
My "win" comment was half in jest -- hence the smiley face. However, those differences are not "slight" in statistical terms -- they are rather pronounced.
"Pronounced" differences would be identified by comparing either county to the national average for household income or unemployment.

There are noted differences between Fairfax and Montgomery, but I find them to be relatively slight. Both are predominately high-income and predominately suburban jurisdictions that owe their economic well-being to Federal spending.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:28 AM
 
15 posts, read 40,810 times
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One issue affecting MoCo is that it shares a large border with PG county, which is by far the worst county in the area. Areas like Silver Spring, Tacoma park, Wheaton, all get some bleed-through.

Potomac is nice, of course, and I'd say that there's more impressively rich people in Potomac/Bethesda than there is in Great Falls/Vienna/Oakton/McLean. I believe the reason for this is that for NoVA's rich people, Loudoun county is a suitable alternative for the big-lot/big-house plan. I am not aware of such a suitable alternative for Montgomery county.
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