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Old 03-09-2007, 05:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaffordSt View Post
Plus, for old timers like me, I'm still upset that Mclean destroyed Evans farm and built those super-ugly jam packed homes on top of it.
That was a travesty. But there wasn't anything McLean could have done about it except protest, which is what they did. Fairfax County itself had few options what with the Evans family and the developers both on the same side of the fence. Still quite a loss for those who remember what the place was for 40 years...
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:28 PM
 
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The Evans farm property was sold because the owner was no longer interested in running the restaurant (which was not a very good restaurant, truth be told). It was his property to sell as he saw fit, and the county was simply not in a position to pay anywhere close to the market value so that neighbors, who were NOT paying the property taxes, could keep their nice views and take their children to feed the ducks. It's not a bad development, as those things go, and those things go.
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Old 03-10-2007, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
The Evans farm property was sold because the owner was no longer interested in running the restaurant (which was not a very good restaurant, truth be told). It was his property to sell as he saw fit, and the county was simply not in a position to pay anywhere close to the market value so that neighbors, who were NOT paying the property taxes, could keep their nice views and take their children to feed the ducks. It's not a bad development, as those things go, and those things go.
All true, including the part about its not having been a very good restaurant. But it is a good example for the various 'free market' and 'property rights' folks of the general failure of markets to recognize sometimes very significant externalities. In this case, the 24 acres of Evans Farm had a significant value to the surrounding community above and beyond the nominal value that the property had to either the buyer or the seller. And a free market simply says that those don't count. Hundreds (and in this case, probably thousands) of people suffered a tangible loss for which they were not in any way compensated. I'd agree that the subsequent development of the property has actually been pretty good, but no matter how nice, another townhome cluster does not at all equate to what was lost. Just a little something to contemplate in the grander scheme of things...
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Old 03-10-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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Well, another economist might call the neighbors "free riders." They had a nice view of open space instead of the back of someone else's house, but didn't pay any of the costs associated with that open space. When they bought their houses, they did so with the knowledge that Evans Farm Inn was private property, not a public park. They had a nice free ride while it lasted, but no grounds to complain when the property was sold.
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
Well, another economist might call the neighbors "free riders."
Sure, but then we're all free-riders. None of us is actually a discrete entity. We all both give to and take from others. It's a part of the definition of a society, and the better we can make that work, the better off we all are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
They had a nice view of open space instead of the back of someone else's house, but didn't pay any of the costs associated with that open space.
Sure they did. Take something as simple as the spraying of those 24 acres to get rid of the gypsy moth caterpillars. That was everybody's money that did that. Even people who had never seen Evans Farm pitched in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
When they bought their houses, they did so with the knowledge that Evans Farm Inn was private property, not a public park. They had a nice free ride while it lasted, but no grounds to complain when the property was sold.
They had every grounds to complain, just as you or I would if a neighbor never cut the lawn and decided to leave six or seven junker cars up on blocks in his front yard. And the free part of that free ride for the neighbors will have ended when they themselves came to sell their own properties and found that they had to settle for tens of thousands of dollars less than what they would have received if Evans Farms had still been there...
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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They had every grounds to complain, just as you or I would if a neighbor never cut the lawn and decided to leave six or seven junker cars up on blocks in his front yard. And the free part of that free ride for the neighbors will have ended when they themselves came to sell their own properties and found that they had to settle for tens of thousands of dollars less than what they would have received if Evans Farms had still been there...[/quote]

Except that selling one's property to a willing buyer in a completely legal transaction (rather than giving it away to the county) is not exactly like creating a public nuisance on one's property.
For several decades, the neighbors got the tangible and intangible benefits of having a nice open space/private park nearby, without having to bear any of the costs. They had no legal right to expect that the owner of Evans Farm would continue that arrangment in perpetuity, which is why the "Save Evans Farm" movement was doomed from the start.
Is this a great country, or what?
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:10 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,339,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
Except that selling one's property to a willing buyer in a completely legal transaction (rather than giving it away to the county) is not exactly like creating a public nuisance on one's property. For several decades, the neighbors got the tangible and intangible benefits of having a nice open space/private park nearby, without having to bear any of the costs. They had no legal right to expect that the owner of Evans Farm would continue that arrangment in perpetuity, which is why the "Save Evans Farm" movement was doomed from the start.
Is this a great country, or what?
Except that 'legality' is a very weak defense to an economist. It's lawyers who put great stock in that. Whether by townhouses on the one hand or old clunkers on the other, the quality, and hence value, of life in the neighborhood was reduced, and in the Evans Farm case, quite significantly. That we have laws against such things as piling up old clunkers shows that communtiy interests can and often do take precedence over simple property rights interests, so it isn't that the two cases are horses of a different color.

No one was holding that the Evans family should simply give the property away to the county. They had a deal on the table with the West Group for $16 million. The question was whether the county could or should craft or coerce an alternative package that would preserve the public wealth asset that the Farm had become while still making the Evans family whole. In the end, the answer to that question was no, and so we now have townhouses.

It isn't the rights, but the quite legitimate interests, of the neighborhood that were abandoned in this case. You have no actual right to expect that the public street that your driveway connects to will be operated in perpetuity. The county, state, or whatever other operator or jurisdiction-holder may decide to close and abandon it, leaving your property cut off from the local transportation grid. In that event, I would expect that you and other possibly affected property owners would band together in an attempt to protect your interests, just as the Save Evans Farm folks did, though your cause might be just as 'doomed from the start' as theirs was.

It is indeed a great country, but in my view, one that is shared by many others, it cannot long remain one if the ideals of the free market and property rights folks are allowed to come to the fore. There is always some degree of tension between public and private interests, and we are not well served when either side is allowed a free hand to dominate over the other.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Default evans farm

sanganista,

If the neighbors felt so strongly about keeping Evans Farm as "open space" they could have ponied up for the taxes. Anyone who thinks that was a possibility, raise your hand.

sb
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:22 AM
 
1,727 posts, read 1,442,102 times
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Oh my goodness, everyone has given you such good advice. My aunt lived in North Arlington, and I found it quite dreamy ... but as I recall it was about a minute from the McLean border ... so depending on exactly where in McLean, you might be quite far from Tysons, Evans Farm, etc., and some of the commuting issues would then be more comparable. It (North Arlington) was just such a nice area - close to Georgetown (is that possible? It just seemed so close) and the commute into DC wasn't bad at all. [I own in McLean, but live in another state, 9 hours away, McLean is terrific].
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Hi Irvine, you seem to know quite a bit about North Arlington neighborhoods...I was wondering if you could describe the differences? I am looking for a north arlington neighborhood that has a little older crowd than that of the Balston, Courthouse corridor which is made up primarily of young professionals without kids. I was hoping to find an area that has more of a family feel, where children can play with other children in the area and where families know each other and hand out together at night and on weekends. I lived in Adams Morgan for 5 years and never knew my neighbors. I don't want this to happen this next time around.
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