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Analysis of GIS map showing active building projects in CFHS attendance zone

Thanks to BTW reader Alex Saavedra, we have gotten our hands on a neat piece of information that may prove to be enlightening. Mr. Saavedra acquired the map below from the Stafford County Geographic Information System (GIS) Office.The map has not been found online and was sent directly to Mr. Saavedra but I will post it to the important documents section of this site for anyone who would like to review it further.

So, what do we have here? The map below shows all of the active home building projects in the county, as of February 9th. These projects are numbered and the outlines show exactly where the homes will be built AND in what high school district they are currently zoned. The tiny spreadsheet at the bottom of the map lists all the neighborhoods, the number of approved units, recorded units, built units, permits issued and units to be built. This spreadsheet does NOT discuss projected students, it is simply a list of the hard number of homes coming to Stafford County. These homes ARE coming, there is no debate about the information on the map. There is no accompanying timeline for when these homes will be built.

Clearly, there is a lot of information on this spreadsheet but who can read it? Let's zoom in...

Below is a shot of just the area we are concerned with in this redistricting effort, the CFHS district. I have enhanced the numbers to make them easier to read. In total there are 16 active housing projects in the CFHS zone, as of 2/9.

The numbers in red on the map above correspond with the "Map #"column in red on the spreadsheets below. The images below are from the same teeny-tiny spreadsheet on the GIS map at the top of the page. The rows highlighted in pink indicate the units to be built in the CFHS zone. All the other neighborhoods will be built in other parts of the county and for our purposes here, can be ignored. But a subject for another post will definitely be how many projects are coming to Stafford, according to this map. What a great illustration of the "growth problem" Mr. Connelly referenced at the public hearing.

Time to crunch some numbers! Fun times for a Friday night, indeed.

Number of homes zoned for the CFHS Attendance Area:

Approved Units 3108

Recorded Units 1247

Built Units 845

Permits Issued 1026

Units To Be Built 2263

TBH, I am not entirely sure what a "Recorded Unit" is but my guess is it has something to do with deeds registered with the county. This isn't really relevant to our discussion, nor is the "Permits Issued" number. The numbers we should concentrate on are the Approved Units, Built Units and Units To Be Built.

As you can see from the data above, all neighborhoods are in various stages of development. Some neighborhoods, like 96 Staffordshire and 53 Liberty Knolls West, have not started development at all and have zero homes built. Other areas like 26 Embrey Mill have 332 homes built but still have another 1270 to go.

To make a little more sense of this data dump, I will break down the info based on region of the CFHS zone: North, Central and South.

Let's start with the North:

Approved units : 2545 Built Units: 834 Units to Be Built: 1711

Obviously, the major growth area on this map is Embrey Mill, with a whopping 1270 units still to be built. These coming homes comprise 56% of the homes to be built in the entire CFHS zone. These homes aren't coming right away, they will roll out over the course of years. The numbers I have been given by Mr. Saavedra project about 550 more of these homes to be built by the 2020-21 school year. This is the school year the SB is targeting to finish the transitioning of the redistricted students.

SB member Scott Hirons, Falmouth District Rep., addressed the question I posed about the EM neighborhood projection numbers. (Thus far, Mr. Hirons is the only SB member to have answered my questions, which is why I reference his answers here. ) According to him, the SB hires a private company to generate the projection numbers and these are the numbers in the Out-Of Capacity Table, or "stop-light chart" (find that chart at the link HERE. ) But he did make the following comment which explains why hiring an outside source to generate these numbers has become necessary.

Mr. Hirons states,"Developers notoriously underestimate the impact of their development on the jurisdiction. They do this specifically to reduce the cost of proffers they offer a jurisdiction. As you can probably tell in Stafford County for years the Board of Supervisors would allow developers to provide estimates and would do little to challenge their numbers. If you drive any roads in Stafford or have kids in school you probably realize, this translates to a lack of infrastructure. The school division used to use a simplified calculation that stipulated for every house built .6 students were generated. However as we dove into the facts a little more we came to realize that newer neighborhoods produce the greatest number of children and per house the number is greater than .6."

I am not privy to the algorithms used by the private company but I am a certainly capable of utilizing the old Stafford County method of projecting .6 students per home. Just for fun, keeping in mind this is just for comparison, let's crunch those numbers and see what we get....

Using the number of homes to be built and assuming that we have already absorbed the students in the homes already built, we will multiply the homes to be built by .6, according to the old calculations used by SCSB to find the number of projected students:

North region units to be built 1711 X .6 = 1026 total students generated

Embrey Mill units to be built 1270 X .6 = 726 total students generated

EM units to be built by 2020-21 School Year 550 X .6 = 330 total students generated

These numbers reflect TOTAL students, not high school students. In the absence of any better way to divide the the students, let's just make it simple and divide the total number of generated students by 3 for elementary, middle and high school students. The numbers would then be:

North region projected High School students: 1026 /3 = 342

Embrey Mill projected High School students: 726/3 = 242

EM units built by 20-21 projected High School students: 330/3 = 110

I find the final number, the 110 students from EM interesting because this is much closer to the developers projection numbers, at least from what I have been told. By contrast, the SCSB projected number of high school students from EM, both North and South is 276. This is a discrepancy that has been pointed out to me a few times by EM residents, who don't understand how the numbers can vary so much.

It would be nice if we could take these calculations further but it is difficult to do so with this data. I do not have the data for which APU's some of these neighborhoods belong to, which makes it difficult to compare any numbers we come up with here with the SCSB projections. Also, some of the neighborhoods that are included in the SCSB projection spreadsheets, don't project any actual students by 20-21. This likely means that those neighborhoods aren't projected to be built up at that time.

Central section of the map:

Approved Units: 451 Built Units: 1 Units To Be Built: 450

Carrying on with our little number crunching exercise based on the old SCSB metric, just for fun, we get the following:

Central region units to be built: 450 X .6 = 270 new students

Central region projected High School students: 270/3 = 90 Forge students

Number 38 might be and number 81 is definitely in APU 142, which is targeted to move to MVHS in a few of the options.

Finally, the South:

Approved Units: 112 Built Units:10 Units To Be Built: 102

Without bothering to do the math, the impact here would be small with only 102 more units to be built in the area. There are many who have pointed out that these students shouldn't be districted to Forge at all, since they are so far away from the school. In the absence of HS6 AND an unwillingness on the part of the SB to consider a much bigger redistricting effort, the only place these students could go would be MVHS. There are a few SB options that include a move to MVHS for APU 143, which is likely where 47 and definitely where 98 above would fall.

At the very least, studying this map gives us an idea of exactly what we are up against in dealing with the poor planning that has resulted in this incredible boom of housing developments. If you have any further insights or information regarding this map or other data not immediately available online, please let me know. Thanks again to Mr. Saavedra for providing BTW with this valuable information.