Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting welcomed three new members – John Foust of Dranesville District, Pat Herrity of Springfield District, and Jeff McKay of Lee District – as the 11th Urban County Board of Supervisors began a new four-year term. Braddock District Supervisor Sharon Bulova was elected vice-chairman of the Board.

To the surprise of many, the Board agenda moved very quickly on Monday; Chairman Gerry Connolly had to call a few recesses in the afternoon so the land use cases wouldn’t get ahead of their advertised public hearing schedule. Returning Board mem-bers reminded their new colleagues that such a situation is extremely rare, and warned them not to anticipate similar circumstances in the future.

New items brought forward for consideration included naming the new Public Safety Transportation Operations Center (PSTOC) after former long-time Springfield Supervisor Elaine McConnell. The new facility, on the site of the former Camp 30 prison complex on West Ox Road, is a joint partnership of Fairfax County and the Common-wealth of Virginia, and scheduled to open this summer. The state-of-the-art center will replace the current 911 communications dispatch center now housed in the former Pine Ridge school facility in Mason District.

On my motion, the Board also asked for information about land preservation initiatives by New York City and Fredericksburg, Virginia, to safeguard water supply and water quality by protecting riparian headwaters. Cities successfully used land preservation along the Rappahannock River and in the Catskill/Adirondack mountains. Despite actions by Fairfax County to secure protections of the Occoquan watershed through R-C zoning (Residential-Conservation), development in surrounding jurisdictions can have a significant negative effect on drinking water quality. The Board’s Environment Committee, which I chair, will receive a report at its March meeting.

Traffic tickets also got some scrutiny on Monday. When a Fairfax County police officer writes a traffic ticket, the citation may fall under one of two categories: a violation of a county code, or a violation of a state code. If the citation is for the Code of Virginia, the fines go to the state; if the citation is for the Code of the County of Fairfax, the fine (or, at least, a portion of the fine) is retained by the county. To eliminate the confusion and ensure that citation revenues flow to the county, the Board directed that, whenever the particular citation is identical under both Codes, the citation is to be written pursuant to County Code. According to the Auditor to the Board, such a change could result in an additional $1 million to $3 million annually to the County’s General Fund.

The Board also asked for a review of State Codes that could be used to address more vigorously blight and graffiti issues, especially in the older areas of the county. In addition, the County Executive was asked to provide information about criteria used to provide housing for homeless families. Troubling reports of families placed in motels for indeterminate periods of time raises questions about the county’s capacity to address temporary housing issues.

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*