Falls Church News Briefs

Dominion Power Installing ‘Smart Meters’ in F.C.

Officials of Dominion Virginia Power announced this week that it will extend its innovative “smart meter” program to virtually every residential household in the City of Falls Church, as well as in surrounding areas of Eastern Fairfax County and North Arlington.

Mike Gurganus, manager of energy conservation for Dominion, told the News-Press in a Monday phone interview that technicians will knock on every door, and leave door hangers if no one is home, prior to pulling the old meters out and installing the new digital ones in. The conversion program began Monday and will continue for two months, with a total of 32,000 new meters to be installed in his region. The meters will allow residents to measure the impact of electricity uses in their homes and will notify Dominion of outages in any individual home, a capability that it does not currently have unless a large number of homes in an area lose power. More interactive features will be introduced down the road. Representatives of Dominion will appear at the next Falls Church City Council meeting on June 21 to explain the program.


F.C. Council Puts VDOT $ to Immediate Use

The Falls Church City Council voted unanimously tonight to divert $4.125 million in Virginia Department of Transportation funding, originally designated for its City Center Transportation Plan, to streetscape and landscape improvements that are ready to go on North and South Washington Streets, including at the intersection of Rt. 7 and 29 and some on W. Broad St. With the City Center plan on indefinite hold due to the recession, the Council took action to free the VDOT “Six Year Improvement Program” money for some “ready to go” transportation-related projects that could have some immediate benefits for the community and for economic development. “We need to do this to maintain some momentum in public projects,” Councilman David Snyder said. “Putting the money to implementation of existing streetscape and landscape plans will help spur economic development while encouraging bicycle and pedestrian use, helping the environment, and providing better protection from the elements at bus stops. Let’s get going.”


F.C. Gets AAA Bond Rating from Fitch

For the first time in its history, the City of Falls Church has achieved a top AAA bond rating from a major New York-based bond rating agency, in this case Fitch, City Manager Wyatt Shields reported to the F.C. City Council tonight. Shields said other bond rating agencies have maintained their high AA+ ratings for F.C. Given the City’s ongoing commitment to maintaining its fund balance and debt policies even in the face of tough economic and fiscal times. Shields noted the City’s debt is only 1.2 percent of its total value, which is less than half the national average of 2.8 percent.


Supreme Court Rules for F.C. Vs. Columbia Baptist

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled last week to uphold a lower court ruling supporting the City of Falls Church’s action to prohibit the consolidation of properties owned by the Columbia Baptist Church in the City. In the case of James V. City of Falls Church, according to the Supreme Court’s website, “The trial court did not err in granting a motion to strike the evidence, or in dismissing an action by a church which had been denied an applications for consolidation of several lots after consideration by a zoning administrator, planning staff, and the locality’s planning commission. The circuit court did not fail to apply the correct standard of review, and the church failed to show that the planning commission’s denial of its consolidation application was not properly based on the applicable ordinances, or was arbitrary or capricious, as was its burden of proof. The circuit court did not err in finding that the commission had the right and authority to disregard the zoning administrator’s interpretation of a local ordinance in deciding whether to approve or disapprove the consolidation application.”