Local Commentary

Editorial: 7 Corners Plan May Hit F.C. Sooner

As if the City of Falls Church doesn’t have enough on its plate as it is, Seven Corners area neighbors to the City in Fairfax County are clamoring to expedite a new strategic transportation plan for the Seven Corners area that will necessarily intrude into the City and disrupt numerous City neighborhoods.

When these plans first came to light for City residents in the last two weeks, they’d already advanced to the point of power-point plans and graphics showing a “ring road” around the infamous intersection bottleneck where Routes 7 and 50 cross just outside the City limits.

But when some in the City began to howl, reassurances came from the office of our friend, Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, that the transportation component of the master plan revisioning of the Seven Corners area overall was not a part of the plans that the task force created by Gross would be including in its first report due to come before the county Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this fall.

The transportation component was much further down the road, we were assured. But then came the task force meeting at the Mason District Government Center this Tuesday night (see story, elsewhere this edition). Letters were read and statements were made from representatives of a large number of citizens and homeowner associations in and around the Seven Corners area demanding that the task force revisit its priorities in its upcoming report, and that it tackle the tough issues surrounding the proposed transportation improvements first, and not after its recommendations on residential and business land use planning and densities.

The concern was heartfelt and adamant. The letters from the various groups were met with loud applause from the crowded room full of citizens at Tuesday’s meeting.
So, the City of Falls Church can expect the issues around the “ring road” concept to fall into its lap sooner rather than later, even in the immediate future. The Seven Corners Task Force people are due to make a presentation on the plans they intend to submit to the county’s top policy boards to the Falls Church City Council the middle of next month.

It was stated at Tuesday’s meeting that a lack of awareness by Falls Church officials could be a major stumbling block to the whole process, especially if the citizens’ request to move the transportation component sooner comes to pass.

While the chair of the task force insisted at Tuesday’s meeting that a preliminary presentation to the Falls Church Planning Commission and Citizens Advisory Commission on Transportation (CACT) last week was “well received,” by the F.C. City Council meeting this Monday there were grave concerns publicly expressed that the task force might be considering using “eminent domain” or other tools to force its will on the City.
There’s little time to lose for the City to get up to speed on what the task force’s coming moves will be.