Letters to the Editor: September 11 – 17, 2014
F.C. Should Seize Opportunity At West & Broad Streets
As a relatively new resident of the City of Falls Church who expects to raise my young family here, my thoughts are naturally focused on the future of the city. And as a member of the leading edge of the Millennial Generation, I hope that Falls Church will embrace and intentionally manage the inevitable changes that are coming, rather than deny them.
For example, the proposed project at West and Broad has incredible potential for our city. The addition of a hotel, restaurants, and – in particular – an upscale movie theater to this underutilized corner is exciting and should be welcomed. I hope the City Council will insist on this latter anchor tenant, which would be a center of entertainment for residents and a draw for neighbors from surrounding communities. If we stand in the way of projects like this, which result in significant net income to municipal coffers, the City of Falls Church will almost certainly become unsustainable in the long run as the student population continues to grow with no offsetting increase in the commercial tax base.
Of course, the developers and City Council should strive to address the real and understandable citizen concerns raised at last week’s public meeting on this project. Balancing the needs of current residents with the need to chart a sustainable and bright future for the city must be a foremost concern. But we must not let this opportunity slip by.
For an example of a tremendous missed opportunity, we can look just across our city’s border to the old Robert Shreve Fuel Co. abutting the W&OD trail and Lee Highway near the East Falls Church metro station. Due to short-sightedness and intransigence on the part of Arlington County, the developer pursuing plans for a mixed-use building with a small grocery store on this site walked away – and now this prime piece of metro- and trail-accessible land will become yet another self-storage facility of dubious value to the community. I hope that my new hometown, the City of Falls Church, will heed this stark warning and seize the opportunity at West and Broad.
No Objectivity In Mason Row Town Hall ‘Article’
Please move the online article “F.C. Citizens Jam Community Center for Town Hall On Mason Row Project” to the commentary section. This is clearly an editorial column, not an objective new story in any imaginable sense of the word.
Via the Internet
Residents Must Be Involved in F.C. Financial Decisions
Your editorial “This November’s Bond Referendum” in the September 4 News-Press is disingenuous. You suggest that the City Council and the School Board are more qualified than the citizens to make financial decisions, and we should trust them to do so. You also suggest that having citizens approve long-term funding is unusual.
In fact, it is common practice in this country to require voter approval for capital projects. The phrase, trust – but verify, comes to mind. I am not opposed to increased capital expenditures for needed infrastructure in our City, but we need data on all capital projects and their financial impact on taxpayers. These questions should be answered in order to allow voters to be able to make informed decisions on the November referendum and future referenda.
• What will the carrying costs of these new bonds? Will there be an additional cost per year for each $100.00 in property assessment?
• Falls Church needs a new high school building, and a new City Hall is being discussed. What will be the amount of long-term funding needed for each of these projects?
• We keep hearing about the revenues from the Tinner Hill, the Harris Teeter, the Spectrum Broad & West Street, and the Northgate projects. What amount of property tax revenues was collected from these properties in 2013 and what is projected to be collected in future years?
• Based on these projected new revenues, what does the Council project the property tax rate (currently $1.305) to be in the next 1-5 years?
• What are the anticipated capital needs with regard to other City infrastructure that are in clear need of additional funding, and that arguably benefit a broader range of City residents (Mary Riley Styles library improvements, street maintenance, provision of safer sidewalks, encouragement of safe pedestrian and bicycle use)?
The citizens of Falls Church need to get involved, challenge assumptions, and understand what critical financial decisions they will make – beginning on November 4.
City Needs to Fix Crosswalk at N. West & N. Oak
I’m writing to ask the Falls Church Department of Public Works to improve the pedestrian crosswalk at N. West St. and N. Oak St. I stopped for a mother, and baby in a stroller, attempting to cross N. West St. After I stopped, two drivers drove their vehicles through the crosswalk as the mother attempted to cross.
This was August 28, at 6:15 p.m. Daylight, clear, visibility unlimited. After I stopped, a man in a large pickup truck coming the other way drove through the crosswalk as the mother started across. Then a woman in a white car went around me on the right, sounding her horn.
The mother was smart, and did not assume these drivers would stop for her and her baby.
The crosswalk could use a fresh coat of paint, and signs on the double-yellow stripe (as in some other crosswalks) would also help. This also might be a place for police to observe.
Via the Internet
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