Letters to the Editor: October 22 – 28, 2015
Ask F.C. Candidates Their Strategies on Development
It seems as if we are entering yet another Council election that is centered around tired, pointless debates between “mixed use” and “100% commercial” development. Here is a singular fact about this that I would ask voters to consider, Anyone (and I mean anyone) can purchase today any of a large number of underutilized properties on Broad or Washington streets and build a new 100 percent commercial building by right. In fact, for anyone who wants that kind of development, I would strongly encourage them to just go and do it. No Council approval required. But that development hasn’t happened, and any Council candidate who runs on this issue should be able to articulate a clear view as to why it hasn’t happened, and what they precisely want to do to change that. (And saying “market the City better” doesn’t count.) I have written many times before about my views on these questions, but I’m not running for anything so none of that matters. Please ask the candidates for their actual strategies for doing something different than has been done in the past.
Also, anyone who tells you they can do anything to materially impact traffic in the City is misguided. Our traffic is mostly determined by the rapidly urbanizing Tysons Corner and we really can’t do anything about it. We could, in fact, turn the entire City back into tobacco farms and I don’t think you would see any appreciable change to the traffic on 7 or 29.
Surprised at Some’s Negative Outlook On Future of F.C.
Like many Falls Church residents, we’ve been watching the upcoming elections with interest, but have been surprised by the negative outlook of some of our fellow citizens. As we see it, the future of Falls Church is bright! And the vast majority of our friends and neighbors feel the same way.
We feel fortunate to be living in the Little City at a time of great opportunity and we, along with most of our friends, are excited about many of the potential changes coming in the next few years. The other families we talk to love the idea of revitalizing Broad Street with more destinations and improving the walkability of the city. As our children get older and more independent, that means more options for work and play within the city (and without a car). Along with many of our neighbors, we also love our schools – our bus stop chatter is often filled with gratitude for our superlative teachers. Having lived and taught around the world and across our country, we feel incredibly lucky that our four children get to be educated here. It is time for the quality of our facilities to equal the quality of the education happening inside them – and just about every voter we know agrees with that.
Of course, everyone should understand that change is hard and that there are many, many factors to consider to preserve all that makes Falls Church unique. It is a delicate balance to develop and improve our city in a smart and thoughtful way while maintaining its charm and small town feel, and it’s going to take a lot of money and very careful planning to improve our school buildings in an economically feasible and responsible way. Fortunately, Falls Church is full of smart, educated, positive, and forward-thinking voters; we are very confident that if we elect the right candidates this fall, the right changes can and will happen to make our wonderful city and schools even better.
Kathleen and James Tysse
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