Happy New Year! Two thousand and sixteen will be an interesting year, with presidential politics and economic recovery providing a lot of momentum for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe was in Fairfax last week to participate in signing a joint agreement between the INOVA Center for Personalized Health and George Mason University to advance personalized medical translational research. The collaboration is expected to lead to new patient cures and treatments for a variety of diseases, as well as new diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers and devices. The partnership will attract researchers and experts from across the country, creating new jobs and companies that will make Northern Virginia a destination for health research and services. Governor McAuliffe noted that biomedical research is “a pillar of the New Virginia Economy.”
Economic vitality also was a focus of chairman Sharon Bulova’s remarks during the inauguration of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on December 15. The board’s Strategic Plan to Facilitate Economic Success, adopted earlier this year, calls for diversifying our economy, improving the land use development process, investing in infrastructure, and creating more “destination spots” where people enjoy spending their time. Transportation, including transit and improving I-66 inside and outside the Beltway, is crucial to the plan, and will be an important issue for the new board in 2016.
The chairman noted that businesses want to locate where their employees can live in vibrant communities, with top-tier schools. She said that Fairfax County consistently has “increased its local share of school funding in order to maintain the excellence our community expects.” Additional K-12 education funding from the Commonwealth is needed, an effort that is supported by Governor McAuliffe in his proposed biennial budget. “Our overarching priority during 2016 will be funding for the education of our children,” Chairman Bulova said.
In further remarks, chairman Bulova said “I am proud to lead a county that appreciates many cultures and celebrates the diversity of all those who live here. In light of recent racial and cultural tensions rising across the country, let us be grateful we live in a county that celebrates our differences and demonstrates acceptance and compassion for others. These simple values set Fairfax County apart as a fantastic place to live, work, play and raise a family. This board is committed to maintaining and nurturing this exceptional culture.” Lots of heads nodded in agreement as she finished.
The southeast quadrant in Bailey’s Crossroads has been considered for redevelopment for many years. The county’s Comprehensive Plan recommends that the property on Columbia Pike, near Radley Acura, may be appropriate for retail/office/residential mixed use development, including a road realignment to connect Seminary Road with Columbia Pike. A developer is working on a rezoning application for a residential mid-rise apartment development, a future county office building, and a connection to Seminary Road. Prior to the filing of the rezoning application, the Board of Supervisors must approve a Real Estate Exchange Agreement (land swap), as well as purchase of land for a road alignment. I will host a community information meeting about the Real Estate Exchange Agreement and purchase of property on Thursday, January 7, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., in the main community room of the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]