Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors began its “LOBs” review on Tuesday, the first of many day-long budget meetings that will examine what the county does, and how well it is done. LOBs stands for Lines of Business, and the LOBs exercise is the first step in a multi-year process that will be both educational and policy-driven. Phase 1 is a review of the 390 Lines of Business that make up non-school and non-General Fund services, or about 47 percent of the General Fund (53 percent of the county’s General Fund goes to schools). Many county services are federally and state mandated, while others are designed to meet local needs in our very diverse county. The review will include metrics of service quality, efficiency, and outcomes for each Line of Business, and examine current and future trends and challenges.

Phase 2 will focus on action items recommended by the Board from Phase 1, and include work plans and timelines, as well as reports to the Board about project results. The LOBs and related documents are available on-line at http://www.fairfaxcounty,gov/budget/2016-lines-of-business.htm. Prior to each day’s presentations, the PowerPoint documents for that presentation will be made available on the website. An on-line survey is being developed to solicit additional ideas and input, and expected to go live in mid-February. Additionally, the Mason District Budget Town Meeting, which will feature County Executive Edward L. Long, Jr. and an update about the LOBs discussions, will be held on Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. LOBs meetings and the Mason District Budget Town Meeting are open to the public.

The long-deferred public hearing for the Spectrum proposal to redevelop vacant parcels along Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads drew nearly a dozen speakers, and many concessions by the developer to address neighbors’ concerns. Long vacant and derelict, the properties between Washington Drive and Charles Street reflect the challenge for commercial revitalization in our older areas – shallow lots, tightly fit between residences on one side and a major roadway on the other. Ultimately, a redesigned plan, fewer buildings, a wall and irrigated buffer, improved ingress and egress, and 35 proffers for the 2.72 acre site made for a workable proposal, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors. After the vote, I warned the applicant that “a lot of eyes are going to be on this project, so you better get it right.”

The planned move of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Service Center to Barcroft Plaza was a surprise when it was announced last fall, and so was the decision to cancel the move. The move was cancelled last week, and the DMV will remain in its Four Mile Run location in Arlington. The proposed site at Barcroft Plaza met the county’s legal requirements for zoning and parking, but opposition by residents and state elected officials eventually doomed the move. Significant renovations of the Barcroft Plaza space already had begun; no information has been made available about the cost to taxpayers for the cancellation.

 


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]