The Falls Church City Council was split on the decision on how to move forward on the complicated but potentially lucrative 36-acre so-called “campus redevelopment project” at its meeting Monday night, voting 4-3 to delay a decision for at least two more weeks. The Council and its School Board counterparts (who were equally divided in a 3-3 vote on the subject last week) is faced with either proceeding with the current Private Public Educational Partnership with two bidders to build or renovate a new high school and develop 10 acres of the land for commercial use, or to terminate that process and “decouple” the educational and commercial development components of the land in a more traditional approach to achieving both components.
The vote to delay, which came over the opposition of Mayor David Tarter and Council colleagues Karen Oliver and Letty Hardi, puts the ball back in the School Board’s court, which could have a second crack at the issue in a meeting Tuesday night. The School Board is the technical owner of the property, although the terms of the current partnership stipulate that if either the Council or School Board drop out of that process, then it is nullified.”We’re all in this together. We don’t want to dictate to the School Board but want to work with them,” said Council member Phil Duncan, who voted for the temporarily delay on the word of City Manager Wyatt Shields who said that with two more weeks, significant new data concerning alternative time lines for moving forward could be available.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the story incorrectly listed David Snyder as one of three councilmembers in opposition to the vote to delay. It has been corrected to show Letty Hardi as the other member, joining David Tarter and Karen Oliver, in opposition to the delay.