Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpDiscovery of the Zika virus in North America has prompted a lot of discussion, and sometimes fear, as more information about the disease, how it is spread, and potentially serious health consequences as a result of contracting Zika, becomes available. What’s the likelihood of Zika in my neighborhood? How can I protect my family from Zika? What else do I need to know? In conjunction with the Fairfax County Health Department, I am hosting a Zika Information Town Hall meeting on Monday, July 18, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Representatives from the Health Department will be available to discuss Zika, what is known about the virus, and what you can do to prevent it, and other mosquito-borne diseases. Jot down July 18 on your calendar, and plan to attend.

The grand re-opening of The Lincolnian Senior Residences was celebrated last Friday at a well-attended ceremony in the Senior Center of the facility. The Lincolnian Senior Residences were built in 1989 to house low-income elderly residents in both independent (26 small apartments) and assisted living (26 double-occupancy rooms) facilities. During the course of regular inspections and service calls over time, the county determined that the original HVAC infrastructure, installed in 1989, should be upgraded to current codes and efficiencies. Additionally, a new roof, safety upgrades, accessibility modifications, and interior renovations were scheduled so that the Senior Center and the Adult Day Health Center could be addressed at the same time. During the 10 months of the actual construction, the independent residents were relocated to a nearby hotel and the assisted living residents were moved to the renovated third floor units. The project took longer than originally anticipated, but it did come in under budget! An open house for the Senior Center is anticipated later this summer or fall.

The new proffer bill enacted by the Virginia General Assembly (Virginia Code Section 15.2-2303.4) earlier this year will restrict, significantly, the ability of a locality even to mention proffers in discussions about residential developments with constituents, developers and, especially, local land use committees. The Mason District Land Use Committee, citizen volunteers who, monthly, review land use applications and make advisory recommendations to the Planning Commissioner, may consider impacts of a proposed development, but no discussion of proffers will be permitted. A statement will be read by the committee chairman in advance of each residential or mixed land use case before the committee, to ensure that nothing in the discussion is misconstrued. The traditional free-ranging discussions between community members and developers will be a thing of the past, since the new law states that any discussion of residential proffers may lead to significant liability for Fairfax County and other Virginia counties. Some areas of the county are considered exempt from the new law, but the chilling effect of a law on one’s ability to ask questions or make suggestions is antithetical to the state where the Bill of Rights was born. Happy Fourth of July!

 


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

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