Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpThe Bailey’s Community Shelter will remain in Bailey’s Crossroads. It will not move to a temporary location on the grounds of the Lincolnia Senior Center. On September 14, Fairfax County acquired property on Seminary Road, not far from the existing facility, that will be the site of a new permanent shelter. On that same day, AvalonBay, the county’s partner in the Southeast Quadrant redevelopment project, terminated the Real Estate Exchange Agreement (REEA) that was approved by the Board of Supervisors in February, effectively withdrawing from the project. The County remains fully committed to the revitalization of this area, and is pursuing other ways to proceed with redevelopment. Any new options, however, will entail a new development timeline that makes it feasible to relocate the shelter just once – to its permanent location – saving the county some $2.5 million in relocation costs.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board approved my motion to overrule the Planning Commission’s action this summer on what is called a 2232 application. Under Virginia Code, the Planning Commission determined that the temporary site met the criteria of location, character, and extent, and is substantially in accord with the provision of the adopted Comprehensive Plan for the area. With the acquisition of property for a permanent site, and the termination of the REEA, the county no longer needs the temporary site. The Planning Commission’s decision to approve the 2232 application was entirely correct, but the withdrawal renders that decision moot.

The new permanent site on Seminary Road will be subject to the same stringent land use community process – possible Comprehensive Plan Amendment and subsequent rezoning – that other land use applications in Mason District undergo. The new permanent facility is proposed to include transitional housing units in addition to the traditional dorm-like shelter bed space. The new shelter is contemplated to open in the fall of 2019. The Bailey’s Community Shelter is one of four shelters – Patrick Henry (Seven Corners), Embry Rucker (Reston), Eleanor Kennedy (Mount Vernon) are the other three – proposed for replacement or renovation, using some of the human services bond funds that voters will be asked to approve this November. The county’s shelters are all at least 30 years old, and full to capacity every night of the week throughout the year. Also on the ballot are bond questions for transportation and parks. More about those referenda will be included in future columns.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors authorized public hearings for expansion of the Culmore and Springdale Residential Permit Parking Districts (RPPDs) and a Through Truck Restriction (TTR) for the Courtland Park area of Bailey’s Crossroads. The RPPD hearings will be on Tuesday, October 18, at 4 p.m.; the TTR public hearing is scheduled for the same day, at 4:30 p.m. Both programs are part of the Residential Traffic Administration Program (RTAP) under the auspices of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, and reflect a lot of community work among neighbors to address parking and traffic in residential neighborhoods.

 


 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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