2024-06-18 8:31 AM

Editorial: In F.C., Make Growth Personal

Falls Church Mayor David Tarter once again cautioned his colleagues on the Falls Church City Council that he didn’t have any inside information, but that he felt it was important to underscore the fact that if either or both — Amazon and/or Apple — chose Northern Virginia for new secondary headquarter digs, one promising it will bring 50,000 new jobs and the other 20,000, then the spillover benefits to the City could be one the magnitude of something we’ve barely dreamed about.

Well folks, get dreaming! The reaction to the mega-development that is already going on all around us, mostly but not limited to next door Tysons (“America’s Next Great City” now its brand), should not be to recoil in fear and loathing. It is in the nature of urban development all around the globe now to see growth and densities that are downright breathtaking: tall, tall buildings, blindingly fast transit, and staggering population growth. Clearly, we are smack in the middle of such a phenomenon going up right around us.

The key is to be able to manage it, and keep it real. Here, the City of Falls Church being a manageable-sized jurisdiction offers an almost ridiculously efficient and accessible access to public decision-making opportunity. Everyone with a stake in the Little City (we’re growing to like that slogan better and better as everything else is getting bigger and bigger) has an amazingly efficient say-so, with the only condition being that ideas are good ones.

Among the many ways in which Falls Church ranks as the best in the U.S. in this or that, don’t forget the intelligence of the population, measured imperfectly as the second-highest percentage of adults with advanced college degrees of any jurisdiction in the U.S. This means we’re capable of making good choices, smart decisions that are in the true public interest. There’s a lot less chance here that big money, cloaked corporate greed-mongers, will get away with the kind of scams and deceptions that they can when they presume no one with eyes to see is paying attention. It can happen, but it shouldn’t, not if the public remains attentive. And if something foul is uncovered, there are a myriad of officials just a phone call, an email or a door knock away.

So, don’t stand off and hurl epithets about over-development and such. Not here. Get to a meeting, write a letter, engage, talk with your neighbors. Here are the parameters, as we see them: you are not going to stop growth, but you can make sure it never loses its human touch and purpose. You can make sure it sees and respects the needs of our kids, our pets, our love of the world in which we live.

In Falls Church, we can make sure that development is not just to line the pockets of the one-percent, but serves all of our needs. This we can do.


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