Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Happy New Year! If holiday card sentiments are accurate, everyone is happy to see 2020 fade into history, and they hold great hopes for 2021. In one card, a friend included a small note that I wish I had gotten earlier, as it forms a lovely basis for a column, and an outlook for the New Year. Her little note was on plain white paper, without attribute to an author, but a Google check shows a handwritten poem, “Everything Is Not Cancelled,” in a plastic bag, tacked to a tree in Australia. The poem reminds us of the many positives that were easy to forget in the chaos of the past year, and almost all of them are free!

Briefly, some of the reminders include:

• Sunshine is not cancelled

• Love is not cancelled

• Reading is not cancelled

• Naps (?) are not cancelled

•Imagination is not cancelled (sadly, lying also is not cancelled)

• Music and dancing are not cancelled

• Kindness and conversations are not cancelled

• Hope is not cancelled

• Patience (a lot of that is needed these days) is not cancelled

When a crisis hits, and there have been many in the past year, the expectation today often is for an instant resolution, like a television script that presents a crime, solves it, and brings the perpetrator to justice, all in an hour’s time. So, when western wildfires burn for days or weeks, or floods destroy businesses, or a blizzard takes down power lines, or a pandemic takes a toll on our communities, it can be difficult to see beyond the immediate disruption and damage. The burden seems heavy, and the future clouded. That’s when the values intrinsic to us as human beings need to be remembered — kindness, hope, love and patience — and if you want to take a nap, or dance in the sunshine, go for it! Life is not cancelled.

Fairfax County’s Zoning Ordinance was last overhauled in the late 1970s. During the intervening four decades, changes have been approved by the Board of Supervisors, but navigating the thousands of pages of information is challenging, to say the least. In 2017, the Board authorized the Zoning Modernization Project (zMOD) to reformat, update, modernize land uses, and correct gaps and inconsistencies in the existing ordinance. It was a daunting task, involving years of staff and consultant work, as well as at least 64 public meetings, including five in Mason District, for discussion of the phased drafts. A final 659-page draft was released in November, and a public hearing before the Planning Commission is scheduled for Jan. 28. The Board of Supervisors public hearing is scheduled for March 9.

I will be hosting a Virtual Town Meeting about zMOD for Mason District residents on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Staff from the Zoning Administration will provide a presentation, followed by a question-and-answer period. If you would like to attend, please RSVP no later than Tuesday, Jan. 12, by emailing [email protected], or calling 703-256-7717, so that a meeting link or call-in number can be provided to you.
Stay safe and healthy in 2021, and wear your mask!

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