News Briefs: March 30th – April 5th

F.C. Council Appoints New City Attorney: Sally Gillette Hankins

At their meeting this Monday, the Falls Church City Council appointed Sally Gillette Hankins as City Attorney. The position was vacated in the fall of 2022 when Carol McCoskrie retired.

“I am thrilled to be joining the City of Falls Church, and becoming part of this wonderful community,” said Gillette Hankins. “This opportunity is a perfect fit for my 25 years of combined experience in municipal law and urban planning. I am honored to have been selected for this role, and I look forward to the rewarding work ahead.”

Gillette Hankins’s experience includes town attorney for Purcellville, Virginia, where she negotiated an annexation agreement that resolved a revenue issue and developed and executed a program that generated one-time revenue of $900,000 through the sale of environmental credits. She previously served as Associate Attorney with Reed Smith LLP, where she focused on land use entitlements, development documents, and appeals.

Gillette Hankins graduated from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin, where she also completed masters-level coursework in community and regional planning.

Gillette Hankins will start her position in mid-April. She will be taking over from Brian J. Lubkeman, who had been serving on an interim basis following the departure of McCoskrie.

Pandemic-Era Outdoor Dining Option Continued by F.C. Council

By a unanimous vote Monday, the Falls Church City Council approved changes to City ordinances dealing with restaurant outdoor dining regulations to codify most of the special changes adopted during the pandemic to enable local restaurants to offer alternatives to indoor dining for patrons. 

Among other things, the new provisions allow for administrative reductions in required parking to accommodate outdoor dining.

Memoir Reveals Doobie Brothers’ Drummer from F.C.

A recent memoir by the two founders the Doobie Brothers reveals that the original drummer, John Hartman, was born in Falls Church. Authors Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons, both Californians who in 1971 formed what became a Hall of Fame, genre-crossing supergroup, spoke highly of Hartman in their 2022 joint history “Long Train Runnin’.”

“John Hartman was such a badass and ultimate showman,” wrote Simmons, calling him “funny” and “clever” and “gracious.” Johnston credits Hartman, who finished high school in California, with help on album cover design. After several drummers had rotated in (often two at once) and played on the major hits, Hartman left in 1979. The group announced that he died on December 29, 2021, at the age of 71. — Charlie Clark

F.C. Council Votes to Appoint 8 to City Volunteer Sports

Monday the Falls Church City Council voted to appoint three and reappoint five to City boards and commissions.

Reappointments included: Robert Young to the Economic Development Authority, Amy Crumpton and Tim Roche to the Urban Forestry Commission, Brian Bowdon to the Human Services Advisory Council, and Stuart Whitaker to the Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation.

City Employees of Year for 2020, 2021 Feted by Council

The City of Falls Church’s Employees of the Year for 2020 and 2021 were feted by the F.C. City Council Monday, first at a special reception and then during the Council meeting itself. Emergency Management Coordinator Joe Carter and Deputy City Clerk Veronica Prince were so honored for the years of 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Carter was named for his work coordinating the City’s overall response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and Prince for her work handling the duties of her office through the pandemic and during a period of extraordinary commercial development in the City, in particular the West End project. 

Fairfax Board Votes to Incentivize Affordable Housing

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a new policy last week to offer incentives to developers to replace the affordable housing lost to new development. 

In effect, if a developer brings units to a site previously affordable for those making less than the area median income, the developer would be offered incentives to include an equal number of affordable units in the new development. Those incentives could include additional density, building height and financial assistance.