Updates from Letty – February 16, 2018

Blog posts are the personal views of Letty Hardi and not official statements or records on behalf of the Falls Church City Council

Dear Friends,

It was a jam-packed week, so a lot to share.

First if you’ll allow me a brief departure from typical Falls Church news: if you too are mourning, disheartened, or furious about our country’s gun violence epidemic – one opportunity to channel your thoughts is a town hall on Saturday morning with Delegate Marcus Simon. We’re at the midpoint of the 2018 General Assembly session so Marcus will share updates on legislation, and it’s likely gun control will be discussed. Did you know that in 2018, 81 bills to address gun violence were introduced in the General Assembly, but despite the overwhelming change in makeup of the House, each bill has been defeated?

Back to Falls Church-specific news. This is a catch up week with lots of links to recent happenings and reading materials. If you’ve been trying to keep track of multiple RFPs (yes, there are multiple), town halls, budget meetings, etc. I’ve tried to collect all of the information to read + the opportunities for you to share your input and ask questions. It will be a busy spring, indeed.

Finally, I’ve scheduled two office hours this spring – Sunday, April 1 at 9 am and Monday, April 16 at 9 am if you’d like to see me in person. I hope you find this week’s update helpful – always happy to answer questions and hear your thoughts.



What Happened This Week:

(1) City Council Retreat – a big thanks to the Boards & Commission members and staff who joined us last Saturday for our biennial Council retreat and planning session. It was a good opportunity to come together and collectively think about our priorities for the next two years and how we can work together towards those goals. (Favorite activity from Saturday that you may try out for personal planning: come up with newspaper headlines you’d like to see in 2 years as a way to set concrete goals.) So what comes next? Staff will take the priorities and create a draft work plan to be discussed in our March work sessions, with a final adoption of the work plan at our March 26 meeting.

(2) Affordable Housing – Champion Award, Housing Policy Work Group, and Op-Ed

It was a big week for housing. The Housing Commission presented the Executive Director of Homestretch Christopher Fay with its first housing champion award. Also in our Council meeting, we chartered a work group to review and update the City’s housing policy, including our affordable housing requirements in new developments. And as the liaison to the Housing Commission, I couldn’t be happier to see housing, as it relates to affordability and diversity, be a shared priority discussed in our retreat last weekend. Expect more to come in the area of housing this year.

And if you haven’t read it yet, take a look at the next installment in the series of op-eds/articles in the FCNP about housing. This week’s feature is an inspiring article written by Christopher Fay.

chris fay sprague award

(3) RFPs Galore

School RFPs

  • In response to the initial/conceptual RFP for a new GMHS issued last November, 5 bidders have responded. The 5 proposals are available for review online, with the downselected 3 firms to be announced next week by the School Board.
  • The next phase – the detailed design RFP – was reviewed by the School Board this week and is scheduled to be approved at their meeting next Tuesday. If you have input, you should provide your feedback before next Tuesday to the School Board.

West Falls Church Economic Development (aka the 10 acres)

  • In our meeting this week, we reviewed the draft of the conceptual RFP for the West Falls Church project. We will continue discussion at our work session next week and authorize it at our Feb 26 meeting, with a release date planned for March 1 and a due date for responses on May 1.
  • As part of the marketing effort underway, a landing page for the project has been launched in addition to other marketing materials like brochures and posters. Go check it out and you might learn an interesting, new reason why we think Falls Church is great. There have also been much behind the scenes effort to drive up awareness in the development community about the 10 acre opportunity, with the ultimate goal of maximizing interest, bids, and competitiveness of the RFP process.

(4) ICYMI – in case you missed it…

Video from January Town Hall about the GMHS/WFC Project (see schedule below for the rest of the “Sunday Series” town halls)

Have you voted for next year’s car decal? Voting only open until next Thursday Feb 22!

Cherry Hill Playground has reopened! Official grand opening to happen this spring.

City of Falls Church voted #1 place to live in the US


What’s Coming Up: 

FY19 budget items in blue

Looking Ahead

  • April 1 – Letty’s Office Hours (9 am)
  • April 8 – “Sunday Series” Town Hall Meeting (GMHS/WFC + FY19 Budget)
  • April 16 – Letty’s Office Hours (9 am)
  • April 23 – City Council Meeting (FY19 Budget Adoption)