Updates from Letty – February 9, 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,

While I was out of town for this week’s work City Council work session, I’ve read the documents and watched the video to catch up and recapped my take on the highlights below (you, too, can easily watch past City Council and Planning Commission meetings online). Two topics of note this week – in our work session, we had a mid year check in on the City’s finances and updates on the proposed Broad and Washington project which will be back in front of us in April for a final vote.

Coming up this weekend – we’ll be gathering for our biennial planning “retreat”. The meeting, which will include our boards and commissions in the planning, is open to the public and at Mary Ellen Henderson from 9 am – 2 pm on Saturday. Also for your calendars – for those following the GMHS Campus/West Falls Church project, the Environmental Sustainability Council (one of our many boards & commissions) is hosting a panel discussion on sustainable development on February 15th, 7 pm.

Finally, as I’ve mentioned our boards & commissions several times already, consider volunteering to fill one of our current vacancies. If you have expertise or passion in learning about how the city works – everything from parks to human services to transportation to the arts – our B&Cs are a low commitment, high reward way to get involved.

As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.



What Happened This Week (Past Two) Weeks:

City Council Work Session

(1) Mid Year Financial Report

Overall, FY18 revenues are slightly ahead of projections, driven by strong personal property taxes (more cars in the City) and meals tax growth ahead of projections and growth over FY17 numbers. That said, we’re still lagging on license/permit revenues by $200K, driven primarily by the delay in Founders Row (formerly known as Mason Row), sales tax slightly behind target and below FY17 numbers, and less traffic violation fines.

Turning our attention to the coming budget season – the City Manager will present the FY19 budget on March 12th.

(2) Broad & Washington Project

Since our first reading vote last year, our boards and commissions have been reviewing the Broad & Washington project and submitting their feedback and comments. (As a recap, the project is a mixed use building with 295 apartments, anchored with a ~100K sq foot class A office building and ground floor restaurant and retail.) The fiscal impact analysis has also been updated, with net annual fiscal impact of $300K-400K per acre being comparable to slightly above the fiscal benefit mixed use projects we’ve seen in the City to date (average is $300K/acre). Overall, the net, net annual fiscal impact is $660K-900K (“net, net” subtracts the expected service costs and also takes into the account the current yield on the site.) Fiscal impact numbers are largely dependent on service costs which are in turn driven by new pupil estimates. Based on the latest student enrollment data, the projections are for 40 new students to be generated by the project, with a more conservative 60 students (50% above projections) used in the fiscal modeling. The current proposed unit mix:

33 – studios
145 – 1 bedroom
20 – 1 bedroom + den
82 – 2 bedrooms
15 – 2 bedrooms + den

The applicant has since responded with updates to the board & commission and Council comments, and we expect a revised submission at the end of Feb, before our final vote/2nd reading on April 9th.

City Council Richmond/General Assembly Lobbying Day – while we had a week off from Council meetings last week, several of us traveled to Richmond for our annual day to advocate for Falls Church and meet with our representatives.

2018 GA visit
L to R: Council Member Phil Duncan, Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly, Delegate Marcus Simon, me


What’s Coming Up:

Tomorrow – Saturday, February 10 – City Council Planning Retreat

Monday, February 12 – City Council Meeting

Tuesday, February 20 – City Council Work Session

Sunday, February 25 – Town Hall Meeting


GMHS and West Falls Church Economic Development Timelines 

  • School Milestones:
    • January 17, 2018  – Initial RFP Proposals Due
    • February 13, 2018 – Short List of Proposals Determined
    • February 22, 2018 – Detailed RFP issued to 3 finalists
    • May 17, 2018  – Detailed Proposals Due
    • July 2018 – Select Design Team / PPEA Contract Approval
    • July 2018 – June 2019 – School Design & Engineering
    • July 2019 – School Construction Begins
    • July 2021 – School Construction Complete
  • Economic Development Milestones:
    • February 2018 – Comp Plan Revisions, Marketing of 10 acres, Culminating in Issuance of RFQ for Economic Development
    • May 2018 – Short List of Respondents Determined
    • May 2018 – Bond #1 for Architecture & Engineering ($10M)
    • June 2018 – RFP for Economic Development
    • Oct 2018 – Select Top Ranked Respondent & Negotiations Commence
    • May 2019 –  Sign Master Development Agreement, followed by land and site approvals for development
    • June 2019 – Bond #2 for Construction ($60M)
    • Sept 2020 – Bond #3 for Construction ($50M)
    • Fall 2021 – Commercial Development Begins on former high school site