Updates from Letty – January 27, 2023

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,

We had a (rare) short City Council meeting this week, so I’ll take the opportunity to highlight upcoming items so you can stay informed and decide when/where to engage. Before budget season kicks off at the end of March for us, there’s a lot happening on the economic development front – and not just the cranes at both ends of town. Read on for the latest on what’s opening when and where, including when RiteAid will be demolished (very soon!) plus a schedule on the Transition Zone work that is currently with the Planning Commission.

A big congrats and thank you to Welcoming Falls Church who welcomed their first refugee family into the city, using a combination of public and private funds in their pilot Renting to Refugees initiative. Our generous community is amazing.

We’ll be back in session on February 6, and I’m happy to hear from you via email in the meantime.

Take care,

Upcoming Topics:

City Council Docket in Q1

  • Community survey planned for 2023 – Feb
  • Climate change plan (government & community actions) – Feb
  • Outdoor dining ordinance (see my post from last week) – Feb
  • Applications from the Byron and Pearson Square re: changes in allowable ground floor uses* – Feb/March
  • T Zones – March (take note of 2/9 League of Women Voters Town Hall and 2/15 Planning Commission action)

*In our 20 years of mixed use development, the City has negotiated restrictions for various uses for the ground floors of new buildings as part of the development process – so we could to bring in uses the community desired, commercial uses with higher fiscal returns, and more vibrant uses to activate the street. While our commercial vacancy rate is actually lower than the region’s, we have fielded applications from various property owners requesting more flexibility as some spaces have become difficult to fill. So far, the City Council has taken on these applications on a case by case basis. This is not unique to Falls Church – our neighbors are also allowing changes to their commercial uses, especially in the post-Covid world. Expect more discussion to come on how we should adapt to the changing realities of the office and retail market.

Economic Development News

West Falls updates – lots of cranes and buildings coming out of the ground! See timeline below when you can expect the various buildings to be open. if you’d like to join their regular community meetings with the developer team, you can email to request to be added to the distribution list.

ED Potpourri: Founders Row 2 (Rite Aid and cabinet/carpet store) to start demolition next week; new Little Gym opening soon at Birch and Broad which will be nearly 100% occupied, Halal grocery store to open at West End, more teaser photos for the former Falls Church Florist/Inns of Virginia rehab.

More in our slides from our January Economic Development Committee (EDC) Meeting, which include leasing/opening updates at Founders Row. Also a good reminder to sign up for the monthly Economic Development newsletter from the city.

What’s Coming Up:

Monday, February 6 – City Council Work Session*

Thursday, February 9 (730 pm, Meridian HS Library & FCC-TV) – League of Women Voters Town Hall on T Zones

Monday, February 13 – City Council Meeting*

Monday, February 27 – City Council Meeting*

*every Monday (except 5th Mondays and holidays) at 7:30 pm. You can access the agenda and livestream here, including recordings of past meetings