Updates from Letty – May 13, 2016

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 fairly light agenda for City Council’s regular meeting this week, but there are a lot of things to take note of for the coming week, including the Play Streets pilot this Saturday – like a block party for kids! Fingers crossed we get a break from the rain for the pilot and the other weekend activities!

What Happened This Week:

(1) City Council Meeting 

  • A number of proclamations and recognitions – including the student program EarthWatch, Youth Reps to Boards and Commissions, and Police Week.
  • The two key agenda items were the charter of the Streetscape Task Force and a FY16 budget amendment.
    • On the Streetscape Task Force (passed 7-0), which will be focused on the commercial corridors – much of the Council discussion was on the need to be inclusive in the make up of the Task Force so diverse perspectives are represented and adding a 4th goal of accessibility and safety, balanced with the desire to get the first phase completed by this fall. Personally, besides ensuring that our streetscape adds to the Little City’s branding and makes Falls Church distinguishable from neighboring jurisdictions, I believe we should also focus on the utility of our streetscape – it should be easy to get around! Consistent standards for setbacks and sidewalk widths, for example, promote walkability for people of all ages and economic vibrancy.
    • FY16 Budget Amendment – each spring, the City typically adopts a budget amendment that reflects changes that occurred since the budget was passed the previous year. This budget amendment included updates in new grants/donations, inter-department transfers, and changes in project budgets based on actual funds available. There was $410K in total new appropriations, of which $220K were from funded from new grants and donations and $190K were from use of restricted fund balance and excess debt proceeds. As $400K in new appropriations is a meaningful budget change, I asked the CFO if the money could be used elsewhere besides the proposed areas; the majority of uses were restricted based on the types of funding. The details of the budget amendment can be found here. First reading of this amendment passed 7-0.

(2) Transform 66 Project Community Meeting – in case you missed the public meetings this week, VDOT is proposing to widen I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Toll Road to Fairfax Drive as part of the broader “Transform 66” project that includes dynamic tolling beginning next year to reduce congestion. This 4 mile stretch is just outside of FCC borders, but clearly has an impact on our community. The public information meeting focused on the widening, including analysis plans on noise walls and environmental impact. Presentation materials are available here: http://inside.transform66.org/meetings/default.asp

(3) Besides meetings, there were also a number of community events that happened this week, including the FCCPS Celebration of Excellence ceremony, Homestretch’s annual benefit breakfast, and grand opening celebration of 301 West Broad (ie, Harris Teeter development). Check out photos from these events on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lettyhardifcc/

What’s Coming Up:

(1) Tomorrow, Saturday May 14 – Play Streets Pilot from 10 am – 2 pm, organized by one of our Boards and Commissions, the CACT (Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation), allows a neighborhood street to be closed to traffic so kids can play. The pilot play street event will be  on N. Virginia Ave. and Riley St. near the library. All kids are welcome!


(2) Next Monday May 16 City Council work session agenda includes: discussion on specimen/historic trees with the Tree Commission, an update on Development Services fees, and a closed session on the impact of the new Virginia proffer legislation that was passed by the General Assembly in their recent session. Note that Tradition Place has been moved off Monday’s agenda at the request of staff to review the updates to the proposal and neighborhood feedback received.

(3) Next Tuesday May 17 – Senior Forum from 130 – 3 pm, Community Center – if you are a senior citizen or person with disabilities, there will be a free event about resources available to you. Refreshments, prizes, and a raffle!

(4) Next Friday May 20 is Bike to Work Day – The City is proud to be an official Pit Stop for the 2016 Bike to Work Day. Join over 17,000 area commuters for a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun, and healthy way to get to work. The City of Falls Church will host one of 83 pit stops throughout the DC area at the W&OD and Little Falls intersection.

(5) SAVE THE DATE –  Saturday, June 18, 2016 – as I previously wrote, coming out of the City Council retreat on our goals and workplan in February, we discussed the need on a visioning session for the City. The community visioning meeting will be on Saturday, June 18. This will be a great opportunity to discuss a clear vision for what our City should be, the kinds of economic development we seek, and the values and priorities important to the future of the City. We hope it will be the first step in building broad community support for a shared vision.