Updates from Letty – May 27, 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,

As we head into the long weekend and the start of summer, I’m keeping my report outs from meetings brief. However, I do want to call out several important upcoming efforts/events so make sure you read the “What’s Coming Up” section: a community visioning session on June 18th and two regional topics – Metro’s SafeTrack plan starting next week and how you can support bringing Bike Share to Falls Church. For those of you looking to make an impact in the Little City without a bigger commitment like joining a board or commission or an elected office – showing up to the community visioning session and writing in about bike share are both efforts where individual voices matter a lot!

Have a safe and fun long weekend.



What Happened This Week:

(1) City Council Meeting 

  • There were several important proclamations including Brain Tumor Awareness Month, Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, and National Gun Violence Awareness Day for June 2nd. We welcomed a crowd of orange visitors in the audience in support of the latter; I hope you’ll read the proclamation and consider joining the community in wearing orange next Thursday, June 2nd.
  • We then passed 7-0 the 2nd reading for a FY16 budget amendment that was reviewed at the last Council meeting and I previously wrote about the amendment.
  • We also passed 6-1 the 1st reading of the Development Fees ordinance to update development permits and public works fees. The fees have not been updated in several years; the goals of the changes are to better align our fee structure with neighboring counties and to move to 100% cost recovery.
    • Letty’s quick thoughts: I voted in support of the fee increases because I believe it’s important that our fees are competitive with our neighbors (while not pricing ourselves out) and believe it’s more equitable to tie costs of development back to the source of development, rather than be borne by the general tax payer out of the general fund. The City Manager reported that if passed, the new fees will go into effect July 2016 and we’ll know the revenue impacts in time to craft the FY18 budget at the end of this year.
    • In response to my request, I expect we’ll have estimated fiscal impact of these fee changes before the 2nd reading vote in a few weeks. The details of the proposed fees are described in the ordinance and in this presentation.

What’s Coming Up:

(1) Memorial Day Festivities

  • This is our biggest community event of the year and if you’re in town, I hope to see you on Monday at the Fun Run at 9 am, Veteran’s Ceremony at 11 am, or the Parade at 2 pm. There is also live music and many kids activities at Cherry Hill all day.
  • If you live in town, I suggest non-car modes of transportation to get to all of the festivities. Help remind visitors to NOT park in private parking lots with posted “No Parking – Towing Enforced” signs over Memorial Day weekend or any time of the year. See these great parking tips.
  • During the parade, City Council will be handing out these buttons – come find me and get a button to show your #FallsChurch pride!
    photo of 3 Falls Church badges

(2) Next City Council Meeting – with Memorial Day, City Council will not be meeting on Monday. We are expected to have a joint session with the School Board on Thursday morning, June 2nd to discuss school facility planning, including the GMHS/MEH campus project. Our next City Council meeting will be a work session on Monday, June 6th – where we’ll be expected to discuss the comprehensive agreement for the Miller House, Library referendum, revitalization districts, and 604 S. Oak Street (Fellows property) future land use map.

(3) Metro’s SafeTrack – starts in 1 week!

As I wrote about last week, if you are a Metro rider, start preparing for the 1st surge event on the Orange line that will begin next week, on Saturday, June 4. The surge will involve continuous single tracking between East Falls Church and Ballston stations and will last 13 days. West of Ballston, trains will only run every 18 minutes. Besides single tracking, Metro will close at midnight instead of 3 am on weekends starting June 3. Starting planning for reduced capacity and longer travel times with other modes of transportation! Our City webpage includes a good list of resources and ideas for alternative transportation options: www.fallschurchva.gov/SafeTrack

(4) Bring Bike Share to Falls Church

Calling all biking advocates (or if you’d just like to see less cars around town)! As you may know, the City has applied for funds for capital and operating expenses for bike share stations across town. A strong showing of public support will be important for getting the applications across the finish line. You can help by sending in an email to these two regional transportation bodies or attending their meetings next week in Fairfax (see attached flier).

If you’d like to learn more about biking in the City, the City’s Bicycle Master Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in 2015, is a good resource. That plan identifies several bike-share corridors in the City. The corridors are designed to extend the region of regional transportation facility by better connecting the City to nearby Metro stations. These stations will be part of the growing bike-share network in Washington, D.C., Arlington County, City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Montgomery County.

(5) City Visioning Session – Saturday, June 18th 9-12 at The Falls Church

What do you think The Little City should look like and feel like as we look ahead 25 years into the future? Join your neighbors, City officials, staff, and guest speakers for a presentation and workshop to help update the City’s Vision. There will be other opportunities to provide your thoughts, but if you’re passionate about shaping the future of the City, make time to attend this first one.