Updates from Letty – November 18, 2016

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all of the positive comments in response to my note last week and the updated version that ran as a letter to the editor in the FCNP yesterday. It was uplifting to hear from so many that you’re also looking for concrete steps to productively respond to the past 10 days. I am ready to pick myself up and practice what I preach. Tomorrow, the boys and I will be delivering early Thanksgiving meals to a few Falls Church families and look forward to supporting other organizations in the coming months.

And mark your calendars – we will be declaring MLK Jr day on January 16th as a city-wide day of service. Commit now to spend part of your day off working on a service project, followed by a community march from Tinner Hill and ceremony to honor the teachings of Dr. King. I’ve moved the list of volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved in local government into a separate blog post that you can reference. If you know of an effort or local organization that needs more awareness or support, I’d be glad to add it. More to come.

Read on to find out about the first ever Falls Church-Arlington-Alexandria governing body meeting (we made the Washington Post!), how the GMHS campus work is going behind the scenes, and an updated Vision Statement. Also – two survey opportunities related to transportation – one specific to Falls Church’s walkability and one regional survey, which is an important tool for a small jurisdiction like us to get high participation so our our voices are heard and transportation dollars can be allocated our way.

As always, feel free to reach out with questions or comments.

What Happened This Week:

Joint Meeting with Arlington County Board & Alexandria City Council 

Alexandria hosted our first ever meeting with all three localities this week. We covered transportation, next generation 911 technology, Airbnb regulations. The overarching theme of the evening was “together we are stronger.” With common values, goals, and challenges – it was great to come together and share ideas for regional collaboration. See Washington Post article about our meeting.

Arl Alex FCC mtg

GMHS Campus Project – Working Group Convenes

Since our last joint City Council-School Board meeting at the beginning of the month, the smaller Working Group (Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly, School Board Vice Chair John Lawrence, Erin Gill, and I are the designated representatives) has met weekly for several long work sessions. Today we looked at capacity of the current building, projected enrollment figures, maintenance issues like HVAC and roof failures and potential costs to fix those, and a deeper look at a renovation estimate than I’ve seen to date. We’ll be bringing those topics to the joint session on Monday, which is open to the public.
What’s Coming Up:

  • Walkability Survey deadline has been extended until this Sunday, 11/20 – the CACT (Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation) has created a survey for pedestrians to complete while they’re strolling around town – specifically the Broad and Washington corridors. This data will be used to make recommendations to us on City Council. So if you’re heading to the Farmers Market or running errands on foot between now and Sunday, choose a block you’ll be walking and take this survey on your phone or tablet on the go (not meant to be done based on memory): https://www.fallschurchva.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=414
  • NVTA (Northern Virginia Transportation Authority) Survey open until 11/28 – your input helps shape transportation planning for Northern Virginia for the next 25 years. This is a good way for us to get funding for multi-modal solutions to balance out the “build more roads” strategy advocated in the outer suburbs.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RF8NXNC
  • Mon, 11/21 – City Council work session (regular and joint with School Board) – topics to include: joint discussion with SB on campus plan; City Hall project; Visioning work.

For those who had feedback on the last draft of the Vision statement – below is an updated one based on input we’ve heard:

In the year 2040, the City of Falls Church is a vibrant, walkable, small city within the Northern Virginia region. Falls Church keeps pace with regional growth, while strengthening its identity as a special place. The City invests in its schools, neighborhoods, and natural environment. The City celebrates its history, community character, and cultural diversity. A robust economy and the continual rejuvenation of commercial areas support the City’s high quality of life.

  • Mon 11/28 – City Council meeting – this is looking like a packed meeting agenda. Currently planned topics include: 1-66 project briefing, FY17 budget amendment, commercial development tax incentives, legislative program (meant to guide our lobbying efforts in advance of the Virginia General Assembly convening in 2017), and cottage zoning.
  • Mon, 12/5 – City Council Work Session
  • Mon, 12/12 – City Council meeting