Updates from Letty – September 14, 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,

It looks like the largest impacts of Hurricane Florence will miss us. Given how wet it’s been, if you are concerned about flooding or would like to get prepared (hurricane season runs ’til end of November), here are helpful preparation tips.

The good news is that the community events this weekend will mostly continue as planned. Your City Council members will be ribbon cutting the official opening of the renovated Cherry Hill Playground tomorrow at 9 am, then at the Fall Festival‘s City info booth from 10 am – 4 pm. Come say hello or ask us questions. And for the third year now, City Council will be participating as a team in the Falls Church Education Foundation’s Run for the Schools on Sunday morning. If you haven’t registered, it’s not too late – you can sign up in person at Road Runner Sports today from 4-8 pm or at the Fall Festival on Saturday. You’ll be able to spot your City Council members and city staff in these t-shirts!

We had a relatively short meeting this week, but did cover a few important topics – an overview of the two detailed proposals for the 10 acre West Falls Church project, we proclaimed October 8 at Indigenous People’s Day (we’re the second city in Virginia to recognize it as a holiday), and we advanced the affordable living policy. Also – it’s the time of year when I receive a FAQ about this year’s school enrollment data, so read on…

See you out there!


PS – Reminder: come have a cup of coffee with me at my office hours next Friday, Sept 21 at 9 am at The Happy Tart, which also coincides with PARK(ing) Day.


What Happened This Week:

(1) Good stuff – we made a number of important proclamations, including September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Suicide Prevention Month. I also advocated for us to recognize Indigenous People’s Day on October 8th, in addition to the state recognized holiday of Columbus Day. (Side note: if you haven’t read The Oatmeal comic’s take on Christopher Columbus, google it. It was eye-opening and certainly different than the history I learned in school.)

(2) West Falls Church Economic Development – if you haven’t read the two proposals on the 10 acre project, we received a short briefing from staff this week. The executive summaries and actual documents are still worth a read.

The evaluation committee’s work is underway, with interviews with the two proposers later this month. They will then share their recommendations with us and we’ll deliberate and make a decision in October. To set expectations, due to procurement laws and to protect the city’s negotiating position, I expect some of this phase to be held in closed sessions. We still want to hear from the community – you can continue to write to us or make public comment during any of our regular meetings.

After a master developer is chosen and we enter into the “interim agreement” – that is the beginning, not the end of the process. That marks the beginning of more extensive negotiations and will feel similar to other land use/development projects with public discussion, hearings, and referrals to boards and commissions.

(3) What’s this year’s school enrollment? We traditionally review student enrollment numbers after the “official” data is collected on Sept 30. The School Board reviewed initial numbers this week (see here). The interesting and surprising data is that enrollment appears to be down (2654 students), ie lower than last year’s (2679 students) but we’ll await the official numbers. We also tend to see enrollment figures fluctuate throughout the year.

The other popular FAQ this time of year I get is about the “students by housing type chart” (last year’s is here). After the enrollment data is collected, the schools and general government staff collaborate to identify the housing type for all ~2700 students in the district so we can continue to refine our ratios, which are used in fiscal analysis for development projects. I expect we’ll have the 2018 chart done later this year.

(4) Hillwood & Annandale – After a wind storm earlier in the year damaged the signal poles at Hillwood and Annandale, we’ve had a temporary traffic signal installed, which has not been ideal. We approved the cost of the replacement, so you should see the intersection fixed in the coming months and hopefully before Aldi opens!


What’s Coming Up: