Sully District Council of Citizens Associations
Minutes of Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, June 25, 1997
Carol Hawn called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m. and introduced the guest speaker for the evening, the Honorable Katherine K. "Kate" Hanley, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who began by noting that her day was one that emphasizes how exciting local government can be. Upon returning to her office from a meeting on how to fund a new art magnet school, there were messages from the media concerning a number of different items: a Washington Post writer wanted to know the Board's plans for the huge Lorton acreage if the prison closes, while another Post writer inquired about the Board of Trade presentation on regional transportation and ISTEA reauthorization. Two Fairfax Journal reporters left messages, the first regarding the court decision regarding Fairfax County's 'care of premises' or grass ordinance. The Department of Environmental Management ordered Public Works to mow the plaintiff's lawn since the grass exceeded twelve (12) inches in height. The second Journal reporter inquired about gun policy. Finally, there was a conference call with the White House concerning new EPA air pollution standards and how to comply with them. Chairman Hanley's concern about the latter has to do with the "transport" of air pollution across jurisdictions. For Chairman Hanley, this sampling of her day shows that local government truly is the service provider of last resort for constituents.
Now that Robert O'Neill has been selected as the new County Executive, and begins work on August 4, the Board is turning to the cable television franchise reauthorization. Media General will be given the right-of-first refusal, and while the contract is not exclusive, any additional companies interested in providing the service must use the infrastructure currently in place. This is a complicated process as technology is continually changing and is expected to do so for the next 15 years.
One of the most controversial issues currently before the Board is the deer ordinance. At this time, the Board has voted to not take any action. The Board recently heard a proposal about splitting the 703 area code or adding an area code overlay district for newly assigned numbers. While AT and T and Bell Atlantic disagree on the best solution for this problem, the Board believes that Fairfax County should have a singular area code.
The Board continues to work on reorganizing the county governmental structure as revenues are still constrained. As noted recently in The Washington Post, real estate revenue is a bit under projections. Therefore, it is important to move, adjust, position, and reassign such services as police, fire, and libraries to achieve the best service.
Fairfax County is ahead of the rest of the country as one of the first jurisdictions to reform welfare. Chairman Hanley is cautious about its success at this time; it will be one or two years before we know whether reform is truly successful. The economy is healthy and unemployment is low, both factors that aid in a smooth transition. Not all women with young children are required to take part in the new measures. A number of clients have been placed in jobs as a result of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Lowell Smith, Birch Pond HOA, noted that his community is 'land-locked' since the Board of Supervisors closed Milan Lane. The association would like the Board to revisit the idea of reopening the street. Chairman Hanley noted that, to her recollection, the street closure was an arrangement with Greenbriar Civic Association, not the church. She would be happy to revisit the issue and explore available options. Supervisor Frey should also be contacted about this. With additional communities being developed, there will be greater competition for the single available service road.
Larry Tessier, Franklin Glen, inquired about the Board's stance on the Western Bypass. Chairman Hanley stated that the Board supports 'generally' the position to use the current transmission line easements as the right-of-way for the bypass, which is not located within Fairfax County. The bypass would create a western access to Dulles Airport, necessary as the airport increases its importance as a freight distribution center. Currently, most freight has to travel south via Route 28. If it is not constructed, Route 15 in Loudoun County will become a main road for transport.
Tom McDonald, Buckner Forest, returned to the deer issue and asked how the county calculates the number of Lyme Disease cases, recorded at 140 so far this year. He knows of one report that the Health Department refused to acknowledge as Lyme Disease. Chairman Hanley noted that the Board has not agreed that it is a problem, although over 1,000 are hit by vehicles in a year. Approximately 800 were killed by hunters during the same period. There is a true imbalance arising as there are no natural predators left to limit the population. The Board will have to do something about the problem.
Lowell Smith noted that $60,000 in vegetation was planted along the Parkway after negotiations with the state. Can ISTEA funds be augmented as they are usually not enough. County residents are losing money on homes as roads are constructed. There is some disagreement whether Congress is going to reauthorize ISTEA later this year. If Congress agrees with the dynamics, it may be reauthorized on a one-year basis. If not adopted, traffic construction may be left in a holding pattern. One area impacted by this indecision is the Fort Belvoir Engineering Proving Grounds (EPG), currently owned by the Army. There was an effort to turn the property over to a private developer; this plan was pulled back as there was not enough office interest. Chairman Hanley does not support efforts costing taxpayers. Completing the Parkway is complicated by the EPG as it will be constructed through it. The Parkway from Baron Cameron to Route 7 is slowly being completed. The EPG raises land use issues similar to those of Lorton.
Ralph Rodina, Alden Glen, mentioned that the recently finished Fairfax Fair was, again, a nightmare for his community. Both the bands and fireworks were very loud. The berm does not keep people out of their neighborhood and the snow fencing only helps a bit. Although the community is given some free passes, there are not enough to go around. In addition, one part-time security guard to patrol 22 acres is not enough. Chairman Hanley asked Ralph to contact her office; she asked whether more snow fences would help and will see about more passes.
Jim Hart, Heritage Forest, mentioned that Delegate McClure was unable to answer questions at last month's Sully District Council concerning the National Rifle Association signs on I-66 and Route 50. Who granted permission to erect them? Shouldn't the sign top and bottom be brown, like that of the Newseum sign in Rosslyn, and not blue on top? Carol Hawn mentioned that she spoke with Supervisor Frey yesterday about the sign which was approved by Governor Allen. Chairman Hanley noted that the Board wanted to erect "Welcome to Fairfax County" signs near Dulles Airport, and finally received permission from the Airports Authority to do so; however, in the end could not decide what languages to include. Carol Hawn will find out the details of the Braddock District sign at Braddock and Shirley Gate Roads.
With regard to mass transit and the recent Section 8 housing decisions made by the Board, Chairman Hanley stated that there is a lack of transit services all over the county; people of all classes suffer due to transit shortages. Community investment in transit is good. While there is a transit-dependent population throughout the county needing to live near their employment, few of the residents reside in Section 8 homes. There needs to be a greater understanding of Section 8 housing, established to support affordable housing efforts, and to disperse recipients so as to not concentrate them in certain areas. Recipients hold entry level jobs; vouchers are provided for use in the private ownership sector. The rent support is a percentage of income or rent. Supervisors Kauffman and Hyland believe that Section 8 housing should be dispersed throughout the county, not concentrated in the Richmond Highway corridor. This is, in part, an income issue, as well as an accessibility issue. The county did apply for 100 Section 8 certificates for disabled individuals (there is a range of categories of housing). There are already Section 8 units throughout the entire county, including Sully District. It is best that units are located near employment. Many of the complaints about Section 8 are landlord issues, not tenant issues.
Future transit needs to be addressed throughout the county. A regional mobility study is attempting to determine how and where to run the bus system throughout the area. One idea is to increase the number of feeder buses, such as the Fairfax Connector. Before we can have an adequate bus system, however, we need adequate roads for buses to use. Proposals also include express and HOV lanes on the Beltway. It is terrible to cut bus services simply for air quality.
Tom McDonald asked a 'high level' question regarding the parking of school buses at the landfill on West Ox Road. Chairman Hanley will check on additional screening at the site along I-66.
Is the county required to cut grass that exceeds the care of premises ordinance? The ordinance requires that front yards on lots less than one acre must be maintained. Vacant units do not need to be mowed.
Lowell Smith inquired about the transferring of parole/probation to officers in other Virginia jurisdictions. For example, if an individual moves, can they find an officer in their new home willing to take the case. Chairman Hanley asked him to contact her office.
Will something be done about the interchange at West Ox Road, Route 29, and the Parkway? Last year, 35 accidents occurred there, making it the most dangerous intersection in the county. The Council's consensus is that there is not enough signage at the interchange. The interchange was designed as it is because of a lack of available space. The reconstruction of the Route 28/29 interchange will be dramatic. It will be a half clover-leaf, as there is not space for a full clover-leaf. Some regional funds will be used for right-of-way acquisition; funds are still needed for construction. With no further questions, Carol Hawn thanked Chairman Hanley for taking the time to talk with the Council.
As of May 30, 1997, the Sully District Council has a cash-on-hand balance of $1,695.59.
Land Use and Transportation Committee
Thompson Road - On June 23, 1997, the Board of Supervisors voted 8-0-2 to deny the out-of-turn plan amendment regarding the Thompson Road property.
Cable Television Focus Group - At its June meeting, the Land Use and Transportation Committee took part in a focus group set up throughout the county regarding the cable television franchise reauthorization. Results will be incorporated into the reauthorization.
Annual Plan Review Task Force - The Task Force is underway (they were meeting this evening). A number of Sully District Council member communities are taking part in the Task Force. The Trinity Center nomination will be reviewed at the July 23, 1997 meeting. Demographic studies are showing a nationwide concern with overretailing. The question is what to do with 'big box' facilities that close down, such as the nearby Bob's Store. This is something to consider with the Trinity Center proposal. The developer has not submitted any applications with the county; in essence, they are looking to change the balance between office and retail. There is also a proposal for a 90,000 square foot fitness facility. We will ask the developers to make a presentation to the Land Use and Transportation Committee when they have finalized plan applications.
Carole Korzilius, North Lakes Village, asked about the private recreation facility at the intersection of I-66 and Stringfellow Road. How 'short-term' is the facility going to be, and what type of fee will be charged? Bill Ritchie noted that there are no public recreation facilities planned on the east side of Route 28. There is a large population near the proposed facility that could walk to it.
The lattice tower originally proposed for Bull Run Regional Park is being moved to property near the Luck Stone quarry. The move is due, in part, to the fact that a trail to the tower would have been required if it were erected in the Park.
Carol Hawn mentioned that the voting precinct boundary changes, mentioned at a Sully District Council meeting earlier this year, will not take place. The boundary realignment will occur in early 1998; there will be an educational push during the year.
A garden dedication will take place on Saturday, June 28, 1997 at 2:00 p.m. at the Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria.
Carol Hawn stated that there is a partial slate for officer positions. She will agree to continue as President, Jeff Parnes has agreed to continue as First Vice-President, and Al Linch has agreed to serve as Second Vice-President. Carol will contact Larry Faulkner to see whether he wishes to continue as Treasurer. If not, Jeanne Pujanauski has agreed to take the position. The Secretary position is still open. Jim Hart made a motion that those named be elected as Sully District Council Executive Officers for 1997-98. Judith Heisinger seconded. Motion passed unanimously. The next meeting of the Sully District Council will be Wednesday, August 27, 1997, at 7:30 p.m. in Conference Room 7 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway. The Council will not meet in July. With no other business, the meeting adjourned at 9:31 p.m.
Carol A. Hawn, President
Sully District Council of Citizens Associations