Engage the Community to Plan and Approve Projects that Make Sense.
New development must be managed to protect our residential neighborhoods, facilitate mobility, and provide housing and economic opportunities for all. Growth should not clog our roads nor price-out residents. In Virginia, these choices are guided by the county or town’s adopted comprehensive plan.
Walter supports revising the comprehensive plan for Reston in 2020 to protect our quality of life. He also supports improving the process for citizen engagement to ensure that citizens are full partners in the planning and development review process.
Specifically, the following areas in the Fairfax County comprehensive plan need expedited review in 2020:
- Reston Village Center Redevelopment. Instead of the high-rises currently allowed in the adopted comprehensive plan, village centers such as South Lakes and North Point should undergo a rigorous community engagement process that reflects the needs and desires of the community before any density is assumed or development plans approved.
- Reston’s population growth. Should Reston’s population in 30 years be 90,000 or 120,000 in 40 years, as suggested previously by the Coalition for a Planned Reston? This number should come from a community-wide discussion and a plan for balancing development and infrastructure, and the result should be reflected in the comprehensive plan.
- Inclusivity and affordable housing. New county plan language on retaining existing affordable housing is sorely needed. The best approach may not always be redevelopment at three to four times current densities. Our kids growing up here should be able to afford to live here in the future.
- Recognition of heritage sites. The county should provide opportunities to identify historically significant structures and locations not already listed in the Comprehensive Plan for preservation.
- Better planning for transportation infrastructure projects. The list of future transportation and other public facility improvements need to be phased in and regularly updated.
In the Hunter Mill District we also need more effective citizen engagement in the development review process. Citizens and citizens groups should have the time and ability to review draft proffered commitments before having to make a recommendation whether a rezoning should be approved or not. Citizens should also be able to visualize approved and planned development so that commitments and entitlements granted by Fairfax County are public and transparent.
Above all Fairfax County needs a viable growth plan and process that provides long-term assurance to all parties.
Let’s make sure growth occurs where it is supported by transportation infrastructure, and where driving a car is an option and not a requirement.