New Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn has plans to tackle a range of issues now that he’s joined the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Alcorn recently met with journalists and spokespeople to share his priorities for his first four-year term.
Among his major talking points at the Friday (Jan. 17) morning meeting, Alcorn said he wants to rethink the Reston Comprehensive Plan, increase affordable housing, evaluate the use of private open space, improve pedestrian safety and boost efforts to become carbon-neutral.
Of that list, he said affordable housing is at the top of his agenda. “My predecessor, Cathy Hudgins, was a leader on the board for affordable housing,” Alcorn said, adding that he plans to continue her legacy.
During his term, Alcorn said he will work together with other supervisors such as Dalia Palchik to increase the number of affordable housing units. He said he hopes to raise the number of units from 10-12% to around 25-30%.
“I’m thinking thousands of units,” he said.
For placement of new housing units, Alcorn suggested the transformation of old office parks and old commercial strip centers, which are no longer in use — a concept previously echoed by Palchik.
After the recent death of a person on Richmond Hwy, Alcorn said he will look into ways to assist with walkability and pedestrian safety in the region.
“The vast majority of our county was built around automobile mobility,” Alcorn said, adding that he thinks there are measures that can cut down on fatal traffic incidents — like evaluating historically problematic areas and installing safety measures such as suitable crosswalks.
He said a challenge will be working with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and other officials.
“Road designs are pretty much the call of VDOT,” Alcorn said. “I think there is a lot more we can do when it comes to engaging and coordinating with the public on pedestrian safety.”
Alcorn also brought forth the topic of privately owned public spaces, such as Reston Town Center.
“That’s a double-edged sword,” he said, adding that he generally supports privately owned land for public enjoyment since maintenance isn’t a burden on the governmental budget. However, he said he is worried about the strings attached to the use.
He brought up concerns about use for voter registration and licensing to take photos for occasions like weddings and various events, that might be at the discretion of the private entity which owned the land.
He said there is a lack of publically-owned space around Reston and the Hunter Mill District.
When it comes to the idea of carbon neutrality within the community, Alcorn said he wants to encourage homeowners’ use of solar panels and remove barriers for homeowners and private entities alike. Currently, he said there are some zoning ordinances that set homeowners back.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to see more ways that the county can help facilitate financing of residential renewable energy,” Alcorn said.
Around Reston, Alcorn said he already met with representatives from the Reston Association and hopes to form an alliance with the group.
“I would like to see Reston have an updated Comprehensive Plan to tie up some loose ends that have become apparent in the last few years,” Alcorn said.
Going forward, Alcorn said he wants to be an approachable representative for the Hunter Mill District and to help people get the most up-to-date information about their community.