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Town Hall on Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Heading to Herndon

This month marks the beginning of Fairfax County’s fiscal year 2020 budget process. Locals in the Hunter Mill District can attend a town hall in Herndon on the first Saturday of March to get more information on the proposed budget plan.

Projections expect the county’s revenue to grow by 2.9 percent, generating more than $156 million in additional revenue for FY 2020, according to the county.

The town hall is set to take place from 8:30-11 a.m. on March 2 at Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center (2709 West Ox Road).

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, County Executive Bryan Hill, County and Fairfax County Public Schools staff will give the presentations, according to Hudgins’ newsletter.

After coffee and a conversation starting at 8:30 a.m., the elected officials and county staff will be available to answer questions.

The next steps in the budget process include posting the proposed tax rates, followed by public hearings in April held by the county’s Board of Supervisors.

The FY 2020 fiscal year begins on July 1.

Image via Fairfax County

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Planning Commission Suggests County Board Deny PRC Proposal

Fairfax County’s Planning Commission finally weighed in on a controversial zoning ordinance proposal for Reston by recommending that the county’s Board of Supervisors deny the specific proposal, yet take steps to resolve PRC issues with the use of a taskforce.

The zoning ordinance would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons to any number up to 15, along with allowing residential development at a density of up to 70 dwelling units per acre in certain areas.

Vice Chairman and At-Large Commissioner James Hart, the main person leading the proposal, gave a lengthy speech before the commission voted and approved his motions on the proposal. “We are close to the PRC cap, but the level of pushback we have received has confirmed to me it’s the wrong way to do this amendment,” Hart said. “We owe it to the citizens to try.”

Hart added that inflexibility around the PRC cap “is highly problematic.” His vision for resolving the PRC issue involves recoupling the planned number of village centers and the density cap.

The Planning Commission approved all of Hart’s recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, which include directing the board to:

  • deny the zoning ordinance proposal at this time
  • withdraw authorization
  • direct staff to do a Comprehensive Plan amendment
  • establish taskforce with representatives from the community and industry to work on recommending a plan amendment to the board and Planning Commission

If the Board of Supervisors follows the Planning Commission’s recommendations, Hart said he sees two options for future development once the cap is hit on PRC: if applications want to be zoned as PRC, the staff can ask for incremental increases to the PRC cap on a case-by-case review with analysis of each application or applications will zone out of PRC and will need to come in as similar categories — such as Planned Residential Mixed-Use (PRM).

“Either way, those applications can continue,” Hart said.

Hart also tried to tackle the controversy surrounding the proposal, saying that “an unusual amount of misinformation and confusion” from freelance experts helped fuel the concerns. “All of that antidevelopment frustration was focused on this particular amendment,” he said.

He took the time to debunk some of that misinformation he had heard, which included saying that the proposal would not increase the density for Reston overall. He also pushed back on criticisms that said there are no plans for infrastructure to support the proposed PRC changes, reminding locals that because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, the process of securing infrastructure requires an ongoing basis. “It’s rude to claim that nothing is being done,” he said.

Hart said that he wants to see locals stay engaged in the land use process, which he argued keeps the process grounded in reality. He also thanked the citizen groups and individuals who testified at public hearings and have sent in comments on the proposal.

The PRC decisi0n was the last one the commission tackled before the meeting ended shortly before 9 p.m. with a round of applause from the audience.

Photo via Planning Commission

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After ‘Difficult’ Decision to Retire, Hudgins Shares Priorities for Year

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins used her newsletter this month to give a glimpse into her “difficult decision” behind her decision to not run for re-election to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999. Her retirement announcement came during the Board of Supervisors meeting last month, adding to the list of supervisors who have also said they are leaving.

Now in her 20th year on the board, Hudgins used the newsletter as an opportunity to share her priorities for a “vigorous” year, including renewable energy and Silver Line Phase 2’s progress.

Here is her full note:

Dear Hunter Mill Friends,

On Jan. 22, during the first Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting in 2019, I was struck by the thought: I am beginning my 20th year as Hunter Mill Supervisor with the mixed emotions of excitement and joy in serving the community and the reality that even good things must end. At that moment, I felt compelled to speak and share my intention not to seek reelection to be the Hunter Mill District representative. Believe me it was a difficult decision and an equally difficult announcement. However, I do intend to have a vigorous 20th year and continue to enjoy the kind of work that we’ve been able to do with this board.

One thing that will greatly contribute to a vigorous year is an improved public transit system, connecting the Metrorail system to Dulles International Airport and points in Loudoun County. I am excited to share that the first trains rolled along the Silver Line Phase 2 tracks around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The test train traveled from Wiehle-Reston Station to Innovation Station at a speed of about 15 mph! There is an interesting story behind that spectacular speed. Because the third rail is not yet electrified for this test, the trains were pushed by a small diesel locomotive. Once the rail polishing phase — necessary to remove rust that can accumulate on unused rails — is complete, additional trains, equipped for Safe-Braking and Control-Line Communications trials, will begin the “dynamic testing” process. This is required before the rail line begins commercial operation.

This testing work, is a significant milestone and will continue for several months before public service commences in 2020.

Another area of significant relevance and impact is the environment. In 2017, the BOS adopted an Environmental Vision “to promote and encourage energy efficiency and conservation efforts and renewable energy initiatives by county employees, employers and residents.” In 2018, the board adopted an Energy Strategy for county operations with the goal of
reducing “fossil fuel consumption through the application of innovative concepts & technologies.” In 2019, the BOS is raising awareness of its achievements already made — two Solarize campaigns conducting free on-site solar assessments that led solar panel installations, totaling 398 kW — and the county commitment to a third campaign in the spring of 2019. With the assistance of the SolSmart program, we will do just that. SolSmart is a national designation program for solar friendly communities, their commitments, and their accomplishments.

Moreover, Fairfax County is committed to improve solar market conditions, making it faster, easier and more affordable for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems. Currently, the county is considering the creation of a local Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. Depending on the ordinance language, a C-PACE loan
could finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on industrial, commercial, agricultural, multi-family and non-profit/religious properties. So as you can surmise, it will be another busy year.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge that representing the Hunter Mill District continues to be challenging and thrilling and I am looking forward to a dynamic 2019 indeed. It is an ongoing honor to serve and I fully intend to continue being engaged with the work of the community.

— Cathy Hudgins

File photo

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Hudgins Calls for More Streetlights in Rapidly Urbanizing Reston

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says there’s a clear need around Reston for new streetlights.

Hudgins believes residents are currently dissuaded from taking pedestrian paths through Reston because the sidewalks are poorly lit, she said during a discussion about new lighting across Fairfax County in an Environmental Committee Meeting today (Tuesday).

“There are dark skies in parts of Reston, but now there is a greater demand for light,” said Hudgins. “Now, people are walking [around Reston] and there are no lights.”

The topic of streetlights in Reston emerged from a discussion of Fairfax County’s arrangement with Dominion Energy to begin replacing existing lights with LEDs. Fairfax County will be responsible for the costs to convert functioning streetlights, though any that are damaged or fail prematurely will be converted to LED at no cost to the county.

“If the poles get hit by trucks, that’s on Dominion,” said Kambiz Agazi, environmental and energy coordinator for Fairfax County. “I’m not suggesting we go out and hit these poles, but if a snow plow hits the poles, Dominion will cover the cost of replacing them.”

While Agazi said the county would reduce $1.4 million in annual costs if all of Fairfax’s 58,000 streetlights were replaced with LEDs, some of that savings would be offset by the cost of adding new streetlights throughout Reston. Hudgins said more research needs to be done on how many lights would be needed and what advantages it would bring to the community.

Streetlights are not a new topic of discussion in Reston. In 2017, the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee expressed concerns that increased lighting could have an adverse effect on wildlife.

Agazi said staff will begin working on a report on the possibility of adding streetlights to Reston.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Meeting Seeks Input on Proposed Assisted Living Facility in Great Falls

Great Falls residents will be able to get their questions about a proposed assisted living facility answered at a community meeting tomorrow (Feb. 12).

The 62-unit assisted living facility would open in 2020 at 1131 Walker Road and be run by IntegraCare, according to the Great Falls Citizen Association (GFCA). The site is above the Leesburg Pike and close to Colvin Run Mill.

IntegraCare is seeking a special exception to the county’s zoning laws. For the exception to be granted, the plan must satisfy several zoning requirements, such as showing that the application aligns with the Comprehensive Plan. Public hearings are also required before the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust is holding the meeting in coordination with citizens association to give locals in the area the opportunity to ask questions and express their opinions on the proposal. County staff from the Fairfax County Department of Zoning Evaluation will be on hand to answer questions.

“Before deciding whether to approve deny the application, the Board of Supervisors will consider whether the proposed use is compatible with existing or proposed developments in the area,” according to Foust’s newsletter to his constituents, adding that the board “may impose conditions and restrictions to address any negative impacts.”

The community meeting, which will include a presentation by the applicant on revisions to their proposal, will start at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Great Falls Elementary School (701 Walker Road).

County staff reviewed the application and suggested approval of the special exception in the staff report released last week. The Planning Commission will consider the proposal at its Feb. 20 meeting.

Image via Google Maps, rendering via Great Falls Citizen Association

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Board of Supervisors to Hold Hearing on Proposed Sign Changes

Updated at 11:35 a.m. — Corrects description of food truck proposal. 

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors is set to hold a public hearing on sign changes.

The proposed changes outlined for the sign ordinance would include new provisions for the regulation of temporary signs and the prohibition of off-site signs.

They would also establish ew regulations for electronic display signs, along with more uniform regulation of signs in all zoning districts.

Last Wednesday (Jan. 30), the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted 12-0 to support the adoption of the zoning ordinance.

The board is also set to vote on a proposed change to the Fairfax County Code that would allow two new locations for food truck vending.

 

The Herndon location is on Dulles Technology Drive near the Sunrise Valley Drive just south of the Dulles Toll Road, while the second location would be located in the Mount Vernon area.

Photo via Fairfax County Government/Facebook

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Food Truck Vending Zone May Soon Arrive in Herndon Area

Updated at 11:35 a.m. on Feb. 5 — Corrects description of food truck proposal. 

After some success in Tysons, Fairfax County’s “mobile food vending zone” program could soon be expanding to the Herndon area.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a proposed change to the Fairfax County Code that would allow two new locations for food truck vending at its meeting next Tuesday (Feb. 5).

The Herndon location is on Dulles Technology Drive near the Sunrise Valley Drive just south of the Dulles Toll Road. Another vending zone would be located in the Mount Vernon area.

Food trucks in the vending zones are required to meet the county’s permitting requirements. There is also a special agreement required to set up in the vending zones, which will be marked by signs. The cost to install new signs at both locations is estimated at $400.

Each vendor can only set up for a maximum of four hours any given day at any given location.

According to the agreement, food vending operations are prohibited from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and before 9 a.m. on Sundays or federal holidays. The vendors are also responsible for making sure the areas around their truck are free of trash.

File photo

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Reston Lawyer Vies for Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Seat

Laurie Tyler Dodd, a lawyer in Reston, is the third Democratic candidate to enter the race for the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Dodd is running on a campaign to maintain low density outside the Reston transit corridor, according to a Facebook post she wrote on Jan. 17. Reston’s density has recently been the focus of a contentious zoning proposal that would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community district from 13 persons to any number up to 15.

Other major issues she wants to address include:

  • preserving Vienna’s “small town feeling”
  • protecting the environment
  • ensuring the district is “welcoming to all and supportive of its families and business”

The Washington Post reported that Dodd joined the race as a Democrat before Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins announced on Jan. 22 that she won’t seek re-election this year.

Dodd currently is an attorney primarily practicing in Loudoun and Fairfax counties, according to her LinkedIn. She represents the best interests of children, addressing issues such as custody, visitation and foster care planning.

She has lived in Reston for 23 years.

Two Democratic candidates have already joined the race for her seat, Reston Now previously reported.

Shyamali Hauth, a United States Air Force veteran and community advocate, has her campaign focused on transportation, affordable housing, construction practices, budgets, security and education systems. Parker Messick, a recent graduate of Roanoke College, is running on a platform to “stop big development.”

The election for the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place on Nov. 5.

Photo via Laurie Tyler Dodd/Facebook

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Friday Morning Notes

Family yoga — From 10:30-11 a.m. at the Reston Regional Library, families can enjoy yoga along with stories and songs with a children’s yoga instructor. The event is meant for children ages 2 to 4. Families are encouraged to bring a mat or blanket. [Fairfax County]

Herndon High School 2019 Cabaret — This year’s annual performance will include family-favorites from “Come From Away,” “Matilda,” “Waitress” and “Kinky Boots.” The show starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Herndon High School Auditorium. Tickets cost $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. [Herndon High School]

New case study unveils history behind “One Fairfax” — The Center for the Study of Social Policy’s 15-page study was released on Jan. 22 to present an overview of the decades-long process and the milestones that led to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board adopting the “One Fairfax” policy in November 2017. [Fairfax County]

Reston care merger — Reston’s Clinical Care Options has merged with Greenwich, Conn.-based Practicing Clinicians Exchange. [citybizlist]

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Board of Supervisors Ends Prickly, Decades-Long Debate Over Pet Hedgehogs

Despite strong opposition to hedgehogs as suitable pets, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved adding them to the list of commonly accepted pets, along with chinchillas and hermit crabs.

Yesterday’s decision ends a nearly 20-year-long push to legalize the prickly animals as pets.

Strong concerns about pet owners’ abilities to care for them dominated the public testimony before the supervisors voted.

While hedgehogs seem trendy, that doesn’t mean they are ideal pets, Christine Anderson, a member of the county’s Animal Services Advisory Commission, said. She then listed several reasons, including their risk of spreading salmonella, their high maintenance care and potential animal abandonment.

Others argued that it’s not so much the animals, but rather the humans who are the main problem.

Chris Schindler, the vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance in D.C., argued that exotic animals often suffer from poor care, highlighting a disturbing news report about 15 hedgehogs found in a trash can in Ocean Beach, Calif.

After the novelty of the impulse purchase wears off, people often don’t like hedgehogs’ noisy, aggressive and destructive behaviors, he said.

“It’s easy to think ‘What’s the harm?'” Schindler said. “When wild species are kept as pets, it’s the animals who suffer the most.”

While several supervisors acknowledged the potential risks for hedgehogs and humans, ultimately they argued that people armed with resources and education can make the right pet ownership decisions.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said she cautiously supports the proposal. “This has come to us quite a few times, and with that in mind, maybe it is time,” she said, adding that she wants to the county to monitor the impact of the change.

Hedgehogs first popped up in a proposal to add them to the list of commonly accepted pets in 2001, Casey Judge, a senior assistant to the county’s zoning administrator, said in a presentation. Ever since then, the county has continued to receive inquiries from residents about them, she said.

Fairfax County now joins Loudoun County with allowing all three pets. Meanwhile, Arlington County only allows chinchillas and hedgehogs.

Fairfax City and Falls Church either do not allow or are unclear about the three animals.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals that require space, exercise and room temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they do not start hibernating, according to the Hedgehog Welfare Society. Judge said that care for chinchillas is similar to rabbits, while care for hedgehogs is similar to ferrets.

Two students argued in the animals’ defense, saying that other pets, such as lizards, also require special care and that their pet care costs are comparable to dogs.

The student from Longfellow Middle School said that breeders ensure that future owners have the training and resource materials needed to help them take care of hedgehogs.

In response to Gina Marie Lynch, from the Human Society of Fairfax County, saying that hedgehogs breed like rabbits, the student said that hedgehogs will fight if left in the same space. “If you don’t want babies, don’t keep a male and female together.”

The student from Sandburg Middle School pointed out that the county won’t have to worry about escaped or abandoned hedgehogs becoming an invasive species. Since African pygmy hedgehogs can’t hibernate, they would not survive the cold weather.

While the three animals are unique pets that require special care, Chairman Sharon Bulova said that she does not expect everyone to go out and buy them.

“I frankly don’t think that this action will open up a floodgate of many, many situations where people will adopt a hedgehog or a chinchilla, but some people will,” Bulova said.

Images via Planning Commission and Kelly W.

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins to Retire After Term Ends

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said today (Jan. 22) that she will not seek re-election this year.

The announcement came shortly after 11:30 a.m. during the Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Her planned retirement adds to list of supervisors who have also said they are leaving.

Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999.

Her colleagues on the board took to Twitter shortly after the announcement to share the news and praise her work.

Chairman Sharon Bulova, who announced her plans to retire in December, tweeted that Hudgins “will be sincerely missed when she retires from the Board at the end of 2019.”

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity posted — and then deleted — a tweet saying, “At today’s Board meeting, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has announced that she will not seek re-election. It was a pleasure serving with her and I wish her the best on her future endeavors.” A few minutes later, he wrote, “At today’s Board meeting, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has announced that she will not seek re-election.”

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was the chairman before Bulova, tweeted that Hudgins has been a “tireless advocate for the Hunter Mill District,” pointing to her work on affordable housing.

Two Democratic candidates have already joined the race for her seat, Reston Now previously reported.

Shyamali Hauth, a United States Air Force veteran and community advocate, has her campaign focused on transportation, affordable housing, construction practices, budgets, security and education systems. Parker Messick, a recent graduate of Roanoke College, is running on a platform to “stop big development.”

The election for the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place on Nov. 5.

File photo

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‘Time Stands Still’ Auditions and More This Weekend in Reston

There’s plenty to do around Reston this weekend in addition to the many events for Reston’s 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.

If you’re looking to avoid the cold weather, plenty of indoor activities are scheduled for this weekend.

Tomorrow (Jan. 19)

Stuff the Bus (9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) —  Head Herndon’s Fox Mill Giant (2551 John Milton Drive) to support Helping Hungry Kids as a part of “Stuff the Bus,” which takes place at various locations around the county to benefit local nonprofit food pantries. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova will join the event at 11 a.m. to assist with the food collection and also discuss the county’s resources for people impacted by the federal government shutdown.

Fantastic Films at Reston: A Wrinkle in Time (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) — The Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) plans to show the 2018 movie, which is based on the classic book by Madeleine L’Engle, with warm cocoa.

“Time Stands Still” auditions (1-4 p.m.) — The Reston Community Players is looking for people to come audition for a show that examines the lives of one couple making a living out of documenting the horrors of war. The auditions, which will be held at 266 Sunset Park Drive in Herndon, will consist of cold readings provided that day. Auditions will also be held at the same time and place on Sunday.

Chess club (1-2:30 p.m.) — Locals can learn chess from experienced instructors at the Herndon Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street).

Sunday (Jan. 20)

Crys Matthews performance (2 p.m.) — Matthews, a singer-songwriter from Herndon, is scheduled to perform her songs at CenterStage at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets cost $15 for Reston residents.

Winter Restaurant Week ends (all day) — Sunday is the last day for locals to enjoy prix fixe menus at the four Reston restaurants that are participating in Winter Restaurant Week.

Photo via Reston Community Players/Facebook

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Planning Commission to Tackle Controversial Zoning Proposal

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a workshop tonight on a proposed zoning amendment opposed by several local groups.

The proposal would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons up to 15.

While county planning officials say the change is needed to put into action Reston’s Master Plan, which allows for future growth over the next 40 years, critics argue it is rushed through and under-explained. Several opponents reaffirmed since the New Year why they think the proposal should get axed.

Reston Association’s Board of Directors, which opposes the proposal, held their own workshop last week on Jan. 2 where the board considered various options to try and prevent the county from passing the amendment. The homeowners’ association does not have legal jurisdiction in the matter, yet the board voted to send a letter to tell the county that RA membership, which includes 21,000 residential units, need a prominent voice in the decision.

Less than a week later on Tuesday (Jan. 8) RA President Andy Sigle, on behalf of the Board of Directors, sent a letter to the Fairfax County Planning Commission, reiterating RA’s opposition to the proposed PRC zoning amendment. The letter outlined initiatives the association could take to potentially stop the adoption of the amendment and strongly urged the commission to ask the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to not approve the amendment.

“As we have often stated, our primary basis for our opposition stems from the repeated failure of Fairfax County’s staff to provide a thorough and convincing explanation of the need for the proposed ordinance amendment at this time,” Sigle wrote in the letter.

RA’s position is that any potential change to the density cap must be done concurrently with the next upcoming review of the Reston Master Plan. Sigle said the Reston Association “has no choice but to vigorously pursue any and all options available to us to inform and engage its members, including, but not limited to, a ballot initiative adjunct to its upcoming elections as well as a strong and substantial social media campaign about the proposed PRC zoning amendment.”

Reston 2020 wrote in a post on Monday (Jan. 7) that Reston would get crowded if the proposal is approved. “At the same time, the county has not funded plans to meet Reston’s transportation, school, park and other needs associated with this growth, even as required by its own county policies,” the post says, adding that the “massive unplanned imbalance between growth and infrastructure will be a dramatic loss of quality of life in Reston.”

Also on the same day, Coalition for a Planned Reston encouraged locals to write to the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission and also to wear yellow clothing to the upcoming Planning Commission public hearing scheduled for Jan. 23.

Dennis K. Hays, the president of the Reston Citizens Association, outlined 10 reasons to leave the cap alone in a letter to the editor posted on Reston Now last week. (Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.)

Amid the many concerned voices, the proposal has still found supporters.

On Jan. 2, 17 people, including Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Ingrao and Reston Master Plan Study Task Force Chair Patricia Nicoson, sent a six-page letter to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins supporting the Reston PRC District Residential Density Zoning Ordinance Amendment.

They wrote the following in the letter:

The intent of this letter is not to prejudge or determine what if any changes may be appropriate to address specific issues discussed in the extensive community meetings the county pursued in recent months. But we think it [is] important that there be greater understanding and appreciation for what is actually contained in the Comprehensive Plan and the rationales that underlie those decisions. We all appreciate that growth is not universally accepted and is not without challenge, but the decision to embrace very significant growth, with an accompanying process and plan for necessary infrastructure development, was incorporated into the Reston Comprehensive Plan as the result of an extensive and participatory community process that had the widespread support of community representatives intimately engaged in that process…

Reducing or disincentivizing residential growth is at odds with the comprehensive vision the Task Force so powerfully (and almost unanimously) endorsed. These issues were exhaustively discussed throughout an arduous, inclusive, five-year Task Force and Village Center process; revisiting and endlessly debating these issues will create uncertainty about the Plan’s stability and risks halting needed development or creating uneven or disjointed results, which we don’t think is in Reston’s interests. There will be numerous opportunities for community input as this process evolves over the next several decades, and individual projects will be subject to multiple approvals and community input before they can proceed. For all these reasons, we support County Staff’s pending administrative recommendations, which we think are broadly consistent with implementation of the vision adopted in the Comprehensive Plan.

The letter included eight points “that are sometimes missing from the ongoing dialogue about staff’s proposals,” arguing that adding significant new residential development is central to the Task Force recommendations and essential to ensure balanced growth. The letter also said that build-out — along with “phased-in infrastructure” — of the plan will take decades and that the community’s ability to participate throughout that process is protected.

Hudgins has supported moving forward the zoning proposal’s consideration. Meanwhile, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and Braddock District Supervisor John Cook have expressed frustration about the process.

The Planning Commission workshop takes place tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Board Auditorium of the Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax, Va. The workshop will be for the commissioners’ questions and discussion only and will not be an opportunity for public input.

People can watch it remotely via online streaming.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ public hearing is set for March 5. The Planning Commission must say “yea” or “nay” to the proposal by March 15, according to county rules.

File photo

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Second Democrat Joins Race for Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Seat

Shyamali Hauth is joining the race to unseat Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

Hauth, a United States Air Force veteran and community advocate, announced her candidacy last night (Jan. 9) at the Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee meeting.

Hauth is focused on construction practices, budgets, security and education systems, according to her website. She wants to tackle transportation issues and affordable housing with SMART housing solutions.

“Our local government is where the rubber meets the road,” Hauth said in the press release. “This is where we make change that affects each of us on a daily basis. I want Fairfax County, and specifically the Hunter Mill District, to be the leading edge of a progressive vision of community.”

Other major issues she wants to address include:

  • public education
  • environmental issues
  • securing funding for social services
  • developing public-private partnerships that help businesses
  • keeping a low unemployment rate

She lives in Reston with her husband, who is also an Air Force veteran. Two of their four children attended Fairfax County public schools, according to her bio.

She has worked with Rescue Reston to preserve the Reston National Golf Course from development. She founded her own group called Hear Our Voice-Reston (HOV-R) where she led 70 people who worked to elect progressive candidates in Virginia in 2017. The group then joined up with Herndon Reston Indivisible, her bio says.

She also works with the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Virginia as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. The Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee awarded her the Ed Herlihy Activist Award for 2018.

Currently, she chairs the Fairfax County Democratic Committee’s Veterans and Military Families Committee, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is also an independent business owner of Mahari Yoga, a veteran-owned business that offers yoga therapy in Northern Virginia, and self-employed as a Celtic harp instructor, professional speaker, according to LinkedIn.

She studied psychology and management at Saint Leo University in Florida. After receiving her Masters of Science in human resource management from Troy State University in Alabama, she joined the Air Force.

Hauth plans to host a listening session for Reston residents next Thursday (Jan. 17) night.

Another Democrat, Parker Messick, announced his campaign for the seat in December. Messick is running on a platform to “stop big development.”

Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999. The election for the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place on Nov. 5.

Photo via Shyamali Hauth for Board of Supervisors/Facebook

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Reston Developer Joins Race for Board of Supervisors Chair

Timothy Chapman, the managing member of Reston-based Chapman Development LLC, entered the race to become the next chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

On Dec. 6, Chairman Sharon Bulova revealed her plans to retire after her term ends Dec. 31, 2019. That same day, Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay, a Democrat, announced his intention to succeed her, the Fairfax County Times reported.

Now, Chapman has joined the race to become the county’s next chair with a Facebook post on Tuesday (Dec. 18) indicating that he plans to run as a Democrat.

Chapman wrote in the post that he wants to offer an “alternative path” to bring changes to one of the country’s wealthiest counties.

“[The county] has settled for effectively ignoring a crisis in affordable housing, sending its children to school in trailers, for not paying our teachers and firefighters and police officers what they deserve, and for the horrific traffic that imprisons us in our cars and steals away precious moments with our children and families,” he wrote.

The post also says the following:

As far as my political views, through the years I have voted for and donated to Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Now, I am so disgusted by today’s out of the mainstream Trum-publicans that I realize the only successful path forward is the compassion of a strongly progressive Democratic platform. It’s essential that we fight for the little guy against often rigged politics which seem to benefit the wealthy and well connected, while leaving those hard working families who are the backbone of Fairfax County to struggle to make the everyday choices that many of us take for granted.

My own life experiences have taught me to have an overwhelming, unwavering compassion for the less fortunate. I know what it feels like to be judged rather than understood, to experience the pain, fear and anxiety of being homeless. But I have also enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, an inherent privilege which afforded me the opportunity for a second chance and another second chance. Without question, I have worked hard for every step forward I have accomplished, and I own every step backwards I have caused myself, but to ignore or deny this privilege would be like denying climate change. I am living proof that with grit and determination, one, if provided the opportunity, can overcome obstacles and succeed beyond their wildest dreams. I now live in Vienna with my wife and our 5 children. I’ve built a successful affordable housing development company. I chaired the Virginia Housing Development Authority at the request of Governor McAuliffe.

Records from the Virginia Public Access Project show that Chapman has indeed donated to politicians from both sides of the aisle. He gave $50,000 last year to Democrat Tom Perriello and $15,000 in 2013 to Republican Kenneth Cuccinelli for both men’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns.

Other donations include $15,000 to Ralph Northam’s gubernatorial campaign and then $25,000 to Northam’s 2018 inaugural committee.

Back in 2005, he gave $4,000 to Republican Sean Connaughton’s unsuccessful bid to become the state’s lieutenant governor.

His Chapman Development bio says he has “an extensive background in multi-family development and tax-credit communities” and that he served in the 3rd U.S. Infantry’s Presidential Honor Guard.

Previously, Chapman chaired the Virginia Housing and Development Authority, according to a Bloomberg profile.

The upcoming election for the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place on Nov. 5, 2019.

Photos via Fairfax County/Facebook and Tim Chapman/LinkedIn

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