“My staff and I are still working out the details to enable your participation,” Alcorn said in his newsletter yesterday. “I will get that information out to you as soon as it is available through this newsletter, as well as my social media accounts.”
Previously, Alcorn postponeda budget town hall that was set to happen in Vienna on March 21 due to the coronavirus. Holding the town hall virtually will limit the risk of spreading the virus.
The virtual town hall is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. — one day after the updated FY 2021 budget proposal is expected to go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Currently, Fairfax County staff are revising the proposed budget, which was developed before the coronavirus pandemic hit the area, to address expected revenue losses and help small businesses.
Residents can expect opportunities to testify on the budget before the county board between April 14-16.
As Fairfax County officials adjust to digital meetings and remote work, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said he’s unsure how the COVID-19 pandemic might affect upcoming budget discussions.
Changes to the protocol called to attention a shifting reality for public officials, Alcorn told reporters during an online meeting on Wednesday (March 25).
“I think we are starting over for the FY2021 budget based on all the changes that have happened in the last few weeks,” he said.
Still, the county’s Budget Committee is going to be meeting virtually next Tuesday (March 31), according to Alcorn. The county executive is expected to present the proposed budget with updated numbers and assumptions based on COVID-19 responses, he said.
“That’s going to be a particularly important budget meeting,” he said. “I’m particularly interested to see what assumptions are going to go into revenues for next year.”
As of right now, the county executive suggested that roughly $11 million be set aside as an emergency fund for COVID-19 response, Alcorn said.
Though the dates and times are still up in the air, Alcorn said that the county will schedule a virtual town hall after next Tuesday.
As originally expected, he also said constituents can expect public hearings to be held in mid-April.
“If we are still in the situation we are in here, we’ll have to be a little bit more creative in terms of how we hear testimony and how the public can participate in that process,” he said, adding that the county staff is brainstorming solutions to this dilemma.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn: Reston Master Plan Review Delayed — “We’ve had to delay initiation of the planned task force process,” Alcorn said, Wednesday morning during a video call with reporters. “We’ve heard from a number of folks who had volunteered to be on a task force. I don’t expect we’re going to initiate any task force activity until we make sure we can have a robust process.” [Reston Patch]
Distinguishing Between Social Distancing, Quarantine, Self-Isolating — Social distancing refers to staying out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance from others when possible. Self-Isolating refers to staying at home, not going out, and not accepting any visitors. [Fairfax County Government]
Three Inova Respiratory Illness Clinics Open — Three Urgent Care locations in Dulles South, North Arlington and Tysons will conduct physician-ordered tests and evaluate patients with respiratory illness symptoms. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Alcorn Postpones Budget Town Hall — Hunter Mill District Supervisor has postponed an upcoming town hall on the 2021 budget “due to the uncertainty of the impacts of coronavirus on county operations and resources.” [Fairfax County Government]
Northam Pushes 10-person Limit at Gyms, Restaurants — “Restaurants, gyms, and theaters in Virginia will not serve more than 10 customers at a time under an order the governor issued Tuesday in response to the coronavirus. Gov. Ralph Northam also urged Virginians to comply with new federal guidelines not to gather in groups of more than 10 and for people older than 65 to self-quarantine.” [U.S. News & World Report]
Juvenile Robbed in Herndon — A juvenile was robbed and assaulted by another juvenile on the 600 block of Dulles Park Court on March 11. The case is under investigation. [Herndon Police Department]
Department of Motor Vehicle Centers Close — All state DMV centers are closed until April 2. Driver and vehicle credentials have been extended for 60 days. [Virginia DMV]
Balducci’s Reserves First Hour of Shopping for Seniors — Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market in Reston Town Center is reserving the first hour of shopping for elderly and high-risk customers. [Balducci’s]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is encouraging residents to give back to their communities as growing concerns about the coronavirus prompt event cancellations and working remotely.
Alcorn, who represents Vienna and Reston on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, took to social media last week to let local organizations and nonprofits know that his office wants to connect them to volunteers and needed assistance.
“Whenever we have the opportunity to step up and help, we should,” Alcorn said. “There’s a lot of concern in the community.”
If you are a community organization/nonprofit who needs volunteer assistance to help neighbors impacted by coronavirus in #HunterMill, we can help get the word out. Send an email to [email protected] with details. pic.twitter.com/cQN9nkZCOV
— Supervisor Walter Alcorn (@WalterAlcornFFX) March 13, 2020
As of Sunday, March 15, the Virginia Department of Health says there are 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Fairfax County — a number that officials say is expected to grow.
Alcorn said that local organizations are expecting higher demands for food and assistance, especially from people who work in the service industries who have limited or no sick leave and for seniors, who are at a higher risk of getting more severely ill from the virus.
“The anxiety level, particularly for seniors, is very high,” he said, noting that there is a “sizable” elderly community in the Hunter Mill District. “I think we can do a lot as we get through this public health challenge by reaching out to our more vulnerable communities and our neighbors and let them know that we care.”
By Friday (March 13), Alcorn’s office had created a “How to Help Your Neighbors” list on the Hunter Mill District page on the Fairfax County website.
“Locally, specifically in Hunter Mill, we’re focusing on giving folks something to do,” he said, adding that his office is helping to connect people who want to help with organizations that need extra volunteers.
Expecting a higher demand for underresourced families, Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization that aims to promote self-sufficiency, is looking for donations to help with meal delivery and its food pantry.
Embry Rucker Community Shelter, which is run by Cornerstones, is seeking donations of tissues, hand sanitizer and cleaning products, Alcorn said.
Several organizations, like Second Story in the Vienna area, are asking for gift cards instead of volunteers.
Other opportunities on Alcorn’s list in the Reston area include “non-contact” drivers needed for Meals on Wheels deliveries in the Lawyer’s Road area and donations to Reston-based Shelter House.
ICYMI: If you are able, please consider donating or volunteering to assist our local community organizations. @ShelterHouseInc has a convenient way to donate through @amazon: https://t.co/uwNwi5YRV3
See other opportunities to help below👇 https://t.co/EoxjYQdbyH
— Supervisor Walter Alcorn (@WalterAlcornFFX) March 15, 2020
People interested in the local organizations’ opportunities focused on the coronavirus can also check out Alcorn’s email newsletter and social media accounts.
“You can contact any of the organizations or call [my] office,” he said. “We’re going to continue expanding the list of needs.”
Alcorn emphasized “one overall need that also we want to make sure gets out there” — blood donations.
“A lot of folks donate blood to Inova,” he said. “We don’t want to get into a situation where [there’s] a low blood supply.”
Additionally, Alcorn is urging people to take “normal precautions,” like practicing good hygiene and frequent hand washing.
“My hope and expectation are that our community will rise to the occasion,” he said.
A study group will scout the area this week to find the best option for constructing a future pedestrian crossing at Wiehle Avenue near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.
The walkthrough is part of a proffer for Campus Commons, an approved project by TF Cornerstone that would redevelop an aging office park at 1900 and 1902 Campus Common Drive into a 1.3 million-square-foot development. The meeting is set for Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. at the site.
Community opposition to the project — including the successful surge of a grassroots organization Rescue Sunrise Valley — resulted in a number of changes to the application, which was approved last year.
One of the most contentious issues was a proposed crosswalk at ramps to enter and exit the Dulles Toll Road at Wiehle Avenue. The developer’s original pitch — a crosswalk at the current stoplight in the area to get to the other side of Wiehle Avenue across two traffic islands in the multi-lane roadway — was rejected by the county due to serious safety concerns.
TF Cornerstones agreed to find a better solution for walkability. A proffer part in the approved application requires the developer to convene a workgroup with community representation through the office of Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.
The workgroup is tasked with finding the best type of pedestrian bridge for the area. Options on the table include but are not limited to an above-grade bridge or a below-grade underpass or tunnel.
A final recommendation for the pedestrian crossing will be presented to the board by October. The developer will either build the crossing or give the county $1.5 million to complete the work.
Concerns on the lack of pedestrian connectivity to and from the Reston Town Center Metro Station and Wiehle-Reston East were also flagged by the board last year.
The developer plans to build three buildings with 655 apartments, more than 520,000 square feet of office space, and a little over 28,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. A 24-story tower and two small towers are proposed.
For more information about the meeting, email Jose Delcid at [email protected].
Photo via Fairfax County Government, Google Maps
It’s no secret that Northern Virginia is well-known for being a technology corridor.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D) is looking for ways to bring the benefits of emerging technologies to all residents.
In a board matter proposed this week, Alcorn says he wants to find ways to promote innovative and equitable technologic Fairfax County.
Here’s more from the board matter:
Beyond our internal investments in GIS, other examples of our leadership in advancing technology include these initiatives championed through our Economic Advisory Commission (EAC):
- Our pilot with Dominion Energy is the first state-funded connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) public transportation demonstration in Virginia.
- Testing of driverless cars, by public and private entities, on our more than 70 miles of “connected corridors” in the county.
- The county’s state-funded efforts to attract and retain workers for high-demand IT positions, including cybersecurity.
- Our partnership with Smart City Works and Refraction utilizing their $750,000 federal grant to increase regional capacity to bring technologies to market and grow innovative companies.
To complement these EAC activities we can also do more to promote innovative and equitable technology in Fairfax County. The Board’s IT Committee, which I now chair, provides an excellent opportunity for board members to explore how we can use technology more efficiently and ensure that our residents also benefit from new technology.
In concert with the efforts by the county’s EAC and the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to encourage emerging technology companies, it is also important that we look to bring the benefits of safe and consumer-friendly emerging technologies to our residents as consumers. And we should do so with an equity lens in mind so that residents who are in most need of the efficiencies and cost reductions often associated with these innovations actually receive the benefits.
The board is expected to discuss ways to promote emerging technologies at a future IT meeting committee.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Since early 2014, a little over 10,000 residential units were approved in Reston. Just under 15 percent are considered affordable.
As the more residential development begins in Reston’s Transit Station Areas (TSAs) and Metro’s Silver Line ushers in more activity, nonprofit leaders and area community organizers wonder if Reston will hold true to Bob Simon’s vision for housing affordability.
“Reston was originally a very inclusive community. We have to ask ourselves, are we keeping that promise? Yes, we are a changing and growing community. But how can we achieve that balance between old and new?” said Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones, a nonprofit organization that helps neighbors overcome economic hardship.
Achieving greater housing diversity is an aim of Reston’s comprehensive plan, which notes that most new affordable housing should be in multi-family units.
“Future development should ensure that a diversity of housing is available in the TSAs,” the plan states. “The residential component of mixed-use development should meet the needs of a variety of households such as families and seniors.”
But as Reston grows, will inclusive affordable housing keep up?
Tackling affordable housing is a regional problem and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D) and other elected representatives have stated they expect to reexamine the county’s policies and procedures soon.
The county’s rejection of a proposal to redevelop Reston Town Center North — which would have delivered affordable housing units and redeveloped a homeless shelter and Reston Regional Library — was a significant setback for some local housing advocates. The need for affordable housing — particularly workforce units — is expected to grow as more workers take up jobs in new mixed-use centers.
From a policy perspective, the county has aggressively pursuing affordable housing in every development that requires it, according to county officials. A variety of techniques — including land-use policies, federal funds, and nonprofit and for-profit housing partnerships — are used to preserve housing units and create new ones.
Last year, a panel created by the county to study affordable housing outlined several strategies and recommendations to the county’s board for considerations. The 37-page report – which was incorporated into the county’s housing strategic plan — is part of an ongoing conversation on how to tackle housing affordability.
“Reston has traditionally been a welcoming and inclusive community and a leader in affordable housing,” said Tom Fleetwood, director of the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development. “Still, Reston, like the rest of Fairfax County, is a challenging housing market for low-to-moderate-income families because this is a very desirable place to live.”
Per goals outlined in planning documents, the county aims to reach a net 15,000 new affordable units at up to 60 percent of the average median income within the next 15 years.
“We have certainly made significant steps forward. But a significant amount of work remains,” Fleetwood said.
Since early 2014 through June 2019, the county approved 10,045 residential units, including a 2,010-unit proposal by Boston Properties and a 668-unit proposal by Comstock for Reston Station. Developers are set to pitch $18.1 million into the county’s housing trust fund once the first non-residential use permit is issued, according to county data released to Reston Now last year.
Private developers have delivered 453 workforce dwelling units for rent and 188 affordable dwelling units for rent in Herndon and Reston, according to county data.
“We are trying to work through every application to get affordable housing and we have gotten some affordable housing through every development,” said Bill Mayland, branch chief of the county’s zoning evaluation division.
He noted that it can be challenging to incorporate inclusive affordable housing units — whether workforce units or affordable dwelling units — in high-rise buildings, especially if condominium fees are charged in addition to rent.
Creativity is a common word used by experts as a solution for affordability challenges. Working outside of county land use and zoning provisions, some communities across the country have embraced more unconventional means to secure affordable units for rent and purchase in existing and new development.
At Cornerstones, the staff has successfully pursued a scattered-site model by working with developers to make specific units affordable. Recently, the nonprofit doubled its Reston housing stock by adding 48 units from the Apartments at North Point.
But in the town center and other rapidly growing areas, developers are not always open to experimentation beyond the county’s existing requirements. The hope is that the oncoming Silver Line train at Reston Town Center — which could begin operation by early 2021 — will boost developer’s confidence in the residential market and add more pressure to incorporate more affordable units as more people and jobs come to the area.
Others say that the county should consider dedicated one penny of the real estate tax to affordable housing projects.
Fleetwood says that he expects renewed discussions on housing affordability – including reaching more income levels – to continue in the coming weeks.
“My assessment is that the county’s policies have been productive and helpful. I think they are going to continue to evolve so that we have a policy that works over the long-term and for our developers. It is a continuing and evolving partnership.”
Editor’s note: Interviews were conducted in late 2019
Photo by Bako Glonto/Flickr
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved changes to improve road safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
At the board’s Tuesday meeting, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk jointly unveiled a proposal to initiate a review of the county’s Department of Transportation’s ActiveFairfax planning process.
ActiveFairfax is a transportation plan that includes a Bicycle Master Plan and Countywide Trails Plan Update for the county.
“Sixteen pedestrian fatalities in our county in 2019 is too many,” Alcorn said. “Most of our built environment is still designed for moving vehicles, which creates obvious conflicts and we need to evolve toward safer walking and cycling.”
More from the board matter:
The commitment of Fairfax County to address this is clear, including more than $300 million in funding approved for stand-alone bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects over the past decade.
Most of these projects have been implemented, while some are still in progress. It should be noted that the $300 million in funding doesn’t include bike and pedestrian projects that are being implemented as part of larger roadway projects, or in VDOT’s repaving schedule…
Due to the General Assembly reallocating funding for Metro’s State of Good Repair Initiative, the Board deferred a number of bike and pedestrian projects last year. And we all have examples of more bike and pedestrian projects to be done, if more funding were available.
Fortunately, the General Assembly is looking at options for increasing transportation funding, but currently they don’t go far enough.
Alcorn and Lusk want the county’s departments and the Virginia Department of Transportation to coordinate their efforts and also want FCDOT to review the following:
- working timeline for the ActiveFairfax Plan
- external communications strategy for the planning process
- evaluation of the current approach for funding pedestrian improvements
- examination of how tech can improve pedestrian and bicycle safety ahead of ActiveFairfax
- whether the county can achieve measurable safety goals like Vision Zero
Lusk called recent pedestrian-involved fatalities and injuries along county roads a “public safety crisis.”
The Board of Supervisors will continue the discussion about the ActiveFairfax Plan at the transportation and public safety committee meetings, according to a press release.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn will kick off his first town hall next week in Reston.
Alcorn, who pledged to host several community engagement meetings in this term, plans to discuss his priorities for the district at the Feb. 3 meeting. It is set to take place from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Community Center Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Galley (1609-A Washington Plaza-N).
His presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session with attendees. Residents are encouraged to RSVP by emailing [email protected] with the subject “Feb. 3 town hall.”
The next town hall is planned for Feb. 24. A time and location has not been announced yet.
In his first board matter earlier this month, Alcorn moved to kickstart a 12-to-18 month period to review Reston’s Comprehensive Plan.
Staff photo by Ashley Hopko
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.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn kicked off his first Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting today (Tuesday) by calling for a review of Reston’s Comprehensive Plan.
The proposal, which was approved by the board, initiatives a 12 to 18 month period of public engagement to update the plan, which was last updated five years ago.
In a statement, Alcorn noted that more than 30 rezoning applications have been approved in Reston’s transit station areas since the last plan was last reviewed. He hopes to set up a community task force and start a series of public meetings.
Alcorn hopes to tackle the following topic areas, which were presented to the board today (Tuesday):
- Projected population thresholds for Reston, and how to ensure that population, infrastructure and the environment are all in balance
- Land use in the village centers (Hunters Woods, South Lakes and North Point) – including clarification of what type of future redevelopment proposals might require an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan
- The adequacy of existing plan language to generate additional affordable housing, and improvements to plan language to encourage preservation and enhancement of existing communities that now provide affordable housing
- The adequacy of existing and planned pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure for accessing Silver Line stations
- The adequacy of existing Comprehensive Plan guidance to facilitate urban-scale mobility and development design in the TSAs while protecting the stability of nearby neighborhoods
- Existing Comprehensive Plan transportation improvements to ensure that they are aligned with planned development
- How the Comprehensive Plan could better facilitate enhancement of Reston’s natural environment, encourage energy efficiency and support sustainable green neighborhoods
- How the Comprehensive Plan could address concerns about monopolization of ownership in Reston, and ways to encourage diverse ownership and/or management over the long term
- Whether the historic practice of promoting privately-owned and managed open space sufficiently addresses public needs during the next 50 years of Reston
In a previous interview with Reston Now, Alcorn said he hopes updates to the plan will help better manage growth and infrastructure in the rapidly changing community.
(Updated 12/19/19) Earlier this week, the members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors were sworn in.
The 10-member board will see four new faces in the New Year, including Dalia Palchik, the new representative for Tysons.
Here is information on who will be in the seats at the board’s first meeting next year.
Chairman: Jeffrey McKay
McKay was first elected to the board in 2007, serving as the Lee District Supervisor until the end of this year, according to his county bio. Prior to joining the board, he was the chief of staff to former Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman from 1996 through 2007.
McKay beat three challengers to clinch the Democratic nomination for the county board’s chair in the June primary before defeating Republican Joseph Galdo in the November election.
Hunter Mill District: Walter Alcorn
Alcorn is a former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner and served on the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. He has also worked as a policy aide in the Providence District supervisor’s office and was the president of the Herndon High School PTSA. His top priorities include managing growth and infrastructure and updating Reston’s comprehensive plan.
Lee District: Rodney Lusk
McKay’s run for the chair left the Lee District seat open. Lusk beat three Democratic challengers in the June primary.
Lusk has been a Fairfax County employee for the past 29 years — including working for then-Supervisor Gerry Connelly as a land use zoning aide and most recently as the national marketing director for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, according to his campaign website.
Providence District: Dalia Palchik
Palchik grew up in the area after immigrating with her family to the United States at an early age from Argentina. She was elected to the Fairfax County School Board in 2015 and served as the Providence District Representative.
Just days after current Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth announced in December that she wouldn’t seek election, Palchik jumped into the race and defeated four Democratic challengers in the June primary. In November, she beat Republican Eric Anthony Jones.
Sully District: Kathy Smith
First elected to the board in 2016, Smith was re-elected as Sully District Supervisor in November, beating Republican Srilekha Palle.
Previously, Smith served as the Sully District Representative to the Fairfax County School Board for 14 years, including as the chairman three times, according to her county bio. She was also a teacher for seven years and taught in her home state of New Jersey.
Mount Vernon District: Daniel Storck
Storck was first elected as Mount Vernon District Supervisor in 2015 and reelected this fall.
He has developed and owned healthcare, benefits and insurance consulting firms and was previously a school board member from 2004-2015, according to his county bio. Notable resume item: he also was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.
Braddock District: James Walkinshaw
Walkinshaw, a former chief of staff to Rep. Gerry Connolly, announced his run for the seat to replace Republican John Cook, who retired. He beat Republican Jason Remer and independent candidate Carey Chet Campbell in November.
Walkinshaw previously volunteered as a mentor to at-risk boys through Fairfax County’s Befriend-A-Child program and joined Fairfax County’s Council to End Domestic Violence, according to his campaign website.
He serves on the Board of the Ravensworth Farm Civic Association and is a volunteer with the Friends of Lake Accotink Park, the bio says.
Dranesville District: John Foust
First elected to the board in 2007, Foust was reelected to represent McLean, Great Falls and Herndon residents on the county board. He defeated Republican Ed Martin in the November election.
Originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Foust has been living in Northern Virginia since 1981 and in McLean since 1987, according to his county bio. Foust worked in steel mills and practiced construction law in Northern Virginia.
Mason District: Penelope Gross
In the November election, Gross was able to keep her seat, defeating Republican Gary Aiken. She was first elected to the board in 1995, according to her county bio.
Previously, she worked as a staffer in various congressional offices, served on the Board of the Lincolnia Park Civic Association and was on the Executive Board of the Mason District Council of Civic Associations, her bio says.
Springfield District: Pat Herrity
Herrity hung onto his seat, beating Democrat Linda Sperling. He was first elected to the board in 2007, according to his campaign website. Herrity’s father was a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
With Cook retiring, Herrity will be the only Republican on the board in 2020.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to have their first meeting in 2020 on Jan. 14.
Walter Alcorn, the incoming Hunter Mill District Supervisor who won a five-way Democratic primary, plans to prioritize managing growth and infrastructure as he takes over for retiring Cathy Hudgins on Jan. 1.
As cranes scrape the skies and community consternation about development continues to rumble, one of Alcorn’s top priorities is to update and improve Reston’s major planning document — phase two of Reston’s comprehensive plan.
“Our biggest challenge is clearly managing the growth that we’re undergoing right now, both in terms of mobility and change and our quality of life,” Alcorn said in a recent interview with Reston Now.
He hopes to incorporate measures that manage growth and infrastructure — including population projections that can guide infrastructure needs, planning for public facilities like transportation and schools, and expectations for public open space. Alcorn also hopes to incorporate language to preserve existing affordable housing and clarify expectations surround the future redevelopment of Reston’s village centers, some of which are in need of revitalization.
Although Alcorn has not pitched specific recommendations — a public feedback process in early 2020 will guide the community conversation — the Democrat has one specific idea: breaking up the ownership of Reston Town Center.
Alcorn says the county can incorporate language in the comprehensive plan to “call for diverse ownership of Reston Town Center” in order to break up the “monopolistic” ownership of Reston’s core from Boston Properties. The move would address concerns related to vacancies and the departure of small businesses following the company’s seismic shift to paid parking in 2017.
For now, the controversial discussion on increasing Reston’s population density per acre in the Planned Residential Community district — the community’s primary zoning district has been indefinitely delayed.
Alcorn believes the county should reexamine Reston’s comprehensive plan before reconvening discussions on the tabled PRC proposal.
“We need to fix the comprehensive plan,” Alcorn told Reston Now. “My first priority is to fix the comprehensive plan.”
He also wants to explore ways to streamline how Reston-related development proposals are reviewed, particularly between the Hunter Mill District Land Use Committee, which advises the supervisor’s office on land use issues, and the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee. Possible proposals include improving the public input process, adding county staff support to attend meetings and improving the sequencing of the multi-step approval process.
“Many times, these groups are asked to make recommendations on zoning before they can even see proffers associate with rezoning,” he said.
Other county-wide initiatives Alcorn hopes to take a lead on include:
- A land use reform initiative to create affordable housing opportunities, in conjunction with other supervisors
- Efforts to improve pedestrian mobility through regional initiates and more comprehensive planning beyond the county’s bicycle master plan.
As he begins his term on Jan. 1, Alcorn hopes to leverage his experience as a former planner with the county to ensure the vitality and promise of Reston remains.
“I come to this job with good knowledge of the land use process and also a commitment to engage the public and the community in that land use process,” he says. “We’re at an interesting time in Reston with transit-oriented development underway and older communities that are in need of retention. That is something that is new.”
Photo via Facebook
Melanie Meren, a former U.S. Department of Education employee, easily won the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board.
With a little over 69 percent of the vote, Meren overtook her opponent, Laura Ramirez Drain, as of 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 6). According to unofficial election returns, 27 of the 28 precincts reported results.
Meren has described herself as a “Fairfax County parent leader” who wants to promote strong education. Drain’s campaign focused on the family life education curriculum, school boundaries and the FCPS budget.
Earlier in January, Hunter Mill District representative Pat Hynes said she would not seek re-election.
Voters also ceremoniously ushered in former Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn, the Democratic candidate for the Hunter Mill District Supervisor seat, Tuesday night. Alcorn, who won the Democratic primary, faced no candidate from any other party.
Democrat Steve Descano won the Commonwealth’s Attorney position in Fairfax after ousting current Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrough in the June primary.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust (D) retained his position on the county board, which he has held since 2007, as well, defeating Republican opponent Ed Martin.
Photo via Melanie Meren