At a City Hall work session Monday night, two members of the Falls Church City Council and two of the Planning Commission were on hand for a special briefing on fair housing laws given by F.C. attorney Martha Mothershead and City Attorney John Foster.
With the exploding enrollment growth in the Falls Church City Schools occurring as a spate of new mixed use (including residential) development projects are being and will be considered by the Council and Planning Commission, offhand comments by some citizens about restricting new housing to deter school enrollment growth prompted the briefing. Mayor Nader Baroukh, Councilman Phil Duncan and Planning Commissioner Melissa Teates and Lindy Hockenberry were advised that the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in renting, purchasing or financing a home based on race or color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status (including children under age 18 living with parents or legal guardians, pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18).
In addition, a Falls Church ordinance adds the additional protected class of “elderliness.” It was made clear at the briefing that “discrimination or intimidation of families with children by anyone in nearly all housing transactions is illegal.”