Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for th Week of January 1 – 7, 2009




Planners’ Role Not To Overturn Council Decisions

Editor,

I am writing in response to the Planning Commission’s decision on December 8 decision to deny the site plan for the proposed City Center South Apartments.

The reasons given by the Planning Commission members revolve principally around a perceived lack of adequate parking spaces.

However, a close reading of some commission comments prior to the vote reveal a deeper agenda – to prevent the creation of affordable housing on that location in Falls Church.

This intent was referenced in a Dec. 11 article on this subject in this newspaper. The City Council has strongly endorsed this project and the Planning Commission’s duty was to consider the details of the plan, including parking – not to overturn City Council decisions.

One Planning Commission member suggested that we assign two parking spaces per unit which would be financially impossible and create many unused spaces. It appears that the Planning Commission overreached its authority by using questions about adequate parking to undermine the overall purpose of the project.

Regarding parking, the plan calls for a widely accepted model of smart growth urban planning based on green principles, which reflect certain realities, trends and goals for urban environments. It includes parking plans based on the use of spaces at day and night.

A solid proportion of City Center South Apartment residents will be seniors without cars and families with limited incomes who rely on public transportation. All stakeholders in this project agree the parking is adequate for our needs.

I urge interested citizens to explore the case presented by the Falls Church Housing Corporation and to examine what other communities are doing.

The plan being proposed for Falls Church not only improves our downtown area but applies the best principles of green, smart growth planning for a city that deserves it.

Christopher Fay

Homestretch Executive Director

Teaching Students So They Compete Is ‘Progressive’

Editor,

Peter Davis (GMHS Class of 2008) published an extremely well written and thoughtful letter last week about the need to maintain “progressive” values in our schools. Peter is obviously a credit to GM — and it looks like he has a very bright future ahead of him. I just think he is wrong on the substance.

His letter talks about the need to move away from quantitative evaluations of student performance, to focus on students’ curiosities and interest and, particularly, not worry about preparing students to participate in the global economy. This is all very nice and “progressive” sounding — but, unfortunately, our national well-being (including our ability to help those in need) is based upon economic prosperity. If you don’t think so, then just go to a poor country (there are lots of them) and see how well those societies work for the average citizen.

The on-going prosperity of the U.S. is certainly not a given. This country currently has to borrow lots of money from foreign countries in order to maintain its economy. If we want to get back to being a country that produces more internationally competitive goods and services than it consumes, then we are going to need highly educated citizens who are able to produce those goods and services. Comfortable mediocrity is not a luxury we can afford. The world is filled with people who are working hard everyday to be better than us.

I do want a school system that watches the numbers, challenges students to do things they don’t to do and produces people who can compete in tomorrow’s economy. To my mind, that is truly “progressive.”

David Chavern

Falls Church

Says Hating Bigotry is Also Bigotry

Editor,

Upon reading Nicholas Benton’s column [The Dismal Choice of Rick Warren, Dec 18-24 Issue], it almost seemed like he was filled with hate toward some people. In fact, if I didn’t know better, he even appeared to be a bigot regarding those who hold different beliefs than he does. I must have misread the column.

By the way, Benton speaks (tongue in cheek) that this choice may have been made to thin out the inaugural crowds. He must have overlooked the fact that Blacks voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 8.

Eldon Linn

Arlington

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