F.C. Vice Mayor Decries Virginia’s Gun Policies
On Monday night, we were addressed by our State Senator on the City’s legislative proposals and were basically told to forget about getting the authority to ban firearms from City Hall, our library, community center and parks, because the regime in Richmond would never agree. On Friday, the grossly tragic events in Newtown, CT reminded me why we asked for that ban. The president was right when he said: “As a country, we have been through this too many times. We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action…”
But will we do that, or let the memory of these unnecessary losses dim again, categorizing this tragedy as just an act of another crazed person?
It is past time for action on sensible gun control—way past. The NRA and other “gun rights” groups deserve special attention for their success in fighting reasonable control measures, and bear particular responsibility for the gun-related slaughter. Turn unlimited firepower loose in a society with fragmented, underfunded mental health programs and you get what happened on Friday, and previously at the movie theatre, places of worship, courthouses, schools, universities, on street corners, on transit vehicles, and in homes.
Among the recent successes of the gun advocates are measures allowing guns on public property and in bars, repealing limitations on firepower and numbers of firearms, and even preventing employers from securing their property against gun violence. As a citizen, taxpayer, and public official, I oppose this interference into our civic affairs and hate the fact that our police have to be armed as though they are on a battlefield, because, of course, they are. And I don’t think we need any longer to accept that the Second Amendment can be used to trample on the “unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
So, I appreciate that the odds for state legislation allowing us to ban guns on public property are stacked against us, but as the saying goes, “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Doing nothing on this absolutely fundamental issue isn’t an option—certainly not now, if it ever was.
Vice Mayor, City of Falls Church
Decries Loss of Peace & Quiet on Broad Street
I wholeheartedly agree with the Guest Commentary from James Rupert regarding the Harris Teeter development plans for Falls Church. As a long-time business owner in Falls Church (since 1994) I have seen a steady decline in the peace and quiet along Broad Street. What was once a quaintly pleasant community has become a replica of the Arlington County traffic congestion issues.
The increase in retail storefronts on Broad Street has increased the traffic and subsequent problems caused by delivery vehicles. Some of these weekly deliveries are serviced by 18-wheel tractor trailers that must park for loading/unloading on Broad street during peak traffic times. Couple this problem with the woefully inadequate parking situation at several locations (such as the new post office) and I worry that the quality of life for the local residents is taking a back seat to the constant push for more revenue by city leaders. Is this really the best we can do?
Each new development seems to be larger than the last, always adding or combining retail, commercial, and residential space. Every time you add more to what was less you put a strain on existing resources such as utilities requiring expansion of the infrastructure to accommodate the growth. Each new high density residence increases the amount of traffic on the roadways and Broad Street is not immune, yet with all of the plans for development I see no plans for roadway improvements. We do not need a repeat of the Tyson’s Corner debacle but we are apparently heading in that direction.
Stan H. King
Neighbor Wants Harris Teeter to Downsize
Living adjacent to the proposed Harris Teeter grocery store and high rise apartment building at 301 W. Broad, I naturally want the project to be downsized. The developer’s initial proposal–which is now, thankfully, being reworked at the urging of city officials–would put 18-wheelers, a loading dock and six stories of apartments all within a few feet of my home. But beyond my concerns as a neighbor is a bigger picture of why the building should not be erected as proposed. Falls Church shouldn’t have a grocery store of 61,500 square feet in the center of town. Building such a store–as large as the Giant supermarket at Broad Street and Haycock Road–would miss a major opportunity to make the city center a vibrant place.
All over town good things are happening after years of empty storefronts. A new Caribbean eatery at Annandale Road and Washington Street, a frozen yogurt place at the Spectrum, and nearby a recently opened kabob restaurant and bead shop. These, added to existing destinations like the Mad Fox, the State Theater and Creative Cauldron, bring our city closer to its vision of “walkability,” with an eclectic mix of retail options packed into a few city blocks.
Adding a grocery store has strong appeal. But not at 61,500 square feet–by far the largest Harris Teeter in the metropolitan region. Such a behemoth leaves room for little else in the heart of our downtown. Consider that the Whole Foods in Clarendon is only 27,000 square feet. What Rushmark Properties proposes at 301 W. Broad is a massive suburban supermarket on an urban lot, more oriented to cars than foot traffic. What’s next, replacing Ireland’s Four Provinces with a Home Depot?
Scaling back the store solves two big problems. It allows an adequate buffer between the project and my Winter Hill neighborhood. And it frees up space to bring the diverse mix of shops that will make the heart of the city the kind of place envisioned in the comprehensive plan.
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