Letters to the Editor: April 1 – 7, 2021
Fairfax Co.’s McKay Misstates Facts On New Affordable Units
Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s Chairman Jeff McKay did not deserve your laudatory comments in last week’s editorial. The fee to apply for an accessory living unit (ALU) permit is $435, not $16,000. In fact, the next day, after his alternative facts were corrected, McKay was forced to walk back that political spin when he explained that $16,000 figure might include “fees for plats and for posting public notice, as well as hired professionals, including legal representation, before appearing for a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing. Those costs together were what I was referencing as being financially unobtainable for most people.” Most applicants spend nowhere near that.
Mr. McKay dismissed the 70 people who testified at the Board hearing as a small fraction of County residents. In fact, we represented civic and homeowner associations that added up to many thousands of households who opposed removing citizens from the land use process, which ZMOD did for interior ALUs. In addition, there is no basis for assuming that ALUs would be affordable housing. While it’s doubtful that homeowners would charge their grandparents to live in their basement, most ALUs are predicted to be market rate, based on their size and location. Despite your assumption, no multifamily housing developers testified against them.
You urged the City to follow Fairfax County’s autocratic example. It would be a shame for the City to follow Fairfax County down a path that dismisses its citizens from public notice and participation as easily as the Fairfax Board of Supervisors did.
We all support finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis, but not at the expense of our homes in single-family neighborhoods — the largest investment many of us have ever made — where infrastructure and environmental issues may outweigh the benefits of ALUs when the neighbors are excluded from the public process. Please get the facts.
Via the internet
Mr. Brown’s Park Embodies The Spirit Of Falls Church City
This week, as Spring comes to Falls Church, I thought it would be nice to take a break from critique to share something splendid I saw last night.
As I was driving down Broad Street, I saw Mr. Brown’s Park and the block around it filled with dozens of happy neighbors. (Don’t worry: They were social distancing, with masks!) The park, which turns a year-and-a-half old this week, is a perfect embodiment of the spirit of Falls Church: love of tiny pockets of nature and community, respect for hometown heroes like Mr. Brown, and joy in little things. I am so grateful for all the dedicated folks who helped make Mr. Brown’s Park a reality. Here’s to more projects like it!
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