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The Fairfax County Government Center (staff photo by David Taube)

In an aggressive move, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday (Tuesday) to amp up its affordable housing goals.

Through a motion introduced by Chairman Jeff McKay and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, the board set a new goal of 10,000 affordable housing units by 2034. The previous target, set in 2019, was 5,000 new units in 15 years.

McKay said the county’s previous goal was set in place as a floor, rather than a ceiling, and with the “intent to blow it out of the water.”

“It’s amazing that we’re in a position today just two years after adopting that goal, that we’re able to move the floor to 10,000 units moving forward,” McKay said. “That’s 10,000 individuals and families whose lives will be immeasurably improved, and that’s 10,000 units that we know will be occupied by many, many families over many years.”

Currently, there are 2,200 new affordable units under development in the county.

The county has also renewed efforts to make affordable housing a central planning tenet. For instance, the board approved $33 million in federal loans to fund a 175-unit residential project at Dominion Square West in Tysons.

Despite a renewed effort to boost the county’s affordable housing stock, the move still falls short of providing the 15,000 units that the county’s Affordable Housing Resources Panel predicted the county would need.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said he has set a goal of securing 1,000 additional units in the Hunter Mill District specifically by the end of 2027.

“I would welcome any of my colleagues who want to get a little friendly competition, as long as we’re not taking any projects from anyone else’s district,” he said. “This is something that’s going to benefit everyone in the county, but it is up to us to work through these issues, to make sure that the projects get funded, that they get support from the community, and work through the process as they are.”

Springfield District Supervisor Herrity voted against the board matter, expressing discomfort with pursuing a goal without having a a clear financial plan.

“I’m sorry I can’t commit to literally taxing many of our residents out of their houses, which we are doing and have done, by committing to spend untold tens of millions of dollars in rent-controlled housing with undetermined fiscal impacts,” Herrity said, noting that the county is in the middle of a budget cycle. “I’ve been supportive of creative affordable housing solutions, but we don’t have any of those on the table right now.’

McKay called Herrity’s comments an “affront” to the development community, the nonprofit community, county staff, and the community at large.

“This is an economic issue,” McKay countered. “Not doing anything will cost us far more as a community, not to mention all the moral responsibility issues and all the things we talked about here, but not aspiring to this goal will cost the county enormously from an economic standpoint.”

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Morning Notes

Angelika Film Center and Cafe in the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

FCPS Will Start COVID-19 Rollback Plan Tomorrow — Masks will be optional for both students and adults, including staff and parents, in Fairfax County Public Schools after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its health metrics so that the county is now considered to have low transmission. FCPS said on Friday (Feb. 25) that masks would be optional for students, as ordered by a state law, but still mandatory for adults. [FCPS]

Judge Calls TJ Admissions Discriminatory — The Coalition for TJ on Friday (Feb. 25) won its lawsuit against the Fairfax County School Board over changes to admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The judge found that the shift from a standardized test to “experience” factors was done in a way discriminatory to Asian applicants. The school system intends to appeal. [The Washington Post]

Daycare Operator Arrested for Child Abuse — “A 67-year-old woman was arrested Thursday evening and charged with abuse and neglect of a child. Detectives from our Child Abuse Squad were notified on Jan. 20 after an 8-month-old infant was treated at a local hospital with significant bruising to the upper body. Detectives discovered the infant attended an in-home daycare on Jan. 19 at 10858 Santa Clara Dr. in Fairfax.” [FCPD]

Multiple Shootings Reported in County — Fairfax County police responded to three different shootings between Feb. 18 and 24. People suffered non-life-threatening injuries in incidents at the 6000 block of Bellview Drive in Bailey’s Crossroads on Feb. 22 and at the Paper Moon (6315 Amherst Avenue) in Springfield on Feb. 23, while one in the 8500 block of Leesburg Pike in Tysons did not result in any injuries. [FCPD]

Person Dies in Lorton House Fire — “Units are on scene of a 2-alarm townhouse fire in the 9100 block of Aspenpark Ct in Lorton. 2 occupants were transferred to a local hospital- 1 w/ minor injuries. The other occupant was in life-threatening condition & succumbed at the hospital. Fire investigators remain on scene.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Cat Dies in Reston Apartment Fire — “Apartment fire in the 1400 block of Northgate Square in Reston. Fire is out. Crews rescued unconscious cat and attempted to revive. Sadly, despite best effort, cat did succumb. No other reported injuries at this time.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

New Historic Placard on W&OD Trail Dedicated — “NOVA Parks unveiled the new sign in front of the historic site in Herndon, which is visited by more than two million people every year. The new marker remembers Virginia’s segregation laws that discriminated against thousands of Blacks traveling on the railroad.” [WTOP]

Foust Gives “State of McLean” Address — “Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) in his annual “State of McLean” speech Feb. 24 praised the county’s handling of the pandemic, but said supervisors likely will need to make budgetary adjustments this spring to lessen impacts on taxpayers.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

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