The years-long process to overhaul the Reston Comprehensive Plan will take a little longer than expected.
At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting today (Tuesday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn announced that changes to Virginia’s laws regarding public notice and hearing requirements will push public hearings on the long-running update to the plan into September.
“It’s an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the statutory amendments, but we want the county to move forward on all these matters in a manner that leaves no doubt about the soundness of our public hearing process,” Alcorn said.
Underway since 2020, the Reston Comprehensive Plan update lays out the county’s vision for the 6,750-acre area’s development, touching on everything from transportation to density recommendations for the transit station areas and village centers.
The proposed draft was shaped by county staff and a community task force convened by Alcorn in 2020. During a planning commission meeting in June, some residents criticized the county for releasing a supplement to the draft plan less than 24 hours before the public hearing.
The statutory changes will also affect the timeline for the work of a task force studying development and other related issues in the Reston Town Center North (RTC North) area, along with the approval of Reston’s Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) applications.
Alcorn said he hopes that the SSPA process will pick up in the fall following the adoption of the Reston Comprehensive Plan.
New rules adopted by the Virginia General Assembly require notices of ordinance amendments or land use applications to be published no more than 14 days before the items are intended to be adopted or passed.
Local boards must take a final vote on items following a public hearing or advertise another public hearing, when action will likely be taken. Notice for those hearings must be published no more than two weeks before the planned vote.
The board must also advertise land use applications or ordinance amendments in a local newspaper no more than 14 days before the items are intended to be adopted.
All public meetings and meeting documents must be posted at least three days before the meeting. Similar changes apply to planning commissions in the county.
The county is in the midst of taking a special look at several major redevelopment applications and land use changes. Other applications throughout the county are being considered as part of a separate work program.
The change allows for more opportunities for public feedback on the Reston Comprehensive Plan, Alcorn said. An additional planning commission public hearing is slated for July 19 before the plan goes to the board for a hearing on Sept. 12, according to Alcorn.
Other processes impacted by the new laws include comprehensive plan updates for the Pan Am Shopping Center in Merrifield, which has been proposed for redevelopment, and special exception applications. Loudoun County and other neighboring jurisdictions were also affected.
Alcorn said the move was undertaken “out of an abundance of caution.”
That means the public will now have at least four more chances to provide input on the plan. Along with the hearings before the commission and board, Alcorn plans to hold a town hall on July 27 at the North County Government Center and a virtual meeting ahead in August ahead of the September hearing.
Alcorn said he plans to distribute a mark-up of the plan before the board’s vote on the proposal.
A number of new laws will take effect in Virginia this weekend, including expanded school zones, a prohibition on sexual harassment non-disclosure agreements, and classification of fentanyl as a “weapon of terrorism.”
Most laws passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor each year go into effect on July 1, which marks the beginning of the new fiscal year.
This year, nearly 740 bills were signed into law. Some are more mundane, while others could significantly impact Fairfax County residents, like last year’s banning of ticket quotas and medical marijuana patients no longer needing to register with the state.
Here are nine noteworthy laws going into effect tomorrow (Saturday) in Virginia:
Prohibiting sexual harassment non-disclosure agreements
Introduced by local Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41), HB 1895 — also known as the Silenced No More Act — prohibits any non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the “purpose or effect of concealing the details of a sexual harassment claim.” If any such agreement does exist, it’s now “void and unenforceable,” per the new law. It mirrors recently enacted laws in other states as well as federal protections.
Assaulting a public transportation operator now leads to additional jail time
As attacks on bus drivers increase, HB 2330 now makes assaulting public transportation operators a Class 1 misdemeanor. That means a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. The legislation, introduced by Del. Delores McQuinn of Richmond, also bans those convicted from using public transit systems.
However, critics say assailants often flee the scene prior to being arrested, suggesting the new law may not be particularly effective.
Fentanyl as “a weapon of terrorism”
Fentanyl overdoses have increasingly become a major concern, particularly among young adults, in Fairfax County and nationwide. To impose harsher penalties on the drug’s manufacturing and distribution, SB 1188 and identical bill HB 1682 reclassify fentanyl as a “weapon of terrorism,” making those acts Class 4 felonies that could carry up to 10 years of jail time.
The new law is similar to ones in other states, though critics say the law doesn’t take into account context or circumstances, and increasing penalties could make people less likely to call authorities when someone they are with overdoses.
Solicitation of a minor disqualifying for potential public school workers
Along with physical and sexual abuse, solicitation of a minor has been added as an offense that will bar someone from being employed or doing contract work for a public school, if convicted, under HB 1822.
The legislation is partially in response to last year’s conviction of a then-Fairfax County Public Schools counselor who solicited prostitution from a minor in Chesterfield. While the man was arrested in November and convicted in March, FCPS didn’t fire him until August. An investigation found Chesterfield officials didn’t notify FCPS until months after the incident. The Chesterfield Police Department claimed emails bounced back and went to spam. Read More
Fairfax County residents will now be able to access some data related to local temporary gun removal cases.
On June 13 (Tuesday), Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano released to the public a continuously updated digital dashboard that tracks ongoing and past Emergency Substantial Risk Orders — known more commonly as Red Flag Orders — as well as view demographic breakdowns of those subjected to ESROs by race, gender and age.
Instituted in 2020, Virginia’s red flag law gives the Fairfax County Police Department and Commonwealth’s Attorney the authority to temporarily remove a gun or guns from someone’s possession if they have probable cause that the individual poses a ‘substantial risk’ to themselves or others.
When contacted by community or family members seeking to initiate a red flag order under a civil order, law enforcement will begin an independent investigation to determine whether one is appropriate.
If an order is granted, individuals are barred from purchasing, possessing or transporting any firearms for up to 14 days with opportunities for extension.
Fairfax County is the only jurisdiction in the state with a team dedicated to red flag orders, Descano told FFXNow by email. The county is the source of 75% of red flag orders in Virginia, he said when announcing the new dashboard.
The dashboard is intended to improve public communications and demystify the court processes for the general public, similar to one on bond decisions that the prosecutor’s office launched last year.
“We wanted this dashboard to bring transparency and awareness to the community about this law and that it can be a tool that saves lives,” Descano wrote. “By showing that it is being used, I hope Fairfax residents will know that if they have a dangerous situation, they can pick up the phone and get help.”
In addition to allowing community members to be more knowledgable about Virginia’s red flag law, the dashboard aims to be a useful tool for prosecutors in guiding their work.
“The other important role of the dashboard is how it informs my prosecutors’ decision-making,” Descano wrote. “We’re using this internally to track cases and make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and that’s a key piece of our day-to-day work on these cases. We have about nine months of data now that we’re working with, and as we get more data on Red Flag Orders, we’ll be able to identify trends that may help us and law enforcement further protect the community and handle these cases.”
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has opened 108 red flag cases since May 2022, 92% of them against men, according to the dashboard.
The data will expand over time as Descano’s office works to incorporate more and varied trends and demographics into the board, Public Information Officer Laura Birnbaum says.
“There’s a lot more in this story to tell about how these orders are coming to the police, who’s initiating them, who are the respondents and what kind of situations are we seeing these these orders come out. There’s more data and more trends to pull apart,” Birnbaum said. “…Are there times of year where we see more of these and others? What does that help inform us about other ways we could do gun violence prevention work?”
In response to calls for additional legal assistance, Fairfax County is poised to establish a self-help resource center in the library of its courthouse complex.
At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (March 21), the board approved a board matter that would allocate $96,000 in fiscal year 2024 to support the project. The board matter was proposed by Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk and Chairman Jeff McKay.
Reportedly the first of its kind in the state, the center would provide legal information, referrals, forms and resource materials on topics related to court issues. The board matter states that it would serve as an alternative option for people who can’t afford legal services and don’t have pro bono help available.
“In my District, we have had constituents contact my office desperate for legal differential last hey are unable to obtain legal aid services. In one instance, a child custody case, the parents had no idea what to expect at their court hearing and thus were not able to prepare for or understand the court process,” Lusk said in the board matter.
First pitched by the Fairfax Bar Association, which runs the law library, the proposal is being led by Fairfax County General District Court judges Susan Stoney and Dipti Pidkiti-Smith.
A 2019 study by the bar association found that the cost of hiring an attorney and the belief that cases can be handled alone are among the top reasons litigants didn’t have a lawyer.
“Access to justice for self-representative litigants is a significant issue facing the legal community today,” the board matter said.
Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity noted that the challenge is not limited to “Black and brown communities.”
Responding to Herrity, McKay emphasized that the board matter specifically refers to economically challenged residents and other communities who are most in need.
He said that statement was “absolutely factual” and “all encompassing.”
An expansion of the criminal charges eligible for record-sealing in Virginia has led to a surge in petitions for expungement to Fairfax County’s courts.
Faced with that increased caseload, the courts have moved to streamline the process by no longer requiring those petitioning for an expungement to attend a hearing, the Office of the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney announced last week.
As of March 1, a court hearing is only required if a petition is rejected.
“Previously, individuals would have to come to court for a one-minute hearing, which is a considerable burden if you’re unable to take off work, get childcare, or have other barriers to attending,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said. “Now, individuals can petition for an expungement by filing paperwork, which will be reviewed weekly.”
The process change was initiated by the Fairfax County Circuit Court judges, according to Court Clerk John Frey. It was implemented in a partnership between the judges, the clerk’s office and county prosecutors.
In Virginia, expungement removes criminal records from public view and prohibits access to them without a court order.
The Fairfax County Circuit Court received 701 expungement petitions between March 1, 2022 and March 1, 2023 — about three times more than the 211 petitions taken up the preceding year, according to data provided by Frey.
The court has taken in a total of 1,438 expungements over the past five years, including 168 petitions from March 1, 2018 to March 1, 2019, 200 in 2019-2020 and 158 in 2020-2021.
Frey attributes the increase over the past year directly to new laws adopted by the General Assembly in 2021 that introduced automatic sealing and significantly expanded the kinds of charges that can be sealed with a petition.
“The General Assembly made it much easier to obtain an expungement,” he said.
Currently, Virginia only expunges records if the petitioner is found not guilty, has the charges dropped or dismissed, or gets pardoned. In other words, a conviction will be public forever, regardless of how much time passes or the type of crime.
Under the 2021 law, which will take full effect in 2025, the state will automatically seal dismissed charges, acquittals, certain misdemeanor convictions, and cases where the person completes a “deferred disposition program,” such as Fairfax County’s specialized drug and mental health dockets.
Misdemeanors eligible for automatic sealing include simple marijuana possession, underage drinking, shoplifting, trespassing and disorderly conduct. The person must wait seven years since the conviction and have no new convictions during that time to have their record sealed.
The law also allows individuals convicted of other misdemeanors and Class 5 or 6 felonies to petition for expungement.
While automatic sealing won’t begin until 2025, the law has simplified the petitioning process by eliminating a fingerprint requirement, according to the Legal Aid Justice Center, which says expunging a criminal record typically takes at least nine months.
“A person’s criminal record can follow them around for a lifetime — even if they haven’t been convicted of the charges — potentially limiting their ability to get a job, benefits, or housing,” Descano said. “For people who want to start fresh, old criminal charges can prevent them from stabilizing their lives.”
As the Virginia General Assembly convenes this week for its 2023 session, local lawmakers hope to pass bills highlighting campaign finance reforms, raising teacher pay, paid sick leave, and other issues.
Members have been allowed to pre-file bills since November, and Fairfax County’s delegation held a public hearing on Saturday (Jan. 7) where community members shared their thoughts on what should be prioritized.
Members have until Wednesday morning to pre-file bills.
Facing a divided General Assembly, with Republicans controlling the House of Delegates and Democrats holding the Senate, local representatives likely won’t see all of their bills become law, but here are 12 proposals worth noting:
Campaign finance reform
- Limit political donations to $20,000: Introduced by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34), SB 803 would prohibit individuals from making a single donation to anyone vying for state office for more than $20,000.
- Prohibit contributions from public utilities: Also filed by Petersen, SB 804 would prohibit candidates from accepting contributions from any public utility company. Petersen has introduced versions of this bill before but hasn’t succeeded in getting it passed.
- Prohibit personal use of campaign funds: The potential new law HB 1552, introduced by Del. Marcus Simon (D-53), would ban candidates from using campaign funds for personal use, something that’s already prohibited in many other states.
- Alternative learning assessments in schools: SB 819, pre-filed by Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31), aims to allow each local school district “to use any nationally recognized, research-based assessment or screener” as an alternative to Virginia Department of Education-approved tests. This comes after new state-proposed history standards were rejected by the Board of Education in November. Revised draft standards were released Friday (Jan. 6).
- Higher teacher compensation: Del. Kaye Kory (D-38) is co-introducing HB 1497, which calls for state funding to be used to compensate public school teachers at or above the national average. Currently, the average pay for teachers in Virginia is about $7,000 below the national average.
- Unattended firearms in motor vehicles: SB 901, introduced by Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37), would make it illegal to leave a firearm unattended in a motor vehicle unless it’s locked up in its own compartment or container.
- Prohibit warrants for menstrual health data: SB 852 would prohibit the issuing of warrants for the search and seizure of any device containing digital information related to menstrual health data. Filed by Favola, the bill addresses fears from some that period-tracking apps could be used against someone considering an abortion.
- Paid sick leave for health care and grocery store workers: Introduced by Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36), SB 886 would require health care and grocery store employers to provide paid sick leave. As noted in the bill, current law only requires paid sick leave for some home health care workers. A version of this bill passed the Senate last year but failed in the House.
- Treatment for “problem gambling“: With sports gambling now legal in Virginia, Del. Paul Krizek (D-44) is proposing HB 1465, which would establish a committee to help “reduce the negative effects of problem gambling.”
- Bars insurrectionists from holding public official: Del. Dan Helmer (D-40) is introducing HB 1562 to bar those “convicted of participating in an insurrection” from ever holding a position of “public trust.”
- ASL interpreters in courtrooms: Surovell’s SB 814 lets the court appoint a certified American Sign Language interpreter itself for the courtroom.
- No arrest for assault on law enforcement in mental health emergency: HB 1561 from Del. Vivian Watts (D-39) exempts individuals from being arrested or prosecuted for assaulting a law enforcement officer if they’re experiencing a mental health emergency. A study done last year showed that about 10% of those charged with assault on law enforcement officers had a history of mental illness.
- Pedestrian signals apply to bicycles and scooters: Favola’s SB 847 calls for pedestrian control signals to also apply to those riding bicycles, mopeds, electric bikes, scooters, and all other forms of electric motor transportation. A companion bill is being filed by Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48) in the House.
Photo via Doug Kerr/Flickr
Fairfax County property owners are officially required to contain running bamboo on their property — or face potential fines.
Effective as of Jan. 1, the county’s new running bamboo ordinance calls for property owners to get the invasive grass species under control and imposes civil penalties on property owners who let it “spread to adjacent properties or any public right-of-way.”
The ordinance was approved by the Board of Supervisors back in March 2022, along with a fine structure that includes $50 for the first complaint or violation, $200 for subsequent violations, and a $3,000 cap on fines over a 12-month period.
Officials have reiterated that staff will first seek to educate and allow for violations to be corrected voluntarily before imposing fines. When the issue went to a public hearing in February, several residents and supervisors expressed some concern about the financial implications of the fines.
In March, though, Fairfax County Director of Code Compliance Jack Weyant suggested fines would only be invoked for cases that have gone on for a year or longer.
Running bamboo is a fast-growing, invasive grass with an even more aggressive root system (rhizomes) that can spread underground up to 15 feet per year.
“Once planted, running bamboo can eventually take over yards and travel across property lines, creating issues for adjacent property owners and local jurisdictions,” Weyant told FFXnow. “Roots can push through brickwork, drains, cavity walls, patios, and exploit cracks or weaknesses in concrete.”
Weyant noted that the new ordinance “does not ban bamboo” but requires property owners to prevent it from growing on adjacent properties, including public property.
The county has set up a webpage to advise residents on the best methods to contain, prevent overgrowing, and dispose of bamboo.
Options include setting up a metal and plastic “bamboo root barrier” that deflects rhizomes back towards the bamboo owner’s property, encouraging the plants to grow vertically instead of spreading horizontally.
The county also suggests mowing bamboo often and using herbicides to prevent further growth. All cut bamboo should go in trash pick-up, not yard waste, per the county.
The complete removal of bamboo from a property is extremely difficult.
“Digging out bamboo requires heavy equipment and coordination with Virginia 811,” the website says.
In 2017, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law that let localities impose financial penalties on property owners who allow bamboo to run wild. However, Virginia still allows commercial sales, an issue that Fairfax County supervisors have previously said needs to be corrected by the state.
The county itself will also have to adhere to the new ordinance.
The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) manages about 204 acres of bamboo that draw 10 to 20 complaints a year from neighboring homeowners. FCPA removes two to three bamboo sites a year, but it’s expensive.
In April, the FCPA told FFXnow that a recent removal of about an acre of bamboo cost about $35,000, mostly due to herbicide treatment costs.
Development has been taking place at an unprecedented rate. New roads are being constructed, and existing ones are being updated every once in a while. That said, it is common for drivers to encounter construction sites along roads.
Although construction sites may seem like everyday routines, there is a lot of danger that drivers unknowingly face. Hence, it can be challenging for drivers to navigate these areas.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 30,000 people died from construction site accidents from 1982 to 2019. It implies that nearly 800 people die annually, equal to about two per day on construction sites. In brief, drivers must be educated on construction site hazards to save more lives.
Below are a few reasons why road construction sites are dangerous for drivers.
Road construction sites have loose gravel, sticky tar, oil, and other substances on the road, which could cause vehicles to skid on the surface. Therefore, unprepared drivers might easily lose control due to bumpy or sticky surfaces.
Similarly, speeding drivers could easily loosen gravel that could crack their windshields or others. The situation is often worsened by severe weather conditions that might reduce visibility and hinder drivers from seeing the terrain and making appropriate decisions.
For obvious safety reasons, construction zones have reduced speed limits. Unfortunately, impatient motorists driving over the limit pose a danger to themselves and others.
Construction zones have speed limits to enhance worker safety and prevent collisions with on-site machinery. This ensures that if crashes occur, the severity of the fatalities are minimized.
Road construction operators tend to reroute drivers to facilitate construction. As a driver, it is your sole duty to obey and follow the instructions provided by the workers.
However, in some cases, impatient drivers attempt to overlap or overtake other vehicles, which pose severe risks to everyone involved. It could result in a collision with oncoming traffic or construction machinery.
Safety Tips for Drivers in Construction Sites
With all the possible hazards listed above, drivers must familiarize themselves with safety guidelines while driving.
Follow Instructions From Flaggers
Flaggers are often positioned in construction zones to control traffic. Be on the lookout for them and obey any guidelines they give. Though frustrating, it is essential to wait for their signal before proceeding.
Flaggers may use red and green flags to signal stop and go. In other instances, they may use their arms and palms to signify the same. To avoid sudden braking, drive slowly whenever you are approaching a flagger.
Maintain a Reasonable Distance Between Other Cars
There are many unpredictable outcomes in construction sites. It is wise to maintain a reasonable following distance from other vehicles. This provides ample reaction time and space, should anything happen.
Maintaining a distance of about two to three car lengths is a good practice as it prevents rear-end accidents on these sites. Increase your following distance if you are driving behind construction equipment.
Drivers must be extra keen when driving through construction zones. Avoid distractions like phones and loud music as they may impair your decision-making skills and reaction time. Be on the lookout for workers as they often walk around the site.
Overspeeding in construction zones can attract a huge fine. Sustaining injuries from construction accidents could change your life forever, or even end your life altogether.
“If injured on a construction site, you can file a personal injury claim, which will help you cover medical bills and lost wages; however, better safe than sorry” says Felix Gonzalez. Following the outlined steps can reduce your chances of being involved in a crash.
The Fairfax County Police Department has revised how its officers respond to “swatting” after seeing a noticeable uptick in such incidents in recent years.
“Swatting” is a form of harassment involving false 911 calls that are intended to draw a heavy law enforcement response, such as a SWAT team, putting the target in a potentially life-threatening situation.
As of Dec. 6, the FCPD had recorded 12 swatting incidents this year, a decline from the 30 seen in 2021 but still significantly higher than the three reported in 2018 and five in 2019, according to data provided to FFXnow. Incidents have climbed into the double digits since 2020, when there were 11.
“As you can tell they have risen over the years,” said Sgt. Lance Hamilton with the police department’s public affairs bureau. “As a result, we have updated our General Orders regarding the response to ‘Swatting’ events in August of this year.”
Effective Aug. 11, the department’s hostage and barricade procedures now includes a specific subsection on potential swatting incidents:
Officers should factor in, prior to attempting to make contact with any individual at a location where a report of a hostage or barricade incident has been communicated through the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC), whether or not the incident constitutes a false “swatting” incident. Officers should consider whether the scene matches the 9-1-1 call description and follow-up with criminal investigations of making a false report to police whenever possible.
Officers should consider “if they have legal authority, what are the potential dangers posed to the community/officers, and is there a need for additional specialized resources from our Operations Support Bureau,” Hamilton said.
“In most cases, this is handled by the department’s de-escalation techniques of using time and distance to slow things down,” Hamilton said. “As you can imagine this is a difficult balance when someone calls 911 regarding an active event.”
The policy change came after community members filed complaints about two separate incidents with the county’s Police Civilian Review Panel, which reviews FCPD investigations into abuse of authority and misconduct allegations.
In one case, police were called to an Annandale townhome at 4 a.m. on March 8, 2020 after a man who claimed to be a neighbor called 911 twice, saying the women who lived there were yelling and fighting. The women said the responsing officers knocked excessively and didn’t identify themselves, leading them to not answer the door right away.
In the other, the FCPD sent a full SWAT team to a home after a 911 caller reported shots being fired “during a likely domestic disturbance,” according to the panel’s 2021 annual report.
While the panel found no misconduct in either case, it expressed surprise at the lack of a follow-up investigation into the 911 caller in the first case and suggested that the FCPD reconsider its policies.
“While the Panel is aware that certain rules concerning 9-1-1 procedures are set at the Commonwealth-wide level, it is our hope that the FCPD and the county can work together to make sure that procedures and laws are in place such that the frequency of such dangerous incidents is greatly minimized,” the annual report said. Read More
A Richmond-based commercial law firm that dates back to the post-World War II era is inching closer to Tysons Galleria.
Citing a need for more space to accommodate its growth, Hirschler officially moved its Tysons office into a 12,200-square-foot suite at 1676 International Drive just before Thanksgiving, the company announced late last month.
The new space is about 3,000 square feet larger than the firm’s previous office at 8270 Greensboro Drive, according to a spokesperson.
“We have been looking forward to this move since we began exploring this amazing space on International Drive,” said Justine Fitzgerald, managing partner of Hirschler’s Tysons office. “The enthusiasm across our Tysons team from finally inhabiting our new office is already palpable. As we continue to make ourselves at home in the upcoming weeks, we are excited about the impact that the upgraded amenities, technology and collaborative space will have for our clients.”
Hirschler said the move was needed to allow “additional space for sustained growth” of its Northern Virginia and D.C. area operations.
Founded as Hirschler and Fleischer in 1946, the company established its Tysons office in 2016 as part of a merger with the local firm Leach Travell. The office handles business, bankruptcy, real estate, and litigation cases and has now grown to 17 attorneys, the press release said.
The expansion comes as many companies opt to downsize their offices in response to the rise of remote work during the pandemic. In the third quarter of 2022, 80% of Northern Virginia’s leasing activity involved spaces smaller than 10,000 square feet, and vacancies in the region rose to 19.1%, according to an office market report by Avison Young.
In Tysons, demand remains high for “high-end” trophy office space, developers said at a “Future of Tysons” panel earlier this month. The area has added 360,000 of Class-A office space this year, behind only Crystal City in Northern Virginia, Bisnow reported.
An economic study released in March 2021 predicted that Tysons will need at least 1.9 million square feet of new office space over the next 10 years, but it also found that the pipeline for office construction exceeded projected job growth.
Given the uncertainties of the office market and Fairfax County prioritizing affordable housing, developers in the Tysons area and beyond have increasingly focused on converting or replacing commercial properties with residential or mixed-use projects.
The county is also exploring the possibility of allowing vacant commercial spaces to be used as emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness.