To the Editor:
As Michael Lee Pope’s article entitled “Fee Could Make Impact” (Nov. 29, Mount Vernon Gazette) correctly explains, Fairfax County does not ask developers for transportation infrastructure improvements for “by right” projects. Contrary to what the article implies, Fairfax County does have zoning regulations that would require developers to provide transportation infrastructure where needed when “by right” projects’ site plans or minor site plans are reviewed by Fairfax County staff.
In response to the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens’ Associations’ (MVCCA) resolution regarding Transportation Impact Fees for by-right projects, the then Fairfax County Executive, Anthony Griffin, issued a 2/1/2012 memorandum which clearly states on page 2 (last paragraph) that "by-right" redevelopments (which do not require rezoning) are subject to improvements under Section 17-200+ of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance (which was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1976). Fairfax County staff should be enforcing section 17-200+ of the Zoning Ordinance that states “to assure public safety,” no site plan shall be approved unless a determination is made by the director that sidewalks, additional vehicular lanes and/or widening of existing roads are unnecessary.
The MVCCA Transportation committee has sent questions regarding the enforcement of this section of the zoning ordinance (i.e., when, what projects and what transportation infrastructure was required) as “by right” projects seem to slide by without the required improvements required by Section 17-200+ (e.g., Construction of pedestrian walkways so that occupants/patrons may walk on the same, construction of trails as shown on the Comprehensive Plan, construction of vehicular lanes, widening of existing roads, construction of curb and gutter), such as Kings Crossing and Hollin Hall Village.
US Route 1 needs improved transportation infrastructure so that it can be properly revitalized. The traffic congestion at Kings Crossing needed additional dedicated turn lanes, but the turn lanes were not built when the new stores were built at Kings Crossing. Fairfax County should be requesting fees from developers so that these needed transportation projections become a reality. The existing zoning regulations should be enforced and county staff should institute fees and/or require these improvements. That is why I believe “by right” projects should be denied unless they provide the required improvements of Section 17-200+.
Catherine M. Voorhees
Hollin Hall Village