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Senator Jennifer Boysko, Delegate Rip Sullivan, and
Dranesville Supervisor Jimmy Bierman to conduct a Town Hall
on the Casino Bill
Saturday, February 3, 2024 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
McLean High School, 1633 Davidson Rd, McLean, VA 22101
Senator Jennifer B. Boysko, along with Delegate Rip Sullivan and Supervisor Jimmy Bierman, will hold a Town Hall on Saturday, February 3rd, to hear from the public concerns and comments pertaining to legislation that would call for a referendum in Fairfax County regarding the possible development of a casino.
SB 675 adds Fairfax County to the list of localities eligible to host a casino in the Commonwealth and provides that any proposed site for a casino gaming establishment considered by Fairfax County shall be (i) located within one-quarter of a mile of an existing station on the Metro Silver Line, (ii) part of a coordinated mixed-use project development, (iii) outside of the Dulles airport flight path, (iv) within two miles of a major shopping destination containing not less than 1.5 million square feet of gross building area, and (v) outside of the Interstate 495 Beltway.
Jennifer B. Boysko represents District 38 in the Virginia State Senate which includes Herndon, Reston, Great Falls, McLean, Wolftrap, parts of unincorporated Falls Church and Vienna.
Please Register Here and make your voice heard on this issue.
Senate Bill 675 - Casino Gaming in Fairfax County
Group Representing Citizens Associations Travels to the Virginia Capitol
January 30, 2024
A 13-member delegation from Northern Virginia boarded a chartered bus Monday morning Jan. 29 to travel to the Virginia Capitol to meet with members of the Virginia Senate and their staffs to express the concerns of the thousands of Fairfax County residents who have raised objections to Senate Bill 675 (introduced by Senator David W. Marsden, Democrat, District 35) that would authorize a casino in Fairfax County. The delegation was joined at the Capitol by Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn (Hunter Mill District), his wife, and his Chief of Staff.
An important purpose of traveling to Richmond was to offer testimony before the Senate Finance and Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Development and Natural Resources that was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Monday. That Committee is chaired by the Patron of Senate Bill 675, Sen. Marsden. However, the delegation was advised by Senator Boysko, in the early afternoon, that the bill would not be scheduled for hearing in Monday’s subcommittee. Therefore no opposition testimony would be presented at the Monday meeting. Senator Marsden had previously testified to the Senate's Subcommittee on Gaming that there was no opposition to his bill.
The group traveling to Richmond consisted of representatives from the Reston Citizens Association, McLean Citizens Association, the Town Council of Vienna, the Greater Tysons Citizens Association Teams, the Great Falls Citizens Association, Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn, and several area residents.
At the beginning of the Senate’s Monday morning session, the delegation was seated and recognized in the Senate Gallery, introduced by Senator Boysko, and formally welcomed by the President of the Senate Winsome Sears and the members of the Virginia Senate.
Throughout the day, smaller teams from the delegation met with the 40 members of the Senate, or their key staff members, to discuss the details of the Marsden Bill and why there has been overwhelming opposition from citizens. Senator Boysko, and Senator Favola both have voiced their opposition to the bill.
That the Senate Subcommittee hearing opportunity was not scheduled did not deter the delegation from attending that session that heard other business than S.B.675. During the Subcommittee meeting, Chairman Marsden noticed the large group of attendees from Fairfax County and requested Senator Barbara Favola, a member of his Committee, to inform the group that Marsden would make himself available after the meeting to discuss his bill. Supervisor Alcorn volunteered to stay behind and meet with the Senator. While en route back to Northern Virginia, members were notified by Supervisor Alcorn that Senator Marsden remained unwavering in his intention to proceed with the Casino bill.
Concerned citizens of Great Falls and Fairfax County are encouraged to continue to express their views on this proposal by addressing email messages to the members of the Virginia Senate. Nearly all of the senate offices visited by the delegation from Northern Virginia indicated they had received numerous messages expressing opposition to the Bill and they were well aware of the sentiments from the constituents in Northern Virginia.
In addition to writing members of the Virginia General Assembly, there is an online petition that has gathered more than 6,000 signatures that is available below:
Should S.B. 675 pass the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, it will still require approval by the full Senate. Your continued monitoring of this proposal is encouraged.
GFCA to Review Legislation Affecting Land Use & Zoning Reform
During the 2023 session of the General Assembly, several bills were introduced that sought to ease the housing problems across the Commonwealth through increasing density allowances on single-family zoned parcels.
Last year bills were proposed to provide improvements in affordable housing and to create mixed-income home ownership options by way of lot size reductions, dimensional and form modifications, or floor area ratio increases; accessory housing unit allowances; and allowance of duplexes, triplexes, and quadruplexes in areas with primarily single-family detached homes. But, last year’s General Assembly apparently had no appetite for adopting proposals like these and the bills failed to move beyond the committee stage. However, it is likely that with the recent adoption of zoning ordinance amendments in the communities of Alexandria and Arlington county to change land use policies involving single family zoning, our legislators, at the state and county levels, may view those local actions as a bellwether moment.
The GFCA’s Land Use and Zoning Committee has been anticipating that, given its large lots and predominant single family zoning, Great Falls is a target rich environment for developers, land use planners, and policy makers seeking to find a solution for Fairfax County’s housing problems. The Land Use and Zoning Committee has been exploring past legislative proposals and has monitored the controversial changes that were recently adopted in both Arlington and Alexandria, apparently over the objections of many residents in those communities.
The Board of the GFCA, at its December meeting, adopted several legislative initiatives to use as a filter when reviewing proposed legislation in the coming year. These activities will affect the work of all three of GFCA’s Standing Committees. But, the Land Use & Zoning Committee will have a sharp focus on any proposals that may repeat the themes of the failed legislation of 2023.
Discussions on this housing topic suggest that there is more to the solution than simply undercutting single-family zoning. Without addressing the economic aspects contributing to the housing crisis, the attack on single-family zoning is ineffective. Many studies, including work by Virginia’s own Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission recommend policies that also consider financial incentives and/or requirements for developers to set aside a portion of their units as affordable. In the face of skyrocketing housing costs, unless concepts like those incentives are incorporated into legislation and zoning ordinances, new housing units will likely be offered at market rate providing little or no relief for access to affordable housing for renters and home buyers alike.
All three GFCA committees and its Special Committee on Legislative Action will be coordinating the review of state and county legislative initiatives in the new year. Schools Task Force Established
The current CIP for Fiscal Years 2024-2028 is available at (https://www.fcps.edu/capital-improvement-program) and contains a five-year membership projection, program capacity utilization, and potential solutions to consider for each school that has a capacity deficit. This document is updated by county staff and approved by the Fairfax County School Board on an annual basis. At the present time FCPS facilities management staff are finalizing the proposed CIP for FY 2025-2029 for publication in early January and public hearings later in the month.
Through the above-mentioned task force, the proposed CIP and other relevant information will be reviewed and summarized as to its impact on the status of schools serving Great Falls residents. The results of that research will be considered by the GFCA Executive Board in deciding IF any future initiative by GFCA on this issue is warranted. Anyone interested in participating in such a future initiative (IF one is undertaken subsequent to the research that is underway) should click here.
County to Fund Two Transportation Projects in Great Falls
The Fairfax Board of Supervisors recently approved funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects around the county including two within Great Falls.
The long-awaited signalized crosswalks at the Georgetown Pike and Walker Road intersection have been funded at $775,000. This action is expected to provide crosswalks with signals at the East and North legs of the intersection. More than 40 years ago, the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Walker Road was rebuilt but, due to local pressure, the design was compromised in order to save two mature oak trees on the northeast corner at the Professional Building. Those trees lasted for a few decades but are gone now. As a result of the compromised original design, VDOT could not allow a right-turn-on-red lane southbound on Walker nor cross walks from the northeast corner. This was because the mature trees were to the north of the current Exxon station and to the east of the 7-Eleven commercial center. The funding for the signalized crosswalks was prioritized by the Dranesville Supervisors Office in 2017 but the project did not move forward until now.
The completed project will connect all four corners of this major intersection. We anticipate having further details regarding the Georgetown Pike/Walker Road crosswalks soon.
Great Falls News Briefs
Click Here to read about the Historic Georgetown Pike and Cornwell Farm
Our goal is to preserve the semi-rural character of our community while addressing practical concerns like traffic, zoning, retail, schools, parks and the environment where problems arise and solutions must be found.
Since Great Falls is not an incorporated municipality like the Town of Vienna, or City of Falls Church, we lack a town/city government to represent our local interests. The GFCA acts in an unofficial capacity to represent the voices of the citizens of Great Falls on these matters, and works with county, state, and national government to get things done. On Great Falls issues, no other organization has GFCA’s influence with elected leaders at the County and State level, or is as respected by them.
Our charter calls for GFCA to "serve as a community organization to promote all aspects of community interest accruing to a common good and, in general, to preserve the historic, low density, semi-rural character of Great Falls and its natural resources."
GFCA Sept. 1, 2023 EP Committee Presentation on well water, hosted by Committee Co-chair Lisa Schlecht
EP Committee Presentation by Henry Lippincott on the Georgetown Pike Rural Preservation Trust and benefits of Land Conservation Easements
Use & Zoning Committee Chair, Jennifer Falcone's, Video Testimony
before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on zMOD Ordinance
EP Committee Presentation on Fairfax County's recycling Program
Town Hall re: Proposed Dark Sky Preserve at Turner Farm Park Observatory
EP Committee Presentation featuring Tips on Lawn Care from Master Gardener Tony Makara
Town Hall re: Springvale Rd. Bridge Replacement -