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GFCA President's Notes  The Citizens Association was founded 55 years ago to preserve the semi-rural nature of Great Falls and provide local residents with a voice to discuss issues with local officials.  Much has changed here since 1968, but this little corner of Fairfax County has retained its physical distinction of low density, abundant green spaces, and wildlife, winding two-lane country roads, and even some landscapes with horses.

In the estimation of many residents, those elements contribute significantly to the notion of what semi-rural means in Great Falls.  Another one that has been taken for granted over the decades is dark skies in our community.  Over the years, GFCA has worked with county officials to preserve some of that special aspect of Great Falls.  There are purposely few streetlights on the roads here, where safety is not compromised, and we have been successful in gaining the cooperation of developers in some locations to positively impact the illumination of commercial signs to to comport with the character of the community.

Fairfax County recognized the value of our unique dark skies 24 years ago when it acquired land from the Federal Government off Springvale Road and then developed a Conceptual Development Plan in 2000 for an observatory.  With the County's efforts and the early contributions of talent and resources by Great Falls residents, Observatory Park at Turner Farm Park on Springvale Road was created, the only county observatory. 

Fairfax County is now engaged in developing an ordinance that would provide some guidelines for residences within a half mile radius of Turner Farm’s observatory.  GFCA has held numerous public meetings on this proposed ordinance and there are both supporters and opponents.  Comments during this process have led county officials to substantially modify their original proposals; the GFCA board has not taken an official position at this time.

As a Great Falls resident, what do you think about ensuring we retain dark skies here in the face of rising illumination on some residential properties?  Take a look at the revised staff summary published by Fairfax County and let Supervisor John Foust and Chairman McKay know your thoughts on both our general dark skies and the specific proposed ordinance.  Now is a good time to speak up.

Bill Canis

Upcoming events

Watch GFCA
uTube Channel Videos Here:

EP Committee Presentation by Henry Lippincott on the Georgetown Pike Rural Preservation Trust and benefits of Land Conservation Easements

Land 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: Towlston Rd./Rte. 7 Intersection -

Town Hall re: Milestone Towers proposed Monopole -

Town Hall re: Springvale Rd. Bridge Replacement -

Deer Management Presentation -

Native Plants Presentation -


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."

zMOD - Fairfax County's Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project:  Public Hearings planned

4/12/23 UPDATE: In response to the recent Virginia Supreme Court opinion declaring zMOD void ab initio, the Board of Supervisors set public hearings to readopt the zMOD Ordinance and subsequent amendments on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

The public hearing dates are Wednesday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. for the Planning Commission and Tuesday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m. for the Board of Supervisors. 

For more information:

The Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) is a non-profit, 501(c)4, organization based in Great Falls, Virginia, whose mission is to promote and protect the quality of life and the unique characteristics of the Great Falls community.  The GFCA is a volunteer-based organization that is open to all residents of Great Falls and the surrounding area.

The GFCA is known for its advocacy and community engagement activities, which include working with local government officials and other community organizations on issues related to land use, zoning, transportation, and environmental protection.  The organization also organizes events and programs to promote community engagement and connect residents with local resources and services. 

Some of the activities the GFCA is involved in include:

  • Zoning and land-use issues, like protecting the rural character of Great Falls from over development
  • Advocacy for traffic and transportation improvements
  • Promoting the protection of natural and historic resources in Great Falls
  • Organizing community events and programs, like educational seminars, social events, and volunteer opportunities
  • Provide information and resources to the community on issues of importance to Great Falls.

The GFCA is an active organization in Great Falls and plays a critical role in preserving the community's unique character and quality of life, through its advocacy and community engagement activities.

Great Falls Citizens Association            
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA   •  2206

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