Featured News

  • 28 Nov 2016 2:44 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)


  • 27 Nov 2016 4:23 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    About 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 north-east corner at the Professional Building. The 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 NE corner.  This was because the mature trees were to the north of the current Shell station and to the east of the 7/11 strip mall. Without proper protected crosswalks, pedestrians have had to dodge traffic in a very unsafe situation.

    GFCA has recently lobbied Supervisor Foust’s office and VDOT to initiate design, funding and construction of a proper intersection so we can have right-turn-on-red going south on Walker Road going west on Georgetown Pike and safe crosswalks to connect all four corners of this major intersection in our town. The GFCA created a sketch and concept plan for this work that has the support of the affected property owners. This proposal was received by Supervisor Foust and GFCA has been informed that this project is at the top of the Supervisor’s list.  GFCA is advocating that it should be funded and built in the 2017 budget cycle.

    With the construction of the TD Bank on the southeast corner (where the old Exxon was) and the recent acquisition of the 7/11 center by a new owner, we hope that a new intersection will contribute to better aesthetics, smoother traffic flow, and safer pedestrian movement through the area.


    See the draft concept plan below ...


  • 12 Oct 2016 7:07 AM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    At the GFCA TownHall last night - which featured debates on Meals Tax and Right to Work measures in the November ballot - we distributed statements from three candidates who want to represent us in Congress:  LuAnn Bennett, Barbara Comstock, and JD Thorpe.

    In lieu of a debate between the candidates, GFCA asked them to provide a personal statement, in their own words, to the residents of Great Falls.  There were no formal requirements other than this statement be limited to no more than 600 words.  We made suggestions for topics they might touch on.

    We hoped that by allowing the candidates flexibility, we might learn more about them from what they chose to talk about, and how they did that.  You can download their statements here.


  • 10 Oct 2016 2:40 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    Before every major election, GFCA holds a TownHall to educate voters on key election issues. On October 11th at 7:30 p.m. (at the Great Falls Grange), GFCA has arranged debates on two major ballot issues this November. The Fairfax County Meals Tax and the Virginia Constitutional Amendment popularly referred to as the “Right to Work” proposal have garnered the most attention beyond the Presidential and Congressional elections. The TownHall program will include:

    • Meals Tax debate: featuring Supervisor Pat Herrity opposing the Meals Tax and Supervisor John Foust supporting it. Having two of the leading Fairfax County Board of Supervisors debate will provide a valuable opportunity to learn about the reality of the issues behind the rhetoric.
    • Right to Work debate: For the proposed Virginia Constitutional Amendment on “Right to Work”, we will feature two distinguished speakers debating the pros and cons. James Young (Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense & Education Foundation for more than 25 years) will make the argument for the amendment. Dan Duncan (President of the Northern VA Central Labor Council) will argue against.
    • Congressional Candidate Statements: GFCA solicited personal statements from LuAnn Bennett (Dem), Barbara Comstock (Rep), and JD Thorpe (Lib) to the citizens of Great Falls about why they are running and why we should support them as our VA-District 10 Representative. Their personalized letters to the citizens of Great Falls will be available at the TownHall.
    • County Spending and Taxation: GFCA is building a fact-base to better understand and evaluate County spending and taxation, and will present a brief tutorial that may be helpful to voters in understanding the arguments surrounding the Meal Tax and bond issues.
    • Educational Materials will be distributed: In addition to the debates, GFCA will have detailed, printed information for voters on the other ballot items – including several county bond issues.


  • 15 Sep 2016 4:29 PM | Pam Grosvenor (Administrator)

    Please join others in the Great Falls community on Saturday morning, September 24th for the rededication of the Civil War Marker commemorating the 1861 Battle of Dranesville. The program will include two historians speaking about the battle, a marker unveiling by Supervisor John Foust, remarks by a representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation, local boy scouts, and re-enactors in Civil War attire. 

    Time: 9:30 AM - Coffee & refreshments; 10:00 AM - Program begins outside (rain or shine)

    Location: Dranesville Church of the Brethren, 11500 Leesburg Pike (next to Seneca Hill Animal Hospital & Spa). For further information, see: Marker Rededication Flier 9-24-16(6).pdf

  • 02 Sep 2016 3:31 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    GFCA is partnering with an organization called ReLeaf to provide seedling trees to individual homeowners in Great Falls – at no cost to the homeowner. ReLeaf is a private non-profit organization of volunteers formed in 1992 to plant and protect trees in and around Fairfax County, preserve native habitat and educate the public about the benefits of trees. ReLeaf has supplied and planted thousands of trees throughout the County.

    This GFCA program is for individual Great Falls homeowners only, and you do not have to be a member of GFCA (although membership is appreciated to support programs like this!). While the trees are free-of-charge, homeowners must commit to plant all the trees ordered and then maintain them - especially during their first year or two. Seedlings of the following species will be available: Silky Dogwood, Elderberry, Red Chokeberry, Willow Oak, Northern Red Oak, White Oak, and Loblolly Pine.

    You can easily order your seedlings on the GFCA website by clicking here.
    You can also pick up a printed order form at the Great Falls Library from September 12 -23rd.

    Trees ordered will be available for pickup at the library on Saturday Oct. 29 and 30. Orders must be placed by Sept. 23. Directions for planting (directly into the ground) and protection collars will be provided at time of pickup.

  • 17 Aug 2016 4:43 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    By the end of August, the groundwater processing system operating on the old Exxon Station property at the corner of Walker Rd and Georgetown Pike will be temporarily removed. Initial site preparation for TD Bank construction will begin this fall with paving. The actual bank branch construction will occur early in 2017. 

    The groundwater processing system was installed 2 years ago to remediate groundwater contamination on the site.  The system will be returned in about two months to resume processing.  At present, groundwater contamination MTBE levels in groundwater on site are nearing cleanup goals. As shown in the attached graphic, the contamination that remains is mainly to the east of Walker Road, under the Safeway shopping center parking lot (BFSaul property). The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) has ordered recommendations from the owner of the old Exxon site for cleaning this MTBE contamination.  This situation is being closely monitored by GFCA, and the recommendations for cleanup of contamination east of Walker Rd. will be evaluated by GFCA once submitted to VADEQ.


  • 02 Aug 2016 3:38 PM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    On July 26, over the opposition of many in the community including GFCA, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the Brooks Farm cluster rezoning and cluster development.

    Citing GFCA member opposition and community environmental and density goals that were not met by the proposal, Bill Canis, GFCA President, provided testimony at the BOS meeting, which you can read here.  Several other residents spoke or wrote against the proposal.  At the meeting, a few speakers supported the proposal, including a consultant to the developer.

    After the speakers concluded, Dranesville Supervisor John Foust introduced a motion to approve the project, which was then passed unanimously by the BOS with no debate. 

    After the vote, Canis said:  “We are disappointed by the Board’s decision.  We are not opposed to appropriate development that preserves the environment and our community’s semi-rural character.  However, there are meaningful issues about this project that could have been improved, especially in the areas of storm water management for major storms, tree canopy protection, road access, and project density.

    GFCA and community volunteers spent thousands of hours over the past two years on the evaluation of this development.  Discussions with both county staff and the developer led to meaningful changes from the original design, and 12 iterations of the proposal.  There were concessions by the developer, including reducing the number of homes from 20 to 19, and improved storm water management features.  GFCA and community representatives placed significant pressure upon the County to raise the bar on managing development runoff, and to stay true to County rules and regulations designed to protect the community against environmental and other negative impacts.   GFCA found areas where the county missed pertinent aspects that were not addressed until residents brought them to the county’s attention.  In the end, GFCA believes the final approved proposal is better than the original, though still deficient in the key respects mentioned above.

    Brooks Farm is a lesson for our community.  Great Falls still has other developable properties.   The pace of development is picking up – it has been many years since GFCA has had as many active land-use projects under study as we do today. Our wells, septic fields, woods, meadows and two-lane roads give us a special country-like ambiance that has, in the past, been protected by low-density development.  GFCA will continue to resist efforts by developers and the County to change the character of semi-rural Great Falls to that of more suburban areas. 

    Most developers seek to build at the highest density possible, through cluster and other approaches. Too often we have seen that such projects, fully endorsed by the county, result in neighbors facing long-term costs and challenges of dealing with storm water and other issues not appropriately addressed by the development.  Once new projects are built and sold, the developer is gone leaving the community impact permanently in place.  The current system makes it hard for residents to influence the outcome and ensure a fair and balanced consideration of community concerns.

    However, Brooks Farm shows the value of community perseverance in development projects because our two+ years of work produced a much-improved final plan.  The experience also highlighted the difficulties and pitfalls of going toe-to-toe with developers’ highly paid attorneys and consultants, compounded by the limitations of county staff resources.   GFCA believes it is essential that our community understand the importance of community/resident involvement in development, assisted where necessary by attorneys and consultants working on the community’s behalf.  GFCA will redouble our efforts to work together with all parties to thoroughly evaluate future development projects in Great Falls for which community input is permitted or needed, and press developers and County officials alike to appropriately address and remedy valid community concerns.


  • 12 Jul 2016 9:46 AM | Phil Pifer (Administrator)

    GFCA will hold a special TownHall meeting on Monday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Falls Library to update residents on three important proposed developments impacting all corners of our community.  Land Use and Development is one of our core activities as part of our Mission to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Great Falls and to defend our semi-rural environment.  GFCA has been deeply involved in all three proposals:  

    1. Cluster rezoning at Brooks Farm (in central Great Falls)
    2. Cluster rezoning at Hill's Nursery (in southern Great Falls) 
    3. A new CVS and retail commercial development (at Seneca Road and Georgetown Pike).  

    Two of these will have major county decisions made in the next two weeks:  the Brooks Farm application is scheduled for a vote by the Board of Supervisors on July 26 and the the Hill's Nursery application is scheduled for consideration by the County Planning Commission on July 21.  The Seneca Road development will be considered by the Planning Commission sometime in the fall. 

    GFCA board members involved in evaluating these proposals will brief residents on the status of the three proposals and touch on how GFCA and other community groups have sought to address the land use, environmental and transportation issues presented by each of these proposals.   

    Brooks Farm especially has been an active concern in Great Falls for over a year.   GFCA members and the public are welcome at this meeting.   Please encourage any interested friends and neighbors to attend.


The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Great Falls Citizens Association

Great Falls Citizens Association
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA  •  22066 

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