Taking Advantage of an Opportunity

Taking Advantage of an Opportunity

South county residents urged to take action on storm water, school projects.

When the public is given the opportunity to change the public facilities manual, Teresa Champion wants to make the most of it.

An amendment that would regulate the ways storm water can be drawn away from developments was the subject of a Jan. 9 meeting with the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Unfortunately, some of the literature on the amendments, which would restrict a developer’s options for reducing the amount of storm water drainage, was given out only an hour before the workshop.

“There is so much good work that went into this, [Planning Commisioner] Laurie Frost Wilson (At-large) and the rest of the county staff should be commended for their effort,” Champion said.

A public hearing on corrections made to the amendments by Wilson was scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 13, but she requested a deferral until Thursday, Jan. 19 to allow for more residents to have the chance to read the documents and submit comment.

At a meeting of the South County Federation Tuesday, Jan. 10, Champion urged the members to support a motion to defer a vote on the amendments until a later date, in order to give more residents a chance to read through the complicated document and provide comments or suggestions.

“We are never given the opportunity to change the PFM [public facilities manual],” Champion said. If the Planning Commission voted on the amendments before public comments could be made or considered, the chance would be lost again, Champion explained.

However, Wilson said that it would be very unlikely that the public hearing, which was already continued from a December meeting, would be extended again.

AFTER MORE than a half-hour of discussion and debate over what action the South County Federation could take, without the members having the opportunity to read the amended information, a motion was passed that requested the Planning Commission accept Wilson’s corrections to the amendment by deleting an option that would allow developers to reduce the amount of storm water ponds in a site plan as a method to provide adequate water outfall. A second motion, which supported the request for public input on the decision for how drainage divides are crossed, was also passed.

The public hearing at the Planning Commission is Thursday, Jan. 19, at 8:15 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center.

During Tuesday night's meeting, former land-use committee chairman Marty Schirmacher updated the Federation on a proposal made by Enterprise Car Rentals for a property on Fullerton Road. The company has submitted a proposal to keep 15 vehicles on a lot to be rented out for use in an existing storefront.

“It’s a no-brainer. Their proposal isn’t a big deal,” Schirmacher said. The company had agreed to install a water filtration system to treat water used for washing the cars, and a motion Schirmacher made to support the proposal was passed.

Education committee chair Christine Morin updated the Federation on work she’s been doing with residents between Mason Neck and Barrington to help move up the South County Middle School project in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan rankings.

“The South County Secondary School may have up to 3,100 students by next fall,” she said. “This is an issue that needs to be addressed soon. We need to get the school accelerated before 2018, which is when it’s scheduled to come up in the queue,” Morin said.

The Fairfax County School Board and the Office of Facilities Planning will meet to discuss the Capital Improvement Plan on Jan. 23, Morin said, at which time the Facilities Planning staff may make recommendations on how overcrowding at the South County Secondary School may be addressed for the 2006-07 school year.