Photo Journal 2023: New Countywide Strategic Plan Shapes Fairfax
The Connection gathered photos of some recent projects and happenings since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted its first-ever Countywide Strategic Plan on October 5, 2021. The plan charts a shared future for all, enhanced quality of life, and equitable access, driven by the vision of "One Fairfax.”
A key component of the plan is the ten outcome areas, representing the issues the Fairfax County community cares about most. They were developed based on extensive community input and were reinforced repeatedly over an 18-month outreach period.
The areas include issues regarding cultural and recreational opportunities, empowerment and support for residents facing vulnerabilities, housing and neighborhood livability, mobility and transportation, the environment, and others.
In 2023, the first achievements under the new strategic plan are visible throughout the county. We hope you enjoy seeing and learning how the future of Fairfax County is unfolding as the plan helps to protect and enrich the quality of life for people and diverse communities.
Housing and Neighborhood Livability: Ovation at Arrowbrook opens in Herndon with 274 apartments for households earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income. The green building with universal and sustainable design features and Earthcraft design is located less than a mile away from the Innovation Metro Station.
Environment and Energy, Mobility and Transportation: In March of 2023, Fairfax County authorized additional funds to assist the Town of Vienna’s project that includes bioretention areas- rain gardens, curb extensions, and crosswalks on Meadow Lane at Tapawingo Road and Kingsley Road. Perennial plantings such as Pennsylvania Sedge, Joe Pye Weed, Fireball Bee Balm, and Cape Breez Switchgrass are going in.
Safety and Security: Fairfax County Valor Awards 2023
Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Year One, the 2023 Annual Report
Steps taken to implement Fairfax County Strategic Plan.
There was no community cake, no banners, speeches, or parades in February of this year when County Executive Bryan Hill shared the Year One Annual Report for the implementation of the first-ever Fairfax County Strategic Plan. Following the plan’s development in 2019 and interruption by the pandemic, the Board of Supervisors approved the strategic plan in October 2021, believing that county leadership must look ahead to shape the future of our community.
The 2023 Annual Report detailed the steps taken to implement the plan. It summarized the county's efforts to improve the value and vitality of its 406 square miles for all residents, visitors, and employees.
Four “key drivers” energized the countywide strategic plan: equity, data integration, inclusive engagement, and ten community outcome areas, which are:
- Cultural and Recreational Opportunities
- Economic Opportunity
- Effective and Efficient Government
- Empowerment and Support for Residents Facing Vulnerability
- Environment and Energy
- Healthy Communities
- Housing and Neighborhood Livability
- Lifelong Education and Learning
- Mobility and Transportation
- Safety and Security
According to the plan, "These elements set a new foundation for the way different functions within county government must work together under a shared vision in pursuit of achieving consistent and measurable progress for the benefit of all people in Fairfax County."
Bryan J. Hill, county executive, wrote in his 2023 message sharing the Year One Annual Report, “As we look ahead, we are fully aware that we still have a long way to go to achieve our vision of becoming One Fairfax.”
He added, “In Year Two, this will become an even greater focus as we strategically target the formation of infrastructure and strategy that fosters collective action around neighborhoods as the primary environments in which individuals access key opportunity structures."
Fairfax County approved a revision of the county strategic plan in May 2023, in keeping with the intention that the framework of the plan would remain unchanged over time, but the details would be adapted as needed.
The following changes were made to the Countywide Strategic Plan in Year Two and are included in the FY 2024 Advertised Budget:
- Change the names of two community outcome areas to match the other eight: Health to Healthy Communities and Environment to Environment and Energy.
- Reorganize proposed strategies within the Ten Community Outcome Areas according to community success indicators.
- Incorporate recommendations from the Chairman's Task Force on Equity and Opportunity into the strategic plan's proposed strategies.
- To reflect Fairfax County Public Schools' (FCPS) new strategic plan, revise existing language.
- To reflect the identified headline metrics, update the Economic Opportunity Sample Metrics.
In the Fairfax Countywide Strategic Plan, revised in May 2023, Chairman Jeff McKay wrote, "Inequities persist, and access to opportunity can vary significantly based on one's identity and location.” Such is despite the county's "enviable rankings" in key indicators of community prosperity, such as median income, school performance, and public safety.
To review the Strategic Plan or related items as a document, download the following PDFs: Countywide Strategic Plan (Current - Revised May 2023), Countywide Strategic Plan (October 2021), Two-Page Plan Highlights (Drivers and Community Outcome Areas), Alignment with One Fairfax, and Community Engagement Highlights at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zdFror-By977x4Y1SPQE7fehAFzlmTZAB_4as4DWlNY/edit.
Part 3- Supervisors share issues
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Back row: Walter L. Alcorn, Hunter Mill; Pat Herrity, Springfield; Daniel G. Storck, Mount Vernon; Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay, Elected At-Large; John W. Foust, Dranesville; Rodney L. Lusk, Franconia; (front row) Kathy L. Smith, Sully; Penelope A. Gross, Mason; Dalia A. Palchik, Providence; and James R. Walkinshaw, Braddock
Comments are organized according to the ten community outcome areas listed in the Fairfax County Strategic Plan, Revised May 2023. Comments have been lightly edited for clarity and space.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay
Economic Opportunity– The pandemic led to massive economic disruptions all around the globe, including here in Fairfax County. As of this year, we are happy to see that we actually have more residents employed now than we did before the onset of the pandemic. We want to continue this momentum and are doing so by working with our Economic Development Authority, county staff, and the community.
Safety and Security– Fairfax County was again named the safest jurisdiction of our size in the country. We have remained the safest jurisdiction by having world-class public safety agencies and a community that cares. I am proud of the work we have done together and look forward to continuing this critical work.
Lifelong Education and Learning – “As a board, we prioritize investing in our schools each year, and this year is no different. Superior public schools are why businesses choose to locate here and how they can grow here with the available talent pool. It’s also a school system where all students can feel safe and heard.
James R. Walkinshaw, Braddock District
The three most important issues in the Braddock District are continuing to invest in our schools, improving transportation options, and protecting our local environment.
John W. Foust, Dranesville District
Many of the important issues in Dranesville are common across the county, like creating affordable housing, growing the local economy to provide good jobs and revenues to support county programs and services, and making our community more resilient to the ever-worsening impacts of climate change.
Mobility and Transportation, Safety and Security– Making downtown McLean more vibrant and safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Eliminating the awful congestion in the neighborhoods around the access ramp from Georgetown Pike onto the Beltway. Ensuring adequate infrastructure (including roads, trails, parks, and schools) is provided to serve the significant growth near the new Herndon and Innovation metro stations.
Rodney L. Lusk, Franconia District
Mobility and Transportation– Continue making progress on the redevelopment of the Springfield and Richmond Highway communities.
Lifelong Education and Learning-– We need to prepare our kids for the jobs of the future and help our residents gain marketable skills, training, and certifications that will enable them to pursue careers in innovative technology, the building trades, and medical technology. This is a foundational issue for me and a core focus of my office.
Housing and Neighborhood Livability-– We need to continue to look at ways to provide more affordable housing options for our seniors, our first responders, teachers, and other public-facing members of our community.
Pat Herrity, Springfield District
Effective and Efficient Government-– The county’s unsustainable tax increases are adding to residents' inflation concerns.
Safety and Security Crime-– Businesses and residents suffer from unprosecuted crimes and a police staffing crisis.
Lifelong Education and Learning-– Schools, as parents, students, and teachers struggle to close achievement gaps from lost learning. We need to focus school resources in the classroom on teachers and kids, not on administrators and political agendas.
Healthy Communities– Addressing panhandling and the fentanyl public health crisis are also high on residents' lists of concerns.
Penny Gross, Mason District Supervisor:
Pedestrian safety; revitalization /redevelopment; affordable and attainable housing. There is a difference between affordable and attainable
Daniel Storck, Mount Vernon District Supervisor:
My top priorities continue to be improving the lives of our families through investments in education, housing, the environment, transportation, public safety, and the kind of economic development and jobs that ensure all have opportunities to live, learn, work, play, and grow older in the Mount Vernon District. It is also critically important that our county continue to be the safest jurisdiction of its size in the country.
One of the most pressing issues in our district continues to be the revitalization of Richmond Highway and Lorton. We have been successfully working together to re-envision Lorton and the Highway, investing in education, and delivering new parks, new public safety facilities, new housing of all types, new businesses, planned ‘The One’ Bus Rapid Transit system, pedestrian and cycling improvements, and so much more, all while making sure no one is left behind.
Another crucial issue is housing. The Mount Vernon District has a wide range, variety, and great diversity of all types of housing, including much lower-cost, substantial middle-income, and some of the most expensive housing in the DMV.
The smart growth housing and community development policies that I helped initiate, plan, fund, and implement in 2016 have resulted in the past two years alone in building or preserving more than 1,000 units of workforce and affordable homes, while more than a thousand middle-income homes were built or started construction. Substantial future "missing middle" homes are planned as well.
Kathy Smith, Sully District Supervisor:
Transportation and first responders/public safety