I hope you have found the responses from the Smart Growth Survey that we have posted over the past few weeks to be informative. I would once again like to thank the candidates for taking the time to respond to the survey.
For the last installment of the survey, we asked the candidates to share any additional comments they feel are important for voters to know regarding their ideas and positions on growth/development and environmental issues in and around the City of Fairfax.
Here is what they said:
Economic Growth is not an abstract term. It takes many shapes and forms and we need active participation from everyone to support development, re-development, business recruiting and expansion, small business improvements, all while actively shaping regional mass transit solutions, public works projects, code enforcement and zoning. And when done right and sustainably, Economic Growth has a direct and positive impact on our quality of life.
Whether development or redevelopment, we need to require developers to submit plans for the inclusion of green space, street-side landscaping, walkability solutions and transit connectivity. When possible include “green infrastructure” projects to capture rainwater before it reaches the sewers. Encourage parking structures to reduce the amount of surface lot parking or at least require porous surfaces that allow water to seep into the soil.
I like a recent quote from a former President, “Economic growth could effectively advance the public good when government, business and the community work together to share a vision and to implement lasting solutions. When our collective vision is more about strengthening the future than maintaining the present, and when our economic interests are aligned with our social ones, we will be closer to the kind of place we want all our children and grandchildren to live.”
My record on land use and environmental issues is clear and consistent: We need responsible economic growth that balances the existing needs of the City such as protecting our neighborhoods and natural resources with a stated community desire to have redevelopment that produces places to live, work, shop and dine. I will continue to work with my colleagues on Council to continue our City’s leadership on sustainability efforts while pursuing the right kind of economic development projects our City needs to prosper.
I support Council inclusion in our Comprehensive Plan goals for commercial and residential builders to construct superior quality Energy Star buildings and residences. New projects should have increased tree canopy targets, and should be designed to encourage walking and increased use of public transportation.
I want to be open minded to new ideas, new technologies, new design ideas and feedback from the public. I favor open competitions in urban design and would love to see some of the projects in the city go out for a competitive design contest juried by professionals. It is one of the best ways to make leaps forward in fresh designs that are coming from people who have great abilities and ideas and not just from those with degrees and longevity in the industry. I think that is true for everything in the city. I am anxious to foster a more collaborative community dialogue that involves a lot more people. Because I am a social media consultant, I naturally feel that social media tools offer a way for everyone in our community to give feedback and participate – not just the people who show up to city council meetings. I want to maintain and foster the diversity in our city and I want to encourage people who have ideas to step forward and contribute. From the youngest to the oldest, I want the people of Fairfax City to feel welcome to participate in the decisions being made by the City Council about their community.
In summary, we are currently working through an update to the Comprehensive Plan which serves as the City’s official guide to future development. The plan includes guidelines and discussion on topics such as land use, housing, transportation, and the environment. The plan incorporates the Fairfax Boulevard Master Plan Vision and Summary. As we move forward we need to keep focused on economic development with particular emphasis on Fairfax Boulevard and Old Town Fairfax. Redevelopment of aging commercial properties will strengthen our commercial base and our local economy.
Providing for a clean environment, safe drinking water, and ample green space is the least we can do for our children and future residents. We must increase recycling, improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution, and make the city more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
I also believe that the decisions we make today regarding land use will impact our community for years to come. I am confident that we can anticipate, plan for, and resolve the challenges confronting us and look forward to working with the stakeholders in our community to implement our collective vision for the future of the City of Fairfax.
I have a long history and record (over 19 years) of working on land use and development matters as a member of the city council. I look at each project on its merits and base my decisions on the law, community input and good common sense. I will continue with this approach as mayor, however the mayor only has the opportunity to vote on land use matters in the case of a tie. I will never shy away, however, of weighing in on key land use cases before the city council.