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Growing Smart? Community Group Issues Report on City of Fairfax

Fairfax City Citizens for Smart Growth offers city a progress report on group's 2012 priorities.

From left, Tom Ross, Alan Cunningham, Frank Linton, Mary Valenta, Douglas Stewart, Paul Nabti January 2014 FCCSG Special Meeting where core members reviewed the past two years of the city's progress. Provided.
From left, Tom Ross, Alan Cunningham, Frank Linton, Mary Valenta, Douglas Stewart, Paul Nabti January 2014 FCCSG Special Meeting where core members reviewed the past two years of the city's progress. Provided.
A community group is offering a two-year progress report on "smart growth" changes it pressed for during the 2012 municipal election.

Fairfax City Citizens for Smart Growth is focused on issues that make the City of Fairfax walkable, bikeable and a "more compelling destination." The group also looks at issues like storm water management and preserving affordable housing.

In the 5-page report released this week, the citizens group applauded the council for working with VDOT to improve crosswalk plans at a busy intersection. But the group is also looking forward to changes to the zoning code (already underway) to make city requirements easier to navigate.

“The City has taken some significant steps toward laying the foundation for a more walkable, livable city, but we still have a very long way to go,” said Tom Ross of Citizens for Smarter Growth. “We need clear guidelines for redeveloping Fairfax Boulevard. An effective rewrite of our zoning code will also be critical to setting the right framework and enabling smarter growth.”

Read the full report here.

Mayor Scott Silverthorne called the report "fairly well balanced," noting it showed areas where the city has work to do.

Silverthorne agreed with the group on it's push for affordable housing. He noted that the council has established new standards for redevelopment. Projects are expected to include a percentage of units at a reduced cost to preserve some affordable housing in the city.

"Housing affordability is an increasingly important aspect of what we want to do with the redevelopment of the city," Silverthorne said. "We were the only municipality in the region, I believe, that didn't have a policy in place."

Silverthorne also agreed with the smart growth group's assessment of a better working relationship between the council and the planning commission.

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