An advisory citizens committee charged with developing options for reapportioning the nine magisterial districts in Fairfax County has submitted 22 plans to the Board of Supervisors. While the committee didn’t make a recommendation on which plan it favors, it’s clear that some are more likely to be approved than others.
These plans would be the least disruptive:
- Under plan 9A1, only four precincts would be moved. The Bristow precinct would move from the Braddock District to the Mason District. Braddock would gain Eagle View and Monument from Springfield. The Hunt precinct would move from Mt. Vernon to Springfield.
- Plan 9A2 would move five precincts, including Eagle View to Braddock and Fort Buffalo and Graham from Providence to Mason.
- Plan 9A3 would move six precincts. Changes affecting the Braddock and Mason districts include the following. Mason would get Bristow from Braddock and Walnut Hill 2 from Providence. Braddock would get Eagle View and Monument from Springfield.
- Seven precincts would move under plans 9A4 and 9A5, including the following: Mason would get Bristow and Walnut Hill 2, and Braddock would Eagle View and Monument.
- Plan 9A6 would move seven precincts including these: Mason would get Bristow from Braddock plus Walnut Hill 2 and Woodburn from Providence. Braddock would get Eagle View and Monument.
- Plan 9A7 shifts seven precincts, including these: Mason picks up Bristow, Walnut Hill 2, and Woodburn. Braddock gets Eagle View and Irving from Springfield.
- Plan 9A8 would also move seven precincts. Bristow, Fort Buffalo, and Walnut Hill 2 would move to Mason. Eagle View and Popes Head would move from Springfield to Braddock.
- Under Plan 9A9, eight precincts would move. Mason would get Bristow and North Springfield 2 from Braddock and Walnut Hill 2 from Providence. Braddock would get Eagle View and Monument.
- Plan 9A10 would move eight, including these: Mason would get Fort Buffalo plus Lynbrook from the Lee District, and Braddock would gain Eagle View and Popes Head.
Committee chair Kate Hanley, who served as chair of the Board of Supervisors from 1995 to 2003, says the census data showed a fairly even distribution of population growth among the districts, so a disruptive, massive change of precincts isn’t needed. “It’s up to the Board of Supervisors, but it would be unlikely for them to make enormous changes because it isn’t necessary,” Hanley says.
“We also didn’t recommend adding districts,” she says. That would be unnecessary and also costly, as that would require one or more new buildings and more staff for the new supervisors and also would require an additional school board member and planning commission member for each new district, she says.
Among the 22 plans submitted by the committee two would carve the county into 10 districts, and one calls for 11 districts.
The committee also passed along to the board three plans that were developed by members of the general public, although none of those plans met the criteria established by the committee. Those plans would move 10, 11, and 17 precincts.
The committee considered guidelines established by the board and also added additional criteria: Redistricting plans must create a minimum disruption of the existing districts; districts should be compact and contiguous; minority voting interests should be protected; plans shouldn’t move supervisors out of their existing districts; and, whenever possible, neighborhoods shouldn’t be divided.
State law requires redistricting every 10 years based on data from the U.S. Census.
Both the Mason and Braddock districts have gained population in the past 10 years, so they need to add additional land. Mason’s population is 109,328, which is 9 percent less than the target. Braddock’s population of 111,430 is 7.3 percent under the target. The target is 120,192.
Among the rest of the districts, Dranesville and Lee are under the target, and Hunter Mill, Mt. Vernon, Providence, Springfield, and Sully are over the target. Up to a 10 percent deviation is allowed between the smallest and largest district.
The final plan also must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department to ensure it does not discriminate against minorities.