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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fairfax County deep into planning for East County building on Willston site

An illustration of the proposed East County Office Building at the Willston site produced by Fairfax County in August 2013.
Despite efforts by local residents and school officials to use the Willston Center property for a public school, Fairfax County officials are deep into the planning process for a new East County Office Building on that site.

When the Seven Corners Task Force was putting together a redevelopment proposal for the area in 2013-14, it endorsed a plan to include a new county office building on the Willston Center site. There was little discussion of that aspect of the plan, however, at the Task Force meetings either by members of the group or local residents speaking at open comment sessions.

Calls to return the Willston site, which is owned by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, to Fairfax County Public Schools has taken on increased urgency in recent weeks. On Dec. 8, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza formally requested County Executive Edward Long to transfer the Willston site to relieve severe overcrowding at nearby schools.

“We have been wanting that site back as a good viable option for a school for a long time. We are once again reiterating that we’re interested in having it back again,” says Mason District school board member Sandy Evans.  “The government center, as far as the public is concerned is a relatively new idea.”

“Ultimately, it’s in the hands of the county,” Evans says. 

Several people spoke about the need to build a school on the Willston site at the school board’s public hearing on the FCPS Capital Improvement Program on Jan. 7. The Mason District Council of Community Associations (MDC) is drafting a resolution and will urge local PTAs to endorse it. The issue will also be a hot topic at MDC’s State of Our Schools Forum Feb. 10 at  Glasgow Middle School.

The Board of Supervisors, however, has no inclination to return the Willston property to FCPS. County officials have been quietly working on planning the East County Government Center at the Willston site for more than a year, according to documents and emails obtained by Seven Corners resident Mark Hayes through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Hayes sought the documents because he believes “there was a lack of full transparency.” He says the office building proposal should have been discussed in more detail at the Seven Corners Task Force meetings and that the community was misled into thinking a school on that site is a viable option.

He also questions the large price tag – $120 million – for the county office building, which he refers to as “Penny’s palace.” Mason Supervisor Penny Gross has been outspoken in her support for the office building on the Willston site and opposition to transferring the property to FCPS.

An email from August 2013 describes the East County Office Building as a 180,000-square foot facility with five or six stories and a parking structure with room for 500 to 600 cars. A concept drawing also from that month puts the total building area at 220,000 square feet and shows an artificial turf field above a three-level parking deck with 720 spaces.

County officials have talked about developing a new county office building in the eastern part of the county for at least a decade, says Elizabeth Haag, deputy director of the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization (OCR) and the leader of an interdepartmental team working on the office building concept. She said the plan has always been to have a permanent building rather than leased space.

Whether the project goes forward depends on whether the Board of Supervisors approves the Seven Corners amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, Haag says.

Regarding the $120 million figure, which is included in emails among the team members, Haag says: “I’m not sure if that is accurate. That number is from previous discussions. I don’t know what the exact figure would be.”

Haag notes that the East County Office Building was discussed at the Seven Corners Task Force meetings and at the group’s design charette and was included in the first draft of the complete plan amendment, dated June 23, 2014.

The OCR staff  “responded to all issues brought up by the task force and community members,” Haag says. “This hasn’t been an issue raised by the community. If it had been, we would have responded.”

During the task force meetings, most of the community’s concerns were about excessive density and the impact of redevelopment on traffic, school overcrowding, and the quality of life in the adjacent single-family neighborhoods. There weren’t a lot of objections – if any – to the office building.

Originally, the county had planned to include the East County Office Building in a proposed mixed-use development in Bailey’s Crossroads on Columbia Pike between Radley Acura and Moncure Avenue.

That plan fell through when the ownership of that property changed. The new owner, Avalon Bay is planning a multifamily housing project and, as part of a public-private partnership with the county, a section of the property has been set aside for a new urban-style elementary school. The Board of Supervisors is holding a public hearing on a comprehensive plan amendment for the project on Jan. 13.

The East County Office Building was then moved to Seven Corners as a key element of a town center proposed by the Seven Corners Task Force for the site currently occupied by the Willston Center, Willston Shopping Center, and garden apartments. In fact, Task Force Co-Chair John Thillman had stated in the past that the proposal needs the jobs that would come with the office building to make the plan financially viable.

The East County building would house the health, mental health, alcohol and drug referral services,  community services and other programs housed in spaced leased in the Heritage Center on Little River Turnpike in Annandale. County officials hope the new building could open before the lease at the Heritage Center expires in 2020.

Before those programs were relocated to that building in 2012, they had been housed in the office building on Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners that was later repurposed as Bailey’s Upper Elementary School.

Having the East County building in Seven Corners “would bring those services back to the community that uses them,” Haag says. It’s possible the new building could also house all or some of the programs currently housed in the Willston Center.

The Willston building is at least 60 years old and needs to be razed because it’s not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act or building code standards and fixing those problems would be too expensive.

Hayes and many other local residents believe the Willston property would be a much better site for an elementary school than the Columbia Pike/Moncure site. He also views the Bailey’s Upper Elementary School as less than ideal. “We’re ending up with choices by default,” he says.

Evans also views the Willston site as preferable – it has more space than the Columbia Pike site and has room for an athletic field – but believes officials should explore both sites. The Columbia Pike property is closer to Glen Forest Elementary School, which has over 1,000 students and is severely overcrowded.

“We clearly need more seats in Mason District. That’s the bottom line,” Evans says. “The more options we have the better.”

Hayes also thinks people who live near the Willston Center should have had more input into the Task Force discussions, especially since the documents he obtained call for 27 units in the East Falls apartments to be demolished to make way for the office building.

The county has subsequently dropped plans to tear down any housing, says Haag. “That was looked at as a possibility” but dropped because “tax credits are tied to some of that housing. It would be too complicated.”

The Willston building served as an elementary school for many years. According to a memo obtained by Hayes, the land at 6131 Willston Drive was dedicated to the Fairfax County School Board in 1949 with the condition that it be used for educational purposes or the parcel would revert to the original owner.

In 1981, the school board adopted a resolution declaring the parcel surplus to its needs, and in 1988 the property was conveyed to the Board of Supervisors. Now known as the Willston Multicultural Center, the building houses an after-school program and several community programs and organizations.


  1. Like the Bailey's Upper school, this is another example of a lack of transparency and Penny Gross ignoring the real needs of her district to do what she wants. There are many better and more useful needs for that property than another government office building!

  2. So agree!

  3. This is really stunning. At the same time that the SE Quadrant of Bailey's included a site for the EC offices, Supervisor Gross was "secretly" planning to locate them at the Willston School site without informing her Seven Corners Revitalization Task Force? Just stunning. It's as if the BOS feels it has no culpability to answer to or communicate with the communities it serves. Shameful.

  4. This freaking county is a disaster. Why doesn't someone call up Mayor Muriel Bowser and beg her to annex Mason District. DC surely knows more about running things than Fairfax. This place has turned into a one big cluster f__k.

  5. Unlike Mr. Hayes, and the commenters above, I am a Mason District resident who supports the development of an East County Office Building on the Seven Corners site and an elementary school on the Bailey's Crossroads site.

    Again, unlike Mr. Hayes and the commenters above, I do not think the Fairfax County Government or the Board of Supervisors have been intentionally keeping information confidential just to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Fairfax County.

    I find particularly ludicrous the suggestion DC should annex Mason District. While the suggestion is understood as sarcasm, it demonstrates the lack of seriousness and thoughtfulness of the commenter.

    1. Well I guess you have a point. Keep all the crap and the crazies in 7 corners surrounded by bifurcating roadways that would discourage integration and confuse any crazy from escaping the lunacy of 7 corners.

    2. You have a good point. I think keeping all the crazies, desperadoes and illegals in 7 corners makes sense. The roadway already bifurcates the community and would discourage any of the crazies from escaping.

      Damn why didn't I think of this. By doing this we ensure that Mason keeps and improves its reputation as the place to go if you need a hand out, want to get robbed, find section 8 housing or the best place in town if you are looking to buy junk.

    3. Anonymous, please come to the next meeting of the seven corners special working group as they discuss the Sears parcel at Seven Corners, next door to Bailey's Upper. You should be part of the conversation to discuss dedicating the land adjacent to Bailey's Upper as park/green space. This is needed b/c the site on which Bailey's Upper sits is TOO SMALL to allow the children safe egress from the building in the event of an emergency. Fire code requires they stand a distance from the school building that would require that they move OFF of the school property, the site is so small. I and others would like to hear your comments on this in the context of your support of the site for Crossroads elementary, a site even smaller than the Bailey's Upper site.

      I'll find the date and time and will post them here for you later today.

    4. Geez, is it just me or their more idiots in Fairfax than in a mental instittution? Do you see anyone putting a HHS headquarters in the Mosaic District.........NO; Tysons........NO, McLean.......NO, Springfield Town Center.......NO, Claredon..........NO, Ballston..........NO, Fairfax City........NO. Do you see the seeds of generating tax producing businesses, retail, residential, good transit options and mixed use activities in these districts............YES. Are these successful.........YES. Are these places people want to live, shop and work.........YES.

      The answer is out there, it should not take years of multiple charrettes. meeting, BAD IDEAS and people tripping over each other to arrive at THE APPROPRIATE SOLUTION.

      Mason grow up and do the right thing. Invest in the tax paying community's needs, inspire private investment, make Mason a place where people want to live, visit, work, play and recreate and the rest will take care of itself.

  6. Even if it is not "intentional", there are transparency issues here. If nothing else, Penny has a serious perception issue that she is pulling strings behind the curtain to get what she wants, not what the community she represents wants and needs I still don't see the benefit to more government office space when our overcrowding issues in the schools of Eastern Fairfax are getting worse.

    1. YES! BRAVO

    2. like the street car disaster

  7. This is absolutely unbelievable. Why all the shuffling of the county services office building? What is wrong with the Heritage Drive building? It seems like a fine building to me.

    What an overt showing of unnecessary waste of time and dollars.

  8. Anonymous, please come to the next meeting of the seven corners special working group as they discuss the Sears parcel at Seven Corners, next door to Bailey's Upper. You should be part of the conversation to discuss dedicating the land adjacent to Bailey's Upper as park/green space. This is needed b/c the site on which Bailey's Upper sits is TOO SMALL to allow the children safe egress from the building in the event of an emergency. Fire code requires they stand a distance from the school building that would require that they move OFF of the school property, the site is so small. I and others would like to hear your comments on this in the context of your support of the site for Crossroads elementary, a site even smaller than the Bailey's Upper site.

    I'll find the date and time and will post them here for you later today.

    1. Thank you very much for your offer, I do very much appreciate it and I appreciate and support your concern for the welfare and safety of the children who attend Fairfax County Public Schools.

      I never supported Bailey's Upper (the purchase and conversion of an office building). My understanding is this decision was made under duress because of overwhelming overcrowding that was not accurately and adequately addressed by planning ahead. Who was responsible for this? The School Board, the County Board, or both? I openly admit to not knowing. If you are accurate about the lack of safe egress in the event of an emergency, it is a serious issue which must be addressed now, and a plan to fix it in the very near future put in place.

      The Bailey's Crossroads Elementary School site, while not large, is different because construction is starting from scratch. I am hopeful the architects and site planners can place both the Apartment Building and Elementary School (and their amenities and parking) on the site and address the legitimate welfare and safety concerns you and other Fairfax County residents have. If they cannot, I of course would not support the elementary school. Perhaps because I attended elementary school in a large city I am more willing to believe it is possible. Still, my support is not intended to minimize your concerns.

      I am pleased by the planning done for the East County Government Office Building in Seven Corners because these services have been boucing around from place to place. The reason being from what I understand that Fairfax County is leasing the office space. Building the offices on land the County already owns is cheaper than buying a preexisting building and the land the building occupies, or continuing to go from one leased space to another indefinitely. Furthermore, I think the Arlington Blvd corridor is best suited to this office building and the government agencies it will serve; and the Columbia Pike site, if planned, developed and staffed well, can be a good addition for the Mason District community.

      Finally, what I find most distressing of all is the clear lack of communication and seeming antagonism between the school and county boards on the use of the Seven Corners site. I don't know the personalities involved so I don't fault any specific individuals, but to have this conflict (which fosters conflict within the larger community) is no way to govern a county and it needs to be addressed.

    2. Anonymous, the services slated for the ECC have not been "bouncing around".

      The county relocated those offices from 6245 Leesburg Pike to 7611 LRT in August 2012 (, citing "more and improved space and additional parking" at the new location, leaving the owners of 6245 Leesburg Pike property without rental income, then, within a year, identified that very space as appropriate for an elementary school (now Bailey's Upper). The School Board voted to acquire the property "by condemnation or other means" December 5, 2013 and purchased it (with bond money the public was led to believe would fund new construction of a new elementary school, not a retrofit, in Mason District) in January 2014.

      The lease at 7611 LRT is up in 2020.

      Meanwhile, the programs at Willston have (coincidentally?) been losing public funding since 2012 ( The building is falling apart and needs renovation, but the source I've found for the DOJ's ADA claim ( doesn't cite all of the changes that FC states are required. ADA noncompliance notwithstanding, it is clear now that the BOS intends to kick out the existing programs at Willston, serving the community there, and install the ECC offices which used to be at 6245 Leesburg Pike, and have been part of the planning for the SE Quadrant since Feb 2013.

      Why the chess game?

      Why move the offices from 6245 Leesburg Pike to 7611 LRT, identify space for them in the SE Quadrant of Bailey's Crossroads, to then relocate them to Willston? Why not leave them at 6245 Leesburg Pike and put the new elementary school at Willston, a larger site that used to be a county elementary school? Why not try to negotiate purchase of 6245 Leesburg Pike instead of vacating and ending up purchasing it for $8million and committing to another $12million in renovations to repurpose it into an elementary school?

      The county estimates that the Willston site demo and reconstruction will cost over $100million. Wouldn't it be better to demonstrate good will toward the community and spend $100million+ on a school and ~$20million (or less) on a county office, rather than the other way around?

      The lack of communication and transparency is distressing, I agree. You are right that it is bad government.

    3. If this series of events is in fact true, in my mind is fraudulent if not criminal. Spending $100M for office space and $20M for the school (as my dad used to say) is "bass ackwards"!

    4. Mason is a disaster, there is no way to re-paint the picture. Its been ass backwards for decades. First through prejudice, the metro was not built here and now all we have are white vans and boarding houses filled with non english speaking day laborers. All the money making tax paying populations is living in Arlington and Loudon and we are left with the crap. Can it be fixed? There isn't a BOS politically savvy or willful enough to fix this mess. It would take draconian measures, such as what happened in DC, arrest the mayor and throw him in jail, to wake this bunch of bozos up.

  9. If the School system was able to purchase the former County Social Services Center and convert the building,on a major transportation corridor, into an elementary school at considerable expense, why couldn't the County have returned the services originally housed there to their previous and preferred 7 Corners location?
    The Willston School site could then, and can still be, used to build a school and community center with existing recreation space.

    This would seem a much more reasonable and less expensive alternative to the one adopted.
    As for the East County Building, what about all that vacant office space we hear about?.

  10. The OCR staff “responded to all issues brought up by the task force and community members,” Haag says. “This hasn’t been an issue raised by the community. If it had been, we would have responded.” HERE ARE THE MINUTES: THIS WAS BROUGHT UP!!!!
    Minutes from the Seven Corners Task Force February 12, 2013

    Meeting called into order at 7:00 PM
    Mason District Government Center

    Task Force: John Thillmann, Mary Ellen Ward, Iqbal Khaiy, Paul Byrtus, Devin Corini, Nathan m, Bath, Mark Silverwood, and Vince Burke. By Telephone: Pat Hoar.

    Staff: Elizabeth Hagg, JoAnne Fiebe, and Aaron Frank representing Supervisor Gross

    The Minutes for the January 8, 2012 meeting were approved

    Joht Thillmann informed the Task Force that the schedule for upcoming task force meetings has been adjusted. March's meeting will not change. The meeting in April will be a visioning session conversation on the basic principles for land use and transportation and a presentation by Fairfax County Public Schools. In late April or early May there is a bus tour for residents and business people to address the Task Force on land use and transportation issues as well as the completion of the discussion on mixed use development. In June the Task Force will deliberate on next steps for plan recommendations.

    Iqbal Khaiy had several questions and suggestions regarding hte Saturday bus tour. Jogn Thillmann explained that he expects staff will develop the route by that it should finish by noon.

    John Thillmann clarified that there will be two presentations tonight after 30 minutes of public testimondy.

    Public Testimony:
    Eric Welsh, with the Fairfax Leadership Academy and a teacher at JEB Stuart High School. I am speaking tonight as an educator to urge the Task Force to recommend that the Board of Supervisors transfer the Willston property back to FCPS so that it can be used for a school.

  11. The 2/12/13 Task Force minutes wasn't the only time the community begged the Seven Corners Task Force to return the Willston Center back to a school. Every time there was a meeting where the public testified, residents brought up overcrowded schools and asked for the return of the Willston Center.

    In addition, the Seven Corners Quality of Life Task Force members complained about the terrible maintenance of the Willston Center. It was a part of the task force’s mandate to look at all the conditions in Seven Corners. The county has owned the Willston Center for 22 years and during that time it has allowed the building to deteriorate. I guess the county wasn’t interested in providing a decent facility for the many programs that are offered there. To me it is disgraceful that the Mason District Supervisor ignored the conditions and allowed the building to get worse.

    See the Quality of Life Minutes, 1/8/13, at

    “Future of Willston site: Committee had many questions regarding the future of the Willston property. They would like clarification on the timeframe, process, and substance of the Willston property issue.”

    “Nancy questioned that since the Quality of Life committee has to deal with short-term issues, is the Task Force going to be working on the Willston issue?”

    At the end of the Quality of Life Task Force the Willston Center was Number 4 out of 5 Recommendations in its final report. See

    “Number 4. In the short-term, enhance and maintain the Willston Center to acceptable levels of maintenance; in the longer-term, engage residents and the non-profit community in the decision regarding its future disposition.”

    It is totally false to state that the Willston Center was never brought up by the community.

  12. I've said it before, but I'll say it again here, perhaps more bluntly:

    It takes a lot of chutzpah to post here anonymously but using the profile name "Mason District." You have a lot of opinions, "Mason District", but they don't represent all of us.

  13. The reason Baileys elementary had to go to the high rise bldg: Penny refused to help and get the Willston Library site - OR the Willston Building site. Reason our area is a dump and all the hard working folks are burnt out: HORRIBLE LEADERSHIP ... PLEASE VOTE THIS LADY OUT OF OFFICE!!! DO NOT PUT A WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY ON THE WILLSTON SITE - WHAT A JOKE! 179$ million dollar deficit is what Fairfax Co. is facing - and this idiotic idea is a JOKE. Go buy another building for less - or put modulars and trailers at the Mid County center.

    1. I thought everyone loved Bailey's upper. Geez, When it opened it's doors everyone was gushing about the concept.

    2. That is a politician's job... .to say how wonderful it is. It may look nice - but it is horrible. No outside play area, two campuses = double work for EVERYONE!!!!!! Double gas, double double double. - NO THANKS TO GROSS.

  14. Shame on Mason District and Shame on the County for relegating children to inferior 2+ acre high rise schools in commercially congested areas with a severe lack of facilities. The optimal solutions are self evident: Wilson Library grounds and park and Willston Multicultural Center.

    Supervisor Gross has 8.6 acres available now at the Mason District Government Center. It is a poorly utilized land site consisting of a one-story building and parking lots. Build the East Government Center there and give the children the 5 acre Willston location for a decent school with a decent campus.

    And, why do we even need an East Government Center? There are demographic changes scheduled for 7 Corners AND now there is going to be a "mid-county" human services center in Merrifield. Merrifield is not a mid-county location by any stretch of the imagination. And, a Merrifield HSC would be accessible to Bailey's and 7 Corners, so why the extra expense to build in Mason District? How many palatial county buildings do we need? What is the real motivation?

    The County has a $179M shortfall and a downgrading its bonds and Supervisor Gross and the County are entertaining enormous and frankly, unnecessary expenditures at the expense of the taxpayers.

    As I see it the children of Bailey's and 7 Corners are pawns in some power grabbing, land grabbing that is running up the tab to the taxpayers and jeopardizing the educational and the living standards in our community.

    Bring back common sense to land use planning in Mason District!!

    1. But I thought everyone loved the new Upper Bailey's. Articles I have read had everyone singing it's praise. No what is running up the tab on the taxpayers and jeopardizing the edicatuional standards are the freeloaders. Why have 4 kids when you can't afford one? Who pays for this?

    2. In response to Anon 11:46 PM. Your criticism of Upper Bailey's is reasonable.

      Your comments on the East Government Center are less so.

      First, in terms of "needing" such a building - while I fully support cutting government - let's recognize these offices exist today. The offices have bounced from the building that is now Upper Bailey's Elementary, to a Heritage Drive building, and the lease on the Heritage Drive building expires in 2020 (according to another commenter on this post who seems very reliable). So, unless these government services are eliminated, they will need to be housed in one or more office buildings.

      Second, your recommendation to build the East County Government Center on the Mason District Center site is not realistic. Columbia Pike (four lane road in a residential setting) does not have the capacity to serve the traffic that would be generated by the East Goverment Center site. Arlington Boulevard does have the necessary capacity. In addition, I feel certain the single family homeowners who live near the Mason District Center would stage a revolt if the County Board insisted on building the Eastern Government Center on the Mason District Government Center site.

      My final thought. Too many commenters reflexively attack Peggy Gross thinking her elected position is so easy and the answers so simple. Not the case. And I am not a fan of Peggy Gross, but I am a fan of any person willing to accept the insults that will inevitably come from serving in an elected position in Local Government.

      I doubt I have to fortitude to do what Ms. Gross does.

    3. In response to anon 2:13. I don't disagree. Serving in any public position takes a thick skin, I would assume most wouldn't disagree with you either, but the time has come for new leadership, new vision, with new policies. Schools have become extremely overcrowded - Why is that, what is causing these overcrowding issues. Are the folks in Lake Barcroft, Ravenwood, Sleepy Hollow having that many kids these days that the schools are being overrun. You need to address what is causing the problems before you can fix them not just stick a bandaid on it and hope it goes away. And I believe I just read where FCPS expects a 100m shortfall in 2017. Who is going to pay for that.

  15. I teach in Mason District and have lived here most of my life. Let me state, though, that this is just MY opinion, based on MY knowledge of these situations. I haven't had time to follow issues like this as closely as I would like, because I'm a bit occupied with my work (!).

    Fairfax County Public Schools are overcrowded. Children are taking classes in trailers in many of our schools and while many citizens are under the impression that more permanent structures will be created to replace them someday, that's not necessarily true; we shouldn't hold our breath.

    Though several new schools in the area have gone up recently, overcrowding is still very much a problem. A percentage of the students from my school were moved two years ago to one of them, but if you take a look around my school, you would never know it today! Granted, we have a relatively large Pre-K special ed program here, but it's not some sort of "perk" like many of the ideas proposed for the Wilston site seem to be. Keep in mind that that's just the situation at one school; we are not unique in this respect.

    A quality education--the kind that Fairfax County has become known for--depends on smaller classes, especially for the younger children and those with challenges to overcome. I believe that this fact had been insufficiently addressed while Superintendent Jack Dale (who retired a few years ago, thank heaven) held office--was one of those lip-service, let-me-line-my-pocket-with-that guys. In contrast, the new superintendent, Dr. Karen Garza, has hit the ground running and has outlined some valid and reasonable (I believe) plans to breathe new life into FCPS in the coming years, including working more closely with the BOS to be sure they understand how the county's funding for school necessities has slipped away and how to BEGIN to meet those needs as they will increase in the coming years. I'm still sizing her up, but I believe she is a refreshing change and one that we've needed for a long time--I truly think she will put our students first. If she believes that the county would be best served with a new school on the Wilston site, I'm willing to bet she's right.

    1. P.S.: A few more details about those trailer classrooms: some of them are set in cement, so it's obvious that not all of them will be removed. Some people at the helm intend to "relieve" the overcrowding simply by adding more trailers. Trailers are not always visible from the main roadways; just because you don't see them as you drive past any given school, don't assume there's no overcrowding going on there.

      It simply blows my mind that so many in this area would turn down the opportunity to better the way our communities serve our children, but then, I've never worshipped The Dollar the way so many politicians do.

  16. Time for action. When is the next election coming up, for the voter community to make top-level changes?

  17. Not soon enough.

    It seems a "street car" election defeat might be the only way to curb the hurbis and "fortitude" of Super Gross. She's certainly not responsive to public pressure and outright shaming.

    The question is: Where would Mason find an alternate candidate?

    I've been extremely impressed with a number of neighborhood leaders who have emerged to stem and mitigate some of the damage that is being wrought under the banner of public/private revitalization. But I don't think many of these articulate and professionally accomplished community representatives would be eager to take on the headache of unwinding this lot of botched projects and shady development initiatives. Especially while trying to manage the day-to-day of a sizable local government fast sinking into debt.

    I guess that's one way to keep your job: Create a stinking mess of the place so as to discourage potential candidates from taking on the onerous task of cleaning it up. For 70k a year? No thanks.

  18. With the budget shortfall for FCSchools of $180 M in 2017, the BOS better put their thinking caps on or retire. New taxes on the few that are still here is not the answer. The answer is to get people to move into FFX. That can only happen if the BOS addresses all of the immigrants being lured by cheap housing, weak laws, an impotent zoning office and a middle class that is running away to surrounding counties that have a better quality of life and better county management.

    Fairfax the school budget shortfall should be a wake up call to its leaders that their current model is a failure and not working.

    1. In response to Anonymous 5:30 - Excellent post. I couldn't agree more. Time for a change in leadership from Penny Gross to Sandy Evans. New leadership and vision are desperately needed.

    2. Agreed. Excellent post.

  19. Fix the current transportation problems before making it worse. I don't trust the "re-develop first, then add the infrastructure." Isn't that what they tried with Skyline and the street car? Seven Corners is not convenient to Metro and has inadequate roads.