Accountability | Collaboration | Transparency in County Government
“Creating a better community for all”
What Communities Said in January 2021
"The RA board is primarily concerned with changes regarding Accessory Living Units (ALUs) and home-based businesses, particularly abolishing the ability for neighbors to be notified and provide input on applications that will impact their quality of lives. Providing administrative-only review and approval will create conflicts not only between neighbors but also for the applicants, as ALUs and home-based businesses may require exterior changes subject to the RA design covenants."
Letter to Civic Association:
"It has been incredibly difficult to make our communities aware of some really big changes being proposed by the County regarding Land Use (i.e., zoning parameters that establish what one can and cannot build on one’s property, by right, without seeking special exception, or a Special Permit). The County is forging ahead with these deeply fraught changes when citizens simply cannot engage."
McLean Citizens Association*:
"Whereas, in 2017 the Fairfax County Planning and Zoning staff (the “ Staff”) embarked upon the Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project, (“zMOD”) a major initiative to modernize Fairfax County’s 40-year old Zoning Ordinance, intended to: modernize permitted uses and regulations; make the Zoning Ordinance easier to understand; and create a streamlined, user-friendly document with tables, graphics, and hyperlinks; and"
Virginia Run Community Association:
"WHEREAS the Virginia Run Community Association represents 1406 homes in the western portion of Sully Magisterial District in Fairfax County, and is the largest single homeowner’s association in Fairfax County’s residential conservation (R-C) zoning district, in the downzoned Occoquan watershed, surrounded by environmentally sensitive parkland, including globally rare forest; and"
Letter to HOA's from Sully District Council:
"Fairfax County has launched a major initiative to” modernize” its Zoning Ordinance, first adopted in 1941, rewritten in 1959 and 1978. These are the most important zoning amendments in over 40 years and will impact every Homeowner’s Association throughout the county. The project, known as zMOD (Zoning Modernization), will rewrite the zoning regulations, impacting the character of local communities."
Community Alert from Sully District Council & Western Fairfax County
"So why are Sully District Council of Citizens Associations (SDCCA) and the Western Fairfax County
Citizens Association (WFCCA) notifying the Homeowner Associations throughout Sully? Because these
changes have not been adopted, and your community’s engagement and participation in upcoming
public hearings may affect the Planning Commission’s (PC’s) recommendation, and the Board of
Supervisors’ (BOS’) decision."
Springfield Civic Association Newsletter to Membership | Pg. 3:
"A November 24, 2020 zMOD proposal presented to a committee of the Board of Supervisors includes “amendments to zoning laws by prioritizing proposed changes of county-wide significance,” while avoiding the ordinary process of subjecting each of the proposed amendments to a separate process of public comment. Additionally, this Proposal includes many zoning ordinance amendments that would significantly impact the physical appearance and quality of life in our community."
Annandale Blog Article: County Favors Developers Profits over Citizen Needs::
"The county’s WDU policy allows housing developers to receive a density bonus in the form of additional market-rate units to offset the cost of providing rental WDUs at below-market rates."
Holmes Run Valley Citizens Association:
"These changes are the source of all the controversy and angst that now surround zMOD. The changes
jeopardize neighborhoods by substantially expanding uses allowed while choking off means by which
residents are able to protect their communities. The principal problems are:"
Fairfax National Estates Homeowners Association:
"WHEREAS the FNE HOA recognizes that since 1982, Fairfax County has protected the Occoquan Downzoning, through its Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinance, including the residential conservation [R-C] zoned areas, from impervious surface, site disturbance and other impacts of development, to protect water quality for the Occoquan Reservoir and the environment in the
watershed, and historic and cultural resources; and"
Rose Hill Civic Association:
"That’s the Fairfax County Staff Plan for Rose Hill and every other single-family community in Fairfax County unless we speak up! Communities across the County are organizing to stop this increase in density that will overwhelm our 1950s and 1960s subdivisions. Our streets are narrow, our utility lines are old and we can’t accommodate an influx of new residents."
Reston Citizens Association:
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that RCA finds many of these new proposals to be inadequately thought out with little to no understanding of the actual effect such measures will have on the citizens of Fairfax County. Specifically, we believe controversial proposals such as those changing regulations and zoning on Accessory Living Unit (“ALU”), Home Based Business (“HBB”), Food Trucks, Parking, and signage should be removed from the current zMOD proposal and given due consideration with full community participation during the expected second phase of zMOD review; and""
Sun Gazette Opinion Letter to the Editor 1/20/21:
"zMOD would abolish public hearing requirements for ALUs. New rental housing of a certain size for up toe two residents couild double a neighborhood's density if everyone did it, and the requirement that the ALU be occupied by disabled persons or those 55 or over may be dropped."
Ellison Heights-Mt. Daniel Civic Association:
"While we understand that the stated purpose of this initiative is to modernize permitted uses and regulations and to make the County’s existing Zoning Ordinance easier to understand, it has come to our attention that certain provisions could threaten the character of existing residential neighborhoods such as ours."
Mason District Council Call to Action:
"The county is also proposing to eliminate the public hearing process which has historically accompanied applications for each of these uses and approve them instead, through a simple administrative permit without notifying or seeking input from neighbors. These proposed changes have sparked concern about impacts on the character of single-family detached communities and increased commercialization in all residential neighborhoods."
Hillbrook-Tall Oaks Civic Association:
"BE IT RESOLVED that the Hillbrook-Tall Oaks Civic Association urges the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to actively protect residential neighborhoods from the detrimental impacts that may result from the pending ZMOD proposal. As drafted, the ZMOD provisions will negatively affect neighborhood tranquility, increase traffic, generate unwanted nonresident congestion, raise noise levels, undermine safety, and produce other adverse effects in established residential communities."
Hart Testimony to Planning Commission 1/26/2021:
"An ordinance update may be overdue, and "too big to fail," but the social engineering aspects, intensifying residential neighborhoods without mitigation of direct impacts, lack of consensus from the community, and the magnitude of policy changes has not been justified. Nor does this zoning update discussion objectively rise to the level of an emergency, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, with remote meetings and awkward telephone testimony, when citizens and groups are much less able to participate fully in a meaningful discussion."
Johnston Testimony to Planning Commission 1/28/2021:
"Some of the “unintended consequences” that I spoke of earlier are that zMOD will cause overcrowding in our schools, overburden our infrastructure, increase the density in neighborhoods already challenged with parking, traffic, signage, and unwanted non-resident infiltration. The lack of county monitoring will pit neighbor against neighbor because the county is unprepared and ill equipped to monitor and check on the ordinances they are attempting to incorporate."
Virginia Chase Homeowners Association Testimony
to Planning Commission 1/28/2021:
"Members of our community purchased their homes and have lived here for decades with the comforting knowledge that existing HOA covenants and Fairfax County Zoning Ordinances controlled an owner's use of his/her property. This zMOD proposal would replace existing zoning ordinances and supersede HOA covenants that control the appearance and use of homes in the neighborhood. As such, it represents a significant threat to the residential nature of our community."
Blakeley Letter to Planning Commission 1/27/2021:
"If the Planning Commission decides to proceed forward in its consideration of the Z-Mod proposal (which as noted above, I do not believe it has the authority to do) I join in the comments of James Hart submitted on January 26, 2021) and in his request that the proposals concerning home business and Accessory Living Unites (ALUs) be excised from Z-Mod, and separately considered. In addition I offer the following observations and objections."
Annandale Blog Article: Planning Commission to take up accessary living units
"Under current zoning rules, a property owner needs a a special permit, which requires a public hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals, in order to have an interior ALU. Under zMOD, a homeowner would only need an administrative permit, which doesn't require a hearing and can be handled over the counter."
Cooper Letter to Planning Commission 1/28/2021:
"But creating ALUs and HBBs by right, thus eliminating the right of the community to be
notified much less express concerns will have many negative impacts on single family
communities--increased density in areas that lack transportation and accessible retail,
increased traffic and parking, additional stresses on schools and the environment. And
since county code compliance is very lax and complaint-driven, it will be incumbent
upon neighbors to report perceived violations, thus pitting neighbors against neighbors
that is a kind of vigilantism."
Mason District Council Final Testimony 1/28/2021:
"Nothing has been offered to indicate that ZMOD regulations changes would contribute in anything except change itself. Supervisors have allowed ZMOD to become a political exercise to demonstrate their willingness to rollback regulations and push residents out of the land use management process. At the same time, they are distracting the community's attention and sapping its strength under the worst possible circumstances."
Annandale Blog Article: Residents speak out against zoning changes that would destabilize neighborhoods:
"More than 40 people spoke at a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting on zMOD Jan. 28, ost of them opposing new rules that would make it easier to create an Accessory Living Unit (AL) and home based business."
Hays - Reston Citizens Association Testimony to Planning Commission
"When zMOD was first introduced to the public it was billed as a technical measure to clarify, update, and de-conflict forty years of zoning and land use revisions. We recognize the periodic need for this and supported the County's efforts. However, we now find proposals that have nothing to do with clarifying, updating, or de-conflicting have been added to zMOD without sufficient input - with little to no input - from the people who will be directly - and in many cases adversely -- affected by these provisions, the periodic need for this and supported the county efforts."
Chris Koerner Testimony to Planning Commission 1/28/2021
"In addition to the health of the system bacteria, the transport of the disposed chemicals migrating untreated through the septic tank and leach field to the aquifer are of significant concern. Many County residents on septic also get their water from private wells. Therefore, the disposal of wastes from a home business may in fact threaten the quality of their own and their neighbors’ drinking water."
Broyhill Crest Community Association Testimony to
Planning Commission 1/28/2021
"The BCCA urges the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to actively protect residential
neighborhoods from the detrimental impacts that may result from the pending ZMOD
proposal. As drafted, the ZMOD provisions will negatively affect neighborhood tranquility,
increase traffic, generate unwanted nonresident congestion, raise noise levels, undermine
safety, and produce other adverse effects in established residential communities."
Franklin Farm Foundation Testimony to Planning Commission 1/28/2021
"It is our opinion that these proposed ordinance amendment topics, among others, need to be subjected to additional examination of both their potential positive and negative impacts upon the larger Fairfax County community before formal actions are taken by either the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors. We believe that this additional examination must include both technical analysis and truly meaningful public involvement.."