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MCA has ideas as Fairfax officials push 'Parking Reimagined'

McLean organization's support is conditioned on some significant changes taking place

Members of the McLean Citizens Association’s (MCA) board of directors lent their highly conditional support July 5 to Fairfax County’s proposed “Parking Reimagined” initiative, but listed a slew of reservations and suggestions.

The MCA board passed a resolution in favor of the proposal’s goals of balancing on-site parking with day-to-day needs, providing more flexibility in parking regulations to meet site-specific circumstances, streamlining of parking-proposal reviews and approvals, and updating county requirements for vehicle loading and stacking.

But . . . (this is the MCA, so you knew there would be a “but”), the board also:

• Opposed some of the proposed reductions in off-street parking, citing a dearth of data and analysis.

• Called for a minimum parking rate in high density zoning areas of one space per unit for studios and one-bedroom apartments/condos, with additional spaces provided per unit with two or more bedrooms. 

• Favored eliminating the authority of the county’s director of Land Development Services (LDS) to approve parking adjustments. If some such authority still were granted, applicants should need to demonstrate to the LDS director’s satisfaction that fewer spaces would serve their sites’ uses and not adversely affect adjacent areas. In addition, the LDS director should publicize the proposed reductions in advance to allow for public comment, MCA’s resolution read.

• Supported inclusion of reserved parking spaces for loading activities, with the idea of maintaining access to spaces for handicapped residents. In addition, applicants would have to prove to the LDS director’s satisfaction that reductions in the minimum number of loading spaces would not affect adversely the site, adjacent areas or the availability of sufficient handicapped-accessible parking.

• Favored allowing the LDS director only to modify the location of outdoor bicycle racks or storage facilities, but not reduce the number of bicycle spaces provided.

• Recommended that granted reductions to off-street parking be accompanied by requirements to increase open space, tree canopies and/or landscaping in proportion to resulting increases in building footprints.

• Urged the Board of Supervisors, if it adopts Parking Reimagined, to pass a follow-on motion requiring county staff to assess five years later the minimum off-street parking requirements in high-density developed areas. Staff should determine whether those minimum off-street parking rates adversely have affected the subject sites or adjacent areas, and therefor should be maintained. County employees also should examine whether the resulting transportation and infrastructure upgrades merit further reductions in minimum off-street-parking rates, MCA’s resolution read.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission is slated to review the Parking Reimagined proposal on July 26 and it then will head to the Board of Supervisors for final disposition.