Virginia's Freedom of Information Act
The Fairfax County Park Authority complies fully with Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA). Citizens are welcome to request documents directly from the agency or a specific division. However, on occasion citizens may feel compelled to utilize the protections found under the law. In either case, the Park Authority will gladly provide any documentation which is releasable under the statute in the timeframes permitted under the law. All FOIA requests are administered by the Park Authority Public Information Office in cooperation with the County Attorney's Office as needed and the specific division or section. See also the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs VFOIA web page.
You may call the Public Information Office directly at 703-324-8662 during regular business hours, fax a request in at 703-324-3974 or send a request to Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov. You may download a Request for Information form¹ here.
VFOIA starts from the presumption that all government records and meetings are open and available to the public. A record cannot be withheld and a meeting cannot be closed unless a specific exemption applies, or unless some other statute in Virginia law applies (§2.2-3700)
Getting a public record
Any Virginia citizen can ask to look at government records or to ask for copies of them in any medium the public body itself uses. This includes e-mail. You do not have to cite FOIA when you ask, the request does not have to be in writing and you do not have to tell the government why you want access to the record. You may want to write down your request anyway, as this will help both you and the government keep track of the request. Requests should be as specific as possible. Public officials are required to make reasonable efforts to reach an agreement over requests. (§2.2-3704)
When the park Authority gets a FOIA request, it has five days to respond to you, by either giving you the entire record, withholding the entire record, giving you part of the record, or letting you know that it will take another seven days to fulfill the request. If any part of the record is withheld, the Park Authority must tell you exactly which FOIA exemption or other statute justifies the denial. We are not compelled to create a new record where one doesn't already exist. (§2.2-3704)
The Park Authority can charge for the actual, reasonable cost of locating, copying and providing the records in response to your request. You can ask the government to itemize in advance approximately how much your request will cost. The government may ask you to make a deposit if the estimate is over $200. (§2.2-3704)
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