Goal Two: Create Places Where People Want to Be
The county’s efforts need to be responsive to changing demographics and lifestyle preferences as Fairfax County transitions to a 21st Century community. Increasingly, a broad spectrum of age groups, from millennials to baby boomers, seek freedom from daily dependence on the automobile and prefer to live in vibrant, pedestrian–friendly spaces with an array of work and leisure activities close at hand. Furthermore, companies want to be in locations that are attractive to younger workers, and are increasingly becoming “consumers of place” in their search for suitable locations.
2.1 Continue to focus planning and development activities around the creation of mixed use communities. These should be primarily in identified activity centers served by multi-modal transportation options, which contain employment opportunities, a mix of housing types and price points, as well as vibrant retail and entertainment options.
2.2 Expand creation of livable, walkable communities that are aligned with transportation infrastructure. Support a mix of housing types to accommodate a range of ages, household sizes, incomes, and uses for long term appeal, integration, and sustainability.
- Explore creation of 20 Minute Neighborhoods where a variety of housing options and jobs are linked by high capacity transit to support clusters of opportunity and innovation.
- Initiate joint FCDOT/VDOT/Metro/VRE actions to link housing to jobs, including new transit networks, and expanded bike-pedestrian networks.
- Continue to provide bonus density and other development incentives as a way to promote the development of housing choice for a range of ages, household sizes, and incomes in mixed use centers.
- Coordinate with towns and cities within Fairfax County to ensure connectivity for livable, walkable communities.
2.3 Support higher density mixed use development in the designated revitalization areas, as a way to attract new businesses and residential growth.
- Explore a range of transit options to best serve the designated revitalization areas.
- Include the concept of expanded Transit Oriented Development in future planning efforts by increasing the radius distance recommended for higher densities from ¼ mile to at least ½ mile around mass transit stations, such as Metrorail, light/heavy rail, or other rapid transit stations.
2.4 Continue to support high quality office parks as business locations for those employers seeking this type of location, particularly those that need a high level of building or campus security.
2.5 Support efforts by businesses and community organizations to enliven places by the creation of unique and energized public spaces in activity centers.
- Support activities and events such as street festivals, pop-up concerts, and food markets throughout the county and in towns and cities.
- Support the inclusion of public art in future planning and development (i.e. artist designed street furniture, independent
- sculpture and installations, integrated building elements).
- Support the creation of one or more arts districts as determined by each community’s needs and resources (such as pop-up, temporary spaces for arts and artists; live/work art spaces and residential units; small business zoning incentives, etc.).
- Support the creation of a premier performing and other arts facilities in Tysons or possibly other activity centers, as both a community amenity and economic generator.
2.6 Continue to improve the overall quality of life to sustain Fairfax County’s reputation as a great place to live, work, play, and learn by protecting established neighborhoods and maintaining our superior public schools, parks, libraries, and public safety services.
2.7 Expand activities to market and brand unique, culturally diverse communities, (such as Merrifield’s live, shop, and play appeal, or Annandale as a foodie hub) in a manner similar to marketing efforts on behalf of other urban neighborhoods and places (such as NoMa, Clarendon, or Del Ray).
2.8 Study and implement ways to repurpose empty or obsolete commercial space for residential uses; urban schools or other public facilities; art and cultural purposes; live/work/manufacture uses; and/or start-up companies. Engage stakeholders in research and recommendations.
- Consider implementation tools such as land use and regulatory changes, innovative tax policies, and the use of public seed money or equity participation to spur or support redevelopment and infill, revitalization, and partnership opportunities for repurposing.
2.9 Preserve existing designated Industrial Areas as valuable locations for needed light manufacturing, warehousing, service, and distribution uses that support county residents and businesses.
2.10 Continue to develop complete street guidelines for all activity centers in the county. In partnership with VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, better utilize public rights of way for improved accessibility, safety, and connectivity by all modes:
- Implement pedestrian, bike and roadway improvements around Phase II Silver Line stations.
- Continue to fund and implement infrastructure improvements that include additional bicycle and pedestrian improvements on overpasses or tunnels and acquire easements for new trails and park greenways where appropriate.
- Continue implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan recommendations.
- Promote bike lanes in areas where they have been identified in the Bicycle Master Plan.
- Implement urban design standards to support street amenities such as street furniture in projects to encourage pedestrian activity.
- Continue implementation of connected pedestrian facilities, particularly in activity centers.
- Address the need for additional roadway capacity in activity centers through context sensitive improvement projects and development of an enhanced street grid.
2.11 Support the implementation of a comprehensive “Health in All Policies” plan that integrates concepts that promote healthy living with a renewed focus on placemaking. Projects included in the plan should focus on increasing physical activity, better nutrition, and expanding access to health care, parkland, and recreation centers.