A number of different people play a pivotal role and hold a stake in the Site-specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process.
- Members of the General Public
- Community Task Force and County Staff
- Planning Commission
- Board of Supervisors
Review the main roles and responsibilities for these stakeholders below:
Members of the General Public
Anyone may submit nominations for proposed amendments to the county’s Area Plan volumes of the Comprehensive Plan for the eligible land areas. Any interested party can participate by reviewing submitted nominations, attending task force meetings, reviewing the DPZ staff report for each nomination, and providing testimony at public hearings (in person or in writing) to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
Subscribers to the "Comprehensive Plan Announcements" email services will receive an email announcing the public hearing schedules and other important dates. In addition, the SSPA public hearings schedule will be posted on the SSPA website and the Planning Commission website. The hearings will take place in the Board Auditorium of the Government Center. The public is welcome to attend or watch the live broadcast on Cable Channel 16.
The public is encouraged to provide written and/or verbal input at the SSPA public hearings. Statements sent by email to the Planning Commission will be accepted until 3:00 p.m. the day of the public hearing and after that time individuals are encouraged to bring hard copies in-person to the hearing (15 copies). Written comments be sent via fax at (703) 324-3948 or sent via regular mail to the Planning Commission Office, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 330, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. Letters that arrive after the public hearing date will be added to the public record. The Board Auditorium is equipped with a variety of audio-visual equipment. Slides, maps, graphs, blueprints, photographs, and videos can be presented to the hearing body and the audience. Contact Cable Programming at (703) 324-5930 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the scheduled meeting date to arrange accommodations.
The nominator is the person who prepares and submits a proposal to change the Comprehensive Plan. The nominator is the contact person for all matters pertaining to the nomination throughout the process. The nominator may be invited to present the proposal to the task force and may sign up to speak at the public hearings.
Community Task Force and County Staff
The Dranesville, Hunter Mill, Providence, and Sully District Supervisors will each form an SSPA task force. The task forces will establish their own procedures for reviewing and making recommendations on SSPA nominations. Copies of SSPA nominations will be provided to the task forces and to the Supervisor’s office for each Supervisor District included in the North County SSPA. The task forces will meet during the time periods identified on the SSPA Schedule. The timeline and the number of task force meetings will depend on the number of nominations submitted as well as the meeting schedule established by each task force. For information about each task force’s membership, meeting schedule, locations and agendas, contact the respective District Supervisor offices. (See SSPA Information Resources for contact information). Meeting schedules and agendas also will be posted on the SSPA website.
The SSPA task forces will hold public meetings to review the nominations and make advisory recommendations to the Planning Commission during the screening and work program implementation. Interested members of the public may attend the task force meetings. DPZ planning staff will participate in task force meetings to present analysis and preliminary recommendations, answer specific questions about a particular nomination or general planning questions, and listen to presentations by nominators and discussions by task force members. The nominator may be invited to make a presentation about the proposal at task force meetings. Staff and the task force may also request additional information, such as a conceptual development plan or layout, to better understand the proposal and how it relates to the surrounding area.
Recommendations from each task force will be forwarded to DPZ staff and the Planning Commission and posted to the nomination website two weeks prior to the Commission’s public hearings. During the community screening, the task force will make a recommendation on nominations to be added to the work program. During the work program implementation process, each task force and DPZ staff will make one of the following recommendations:
- Approval of a nomination, as submitted;
- Approval of a modification (to a lesser intensity) to the original nomination; or,
- Retain the adopted Plan recommendation.
Task force recommendations may be different from staff recommendations. Both will be forwarded to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will hold public hearings to receive testimony on each nomination. The Planning Commission may support the nomination as submitted, support an alternative of lesser intensity, or retain the adopted Plan recommendation. A nomination may be deferred if the Planning Commission determines that additional information or time will be needed to fully evaluate the proposal or resolve community issues. Only those nominations or alternatives that the Planning Commission votes to support will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for additional public hearings and final decision. The Comprehensive Plan will be amended if the Board of Supervisors votes to adopt a proposed change. If the Planning Commission does not support a nomination, nominators may resubmit their nomination during the next SSPA North County cycle, or choose to pursue a different Plan amendment process. The staff reports will be available to the public on the SSPA website and in a limited supply of print copies. Availability of the staff reports will be announced on the free email subscription service, "Comprehensive Plan Announcements." SSPA Information Resources for subscription information.
The Planning Commission
The Planning Commission, constituted of Board-appointed Fairfax County citizens, has the authority under the Code of Virginia to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors about amendments to the county’s Comprehensive Plan. As previously described, the Planning Commission will conduct a screening of nominations to recommend if a nomination should or should not be added to the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program.
Planning Commission Public Hearings:
After staff and the task forces review the nominations, the Planning Commission will hold public hearings in the Board Auditorium to receive public comment about the proposed nominations during both the nomination screening and the work program implementation process. At the public hearing, the task forces’ recommendations will be presented by the task force chairs; DPZ staff will present the staff recommendations; and then the public will be invited to comment.
To speak at a Planning Commission public hearing, call the Planning Commission Office at (703) 324-2865, TTY (703) 324-7951, or register online. Anyone not on the Speaker’s List will have an opportunity (with a shorter time limit) to address the Commission after the registered speakers.
After all names on the registered Speakers List have been called, anyone not on the Speakers List will have an opportunity to address the commission. Those who wish to submit written copies of public hearing testimony in-person must provide 15 copies to the Planning Commission Office. The public is encouraged to submit public hearing testimony to the Planning Commission Office by email prior to 3:00 PM the day of the public hearing, which will be distributed to the planning commissioners. Testimony can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. After questions and comments from the Commissioners, the Chairman will close the public hearing. Commission action on SSPA items will not be taken until the scheduled mark-up sessions.
Planning Commission Mark-up:
The Planning Commission will take action on individual SSPA nominations at a mark-up session. The mark-up session is open to the public and televised on Cable Channel 16. However, public testimony is not permitted. During the screening process, nominations that receive approval to be added to the Work Program go forward to the Board of Supervisors on a revised work program as an action item for consideration at a public hearing. During the Work Program implementation, nominations also may be recommended for deferral. Nominations that are not supported by the Planning Commission will no longer be considered during the SSPA process and will not be subject to further review.
For information about the Planning Commission mark-up date, subscribe to "Comprehensive Plan Announcements," call the Planning Commission office at (703) 324-2865, TTY (703) 324-7951.
The Board of Supervisors
During the screening process, the Planning Commission recommendation on the revised Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program will be presented to the Board of Supervisors as an Action Item, and the Board of Supervisors will take action to adopt a revised Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program. During the Work Program implementation, the Board of Supervisors will hold public hearings on those nominations recommended for approval by the Planning Commission during the work program implementation.
The public hearing schedule will be available in the Weekly Agenda Newsletter or on the SSPA website. The public hearing(s) are typically combined with a mark-up session, which means that decisions are usually made the same evening as the public hearing. When the Board votes to approve a nomination (or a modification to the original nomination), that decision constitutes an adopted amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. At the public hearing, the Chairman will call for the presentation and staff and task force recommendations. The Chairman will then call for public testimony. Persons will be recognized in the order in which their names appear on the Speakers List. To speak at a Board of Supervisors SSPA public hearing, call the Clerk to the Board at (703) 324-3151, TTY (703) 324-3903. Speakers can also register on-line in advance. After all names have been called, anyone not on the Speakers List will have an opportunity to address the Board of Supervisors. To submit written copies of public hearing testimony, provide 14 copies to the Clerk. The public is encouraged to submit public hearing testimony to the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors office by email, which will be distributed to the Board members. Testimony can be emailed to ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov. After questions and comments from the Supervisors, the Chairman will close the public hearing. The Board of Supervisors will then take one of the following actions on the SSPA nominations:
- Approve the nomination;
- Approve a modification to the nomination (to a lesser intensity);
- Retain the adopted Plan recommendation;
- Defer decision for future consideration.
Based on the final actions taken by the Board of Supervisors, the text and/or maps of the county’s Comprehensive Plan will be modified to reflect all approved amendments. As the elected governing body of Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors makes final decisions about amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.