- Community meeting on Jan. 29, at 6 p.m., at the Fairfax County Government Center to introduce a proposed change to the county's land use plan to allow empty office buildings in suburban neighborhoods to be converted into other uses.
- The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on March 22, and the Board of Supervisors on May 1.
Following a recent change to more easily allow empty office buildings in mixed use and industrial areas to be converted into other uses, Fairfax County officials are looking to expand this flexibility to offices in suburban neighborhoods.
To introduce this proposal, the county will hold a community meeting on Monday, January 29, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Fairfax County Government Center, conference rooms 9 and 10, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.
At this meeting, county planners will seek public feedback on what kinds of conversions to allow and the criteria and conditions for offices to be eligible for conversion, such as ensuring they are compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.
The proposal would allow vacant or partially vacant offices to be turned into other uses without requiring a site-specific change to the land use plan, known as the Comprehensive Plan. This could give these offices new life as apartments, schools, co-working spaces, maker spaces or food incubators. As an example, a former, five-story brick office building across from the Seven Corners Shopping Center was converted into Bailey's Upper Elementary, the county's first "high rise" school.
Even if this proposal is adopted, most eligible office buildings would still need to go through a rezoning process. This process offers many opportunities for community input, including public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
Officials want to expand the conversion provisions to suburban office buildings as a way to deal with the more than 18 million square feet in vacant office space countywide.
The Planning Commission is currently scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposal on March 22, and the Board of Supervisors, which must ultimately approve it, plans to hold its public hearing on May 1.
Last December, the board directed county planners to move forward with this proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment.
For more information, provide input or request reasonable ADA accommodations, call the Department of Planning and Zoning, at 703-324- 1232, TTY 711.