--What do you believe is the most pressing ISSUE for the City of Fairfax? What solutions would you propose to address it?
--Do you believe that the City should amend its charter to provide FOUR-YEAR TERMS of office for the Mayor and members of the City Council and School Board? Why or why not?
--What do you believe is the most important area for improvement in the City’s LAND USE regulations and procedures?
Michael J. DeMarco
Web Site: http://michaeljdemarco.com
Biography: My family and I have lived in Fairfax since 2000 and I am a sitting member of the City Council. I have worked for ExxonMobil for 24 years in financial, marketing and customer service positions. I hold degrees from Penn State, Temple and Columbia.
ISSUE: We must be a community and a destination. We need to create multiple draws to the city whether they are retail, entertainment, cultural or historical. We need mixed use developments to provide living, work and social opportunities for the next generation of city residents. We need a well funded marketing plan to publicize the city and attract businesses and tourism.
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: A Charter Commission was established in 2013 with their principal recommendation being a change from two to four year terms. Their recommendation was not unanimous and I, as a councilmember, voted to place an advisory referendum on the November ballot. I believe there are pros and cons on both two and four year terms and will vote the will of the community on the issue.
LAND USE: We are in the process of rewriting our Zoning ordinance. I am certain that a hybrid form based code can be created that will provide more predictable guidance for developers and allow for a more efficient and effective approval process. This is critical to our success as we are seeing more sustainable development applications that will revitalize our economic base.
Cristina Lee Gaines
Biography: BS Chemistry MS Environmental Engineering 13 yrs Volunteer Adapted Aquatics 15 yrs Area Director Mosby Woods Community Association 14 yrs EPA Office of Water Env. Engineer 5 yrs FHS PTSA Committtee Chair
ISSUE: The City needs to encourage more businesses to move here. The long negotiations process (haggling over proffers) is very discouraging and has resulted in businesses deciding NOT to move here. The zoning ordinances need to be looked at to make our desires clear from the beginning of the process to limit the long and frustrating negotiations process.
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: I think it’s fine the way it is. I do not see a “problem” that needs to be fixed but there are many other problems that do require attention so lets not fix what isn’t broken.
LAND USE: I think that the public hearings process is very flawed. The council seems to have made up it’s mind on issues of the public hearing BEFORE conducting the hearing. We live in an area with a considerable number of experts in various fields & yet we don’t tap into them because of this process. I think the hearings should be sooner in the process 2 avoid citizen disgust.
Jeffrey C. Greenfield
Web Site: http://jeffgreenfield.org
Biography: Masters in Public Administration, GMU B.A. Political Science, GMU Fairfax High School Eagle Scout Northern Virginia Transportation Commission Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments Board of Director
ISSUE: With strong support from City residents, property owners and business leaders, the City developed a master plan for Fairfax Boulevard in order to fully realize our shared vision. Re-developing Fairfax Circle, Northfax and Kamp Washington are critical for the City to strengthen our economic engine.
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: Ultimately, this will be decided by the voters in November 2014 when they are asked to vote on this question. It is difficult to get a lot done in two years when the body seeks re-election 18 months into the term. I support four year terms as I beleive it brings better continuity to the Council as we grapple with a number of long-range projects.
LAND USE: I am committed to working with staff to see how the City can further refine our review process, making it more predictable and easier to understand for a new or expanding business owner. The review and overhaul of our zoning ordinance is a first step to cleaning up a challenging process for potential applicants.
Nancy Fry Loftus
Web Site: http://www.nancyfryloftus.com
Biography: A lifelong City resident, my parents still live in CCH. Married to Connell, also a lifelong resident, we have two beautiful daughters. A graduate of FHS, Va Tech and GMU Law. 17 years as an Assistant County Attorney focused on tax and fiscal policy.
ISSUE: Three main issues face our City: development, taxes and the budget. (Development is addressed below). The real estate tax rate has grown 47% since 2007, and 16% in just two years. This costs hard-working families $1,000 more each year. The budget has also grown 19% in two years. Just as families and businesses must sometimes make hard choices, the City must do the same.
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: As a member of the Charter Commission, I voted, along with others, against the amendment to extend the term in office to four years. I feel strongly that two years is the appropriate length of time between elections for the Mayor and Council. It has served our City well for 50 years. Doubling the term may serve the politician but it does not benefit the City residents.
LAND USE: Any re-write of our Zoning Ordinance must maintain the character of our City to ensure new development is of the proper size and scale. Further, regulations, such as the sign ordinance, must be efficient, fair and predictable for our City business community. Many have expressed frustration navigating the approval process. We must listen and make changes accordingly.
David L. Meyer
Web Site: http://www.electdavidmeyer.com
Biography: David Meyer is a 33-year resident of the City of Fairfax and is a Senior Executive with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He has a BA from Randolph-Macon College and an MPA from American University. Married with two children. Seeking 4th term.
ISSUE: Our most challenging issue is to strengthen the commercial economic base within the City. Redeveloped commercial districts will produce new, long-term sources of revenue that will enable the City to continue to provide the superior services our citizens enjoy.and maintain low tax rates.
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: I support the recommendation of the City’s Charter Commission to transition to 4-year terms for Mayor and Council. Four-year terms will enable the council to pursue strategic objectives that span several years.
LAND USE: The current initiative to rewrite the City’s zoning ordinance will incorporate clear and consistent development objectives that are included in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. This will enable applicants, citizens, the City staff, the Planning Commission, and the City Council to ensure new projects contribute to our economic vitality while preserving neighborhoods,
Janice B. Miller
Web Site: http://NONE
Biography: City resident and community leader since 1970. School Board Chairman/member - 30 years, City Council, 1992-1994, PRAB 1995-1997. Elementary School Mentor. VSBA, Chocolate Lovers Festival, Historic Fairfax Inc. Former President, Fairfax Little League.
ISSUE: Land use is the most pressing issue the City will address. The Council needs a support team when making decisions: a well trained staff to provide solid alternatives and active board and commission members (Planning/BAR) who receive ample information early in the decision making process to offer solid advice. Land use decisions will affect the City for generations.
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: I favor four year terms and support a voter referendum on the proposed change. The General Assembly will determine if the charter is amended. Longer terms will provide elected officials the opportunity for extended strategic planning on complicated land use matters and financial decisions.
LAND USE: The Zoning Ordinance was last updated over thirty years ago. The current revision of the Code will provide land owners, developers, policy makers and city staff a more practical document defining land use regulations and procedures. It is time to streamline the document and make information more manageable and accessible to the public.
Eleanor D. “Ellie” Schmidt
Web Site: http://www.ellieforfairfax.com
Biography: Ellie Schmidt, serving her second term on City Council, also serves on the boards of the City of Fairfax Band Association and the Fairfax County Crime Solvers. With a B.A. from the University of Missouri, she is an EVP & Chief Compliance Officer.
ISSUE: With aging commercial and residential areas, one of the pressing issues is redevelopment. We must take a balanced approach as we move forward to enhance and redevelop in a way to appeal to a broad range of people, including families, seniors, and the university community. It is essential to preserve the unique character of the City while promoting “intelligent” growth.
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: No. Two-year terms have worked well. During each election cycle candidates engage citizens by knocking on doors and participating in candidate forums. Citizens should have the opportunity to re-elect an office holder if they are satisfied or vote them out of office if they are dissatisfied. It is important to give the voters the power to make the choice every two years
LAND USE: We have been operating with a zoning ordinance that has not been formerly reviewed for years and currently are in the process of reviewing and revising the ordinance. It is essential for the city to complete the rewrite process in order to ensure consistency and define the framework for our development and redevelopment. Processes will be streamlined as a result.
Jon R. Stehle
Web Site: http://www.jonstehle.com
Biography: Personal: Married to Stephanie; Children; Zoe and Cooper; Professional: Senior Analyst, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): Education: U.S. Naval War College; University of Pittsburgh, GSPIA; Washington & Jefferson College
ISSUE: Encouraging smart economic investment across the entire city is the most pressing issue for the City of Fairfax. The next Council should systematically and transparently implement the vision already stated in the Fairfax Boulevard Master Plan: well designed, walkable, mixed-use centers connected to enhance “the existing character of the City and its neighborhoods.”
FOUR-YEAR TERMS: The Council will be hearing directly from the voters on this issue in November and I look forward to that vote. I understand the benefit to long term planning that a four-year term would provide; however, changing the City Charter is not something I would support unless a significant majority of community spoke with a unified voice.
LAND USE: Completing the efforts to modernize the zoning code, including creating a clear mixed-use category, is critical to improving the City’s land use. The next Council should continue to leverage the City’s existing outreach efforts to engage citizens. More clearly tracking developments will increase the ability of citizens to be aware of the review process and provide input.