Dear Editor,

I am disgusted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, especially Kathy Smith, in their ability to completely ignore everyone but the deep pockets of the developers. I have been following the BOS decisions of late on development in noise contour zones and was prompted to respond to your August 7,  Fairfax Times article “The Boulevard Case”, with a letter to the BOS, specifically addressing Supervisor Kathy Smith. The letter is below. I doubt it will do anything but fall on deaf ears again, but please feel free to print all or part in your newspaper:

Why do you think we have Zoning laws? They are there to guide our representatives to be our defenders, to provide a basis of science and experience in order to give you the ability to make sound decisions. But you have slammed the door shut. Like some other public servants in this country, you are refusing to listen to the experts and we have seen how that plays out. Your mind is made up. Screw everyone else. Who cares? You don’t. 

Why does this not matter to you? What is the motivation from experts and people living currently in that situation compared to your motivation? When all of these experts and residents are providing you feedback, why are you ignoring it? Is the answer money, campaign contributions, taxes, corruption? It seems the logical conclusion. Ms. Smith, you state that back in the 90s “they made a very conservative decision” regarding airport noise. They did not; it was a scientific and sound decision. We live in one of those zones that you so flippantly point to as being “already many houses in Fairfax County are in the 60-65 dB range” – which at the time of building these homes in the 80s was not, but is now. Yet you, unlike them, are KNOWINGLY disregarding the advice.  We are thankful for one thing COVID-19 has brought and that is the ability to enjoy our outdoor living space for the first time in 26+ years. For the first time, we can actually sit outside between the hours of 6pm and 8pm, eat dinner and hold a conversation. We are not awakened between midnight and 4 AM by loud cargo planes rumbling overhead. You think newer noise dampening for interior noise is sufficient. Really?  So, they, as we, cannot open windows to get fresh air because we’d never be able to sleep at night with all the flight path noise. So to you, that’s OK. 

Ms. Smith, you say that not recommending residential development in a 60-65dB noise contour was “merely a suggestion” – how do you know? Do you live in one? No. But we do. And the experts, who have had years to study and learn from the impact, the complaints, the disruption to daily life, do know – and know better than you - but their knowledge, and our knowledge, is nothing to you.  With you at the helm, do we live in a democracy? No. Not when the knowledge the experts bring falls on deaf ears. You might say that you are not the only member of the BOS but they look to you for guidance since Sully is your district.

The zoning laws are there for a reason, which you so flippantly disregard because you say we don’t have enough affordable housing. But the zoning laws are there for you to be guided into how to find it without compromising the comfort and safety of those who choose to live in Fairfax.  We expected you to be someone who was concerned enough about Fairfax County citizens to adhere to the zoning laws and find other ways to accomplish the goals that you seek. We are ashamed that we were wrong.

We challenge each and every one of you on the Board of Supervisors to do the right thing and vote against development of Stanley Martin Stonebrook Rezoning RZ/FDP 2019-SU-005 & PCA 78-S-063-08.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Shang

(1) comment

JayJ

Cynthia, thanks for expressing your concerns over some of the decisions made by Supervisor Smith and the BOS. You have only scratch the surface of a very troubling issue in Sully and Fairfax County. Because of recent decisions of the BOS and PC, at Supervisor Smith's insistence, many thousands of children and their families will be put at risk because the BOS and PC failed to recognize the 2019 contours in favor of the less restrictive 1993 version. They've had over 16 months to act and have done nothing. Their logic was that the 2019 were too far in the future, too restrictive, and unnecessarily limiting development in the Sully District. That is totally 180 degrees out from where it should be. The warnings were presented by the experts and they ignored it. Both the Sully District Council (SDC) and the Western Fairfax County Communities Association (WFCCA) asked Supervisor Smith not to endorse three developments in the 60 - 65 dB contours. Elm Street, Boulevards at Westfields, and soon to be reviewed Stonebrook. Unfortunately, they've been voted through with the developers affirming they will fix the problems later if it's too noisy. But only if residents complain. WHAT? The Fairfax County Comp Plan says that we will not endanger the "health, safety, and general welfare of its residents". RIGHT. That's exactly what they are doing. The BOS and PC lack vision of the future - just like your developers who put your homes in a flight path years ago. These residents will be asking the same questions in 20 - 25 years. Regarding accountability and transparency - it no longer exists under this current BOS, PC and BZA administrations. They blame it all on COVID-19. A convenient excuse. Meetings of these organizations are not widely publicized, citizens are not engaged, or kept abreast of what is happening in FFX. We are left to the devices of these organizations to do as they please with no restrictions or limits on their authority and responsibility to the citizens they serve. Stay strong, continue to voice your concerns. We need a revival of sound government - federal and in FFX.

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