Welcome to FIVE FOR FRIDAY: A weekly roundup of Public Policy Issues and Headlines from around the Northern Virginia Region, the Commonwealth and on Capitol Hill.
1. Fairfax County Redistricting Plan Receives Virginia Attorney General's Certification of No Objection
The Virginia attorney general recently certified that there is no objection to Fairfax County’s redistricting plan that the Board of Supervisors adopted on Dec. 7, 2021. The attorney general’s “certification of no objection” means that the county may now implement its new local election districts as adopted. The certification process is required by state law under the 2021 Virginia Rights of Voters Act.
The county’s redistricting plan maintains nine local election districts for the Board of Supervisors and School Board. It minimizes disruption to residents and communities, shifting seven precincts in part or in whole to new districts.
2. Loudoun Supervisors Consider New Affordable Rentals Loan Program
County supervisors are considering a new, more streamlined loan program to help affordable housing developers move quickly to buy rental complexes.
The proposed Rental Housing Acquisition and Preservation Loan Program would be funded with $5 million of Fiscal Year 2021 year-end fund balance. Supervisors already voted on Sept. 8 to use that $5 million toward the county’s affordable housing needs.
3. Report: Prince William County's housing shortage to persist without policy changes
Prince William County’s ongoing housing shortage, widely blamed driving up housing costs, could persist past 2040 if the county does not open additional land for development and allow more dense residential development where it's restricted, including in the "rural crescent," according to a recent outside analysis.
The findings were included in four reports produced by RKG Associates, a Washington D.C.-based economic planning firm, ahead of the county’s 2040 comprehensive plan update. Even at full build-out the county will be short 20,000 units, the analysis says.
4. State senator proposes bill limiting local governments’ power over Airbnb and Vrbo rentals
Local governments could lose some of their powers to regulate short-term rentals if a state senator’s bill makes it through the Virginia General Assembly. In Senate Bill 602, State Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) proposes doing away with the ability for cities, counties and towns to tell property owners renting on platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo how many parking spaces they must have, occupancy limits they must abide by, and where they must own property to be able to rent.
5. Community Input Sought on Fairfax Sign Regulations at Virtual Meetings in January
Fairfax Department of Planning and Development is reviewing sign policies to better serve residents and business owners. The review is part of the 2022/2023 Zoning Ordinance Work Program as a follow up to sign regulation changes that were adopted in March 2019.
Sign regulations under review include signage related to properties for sale or undergoing construction, signage calculations for mixed-use and multifamily buildings, subdivision signs, and the comprehensive sign plan process. Staff is holding two community information sessions this month for the public to learn more about sign regulations and offer their feedback on how they may be improved.