Unfortunately, partisan politics have entered into Town elections, and I want to see us go back to abiding by our Town Charter. With the mess that partisan politics has created at the federal and state levels and how it hampers actually getting any work done for our citizens, it's no wonder Herndon was set up to avoid that situation.
I pledge to stay non-partisan, have not and will not accept donations from any political party or political pac during my runs for public office. I urge other candidates to do the same.
Through Fairfax County's Area Plan Review process, the Town made requests to Fairfax County to mitigate traffic, provide adequate recreational facilities and public services, and better access to the site and its planned transit station. The Town has also been working cooperatively with Loudoun County through the Inter-jurisdictional committee with Fairfax County, Loudoun County and the Town to work together to best address traffic and development plans that will have an impact on the entire region.
The Town continues to push for a bridge over the Dulles Toll Road to connect the planned development north of the Toll Road with development planned for the south in order to mitigate congestion on Route 28. We have also suggested direct access to the CIT metro site from the Toll Road in order to reduce the number of people who might take the Centreville Road/Elden Street exit and cut through Town to reach the site.
I continue to serve on the Dulles Area Transportation Association's (DATA's) Board of Directors as its Past President, to assist area businesses and municipalities in their efforts to manage and improve transportation demand.
Serving as the General Laws sub-committee chairman of the Virginia Municipal League's Legislative Committee in the past, as well as its Legislative Committee, has afforded me an opportunity to work with elected officials from all across the state as we encourage the General Assembly to be responsive to local government needs. One such issue is reducing unfunded State mandates to local municipalities!
The town has made significant reductions in cases of overcrowded housing. Continued zoning enforcement will ensure our town retains a high quality of life.
Neighborhood preservation also means embracing our current zoning districts and examining all the potential pros and cons before making any changes to those districts that might affect our quality of life.
The long-awaited Herndon Downtown Master Plan is finally a reality. The Town Council heard from the citizens that development in our Historic Downtown must retain the current low to moderate density levels and new construction must blend cohesively with the old. However, the current Mayor and Council are considering development proposals that are NOT in line with those findings. We need strong leadership that will not pander to developers and will, instead, follow the path the citizens have laid out!
The Planning Commission and Council approved the Town-initiated rezoning of town owned land in the downtown. Although included as part of this rezoning was to be 200 residential units, a parking garage and building arts facilities along Station Street to replace the current location for ArtSpace; the current proposals being considered will build as many as 280 residential units and the Comstock plan includes an eight-level, 781 space parking garage. Will such changes bring the vitality and activity we've been wanting for Downtown without bringing traffic to a HALT?
Neighbors of the Dranesville Road/Park Avenue and Park Avenue/Monroe Street intersections were awarded an opportunity to address proposed traffic calming measures at public hearings, thanks to Mayor DeBenedittis's agreement to follow my suggestion to place these items on the agenda (against the majority of Town Council's wishes). Citizen Involvement DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! (See related Washington Post blog about the outcome of citizen involvement).
Your vote on Tuesday, November 8th WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in deciding whether we move to higher density 'urbanization', or continue to embrace our 'small town character and charm'. It's YOUR decision, so take part in the process and VOTE!
Redevelopment in our metro area will bring major costs to the Town, such as a 6-million dollar additional water and sewer capacity purchase from Fairfax County Water that was recently approved by the majority of Council; infrastructure costs to upgrade the water and sewer lines in that area so they can carry that extra capacity; and engineering costs to plan the extension of Worldgate Drive into that area.
Will the current density levels proposed for redevelopment harm our ability to 'Maintain a Residential Haven' as defined in the 2030 Vision Statement? I do not agree with the current RUSH to take the Town from suburban to urban. I feel that the maximum density levels allowed with the current rezoning will increase our traffic congestion, result in overcrowding of our classrooms, and decrease our green space and overall quality of life.
We don't have to 'blend in' with the rest of the over-crowded, traffic-congested metropolitan area. The benefit of being a 'Town' is that we can control our own destiny. If we want Herndon to retain our unique character and not just blend in with the rest of the metropolitan area around us, we will need to do a better job of protecting our neighborhoods from dense redevelopment and preserving the unique character and charm of our 'Residential Haven'.
After the last Town Council election and six months of public comment on the Town's anti-solicitation ordinance, the majority of Town Council (of which I was not a part) voted to allow solicitation from our sidewalks. Click here to read more.
While an Economic Development task force has created a branding message for the Town, I disagree with the decision to use the 'branding' on town vehicles, replacing the Town Seal. Some individual businesses have expanded their operations such as Auto Scandia and Wiygul's Herndon Automotive with the help of myself and other individual Councilmembers. I believe it is important for Town Council members to get involved in all aspects of Economic Development.
One of the most important accomplishments of the 2006 and 2008 Town Councils was the creation of the 2027 Vision Statement. The current council made a few minor tweaks to the Vision Statement in 2010, but the sentiment remained the same. Will we be able to hold onto this vision in the future?
Apparently not, as the current Council's VISION eliminated some important elements like "families" and "maintaining a residential haven." Compare the 2030 Vision below with the current Vision which follows it.
"In the year 2030, Herndon continues to be a 21st century town where history and heritage are respected and where people and their involvement matter. Herndon's inclusiveness and sense of community foster empowerment in each citizen. Its unique character and charm attract a wide variety of people, including many families who are raising their children here. Herndon is the anchor of an expanded community where positive benefits extend beyond the Town's boundaries."