In order to cure what Fairfax County executive Leonard Whorton Called "a grave situation," the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week went on record unanimously supporting a stepped-up program to attract business and clean industry to Fairfax County.
The initiative includes $30,000 more in funding for this year's budget of the county's Economic Development Authority which, since its formation in 1964, has never had much alout with boards of supervisors.
An ever-increasing dependence on real estate property taxes in the absence of revenue from business has created the "grave sitution" Whorton referred to.
A special report commissioned by the board last June studied the county's tax base and, calling the present structure "dangerous," predicted an ever-increasing burden on the Fairfax County homeowner unless business and commerical development in the county was encouraged.
But Whorton cautioned that it would take time, perhaps 8 to 10 years, to reverse the Present economics of Fairfax County.
Special "economic development task force" will be created within the existing county staff to expedite approval (or rejection) of major industrial/commercial plans. In the past, one of the major obstacles to the opening of industrial and commercial ventures in Fairfax, last year's report said, has been a caterpillar-paced review procedure which left businesses exasperated and moving to other jurisdictions.
The supervisors, however, rejected a recommendation by the county executive to set up an "economic development coordinating committee" on the grounds that this would be increasing, rather than decreasing, bureaucratic red-tape which businesses have been complaining about. They also wanted to avoid a potential conflict between the 13-year-old EDA and a new "coordinating committee."
S. Richard Rio, president of the Fairfax County chamber of commerce, told the supervisors that the county "was already five years behind" in attracting businesses. He spoke against setting up a "coordinating committee" because sooner or later, he said "a battle royal" would develop between it and the EDA.
The board also rejected a proposal by Whorton to do a study on "marketing strategy" to attract targeted firms. Supervisor Martha Pennino (D-Centreville) said, "I don't think it's necessary to do a study. Our EDA knows what to go to. They've just not had the wherewithal to do so - which is really money.
The supervisors asked for a monthly review from the EDA of its efforts in getting businesses, mainly research and development firms as well as other non-polluting industries, to relocate to Fairfax.
The board will review in six months, the county executive's request for a "coordinating committee" and a study.
Finally, Whorton also suggested that the board encourage EDA to seek funding from the private sector for its expanded program.
Rio, however, told the board he thought this would be unlikely "as long as businesses in the county have the gross receipts tax and a personal peoperty tax on all office property and goods."
In other matters, the board requested the staff to come up with some countywide solutions for the growing commuter parking problems. The motion was presented by supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) who noted the mounting troubles of commuters in the Lake Braddock corridor who are forced to park on residential streets.
In addition, the board, though pleased with the failure of the so-called annexation bill in the General Assembly, noted that the bill was by no means dead. The bill would threaten the county with loss of land to cities and towns now inside the county unless the county paid the cities for "immunity" from annexation.
The supervisors passed a resolution urging Gov. Mills E. Godwin not to veto the bill passed in the assembly which would put a 10-year moratorium on annexations. They also suggested ways be studied to fight the annexation bill which they believe will be resurrected in the 1978 session of the General Assembly.
Also, plans for a new McDonald's hamburget restaurant in Vienna at Rte. 123 and Horsehoe Drive were held up as the board voted, at Pennion's request, that a study of traffic problems and possible alternative sites be made before the site plans are approved.
Finally, the board approved an agenda for a General Transportation Workshop to be held May 7 to discuss highways and mass transit systems in northern Virginia. State and county officials as well as interested citizens are invited to attend the one-day workshop.