In an effort to increase Fairfax County's appeal for major corporations and industries, the county Board of Supervisors Monday shortened the review process these firms must go through to settle in the county.
The special procedures adopted by the board are expected to reduce the development process for major businesses by at least a year.
It takes approximately three and a half years for a residential development to be processed by the county before building can start. There is no average period of processing for large commercial ventures, since each one is so different," according to Narayan H. Ahuja, a county management analyst.
"This is not carte blance for industry, no does it circumvent normal processing procedures," Ahuja said. "It does give a quicker review of certain large ventures that show interest in settling in Fairfax County."
To qualify for the streamlined review, a business must be ready to start building as soon as county approval comes through, Ahuja said. That business also must be paying the county more than $1 million in land use taxes or employ more than 500 people when it gets underway, and be able to assure the county it will not damage the environment.
Under the new procedures, a rezoning request from a large business may be scheduled out of order if the normal schedule prohibits a hearing within "a reasonable period of time." The business' structure and site plans also may be reveiwed by county staff while a decision on the rezoning request is pending. Normally this review follows the rezoning decision.
In addition, a large firm may hire persons to review building plans and perform inspections, and the county will provide an ombudsman to assist major applicants through the development process.
Amendments to the county land use plan that a large development might require also may be considered out of turn of the sheduled annual review of the land use plan, under the new procedure.
"Mobil (Oil) already has benefited from some of these procedures, only as a special case," Ahuja said. "This is an attempt to make it a formal procedure."
Mobil Oil plans to establish a Fairfax office at a site near the intersection of Rte. 50 and the Capital Beltway.
Also Monday, the board postponed acting on a proposal to increase productivity in county operations until it can take up each of the proposal's suggestions individually.
The proposal says the county can reduce trash collection crews from four to three people if residents carry their trash to the curbs.
Among the proposal's other suggestions, it recommends that the county sell extra data processing capacity to other parties to defray data processing costs to the county, that the county use recreational fields more efficiently, and that the county minimize the tupes of equipment sent out o minor fire and resuce incidents and discontinue most non-emergency ambulance transportation by paid county personnel.