The Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations voted unanimously last week to support relocation of the county government complex outside of Fairfax City.
The federation's blessing is considered a key factor in convincing the Board of Supervisors that the county offices should be moved, said Michael Horwatt, chairman of the citizens advisory committee which is recommending relocation. Horwatt named the county Chamber of Commerce as the other key group whose support is needed to push to relocation. The chamber is scheduled to decide on its position today.
The federation stopped short, however, of endorsing the advisory committee's favorite site for future county offices, which is near I-66 and Rte. 50. Instead, the organization is asking for a full study of costs, transportation systems and any changes in the county's master plan involved in each of the recommended sites.
The locations recommended, in order of preference, are the Pender site, at Rte. 50 and I-66; the Smith Carney Site, also on Rte. 50 between Lee Highway and I-66, and the Chiles site, east of the Beltway on Rte. 50.
Michael Burns, representing the Greenbrier Civic Association, told the federation, "The Pender site impacts in our area. A lot of people are just getting over a battle over a shopping center going in here."
Burns referred to a shopping center planned for development by Taubman Associates on land just east of the Pender site. The center, to cover more than 1 million square feet, was opposed by nearby residents.
Burns proposed the motion, later adopted by the federation, calling for a full study of each of the sites.
The Greenbrier, Navy Vale, pender, and Brookfield civic associations have formed a coalition, along with some businesses in the Route 50 corridor from Fairfax City to Chantilly, to try to arrive at a consolidated position on whether to endorse location of Fairfax County offices on the Pender site.
Horwatt told the federation the county now spends $750,000 a year on leased office space for its employes, all of whom cannot be accommodated in the Massey Building and other county owned office space in Fairfax City.
"And we are going to need more in the future," said Horwatt. "We estimated that by the year 2020, we will need from three to six more Massey buildings."
If the county government is not moved and its office space not expanded, the county will spend at least $79.1 million for leased space over the next 42 years, Horwatt said.
"The fiscal integrity of the county requires immediate consideration of moving the county's offices," he added.
The federation voted to support the advisory committee's position that the circuit court facilities should remain in Fairfax City and that the $19 million court facility which county voters approved for bonding last January be built on the present government complex site.
"Moving the courthouse now would substantially increase the cost of construction and planning," Horwatt told the federation.
David Shoner, a federation member, asked what would be done with the Massey Building if the county decided to relocate its offices.
"The Massey Building has an estimated life of 50 years," said Horwatt. "It will make back its cost in 20 years, so it makes sense to keep that valuable piece of real estate and use it in the most efficient way possible."
The federation's position in favor of relocation will be put forward at the county board hearing next Monday.
In other business, the federation voted to oppose a $12 million storm sewer bond referendum proposed for June. The bond issue would be used to fund projects in areas where flooding has occurred or might occur int he future. The federation has called some of the projects "excessive," because several did not flood under conditions caused by Hurricane Agnes.
The federation's nominating committee submitted a slate of officers for the coming year. Elections will be held in May, and new officers will take over in June.
Nominations were: For president - Carl Ericson; first vice president - Maya Huber; second vice president - Gary Hoffman; treasurer - Peter Oleson; recording Secretary - Nancy Larson; corresponding secretary - June Babcock.