The Falls Church City Council took steps Monday night to protect its streets from commuter parking, two days after the opening of the East Falls Church and West Falls Church Metro stations.
The council introduced an ordinance, which if adopted later this month, would speed up the city's ability to prohibit commuter parking in residential areas if there is not enough parking for neighborhood residents.
"The whole point is to take steps to preserve the residential areas as quickly as possible," said Falls Church City Attorney David Lasso.
Currently, in order to enforce restricted parking in neighborhoods, city law requires that residents seeking parking restrictions submit a petition to Falls Church City Manager Anthony Griffin and that a public hearing be held.
Lasso estimated the process can take between four and eight weeks. Lasso said the new ordinance would speed up that process by allowing Griffin to declare parking restrictions without receiving a petition or holding a public hearing.
Falls Church City Planner Hal Glasser said the city has parking restrictions in one area of the city, a two-block section of West Greenway Boulevard, just off South Washington Street. The restrictions were instituted there several years ago after the city received complaints from residents that office workers on Washington Street were taking up available parking. Glasser, who said Greenway Boulevard residents have been issued stickers for their cars, said the parking restrictions have been effective.
Mayor Carol DeLong predicted the council will adopt the new ordinance.
"We want to be in a position to move relatively rapidly if a problem develops," she said. "We don't want to have a process that takes a month or so to implement after a complaint comes in."
In other action, the council approved a resolution designating June 23, 1986 as Robert L. Hubbell day in honor of the city's vice mayor, who will attend his last City Council meeting on that day. Hubbell, 67, was elected to the council in 1978 and has served as the city's vice mayor for the past six years. He announced last November that he would not seek reelection.
A former president of the city's Village Preservation & Improvement Society, Hubbell spearheaded the adoption of an ordinance to protect old buildings in the city.
The ordinance states that in order to demolish a residence built during or before 1910 or any other structure deemed to be architecturally important, owners need to get approval from a three-member architectural review board. A board decision may be appealed to the council.
Since adoption of the ordinance more than two years ago, the review board has heard three demolition requests and turned down all three. Two of those rulings were appealed to the council and in both cases, the council upheld the board's decision.