Fairfax County

The following were among actions taken by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at the Nov. 23 meeting. For more information, call 246-3187.

METRO STATION PARKING -- The board voted to temporarily permit commercial parking lots near Metro stations if Metro starts a program to build parking structures at the stations' existing parking areas.

Developers could apply to the board for a special exception to rent parking space on land within 2,000 feet of the Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and Huntington stations during construction of the parking garages, which is likely to take several years. These parking lots would be allowed in commercially zoned areas and in residentially zoned areas planned for commercial development.

Metro officials are working on a plan to build parking structures at all county Metro stations to alleviate parking shortages. But the construction will displace some existing spaces.

VOTING BOOTHS -- The board asked the staff to report back next week with plans to replace the county's approximately 580 mechanical voting machines with electronic voting machines.

The electronic devices, expected to cost the county about $2.5 million, can count votes within eight minutes after polls close, compared to several hours for the county's aging mechanical machines, according to a spokesman for the electronic machines' manufacturer. Voters would press buttons rather than pull levers, he told the county board, and flashing lights would draw voters' attention to each choice. This usually increases voter response on parts of the ballot that are written high up or low down on the machine, he said.

The board action came after board members complained about election procedures in this month's election. Vote counts were slow and not broken down by precinct, supervisors said, and some early returns contained errors. Results of races for the Soil and Water Conservation District directors, for example, took "almost a week" to count, said Supervisor Thomas Davis (R-Mason).

Electoral Board Chairman James Swinson said, "It seems as though in this election we had more problems with staff . . . We also had problems with machines." The new machines could be available for use in the March 8 presidential primary.

TRAILER PARK EVICTIONS -- The board approved $50,700 to help 34 families who are being evicted from part of the Oak Grove Trailer Court on Sam's Drive along Rte. 1, where a developer plans to build a motel.

The park's residents own their homes, but the land their mobile homes sit on belongs to Coastal American Corporation of Alexandria. The company sent 11 families notices they had to move by the end of November, and 23 other families were told they will have to move later, according to Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee).

Alexander said some of the residents were elderly or poor, and there were few if any places in Fairfax County where they could move their homes. "One person is an 82-year-old woman" living on $572 a month in Social Security, he said. "I'm not sure we're going to find a place for this lady."

Each displaced family is to receive up to $1,000 for moving expenses and a security deposit at a new residence. They also will receive counseling help from a family service agency.

RESIDENTIAL PARKING DISTRICT -- The board postponed action on a request to create a residential permit parking district next to West Springfield High School, to keep students from parking on residential streets.

Some area residents have complained about students parking on their streets. But of 17 people who spoke at the board's public hearing, almost all opposed the proposed district.

Residents of areas just outside the proposed district objected that student cars might move into their neighborhoods if they couldn't park on streets near the school.

Kevin Cox, president of the school student government association, said many students had to drive to school because bus schedules do not allow them to particpate in extracurricular activities, and there is insufficient space in the school's parking lot.

The board postponed consideration of the plan for several months to allow students, parents and residents to discuss parking problems and suggest a solution.