Arlington County

The following was among actions taken at the Dec. 8 meeting of the Arlington County Board. For more information, call 358-3130.

SIGN REGULATIONS -- The board approved changes in zoning ordinances regulating commercial and residential signs. The changes -- the first in 15 years -- are as follows:

Businesses are now allowed to hang front wall signs of up to 60 square feet. Previously, the allowable size of commercial wall signs was based on the width of a building's front; one to three square feet of sign space, depending on the building's commercial zoning, was allowed for every square foot of frontage.

The allowable height of commercial free-standing signs has been reduced from no higher than 35 feet above ground to no higher than 15 feet above ground. The allowable height of commercial wall signs remains 35 feet above ground.

The board also set requirements for the first time on political placards and other temporary non-commercial signs in residential neighborhoods.

Free-standing yard or window signs, not to exceed four square feet, require a sign permit, which costs $10 for up to 25 signs. One sign per residence may be erected up to 70 days prior to an event such as an election, and must be removed within 10 days after the event.

The board also agreed to hold a public hearing at its Feb. 9 meeting on two proposed changes to sign regulations.

The first applies to churches, school, libraries and other charitable organizations, which currently are each allowed one sign, not to exceed 24 square feet, per site. A proposed change would allow two signs, totaling not more than 30 square feet, per site.

A second proposed change would increase the allowable size for real estate signs, permitting so-called "riders," such as "For Sale" signs, placed atop or beneath real estate signs. The size of the real estate signs themselves would be limited to three square feet, as currently permitted.

City of Falls Church

The following was among actions taken at the Dec. 10 meeting of the Falls Church City Council. For more information, call 241-5004.

YOUTH COMMISSION -- The council established a Falls Church Youth Commission to identify issues of concern to the city's young people and help develop programs ranging from recreation to substance abuse prevention.

The commission will have 23 adult members, six appointed by the council and the remaining members representing city and civic organizations, including the police department, private and public school PTAs and the School Board.

An 11-member Youth Advisory Board will be made up of students in fifth through 12th grades, selected by their principals. The advisory board will meet regularly with the commission.

Commission and advisory board members will serve two-year terms.

Fairfax County

The following were among actions taken by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 10 meeting. For more information, call 246-3151.

FORT BELVOIR DEVELOPMENT -- The board directed staff members to collaborate with Army officials and a citizens task force to work out the details of an Army proposal to build at least 7 million square feet of office and hotel space on 820 acres northwest of Fort Belvoir between I-95 and Rolling Road.

About half of the office space would be used by the Army to consolidate its operations, to accommodate the expansion of operations at Fort Belvoir and to reduce the cost of renting private office space. The Army currently leases about 3 million square feet of private office space in the Washington area, for about $42 million a year.

The proposal calls for the rest of the development to be filled by private businesses.

Chairman Audrey Moore (D-At Large), backing a staff analysis of the proposal, criticized the proposed development as too ambitious and large scale. According to the staff analysis, the project would require adding 18 to 26 traffic lanes to local roads.

"I think probably any development on that site will have a terrible impact on the community. I think we should be preserving it as a park," Moore said.

However, County Executive J. Lambert informed the board that "the Army can build on that property today without any help or one approval from Fairfax County. They own it. . . . We cannot sit here and say they can't do anything with that property, because they can."

Lambert recommended that the board direct the staff to meet with the citizens task force and Army planners to work out a mutually agreeable solution.