THE WAR IS OVER in Fairfax - after 18 months of nasty feuding between the country and Fairfax City over everything from schools to courts to sewers. It erupted when a singularly provincial group of city residents controlled the City Council. Along with former mayor Nathaniel Young, the city government came up with all sorts of insular proposals to break off relations with the surrounding county. The county had notified the city of plans to renegotiate contracts under which the city buys municipal services from the county - and the city first reacted by saying there was nothing to talk about.

Eventually there were some talks, but the old City Council already was moving ahead with plans to create some sort of independent school system. As luck and voter sentiment would have, it however, the good people of Fairfax City dumped the isolationists from the council in their May elections - and this week the new City Council and the county's board of supervisors made formal peace with the preliminary approval of a new contract for services. And there's even talk in Fairfax City of reestablishing old relations with the Metro transportation system.

If this were only a quaint episode in a little local feud, the rest of the region could have followed it only casually. But given the pressures on intraregional relationships these days, the War of the Fairfaxes threatened to undo important efforts in area-wide cooperation - from the financing of Metro in thefuture to the water and sewer projects. That is why the new mayor and City Council in Fairfax City deserve the thanks of citizens beyond their borders.