March 23, 2021
To the Fairfax County Community,

At today's Board meeting, I moved and had the unanimous support to approve a resolution condemning anti-Asian racism and violence. Close to 20% of Fairfax County’s population is of Asian or Pacific Island descent, with Korean and Vietnamese being two of the five most spoken languages spoken within our community. You can hear the resolution in the video below.

I asked that our Board pass this motion today because I want our entire community to know that in Fairfax County, we hear your concerns and anxieties and believe that any acts of racism against any community, including our Asian American community are unacceptable. No matter where you are from, you are welcome in Fairfax. Moreover, it is necessary to say, though unfortunate that I must, that Asians are not more likely to have or spread COVID-19.
 
Finally, I want to remind you that should you see a crime of any sort, including racially motivated, call the police at 911 if it is an emergency, or our non-emergency line 703-691-2131. As a further reminder, we do not ask for immigration status when you call.

See highlights of today's Board meeting below and the full agenda is available for your review here.

For COVID-19 resources mentioned in past newsletters, visit my website. If you have a friend who would like to sign up for this newsletter, they can do so here.
zMOD
What happened? The Board approved zMOD, a wholesale change to our zoning ordinance for the first time in over 40 years! This process included over 100 meetings for Board members and the community. It was well past time that our ordinance was updated, modernized, and made more user-friendly.

Why? The goal of zMOD was to create a cleaner and more straightforward document that is more accessible to the general public in understanding the County's zoning ordinance.

Anything else? The Board of Supervisors made adjustments to, in my opinion, address many of the concerns. This was a major undertaking, but most community concern was over only three changes to the ordinance.

  1. Accessory Dwelling Units (ALUs): ALUs allow people to house additional residents in their existing home while still adhering to County regulations, so long as no exterior changes to the home are made and parking can be accommodated. With our previous ordinance, permitting for ALUs was financially unobtainable for most people (costing over $16,000 a permit) and only allowed with residents over the age of 55. zMod allows residents the flexibility to make changes within their own home, while protecting neighborhoods, simplifying the process, and lowering the cost. Homeowners take on tenants to offset their mortgage, or help them earn some extra income during hard times. To be approved, a homeowner must reside at the property with an ALU, they may not be distant landlords. ALUs will also be important to meeting our affordable housing goals because increased housing availability helps lower the cost of housing.
  2. Home Based Businesses (HBBs): We also worked to simplify the process and lower the permitting costs associated with establishing HBBs. HBBs are an important part of the County's economy and in the midst of the pandemic, I'm pleased we can find more avenues to empower residents to open a business, but still follow County regulations. For example, the Board did agree to restrict administrative approval to HBBs that generate no customers coming to the home, except for instructional activities. Other HBBs would still need to go through a public hearing process.
  3. Flags: I do not support regulating the American flag! After listening to the concerns of the community we have reevaluated the original staff recommendations. The primary changes voted on will allow all homes to have 25-foot flag poles  and 60-foot flag poles for all other areas. Should residents wish to have taller flagpoles, they can apply for a special permit. The amendment also includes no minimum flag size, and the limit for flagpoles was kept at the current maximum of three flagpoles.

It's also worth noting that all of the above changes are in alignment with virtually every jurisdiction around us in our region and in some cases throughout the state.

Finally, the Board instructed County staff to monitor and evaluate ALUs and HBBs in the County, with a report to be prepared for the Board in 18 months of the effective date to ensure compliance with County regulations.
Governor Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions
  • The Governor announced today that effective April 1 the following changes will be made statewide to public health restrictions:
  • Limits on social gatherings will increase to 50 for indoor gatherings and to 100 for outdoor gatherings.
  • Limits for entertainment and public amusement venues will remain at 30% occupancy, but the cap for indoor venues will increase to 500 persons, and the cap for outdoor gatherings will be removed.
  • The number of spectators allowed at recreational sporting events will increase to 100 indoors, to 500 outdoors, and remain limited at 30% capacity.
  • Graduations and commencements will be limited to 500 persons indoors and 5,000 persons outdoors. 
  • Amended business guidance can be found here.
  • In addition, starting today, the following individuals who live or work in the Fairfax Health District are now eligible to register to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Public transit workers.
  • Mail carriers.
  • Read more here.
Health
Vaccine Resources:


Common Health Questions:

  • People with COVID-19 have a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. You might experience:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Follow mitigation practices:
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if that isn't an option (especially when in public places)
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve
  • Don't touch your face
  • Social distance
  • Wear a mask (Which is required in Virginia.)
  • What it means to social distance, self-isolate, and quarantine.
  • If interacting with others outside of your household, being outside is safer than inside. You can make your home safer by increasing ventilation and filtration.
  • The New York Times (access to COVID-19 content is free) speaks with infectious disease experts, aerosol scientists, and microbiologists to find out if COVID-19 can land on your clothing, hair, shoes, and mail.

COVID-19 Resources:

  • Fairfax County Health Department
  • To view the number of cases in Fairfax County this page is updated at noon daily.
  • Visit the County site on COVID-19, Health Department Website, and see their FAQs.
  • To view multilingual health materials visit the County's Language Portal.
  • Sign up for text message alerts: text FFXCOVID to 888777. Para inscribirse, textear FFXCOVIDESP a 888777.
  • Call the Health Department from 9am-7pm weekdays and 9:30am-5pm on weekends: 703-267-3511
  • Email: ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov. This account will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8am-8pm.
  • Inova has a helpful FAQ.
We recognize that we are in very trying times, but I hope this newsletter helps you track the progress we are making.

As I often say, we are truly lucky to live in Fairfax County where we have the resources to overcome challenges and a community who rises to the occasion.

Jeffrey C. McKay
Chairman
Contact the Office

chairman@fairfaxcounty.gov | 703.324.2321 |