Herrity Explains His ‘No’ Vote on zMOD in Fairfax County

Today (Tuesday, March 23) the Board of Supervisors passed a modification of its Zoning Ordinance (zMOD) by a vote of 7 to 3. The zMOD process began in 2017 and has included several Board committee meetings, public meetings, and a public hearing. When undertaken in 2017, zMOD was described as a reorganization and simplification of the current Zoning Ordinance which has not been overhauled since it was adopted in 1978.

While Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) supported much of the zMOD package, including the simplification and reorganization, he voted against zMOD because it was more than a reorganization and included significant changes that impact our suburban communities and watersheds.

“This is not what was promised to our residents when we started the zMOD process – reorganization, not changes. There are some material changes that could have a significant impact on our suburban communities and the Occoquan watershed.” Herrity commented further, “This is the first time in my 13 years on the Board that I have seen such deep and broad opposition from resident and civic associations across the county to the changes incorporated in zMOD because of their impact on our neighborhoods. We should be listening to our residents.

"I was pleased to see the progress on removing many of the restrictions on flags but did not support the remaining ones on the number of flags and height," said Herrity, who has a constituent that occasionally flies a garrison flag without issue. “It remains a solution in search of a problem.”

"While I supported much of the zMOD package including the simplification and reorganization parts, I voted against zMOD because it was more than a reorganization and included significant changes that I believe will negatively impact our suburban communities and watersheds."

With regard to allowing Accessory Living Units (ALUs) by administrative permit and without the age and disability restrictions, Herrity commented, “Allowing ALUs without the age or disability restrictions and by administrative permit only, not only takes our residents out of the process: it opens up our neighborhoods to increases in density and the problems that come with increased density, including the impacts on traffic, schools and parking.”

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