Archive: Housing

Plan to Help First-Time Home Buyers in the Works

Called the Silver Lining program, the effort could provide up to $6.4 million over the next two years to help middle income professionals purchase their first homes in Fairfax County by helping them get cut rates on foreclosed houses. Read more in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 20, 2008; 09:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 4/28: Increased Crime Linked to Empty Houses

Updated 4/28 According to this article from yesterday's Washington Post the increasing number of home foreclosures is leading to another problem: crime. Empty houses seem to be drawing criminals, who use them as havens and hideouts and as targets for vandalism. Updated 3/10 It could be characterized as a case of exchanging one suburban blight for another according to this story from yesterday's Metro section as some houses that were once overcrowded illegal boarding houses until the county began more strict enforcement of zoning laws, are now in foreclosure and standing empty and ill-maintained. Updated 8/23 According to this article from this morning's Metro section, county officials say that progress, though slow, is being made with regard to overcrowded houses an other sources of zoning violations. Updated 6/8 The county today announced the first of a series of court cases that they plan to make against homeowners suspected of violations...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 28, 2008; 09:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Sets Action Plan Aimed at Ending Homelesness

The Board of Supervisors last week approved an action plan which sets a goal of finding permanent housing for all of the county's estimated nearly 2,000 homeless residents. The Fairfax Extra has the news....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 10, 2008; 01:43 PM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 3/27: Ruling Against Regional Tranportation Fund Spells Trouble For Belvoir Road Plan

Updated 3/27 According to an article in today's Fairfax Extra, the ruling by Virginia Supreme Court against a regional tax plan to fund transportation improvements, one of the big losers will be the plan to improve roads and ease congestion around the fort. The decision eliminates $12.1 million the state planned to spend on the project. Updated 5/18/07 Responding to an amendment proposed by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require transportation improvements be made before the U.S. Army would be allowed to move 22,000 jobs to Fort Belvoir. The story is here. Originally posted 2/8 Amid concerns about what an influx of 21,00 new personnel at Fort Belvoir could do to complicate traffic and other problems around the Army base, local congressional leaders are asking federal officials delay the base realignment process. They say that the additional time will allow needed preparation...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | March 27, 2008; 10:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

Boarding House Operator Jailed For Contempt

Rosita Lim Ong Chang, 66 was arrested Friday and sent to jail for contempt of court for failing to obey a judge who cited her four years ago for illegally boarding tenants in her single-family home near George Mason University. Chang is the first person arrested for such an offense since the county stepped up its enforcement of zoning codes. Read about it in today's Metro section....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 16, 2007; 11:18 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Affordable Housing Requirements Draw Fire

Newly approved requirements that 12% of units in new high-rise housing must be designated for affordable housing if the developer wants to increase density over the current zoning allowances are drawing fire from critics who say the measure goes too far, or alternately not far enough. The Board of Supervisors also increased the amount of money a family could make and still qualify for affordable housing. Read the news in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 4, 2007; 01:46 PM ET | Email a Comment

Six-Figure Salary Households Get Subsidized Housing

According to this article from yesterday's front page, ten percent of the county's subsidized housing is occupied by families who no longer would qualify for assistance if they were just now seeking it. One of the households takes in more than $216,000 a year. County officials say there are no provisions for making renters who once qualified for assistance move on or pay more once there fortunes improve....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | October 1, 2007; 09:58 AM ET | Email a Comment

Needy Families Build Their Own Condos

With the help of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, the future owners of new condominiums being built just outside Fairfax City are doing the work themselves. The condo project is the first such in the area. Read about it in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | September 6, 2007; 11:02 AM ET | Email a Comment

Residents Question Plan For Affordable Apartments

Skepticism from Springfield District residents greeted officials presiding over a meeting held last week about plans to build an affordable apartment complex adjacent to the county Government Center. The planned development is intended to house primarily county workers, but residents expressed concerns that the complex could shelter homeless people or be used for federally subsidized housing. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | July 26, 2007; 10:48 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 7/24/07: Builders Find Loophole On Home Height Restrictions

Updated 7/24/07 According to this article from today's Metro section. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will try to close a loophole that has allowed some builders to construct homes in excess of the county's 35-foot limitation by artificially elevating lots with extra fill dirt. Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said that he has been receiving complaints about the practice from neighborhoods in his district. Updated 8/21/06 This article from this Saturday's Metro section describes how some builders and home buyers are trying to resolve problems with the height of their homes before they can move in. Updated 8/14 An article published in yesterday's Metro section explains how thousands of too tall homes cane to be built in the county. Updated 8/1 This Metro section story reports that the Board of Supervisors decided yesterday that buyers of new homes that are in violation of the height restrictions will have...

 

By | July 24, 2007; 10:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

County's Committment to Affordable Housing

Fairfax County government leaders have long been saying that more needs to be done to provide affordable housing here in one of the nation's wealthiest jurisdictions. To that end, the county will commit $23 million to affordable housing in fiscal 2008 and to provide over the next four years 2,200 new units of affordable housing for families earning no more than $47,250 per year. Today's Fairfax Extra has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 31, 2007; 12:43 PM ET | Email a Comment

Immigration and Overcrowded Houses

This front page article in yesterday's paper on neighborhood disputes over overcrowded houses in Fairfax County has spawned a spirited discussion with people from Fairfax, the Washington region and elsewhere in the country, joining in by posting comments about the problem. Focus on Fairfax invites readers to continue the discussion here....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | May 14, 2007; 10:53 AM ET | Email a Comment

Centreville Woman Helps Mentally Ill Find Housing

Stirred to action by the need for housing for Fairfax County's mentally ill citizens, Realtor Trudy Harsh founded the Brain Foundation and bought a townhouse for four mentally ill men. She's raising money to buy a second house presently. Read about Harsh and her work in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 19, 2007; 11:37 AM ET | Email a Comment

Study: County Could Do Better With Affordable Housing

A report from the Coalition for Smarter Growth says that Fairfax County still has a way to go to do all it can to help low-wage earners find affordable housing. The story is in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | April 19, 2007; 11:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax News Briefs

From today's Metro section: Police Arrest Suspect in Several Robberies A District man has been charged with an armed robbery in Fairfax County last month and is being investigated in a string of similar holdups, including two in which the gunman fired shots inside the businesses. Police arrested James Rose, of the 3400 block of Fifth Street SE, on Saturday at an apartment in Annandale. He was charged with the Jan. 31 robbery of a 7-Eleven in the Hybla Valley area, which was captured on video that shows a masked man wielding a long-barreled gun. Police said Rose was also a suspect in the Jan. 18 robberies of Chin's Kitchen and Huntington Market in the Huntington area and the Jan. 14 robbery of a Sunoco gas station in the Hybla Valley area. -- Tom Jackman Man Killed While Trying to Cross Route 1 A man trying to walk across Route...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 27, 2007; 10:17 AM ET | Email a Comment

North Hill Compromise to Offer Housing, Trails?

Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said the compromise proposal to redevelop land in the North Hill section of the Route 1 corridor, as a mix of walking trails and affordable housing, would leave no one "completely happy" but would at last solve the dilemma of what to do with the 33 acre parcel which has been vacant since 1981. Read about the history of the land and the feud about what to do with it here, in today's Fairfax Extra....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | February 22, 2007; 10:28 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 1/10: Fairfax Abandons Plan to Relocate Shelter

Updated 1/10 The latest news is here. Updated 1/9 The plan to move the Lamb Center to a planned Merrifield location was dealt a serious blow yesterday when Fairfax County officials said that they are unlikely to grant the necessary zoning exception. The news is in this article from today's Metro section. The Fairfax City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to spend $2.6 million dollars to purchase an office building in Merrifield to be used as daytime shelter for the homeless. Some neighbors of the planned location say they will continue to stand in opposition to moving the shelter from its current site near Fairfax Circle. Here is the news story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | January 9, 2007; 08:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax Is Lending $5 Million for Affordable Housing Complex

From today's Metro section: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to lend $5 million to a real estate partnership that will buy and rehabilitate a 90-unit apartment complex in Falls Church for use as affordable housing. The complex, the Sunset Park Apartments on Seminary Road, has apartments that will cost from $770 to $1,300 a month. The loan comes from a special fund the county has set aside with the goal of preserving 1,000 units of housing for low- and moderate-income residents. By Dec. 31, the county is expected to exceed that target by preserving 1,358 units. -- Bill Turque...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 5, 2006; 10:35 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 12/5: Supervisors Approve End to Irregularly-Shaped Lots For Homes?

Updated 12/5 From today's Metro section: Supervisors Approve Rules on Lot Shapes The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously approved rules to keep property owners and developers from using highly contorted lot lines to carve out as many homes as possible in infill subdivisions. As builders seek to squeeze more homes into already developed areas of the county, officials say they are hearing complaints that highly creative lot shapes designed to meet county rules for septic systems and road frontage are causing confusion among residents and making it difficult for them to maximize use of their property. In some neighborhoods, an area that one might assume to be the back yard of one house is actually the septic area of another house, or what looks like the front yard of one house is actually a strip running from another home to provide required road frontage. Under the new rules,...

 

By Focus on Fairfax | December 5, 2006; 10:04 AM ET | Email a Comment

Fort Belvoir Commander on BRAC challenges

Col. Brian W. Lauritzen, the installation commander at Fort Belvoir takes charge of this week's Voices of Fairfax guest column and, using another challenge, offers his thoughts on the ones presented by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendations for the post....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 30, 2006; 01:22 PM ET | Email a Comment

Mobile Home Park Residents Get Reprieve for Now

Residents of the Penn-Daw Mobile Home Park in southern Fairfax County recently got word that a developer has scrapped a plan to remake the 90-home community as a mixed-use residential, office and retail site with as many as 700 new apartments ans townhouses. Most Penn-Daw residents aren't confident that this is the end. They say that redevelopment of the property is inevitable and wonder where and how they will find a place in Fairfax to live when it does. This front page article in today's Washington Post has the story....

 

By Focus on Fairfax | November 28, 2006; 10:15 AM ET | Email a Comment

UPDATE 11/9: VDOT: Dulles Area Development A No Go

Updated 11/9 The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors yesterday rejected the proposal to build the development. The story is here. Updated 8/30 According to this article from today's Metro section, the plan to develop the new homes is gathering momentum. Updated 7/21 According to this story strong criticism is being levelled at both the development plan and the VDOT traffic study. Originally posted 7/14 A planned development of 28,000 new houses in Loudoun County will lead to massive traffic tie-ups on local roads from Herndon to Haymarket according to what officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation have to say in this article in today's Metro section....

 

By | November 9, 2006; 09:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

Pricier Homes Eligible for Subsidies?

Housing subsidies for families making $110,0000 a year? That may be the reality soon in Fairfax County. Check out this story from yesterday's paper....

 

By | August 28, 2006; 11:10 AM ET | Email a Comment

Bigger Questions on Tysons Redevelopment/Rail

With all of the the discussion about the specifics of extending Metrorail through Tysons Corner and redeveloping the area into a walkable downtown for Fairfax County, are some bigger questions getting overlooked? Is the plan to remake Tysons feasible? Is it even desirable? This article from yesterday's Metro section takes a closer look at the big questions local officials face as decision time on what to do draws near....

 

By | August 21, 2006; 10:13 AM ET | Email a Comment

New Vienna Buildings Sometimes Dwarf Ramblers

Many people agree that the scores of new houses being built in the southern part of Vienna are more attractive than many of brick behemoths derisively labeled as McMansions that constitute much of the newer and larger houses being built in Northern Virginia. But some people are wondering if the new homes are driving up neighborhood property values and forcing out established residents with higher taxes. The story is in this week's Fairfax Extra....

 

By | August 4, 2006; 09:01 AM ET | Email a Comment

Home Sale Prices Drop

Home sale prices in Fairfax County have dropped by as much as two percent in Fairfax in the last year according to data reported in this front page story in today's Washington Post. Have any Focus on Fairfax readers sold a house (or tried to sell a house) in the last year? Share your experience....

 

By | July 26, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Email a Comment

Rapidly Rising Assessments May Be Over

After six years of rapidly increasing housing assessments rates -- Fairfax assessments grew by more than 20% in 2006 -- government officials are predicting that assessments should grow only one to three percentage points in Fairfax County next year. The news is likely to be welcomed by homeowners but will pose challenges for government budgeters. Washingtonpost.com reader, vickreal seems unimpressed. In comments attached to the story, vickreal writes, "To think that N Va municipalities will have to scrape by on a budget that is only about double what it was five years ago brings a tear to my eye." What's your take?...

 

By | July 11, 2006; 10:03 AM ET | Email a Comment

A Small Starter Home In Fairfax County? Good Luck!

Is this progress? As this article from yesterday's front page reports, buying a small house in the Washington suburbs is increasingly difficult. In Fairfax, the average new townhouse is now 1,900 square feet -- larger than the single-family houses built 30 years ago. Young families face challenges in finding a small starter....

 

By | July 10, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Email a Comment

See Extra for Home Sales, Crime Watch, Food Reviews

A review of Pasa Thai's cuisine is only one of several features in this week's Fairfax Extra. Check out the weekly animal for adoption, home sales and local crime. What's your favorite local restaurant? Let us know....

 

By | July 6, 2006; 12:13 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax To Reconsider Rules for Variances

Frustrated by rules for variances to allow additions? Take a look at Sunday's Metro section and the report that the county is reluctant to grant variances because in 2004, the Virginia Supreme Court determined that they were being handed out too freely. This month the Board will look into a proposal that would grant homeowners a special permit or special exception instead of a variance....

 

By | July 3, 2006; 11:40 AM ET | Email a Comment

Huntington Area Hit Hard by Flooding

Rising water and raw sewage has damaged more than half the 311 homes in the Huntington area of Fairfax County and will keep residents displaced until repairs can be made. Today's Metro section gives a glimpse of what the past few days have been like for the Grimes family and the uphill climb they face. Rodney Grimes and his family, who lived on Fenwick Drive, spent yesterday morning picking through what remained of their salvageable belongings....

 

By | June 28, 2006; 10:38 AM ET | Email a Comment

Dental Care Options Scarce for Homeless

For some of the nearly 2,000 homeless people living in Fairfax County, the lack of opportunities for dental care is a painful reality. The story was in today's Metro section....

 

By | June 12, 2006; 11:16 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Identifies Land For Affordable Housing

Officials have identified 18 areas of county owned land suitable for building affordable housing for middle class workers that have been shut out of the expensive housing market. Read the story here....

 

By | June 2, 2006; 09:50 AM ET | Email a Comment

County Forms Committee on Aging

According to this Fairfax Extra article a new committee formed by the county Board of Supervisors is examining the ways that the government may be able to help with the problems that are likely to come as a higher percentage of citizens begin to reach retirement age....

 

By | June 1, 2006; 11:43 AM ET | Email a Comment

Mixed-Income Senior Housing in Falls Church

The project, the first in its kind in Fairfax County, had drawn criticism from some people who objected to subsidized housing in their neighborhood. According to this Fairfax Extra article, the controversy illustrates the difficulty in meeting the increasing demand for affordable housing for our aging citizens....

 

By | May 11, 2006; 12:40 PM ET | Email a Comment

Fairfax: The 2006 Guide

An Introduction To The Guide Trying to make sense of Fairfax? Join our club. To help newcomers learn and old-timers discover new possibilities, here's The Guide for 2006. We know how easy it is to get confused here, because there are about a million people -- more people than seven states have -- and trying to make sense of the governing machinery can be tricky. The local governments include those of the county and two cities, the City of Fairfax and the City of Falls Church, each with its own idiosyncrasies and treasures. What you'll find in these pages is our attempt to lead you to old favorites you had not thought of for a while or to what might become favorites. There's golfing and fishing and biking and walking, just to name a few leisure pursuits. If you have students in the family, there's a place within the county...

 

By | April 28, 2006; 09:51 AM ET | Email a Comment

Ending Homelessness in Fairfax?

Ending homelessness in Fairfax County is achievable within ten years, local officials said Friday. Read about the summit and the goals and obstacles the leaders outlined in this story from Saturday's Metro section....

 

By | April 10, 2006; 10:32 AM ET | Email a Comment

Reality Check on County Trends?

A look at recent historical trends with regard to the county's growth and diversity yields some surprises. Read about them here in this week's Fairfax Extra cover story....

 

By | April 6, 2006; 04:20 PM ET | Email a Comment

Churches Help Growing Number of Homeless

With numbers on the rise, Fairfax County's homeless population has faced difficulties in getting services and shelter. A coalition of churches, mindful of deaths a couple of winters ago, banded together to help. The story is in this week's Fairfax Extra....

 

By | March 31, 2006; 12:16 PM ET | Email a Comment

Survey Shows Increase in Homelessness

The most recent count, conducted in January, found 2,077 homeless people in Fairfax County, a 6.5 percent increase over last year. The  Washington Post article on the annual county survey and its finding--presented to the board of supervisors today-- is here....

 

By | March 27, 2006; 11:56 AM ET | Email a Comment

County's Poor Wait Months, Years for Help

According to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, getting hooked up with a therapist can take as long as six months and it may take years to get a spot in a group home. Staff shortages and voluminous caseloads are the cause, officials say. The story is on the front page of this morning's Washington Post....

 

By | March 17, 2006; 10:23 AM ET | Email a Comment

A Tale of Two Properties

   Fairfax County officials have been inconsistent in their approach to development around the Vienna Metro station, as the people of the Poplar Terrace neighborhood will tell you....

 

By Steve Fehr | March 5, 2006; 02:57 PM ET | Email a Comment

Firms Named to Plan Fort Belvoir Growth

The Army has announced that it has selected two firms to oversee the complex task of preparing Fort Belvoir for the arrival of 21,000 military and civilian personnel and contractors under the Base Realignment and Closure recommendations made last year....

 

By | February 21, 2006; 11:05 AM ET | Email a Comment

Please Read: Rules Issued for Commenting on Fairfax Focus Blog

Some readers of this blog have recently raised questions about the role of The Washington Post in policing Fairfax Focus. I have deleted a few blog posts because they did not meet The Post's standards for fairness. For more clarity about how to play by the rules, Jim Brady, the executive editor of washingtonpost.com has posted a message explaining the rules for readers participating in the site's Live Online discussions, discussion forums and for posting comments on the company's blogs. The complete list of rules is here. --Steve Fehr, Fairfax Extra Editor...

 

By | February 17, 2006; 01:06 PM ET | Email a Comment

Lewinsville Senior Center To Expand

Plans are proceeding to renovate and expand a recreational and assisted living center for seniors in McLean. Read about it here....

 

By | February 16, 2006; 01:26 PM ET | Email a Comment

 

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