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Issues

Engage the Community to Plan for Success 

Walter values citizen participation in Fairfax County’s land use planning and development review process. New development and the dramatic changes around our transit stations needs input and guidance from the broader community.  Walter’s first motion on the Board of Supervisors was to update Reston’s Comprehensive Plan by establishing a citizen task force to formulate recommendations.

Protecting Open Spaces from Development 

Walter recognizes that as our region grows it is more important than ever we protect open and green spaces by focusing growth around transit.

Reston Golf Courses Redevelopment 

Walter brought residents surrounding Hidden Creek and Reston National into the land use planning process by placing their concerns and values above development interests. He directed the golf course owners to make their redevelopment pitch not to him, but directly to communities surrounding the courses. He waited to hear from the communities about whether they supported changing the comprehensive plan.  Following more than a year of outreach and engagement by the landowner, Walter issued a statement in October, 2020 finding that the community had clearly spoken and he would not consider a change to the comprehensive plan for the Hidden Creek property. Public outreach by the owners of Reston National began in late 2021 and continues.

Make Our Community Safe for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

The pandemic highlighted how important our trails, sidewalks, and crosswalks are for getting around and getting out and about.  But too many of our streets were designed to move vehicles from point A to B as fast as possible without consideration for human-scale mobility.  As chair of the Board’s Transportation Committee, Walter leads initiatives to design safer roads and retrofit our existing transportation network to accommodate active transportation – especially near transit stations, schools, and anywhere else people bike or walk – and to secure funding to make it happen.

Tackling the Affordable Housing Crisis

The flip side of our area’s attractiveness as a great place to live and raise a family is that the price of housing is out of reach for far too many. This is especially true for our younger residents and most anyone with a household income less than the regional average of $129,000 for a family of 4.  Addressing this growing problem requires action on three fronts: 1) preserving and enhancing existing affordable housing; 2) maximizing implementation of Fairfax County’s inclusionary zoning and planning policies; and 3) finding land and funding for constructing new affordable housing developments.  Walter is actively working on all three strategies, including championing the recent Board approval of the first phase of Dominion Square West – 175 homes within walking distance of the Spring Hill Metrorail station affordable to working families.

Creating a New First Responder Resource for Mental and Behavioral Health Crises 

Our existing first responder system lacks the personnel to address the mental health and behavioral crisis epidemic in our community.  As one FCPD patrol officer told Walter in 2021, sending a police officer to help someone in a mental health crisis is like sending a plumber to do an electrician’s job. In partnership with Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, Walter initiated a series of pilots and improvements now known as the co-responder model. Much work remains to be done on this front but calibrating local government emergency response capabilities to the needs of the community – including mental and behavioral health intervention – is a critical first step.

Making the One Fairfax Policy a Reality

Walter is working to make Hunter Mill a place where all are welcome, and all have the opportunity to live, work, play, and thrive. From championing police reforms and transparency, to ensuring that COVID vaccines are made available to every community in Fairfax County, and from ramping up affordable housing production to supporting workers seeking fair wages and benefits, Walter is working to make the One Fairfax championed by previous Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins a reality.

Acting Locally to Address Climate Change

Since 2019 Fairfax County has made significant strides in developing and implementing plans to reduce greenhouse gasses.  In Fairfax County the two biggest sources of these emissions are transportation and buildings. Walter leads efforts to transition the County vehicle fleet from petroleum-based to zero emissions and to install the charging and other infrastructure necessary to facilitate County and resident electric vehicle charging. No matter what we and the rest of the world do, our infrastructure and systems must develop a resilience to mitigate more severe weather events – including localized 500-1000 year flood events and the inevitable consequences of climate change.

Public/Community Health

The tremendous, heroic work of our health department, health care workers, and other essential workers will provide a common identity for this generation just as previous generations were shaped by world wars and the Great Depression. And there is no better teacher about the importance of public and community health than a pandemic.  Walter is leading County efforts to incorporate community health provisions into the comprehensive plan and to make vaccines and testing more accessible. Fairfax County has the highest vaccination rate of any county in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Fully Funding Public Education

Education is a top priority for Walter: His votes supporting FCPS budget requests underscore this commitment to public education.  But there is work still to be done. We need to ensure 30 years from now our education system is the best in the nation and that our teachers are well paid, and we must find viable alternatives to the commercial real estate tax base for funding our schools and County government.