Join Club

Peter’s Take: Planning For Arlington’s Future After The JFAC Work Session

Peter RousselotPeter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Last week, the County and School Boards held a combined work session with the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission. County Board chair Jay Fisette also delivered a mid-year State of the County address.

Some of the comments made at these events reflected welcome candor — possibly a much-needed acknowledgement of the multiple, urgent challenges confronting Arlington.

As Fisette stated, Arlington’s critical response must be to “plan, plan, plan, plan.”

Arlington needs comprehensive, integrated long-term planning

Smart growth 2.0

Arlington’s much-praised transit-oriented smart growth vision was adopted in the 1970s. Almost 50 years later, residents are increasingly concerned about the challenges of future growth and development.

I have written columns about some of these challenges, including:

Between now and September, the County and School Boards should do some long-term strategic thinking about:

  • aspects of our smart growth policies that should be re-examined based upon projected macro-economic conditions for Arlington over the next 30 years
  • new tools that should be considered to address our challenges

Such internal deliberations must consider policy and priority choices that range far beyond the appropriate scope for JFAC.

By September, the County Board should propose for community discussion a draft working list of topics that ought to be reviewed in a very broad-based community process leading to Smart Growth 2.0.


Over the summer, the County and School Boards need to adopt a new work plan on which JFAC can commence at its scheduled September 20 meeting.

Comprehensive long-term facilities planning is paramount

JFAC’s highest priority must be the integrated assessment and planning for long-term County and APS facility needs, including of course APS capacity needs, for the next 15 years. This JFAC process must be continuously informed by and integrate the interim conclusions and decisions made by the County Board’s parallel Smart Growth 2.0 planning process.

JFAC should not be distracted by further BUCK and VHC responsibilities

To ensure that JFAC can focus its limited resources on the demands of its long-term planning process, the County Board should not task JFAC with any further significant leadership or operational responsibilities regarding land use decisions for the Buck and VHC sites. Instead, separate working groups should be convened for each of those sites, including neighborhood representation, to lead and make these decisions — perhaps with a JFAC liaison or co-chair.

Maybe relieve JFAC of short-term bus siting responsibilities

Only if resources permit should JFAC be tasked to conduct a short-term study of bus storage siting options. In any event, whatever group studies these options should not be artificially constrained either by locations within Arlington’s geographic borders or conventional approaches to bus storage.


With growing acknowledgement of the significant fiscal and physical challenges confronting the county, the County Board needs to commence in September a broad public conversation ultimately leading to an updated vision for future growth and development that commands substantial public support.

JFAC should focus beginning in September on a long-term, comprehensive assessment across county and APS of likely facility needs and siting proposals to be informed ultimately by the results of the “visioning” process.

If resources permit, JFAC should undertake a short-term project re bus storage siting.  Any other possible JFAC projects should be addressed through separate processes.

Recent Stories

Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 8668 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

The owner of the bakery Cake Baby is celebrating one year of opening at the Pentagon City mall — and being out of her parents’ house. In December 2021, a…

A coalition of parents will be marching on Friday at Wakefield High School to encourage students not to use drugs and to demand a countywide response to in-school opioid use….

The freshest cold-pressed juice, cashew milks and cleanses delivered straight to your home or office from Greenheart Juice Shop! Greenheart delivers to over 100 zip codes in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. Check your delivery day here and…

Need help dealing with anxiety, depression or stress?

If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, depression or stress, our virtual psychotherapy services can help. We offer a confidential and convenient service that’s tailored to your needs.

In our practice, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is an important tool we use to provide effective relief for those facing anxiety and depression. We believe that cognitive change can be used to improve behaviors and emotions, thus allowing you to achieve mental wellness. By understanding the cognitive distortions that lead to negative thought patterns, we are able to create interventions tailored to each of our clients. This empowering approach can help you gain control of how your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors impact your experience. With CBT, our service provides an effective treatment that can bring long-term change and mental stability.

Book a free consultation today and see how we can help you live a happier and healthier life.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at or call (703) 527-0608.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Almost, Maine

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join us for a series of vignettes that revolve around the theme of love. Taking place in an almost-town called Almost, Maine, we will show you different, but important, facet of love in each

First-time Moms Meet & Greet

The truth, your first pregnancy and new mom months are full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and lots of questions! None of us really know the best way to do it – we just figure it out, together…


Subscribe to our mailing list