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Report of the Embark Housing Advisory Group Accepted by the Board of Supervisors

On April 9, 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors accepted the Report of the Embark Housing Advisory Group.  The Board chartered the Embark Housing Advisory Group in 2018 in order to facilitate a more focused policy discussion of the issue of preservation and housing affordability in the Richmond Highway corridor in light of the Embark Comprehensive Plan amendment.  The main challenge for the advisory group was to recommend proven housing policies to help ensure that the anticipated new development and investment in the coming decades serves the needs of the corridor’s long-time low and moderate income residents, and preserves its racial and economic diversity.

The advisory group developed a report that included a set of three recommended principles: 1) No net loss of existing, market affordable rental homes in the Richmond Highway corridor, as feasible; 2) Use the equity lens of One Fairfax; and 3) Future housing development should reflect community needs.  These policy principles are to guide future land use and housing funding decisions in the corridor as a companion to the Embark Comprehensive Plan amendment.

The report recommends that the Board direct staff to prioritize and implement, or further develop, a menu of strategy options intended to advance the principles.  The strategies, which fall under two categories, leveraging public investments and public-private partnerships, are not intended to be prescriptive or all-inclusive, but to provide a range of actions to consider, from policy changes to potential programmatic changes.

In response to a joint Board Matter from Supervisors Jeff McKay (Lee District) and Dan Storck (Mount Vernon District), the Board accepted the recommended principles contained in the Report of the Embark Housing Advisory Group and directed staff to prioritize and implement, or further develop, the strategy options put forth in the report.  Further, recognizing that many of the “market affordable” rental units in the region are outside of the defined corridor boundary, the Board directed staff to explore the applicability of the principles and strategies contained in the report to the areas outside of the corridor boundary to consider the impact of encouraging greater density in those areas and the potential resultant effects on stable residential neighborhoods.

To view the Report of the Embark Housing Advisory Group, click here.

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