Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012

Fairfax County’s Green Building Policy: Committee’s Discussion Turns To Implementation

Fairfax County’s Planning Commission Environment Committee has been discussing proposed updates to the County’s Green Building Policy since November 2009. Walsh Colucci attended and has actively participated in the discussion at these meetings since the Committee’s inception. On July 7, 2012, the Environment Committee completed their detailed review of the “Green Building Policy Review: Comment Compilation and Staff Response” document, which has been the subject of discussion at each Planning Commission Environment Committee meeting since November 8, 2011. Discussions have now reached a point where implementation of the Proposed Green Building Policy will be deliberated.

The Environment Committee’s meetings on September 13 and October 4 should be critical in in their formation of Green Building Policy implementation recommendations. It is expected that their recommendation for Green Building Certification will extend outside of the current “Areas of Expectation”, which have historically included the Tysons Corner Urban Center, Suburban Centers, Community Business Centers and Transit Station Areas. In these Areas of Expectation, escrows to ensure compliance with Green Building Commitments are typically included in proffer commitments and development conditions.

There has been some thought by the Committee that commitments to Green Building Certification should be made by developers outside of these current Areas of Expectation, but that escrows as an enforcement mechanism may not always be the best method to ensure Green Building Certification in those outlying areas. Staff has expressed concerns that proffers and development conditions must be enforceable, that there must be a trigger for review, and that without a penalty the commitment may not be fulfilled. The Environment Committee and Staff will find suggestions from the development community regarding this implementation policy helpful. If you have a suggestion, please consider attending these meetings or contacting Inda Stagg at with your ideas so that she can pass those ideas on to the Environment Committee and staff.

A copy of the “Green Building Policy Review – Comment Compilation and Staff Response” can be located on the Fairfax County’s Website at: This document presents a matrix of the existing Comprehensive Plan Green Building Policy text, the strawman proposed text, comments that were provided to the Environment Committee in response to the strawman proposal, and Staff’s response to those comments. It is anticipated that a clean “Response Document” will be available sometime in October or November.

The Environment Committee’s upcoming meetings are scheduled for September 13, 2012 and October 4, 2012 in the Fairfax County Board Room, which is located through the double doors to the right of the dais in the Main Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center. The address of the Fairfax County Government Center is 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia. Currently the Environment Committee meetings are scheduled for 6:45 p.m.; however, they may be rescheduled for 7:00 p.m.