Outgoing board chair Bulova warns of biggest challenge for new Fairfax Co. leaders

Sharon Bulova
Sharon Bulova is leaving office after 31 years. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Jarek Tuszyński)

As she prepared to leave office after 31 years of service to Fairfax County, Virginia, the chair of the Board of Supervisors said affordable housing was the biggest challenge ahead for a new generation of leaders.

“Affordable housing is going to be major,” Sharon Bulova said. “It’s not just Fairfax County; this is regional and actually it’s nationwide.”

Bulova has served 31 years on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, including 11 years as chairwoman and 20 as the Braddock District Supervisor.

When voters go to the polls Nov. 5, they’ll fill five open seats on the 10-member Board of Supervisors. The new board begins work on Jan. 1.

Bulova said she believed “an outstanding slate of candidates” ensures she’s leaving the county in good hands. She said affordable housing and revitalization are both top priorities in the county, and was confident new board and staff will be sensitive to that.

“It’s important that we’re aware of the danger of losing affordable housing to the revitalization effort. How we deal with that — that’s up to the next board.”

Citing an example of how it’s possible to achieve balance, Bulova said there was reluctance to require developers in Tysons to make at least 20% of new residential units affordable relative to a sliding affordability scale.

“Originally, some skeptics said that can’t work, that will kill Tysons, the developers won’t do it. And the skeptics were wrong,” Bulova said.

Bulova said the development community understands affordability is a badly needed priority.

“Affordable housing is not a human services issue, or, just a human services issue; it’s also an economic development issue,” Bulova said, adding that there still isn’t sufficient housing available to people of all income ranges in the county, region or country.

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