At the last Council meeting, the Council voted to clarify the new State Laws (which have been in effect since Jan 1, 2017), and modify them a bit so that they work better for the people of Fairfax.
State Law, which trumps Fairfax Law, has changed to allow second units by right in almost all of our neighborhoods, relaxing parking regulations and a number of other rules like setbacks. We made our code match up with the new State rules, and added details that make it work better for Fairfax. By doing so, we have made rules more clear, avoiding confusion and potential lawsuits. We are also guiding development responsibly, so that we end up with a Town that fits our needs and desires, rather than suits developers' desires to have giant buildings foisted on our Downtown.
Specifically, we voted to remove fines for illegal second units ( to encourage them to be legalized), and halve fees for new Junior Units (i.e. subdivided from an existing house) and Second Units (In-Laws), to encourage the kind of housing that is most useful to Fairfaxians. Renters, in particular, will benefit from the availability of these smaller dwellings that fit the character of Fairfax, and are suited to many of the people in Fairfax that are being pushed out by gentrification. Homeowners also benefit by being allowed to generate a stream of income to help with the mortgage.
We are doing this to try to help shape Fairfax in the way that protects it best. Through policies that encourage the type of housing we want, we will also reduce the possibility that the State does not come in and "do it for us" with a heavy and ruthless hand.