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Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
February 2003

 

President's Message

Complaints Bring Reminder That Rules Apply to All

There has been a sharp increase in the number of complaints to RHCA about county zoning and code violations, properties in poor condition, junk or inoperable vehicles, trash and other issues in recent weeks. The picture of the trash pile on Roundhill Road is an example of the kinds of things that greatly detract from our community. Each legitimate complaint is passed on to the proper County agency. It takes time, but we have been successful in resolving most of the problems. There are a large number in the works right now.

Because of the increase in complaints, we are reminding residents about some of the county rules and regulations for residential communities such as Rose Hill. All are designed to help protect the property rights of the entire community by not allowing one address to unduly detract from its neighbors. Agencies involved include the inspectors who enforce the Zoning Ordinance, the Health Department, Police Department, Fire Marshall and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

All residents should be aware of the restriction on the use of residential property. For example while home offices are permitted, one cannot bring customers to their residence to conduct business. Only one commercial vehicle is allowed per address. Large vehicles, such as dump trucks, construction equipment, 18-wheelers (either cab or trailer), or other such vehicles are not permitted.

Meetings that regularly bring additional traffic to the neighborhood are forbidden under several sections of the ordinance. And everyone who parks on the street is reminded that it is unlawful to block your neighbors' driveway or park too close to an intersection or stop sign. The county recently approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance that limits driveways and parking to 25 percent of the front yard.

Both the zoning ordinance and the Health Department regulations place limits on the number of people who can reside at any given address. The zoning regulations do not allow more than four unrelated adults to live at any given house. The Health Department requires 100 square feet of sleeping space person in an area that includes direct access to the outside in an emergency. For example, two people would be allowed in a 10-foot by 10-foot bedroom with window or door access to the outside. Rooms or basements without direct access to the outside cannot be used as sleeping space.

Inoperable or vehicles without current State tags, inspection or county stickers are illegal on both the street and private property and can be towed. Vehicles can be stored as long as they are in an enclosed area an are not visible from the street.

The county also recently instituted a blight abatement program that is designed to address rundown and poorly maintained properties. Currently, the county is working with several properties in Rose Hill that are badly in need of repair. The program allows the county to make the repairs and then charge to homeowner or even sell the property to satisfy the lien if the bill is not paid. There also are programs to assist those in need.

If you have any questions about the County Code or Zoning Ordinance, copies are available at the John Marshall Library. Rose Hill also is governed by a set of covenants that run with your deed and should have been made available to you when you purchased your property. For example, front-yard fences are barred under the covenants. The covenants are available at the courthouse or online at myrosehill.com. RHCA views these regulations and community covenants as important tools to protect the property values for all of us in the community. We appreciate everyone's effort to continue to keep Rose Hill an attractive place in which to live.

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This pile of trash was left behind by a former resident on Roundhill Road. RHCA is working with the County to have it removed.

Security Precautions

By now, I'm sure most everyone in Rose Hill has stocked up on batteries, bottled water, food, medicine, etc. in case of some sort of terrorist attack. Do not forget a battery-operated radio so you can keep up with the latest information from the emergency radio network in case there is no electricity.

Since most of have family members who work or kids in school, it will be important to be able to make sure everyone is safe should an incident occur. It would be a good idea to designate a family member or friend OUTSIDE our area to be the "home base" for calls should an incident occur. That way, one person would be accounting for everyone and letting others know who has reported in.

Use someone outside the area because you cannot be sure a local person will be available or local telephone service will not be jammed. If you have a relative or friend in another area of Virginia, or another state, it might be a good idea to designate that person as the contact point. It may be easier to call long distance than it is to make a local call. Make sure everyone has the contact person's telephone number in his or her purse or wallet. Also make sure everyone has either a cell telephone or a telephone card.

And, if something should happen, do not forget to look out for your neighbors. If we all try to take care of each other, we will all have an easier time.

Snow Emergency

Last weekend's massive snowstorm should serve as a reminder to everyone to keep adequate supplies on hand for emergencies, particularly during the winter! If you are able to get out to the store, try to remember to check on elderly or ailing neighbors. Bring in their paper, walk their dog or cat and shovel a path so they can get out in an emergency. Let us all try to take care of each other in an emergency such as last week's snow.

Each homeowner is reminded that it is their responsibility to shovel the sidewalks that are front of their property. In addition, it would be nice if residents moved their cars from the street to the driveway so the plows could do their work. On a snow emergency route, such as Rose Hill Drive, they will be towed. On the other streets, parked cars impede the plows, emergency vehicles, etc. Particularly when there are cars parked across from each other on our narrow interior streets. Remember that the emergency could be at your house!

Section III Update

At the request of RHCA, Supervisor Kauffman has asked the county staff to review the density penalty provision of the Zoning Ordinance as it pertains to the undeveloped lots known as Rose Hill Park Section III. The area is located generally west of Rose Hill Drive and Cottonwood Drive, north of Carriage Drive and south of Silo Road. It is accessed via Wayside Place off Rose Hill Drive and Spit Rock Road.

Because the area was zoned and subdivided before the adoption of the current zoning ordinance in 1978, it is exempt from the density penalty for building on problem soils such as marine clay. RHCA has asked that the ordinance be amended to include previously zoned and subdivided areas such as Rose Hill Park Section III.

On February 10, Supervisor Kauffman asked for and received approval from the Board of Supervisors to ask staff review of the ordinance with an evaluation of applying the density penalty to new construction in marine clay in areas that are already subdivided.

You can read the entire text of Supervisor Kauffman's request online at myrosehill.com. Click on the correspondence section. Staff response will be available online and in the Rambler when it is received.

School Traffic Safety

Also on February 10, Supervisor Kauffman bought to the Board's attention traffic safety issues during opening and closing periods at Lee District schools, including Rose Hill Elementary. He cited increased traffic volume combined with more and more parents using the "kiss and ride" facilities to drop of and pick up their children as having elevated the problem, particularly at older schools that were not designed to handle the increase. The Board approved Supervisor Kauffman's request for a coordinated review of the problem by the county's transportation staff in cooperation with the School Board and its staff, the local schools, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other agencies as necessary. The idea is to develop guidelines the schools can use to resolve or preempt these complex traffic flow and safety problems. If you have any suggestions as to how to improve the situation at Rose Hill Elementary, please pass them along and we will forward them to the county transportation staff.

Directory Online

The Rose Hill Directory is now on line for your convenience! Go to myrosehill.com and click on the directory. The directory is arranged both alphabetically and by streets for your convenience. It is constantly updated as new information is received. Thanks to Norm Cherkis for compiling the directory and Jim Sapp for making it available as part of RHCA's official web site. Please check your listing and advise if there are any corrections necessary. If you have any new neighbors, let us know. Membership in RHCA is noted in the directory. After the close of our 2003 membership drive in March, a limited number of copies of the directory will be printed and made available to those who are not online.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Update Highlights February Meeting

Things are moving fast on the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge project that just a few months ago was the subject of controversy because of budget overruns. The most recent bid for a contract to build one of the most expensive sections came in substantially below estimates and bids for a number of other major contracts are due in the next few months.

Representatives of the project will brief the Rose Hill Civic Association on the progress and schedule at the RHCA meeting on Tuesday, February 25 at 7 p.m. at the John Marshall Library.

The most recent contract bid was for the portion of the bridge from the drawspan to the Virginia shore. Work is expected to begin in April. Bids for the Maryland portion of the actual bridge are due in May. Foundations for the entire length of the bridge are 90 percent complete.

The first of two six-lane spans in scheduled to be completed in early 2006. Traffic will be shifted to the new span and the old one torn down to make room for the second span, due to be completed in early 2008. Total cost of the project is $2.56 billion and is fully funded by a financial agreement involving the Federal government, Maryland and Virginia.

Plan to attend Tuesday night and get the latest information involving this major project to alleviate a major traffic problem in our area. Plans also are in the works for an update on the Springfield Interchange/I-395/495-95 project.

Next month, we will hear from Luther Fennell, the principal at Edison High School. Although it is Fairfax County's smallest high school in terms of enrollment, Edison has achieved the highest countywide rate of improvement in Virginia's Standards of Learning tests since they began in 1998. That meeting is scheduled for March 25, also at 7 p.m. at the John Marshall Library.

Holiday Lighting Certificates

If your house was a winner in the Holiday Lighting and Decoration Contest and you have not yet received your certificate; it will be available at the February meeting. More than 120 homes were selected to receive certificates and not all have been delivered. Our apologies to the Taylor's on Cottonwood Place. We had their name wrong in the listing of winners last month. We should have known better, since they are winners every year!

--Carl Sell

Forget To Join RHCA for 2003? Sign Up Today

If you name does not have an asterisk by it in the Rose Hill Directory, the check is either in the mail or you simply forgot to join the Rose Hill Civic Association for 2003. If you forgot, please fill out the membership form and mail it, along with your check, to RHCA, P.O. 10891, Franconia, VA 22310.

Your support is extremely important. Without adequate membership and funds, RHCA cannot be an effective voice for the community at the local and state levels. And, most important, we cannot keep you adequately informed about local issues that affect Rose Hill.

As of this listing, we have 140 members. Thanks to those of you have joined. As for the others, we need your help!

Your membership helps pay for the Rose Hill Beauty contest, the Holiday Lighting Contest, the cell phone for neighborhood watch, printing of the Rambler and the community directory, the Post Office box and support for several local worthwhile charities and special programs. Last year, for example, we supported the all-night graduation party at Edison High School, Koinonia's programs for the needy among us and the Christmas meals for our police and emergency personnel who are on holiday duty for our protection.

Residents should be aware that only members of the association would receive Rose Hill Beauty signs in 2003. All winners will be listed in the Rambler. All winners of the Holiday Lighting Contest will receive certificates.

We urge you to fill out the membership form and mail it, along with your check to Association. Please note that in addition to the $10 annual dues, we are asking for contributions to help maintain the landscaping at the community entrance sign at Franconia Road and Rose Hill Drive. Also, RHCA plans to replace the flagpole and marker on the hill at Lee District Park overlooking Telegraph Road and Rose Hill Drive. Both have fallen in disrepair since being donated by RHCA more than 25 years ago. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

If you have an e-mail address, please include it on the form. It will be used to inform you of RHCA meetings, community events and emergencies and will NOT be given to any outside person or group.

--Carl Sell

The next Rambler deadline is March 9, 2003.
The next delivery weekend is March 22-23, 2003.

Advertising in the Rambler

We have recently received several inquiries concerning advertising in the Rambler. While a listing in the Business Directory is free to Rose Hill residents who own their business, placing an actual advertisement is open to all with rates as follows per month:

Business Card size 3 1/2" x 2" $10
Quarter page size 3 1/2" x 4 3/4" $25
Half page size 7 1/2" x 4 3/4" $50
Full page size 7 1/2" x 9 3/4" $100

Ads may be bought for either one month only, month-to-month, or as many months in advance as desired. Our newsletter is published nine times a year, excluding July, August and December.

Advertising in the Rambler is an excellent way to reach the 700+ homes in our community. In addition, the ads each month are placed on our website. www.myrosehill.com for the world to see.

Anyone interested in placing an ad may call the editor (me) at 703-922-8290. I will need the artwork sent to me either electronically in a .tiff or .jpg format or as a hard copy through the mail. Checks made out to RHCA may be included with ads mailed to me, or sent to our PO Box 10891 for quick access to the treasurer.

Elizabeth Lambertson

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