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Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
November 2005

President’s Message

New Lee District Park Plan Includes Lighted Ball Fields

The Park Authority staff is proposing a major change in the character of Lee District Park. A new master plan to replace the original plan adopted in 1974 includes the lighting of two large rectangular fields, one directly behind Virginia Hills Baptist Church and the other on the far edge of the park near its boundary with the old Virginia Hills School. Also included are 120 new parking spaces and an enhanced Family Recreation Area near the intersection of Rose Hill Drive and Telegraph Road.

When the park master plan was first proposed, all the communities surrounding the park objected to the lighting of the ball fields. Problems with glare, interference with the night sky, and the traffic generated by added nighttime uses were cited as major reasons. The park staff has chosen to disregard a number of suggestions offered by Rose Hill and Virginia Hills when the subject was first discussed at a meeting held March 16, 2004, at Edison High School. The issue was discussed at an RHCA meeting prior to that meeting and the consensus was to again oppose lighted ball fields. That position was reaffirmed at our October 2005 meeting.

Since the traffic entering and exiting the park goes through or on the edge of Rose Hill, RHCA opposes more cars and extension of the use until 10:30pm or later. While the Recreation Center is open late, the traffic is spread out over the additional time since patrons are not trying to reach the park for a specific start time of an event. Most of the proposed 120 parking places are designed to accommodate the expanded uses. Lee District currently has 320 parking spots.

A recent study by the County’s Office of Transportation shows that Rose Hill Drive handles a large volume of traffic at speeds in excess of the posted 25 miles per hour. RHCA currently is working with the County to establish traffic calming methods to curtail cut-through traffic and reduce speeds. Therefore, it makes little sense to add another traffic producer on our border. Information on the traffic issue is discussed later in this report.

RHCA suggested that the park staff concentrate on improving access to the park, construct trails on the periphery between Telegraph Road and South King’s Highway, and establish a link between Lee District Park and Huntley Meadows Park that would cross over South King’s Highway. Other ideas included the upgrading of play areas and the addition of revenue-producing facilities to help make sure Lee District Park remains self-sufficient. The Family Recreation Area proposal is a good one.

The new plan proposes a link to Huntley Meadows Park that would involve a long hike along Dorset Drive to The Parkway to South King’s Highway to Harrison Lane and then on to the Huntley Meadows entrance at Lockheed Boulevard. RHCA pro-posed a hiking/biking trail with an overpass crossing South King’s to connect Lee District Park to Huntley Meadows; a much shorter and safer route.

Another feature of the new plan is a proposed but undefined future expansion of the Recreation Center that appears to almost double its size.

The Park Authority held a public meeting on the issue on November 15 at Twain Middle School. However, there remains plenty of time for Rose Hill residents to be heard. If you oppose the lighted facilities, email the park staff at parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov or write to Ms. Lynn S. Tadlock, Director of the Planning and Development Division, Fairfax County Park Authority, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 421, Fairfax, VA 22035. Emailers should copy Supervisor Kauffman at leedist@fairfaxcounty.gov. Letters can be sent to Supervisor Kauffman at 6121 Franconia Road, Franconia, VA 22310.

We are going to have to be heard loud, clear, and often if we are to overturn the staff proposal to light the ball fields.

If you would like to see the full proposal, go to the Internet site fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gmp/leedistrictplan.pdf. After further discussion at our November 22 meeting, RHCA will forward its concerns and suggestions to the Park Authority and Supervisor Kauffman.

Section III Update

Emad Saadeh, geotechnical engineer who represents the owner of undeveloped Rose Hill Park Section III, will update us on the progress of the site plan at our November 22 meeting. If your property borders Section III, plan to attend this important meeting. If you are involved with any of the other proposed infill development throughout Rose Hill, you can learn much about the process by attending this meeting. All of the proposed projects involve marine clay, the problem soil that can be greatly affected by new development. Emad will explain the latest findings after additional drilling on the 22-acre-site located west of Rose Hill Drive and Cottonwood Drive and north of Carriage Drive. He will outline the proposed tree save area outlined by the white tape on the property and update us on any plans to submit the site plan to the County for review. RHCA has forwarded its concerns about the development to the County engineers. Remember, no plan that will allow construction on the property has been approved by the County. To recap, the property owner is operating under a Special Exception approved in July 2004 by the Board of Supervisors. That approval reduced the density from 59 homes to 45 and established a buffer between the new and existing homes. It also includes a recurring fund to repair existing homes from any damage caused by the new development during its construction. The next step is to provide detailed engineering as part of a site plan for development.

Rose Hill Originals

The RHCA is looking to add to the list of original residents who have lived in the community for 50 years. So far, the leader is Connie Beatty, who has lived on Rose Hill Drive for 51 years and counting. Connie’s friend, Twila Noble, who passed away August 4, 2005, lived at the corner of Rose Hill Drive and Apple Tree Drive for 50 years. On October 27, 2005, Well and Ann Machmer celebrated 50 years in their home on Willowood Lane that backs up to the power lines. Well was the post master at Fort Belvoir. Kae Furnison and her late husband, John, moved into the first house built on Treetop Lane almost 49 years ago with their two-year-old son and two-week-old daughter. He was a Metropolitan policeman and later a Fairfax County zoning inspector.

The plan is to honor these long-time residents by inscribing their names on a monument to be placed at the base of the historic sign facing Rose Hill Drive at the John Marshall Library. If you have lived here 50 years, or know someone who has, please contact me at 703.971.4716 or at sellcarl@aol.com.

We also want to honor original residents who still reside in the same house since it was built. Since Rose Hill was built out over a period of years and there are numerous sections, we’re not looking for any arbitrary longevity, just ‘originals.’ Don't you or your neighbors be left out in this important honor. Old-timers are Rose Hill’s “Greatest Generation” and we want to recognize each and every one of them. Their names also will be on the monument.

Traffic Calming

RHCA has received preliminary feedback from the County’s Office of Transportation concerning our request for the installation of stop signs and traffic calming strategies on Rose Hill Drive and several of our neighborhood streets. We are printing the information verbatim:

“Because the request from Rose Hill community concerns many streets and intersections, and includes traffic calming devices as well as multi-way stop signs, FCDOT has conducted engineering reviews for each of the streets listed in the request. Studied streets included Rose Hill Drive, Willowood Lane, Bee Street, Cottonwood Drive and Leewood Drive. The Residential Traffic Administration Program (R-TAP) traffic calming guidelines require traffic volumes between 600 and 4,000 vehicles per day, with average speeds at least 5 mph over the posted limit (i.e. 30 mph) or 85th percentile speeds at least 10 mph over the limit (i.e. 35 mph).

FCDOT has found that both speed and traffic volume were insufficiently high to qualify the following streets for traffic calming: Bee Street, Leewood Drive, and Cottonwood Drive east of Rose Hill Drive. Speed on Willowood Lane was not high enough to qualify that street for traffic calming either.

On Rose Hill Drive, speed did reach the required threshold, but volume (over 10,000 vehicles per day) was too far over the maximum for traffic calming. Preliminary indications are that Rose Hill Drive could qualify for traffic calming devices under the cut-through traffic restriction program. An official petition would have to be circulated throughout the community before the analysis could be undertaken to determine if 150 cut-through vehicles use the road in a peak hour and if that traffic is greater than 40% of the total traffic for that hour.

Cottonwood Drive west of Rose Hill Drive does have sufficient speed and volume to qualify for traffic calming on its own. It could also be considered as part of a Rose Hill Drive cut-through restriction initiative.

Ineligibility for traffic calming does not preclude a street or streets from consideration for multi-way stop signs. FCDOT will work closely with the Virginia Dept. of Transportation to review the listed multi-way stop requests for compliance with R-TAP and traffic engineering guidelines. Findings from this undertaking will be provided to your community shortly.

Results of speed and volume counts referenced above will be sent to Joan Clark of Supervisor Kauffman’s office to share with the community. Thank you for your interest in the R-TAP residential traffic programs.”

We are continuing to discuss how to proceed with the program. I presume traffic calming will be forthcoming on the section of Cottonwood Drive. It appears we have some work to do before we can slow cut-through traffic on Rose Hill Drive. If we are successful in doing that, the other streets such as Leewood, Willowood, and Bee should benefit. We’ll keep you advised and will pass on additional information. I have offered the County help in circulating petitions and conducting surveys. Nothing is easy, but we’ll continue to push for solutions. I’ll need your help and know I can count on it!

Dilapidated House

For several years, RHCA has been complaining to the County and the owner about the house that is falling down before our very eyes at 4612 Round Hill Road. The neighbors have been complaining for even longer than that. Each time we have complained, there is a flurry of activity but no results. It’s time for all of us to get together and help rid our community of this eyesore. It’s not fair for people to have to live next to such a mess. It affects property values and produces unhealthy visitors, both two- and four-legged, or more. Please take a ride or walk past the house at the corner of Round Hill and Willowood Lane and you’ll see what I mean. In our most recent conversations, the folks at the Blight Abatement agency report they are on the horns of a dilemma. The next step would be demolition of the house by the County. However, they are reluctant to proceed because the ‘house has value’ and therefore a court may intercede. Another problem is that it has not yet been condemned by the Health Department. Over the next few weeks, RHCA will try to work with the Health Department in an effort to get the house condemned. We’ll report on our progress via email. If you are a member and have provided your email address, you are on our list. You should be getting meeting notices and other information. If not, please join by using the form on page 5. Be sure to include your email address.

Holiday Contributions

Each year, RHCA makes a $100 contribution to Koinonia to help support the organization’s food baskets at Thanksgiving and food baskets and toys for youngsters at Christmas. RHCA also contributes $100 toward the cost of the Christmas Eve dinner at the Franconia District police station for the police who work that night. Since most restaurants are closed Christmas Eve, the Citizens Advisory Committee prepares a generous spread at the precinct for those on duty. Firefighters from Franconia also are invited. We will need to vote to continue these yearly contributions. In the case of Koinonia, individual Rose Hill residents can participate in either the Holiday Basket Program or the Christmas Wishes Program. You can donate either a Holiday Basket or Christmas gifts for the needy. Call Gail Barr, the Basket Coordinator, at 703.971.6181 or via email at fgbarr@cox.net. If you are interested in adopting a family for the Christmas Wishes program, call the Koinonia office at 703.971.1991. Any resident who is involved with a local charitable organization is encouraged to attend the November 22 meeting and give us an outline of the good work.

Holiday Plans

RHCA will not meet in December. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 24, 2006. Don’t forget the Holiday Decoration and Lighting program. RHCA will recognize those houses in the community that have outstanding or unusual lights and decorations for the holiday period. If you would like to help as a judge, get in touch with one of the officers. The judges will make their rounds between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. In an effort to make sure no house is missed, we urge residents to contact one of the officers to nominate a neighbor who has added to our Christmas cheer. Winners will be announced in the January Rambler.

—Carl Sell

Stay Tuned

Way back in the ’80s, back when a rising star named Madonna climbed the radio charts, microwave ovens invaded U.S. homes and Atari transfixed a generation, the Fairfax County Public Library began operating cable TV channel 44. Our TV studio was located in our Tysons-Pimmit branch, and our staff produced original TV programs about library services that could be seen in homes throughout the county.

Unfortunately, the Go-Go ’80s became the slow-go early ’90s. The library lost the TV studio during a round of budget cuts. We did retain the spot on the TV lineup, so instead of original programs we ran text announcements about library services and activities. This “video bulletin board” aired for about a decade on channel 44.

Fast forward to 2005. A few months ago, Verizon won the right to compete against Cox for cable TV subscribers in Fairfax. Cox has therefore consolidated some of its government channels. Channel 44 will be converted to a commercial station showing network TV programs; the library announcements that used to run on channel 44 now run on the Fairfax County government TV channel 16. Our video bulletin board airs Sundays at 7:30pm, Tuesdays at 3:30pm, and Thursdays at 11am.

Channel 16 will also continue to air the library’s award-winning live-action TV program, “Information Avenue.” For this show’s broadcast schedule, or to watch it via streaming video, go here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cable/channel16/information_ave.htm.

—FCPL

Help Keep Rose Hill Great By Joining RHCA in 2006

Rose Hill is a great community because of the efforts of many folks who band together as members of the Rose Hill Civic Association. You can support our efforts by joining RHCA for 2006. We welcome both long-time residents and our new arrivals. Together, we will continue to improve our community. Fill out the membership application below and mail it, along with your check, to RHCA, PO Box 10891, Franconia, VA 22310.

Your membership covers the cost of printing The Rambler which is delivered free of charge nine times a year by our small army of volunteers. It also covers the costs associated with Neighborhood Watch, the Rose Hill Beauty signs, contributions to area charitable organizations, the Christmas Eve dinner for our police and firefighters, and the Edison all-night graduation party designed to help keep our youngsters safe.

We also solicit contributions for the upkeep of the plantings in front of our community sign at the corner of Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road. If you like, you can add to our general fund to help pay for special events or needs that arise during the year. One of such efforts this year will be honoring our long-time residents by placing their names on a plaque at the base of the Rose Hill historical marker at the library.

Last year, our special fund involved contributions toward the beautification of the library flowerbed facing Rose Hill Drive. We turned over $400 to the Friends of John Marshall Library to purchase mulch, fertilizer, and flowers for the project which was completed by a number of volunteers. Take a look at the result the next time you visit the library.

This year, we are establishing a fund to help the teachers and staff at Rose Hill Elementary School. Often, things come up at the school that cost money and the teachers usually dig into their own pockets to pay for them. We can help by establishing a fund for the school to help finance those unforeseen items. Terri Czarniak, the new principal, will work with us to make sure the money is spent wisely for the benefit of the school and its students.

Finally, our strength is in our numbers. The County listens to us because we are many and we are highly organized. This is evident in the support we get to help solve problems in the community. We are embarking on a concentrated push to rid the blight at 4612 Roundhill Road and the larger our voice, the more successful we will be. If you want to see what is happening to the residents near this address, ride by and take a look. They need our support!

Our 2006 membership drive will continue through the first quarter. As usual, we will print an updated list of our members in each issue between now and April.

—Carl Sell

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 703.924.7192. 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.

Marty Williams

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