Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
Rose Hill Park Section III Plan Available at September 23 Meeting
Over the summer, three meetings were held with representatives of the developers who propose to build on what is known as Rose Hill Park Section III. That is the area of approximately 23 acres bordered by Rose Hill Drive, Cottonwood Drive, Carriage Drive, Silo Place and Split Rock Road.
After hearing the comments of numerous Rose Hill residents, the developers have prepared a plan and will present it at the September 23 meeting of the Rose Hill Civic Association on Tuesday, September 23, 7:00 pm, at the John Marshall Library.
To refresh your memory, the area is zoned R-3 and is plated for 59 houses. It was not developed as part of existing Rose Hill Park in the 1960s because of extensive soil problems, including marine clay. Development under the approved plat would be contingent on County approval for development on marine clay. Recent technological advances have made development on marine clay more likely (see the article on Highland Estates).
The development team of Ken Thompson Associates and Diane Cox Basheer proposes to build 45 homes on the property with a single access point at Wayside Place at Rose Hill Drive. The approved plat for the 59 lots calls for access at Wayside Place, Split Rock Road, and Haystack Road.
The proposed plan includes buffer areas between the new homes and existing properties. It also limits development on the most environmentally sensitive areas of the site. Undeveloped and buffer areas would remain as open space and could not be developed at a future time.
Because of the changes, Thompson and Cox Basheer will need to file a rezoning application with the County. That application will require public participation at the local level and hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. They will be seeking approval for a cluster development within the R-3 zoning category.
If the zoning is approved, the proposal then will have to go through the same technical process as the existing layout. It will have to meet the standards of the County's Public Facilities Manual and pass scrutiny by a Geotechnical Review Board.
At this point, no application for rezoning has been filed with the County.
As you know, RHCA has battled development of the property as platted for more than 30 years. This is the first time a developer has come forward in an effort to fashion a plan that meets both the environmental concerns and the issues of individual homeowners.
If the process continues, there will be additional discussions, both prior to the zoning submission and during the public hearing process. If you want your voice to be heard and your concerns addressed, plan to be at the September 23 meeting.
Rose Hill Park Section III
Recently, the Washington Post printed an article in its Saturday Real Estate section entitled, "Be Wary of Work Done Without Permits." Since numerous properties in Rose Hill are undergoing remodeling and renovation, we thought it would be a good idea to remind our residents of the need to acquire any necessary permits. Not everything requires a permit, but those things that do are very important. Anything that requires rewiring should definitely be permitted and inspected by County authorities. Likewise for work that could produce a fire hazard. Failure to obtain a permit and inspection could void your insurance in case of fire. Decks are of particular concern to the County because of the number of collapses in recent years. Footings should be inspected and approved before the deck is built. If you are planning any work, make sure you have the proper permits and save yourself some problems later. If you have questions about the building code, call the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Management at 703.222.0114. To apply for a building permit, call 703.222.0801. Online, go to myrosehill.com and click on Fairfax County government.
More Beauties, Members
Congratulations to the Downeys at 6516 Telegraph Road, the Highs at 4613 Cottonwood Place, and the Dillons at 4618 Winston Place. All have been added to the 2003 list of Rose Hill Beauties and have a sign in their yards became they are members of RHCA. Several other properties also have been added. The updated list is available at myrosehill.com. Also, Jonathon Welch at 4516 Sturbridge Place and the Timothys at 6431 Carriage Drive have sent in their 2003 membership recently. Both Jonathon and the Timothys got their application from our web site. We invite others who have not yet joined to do the same!
A Special Thanks
Regular readers of The Rambler will know how much we have harped on the fact that Rose Hill Drive is our community's "Main Street" and, therefore, very important to the image of our community. Thanks to the folks who live on "Main Street," our image is pretty good! Most of the properties have 'curb appeal' as they say in the real estate business and rarely do you find cars parked on the grass median between the sidewalk and the street. The median belongs to VDOT; not the individual homeowners who nevertheless keep the grass cut and free of trash and debris. For that, the entire community owes those who live along Rose Hill Drive a debt of gratitude. There are a few problems, but RHCA continues to work with residents and County officials to maintain our image. One example is the fact that, at a few spots, the trashcans never seem to make it to the carport or back yard. To the overwhelming majority on Rose Hill Drive we say, keep up the good work because you help make our community a great place in which to live. And, by the way, it is great to see the house at 4509 Apple Tree Drive being renovated. It has been vacant for years and was condemned by the Health Department. RHCA has been working for years to get this property cleaned up and it finally is happening. Perseverance pays off!
Now Voting Machines
Fairfax County will be using new voting machines for the first time in the November 4, 2003, election. In order to give our residents an opportunity to see the new machines in action, RHCA has scheduled a demonstration at the October meeting. Representatives of the Electoral Board will be on hand to explain the new machines and show how they operate. If you plan to vote, we urge you to attend the October 28 meeting. It begins at 7 pm in the community room of the John Marshall Library.
Those BIG Houses
Many residents have asked about several homes in our area that have been converted into much larger houses. If the finished product fits within the zoning ordinance requirements, the owner has every legal right to make the change. Changes that do not fit within the zoning ordinance would require County action. So far, there have been no deviations from what is available by right. All of Rose Hill is zoned R-3. In that category, houses can be no higher than 35 feet. The front yard must be 80 feet wide (check the item on Highland Estates for more on that requirement) and no closer than 30 feet from the street. The house cannot be closer than 12 feet from the side property line and the back yard must include at east 25 feet between the house and the property line. The lot must include at least 11,000 square feet. In the case of the large home across Franconia Road from the Shopping Center, the owner connected the two wings with a hallway behind the garage in order to have it qualify as one house. By the way, that is a private residence, not a County facility as we first thought. No doubt we can expect to see more large homes in our community. However they must be single-family residences.
Fight the Bite!
Representatives of the Fairfax County Health Department will present information about mosquito management and West Nile virus at a town meeting on Tuesday, September 30 in the Board of Supervisors meeting room at the County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway. The program begins at 7 pm. The panelists will answer questions from the audience as well as via telephone and the Internet. If you are unable to attend in person, the program will be televised live on Fairfax County Cable Channel 16. For directions or more information on the program, call 703.324.3187. For additional information on mosquito management or West Nile virus, visit the Health Department online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fightthebite or email them at fightthebite@ fairfaxcounty.gov.
Tour de Lee Bike Ride
Supervisor Kauffman's Fourth Annual Tour de Lee and Family Bike Ride is scheduled for Sunday, October 26. Registration at Lee District Park for the Tour de Lee, either the 14-mile or 30-mile bike ride will be held between 8 am and 9:30 am that day.
Registration for the 1.2 mile family bike ride will take place between 9:45 am and 11 am at Rose Hill Elementary School, also on October 26. For information, call 703.971.6262.
Entrance Sign Damaged
The stonework on entrance sign on Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road has either collapsed under its own weight or was the subject of an errant vehicle or vandals within the last month. RHCA is interested in refurbishing the sign as a project to help celebrate our community's 50th anniversary in 2004. First, we need a damage assessment. If you know anyone with experience in stonework, please give any of the officers a call. For more pictures of the sign damage, go to myrosehill.com.
The recently damaged entrance sign at Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road. See more photos on MyRoseHill.com.
- The e-Rambler. The e-Rambler has been on-line during the summer months July and August. The purpose, of course, was to keep our on-line community informed until the hardcopy version of The Rambler came out in September. Boy, was this ever a good idea. Carl was able to use this format to keep many of you informed of significant developments (and, I mean developments) within our community. So, to prepare yourself for the next meeting of the RHCA you should visit the e-Rambler (just click on The Rambler link) and see what has developed over the summer. Most importantly, make plans to attend the next meeting of the RHCA to hear first-hand what the developers have planned for our community.
- Entrance to Rose Hill Sign Damaged - A Photo Gallery. As some of you may know, the Rose Hill sign at Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road has been damaged. You will hear more about it at the next RHCA meeting but, in the interim, this little photo gallery will give you appreciation of the damage. With that background information in mind, perhaps you will have some good ideas on how to get it fixed.
- Voter Information.I have added two very important voter links to MyRoseHill.com. My apologies for not making the links more intuitive as they require a little explanation. The first link with the icon "Speak Out - Vote" will take you to Fairfax County's Voter Information webpage. This important webpage has just about everything you need to know about the voting process and, most importantly, a complete listing of all the candidates for the upcoming election. If you have any questions about who is running for what this is a "must visit" website. The second link "Campaign 2003" will take you to a calendar of meetings within our local area where you are invited to hear candidates first hand. If you plan to be an informed voter (and, I am sure you are) these two links are well worth a visit.
- Crime Reports.Yes, while you have been vacationing over the summer months, I have diligently added all the weekly Franconia Crime Reports. Well, some may have been a little late, but they are all online now and ready for your review. Some are pretty interesting and remind us to keep our eyes open and be constantly aware of our surroundings.
- NBC4 WeatherNet(located in "Other Useful Links"). I am sure many of you know NBC's Bob Ryan, weatherman--par excellence. Bob often refers to the weather at local schools to help personalize weather within our community. Now, with this link, you can tap into that weather database anytime you wish. It has a complete listing of weather collection sites (most are on our schools) and reports weather conditions (past and present) at that site. Want to know how much rain your petunias got while you were away? This is the site for you.
- The ConnectionNewspapers (located in "Other Useful Links"). The Washington Post does not have enough "local news." Certainly a common and recognized complaint. But, not to worry, this link will take you to a complete listing of the local newspapers with our area. Some you probably never heard of. They include: The Alexandria Gazette Packett, The Fairfax Connection, The Mount Vernon Gazette, The Potomac Almanac, and The Springfield Connection to name a few. As I was reviewing some of these papers, I was amazed at the local information available. Information that you would never know otherwise. Check it out. I do not think you will be sorry.
Take care everyone and be sure to visit YOUR website, MyRoseHill.com.
--Jim SappParakeet Found
On Wednesday, September 10, Judith Bowles on Haystack Road, found a green parakeet sitting n her fence. She managed to cage it and has cared for it since, but would like to find out if its a native Rose Hill resident and if its parents/caregivers/family would like it back. If you have lost your green parakeet, please contact Judith at 703.922.6190.
Highland Estates Plan Approved Despite Objections From RHCA
Despite the protests of the Rose Hill Civic Association, Fairfax County's Department of Environmental Management and Public Works has approved the construction of 10 houses on a portion of the Highland Park pool site bordering Maryview Street, Climbhill Road, Roundhill Road, and Saddletree Drive.
Because of the presence of shrink-well soil known as marine clay, the developer proposes the installation of more than 60 24-inch drilled shafts be placed six feet apart and 38 feet deep across the rear of the property (closest to Roundhill, Climbhill, and Saddletree) in order to maintain the weight of the new houses and roadway.
Although the County staff agrees the calculations provided by the developer indicate the shafts will be sufficient to hold the soil, it "can offer no guarantees to neighboring homeowners." This was the response to a direct question by RHCA as to what guarantee neighboring property owners have against a potential landslide or damage to their foundations caused by shifting soil on the pool property.
The County staff says that, under the law, it must approve the development if engineering data shows that the soil can be stabilized enough to bear the weight of the new houses. What if the tests are wrong? Again, no guarantees.
In another disturbing aspect to this case, the developer appears to be taking liberties with the Zoning Ordinance in order to increase density The Ordinance calls for 80 feet of frontage on a public street in the R-3 district The developer of Highland Estates proposes to 'double stack' houses in two locations with each of the four lots having frontage on the public street. Imagine a house directly behind yours with part of its front yard sharing the street frontage in front of you.
We have provided a drawing along with this article in an effort to show you exactly what is being proposed. Wonder how the new owners will know where to start and stop cutting grass?
As far as RHCA is concerned, this is simply a ruse to increase density. The framers of the 80-foot frontage ordinance never intended for lots such as this to be legal.
As a result of this case, Supervisor Kauffman has asked and received Board of Supervisors approval directing the county staff to re-evaluate this issue. The text of Supervisor Kauffman's request follows:
The approved Highland Estates plan.
Supervisor Kauffman's request:
I recently reviewed a by-right single family detached subdivision in Lee District that contained several irregularly shaped lots (a part of this plan is attached). It is plain to the eye that these are pipe stem lots. However, because of narrow strips along the public right of way, these lots are not deemed pipe stems. In my judgment, such lots do not represent orderly development, and were deliberately designed to skirt the requirements of our Zoning Ordinance. I've been informed by staff that the particular subdivision in question does not represent an isolated case, but that there is a long-standing history of subdivision approvals that include such irregular[y-shaped countywide.
To meet the Toning and subdivision requirements, these lots have been created with sharply acute angles, elongated appendages, extreme width to depth ratios and unusual configurations. However, staff has indicated that if a proposed subdivision meets the minimum Toning and subdivision requirements, staff is compelled to approve the subdivision even if it results in lots that are bizarrely shaped.
I believe such lots create problems with yard maintenance, boundary delineations, orientation, and functional relationships between properties and are not in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Toning and subdivision regulations or the character of the area. Records indicate that concern over irregularly-shaped lots has been
an issue in the County for over twenty years. Staff has also experienced frustration on this issue and on several occasions they have attempted to develop regulations that would prohibit irregularly-shaped lots. Staff, however was never successful in developing regulations that could be administered in a fair and consistent manner.
I believe that the creation of odd-shaped lots does not serve the best interests of the County, nor is their creation in keeping with the purpose and intent of our Ordinance. Given the importance and long standing nature of this problem, I move that the Board direct staff to re-evaluate this issue and return to the Board with recommendations of horn the future creation of irregular lots can be prevented or suitably modified.
Civil War Bus Tour
The 23rd Annual Mosby's Confederacy Spring Tour sponsored by the Stuart - Mosby Historical Society will take place on September 27, 2003. The tour Leaders will be Don Hakenson & Gregg Dudding. The tour will depart Truro Rectory in Fairfax at 8:30 am and return around 5:30 pm. The tour will include Mosby's Tree, Miskers Farm, Herndon Station, Mosby's Rock, Laura Radcliff's grave, Frying Pan Church, and more! Cost for Members $35, Non Members $40. Reserve your seat by sending us your name, address, and telephone number at firstname.lastname@example.org or wdudding @cox.net. Or, contact Don Hakenson at 703-971-4984. Make checks payable to: Don Hakenson 4708 Lillian Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22310. Visit our website atRCHA Positions Available
(Volunteer, of course!) Seeking an individual who likes to walk (at least once a month, but perhaps only nine months out of the year). This individual would be available to deliver The Rambler on the weekend before the meeting (which is always the 4th Tuesday of the month). To apply, simply call Carl Sell at 703.971.4716 or Marty Williams at 703.924.7192 and say, "I want to deliver The Rambler."
Seeking an individual who would like to try to sell ads for The Rambler. This individual could be you! Simply call one of the association representatives above and say, "I can sell ads for you in The Rambler."
Important Information Available About Amendments to The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance
On July 7, 2003, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance and other county ordinances to implement changes to the state's Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations. The state has mandated that Fairfax County and other Virginia communities which border on the tidal portions of rivers that drain to the bay implement these changes to the regulations by December 31, 2003.
The centerpiece of the revised state regulations is that Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) must now be designated around all water bodies with perennial flow. This will result in an increase in the extent of RPAs through out Fairfax County. RPAs are the corridors of environmentally sensitive land that lie alongside or near the shorelines of streams, rivers and other waterways. Development within RPAs is restricted. However, there are protections built into the regulations for landowners to accommodate minor additions to existing homes and the construction of new homes on existing vacant lots within RPAs.
The remainder of the land in Fairfax County has been designated as a Resource Management Area (RMA). Development within RMAs is not restricted. The amendments also propose changes to the performance criteria for development and redevelopment in RPAs and RMAs; changes in the information to be provided with development plans and applications for construction permits; and changes to the procedures and criteria for the granting of exceptions to the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.
To help Fairfax County citizens understand the impact of these amendments, a variety of information will be available in the coming months. The county's government cable Channel 16 will air a program about the amendments every Friday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm and on Sundays at 4:30 pm from now until mid-October. Copies of the Channel 16 program will also be available for loan at all of the Fairfax County public libraries beginning on August 20, along with an informational brochure explaining the amendments. Information is also available on the county's website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes or by contacting the Office of Site Development Services, a division of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, at 703.324.1720, TTY 711.The next Rambler deadline is October 17, 2003.
The next delivery weekend is October 25-26, 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 me at 703-924-7192. Artwork can be sent to marty-williams email@example.com in tiff or jpeg format or hardcopy mailed to P.O. Box 10891, Alexandria, VA 22310. Checks made out to RHCA should be included with ads and sent to the P.O. Box.
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