Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
RHCA Officers and Volunteers
Editor, The Rambler
RHCA, P.O. Box 10891, Alexandria, VA 22310
Important Development Issues Require RHCA Action on September 23
There are important issues involving development and zoning that require the Rose Hill Civic Association’s attention at the September 23 meeting at 7pm in the community room of the John Marshall Library.
Here’s a rundown of the issues and action needed to be taken:
Highland Drive: The owner of a four-acre parcel zoned for commercial development that borders houses in the 6400 block of Maryview Street unilaterally began clearing trees several weeks ago. Despite protests from the neighbors and RHCA, there was little the County could do because the potential developer owns the land. There is, however, something we can do for the future. The owner does NOT have an approved plan to build on the property. A previous plan was rejected because of marine clay problems, lack of adequate buffers, etc. The owner has not submitted a soils report to the County to be checked for accuracy. RHCA has been monitoring this proposed development for many years. A reaffirmation of our concerns about developing on marine clay in this specific location would be in order. Please plan to attend and support our members on Maryview Street.
Rose Hill Reserve: The owner of this 22-acre parcel west of Rose Hill Drive and Cottonwood Drive and north of Carriage Drive has asked for another 18-month extension of the Special Exception that allows development on the property. This will be the second extension. Believe it or not, it has been four years since RHCA supported this scaled-down development from what had previously been approved. The original Special Exception ran 30 months and there has been one extension. This development is for 45 homes instead of the 59 in the original zoning. RHCA negotiated buffers and protections for existing contiguous homes. This extension requires approval by the Board of Supervisors and we need to communicate our position to our Supervisor. Plan to attend if you have any questions about the development. However, given the housing market, don’t look for anything to happen soon. To review the conditions, go to myrosehill.com, click on Rose Hill Reserve, then click on the conditions line at the bottom of the page.
4612 Roundhill Road: This long-time eyesore is about to bite the dust, if it hasn’t already done so. What happens in its place is of concern to the neighbors and RHCA. Because of the rectangular-shaped lot, redevelopment in accordance with the side and rear yard requirements in the R-3 zoning district needs to be strictly enforced. We don’t want another McMansion towering over the neighbors. We can’t stop a large house being built on the property, but we can make sure the ordinances are followed. The widow of the previous owner sold the property to a group called Full Spectrum on August 20, 2008. By court order, the property is to be demolished by September 24, 2008, the day after our meeting. As of September 3, the demolition permit was on hold until some utility issues were settled. In the meantime, the interior of the house is being cleaned out. We will continue to work with the supervisor’s office, zoning inspectors, and building permit reviewers to make sure all the rules are followed. We have been working on getting rid of this eyesore for six years. What replaces the eyesore is of community interest.
4509 Apple Tree Drive: As the result of complaints by the neighbors and RHCA, numerous zoning violations were issued to the owners months ago. Because there was no action and the house was vacated, the County moved to court to force the owners to correct the violations. Some cleanup finally occurred and an abandoned car was moved from the driveway. The owners then did not appear for a hearing in the Circuit Court. The judge then issued a default judgment ordering the owners to bring the property into compliance within 30 days or face further court action. Any updated information will be available at the September 23 meeting.
Unfortunately, we continue to have properties in Rose Hill that are not in compliance with County ordinances. RHCA reports each and every one of them. If our complaints are found to have merit, the owners are issued citations ordering them to make improvements. It is a long and tedious process but one worthy of our attention as we protect our property values. If you have any specific complaints that we have not yet heard about, please voice them at the September 23 RHCA meeting.
Community Parking Districts
At present, there is a cumbersome process to prohibit the parking of watercraft, motor homes, campers, trailers, vehicles with three axles, vehicles with a gross weight of 12,000 pounds or more, and vehicles transporting 16 passengers (except school buses) on public streets in residentially zoned areas. It requires a petition verifying 60% support for the proposed district and 50% support along each block. There is a $10 fee per petitioning address. The cost in Rose Hill would be in excess of $4,000. In August 2007, the Board of Supervisors established a pilot program of establishing community parking districts on a magisterial wide basis with no cost to the homeowners. The supervisors set up a pilot program in the Mount Vernon District. Results of enforcement of that program are due soon. If favorable, the supervisors may decide to extend it to other districts. Here in Rose Hill, there have been numerous complaints about parking of the vehicles mentioned above, particularly trailers and large trucks, on our narrow streets. We need to discuss this issue and forward to our Supervisor the community’s position on the establishment of a community parking district for Rose Hill and Lee District at no charge to the homeowners.
The County estimates it will face a $400 million deficit for the 2010 budget year that begins July 1, 2009. Falling values in the residential real estate market, an unprecedented number of foreclosures, and a stagnant commercial market are blamed for the deficit. The County is required to operate under a balanced budget; therefore there are three choices….raise taxes, cut spending, or a combination of both. The Board of Supervisors and the School Board have said they are committed to a review that will produce multi-year opportunities for cost reduction and savings. They have scheduled small-group discussions designed to provide information on the budget and gather suggestions regarding approaches to deal with the projected shortfall. I plan to attend such a meeting on Thursday, October 16, at 7pm at the South County Government Center. Any suggestions from members before then would be appreciated. I plan to gather information at the October 16 meeting and then present our views at a meeting on Thursday, November 13 at 9:30am at the John Marshall Library. Anyone with budget experience is invited to join me at these meetings. This is our chance to have a direct impact on the budget process. It might interest you to know that some supervisors have estimated that it would take a 10 cent increase in the real estate tax to offset the shortfall. Your comments will be welcome.
Rose Hill and History
The Franconia Museum will unveil Volume IV of Franconia Remembers, the latest in a series of books that chronicle the history of our area, at a special program on Saturday, September 27 from 2 to 4pm at the Franconia Governmental Center, 6121 Franconia Rd. The volume features a story about the history of Rose Hill. The cover features a colorized version of the original Rose Hill Manor house that stood at the end of what is now May Boulevard. The book also includes reminiscences from other long-time Franconia residents, including Jac Walker, who has lived on Valley View Drive for more than 80 years. Representing Rose Hill will be Connie Beatty, who has lived in Rose Hill since 1955. The book will be sold for the discount price of $25 at the event on Saturday, September 27 only. After that date, the cost will be $30. Copies of Volumes I, II, and III also will be available for sale. You can buy all four volumes, with a tote bag thrown in, for $75. The Museum’s annual History Day will be held on Saturday, November 8 at the Franconia Elementary School. Living history, artifacts, displays, and entertainment are included on the program. The hours are 10am to 3pm. Rose Hill will be providing historic bean soup and corn bread for sale with all proceeds going to the museum. We need people to whip up pans of corn bread, using their favorite recipe, to add to the spread. We already have a chef for the bean soup. Please contact Carl Sell (703.971.4716 or email@example.com) or Linda Nichols (703.971.0755 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can cook up some corn bread or volunteer as a server on the day of the event.
Rose Hill Elementary News
Principal Terri Czarniak sends along her thanks for the patience of those affected during August when the school’s staff had to park on local streets because their parking lot was closed. The lots were closed so utilities could be installed for the new modular classrooms. The new facilities replace the trailers that had been in use. The modular classrooms include restrooms and are wired to accommodate the latest technology. If it seems like only yesterday when the money was approved for the modular units, you are close to the truth. The $3 million was included on last year’s school bond that was approved by the voters. The units were purchased and installed in less than a year. Hats off to everyone connected with the schools that had a hand in quick action to get rid of the unsightly trailers. Principal Czarniak promises an open house to show off the new classrooms as soon as everything is in place to serve our kids.
RHCA sponsored two events over the summer that were judged huge successes by all who attended. First, at the suggestion of Vice President Linda Nichols, we put together a community dinner in July at the John Marshall Library. RHCA provided summer-style sandwich wraps, chips, lemonade, and bottled water. Rose Hill residents added salads, other summer-style goodies, and deserts to the spread, which covered two large tables. To say a good time was had by all would be an understatement! The good food and fellowship once again proved what a special community we have. If you missed it, shame on you! You can be sure there will be more community dinners, so bring your appetite.
On Tuesday, August 7, Rose Hill joined communities all across the nation in staging a Night Out gathering designed to support local police and emergency personnel. We served hot dogs, lemonade, water, and a variety of other fare and deserts provided by many who attended. The event was held on the front yard of the Nichols residence on Rose Hill Drive. Not surprisingly, we were visited by local politicians and representatives of the Franconia police station. The event was featured in The Mount Vernon Voice, a local newspaper, by a series of pictures. Thanks to everyone who stepped up make each of these events a success!
New Moped, Scooter Rules
If the high gas prices has you contemplating buying a moped or scooter, you need to be aware of some laws governing their use that went into effect July 1. If a moped is driven over 35 miles per hour, it is now considered a motorcycle, which means the operator needs to have additional driver certifications and a motorcycle license. Additionally, the moped needs license plates, proper registration, and insurance. If the moped is driven under 35 miles per hour, the driver does not need a license (but must carry an identification card) and vehicle does not need license plates or insurance. Police also remind parents that drivers must be 16 years or older to operate a moped. The police suggest that moped operators wear bright and reflective clothing. Also, mopeds must stay on then right side of the road and are not allowed on sidewalks.
Mid-Year Crime Report
Police report that overall crime in Fairfax County increased 12.1% during the first six months of 2008 as compared with 2007. The good news in the mid-year report is that robbery is down 25.3% (218 cases as compared to 292). The bad news is that burglary (a leading statistic in communities such as Rose Hill) is up 11.1% (692 to 623). Recent local cases include a wedding ring taken from a home on Driftwood Drive in July and a vacuum taken from a vehicle on Cottonwood Drive, also in July. Motor vehicle theft decreased 4.5% although several cars were stolen from the Rose Hill apartments during the first half of the year. In other categories, there were nine murders as compared to six last year, 51 rapes as compared with 55. Larceny cases were up 15.7% (7,451 to 6,442).
Rose Hill residents are reminded to watch out for scammers and others they allow in their homes. Recently, a man was arrested in a rental home scam where potential renters were defrauded of money after signing contracts. They later learned the properties were actually bank-owned and in foreclosure. One such case was in neighboring Virginia Hills. And, a trusted, long-time house cleaner was arrested for stealing jewelry and selling them to a pawn shop in Arlington. One of the cases was in nearby Kingstowne. Residents are reminded to check references, including police reports, before allowing service people into their homes.
Holiday Lights Will Shine In Memory of the Downeys
Long-time resident and RHCA supporter, Myrna Downey, passed away in August, but her memory and that of her husband, Willard, will live on. The Downey house on Telegraph Road will remain a beacon of holiday cheer for Rose Hill and many visitors from throughout Northern Virginia who enjoyed the lights and religious displays in their front yard.
Son Richard Downey, Sr., his wife, Debbie, and children Richard, Jr., 25, Mathew, 22, Shannon, 19, and Nicholas, 14, plan to continue the tradition. Richard Downey, Sr., grew up in Rose Hill and has helped put up the lights for as long as he can remember. He lives in Lorton but plans to spend time in Rose Hill. Shannon is a student at Old Dominion University and Nicholas attends Hayfield Secondary. Mrs. Downey also leaves a son, James Mills, by a previous marriage.
Willard died in October 2003. He was a construction superintendent for the Pomponio companies that built Roslyn and Crystal City. Myrna retired in 2006 after 35 years as a bookkeeper for a trade association. She also previously worked for Pomponio. Willard served as a medic in the Army during the Korean War. Myrna was buried with him at Arlington National Cemetery on September 17. They both grew up in Covington, VA.
Since retiring, Myrna volunteered with her church and her community in order to keep busy. She will be missed by both groups. She was involved in Rose Hill’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2004, arranging for a beautiful floral display donated by Hayfield Florist. You can honor Myrna’s memory by making a contribution to the Myrna Downey Memorial Fund, Faith Fellowship Assembly of God, Alexandria, VA 22315.
This coming holiday season, plan to walk or drive by 6516 Telegraph Road, just around the corner from Rose Hill Drive, stop and remember our good friend Myrna Downey. She will be thinking good thoughts for us.
One hundred ninety-four Fairfax County Public Schools students have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for 2009. The semifinalists are eligible to compete for 8,200 National Merit Scholarship awards worth $35 million, to be awarded in
One of the winners is our own Katherine Lambertson of Edison High School. Congratulations Katherine!
Kingstowne Farmers Market
Fridays, 4 to 7pm, through October 24 in the parking lot near the Sunoco service station.
All products sold at the Farmers Market are produced by the vendors within 125 miles of Fairfax County. Buy local and support sustainable agriculture in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. You will find the freshest and most desirable fruit, vegetables, plants, baked goods, eggs, dairy, and meats available.
The Fairfax County Animal Shelter announces its 2008 low-cost rabies clinic dates for dogs, cats, and ferrets. The cost for rabies shots at the clinic is $10. All dogs should be on leashes and all cats and ferrets in carriers.
Fairfax County 2008 dog licenses will be sold separately at the clinic and cost $5 for altered dogs and $10 for unaltered dogs (please bring proof of your pet’s spay or neuter).
The clinic is sponsored by the Fairfax County Police Department Animal Services Division and Deepwood Veterinary Hospital. For more information, please call 703. 830.1100. Cash or checks only–NO CREDIT CARDS–will be accepted for payment at the clinic. It will be held Sunday, November 16, from 2-4pm at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22043.
For more information about the rabies clinics, visit the Fairfax County Animal Services Division Web site at: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/animalservices.
Edison Academy students, along with heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) instructor Robert Stringham, recently presented information to the U.S. House of Representatives Career and Technical Education conference. Students highlighted and explained the importance of carbon monoxide safety in homes and businesses, demonstrated the proper installation of carbon monoxide detectors, and explained how to detect the early warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Student presenters also explained how career and technical education courses, such as HVACR, are preparing them for the future in the work force and for postsecondary education. The event was sponsored by the Association of Career and Technical Education and Career and Technical Student organizations. Edison Academy’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness project was created by Stringham last year and earned a $10,000 grant from SkillsUSA and the Lowe’s Corporation. As part of the project’s outreach, students distributed hundreds of free carbon monoxide detectors to the public. Contact Edison Academy administrator Brad Rickel at 703.924.8100 or email@example.com or Robert Stringham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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"
Quarter page size
3 1/2" x 4 3/4"
Half page size
7 1/2" x 4 3/4"
Full page size
7 1/2" x 9 3/4"
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 703.910.6316. 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.
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