Water could soon fill up the pond in the Starlit Ponds neighborhood, ending a struggle between the neighborhood, Area Landscape, Fairfax County and the natural siltation process.
Officials gathered on the earthen dam on Monday, Aug. 18 to look at the situation and clearly define what it will take to restore the ponds. County engineers, members of the community and representatives from Watershed Services, a firm specializing in dredging, attended the meeting. Jonathan Phillippe is a former Commonwealth of Virginia dams specialist, now working with Watershed. He said it was a productive meeting but blamed county government procedures, deemed "red tape," as the main obstacle.
"It's probably overkill, but we can get things done. The issue is filing with the county's plans and review [section]. Physically, there's not much left to be done," he said.
Scott Cahill of Watershed Services had his doubts whether the plans will go through. He said that it goes back 30 years to a disagreement between the county and the developer of Starlit Ponds.
"We did everything that every prudent person would do to see what is required. I've never seen such an infantile approach from a county. The county's playing games with Starlit Ponds. The difficulties are just generated by the county. I hope the county will just approve the thing," Cahill said.
Watershed Services has done work all over the country, said Cahill.
Florence Naeve was at the pond as a representative of Supervisor Sharon Bulova's (D-Braddock) office.
"It was very helpful to actually be on the scene," she said. "This kind of hands-on approach was beneficial to everyone."
The next step, according to Naeve, was "to get a better sense of what was required by the county."
THE PONDS were originally farm ponds and then part of the Starlit Golf Course before the course was turned into the Starlit Ponds community. Located off Pickett Road, the ponds were the centerpiece to the 130-home community in Fairfax. In 1991, efforts were made to work on the ponds and the issue has been on the community's agenda ever since.
Downstream from the pond is Area Landscaping, with a pond that is feeling the effects of the silt as well. Upstream, a new community is being built that could exasperate the situation in the pond. In July 2003, Bulova presented the issue to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, requesting $300,000 to assist with the procedure, but there were no county funds available for the site.
Another meeting is scheduled for Aug. 21 to work out the details with the Woodson Downs plans, and the treatment of silt runoff from that project.
Phillippe said that end is in sight for the work on the pond and it could be filling up with water by this fall. After the plans are approved, he said one day's worth of work would complete it.
"I think it should be resolved easily," he said.