Ricciardi Rezoning Moves Forward

Ricciardi Rezoning Moves Forward

It's on to the Board of Supervisors, next Monday, Sept. 29, for the rezoning request of Clifton couple Marie and Michael Ricciardi. On Sept. 10, they received the blessing of the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

The Ricciardis plan to construct eight, single-family, detached homes on the west side of Old Clifton Road, just south of Clifton Road. And what's proposed should be beneficial, as well, to the county and the environment.

Both VDOT and the county are improving Clifton and Old Clifton roads, but doing so requires a sizeable amount of the couple's property frontage for a stormwater-management pond. So if the Ricciardis can obtain a rezoning to R-3 cluster [homes clustered together], they may then dedicate the needed land to the county, without the county having to pay them for it.

"Before this application [could make its way through the county process], a house got built where the stormwater-management pond was going to be built," said Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch. "So the county decided to put it on the other side of the road — restricting the amount of land the Ricciardis could develop — so they had to do a cluster development."

The houses will have public sewer and water, plus two-car garages, and lots will range from 8,500 to about 15,000 square feet. The Ricciardis intend to preserve as many trees as possible and even plan to build one of the homes for themselves.

Koch said the Planning Commission had one letter and four speakers, at the Sept. 10 meeting, opposed to the plan. It also received five letters in support of the proposal.

"Neighbors had to give a 25-foot buffer [to the county] when their homes were built," said Koch. So, he said, some of them were upset that the Ricciardis only had to give a 10-foot buffer. But, said Koch, "It'll actually be 35 feet — their 25 feet plus the Ricciardis' 10 feet."

He said some neighbors also complained that there wasn't enough parking planned for the new homes but, in reality, the proposal meets the county's parking requirements. Besides, he added, "You have that in other places, too."

Furthermore, said Koch, less parking spaces mean less impervious surface, "which is a good thing. And their private street will [only] be 18 feet wide, thereby having more green space and saving more trees."

Houses will have water barrels to catch the rain, and rain gardens are also planned into the community's design for low-impact development.

"Fairfax County has been trying to provide stormwater-management techniques that don't require a big pond," explained Lynne Strobel, the attorney representing the Ricciardis. "A rain garden is an area that has porous soils and certain plantings to allow water to perk through the ground. So [a community] can have a smaller pond if it also uses other techniques, such as rain gardens."

Pleased with the idea's creativity, Koch said, his is where the county wants to go, environmentally. It is a very desirable concept that the county has been pushing for awhile. I'm confident that it'll be a very nice development."

Agreeing, Strobel said, "It's innovative and something the county will be looking to, more and more, as a way to help preserve the environment."