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LoGrande Gets Additional Hearing

Mount Vernon resident says he just wants to keep his house.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold an administrative hearing concerning the variance application for the LoGrande house.

John LoGrande, a Mount Vernon resident, had applied for a permit to build a garage on his property two years ago. However, during the permitting process, county staff discovered that his house, which is in a floodplain, is technically seven inches too low according to county ordinance.

The house is 25 years old, and LoGrande has lived there for six years. County staff signed off on the house during its construction.

Under current law, LoGrande must either get a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals, jack up the house by seven inches, or tear it down and rebuild at the correct height.

At a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing last month, it seemed unlikely that he would get the variance, since the board has been deferring to a Virginia Supreme Court ruling which has set a high standard for variances.

The Board of Zoning Appeals deferred its decision until the end of January. The Planning Commission will likely hold its hearing before the board's meeting date, and make a non-binding recommendation to the board.

Although the commission is free to hold a hearing with any case before the Board of Zoning Appeals, it rarely does so. A date has not yet been set for the review. Since this is an administrative hearing, the commission will not accept public testimony.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to make its decision about the application for a garage (a separate issue) during its Dec. 8 meeting.