Playing for Keeps

Playing for Keeps

Lewinsville Park case argued before State Supreme Court.

The right to play on the soccer fields of Lewinsville Park will be decided by September.

Last Tuesday, oral arguments were presented to the seven-justice Virginia Supreme Court in Richmond, a rare occurrence for what boils down to a case of one neighborhood taking on an area university and a soccer organization.

"The arguments went on for a little longer than the 30 minutes allotted," said Jack Hannon, president of the West Lewinsville Heights Homeowners Association, one of the two groups contesting a circuit court ruling that there was no violation of any use permits by allowing Marymount University to play soccer on one of the fields at Lewinsville Park.

Hannon and other neighbors have tried to stop the university, located in Arlington, from using the field, saying the noise and traffic caused by their games, often well into the evening, are a disturbance and that a private organization needs to have special permission to use a public field.

"Four of the seven judges asked hard questions on a variety of issues, like whether the Board of Supervisors filed its appeal of the Board of Zoning Appeals decision within 30 days after the decision was handed out," Hannon said. "It's hard to predict how this all might come out."

THE COURT CASE is another step in the ongoing question of whether McLean Youth Athletics, the parent organization to McLean Youth Soccer, violated any ordinances by offering a contract to Marymount University, allowing the university to use the artificial turf-covered soccer field that McLean Youth Soccer had just installed. The soccer organization had taken out a loan to pay for the turf and used the money it received from Marymount to pay off the loan.

A similar court case, filed by the Board of Zoning Appeals, had also been filed at the State Supreme Court, and the two cases were combined.

"If the Supreme Court decides the circuit court was right, Marymount can keep playing in the park and we'll just have to make do with it the best we can," Hannon said. "If the Board of Zoning Appeals decision is reinstated, they'll have to leave."

Representatives for Fairfax attorney Brian McCormack, who is representing the West Lewinsville Heights group, and Fairfax County Attorney Jan Brodie, who represented the Board of Supervisors, said that no further comment could be made on the case until the decision is made later this summer.