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MCA Covers Stormwater Issues

MCA approves bond resolution.

Last week's McLean Citizen's Association (MCA) meeting had members of the Board focusing their attention on a storm water management problem in the McLean Hamlet neighborhood. Two 12-inch stone walls built four years ago on the property at 1321 MacBeth Street have been a growing issue for the resident living at the adjacent property.

"The homeowner maintained that the wall was nothing more than a boundary marker, and we reluctantly accepted the explanation," said MCA member and former McLean Hamlet Citizen's Association president Paul Weiland.

According to Weiland, trouble arose when the wall began acting as a dam. "Water was starting to pool and erosion was taking place," he said.

Still, Weiland says no action was taken on the part of the affected neighbor. The Fairfax County Zoning Enforcement Division issued a citation, but the owner of the property filed an appeal with the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

At last Wednesday's meeting, the Association decided to issue a resolution recommending that the Board deny the appeal of the owners of the property at 1321 MacBeth Street.

"It's simply reinforcing the validity of the County ordinance," said MCA Environment, Parks & Recreation committee chair Frank Crandall.

Section 2-602 of the Zoning Ordinance states that "no change shall be made in the existing contours of any land, including any change in the course, width or elevation of any natural or other drainage channel, in any manner that will obstruct, interfere with, or change the drainage of such land."

Weiland emphasized that while the resident of 1321 MacBeth Street did not intend to create a storm water drainage problem, the fact remains that one now exists.

"Storm water is a hot issue in the environment right now," said Weiland.

SOME MCA MEMBERS were concerned about interjecting a resolution into a private dispute, but most felt that the MCA's involvement was important based on the larger environmental issue at hand.

"When it becomes a matter presented to the BZA, it becomes a public matter," said member Tom Moore.

Crandall says that "the reason for the MCA taking a strong position on this is that the provisions of the ordinance are very important in preventing storm water and erosion damage to adjacent properties caused by improper construction."

THE 2005 BOND REFERENDUM was also up for resolution approval at last week's meeting. The bond issue would allocate $11 million for the renovation of Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, $15 million for the renovation of Great Falls Elementary School and $2 million for planning future renovations at George C. Marshall High School in Vienna. The MCA approved a resolution supporting the upcoming bond referendum, but added a comment stating that it "believes it [the bond issue] could have been smaller had Fairfax County obtained sufficient cash proffers from developers."

"It would take some of the pressures off taxpayers," said MCA Budget and Taxation chair Rob Jackson.

The MCA resolution also states that the MCA "strongly urges the Board of Supervisors to adopt fully compensatory cash proffer targets for Fairfax County Public Schools this year and in the future."

MCLEAN REVITALIZATION CORPORATION (MRC) chair Dan DuVal reported that plans for the undergrounding of utilities in downtown McLean are "still limping along," due to the fact that there are still "a number of approvals and studies that have to be completed."

"It's a slow process," said DuVal.

According to him, one of the main obstacles for the project is that residents must be contacted about easements on their properties.

"We hope enough people realize that this will improve the way things look and that nobody is going to lose any parking spaces," said DuVal.