And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None

One by one the houses of Hollin Hall Village are disappearing

Another house bites the dust, or rather becomes the dust, in Hollin Hall Village. What was a single story home at 8115 Yorktown Drive is now a vacant lot awaiting transformation.

However, in this case, different from other homes demolished and under demolition on Washington Road, there is some question as to whether or not a demolition permit was issued prior to or after the fact. That was the point raised by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland at Monday's Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting.

"Last week, the home at 8115 Yorktown Drive was demolished without a permit. After Code Enforcement was contacted to inspect this violation, the property owner received the permit two days after the demolition occurred," Hyland stated in his Board matter entitled "Post facto Demolition Permits."

"If you go ahead and demolish without a permit and then come in and get one with no penalty -- what's the point," Hyland said.

"Since this violation has been abated, Code Enforcement closed the case without issuing a violation or pursuing any further punitive action against the owner. If demolition permits are issued after the fact what protection due surrounding homeowners have if some of the utilities have not been shut off?" he asked his fellow Board members.

Hyland also noted that other homes are being demolished at the same time as the home on Yorktown Drive. Those homes are on Washington Road which intersects Yorktown Drive.

All the properties are located in a subdivision known as Hollin Hall Village which has been the center of controversy pertaining to the potential development of two homes where one has stood since the 1940's. Many of the existing homes were built over the center line of double lots that were never resubdivided into single parcels.

HYLAND PROPOSED an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that would have limited such development but it was not accepted by the Hollin Hall Village Civic Association. The process of increasing the

number of structures could also be halted by homeowners resubdividing their lots into single parcels thereby reducing their appeal to potential developers.

During a civic association meeting in the spring, Hyland explained his proposed amendment but required that it be endorsed by a "super majority" of those property owners impacted prior to him taking any formal action. This did not happen and the amendment was not pursued.

At that same meeting Hyland stated, "I have asked the Board of Supervisors to waive the $457 submission fee (for an application to have each property resubdivided) and to direct staff to expedite the processing of these plots." The only fee to the homeowner would be a survey fee.

Following that meeting several homeowner members of the Concerned Citizens of Hollin Hall Village decided against signing on to Hyland's zoning ordinance amendment. "After reviewing the document proposed by Gerry we declined to back the zoning amendment," said Gretchen Walzl, spokesperson for the group.

"We had our attorney review it. And because we felt it really didn't address redevelopment we didn't think it did anything new. The County just needs to learn how to read their own existing ordinance," Walzl said at that time.

ONE OF THE requirements under the County Code is that any "disturbed site" more than 2,500 square feet needs a grading permit. In the case of each of the lots thus far none exceeds that limit, according to Hyland.

"While the disturbed area for each site is under the 2,500 square foot limit, and a grading permit is not needed, the total disturbed area in this community is much higher than 2,500 square feet and has caused dirty water and silt into a nearby branch of Little Hunting Creek since the stricter sediment controls were not required," Hyland stated in his Board Matter.

Spring Branch is located approximately three lots from the Yorktown Drive site and two blocks from the homes on Washington Road. It eventually flows into Little Hunting Creek.

DeMarr, Inc., an excavation and site development company brought down the house on Yorktown Drive as well as three houses on Washington Road, according to Roger Mullins, supervisor. They are scheduled to demolish two more on Washington. "I believe the plan is to build two homes on each site," he said.

Hyland's proposed action to deal with the most recent demolition,

was to request "the County Executive write a memorandum explaining Fairfax County's policy on pursuing punitive action against those who violate the County Code and fail to get a permit."

He also requested an opinion from the County Attorney as to "whether erosion and sediment control regulations are applicable when several sites in the same subdivision are developed or demolished under the 2,500 square foot threshold on individual lots, but when combined, are over the limit."

Hyland learned of the Yorktown Road demolition being under taken, allegedly without a permit, via an email dated June 28 from Walzl. "We now have demolition without permits," she stated. The house was purportedly demolished that morning at 8 a.m.

In an email that same afternoon, Paul Harrup, administrative assistant, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services,

Land Development Services, Code Enforcement, stated, "The investigation will be carried out." However, he also stated, "There may be no additional information provided until the investigation has completely run its course and the case record is closed in this office."