In the grand scheme of Fairfax County, two more houses doesn’t count for much, except for the people who live next door.
“The statement that this is a small application ignores the fact that this is a very significant development to us,” said Chris McCall, a Vienna-area resident.
McCall’s neighbors over his back fence, David and Charlotte Laughlin, live in a house on Beulah Road built in 1925, according to a Department of Planning and Zoning Staff report. They have about two acres, and want to rezone part of the property in order to allow them to tear down their existing house, and build two new houses.
Department of Planning and Zoning staff recommend denial of the proposal, said St. Clair Williams of the department. Staff still has problems with several aspects of the project.
The owners would live in one of the two new houses, said Gray Hanes, attorney for the Laughlins.
Hanes said the Laughlins plan to reconstruct the deteriorating sidewalk in front of their house and try to preserve the existing trees. The surrounding area is made up of developments of about the same level of density as the proposal envisions. “We think we’ve met the law of the Zoning Ordinance and the intent of the Comprehensive Plan,” he said.
Neighbors say that the new houses will be placed much further back than the existing houses. And say that because the land is steeply sloped, they may have problems with water runoff on their property.
The houses must be further back, because the current houses are too close to the road, according to the zoning ordinance, Hanes said. However, the proposed houses will still be built at the proper distances from the edges of the lot, Hanes said. He also said that the stormwater will not be an issue, since they will build a trench to capture the water.
Neighbors say that the stormwater calculations might not work. “Even if it meets all of your regulations, I don’t think your regulations are protective in this project,” said James Barlow, an adjoining property owner. “Everyone just appears to be hoping this will all work out.”
Planning Commissioner Frank de la Fe said that the development seems acceptable. “I believe all the major issues are handled by the proffers,” he said. The commission deferred its decision on the proposal until June 1. The plan will then go to the Board of Supervisors for another public hearing and a final decision.