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Votes

A Dream Fulfilled

After years of struggle with building code regulations, William and Lisa McMillin finally got to move into their new home at 3303 Arundel Ave. last Friday evening. All County code hurdles were cleared just one and a half hours prior to Captain William McMillin's arrival home from a year's deployment in Iraq.

"We got to officially move in last Friday just before my husband's plane landed at Reagan National Airport. We were all so excited. Bill was so looking forward to coming home and being able to spend his first night home in the new house," Lisa McMillin said.

Captain McMillin is a U.S. Army Reservist who has been attached to the 3rd Medical Command out of Georgia. In civilian life he is employed by the U.S. Department of Defense. His wife, Lisa, is a civilian contractor with DoD.

"We still have to do a few things as far as drainage is concerned but for all intents and purposes the County inspector approved everything. They are still holding the conservation bond until we make some adjustments in the grading," she said.

"Our children are also very happy and relieved that they are now in their own home," said Lisa McMillin. Since the McMillins sold their previous home in Ashburn last November, Lisa and the couple’s two children have been living with her mother. However, with Bill's return they would have had to move into a hotel had the home occupancy permit not been granted, according to Lisa.

The primary stumbling block to receiving that permit has been the height of the house, which rose well above the 35 feet limit designated by Fairfax County for new construction. That problem was solved when the builder, Oakmont Homes, Inc., of Great Falls, Va., removed the roof peak and created a flat top on the house.

After that was completed, the occupancy permit was still not issued due to concerns of soggy soil on the steep grade of the property, which stretches between Arundel Avenue and Spring Road in the Groveton section of Lee District. A reinspection last Friday, after the rains had ceased and warm weather returned, satisfied the inspectors enough to issue the occupancy permit.

The McMillins had received a special exception to the occupancy permit allowing them to move in their furniture previously. The only remaining action now involves repositioning the downspouts "to make sure the water flows off the property properly," Lisa explained.

The McMillin home is a prime example of the controversy triggered by large new homes being built in older neighborhoods where many existing residences date to either pre- or immediately post-World War II. It is a dilemma facing local politicians and land use officials throughout the nation who are attempting to balance the interests of those striving to preserve existing neighborhood character with the desires of many buyers for larger homes.