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Letter: About ‘Building On History’

To the Editor:

Contrary to the impression made by the article [“Building on History,” The Gazette, March 14] on the house being built along Ft. Hunt Road, the bulk of the property involved is an abandoned Clarence Gosnell parcel that was deemed unbuildable during the development of Riverside Gardens by Gosnell’s company in the mid-60s. It was an outlot because the trolley right of way divided it from the rest of the neighborhood. Gosnell did not seek to find the heirs of Benjamin Hunter, and in fact, no one located these heirs until the neighbors who sought adverse possession posted legal notices. The Hunter heirs responded and settled with several neighbors.

Our research indicated that the “local lawyer” who is also a real estate developer did not buy the property which was close to Riverside Gardens pool from the heirs before building, but simply affixed his name to the property as their representative or trustee. According to Fairfax County records, the property actually changed hands well after the house was built. The adverse possession trial resulted in each of the three adjoining neighbors on Buckboard obtaining the 50-foot right of way behind their property. A fourth neighbor separately obtained 25 feet, thus allowing the remaining 25 feet (currently lot 91A) to be purchased from the heirs and added to the Gosnell parcel.

Regarding the arborist assisting in the beautification of the lot, the two majestic oaks that remain are in fact on V.D.O.T. property and we pray they are not removed. They are well over 100 years old and stand as the last barrier to the stream of traffic noise along Ft. Hunt Road.

Susan Fannon Burroughs