To the Editor:
We appreciate the coverage Reston Connection provided the hearing on the South Lakes High School addition, particularly the continuing sub-standard stormwater management by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). The article accurately reports the dialogue on the matter at the hearing. Unfortunately, some of the commentary presented by County officials was inaccurate and needs correction.
The School Board’s attorney, John McGranahan Jr., asserted that Mr. Maynard said “all of the drainage problems in this stream bed are coming from South Lakes High School.” In fact, Maynard commented specifically on the impact of the proposed development at SLHS draining from high school property, not “all of the drainage problems.”
McGranahan added, “The building addition that is being proposed does not lie in this stream bed.” True, but misleading. About 100 new parking spaces—a major source of runoff— will be added to the east side of the high school that will drain as Mr. Maynard stated.
The most disturbing comments were those made by several officials that “the county couldn’t obtain necessary easements from some of the neighbors” a decade ago, gratuitous comments that were irrelevant to the school addition discussion. Actually, that early effort was by Reston Association (RA) and its remediation contractor. At the time, after extensive neighborhood discussions, property owners on Wakerobin Lane, whose property backs up to the creek, agreed that the financial burdens, liability risks, and property rights restrictions in the draft easement were overwhelming, unnecessary, and unfair. They raised their concerns in a clearly worded letter to RA seeking relief in the easement language. Regrettably, rather than discuss the matter with homeowners, RA deemed the owners as “unwilling to grant access,” discontinued action on the ravine, and didn’t even inform the neighborhood of their decision.
The good news is that Supervisor Hudgins and County staff are now assessing the lower ravine for a full remediation program in the wake of a County sewer line break in the ravine last summer caused by the stormwater runoff. Unfortunately, that remediation won’t fix the upstream problem caused by three decades of FCPS’ sub-standard stormwater management at South Lakes High School.