GFCA reviews issues

GFCA reviews issues

Verizon, trees and construction discussed

The executive board of the Great Falls Citizens Association met last week to discuss several issues facing the community. The GFCA members evaluated their positions on items such as the Seneca Square II commercial center, a Verizon monopole in town, cutting trees along Georgetown Pike and proposed changes to the childcare facility at Christ the King Lutheran Church. For the first time in many meetings, the water main issue was only briefly discussed.

According to GFCA member John Ulfelder, the owner of Seneca Square II has hit a snag that may delay the project. “Basically, it’s been a road block,” said Ulfelder. “They need an easement and until they get that they aren’t prepared to come talk to us,” he said.

GFCA member and local real estate agent Diane Van Volkenburg explained to the group that the current storm drain on site is not adequate and can’t handle the rainfall. The outfall area for the rain is across Route 7 next to the Exxon gas station.

Van Volkenburg said the delay wont be permanent and that when the state widens that section of Route 7, expected in the next year or so, “it will get cured.” Initial impressions, she added, are that solving the problem isn’t paramount for the owner. “People in my office that know him say he’s got bigger fish to fry right now,” she said.

OF PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE to some GFCA members is a communications monopole proposed by Verizon on the corner of Walker Road and Colvin Run Road, near Hills Photography. A hearing is schedule in mid-April to discuss the pole, according to GFCA president David Olin. Verizon has conducted preliminary tests to determine site suitability and evaluate what type of pole is best for that site. So far, a faux tree and a metal pole have been discussed.

Olin urged the other board members to decide what the civic organizations position is going to be about the monopole. “I think there is immediate pressure. Instead of waiting, what is our position,” said Olin. It should be noted that Olin lives on Colvin Run Road and would be effected by the monopole. Other residents of that road have joined together and expressed their displeasure at the monopole and will monitor its progress, according to Olin.

Ulfelder said that the monopole does not go before the Board of Supervisors.

The future of the monopole will be discussed at the next general meeting of the GFCA.

OTHER ISSUES noted at the meeting include the fact that it is now possible for residents of Great Falls to get Verizon DSL in their homes due to a looping system. Details will be listed in the next GFCA newsletter.

It is likely that several trees will be cut down along Georgetown Pike in the name of national security. Dominion Power, according to GFCA members, is clear cutting trees but also creating a utility loop that will benefit everyone in the community by eliminating situations where the power goes out at nearly every home in Great Falls during an outage.

The clear cutting of tress is necessary to protect and secure the above ground utility lines. After 9/11 new rules were adapted regarding the foliage around and near electricity lines.

Christ the King Lutheran Church has requested permission to extend its hours of operation and to expand its childcare facility. Christ the King Lutheran Church serves the greater community with its childcare facilities, not just parishioners. Though members of the GFCA seemed supportive of the request, clarification about the expansion plans was requested. Ulfelder said this was because, “The concern is that, will the County at some point start talking about a turn lane.”