Comment by February 6, 2018
In defense of Resource Protection Areas
“Every time there is a compromise, the loser is wildlife.”
4104 Woodlark Drive, a case of the past imposing upon the present:
The Fairfax Hills subdivision in the Annandale section of Fairfax County was established in 1941 with a set of covenants governing use of the subdivided lots. Most lots were built upon in the years fairly soon thereafter. Some lots, however, presented problems, particularly several squeezed between Woodlark Drive and an unnamed tributary of Accotink Creek.
Located entirely within the floodplain, these lots were less desireable and remained undeveloped until now. In the 1990's, pusuant to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, Resource Protection Areas were defined, limiting what development could take place in proximity to the stream, with limited exemptions for preexisting lots.
By the 2010's, surrounding land values had risen enough to make these rare open lots a target. A devloper, K2NC, LLC, purchased 4104 Woodlark Drive and submitted plans for building a house that would intrude upon the Resource Protection Area, as permitted by law, with provisions to minimize disturbance. While this is environmentally unfortunate, there is little to be done absent public or private funds to purchase and preserve the land.
Then it got worse. A neighbor, exercising the rights granted under the covenants, obtained a court order enforcing a covenant provision for a minimum 75' setback from the street. Although the apparent intent was to block all construction, the effect has been that K2NC has requested an addtional Resource Protection Area exemption to move the house even closer to the stream.
Consider these two of the Fairfax Hills covenant provisions:
One covenant from the past that has given way for equal justice
Another that must yield to the duty to preserve our natural heritage
Herein lies the issue - Which shall give way,the arbitrary setback limitation or the very real need to limit destruction of the Resource Protection Area? If the setback is waived, some persons will be displeased, but none will suffer true harm. If the Resource Protection Area is compromised, very real and permanent consequences to stream health will follow.
The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance Exception Review Committee, a body of citizen appointees, is currently considering whether or not to grant the additional exception. Members of the public may offer input either in person, or in writing.
The Friends of Accotink Creek submitted comments on the need for the protection of Resouce Protection Areas to be maintained. Please find them HERE and use as a model for your own comments. Modify or personalize as appropriate.
- January 13, 2018
SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS HERE