Rose Hill Civic Association
P.O. Box 10891
Franconia, Va. 22310


Chairman and Members
Fairfax County Planning Commission
12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 330
Fairfax, VA 22035

April 29, 2004

Subject: SE-2003-LE-036

Mr. Chairman and Members:

For those of you who have been around for awhile, I know you never thought you would see and hear me testify on behalf of a development to be built on marine clay!

In this case, I make no apology for my favorable testimony!

The reason is simple. Land values have risen to the point that the cost of development and improved technology is no longer an impediment to building on unstable soil.

For more than 40 years, other Rose Hill residents and I have fought development on the 23-plus acres designated as Rose Hill Park Section III. The original developer of our existing homes gave up on building this section of our community because of severe slopes and the presence of marine clay.

Since then, there have been at least a dozen attempts to build on the property. All were turned down because of geotechnical reasons. Recently, however, we witnessed by right development of another parcel in our community on slopes and soils similar to Section III. The County approved a plan that stripped the treed hillside and left little or no buffer between the development and existing homes. We do not want a repeat of that on Section III.

The parcel that is the subject of tonight’s hearing is zoned R-3 and platted for 59 lots. Under that scenario, there would be no buffer for existing homes and no guarantee of repair should something go wrong during development that causes damage to our homes. The 45-lot proposal before you tonight has been carefully negotiated by the Rose Hill Civic Association and the conditions are designed to protect both existing and future homeowners.

We, and the developer, understand the proposal must go through geotechnical review before grading and construction can begin. We know that additional units may be deleted during that process. We are much more comfortable starting with a number of 45 rather than the already platted 59.

If developed by right under the existing plan, there would by NO density reduction because of marine clay. Our reference for this fact is a memorandum from the County Attorney to Supervisor Kauffman dated February 15, 2002.

We realize there are ongoing changes to the cluster ordinance that in part are mandated by State law. We prefer to move forward with this application because of the conditions we have negotiated. We will carefully monitor the site plan process and development phase to make sure all of the conditions are fulfilled. We ask that the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors direct the Department of Public Works and Environmental Management keep our association fully informed of the progress of the site plan.

There is much more that could be said concerning this application. In the interest of brevity, I will conclude by urging you to support this application. I will be happy to answer any questions.


Carl L. Sell, Jr.

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