May 11, 2006
Carl L. Sell, Jr.
President, Rose Hill Civic Association
P.O. Box 10891
Franconia, VA 22310
Dear Mr. Sell:
Thank you for your letter dated April 17, 2006 sharing your views on the proposed Lee District Park Master Plan Revision. I appreciate your support for the planned family recreation area enhancement, future RECenter expansion, and planned trail connections. I also understand you are concerned about possible impacts of proposed changes to the athletic field area. All of these elements are important to serve the current and future park and recreation needs of the residents of Lee District and the greater Fairfax County community. FCPA sees the benefits to the community of the planned improvements to Lee District Park as greatly outweighing any possible negative impacts. Because of these benefits, I will recommend that the Park Authority Board approve the draft Master Plan document as it was presented at the March 15, 2006 public hearing.
In your letter, you expressed concern about the potential impacts of the proposed Master Plan Revision with regard to field lighting and increased use of the athletic fields at the park. I believe the revised Master Plan for Lee District Park and FCPA policies and standards adequately address these concerns as outlined below:
Recently, FCPA adopted new field lighting specifications that use current advances in field lighting technology and products that reduce light spill and glare. The new specifications are even more stringent where private property lines are within 200 feet of a ball field. Any future lighting of Lee District Park fields will conform to the new lighting standards and take advantage of improved lighting technology. In addition, in consideration of the park’s neighbors, FCPA and the Department of Community and Recreation Services have agreed that all field lights at Lee District Park will be scheduled to be turned off at 10:00 p.m. nightly, rather than the standard cut-off time of 11:00 p.m.
Rose Hill Drive provides one of several points of access to Lee District Park. The completion of South Van Dorn Street provides a north-south alternative to Rose Hill Drive from the City of Alexandria to Telegraph Road and a significant number of park users will access the park from points to both the southwest and northeast along Telegraph Road. In addition, adding field lighting will allow the staggering of start times for practices and games that is not possible when activities must conclude by dusk. The staggering of start times will help to spread and reduce the impact of vehicle trips on the roads surrounding the park.
You expressed concerns that increased use of athletic fields at Lee District Park in the evenings may result in the nuisance of noise. Where athletic fields are located near residential areas, the Park Authority rarely receives complaints about noise. However, just like any other non-residential development in Fairfax County, the Park Authority must meet the Zoning Ordinance regulations for noise, and will appropriately address any such issues that may arise.
Comparison to Wakefield Park
You suggested that an accurate gauge of future traffic at Lee District Park would be “calculations from a major District Park such as Wakefield.” Wakefield Park is designated in its Master Plan as a Multiple Resource Park and has a greater intensity of use than a District Park. In addition to the RECenter, athletic fields, and natural areas, Wakefield Park also has a large complex of 13 lit tennis courts, a popular skateboard park, a mountain bike trail, and a section of the Cross County Trail. We do not have a record of vehicle trips to and from Wakefield Park, but visitation statistics are available. The Audrey Moore RECenter at Wakefield Park had over 337,000 visitors in 2005. The Robert E. Lee RECenter at Lee District Park had about 83,600 visitors during that same time period. In addition, over 13,000 visitors used the skateboard facility at Wakefield Park last year. Even with the proposed changes to Lee District Park, the number of visitors there will not reach the same level of use at Wakefield Park.
Thank you again for taking the time to comment on the Lee District Park Master Plan Revision. The Park Authority is committed to being a good neighbor at all our park sites. Our goal is to provide a park and facilities that serve as a resource for all ages of users from the immediate neighborhood and the larger community. We hope that Lee District Park will continue to be viewed as a valuable asset for you and your neighbors in the Rose Hill community.
Edward Batten, Sr.
Lee District Representative
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