Rose Hill Civic Association
PO BOX 10891
Franconia, VA

April 17, 2006

RE: Lee District Park Master Plan

Ms. Lynn S. Tadlock, Director
Planning and Development Division
Fairfax County Park Authority
12055 Government Center Parkway
Suite 421
Fairfax, VA 22035

Dear Ms. Tadlock:

For more than 30 years, the Rose Hill community has enjoyed a positive relationship with Lee District Park. Unfortunately, we fear that relationship will be compromised by the fact that the Park Authority has proposed to change the nature of our large neighbor by adding ball field lights.

A little history is in order. Lights were thoroughly discussed as part of the adoption of the original master plan in the 1970s. Special interest groups were promoting lights while the surrounding communities were against them. A balance was struck that provided first-class athletic fields without late-night impact on the surrounding communities. Nothing has changed to overturn that decision.

Lee District Park is unique in the fact that it can only be reached by traveling though established communities. It may appear different on a map while sitting in Fairfax; however, you must go through either Rose Hill or Virginia Hills or past Stoneybrooke, Vantage and numerous other communities in order to access the park. The only entrance is at Rose Hill Drive and Telegraph Road.

Currently, our Association is working with the County in an effort to curtail the high volume of cut-through traffic on Rose Hill Drive. A recent study by the Office of Transportation confirmed that Rose Hill Drive handles a large volume of traffic at speeds in excess of the posted 25 miles per hour. The introduction of lights at Lee District Park would, in our opinion, extend the time period of heavy traffic on Rose Hill Drive into the late evening hours. It’s bad enough at rush hour without the volume being extended into the late evening. At present, traffic going to the park is spread throughout the day with the exception of early-evening games. We do not wish for the traffic cycle to be extended.

We remind you that Rose Hill, and for that matter Virginia Hills, are well named. Many of our streets overlook the park and will be subjected to the glare from the lights. And, the massive area to be illuminated certainly will interfere with what is left of our night sky.  We invite you to visit our area after dark and marvel at the stars and constellations that are not blocked out by ground-level glare. Lee District Park, Greendale Golf Course and Huntley Meadows are greatly responsible for that phenomenon. One would think the Park Authority would be interested in preserving the night sky.

Lest you think this issue has not been fully discussed in our community, I submit that the subject was included on three RHCA meeting agendas, including two since the issue of lights was advanced. The first meeting, a prelude to the Park Authority’s March 18, 2004 meeting at Edison High School, focused on the need for trails, both inside and outside the park. The suggestion of a connection to Huntley Meadows Park that would carry pedestrians, hikers, bikers and the handicapped OVER South King’s Highway came from that meeting. At the two recent meetings, the need for trails was reaffirmed and the opposition to lights was overwhelming. 

The trail connection from Lee District Park to Huntley Meadows proposed for the new master plan is of no value to Rose Hill, or, for that matter, for anyone else. A circuitous route through Virginia Hills and Groveton utilizing existing dangerous routes along South Kings Highway and Harrison Lane makes no sense. A well-positioned overpass over South Kings Highway would promote foot and bicycle traffic from Lee District to Huntley Meadows and a safe access for communities such as Stoneybrooke and Vantage to Lee District Park.

We in Rose Hill would like to see the trail along Telegraph Road extended for the full length of the park property. There is a dangerous nature trail connection to Telegraph Road near Split Rock Road that can be reached only by crossing Telegraph. A much better option would be to cross at the light and take an asphalt trail down the hill to the nature trail connection.     

And, we ask that attention be given to the trail system INSIDE the park. We note that the existing asphalt trail along the entrance road ends abruptly before one reaches the Recreation Center. Trail connections to existing communities should either be provided or enhanced. We support plans to upgrade play areas and a Family Recreation Area. We have no objection to an enlarged Recreation Center because the traffic it produces will be spread out over the day and evening, not concentrated on specific start times for facilities such as ball fields.

Thank You,


Carl L. Sell, Jr.
President, Rose Hill Civic Association

 

cc: Supervisor Kauffman
Park Authority Members

 

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