City Halts Lincoln Development Project
By STEPHEN SIEGEL
Falls Church Times Staff
August 8, 2012
City officials on Wednesday accepted the legality of the Planning Commission’s Monday night ruling — that the construction of two new houses at 1007 Lincoln Avenue is in violation of water management rules — and ordered a halt to the project.
But the City went even further than that: it also voided the building permit it previously had issued to the developer, Art McArthur, which means he will need to repeat the city’s “standard approval process” before construction can resume. The project already has been started, and two foundations already have been poured.
“If or when a new grading plan is submitted, it will be reviewed for consistency with the Planning Commission determination,” said a statement from City Spokeswoman Susan Finarelli. “A new plan will also need to successfully complete the City’s standard approval process, which includes staff review, notice to adjacent properties, and a public CBIRT meeting prior to approval. The stop work order will stay in force until a new grading plan is approved.”
The purpose of the CBIRT, which is an acronym for Chesapeake Bay Interdisciplinary Review Team, is to evaluate whether a project meets water management rules. The rules exist to minimize the amount of water entering the city’s stormwater system and improve the quality of water that ends up in area streams, rivers, and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.
In the case of this project, opponents argued that it didn’t meet the CBIRT requirement that a maximum of 35 percent of the land be impermeable, such as a house, driveway, and concrete walkways or decks. The Planning Commission agreed Monday night.
But the issue wasn’t settled with the Commission’s ruling, because there was some doubt if City officials, who were being overruled by the Planning Commission, would enforce the ruling. Neither the Commission chairwoman nor other City officials were willing to comment on it on Tuesday, citing questions about what the City’s next steps would be.
By Stephen Siegel
August 8, 2012