A group of Fairfax City homeowners, disturbed by traffic noise from I-66, has persuaded the City Council to ask the state to build a sound barrier between the highway and its neighborhood.
"The noise is so bad that some people can't even call their children in from outdoors or talk to neighbors across the back fence," said Dale Lestina, president of the Mosby Woods Civic Association, representing a north-central part of the city abutting I-66. "I live about five blocks from I-66, and even I can hear the noise."
After hearing the appeal from a group of about 50 residents, the City Council last week asked the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation to construct a half-mile-long sound barrier between I-66 and the northern edge of the city.
In a poll of 534 Mosby Woods residents, the civic association found that 85 percent of them favored a sound barrier.
"We can count on this taking two, three, four years before it tumbles through the whole process and we get the funds," Lestina said. "It's going to take consistent citizen pressure to see this thing through."
In other action, the City Council voted to delete from its new entertainment control ordinance a requirement that owners of new bars and restaurants obtain special-use permits from the council to serve liquor. The amended ordinance would require special permits only for establishments with dance floors, entertainment areas or more than five video amusement machines. Such businesses now operate under special-use permits, renewable every six months, issued by the board of zoning appeals. The council is expected to act on the new ordinance June 1.
The council also rejected a proposal to transfer some of the duties of the city's elected treasurer to a non-elected city tax collector. Under the current system, the city manager has no authority over most of the city's finances.
Council member Carl J. Hemmer proposed that the council establish a collector's office in the wake of controversy over bookkeeping practices in the city treasurer's office. The council has been critical of scrambled treasurer's reports left by former city treasurer Frances Cox. Her successor, Ray M. Birch, resigned shortly after taking office last fall because of confusion over disorganized financial records.