To hear one Treasure Cove resident tell it, the quiet Oxon Hill community on the banks of the Potomac River has broken up into "little cabals" over the future of Riverside Drive.
Mike Arnold, comptroller of the U.S. Immigration Service, like his neighbor, convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy, would like to revise the reputation of their block. Currently, both say, it's "a lover's lane."
Riverside Drive, a narrow, partially unpaved stretch of road a beer can's throw from the water, does seem the perfect spot for back-seat trysts with a panoramic view. Unfortunately, Arnold says, too many beer cans, fast-food wrappers, pieces of discarded clothing, personal hygiene items and other refuse end up on his lawn.
"In the spring, I count 40 to 50 cars every night. Kids park, turn on their stereos, have pot parties and get drunk," Arnold said. The street is within a mile of Oxon Hill High School and, he said, "you can't find a kid in the county who drives who doesn't know Riverside Drive."
To clean up the block, Arnold wanted to close the street to outside traffic, or at least prevent anyone other than the nine property owners from parking there.
Liddy said the idea of closing Riverside Drive to outsiders "is certainly okay with me." The portion of the road that runs past his home is unpaved, he said, like a dirt driveway. "We get beer bottles and McDonald's stuff thrown on our lawn," said Liddy.
Last week, at what some described as a heated meeting, 35 area residents decided to try other measures before seeking to close the street to outside traffic, Arnold said.
"We are going to contact the county to ask them to post signs that would say 'Parking for Residents Only,' " he said. The group voted to set up a neighborhood watch program, and those who live on the river may put posts on the river side of the road to prevent people from parking there, Arnold said.
Neighbors are divided, however, on the question of closing the block.
Martha Teuton, whose family has lived in the neighborhood abutting Fort Foote park for more than 40 years, says she is "definitely not in favor of closing the street."
Under the original proposal, "Liddy would presumably give us permission to go across his property , but that would only be for us or our heirs." That wouldn't help a house sale, Teuton added.