County Balks at Enforcing

Rules of R-1 Zoning

My wife and I have lived in our single-family home in inner Fairfax County, near Falls Church, for 19 years in what has been a nice neighborhood. I served on the board of my homeowners association for years and on a Fairfax County advisory board for subsidized housing. My wife and I chose a multiethnic neighborhood years ago and feel at home in the diversity.

This year, we have noticed a major problem in our neighborhood of $400,000-plus to $900,000-plus houses. We are zoned as a single-family (R-1) neighborhood, but many of the houses for resale are being bought and modified into multi-family units through the addition of second kitchens, sometimes with the removal of stairs.

Fairfax County's zoning and permits staff seems to be regularly issuing permits for these variances from the code. Consequently, our street is starting to be filled with trucks, often parked in front of driveways and fire hydrants and being loaded loudly at 6 a.m. Our neighborhood is being destroyed.

I understand that at the annual meeting of the homeowners association, our county supervisor advised those present that Fairfax would not be enforcing the R-1 regulations because to do so would be discriminatory.

My wife heard at a recent neighborhood board meeting that the same problem seems to be occurring in Springfield and probably around the county. I spoke with a friend who works for Montgomery County. He said that the same situation is occurring in Montgomery County. He said that the zoning and permits staff and the politicians do not want to be called racist, so they avoid confronting the problem.

We know that Leslie Byrne, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, tried to address the issue, in her usual direct style, and was attacked roundly. I guess we will see the problem grow.

Amending the county plans and zoning would be the correct thing to do. Letting Fairfax self-destruct seems to be the easiest political course. How strange. What an absurd answer to the Washington area housing shortage.

Gil Conrad

Falls Church

Someone Needs to Keep

An Eye on Connolly

I read "MetroWest Battle Turns Partisan," [Page A10, July 28] with great interest and much humor. It is unfortunate that Fairfax County voters do not follow local politics a bit more closely.

That Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) would accuse Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) of a "raw exercise of power" is humorous at best. Connolly also said: "Is that really what you're saying -- that from now on I need to say to every applicant in a land-use case, you've got to go see the congressman?" As a Fairfax County voter, I can only hope so.

Looking at Connolly's pro-developer track record and the money he has already accumulated from developers for his 2007 re-election bid, does he really believe that he does not need a little oversight?

I believe that Rep. Davis is right on the mark. The majority in Vienna is against the development around the Vienna Metro station. However, Mr. Connolly seems to believe that he is above listening to those who elected him rather than the main contributors to his next campaign.

A "thank you" to Tom Davis for providing a service that Fairfax County voters need while Gerald Connolly is in office.

Dudley J. Losselyong

Great Falls

Vienna Leadership Fails

On Issue of MetroWest

It was nice of Laurie Cole, a Vienna Town Council member, to invite Metro columnist Marc Fisher to the town of Vienna to discuss the merits of building the MetroWest development at the Vienna Metro station ["Why Some Folks Will Take Vienna Just the Way It Is," Metro, July 14].

No doubt her hospitality included a ride on the shuttle bus between the town of Vienna and its namesake Metro station. No? Of course not. There isn't one. Expensive taxis or personally owned autos are the only practical connection between the Vienna Metro station and the town of Vienna.

Otherwise, you can't get there from here. Vienna's town leaders, who ought to be promoting and even underwriting local public transit to serve the town and the Vienna Metro station, have done nothing to alleviate the regional vehicular traffic they decry -- and why should they? All those cars they complain about on Maple Avenue, that MetroWest allegedly would multiply, are the basis for Vienna's prosperity.

The arrogance of Ms. Cole to argue that traffic spawned by MetroWest would spoil Vienna's small-town character! Laurie Cole and Vienna have nothing to do with the Vienna Metro station and have no standing to complain about MetroWest.

Robert L. Freeman