Village News, 5/21/20

Dear West Springfield Neighbor / Friend,

I’m looking for ways to entice you to read to the end; does this help?

In This Enews:

  • Slow Down!
  • Crime in the Village
  • Dogs & the Law
  • 22152 Real Estate Market Report
  • Village Owned / Operated Businesses
  • American Trash Disposal Service Offer
  • Village Meeting, FY2021 Dues Set
  • COVID-19 Update
  • Accessory Dwelling Units & Home – Based Businesses (HEAD’S UP!)
  • ECHO Food Donations
  • Chuy’s Tex-Mex
  • 2011 Jeep Compass For Sale
  • Village Teenager Willing to Work
  • Wanting to Help
  • Happy Birthday!

Slow Down!  Speed limit on village streets is 25 MPH; 30 MPH on Rolling Road. Please drive even more slowly when our children are out playing.

Village Fox and Other Wildlife –Someone set a spring trap that killed a fox; authorities were notified and an investigation launched. Can you imagine the guilt if a child or a treasured family pet had been caught in that trap? Good folks – this is illegal! We are not allowed to trap, poison or intentionally kill the fox, coyote, raccoon or other wildlife that roams the village searching for food.

A fox may act unusual or even aggressively when it is desperate to feed her kits or is sick. We have encroached on their normal range and perhaps killed their normal prey (squirrels, rats, mice). We moved into their neighborhood and surely can share space with them. Tell you kids to not approach them and to move to the safety of their homes like one lady did earlier this week. If, however you encounter an overly aggressive animal or one that is clearly sick – notify animal control at 703/691-2131.

Most of us, but apparently not all - love seeing the wildlife in our village even if that fox that loves to taunt our dog. I think I’d rather have the wildlife as neighbor than anyone who sets out poison or kill traps. What were you thinking?

Dog Crap and School Playgrounds – It must be springtime. Complaints have increased about some of us not picking up what your dog leaves behind. Not only pick it up and bag it, but please do put the bag and contents into your trash, not into the storm water intakes and not in a neighbor’s trash can without their permission and certainly not in or near the trash cans at school playgrounds.

Some of us left it where it fell; and then others did pick it up, bagged it only to leave it on the ground beside the trashcan. Our children play there and often step in what your dog or you left behind. For obvious reasons, dogs are not allowed on school playgrounds - not even when the school is closed.

Ending on a positive note – thanks to Bill & Carrie Mask family who voluntarily cleaned up the RVES playground.

Real Estate Market Report – Thanks to Natalie Perdue (SVD) for arranging for us to receive this Long & Foster market report about our zip code.  Units Sold – 35 – down 30% compared to last year. There are 16 units in the active inventory which is down 43% from last year. Median Sales Price is up 2% from last year to $525,000.00. Homes spend about 7 days on the market, down 22% from last year. There has been 47 new listings which is also down 25% from last year. And 41 homes under contract which is also down by 33% from last year. Sold versus list price is at 102% on average or up slightly (1.2%) from last year, but still there is only 0.5 months of supply in the inventory.

I know that we have real estate agents in the village who may want to put all that into a language that I can understand. Should we consider trying to sell our home now or wait until our economy stands back up? Should be try to buy a home now or rent for a period of time? Should we consider capital improvement projects now to enhance value of home? What will the Rolling Road widening project mean to our plans?

Village Owned/Operated BusinessesFree advertisement on our website for those who own or operate a business in the local area and also for those businesses who advertise in our village directory. Even though we may know about your business, we can’t run a listing for you; that’s on you to grant permission and the information required.

American Trash Services – Our Vice President Bernie Koehle is looking for an alternative to Republic Trash which has had problems with schedule and fulfilling their contractual obligations to county solid waste department. We have two other companies that work within our village – American and Bates – both having same problems as Republic. Bernie contacted American to see how many residents they would require to give us a substantial savings. Their typical rates are $140.00 per quarter, but they will give us $37/month ($117.00 per quarter) for 100+ residents. In my mind, that isn’t nearly enough discount, but we need to compile a list of those who want to change to American before continuing negotiations. That also includes those now using American who will want the lower rates on their next bill if / after we come to terms.

If we have 100+ sign on for changing, Bernie will go back to American to conduct hard-nosed negotiations. So – do you want to switch if the price is better than their first offer?

Membership Meeting – last Thursday, 14 May via Zoom Video Conferencing. It was a success even though we had a couple, minor glitches (mostly mine). We are thankful for those who joined the first ever Video Conference meeting. In that meeting, we voted to keep our CAWSV dues at $10 per household for Fiscal and Membership Year 2021 (1 October 2020 – 30 September 2021). The membership drive starts 1 August, but you can join or renew at any time (CAWSV, P.O. Box 2204, Springfield, VA 22152). The rest of the minutes can soon be found on our website (www.westspringfieldvillage.org).

COVID-19 Update: public health restrictions will remain in effect in our region until at least Friday, 29 May. Businesses closed since 24 March must remain closed. Restaurants can continue to offer take-out service while gyms, movie theaters and hair salons must stay closed. Other businesses, such as grocery stores and banks, may continue operating under the same rules since late March.

Residents should continue to stay at home, and employees should telework when possible. Social gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be banned. Other parts of Virginia are now in Phase One of the reopening plan, but Northern Virginia will for now remain in Phase Zero. But, there is some relief:

  • The Park Authority has begun reopening all 427 parks for Memorial Day weekend.
  • Visitors will be asked to adhere to physical distancing and small group guidelines (do not exceed ten people). All facilities and restrooms remain closed.
  • County farmers markets and golf courses have begun a phased reopening.

The Park Authority will not open outdoor water parks and pools this summer

Fairfax County Summer Camps - are cancelled this summer. This includes: FCPA sponsored summer camp programs, REC-Pac programs held at local schools, summer camp programs sponsored by NCS, and SACC programs.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) Why is county even considering these proposals? Are they truly interested in me staying in county and aging in place? I think not, but what is important is what you think and also convey to the county’s decision makers. You really do need to respond about this proposed changes to our zoning laws.

Proposed ADU regulations would eliminate the current restrictions on the number of ADUs in neighborhoods. For us, an ADU is a dwelling unit limited to two bedrooms and two occupants, complete with a full kitchen that may be constructed inside any of our single-family detached homes. ADUs were introduced as a housing option for older and/or disabled residents, in particular, family members of the property owner who are either disabled or at least 55 years of age in general need of monitoring and support. Some of us now have an ADU in our homes known as mother or father-in-law suites.

Today and under existing codes, the approval of ADUs requires a special permit, a process that assures some measure of compatibility of the ADU with the community. Neighbors receive written notice and sign boards are posted on the property with the same message. A public hearing is held before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to provide neighbors an opportunity to state and resolve their concerns. The BZA is then required to make a determination if the ADU would be compatible with the character of the neighborhood. You may recall we had one such in the past when I represented our majority opinion to the BZA.

This proposed amendment will change the intent and purpose of ADUs from housing for the elderly and disabled to a mechanism ostensibly for providing affordable housing. In fact, the proposal does nothing to ensure affordability, and it deletes the requirement that one or both occupants of the ADU must be either disabled or at least 55 years of age.

Current regulations stipulate that occupants of a single-family detached home may include no more than 4 people unrelated by blood or marriage.  The proposed regulations would allow conversion of single-family homes with 4 unrelated people and one kitchen into duplexes with 6 unrelated people and 2 kitchens. Proposed changes also include eliminating the required special permit and the entire public hearing process for a routine administrative permit instead.

ADUs have been helpful for parent(s)-in-law suites or for an elderly resident wanting to hire a live-in care provider. We (CAWSV) opposed these ADUs for commercial purposes (rental income) about 8 – 10 years ago, but this go-around will be your individual input, not a majority opinion from our association.

Will this change encourage a proliferation of boarding houses? Will developers see opportunities to buy and then tear down our single-family homes and build duplexes in their place? What leverage would we have as neighbors if the special permit requirement is eliminated as proposed in this change? What would the impact be on parking, traffic, schools, parks, hospitals, government services and utilities? Reckon that will be up to you and your input to county’s decision. Mine has already been submitted.

Home Based Businesses - County is also looking at ways to consolidate the different types of home-based businesses. Under current regulations, processes vary by business type. Where will 4 – 8 customers of home-based businesses park as they wait to conduct business?

You can learn more about both of proposals here. Each of us needs to click on that link to review and to take the survey to input your opinion. This is every bit as large an issue as the ADUs, but harder to capsulize for this report. Watch the two short videos and submit feedback by taking the surveys. There is a survey for each proposal (2 total, but will only take a few minutes each).

ECHO Food Donation - Cindy Stark (Loudoun) in collaboration with her friends & neighbors) collected a good amount of food for ECHO to help provide food security to folks in local area. Understand Emily Kriebel was involved in transport of these supplies.  All done without much fanfare just using phone, messages and direct conversation. Well done!

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Chuy’s (Tex-Mex) – thanks to Jeanne Jones (Vancouver Road) – Chuy’s is delivering to our Village Wednesday, 27 May 2020! On-line ordering begins Monday, 25 May, phone orders only if on-line issues occur. Ordering deadline is Wednesday, 27 May at NOON. Delivery will be made at Rolling Valley Elementary School Parking Lot 27 May at 5:00 PM. Go to order.chuys.com, select “Chuy’s Springfield” location. Great menu including Family Meal Kits. Margaritas, beer & wine also available for delivery.

2011 Jeep Compass For Sale – asking $6,700.00. 126,427 miles. Good - excellent condition! Brian gave me more pictures if you want to see them. Vehicle can be seen at 6820 Ontario Street; contact vehicle owners (Brian & Amanda Taugher) at 703/994-5138 or by email at taugher.brian@gmail.com.

Teenager Looking for Work - Abdullah Hagi (Edmonton Court), a rising WSHS Junior and certainly a jack of many trades, though still learning in order to become a master. Power washing, leaf raking, garden bed prep, gutter cleaning, mowing grass, car washing / detailing and just about anything you may need and willing to invest in the lad’s growth into manhood. He has done enough work for me to earn my recommendation. Text him or call him at 703/886-6794.

May We Help? We have offered help weekly via FaceBook Group and in these email reports, but also want to thank those who involve themselves helping their immediate neighbors. The Henry family has picked up grocery items for us often during this restricted period. Gus Hagi has picked up supplies for us from Home Depot and provided help even without asking. Bernie Koehle and his daughter Stephanie have kept our yard looking presentable and my own son (USAF LTC Glenn Cooley) stops by often to help out.

I hope you have similar stories to tell about your neighbors and ideally they have some about what you have done for them. And, we still have over 30 folks who are willing to help older and/or infirmed neighbors. I know that Wendi Dorey is coordinating a lot of help via the FaceBook Group, but you can also send an email or call me (john.t.cooley@veriozon.net, 703/451-7055).

Happy Birthday – Amanda Gale Cooley. When she was an infant, I slept on the floor in her nursery trying to fix my back and to give her mother some relief from nocturnal, parental duties. Amanda made the most soothing noise as she slept sounding much like the soft hooting from a distant owl. Well before the restaurant/bar, Amanda’s code name became “Hooter”. Happy Birthday kid!

I read a posting from someone who claimed they weren’t bragging but his/her car now gets about 3 months to a gallon of gas. Mine too!

Stay safe and stay healthy!

John Cooley, CAWSV

 

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