Local Commentary

Letters to the Editor for June 26 – July 2, 2008

Letters to the Editor for the June 28 – July 2, 2008 edition.




Cites 6 Reasons for Opposition to New Hotel

Editor,

I’d like to respond to the recent News-Press article “Developer Hints F.C. Hilton Hotel May Be Built ‘By Right’ “. The proposed hotel would be at 706 West Broad the site of the former metro parking lot. Throughout the last three months since the First Reading on 10 March, some have brought to light a number of problems with this project:

1) The City’s Comprehensive Plan calls for parcel consolidation and buildings to be fronted along Broad Street to create a pedestrian friendly and visually appealing streetscape. This project will position the hotel sideways into the transition zone between the commercial corridor and the residential area along Park Ave.

2) Levels of Service on North and South Oak Street will be severely degraded due to the extended delays caused by the development. There are no plans to remedy this situation.

3) Based on public input, the traffic study has been modified multiple times to more accurately capture the current traffic patterns and predict future loads. This project will add 1,000 trips/day to Broad Street. The nearby post office building at 800 W. Broad will add over 1,600 trips/day to Broad Street. (This is in addition to the 4,600 trips/day which will be added by the Spectrum and 402 W. Broad.) Parking will be shared between the buildings straddling Oak Street. Given the shared parking arrangement the two buildings are functioning as one destination.

4) Storm water run off in this area is problematic and overflows onto the streets and yards are routine. There are no plans in place to remedy this situation. The only condition placed on the application is that the situation will not be worse.

5) The site plan for the new building at 800 W. Broad now under construction is under question and may have significant problems with regard to storm water run off which could exacerbate the flooding which already occurs on Oak and Park.

6) The fiscal impact of the hotel has been downgraded twice. Starting at over $700,000, it was lowered to around $480,000 and is now down to around $380,000. If traffic study and storm water analysis is characterized by “See no, hear no, speak no…”, there seems to be a tendency for “blue skies and candy” as far as the eye can see with regard to fiscal analysis.

The problems cited above could be alleviated by a smaller ‘by right’ project. The problem with this project is that it simply attempts to put too much building on too little land in an attempt to maximize revenue for the city at the expense of the neighborhood.

Finally, the negative effect on adjacent property values is already evident. A resident attempting sell her home in a adjacent lot has been repeatedly told that buyers do not want to live next to a hotel. She need not fear for her property. Eventually it can be sold to a developer and rezoned for further development for the greater good.

Tom Matecki

Falls Church

Claims Pedophiles Lurk in Hotel Near Schools

Editor,

I was appalled by Joanne Rodman’s anti-Catholic slur in her letter to the Editor in last week’s issue. If the proposed hotel were to be built next to the Falls Church, would she have proffered an anti-gay insult? Would another location have garnered an aspersion against a minority group? If the hotel were to be built next to Mt. Daniel or TJ, would she still value the convenience of a nearby hotel for her visiting relatives over the safety of children? We have several hundred children K-8 attending St. James School.

Perhaps the reason there is not a lot of statistics on pedophiles operating in hotels located close to schools is that other municipalities have better sense than to allow it. While convicted pedophiles must register their residences, they are at liberty to stay in any hotel.

A Department of Justice expert on pedophiles spoke at a meeting at St. James School. Ms. Rodman might be as stunned as I was to learn that a pedophile “tracks” his intended victims, observing who walks alone, who looks like they need a friend, etc. They he sets about becoming part of the neighborhood scenery, just saying “hi” at first and gradually stepping up the conversation and ingratiating himself with the child over the next days. The child is used to seeing him now and the pedophile has become part of the “safe”, expected environment. What better vantage point than a hotel for these criminals?

It’s a false economy and just plain wrong to allow a hotel to be built in close proximity to a school.

Christine McCarty

Fairfax

Blues Festival In F.C. ‘Couldn’t Have Been Nicer’

Editor,

We would like to thank the city of Falls Church and the business sponsors for putting on the Tinner Hill Blues Festival. Two years ago we “stumbled” on it driving through Falls Church and stopped for it. Last year we were out of town. I read about this year’s in this newspaper while at Kaiser getting allergy shots. (I have been reading it every week for the last year while getting shots- Thanks!)This year’s festival could not have been nicer- with the location at a large park with trees and tables, vendors of items and great food and wonderful bands. All the bands were really great and put on great shows. Thanks also to Bangkok Blues and Ireland’s 4 Provinces for extending the festival. Curtis Blues at the Sunday brunch at “the Irish pub” was really great! Not only is he a one man band, but extremely personable. He truly believes in the gospel of the Blues (for a lack of better wording). He did not just merely put on a great show, but told everyone all about the artists’ lives, the culture that created the Blues, but went around and showed people the instrument and explained about steel bodied guitars.

Thanks again FCNP and City of Falls Church!

James & Marianne Triplett

Via the Internet

Frustrated by Lack of Visible Address Numbers

Editor,

My biggest and most consistent complaint is that so many businesses show no “house numbers” on their buildings. It is very hard to locate a business when you are driving and when an entire block or two show no house numbers.

While driving and looking for a house number, it’s not only frustrating, but can be dangerous. Isn’t there some law that every establishment with frontage on a street should have a visible house number? If there is, why not enforce it, or at least notify the businesses that it is the law and request them to comply? If there isn’t a law, there should be one.

Matilda H. Winkel

Falls Church

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