‘Waterfront’ in F.C. Smacks of Over-Development
Your newspaper reported June 3 on a plan presented by 11 university students to develop an area along “the east side of West Jefferson Street” into a “mini-waterfront.” A map of the area under consideration, and some basic, simple facts about the plan might have helped inform F.C. residents.
Instead, besides your lead editorial, your page 1 “straight news” story on the subject was heavily skewed and semantically loaded in favor of the project. The plan was “visionary,” “compelling,” and described in glowing terms by – guess who – a local developer and the students’ instructors. You played up ecofriendly features of the plan – one green roof and landscaping along Four Mile Run – while describing the area’s current use in terms that suggested urban blight. Your editorial maintained, without citing any figures, that despite the addition of nine, seven and six-story office buildings, a four-story residential building and a six-story office/restaurant building, the plan would reduce the current footprint of impervious surface area. Did you consider the impacts of the impervious surface areas of the four large non-green roofs in this project, of the parking garages (likely underground close to streams) under the buildings, and of the increased sewage load from this high-density development? Your article only mentions in passing that that scale of development is not currently allowed – quite possibly for valid reasons — in the area under consideration. Towards the end of the article, one of the advocates of the plan makes the comparison that’s in the back of everyone’s mind: Ballston wasn’t built in a day either, he notes. Developers look at Ballston and see dollar signs. Many of us, on the other hand, can’t think of a more overdeveloped area along the Orange line corridor where we’d less like to live, except perhaps Rosslyn. I hope the residents of Falls Church, the officials who are entrusted with the city’s future, and your newspaper, will work to keep Falls Church the livable city we moved here to find, not develop it for development’s sake into just another “little city.”
Robert H. Reynolds
‘We Are Grateful For the Gift Of Ms. Gray’
When I told my daughter that the woman who helped her learn to read had passed away this week, she said “No, Mom. Ms. Gray helped me love to read.”
Carey Marie Rainey Gray helped so many of our children love to read. She made a lifetime of new opportunities and plain joy possible for them: the enrichment she brought to their lives is the enduring legacy of her work in the Falls Church City Public Schools.
Even as we offer our sympathy to her family in their terrible loss, we are grateful for the gift of her life.
Haycock Elementary Outdoor Learning Setting in Jeopardy
I am a McLean pyramid parent, former Haycock parent, former Haycock PTA president, school volunteer and co-founder of the Haycock Elementary School’s Cougar Woods outdoor learning program. I walk by Haycock every morning on a walk through my neighborhood. I revel in the beauty of the schoolyard. I celebrate the growth of the plantings and the program, as each are quite obvious. Imagine my surprise this morning to see a commercial landscape company in the school yard planting upwards of 50 assorted shrubs and trees in the schoolyard, in our outdoor learning environments. Upon inquiry, I was even more surprised to learn that no one at the school, no principal, no one from the PTA committee that supports the Cougar Woods program were aware of the scheduled plantings or why they were happening.
In the past 10 years the Cougar Woods program has succeeded in building a wonderful outdoor learning program that amplifies the core educational goals of elementary education. Children learn about art, music, math, English, social studies and science in their outdoor classrooms.
Intense focus on supporting native species and nurturing them along has been a labor of blood, sweat and tears over many years. As well, a great deal of focus was placed on the significance of each planting and the connections that can be made to curriculum. Things were looking pretty good until today. Today the schoolyard looks as if someone took our outdoor learning areas and defaced them in the form of poorly selected, poorly planned and poorly timed planting of who knows what.
I am concerned that no one on any level consulted or considered the Cougar Woods program when planting today.
If there is any way to stop what is happening, consult together, review your plan, review Haycock’s plan, work together to address whatever need it was that required such planting, and find a compromise, please provide that opportunity to Haycock.
Julie E. Bryan
Once Again, F.C. Resident Gets Towed
Yet again, another poor soul has their car towed while attending a City event (Letters to the Editor, June 3). I’ve lived in Falls Church over 10 years, and I have lost count of how many letters report this problem, and how many items in the paper comment on the issue. Is it any wonder that the City still struggles to create a vibrant commercial center?
Yes, we want folks to come here for a “near-cation,” patronize our restaurants, buy from festival vendors. But please arrange to parachute in, thank you very much, because while we want your dollars, your cars are not welcome.
Or perhaps, given Virginia’s gun laws, we should recommend that everyone who drives into town should designate one gun-toter to stand by the vehicle and maybe discourage the predatory towers from making yet another visitor say “no more” to coming to Falls Church.
Towing Makes it Hard for F.C. to Be ‘Green’
Is there a possibility that the citizens of Falls Church could turn your city into a “green” one?
I live in nearby Fairfax and love to shop in Falls Church but I have heard too many horror stories about your “Park here or be towed signs,” so I drive to Brown’s, park, make a few purchases, drive a half block to CVS, park in one of their designated places, fill a prescription, drive across the street to Natalia’s, park, buy some chocolates, drive a block to the library, park, check out a few books, drive across the road to Starbuck’s, park, buy a cup of coffee, drive a block to Panera, park (and that lot is very difficult by the way), buy a pastry, drive a block to the post office, park, mail a package, drive five blocks to Burke and Herbert, park, make a deposit, and then drive across the street to Four Ps, park, and eat lunch. In the process I leave eight mercilessly unforgiving carbon footprints, but at least I don’t have to worry that one of your fair merchants will have my car towed.
Makes Suggestions On Replacement For Thomas
Helen Thomas’ sudden retirement this week, in the wake of her comments regarding Israel, creates an opening in the News-Press’ weekly rundown of Op-Ed columnists. I would like to suggest that you take this opportunity to provide some balance to the unabashedly liberal commentary that currently populate those pages. Given that we stress to our children the need to examine BOTH sides of an issue critically before reaching a decision, wouldn’t it be great if the city’s self-proclaimed “independent” newspaper lived up to that billing and balanced commentaries by Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd with those by the likes of Daniel Henninger and Charles Krauthammer, for example? (You could even put the liberal columnists on left page of the center section and the conservative columnists on the right!) I ask you to take advantage of Ms. Thomas sudden departure to provide the balance that your educated readers deserve.
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