Lincoln Avenue Zoning Decisions Irk Local Citizens
Monday evening I attended the City Council meeting where several citizens including myself addressed our concerns regarding residential zoning decisions on Lincoln Avenue that appear to be detrimental to the future of our city. More disturbing is the City’s apparent disregard for the zoning code that requires a stay to any further development on properties subject to appeals of zoning decisions made by fellow citizens. The ensuing comments both of our City Manager and City Attorney were dishearteningly vague and ignorant of the statutes as clearly written in the code.
I am most distressed that the City is allowing development without regard to current requirements and ask that our City Council intervene to redress this grievous violation of procedure and to ensure that the rights of all citizens are fairly protected in accordance with the spirit of the law.
Balance Public Good With Private Interests in F.C.
On Tuesday, July 17, during typical dinner hours, our family’s car was towed from the parking lot located directly behind CVS Pharmacy and Dogwood Tavern. This came as a surprise to me, as we have parked in that lot many times. I came to realize that the space we were in was one space over from those reserved for the aforementioned businesses. The subject space is reserved for staff, clients and other tenants of the building housing Town & Country Properties, and is subject to towing on a 24 hours/7 days a week basis. Wanting to know why this is possible even after reasonable business hours, I have since spoken to a number of people (local business operators, city staff, previously towed citizens . . . etc.), and have come to understand a common theme. The city has apparently over time investigated the towing issue through one method or another. Those with whom I have spoken, who are in favor of enacting zoning rules more favorable to the citizenry in these situations, have seen private building owners maintain the ability to set time rules on towing. Within the city, this dynamic seems apparent to me in other areas as well, such as old growth tree removal on new home construction sites, difficulty of citizens to impact traffic calming concepts, and building codes that allow for more “unique” home design and construction. I have come to the belief that surrounding counties and municipalities are somehow more effective in balancing the public good with private interests (try putting up an ugly sign in parts of Arlington or cutting down an old oak tree in Fairfax County). My view is that city residents should revisit this perceived imbalance, as solutions to this problem are likely necessary as we move forward on a path of increased tax revenue through continued commercial growth. In the meantime, I recommend paying attention to what the parking signs say; because the rules might not be what a reasonable person would think they should be.
Underground Power Lines Would Be Far Too Expensive
Is it really FCNP policy to avoid providing balanced facts in “news” articles and surveys? Or even to interview sources which might contradict FCNP’s usual one-sided “reporting”? I’m no Dominion Power fan — I’ve been corresponding with them about recent shortcomings — but they do provide information on the cost of undergrounding power lines. Their website gives information on how power is restored and also gives information on overhead vs. underground electric lines. It includes these inconvenient facts:
In 2005, a study by the Virginia State Corporation Commission found that overhead-to-underground conversion would have “tremendous costs” that would make “a comprehensive statewide effort appear to be unreasonable.”
The study, conducted in response to a request from the General Assembly, found the cost of placing existing overhead electric, telephone and cable television lines could approach $94 billion. For electric lines alone, the cost was estimated to be $83.3 billion; the conversion cost per mile was approximately $800,000.
A statewide conversion project would impose an additional yearly financial burden of approximately $3,000 per electric customer, the study warned. “The costs would be paid ultimately by consumers, either directly or indirectly, in the form of prices, taxes, or utility rates.”
The project would also cause “significant disruptions” for customers and “could take decades to complete,” the SCC study warned.
So I wonder whether the 68% of people voting, “Yes, they should have done it long ago” are volunteering their annual share to pay for it, even if done selectively.
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