Council Considers Taking Another Crack At Thorny Substandard Lot Issue

The Falls Church City Council took up for consideration at its work session Monday revisiting, once again, the contentious issue of what should be and should not be allowed on 483 substandard residential lots in the City.

The last time the Council wrestled with the issue was 2006 and aesthetic and environmental considerations ran up against property rights at that time, leaving no change in the current policy.

The issue is whether some 234 residences in the City that sit on adjoining substandard lots can divide their properties into the two lots and develop both of them, or whether if there is an existing structure on the two adjoining lots, there can only be one structure.

Last time, as City Manager Wyatt Shields reported Monday, the Council considered a legislative solution that would, effectively, erase the boundaries of the substandard lots and make each combined property one. That ran into a lot of property rights challenges.

This time, Shields said, the Council may prefer considering an ordinance that would state for the purposes of zoning decisions that where an existing home sits on two substandard lots that the combined property shall be treated, for zoning administrative purposes, as one lot.