Letters to the Editor: August 22 – 28, 2013

 Historic Home Demolition Was Not Authorized


Over the past several years the community has rallied to protect the Historic Woodlands House at 610 Fulton Avenue in City of Falls Church. Last week, a builder demolished all but one wall of the house without the proper approvals from the City for a historic house demolition.

There are several facts that are clear. They did not follow the demolition approval process, was no demolition permit issued, and the house is gone. The builder is attempting to use a fig leaf that maintaining a portion of one wall makes the current state an alteration and not a demolition. The house was demolished in every way the Historic Preservation Ordinances seeks to prevent, both in spirit and the letter of the law. They have not yet charged for the violation. Furthermore, the builder did not follow the approved build plans – a violation that should separately warrant actions. Multiple architects and builders had inspected the house earlier and found it be in good condition and structurally sound for restoration.

It has been suggested that a slope in the second level floor was the reason the builder used to demolish the house. Floor level slope is a normal problem encounter in historic houses that all builders with knowledge and experience with historic preservation know how to correct.

The community and City had invested substantial energy in ensuring the preservation of this beautiful historic house. About five years prior, the City’s Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) took action through the City Attorney and forced the former owner to replace the roof of the house to protect the historic asset. The Planning Commission worked tirelessly with the previous developer to ensure the preservation of the historic house during a subdivision process that allowed new houses to be built on either side of the historic house.

Obviously the ordinances and process to protect historic structures did not work.

Keith Thurston

Historic Falls Church Inc.



Big Runaround in City Hall of Little City


My wife and I recently moved into the City of Falls Church after getting married– I moved from a Falls Church area in Fairfax County and my wife moved from McLean. We have been in the process of all the changes that come along with getting married and upon our return from a trip last week, found we had received a parking violation. We received no notice but apparently we needed to obtain a City of F.C. sticker. We immediately went to the DMV and were given a bright pink card for our car, updated our registration and advised us to talk to the officer who issued the citation.

We proceeded to the police department and were told the officer in question works the morning shift and was not in. We got his card but were told we had to speak to the records department. We called and left him a message anyway and since the records department was closed. This past Monday I called and was informed they could not do anything and to speak with the treasurer’s office. I called the office and got an answering machine. I was getting irritated by the run around and then got a call back from a man who informed me that I needed to speak with the officer who issued the ticket. So I have now made the full circle of every department and still have no answer.

All I wanted was to speak to someone regarding the procedure of notifying new residents of the required decal prior to issuing a $50 citation. Since I had taken care of everything else and now have my bright pink card, was it possible to have the fine removed? I was given the number for another police officer since I had not heard back from the officer who issued the ticket. I left the new officer a message and now am resigned to think that the City will issue a citation to every vehicle without the decal simply because the ability to resolve the $50 fine is only through the court.

As a resident who enjoys the “Little City”, I am more than a little frustrated with its “Big Government.”

Jeff Martinson

Falls Church


Troubling Trend as Dogs Banned in Local Restaurant


I moved here a year and a half ago from Chicago, as a result of a job relocation to Tysons. I am loathed as a transient, and embraced as part of the Falls Church tax base. This is the first time I have lived in the “burbs,” but I love the charm, history, beauty and small town atmosphere that is the “Little City.” However, I also watch with much interest, the development and passive- aggressive fascism going on in subtle, yet powerful ways.

I went to Clare and Don’s last weekt for my weekly dose of charm and interaction to hear that someone complained to “powers” about dogs being allowed in the outdoor eating area, which has now resulted in the ban of our four-legged pals who have delighted me since my arrival. Clare and Don’s, in my opinion, is a true testament of acceptance of anyone and anything, one of the very few establishments that welcomes all in this area, and is blatantly visible on any given Friday evening where all ages, persuasions and disabilities join together in fellowship and love of music, food and libations. When I heard this, he harkened me back to when I went a few months back on a First Friday adventure and heard I could no longer converse with a glass of wine at Falls Church Friday participants due to a complaint that started with the City and went higher up the power chain when it was politely ignored. I see a pattern here, and I don’t like it.

Donita Hayes

Falls Church 


Letters to the Editor may be submitted to letters@fcnp.com or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.