Family still fighting to save treehouse - Walkinshaw fires back at Herrity - Park Authority to upgrade outdoor lighting at Wakefield Park
Goodbye to social distancing restrictions - FCPS to maintain mask requirements for remainder of school year
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Family on Holborn Ave still fighting to save treehouse: Last October, we reported that the Dapoigny family of Annandale was fighting to keep a treehouse in their front yard after being cited for a zoning violation. Eight months later, the treehouse still stands—and the family is still fighting. They’re working with local real estate attorney Keith Martin, who took the case for free after hearing about it from his daughter.
Martin has filed initial paperwork seeking a five-year “variance” from Fairfax County’s Board of Zoning Appeals. This timeframe would allow the treehouse to stand until the Dapoigny family’s youngest daughter—who asked for the treehouse for her ninth birthday—reaches high school. A statement on Martin’s website says, “I plan on winning this case and making sure this little girl keeps her treehouse!”
A county staff member who works on zoning appeals issues said her office is waiting on Martin to submit additional paperwork. Once that occurs, the staff member said, it will be about 90 days before the matter is taken up by the Board of Zoning Appeals. In an email, Martin said the board had issued exceptions to zoning rules in the past.
The Dapoigny family has lived for about a decade on Holborn Ave near Northern Virginia Community College. In an interview for our initial report, the father, Erwan Dapoigny, told us the treehouse had been a refuge for his children amid the uncertainty of the pandemic. “We live in an exceptional time—there is no school, so we tried to find something,” he said. “We’re just asking for compassion.”
Walkinshaw fires back at Herrity over school funding: Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw sent us a fiery response to our interview last week with the Springfield District’s Pat Herrity, the lone Republican on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. At issue is Herrity’s proposed reduction of $105 million to the transfer to FCPS—which he sees as warranted because of reduced student enrollment during the pandemic. But Walkinshaw says there would be no way for FCPS to absorb a cut of that magnitude just by eliminating administrative waste, as Herrity contends—and that it would instead result in a major reduction in teaching positions.
In last week’s interview, Herrity called out Walkinshaw by name—accusing him of spreading the “fabrication” that his proposal would force FCPS to fire more than 1,000 teachers.
This week, we have Walkinshaw’s rebuttal:
If Supervisor Herrity truly believes that he can slash school funding by more than $100 million without impacting teachers, whose salaries make up the vast majority of FCPS spending, I've got a bridge over Accotink Creek I'd like to sell him. Furthermore, his budget proposal was built upon a key factual error revealed during our budget markup. Supervisor Herrity was under the mistaken impression that Virtual Virginia—the virtual option being offered to FCPS families who chose not to return in person—was free to FCPS. As both the Washington Post and Superintendent Brabrand have pointed out, it will cost nearly $4000 per student, with a projected total cost of $25 million. We all make mistakes, but a $25 million mistake is a big one.
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Three-fourths of Fairfax Health District adults now (at least partially) vaccinated: We’ve reached a major milestone: Nearly three-fourths of adults in the Fairfax Health District have received at least one vaccine dose, with 60% now fully vaccinated. When residents under the age of 18 are factored in, the numbers drop to 57% and 46%, respectively, as you can see in this screenshot from the county’s vaccine dashboard:
While these numbers are strong, we’re still well short of the 80% of the total population that experts believe would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity—a target we may never reach. Anyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated can schedule an appointment at www.vaccines.gov
Goodbye to social distancing restrictions: As of last Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam has ended all remaining capacity and social distancing restrictions. With mask requirements already lifted in most settings, this means life will largely begin to return to normal—as many of us experienced yesterday at our neighborhood pools and Memorial Day barbecues. “Our community has worked so hard to slow the spread of COVID and I want to thank you for your dedication to that this past year plus,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement. “It was never easy.”
FCPS to continue masking for the remainder of the school year: As mask restrictions are lifted elsewhere, FCPS has decided to continue requiring students and staff to wear masks during instructional time in school buildings through the remainder of the school year. “Students should carry a mask on them at all times to ensure they have one available when required,” the school system said in a statement.
News in Brief
Fairfax County’s new police chief, Kevin Davis, wants to reduce the threat to the public by barring officers from engaging in high speed pursuits if the only crime is a traffic violation or misdemeanor, WTOP reports.
When President Joe Biden gave a speech Friday in Alexandria about the pandemic, he was introduced by a local high schooler: Jacob Bosley, a junior at Lake Braddock, according to ALXnow.
This month, the Park Authority will upgrade the lighting for the tennis courts, skate park, and basketball courts at Wakefield Park, the Annandale Blog reports.
Jennifer Mack column: Budget-friendly ways to enhance your outdoor space
Many of us are starting to socialize more as COVID-19 restrictions ease and the weather gets nicer (Memorial Day weekend weather aside!). Many people are looking forward to a summer of outdoor activities and entertaining friends and family.
I have seen some beautiful outdoor spaces at homes that were transformed during the downtime of the pandemic in hopes of a return to normalcy and having friends over.
Here are some easy and budget-friendly ways to transform your outdoor space no matter the size:
Privacy fence panels: I’m seeing some creative ways to add privacy to outdoor spaces. A quick online search for privacy fence panels will show you some great options to get some separation from neighbors without going to the expense of planting trees or installing a six-foot fence around your property. A client of mine is purchasing a home that has a 10-foot-wide section of fencing with small slats in between that provides a lot of privacy from the neighbors. It was installed about a foot in from the chain link fence that surrounds the whole property and looks really nice.
Outdoor lighting: Twinkling string lights have been very popular for several years now and they have really advanced in durability and style. I purchased a set of solar powered ones recently that will automatically turn on at dusk! There is nothing like fun lighting to enhance the atmosphere of your outdoor event.
Planters: Get creative with what you use for plants. A trip to any flea market will yield tons of options—from a set of old stairs, old shutters that pots can be attached to vertically, step stools, watering cans, ladders, and wooden pallets. Think outside the box and get creative and you will probably love the result!
Furniture: The rules have gone out the window when it comes to patio furniture. Brightly colored furniture (especially all shades of blue), mismatched pillows, and super comfortable outdoor day beds and porch "beds" that swing are all popular and can help create an ultra relaxing space for you this summer.
Jennifer Mack has more than 16 years of experience in the real estate industry, with her team servicing Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 703-672-0038.
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