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Citizens Association Concerned About Franklin Area Development

The lot is being developed by Tradition Homes.

Tradition Homes, a McLean-based developer, is constructing two new homes on a parcel of land in the Franklin Park area, where, for decades, only one home stood.

And some neighbors in the community are not satisfied with the site plans. 

The 36,000 square foot parcel, located at 1872 Rhode Island Ave., originally consisted of three narrow "railroad" lots. Tradition Homes demolished the existing home, consolidated those lots and subdivided the property to accommodate two new residences.

Wallace Sansone, president of the Franklin Area Citizens Association, has expressed concerns for months about the project, including the number of trees that have been razed and the effects the two new homes will have on stormwater runoff into a creek bed that snakes through the middle of the parcel.

"Because of the extraordinary environmental circumstances and heavy storm water damage in the area, it is vital to limit construction by whatever means in this heavily wooded environmentally sensitive floodplain bisected by a flowing stream which ultimately flows into the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay," Sansone wrote in a letter to Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust earlier this year.

Steve DeFalco, who launched Tradition Homes with his business partner and brother six years ago, said the company has spent more than $100,000 to improve the runoff system, including increasing the size of an existing underground pipe and constructing infiltration trenches, which will help slow the progress of stormwater.

"It is indisputable that we have totally improved it," DeFalco said.

Benjamin Wiles, a staff member in Foust's office, explained stormwater runoff is a problem in Franklin Park - period. It's not an issue unique to this construction project. 

"Stormwater issues are an ongoing issue in Franklin Park, not only because of new development, but maybe more importantly because most of the homes in Franklin Park were built before stormwater regulations were in place," Wiles explained in an email to Patch. "My sense is that the reason this project has received so much attention is because two homes are being built where only one existed previously."

The majority of trees on the lot were removed to accommodate construction equipment, DeFalco said. Seventy-five trees will be replanted to replace the canopy.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of the article reported that the Franklin Area Citizens Association represents 800 families. The community includes 600 homes in the Franklin Park area and 200 residents of Vinson Hall, but it does not collect dues from all residents in the area.

peter gross December 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Cutting down mature trees to accomodate construction equipment is a virtually permanent solution to a temporary problem. The 75 "replacement" trees will no doubt take decades to recreate a canopy. "... indisputable that we have totally improved it."? I think not. Personally, I would shun such developers.
Boiled December 06, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Guess we don't have a choice, do we? If someone wants to buy a big lot in FP and effectively scorch the land until they can squeeze as much profit out of it as possible, they can do it. When was the last time any new development was ever stopped in FP? And, wait, the creek down by Chesterbrook is pretty much gone now. Was that the innovative stormwater solution, the one that totally "improved it"?

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