Great Falls Citizens Association ©

To serve as a non-partisan community political advocate to promote all aspects of community interest accruing to a common good and to preserve the historic, low density, semi-rural character of Great Falls and its natural resources.

GFCA Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, October 14, 7:30p.m. - 9:30p.m.
Great Falls Library
Approval of GFCA Operating Budget
FY 2014-15 and Update on Exxon Spill
developments, MTBE contamination plume,
and remediation proposals

GFCA Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, November 11, 7:30p.m. - 9:30p.m.
Great Falls Library
GFCA Calls for Changes in Proposed
MBTE Clean Up Plan

On September 25, GFCA met with the owners of the contaminated old Exxon gas station site and reviewed their pending proposal for additional cleanup of the spreading underground water contamination created by the gasoline additive MTBE in groundwater. The current contamination plume map can be viewed here.

On September 30, GFCA sent a letter to the owners (Fairfax Petroleum) asking them to reevaluate a critical element of their proposal. This letter is available here.

GFCA has been monitoring efforts by the Fairfax Petroleum Company and its environmental consultant (Kleinfelder) to remediate groundwater contamination caused by the former Exxon Service Station at Walker Road and Georgetown Pike. The attached map is from the latest Kleinfelder report, and shows the plume of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) – a gasoline contaminant – that extends in the southeast direction under the Great Falls Center, and in the southern direction under the Crossroads, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo properties. The contamination has not reached private wells used for drinking and bathing.

Kleinfelder recently presented its plans for cleanup proposing a small, single recovery well on the site, which would pump and treat groundwater at the rate of about 10 gallons per minute over the next several years.

After professional review of the proposal, the GFCA, the GFCA Special Committee on Groundwater Contamination, and their professional environmental consultant do not believe that the small proposed system will be effective at removing the contamination from the entire plume, which Fairfax Petroleum committed to do last December when it asked for a Special Exception from Fairfax County to construct a drive-in bank on the former Exxon Service Station Site.

GFCA requested that Fairfax Petroleum and Kleinfelder evaluate a more reliable alternative involving three recovery wells with two located near the leading edges of the plume to the south and southeast, in addition to the proposed well location. In GFCA’s opinion, this alternative will be more effective at drawing contamination more efficiently from all parts of the contamination plume and remove the contamination more thoroughly in a shorter period of time. GFCA has formally requested that this alternative be evaluated and presented to the citizens of Great Falls, at a Department of Environmental Quality public meeting at the Great Falls Library, currently scheduled for November 11, 2014.

Georgetown Pike Paving Project

The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin repaving eight miles of Georgetown Pike (Route 193) from I-495 to Springvale Road (weather permitting). The work will be performed at night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday. Due to delays, this work is expected to be completed in November.

Drivers are asked to consider taking alternate routes during the repaving operation on Route 193. The road will be milled to a depth of four inches and replaced with 2.5 inches of intermediate asphalt and 1.5 inches of surface asphalt. Some areas of the existing pavement will require deeper patching prior to the asphalt overlay.

New Traffic Pattern at Route 7 Widening
Westbound traffic shift scheduled
Dranesville –
Drivers are asked to be aware of a new traffic pattern on westbound Route 7 beginning Wednesday night, July 30, as Virginia Department of Transportation crews shift traffic between Reston Avenue and the Fairfax County Parkway.

Improvements to this intersection are part of the project to widen Route 7 to three lanes in each direction between Rolling Holly Drive and Reston Avenue. The $37 million project will be complete in Dec. 2015. Visit the VDOT project page for details.

July TownHall - Turner Farm
At GFCA’s monthly TownHall meeting (July 8), the past and future of Turner Farm was discussed.  Representatives of civic groups active at Turner Farm presented history and described their groups’ activities and plans.  The meeting ended with a high-level discussion of the potential direction of future development at Turner Farm.

The meeting was triggered by Fairfax County Park Authority’s (FCPA) plans to revisit the Master Development Plan for the Farm in order to incorporate the recently acquired Farmhouse and related lots into the Plan.  Created in 2000, some updating of non-Farmhouse elements of the Plan may also be undertaken.  GFCA has been asked by the FCPA to facilitate some community discussion and provide some input to FCPA prior to the start of formal Plan revision activities in May 2015.  These activities will include more community comment and involvement, starting as early as next summer.

The meeting was a productive exchange of ideas and philosophies for use of the Farm.  Beverly Bradford, representing Save the Farm (one of the principal groups responsible for creating the funding and support to establish Turner Farm as a park) presented the history and important developments in the life of Turner Farm.  A round table discussion followed the presentation, anchored by John Adams (Georgetown Pike Association), Ginger Nelson Yale (Turner Farm Team), Charles Olin (Analemma Society), Richard Bliss (former Dranesville District FCPA Board Member and founder of Northern VA Conservation Trust), Chris Lehman (Great Falls Lacrosse Association) and Nicole Gnozzio (Riverbend Pony Club).  Many members of these and other groups were in attendance and participated in the meeting.

Overall, people agreed that the program was informative and helped foster a better understanding of Turner Farm and its position as a unique resource for our community and for Fairfax County.  For example, the Analemma Society’s astronomical education programs touch many adults and children from near and far.  The equestrian activities similarly benefit many.   A consistent theme from all the presentations and discussion is that Turner Farm has an environment of “low intensity, dark at night” activities and that this is central to the Farm’s current uses as well as to its unique aesthetic.  Eric Knudsen, GFCA President, held an informal, non-binding straw poll at the conclusion asking:  “do you support maintaining Turner Farm’s historic focus on ‘low intensity, dark at night’ uses”?  Support for that was unanimous by a show of hands among the 40-50 people in attendance.

Transportation Committee Releases
Results from “Direct How We Connect”


To view the survey results, click here

GFCA's Second Annual Urban Tree Walk

Members joined two local tree experts on a walk around the Great Falls Grange Park and down Innsbruck Avenue to learn about some of our finest local tree species. They showed the group the difference between a white pine and a Virginia pine and a red oak and a red bud tree.This GFCA program was fun for all who attended!

GFCA - LUZ Committee Hearing re

SE 2014-0373 (Trinity Land LLC, 11801

Leesburg Pike, Herndon, VA)

Great Falls Citizens Assoc. (GFCA) Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) Committee hearing was held on September 10 for the above-referenced land use matter. The purpose of the committee hearing was to (i) provide the applicant with the opportunity to present its plans to the Great Falls community and (ii) to allow members of the Great Falls community to comment on the application.

Status: Trinity Land LLC (current owner) has applied for a Special Exception (SE) to develop the former Woody’s Miniature Golf and Driving Range (Tax Maps 0063-01-0033 & 0033A, 11801 Leesburg
Pike, Herndon, VA 20170, 30.0256 acres) as a residential cluster subdivision under its existing R-1 zoning. NV Homes (contract purchaser) has the property under contract. The sale is contingent on the approval of the SE. Fairfax Co. accepted the SE app on 08-12-14.
Action-Past: LUZ hearing was held on 09-10-14. Applicant presented SE plan and indicated SE app unlikely to go before PC and BOS until 1st Quarter 2015. Attendees voiced concerns on ingress/egress, landscaping, lot yield, RPA, school pyramid and trails
Action-Future: LUZ will continue with public outreach and schedule a follow-up hearing if necessary. To view the Summerhouse SE Plat 9-11-2014, click here

Fairfax Connector Bus Service & Bus Stop
While shuttle bus service between the commercial areas in Great Falls (the village/Colvin Run/Seneca) and Metrorail is not foreseen in the immediate future, there are bus stops near both the eastern and western intersections of Colvin Run Road and Route 7 that connect to the new Spring Hill Metro station at Tysons. These bus stops are along Fairfax Connector Route 574. Information on Route 574 can be found on-line, click here. For addtional information and details, please click here

GFCA & GFHS Call for Changes to
Resident Curatorship Program Proposal
GFCA and other community organizations have been long-time supporters of the concept of Resident Curatorship (RC) as a commonsense solution to the need to preserve historic county-owned buildings, such as the farmhouse on Turner Farm in Great Falls. In concept, an RC program could help the restoration and preservation of historic buildings by leasing buildings to private parties who agree to restore and maintain them properly. This summer, Fairfax County released a proposed RC program for comment. After review, the GFCA and the Great Falls Historical Society (GFHS) have joined forces in calling for changes to the proposal.

GFCA and GFHS formed a Working Group in July to review the nearly 250-page report that Fairfax County developed proposing a county RC program. In a letter to the County sent on Aug 6, GFCA and GFHS called for a stronger set of criteria in selecting historic properties, urged that the Turner Farmhouse be selected as the County’s pilot project to demonstrate how the RC works, and called for a public hearing so other community groups and residents could comment on the RC plan. The recommendations developed by the Great Falls working group also suggested changes to program administration, standards for curator selection, and leasing terms. For a copy of the Working Group recommendations, click here

Last year, GFCA passed a resolution supporting the Mark Turner Farmhouse on Georgetown Pike as a primary candidate for the new RC program. Unfortunately, this historic home has become a community eyesore with no upkeep since acquired by FCPA four years ago. It is hoped that quick action to implement an RC program could lead to restoration of the Turner Farmhouse and other historic structures owned by the County.

Virginia DEQ Approves Contaminated Site
Cleanup Plan
In January, the state Department of Environmental Quality approved the first phase Corrective Action Plan (CAP) that details the start of cleanup activities at the old Exxon station.  GFCA provided active input to the final CAP.  While we are not pleased with all elements of the CAP, substantial improvements have been made to the draft CAP released in the fall, and we are pleased that cleanup has begun.  For further information, click here

Roads, Traffic and Tolls
The Great Falls Citizens Association Transportation Committee, in collaboration with the Transportation Committee of the McLean Citizens Association, met with Aubrey Layne, Virginia’s new Secretary of Transportation. For more information, click here

GFCA Membership Renewal
Annual memberships expired on June 30. If your membership was expiring, you received e-mail or a postal notice last month with renewal instructions. If you received a renewal notice, and have renewed your membership, thank you! If you have not yet renewed your membership, please take a moment and renew today. If you have any questions about membership and renewals, please contact the Membership Team.

Plans Revealed for Grange Renovation
For details,
click here

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