Panel to Focus on Lewinsville Park Case

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing tomorrow night at 8:15 p.m. on proposed changes to the county's definition of what constitutes a public use of county-owned facilities.

The proposed change comes as a result of the controversies surrounding Arlington's Marymount University and its use of a field at Lewinsville Park for its NCAA home games.

In 2003 the Board of Zoning Appeals concluded that Marymount's use violated the rule which requires that facilities like the park and the field be used "exclusively for public purposes." A Circuit Court judge reversed that decision, but last month the Supreme Court of Virginia vacated that decision, saying the county missed its deadline to appeal.

The county has asked the Supreme Court to rehear the case, but under the current standing interpretation as decided by the Board of Zoning Appeals, Marymount's continued use would require a special permit or special exception, which would require additional public hearings.

The county is seeking to change the language of the rule. County officials claim that the change will clarify the public use rule which was never meant to be interpreted in a way that would forbid a use such as Marymount's.

Opponents of the change to the rule say that the county is trying to reduce public scrutiny of government decisions and eliminate transparency in its dealings.

 

By  |  October 26, 2005; 3:04 PM ET  | Category:  Government , Neighborhoods
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