In yesterday's Metro Section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the paper decided to cover the sad, sad story of a property dispute pitting neighbor against neighbor in a tony, south of Cary Street neighborhood, further described in the article as "near the Country Club of Virginia." Clearly, it was a slow news day for the Times-Disgrace. Or perhaps the Georges have friends on the editorial staff. Who knows.
Short version: Page and John George, a Realtor and developer, respectively, are opposing their neighbors' attempt to subdivide said neighbors' current 3.7 acre lot into a new 1.5 acre building lot and a 2.2 acre lot with the existing home on it. The big deal: The new building lot will be adjacent to the George's property line, and anything built on said new lot will interfere with the George's currently pristine views. I love the pictures, with the Georges staring pensively off into the distance next to white poles marking the battle....in mean, the property line.
Did I mention that the neighbors seeking to subdivide their own land are Former Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow and his wife, Carolyn? The Snows have applied for a special use permit, as required by law. Their application is moving through the process, and the City Planning Staff has recommended approval of the application. It appears the neighbors who don't much like that possible result have taken their case to the court of public opinion.
My favorite quote in the whole article has to be this:
Bill Chapman, who also lives on Tempsford, said he opposes the permit because he does not want to set a precedent for subdividing lots in the neighborhood, which is located near The Country Club of Virginia.
"One of the things that attracted us to the neighborhood is the size of lots … and the lack of density, and we want to preserve that," said Chapman, a developer. (my emphasis added).
Yeah, you have a real density issue there. 1.5 acres, 2.2 acres - whooee! Wouldn't want these folks to be living right on top of one another, now would we?
And is it just me that finds it absolutely hilarious that the complaining developer is currently constructing a ginormous 15-unit condominium complex on the corner of Libbie and Guthrie, in a primarily residential area of small Capes and ranch homes, tearing down several small houses in the process, after going through a special use permitting process to get the necessary approvals? Whatever happened to that whole "he who lives in glass houses..." thing? Pun definitely intended.
I have an idea. If Messrs. George and Chapman continue to oppose the Snows' application, I respectfully suggest they agree to forgo the special use permitting process themselves in their own development projects. Seems fair to me, sauce for the goose and all that good stuff.
Now, does anyone mind if we get back to real news, like the foreclosure crisis, or average folks struggling to make a living, or students graduating with exorbitant amounts of college debt?
[NOTE: After a quick check of public records, it appears that both Messrs. George and Chapman own lots that are.....1.45 acres. Yup, that's right. Smaller than the new 1.5 acre building lot the Snows are proposing to subdivide. I swear, I could not make this stuff up if I tried].