The heads of two Falls Church historic groups appeared before the F.C. Planning Commission tonight to decry the demolition of the historic 610 Fulton Ave. home, done they claimed, without a permit and against the will of the seller of the property. Calls for strengthening the City’s ability to enforce oversight of historic property issues came from those petitioning the commission and commissioners themselves.
Keith Thurston of the Historic Falls Church, Inc., and Ron Anzalone, chair of the City’s Historical Commission spoke about the lack of enforcement. “There was no approval for a demolition, no permit. It was a significant violation,” he said, noting that architects touring the late 1890s home found it to be “structurally sound.” Anzalone said, “We must find a way to take action to see that this is not repeated.”
Planning Commissioner Melissa Teates said, “I am really shocked by this. We are at odds with out own code. We have a code and no will to enforce it.” She added, “I’ve seen the City Council twice take up strengthening preserving historic properties, and twice they took it down.”
“This is a very upsetting situation,” said commissioner Lindy Hockenberry, noting that a lot of time had been spent at City Hall addressing this property. “I am sick about it, I really am,” she said.
“This may be the most drastic situation we’ve seen,” Thurston, a former chair of the Planning Commission, said. “The Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) is only advisory, but it needs to be a mandatory process.” The commissioners tonight indicated they may initiate a request to the City Council for just such a new approach.