Post Content

Land near Accotink Creek sold in auction, leaving environmentalists concerned

A 7-acre property bordering Accotink Creek in Annandale was bought at auction (via Google Maps)

A local environmental nonprofit is concerned that a recent sale of a 7-acre forested property near Accotink Creek could lead to its development.

A public auction was held last week for seven lots near Woodburn Road and Accotink Creek in Annandale, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) and the Fairfax County Parks Authority confirmed to FFXnow.

However, despite both organizations participating in the auction, neither were the winning bidder.

The property was owned by a small family foundation for years before “falling into tax delinquency,” which forced them to sell, according to NVCT. The property was initially set to be auctioned off in October, but it was canceled in hopes that another solution could be found. Ultimately, none was.

NVCT Executive Director Alan Rowsome says the foundation served as “good stewards” of the property and often worked with local organizations to preserve the forest, while also allowing appropriate public recreation.

The land is full of intact forest that buffers Accotink Creek and home to a segment of the county-managed Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail. The property is also in a floodplain and a county-designated resource protection area (RPA).

RPAs are environmentally important lands that “protect water quality, filter pollutants from stormwater runoff, reduce the volume of stormwater runoff, prevent erosion, and perform other important biological and ecological functions,” according to the county website.

Rowsome calls the property a “rarity” in the D.C. region for the density of the forest, its natural resources, and its importance to the ecosystem. NVCT was hoping to purchase it to keep it intact and work with the park authority on other preservation efforts.

The park authority was interested in the land for “natural habitat, possible cultural resources, possible trail connections,” FCPA spokesperson Judith Pedersen said in an email.

But neither were able to purchase the lots, leaving the future of this section of Annandale forest in doubt.

“We do not know who purchased the properties,” Pedersen wrote. “We do not know if the purchaser(s) intend on developing the properties.”

The buyer’s identity won’t be known publicly for several weeks, stirring anxiety about its intentions.

Since the land is designated an RPA, any development or “land disturbing activity” generally requires county approval. Removal of native vegetation is also not allowed, and the use of pesticides and fertilizer are “strongly discouraged.”

But Rowsome remains worried, since the bidder spent a lot of money on the property. He estimates it was three to four times the amount that NVCT and the Parks Authority were able to bid.

“These properties are not developable…but somebody still bid a very high amount on each lot anyway,” Rowsome says. “So, a developer still bought them, despite the county’s affirmation of them not being buildable and [could] try to work different angles to release some of those restrictions.”

Rowsome allows that the buyer “could be a do-gooder citizen” whose intentions are aligned with NVCT and the park authority and “thought they were being helpful.”

Since it could be weeks or even months before the fate of the property becomes clear, Rowsome says he’ll be patient and remain optimistic that rare county natural resources can be protected.

“The story of this property is not over yet. We’re still going to work diligently and with the assumption that [the property] will eventually be protected in some way or another,” he said. “And we will work in good faith with anybody who is willing to do that.”

Recent Stories

With the Silver Line Phase II opening still in flux, Fairfax County is being asked to pay another $40 million. At its transportation committee meeting on Friday (Sept. 30), the…

Fairfax County is seeking public input on plans that could put Trailside Park (6000 Trailside Drive) in Springfield in a new light and add more utility to the location. A…

This Tuesday is National Taco Day and Neighborhood lists some local favorites to grab tacos at.

Recent violent incidents around Vienna included a confrontation between a man and two others leaving his apartment and a battle between a local resident and an Amazon delivery truck. The…

Looking for a more convenient way to work out?

On the Go Fitness Pro offers in home personal training. We bring the gym to you, so you can save time and skip the hassle of going to the gym. Plus, our trainers are certified and experienced, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible workout.

We provide all the equipment needed for a great workout or we can use the equipment that you have.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Are you tired of going to the gym? It might be the crowds, the locker room, waiting on equipment or the time it takes to commute to the gym.

Having a personal trainer come to your home will keep you accountable, save you time and allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home.

Skip the hassle of the gym and try our in-home personal training service.

Our services are reasonably priced, convenient, effective and are risk free.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Rescue Reston’s 10th Anniversary Rally for Open Space

Join us on Saturday, October 15, 2022, from 1 pm to 3 pm where it all began in 2012 at the Hartke Building parking lot. We coalesced around a common vision, and purpose and have moved forward with unwavering community

Reston Home Tour

Reston Museum’s 20th Reston Home Tour features homes include an award-winning modern masterpiece tucked back in a wooded oasis, a beautifully-landscaped personal “club house” offering amazing views of the golf course, a newly-renovated Reston Town Center townhouse with a water

×

Subscribe to our mailing list