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Ferry Farm Subdivision Building Permit Challenged

Sign posted by those opposed to the building permit. It is now posted across the street from the lot owned by Kristopher Angstadt. Photo copyright Fredericksburg.Today.

Kristopher Angstadt obtained all the necessary permits from Stafford County and began work in February 2014 to build a single-family home on the property he owns at 20 Wakefield Ave. in the Ferry Farm subdivision. But days after work began, the owner of Home Investors of America, Inc., was greeted by a large banner placed on the lot. It read, “Preserve Ferry Farm Subdivision. Do Not Build on the Half Lot.” It was only the beginning of months of back-and-forth between Angstadt, neighbors and Stafford County.

Angstadt is still unable to proceed. “I have 375 pages of correspondence in this matter,” he said. “For every opposition raised by the neighbors, Stafford County has responded in writing that my permit is valid.”

Attorney H. Clark Lemming disagrees. He’s representing Michael Littlefield, owner of one of the adjoining lots. Littlefield is challenging Angstadt’s building permit and Stafford County’s zoning determination. “[A] zoning review occurred in connection with the issuance of this building permit that determined that Lot 6B met applicable zoning requirements for one SFD [single family dwelling] dwelling unit,” wrote Lemming in a letter to Stafford County Zoning Administrator Susan Blackburn. “We believe that this review was an erroneous interpretation of the zoning ordinance.”

Angstadt was notified by Blackburn that an appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) had been filed. Virginia Code requires an automatic stay be imposed on all action related to the project. Angstadt said he’s loosing money everyday he can’t build, in addition to the money he has to spend on this battle.

The Ferry Farm subdivision was governed since the 1950s by covenants, which expired in the 1980s. Lemming said this is the complicating factor. “This lot [at 20 Wakefield Ave.] is inconsistent with every other lot in Ferry Farm,” he said. “Somehow over the years this lot was separated [from the adjoining home to which it belonged] and was conveyed as a private lot,” he said. “A what point, if any, did this become a buildable lot.”

“I am questioning the determination that was already apparently made regarding the referenced lot,” Lemming wrote in an August 14, 2014, email to Zoning Administrator Blackburn. “Zoning has made a determination at some point (no notice given to anyone) that the lot is buildable. Such a determination is implicit in the issuance of a building permit. It is my position that the County did not follow its own procedures in making this determination, particularly since the County was aware of the issues raised by the adjacent owners.”

Robert “Bob” Thomas, Jr., George Washington District representative on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, emailed Lemming on September 23. “I assure you I facilitated meetings with county staff and the adjacent property owners and every effort was made to ensure any potential development of the lot met every requirement of the county code.”

Still Lemming’s client contends the lot is “unbuildable.” The Stafford County Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public hearing on the matter beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Rd., Stafford.

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