By Karen Daniels
It’s rare in today’s world that progress doesn’t come without a price. Moving forward as a nation and society, whether in fields of medicine, computers, or information, something generally gets left behind. This was the concern for the residents of Perez Street, located just off of Dulles Avenue. Their concern was for safety. The problem was a zoning change being presented at Wednesday night’s Stafford’s City Council meeting.
The owners of 411 Dulles, one of two homes sandwiched between commercial establishments, presented a motion to change the classification from Single Family Residential to Multi-Use (MU). It was never discussed or disclosed what the specific nature of the MU business would be, though it was rumored that the owner’s sell granite. A drawing of a two-story, 800 square foot building with four parking spots was displayed, stating that the existing dwelling would be torn down.
Both sides were given the opportunity to present their case. The proponents had their attorney speak for them, while the opponents–residents of Perez Street–spoke about their worry for their children’s safety. And rightly so. This particular spot is a drop-off and pick-up for students attending Stafford MSD. Adding to their cause, Perez Street is narrow and dead ends. Two cars cannot pass, one must pull over, and turning around cannot be done without driving onto someone’s yard. Increased traffic is all but guaranteed.
Almost as a forewarning, the Council explained that even if this zoning change was approved, it didn’t mean the owners could proceed without adhering to the City’s regulations. As for SMSD, it would be up to them to handle the bus-stop location, and while they will most likely address this, there’s not a really good alternate spot available to them for the Perez Street children. When the vote was taken, all *five City Councilmember’s were for it; the Mayor, against it. For Perez Street to have prevailed, they needed one more vote opposing the zoning change. Before taking a recess, several Councilmember’s explained that this decision was not made lightly and that everyone shares their concern for the safety of the children.
*One City Councilmember was not present for the vote.