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Monday, January 10, 2011

Neighborhood Spotlight: Lafayette Village close to everything, including beltway

When asked to name the best thing about the Lafayette Village community, Jay Jarvis cited its “awesome location inside the beltway,  which makes it so close to everything”—including I-66 and the Dun Loring Metro station—and its proximity to the woodsy park adjacent to the Hidden Oaks Nature Center. He calls the community Annandale’s “best-kept secret.”

Yet the beltway, right on the community’s border and clearly visible from many homes, is also the community’s biggest issue right now, says Jarvis, president of the Lafayette Village Community Association. That’s been especially true during the ongoing construction project to widen the beltway and install an electronic system to set the toll rates for non-high-occupancy vehicles in the HOV lanes.
Trees that used to serve as a buffer have been cut down, Jarvis says, and “if the traffic backs up on Hummer Road, people cut through the community,” sometimes driving as fast as 50 miles an hour. The community is close to the Little River exit. “In the long run, the neighborhood will be beautiful again, when the new sound wall is up. We’ll plant trees and vines to make it look better,” he says. Meanwhile, speed humps and “islands” with planters are scheduled to be installed soon on Lafayette Village Drive to slow traffic.

The 30-year-old community consists of 294 townhomes and 21 stand-alone houses, and a full third of the community’s land is considered common area, says Jarvis. The common area includes a swimming pool, playground, basketball courts, and 12 community garden plots under the power lines along the beltway. The HOA would like to expand the garden area, but first needs to figure out how to bring in a water line. The HOA also is developing a dog run under the power lines and a trail to connect the neighborhood with the trails around the Hidden Oaks Nature Center.

Jarvis, Penny Gross, and Rep. Gerry
Connolly plant trees at the Earth
Day/Arbor Day celebration.
 The HOA sponsors a number of social events, including an annual Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration in April with a cookout, moon bounce, and tree planting. To encourage kids to help clean up the community, the HOA puts gold dollars in paper cups for them to find and keep as they collect trash around the community. There is also a prize to the kid who picks up the most trash.

On National Night Out in August, there was a parade from the pool house to the community park, and kids got to jump on a moon bounce, explore a police car, and take home a plant. Other activities include a holiday decorating contest and communitywide yard sales.

A soundwall protects the
community from the beltway.
HOA dues, which are $328 a quarter for townhouses, include use of the swimming pool, landscaping and maintenance of the common areas, snow removal, and trash service. Dues for the detached homes are $167 a quarter. Those homes are on public streets, while the townhomes are on privately maintained roads. Professional management is provided by Klingbeil, Powell and Alrutz Inc. of Falls Church, and Jarvis says there are two accountants on the HOA board who can provide additional oversight.

There is very little crime, Jarvis says. A couple of years ago, “professional criminals with shopping lists” took GPS devices and airbags from cars, and Jarvis, who was patrolling the area with Neighborhood Watch scared off a potential burglar at 3 a.m. Another time, someone renting a home in the neighborhood was selling cars illegally, and the HOA board asked the police to come and ticket or tow the cars. Since the streets are privately owned, the police can’t issue tickets unless requested.

National Night Out
The board does have stringent rules on vehicles; it prohibits commercial vehicles from being parked in the same spot for more than 24 hours, prohibits vehicles with ladders, and requires all cars to be properly licensed and inspected.

The HOA’s architectural controls require homeowners to select from an approved list of paint colors, window styles, and fence materials. When landscaping, homeowners must select from an approved list of trees to prevent invasive species from taking over. The HOA sometimes has to step in when homeowners fail to take care of their property. For example, if a resident hasn’t mowed the grass, “we’ll do it and send them a bill,” Jarvis says.

Lafayette Village snapshot
Number of houses: 315
Location: Along Lafayette Village Drive, which runs parallel to the beltway and can be accessed from Hummer Road.
Fairfax County district: Mason
Schools: Woodburn Elementary, Luther Jackson Middle, Falls Church High School
Recreation: community pool, Hidden Oaks Nature Center.
Home prices: $380,000s to $480,000s.


  1. Not about this post, but about the Annandale Anaconda. really, why would anyone want to use a deadly snake as a community's mascot just for the alliteration of it. I say, JUNK the SNAKE.

  2. The Annandale anaconda is actually very friendly and not all that dangerous. Maybe you’ll see it around town and get to know it a little better. And to set the record straight, it’s not Annandale’s official mascot.