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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Annandale's image marred by outdoor furniture sales

Some of the sofas for sale in the Fuddrucker's parking lot.
Thriving urban neighborhoods have “pop-up” shops—temporary retail outposts—with trendy clothes, home goods, or high-quality artistic items. Annandale has impromptu bazaars with people trying to sell rugs or assembly-line paintings in a parking lot or electronics from the trunk of a car.

A case in point is the scene in the photo, above, taken last Saturday afternoon. There were about 40 or 50 plastic-wrapped sofas and love seats lined up in the weed-filled parking lot of the closed Fuddrucker’s on Little River Turnpike. The former restaurant will be torn down to make way for a new Walgreen’s drug store.

The sofas, mostly selling for $599, were from North Carolina and had tags indicating they were made by Ingram Home Furnishings and Thomasville. The seller, Anthony Carleton, said he had a permit.

“It’s probably a violation of the zoning ordinance. We would want to investigate that,” said Jeff Blackford, director of Fairfax County’s Department of Code Compliance. “When someone sets up retail sales in a parking lot, that’s a stationary sales effort and falls under the zoning ordinance,” Blackford said.

“If the sales are taking place on private property, they would need a permit,” noted Susan Epstein, code compliance supervisor in the Code Compliance Department. The Planning and Zoning Department often issues permits for legitimate, seasonal temporary structures, for things like fireworks, pumpkin patches, and flower stands.

“If all they’re doing is setting up furniture outside, most likely it’s not going to be permitted,” Blackford said. “We don’t even know if he has permission from the property owner.” [A Walgreens representative is checking into that.]

If the selling is going on in the right of way, “that would be a police matter,” added Epstein. She advises residents who see those kind of sales going on to call the police non-emergency phone number [703/691-2131].

It’s possible to get a peddlers and solicitors license from the Office of Consumer Affairs, Blackford said. “But that is primarily for people selling things door to too; it’s for non-stationary activities.”

Epstein speculated that Carleton might have gotten a solicitor’s license, but was not using it for the intended purpose. Henri Stein McCartney of Consumer Affairs, however, said there is no record of a solicitor’s license issued to Carleton.

According to McCartney, Consumer Affairs doesn’t have enforcement authority, so any problems would be handled by the police. Code inspectors could issue citations to people failing to comply with the zoning ordinance, but it would be up to the courts to determine if a violation occurred and impose a penalty.

Update: “We have not given permission for anyone to use the lot,” reports Walgreens spokesperson Robert Elfinger. “Construction on the new store will begin this fall. The store is tentatively scheduled to open in summer 2013.”


  1. Thats just lovely. Guess word got out that Annandale is the place to set up all your wares to sell on the side of the road.

  2. This is ridiculous. We are a third world town now. Where is our leadership standing up for our town?

  3. If I owned the lot, I would have him thrown off the property and tell him he's got 10 minutes, anything left after that will be declared abandoned junk. I'd then trash anything he left behind. if he comes back I have him arrested. He's putting the company who owns the land at risk of a lawsuit if he or anybody else trips and falls or gets injured somehow while at his little makeshift shop.

  4. Laws in FFX County are outdated and are no longer effective. That is turning the County and Annandale into one big trash dump!

  5. Yes where is the leadership. It is time to begin organizing and find new leadership

    1. Join the Mason District Council

  6. First of all a new Walgreens? As if there werent enough pharmacies. As far as Annabsale's image being marred, that started several years ago when politicians let it become Korea town. It is discouraging to drive through 236 and all you see are men loitering up and down the turnpike and store fronts in languages other than English. I grew up in Annandale when the mighty Atoms ruled and the area was a slice of America. As a minority myself I enjoyed and adapted to it not change it to look like a foreign country.

  7. All communities evolve over time. Are you saying the government should step in make sure Annandale stays all white like it was in the 1950s? America has gotten more diverse. Get over it.

  8. I think you are reading into the comments. He or she is saying he adapted to Annandale and it community and did not try and change it. Diversity is wonderful as long as diversity is willing to be part of the community and that is not what has happened in Annandale. Take a look around see the trash on the ground, go to the schools and see the trailer parks in the back, look at who volunteers in the schools, look at the signs of the restaurants (not all English), look at the crime, look at the weekly commercial yard sales, look at the commercial business signs and then make your comments. Diversity is not the problem it is those who do not feel that they need to become part of the community but make a new community. Annandale is rich in history. Did you know there was were Union Soldiers during the Civil War that camped out by the Little White Church and then it was burned down. Take the time to look and really think before you make your comments. Annandale/ Mason District used to be a town you could leave your doors unlocked and never have to worry that is not where we are now a days and I for one and disgusted and disappointed by what I am seeing. I am surprised you are willing to be happy with these changes. I also grew up in Annandale when the Atoms ruled and the area was a slice of America so I know where the writer is coming from.

  9. I think you all should look at joining the Mason district Republicans so we can get rid of the GROSS (Penny) neglet that continues. It is the only way. Complaining is one thing. Action is best.

  10. Koreans are more likely to vote Republican. Hmmmm.

  11. You dont have to be white to be nice. But you do need to respect the community you live in, and if you don't, you should go back to where you came from.....DON'T BRING YOUR CRAP HERE! Someone in our government needs to act and fix this place up, get rid of the loitering, the illegal bazaars, the freelance sofa sales and the blight that is so destroying Annandale and Mason District. I don't care if its the democrats or the republicans; it could be the wicked witch of the west with her flying monkeys, who may do a better job. So if the witch is listening, get on your broom, round up your monkeys and get rid of the crap that is undermining our communities. If this place was to improve via economic development, smart urban planning, good mass transit opportunities, walkable mixed-use communities, you would see this place do an about face. Arlington use to be a dump, it is now OZ compared to Mason District. We got all their crap, it seems their wicked witch has been paying attention and doing a much better job!!!

  12. Key Problem. Our witches name is Penny Gross, a do-nothing supervisor. I suggest everyone write her letters on this and continue to do so until she acts. Letters to editors are great too. I have tried and they are horrible at that office....