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Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Annandale properties face blight hearings

7101 Vellex Lane
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold public hearings to consider blight abatement ordinances for several properties including two in Annandale: the derelict building on 7130 Little River Turnpike that used to house the Frame Factory and a single-family home at 7101Vellex Lane in the Wilburdale community.

Properties can be declared blighted if they “engender the public’s health, safety, or welfare” because the structure or any improvement on it “is dilapidated, deteriorated, or violates minimum health and safety standards.”

The problems with the house on Vellex Lane have been going on for nearly 15 years. In 1993, the owner, Annandale resident Richard H. Chiu, an engineer, now retired, obtained a building permit for a two-story addition. The work didn’t start until 1997. Chiu never obtained the required inspections and approvals and eventually abandoned the property. It has been vacant since 2004.

The house was initially referred to the blight abatement program in late 2004. Chiu made minimal attempts to make the property more presentable. It was referred to the blight abatement program again in 2006 and in September 2011.

The staff of the county’s property maintenance department determined repairs would not be economically feasible because of  structural problems and “the extreme lack of maintenance” over the past seven years. They reported “the structural members and fasteners are not capable of supporting the imposed loads.” Chiu has applied for a building permit to construct a new house on the existing foundation. 

At the Jan. 24 hearing, the county will request authorization for demolition. If Chiu fails to fix the property within 30 days, the county will proceed with the demolition and will seek reimbursement from Chiu for the cost, which the county estimates will be $35,000.

The Frame Factory property was badly damaged in a fire on Jan. 1, 2010, and was referred to the blight abatement program on Feb. 10. Fire investigators determined the property was a total loss and estimated the damage at $1.34 million.
At the public hearing on Jan. 24, the county will seek authorization to tear down the building, estimated to cost $68,000, if the owner, Patricia Riesett of North Carolina, fails to fix up the property within 30 days. According to a county report, the building was constructed in 1954 and was originally used as a hardware and building supply store.


  1. Chiu will find another way around the County as he always does

  2. Chiu has several other properties in the same condition. They should all be demolished.

  3. What a huge waste of Taxpayer/Fairfax County money!!!! There ought to be a law under which if a property, such as this, fails an inspection cannot continue to build until it is in compliance, and within a stated period of time such as 2 or 3 months. Our community is absolutely appalled this has been allowed by Fairfax County to continue for YEARS!!