One wonders if the special use permit application to add three bedrooms (and over 6,000 square feet) at Parma B&B on Christmas Tree Lane will ever get off the ground, judging by the number of times it has passed back and forth between the county Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals.
For those keeping score, the planning commission has seen and referred the application back to the BZA twice. The BZA tabled the application once in February and got it back again at its March 23 meeting. That’s a total of four meetings.
And the game is not yet over. At the latest meeting, Dr. Sadhua Naga Singh, owner of the B&B, requested a postponement, raising the ire of BZA member David Konick.
“I haven’t heard a single reason why it should be postponed,” said Konick. “And there are people here from the public that have now been to their third meeting, including me. This makes the fourth meeting for this application. And I think it’s very unfair to make people keep coming back time and time again. This was publicized for a public hearing back in January. I say, let’s have the hearing. We’ve already postponed one time.”
“I came today to ask to table this,” said Singh, “ because I have not met many of the criteria. This week has been really hectic for me. My daughter has cardiac arrhythmia. I would like to come back later having rectified all these things. I would like it to be tabled for next month. I thought that’s probably better than getting into it all.”
She went on to explain, “There are many things I understand from the commission that are ambiguous. My website—the company has a central umbrella under which I have two entities: Parma at Tysons Corner, which is a medical facility, purely a medical facility; and over here—“
She was cut short by Konick. “Wait one second. Sorry to interrupt you,” he told Singh before addressing Jennifer Matthews. “Madame Chairwoman, first of all I’m not sure what’s going on. If she’s going to start testifying–” But he was cut short by Singh, “No, I’m not testifying. I would like–” then she was cut short again by Konick.
The play by play was captured by a court reporter, whose unusual presence before the meeting even began prompted Konick to insist that she be sworn in to ensure she record the meeting accurately and truthfully.
In a later phone call, Jock Nash confirmed that he and his wife Yoko hired the reporter. The Nash property borders Parma. “We hoped there would be a hearing,” said Jock Nash. “I hoped the court reporter would have better hearing than we do and I could find out what’s going on. This is a very big issue for us.” If Singh’s expansion plans are ever approved, the resulting structure would affect the Nash’s viewshed.
During the discussion on the postponement request, BZA members Matthews, Christopher Bird and William Anderson voiced support, but Konick did not. BZA Chairman Alex Sharp was absent for the meeting.
“Well, it looks like I’m going to be outvoted, ladies and gentlemen,” Konick said. And the postponement request was approved 3 to 1, to be taken up again at the BZA’s April 27 meeting.
A brief history
Both the planning commission and BZA cite the same reasons for refusing to hear Singh’s application: her unpaid property taxes and meals and lodging taxes, disagreements with neighbors on Christmas Tree Lane over maintaining their shared road, discrepancies on the Parma B&B website; and confusion about the ultimate purpose for the B&B expansion. BZA Member Christopher Bird, who also sits on the Planning Commission, said it is “hard to know if [Parma] was a spa, B&B, or something to do with health and maybe an amalgamation of all three.”
Singh has done little to dispel those perceptions. She insists that she intends to operate Parma as a B&B, but her statements at the meetings imply she intends to offer health- and wellness-related services as well. Her website, parmatalittlewashington.com, also emphasizes the spa and healthcare aspects of Parma.
As of March 28, Singh is delinquent on her 2014 and 2015 property taxes by $10,194.28, according to county treasurer Debra Knick. In addition, because Singh has not been able to certify that some of the 25-acre property was in land use, she was charged with five years of rollback taxes totaling about $100,000.
Singh claims she has paid much of the rollback taxes, but efforts to verify her statements have been unsuccessful. Both Knick and county Commissioner of the Revenue Sharon Dodson gave privacy and confidentiality as reasons for not revealing the status of Singh’s rollback tax status.
Efforts to uncover the amount of delinquent meals and lodging taxes have been similarly unsuccessful.
One thing is for sure. As county officials try to make sense of the request, each planning commission and BZA meeting seems to generate more documents.The March BZA meeting agenda posted on the county’s BoardDocs site offers links to 26 separate documents, such as iterations of site and building plans; emails from planning commission members, the building office, and Singh’s neighbors; and official memoranda.