Fairfax County to hold public hearing on Tysons Corner development

By Kafia A. Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 20, 2010; 2:14 PM

The proposed blueprint for redrawing Tysons Corner, which residents have criticized for allowing too much growth and developers dislike because of its affordable housing guidelines and development restrictions, will go through a major step in the Fairfax County approval process Wednesday.

The Planning Commission is holding a public hearing to consider the draft blueprint, which lays out a 40-year plan to remake the traffic-choked office canyon into a city with clustered commercial, retail and residential towers. The most dense development would be allowed within a few blocks of four Silver Line Metro stations being built as part of the Metro extension to Dulles International Airport.

The blueprint, which is in its fourth revision, also includes a new option that removes density maximums and scales back development by cutting the planning horizon to 20 years.

The Planning Commission can recommend changes to the proposal, recommend approval as is or recommend denial. The commission then sends it to the Board of Supervisors, which is tentatively scheduled to hold its public hearing May 25.

The blueprint is a culmination of almost five years of research and planning by county staff and the Tysons Land Use Task Force, a 37-member panel of landowners, business leaders and residents.

It has drawn criticism from residents who are worried that Tysons Corner's growth could strain roads, schools, parks and other public facilities.

Meanwhile, developers have complained that there is too much disparity between densities proposed for land closest to the stations. They also criticized the proposal's affordable housing guidelines and its requirements for landowners to consolidate large amounts of land before they can propose redevelopment projects in certain areas.

Ultimately, redeveloping Tysons Corner into a tight, compact city is expected to better manage growth and to maximize the economic potential of an area that is the nation's 12th-largest business district. It is slated to grow from about 17,000 residents and 105,000 employees to 100,000 residents and 200,000 employees by 2050.

As of Monday, 62 people, including landowners, developers and residents, had signed up to speak at the commission's public hearing. Speakers can sign up at the commission's Web site or by calling 703-324-2865. The deadline to sign up is 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Members of large organizations, such as trade groups or homeowners associations, will have five minutes to comment. Those representing individual businesses or people will have three minutes, and those who choose to speak on the day of the hearing will be given two minutes.

The public hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m., with a cut-off time of 1 a.m. If needed, a rollover date is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 28. The hearing will be in the Board of Supervisors auditorium of the county government center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy.

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