Fairfax commissioners will consider scaling back Tysons Corner's transformation

By Kafia A. Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 27, 2010

A proposal to transform Tysons Corner into a walkable urban city could be scaled back dramatically when the Fairfax County Planning Commission votes on an updated land-use plan Thursday.

The blueprint, which would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors, would permit new building rules to transform Tysons into a bustling city with a new street grid and towering high-rises. The densest development would be permitted near four Silver Line Metro stations being built in Tysons as part of the rail extension to Dulles International Airport.

Commissioners could recommend limits on growth that were outlined in earlier proposals, however, and slash the planning horizon from 40 years to 20. That option would place no limit on residential projects in housing-starved Tysons but cap office development at 45 million square feet through 2030. About 27 million square feet of office space exists in Tysons, with plans for 6 million more approved, including a future expansion of Tysons Corner Center.

The new option was first suggested by Walter L. Alcorn, chairman of the commission's Tysons committee. Alcorn and commissioners Kenneth A. Lawrence and Frank A. de la Fe, whose districts include Tysons, plan to present the proposal in a joint motion Thursday.

"This option would get us started on the transformation of Tysons Corner and would provide maximum flexibility for new development around the Metro stations," Alcorn said Wednesday.

The blueprint, now in its fourth revision, has been a five-year effort. It is based on the recommendations of the Tysons Land Use Task Force, a county-appointed panel of residents, developers and business leaders formed in 2005.

The commission will meet at 8:15 p.m. at the county government center, at 12000 Government Center Pkwy. in Fairfax. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a hearing June 22 and is expected to adopt a plan in the summer.

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