More than 100 Fairfax residents and property owners debated the proposed locations of a four-lane highway, from the center of Fairfax City, during hearings held last week by the Virginia department of highways.
More than 20 persons testified. Highway officials have proposed four alternatives for the 2.5 mile "mini-belt" that is expected to cost about $5.5 million. Several of the residents and property owners who testified offered alternative routes of their own.
The record of the hearing will be considered by the Virginia Commission of Highways before a final location is chosen. Written statements and exhibits may also be submitted to the commission up to 10 days following the hearing. They should be sent to D.B. Hope, Department of Highways and Transportation, Culpeper, Va. 22701.
All of the alternatives roughly follow the present Pickett Road location from Rte. 236 (Little River Turnpike) south of the city northward. There would be an extension at the northern end of the road to connect it with Blake Lane at Rte. 237 (Lee Highway). The proposed highway would also cross over Rte. 29-211 (Arlington Boulevard).
The four alternatives were discussed at the opening of the hearing by Richard P. Morris, a location and design engineer for the department of highways. The hearing was chaired by district engineer D. B. Hope of Culpeper.
Fairfax City Mayor Nathaniel F. Young testified first and strongly supported a route that would swing the highway slightly to the west of the present road through what is now Army-Navy Country Club property. The alternative, termed Road Line Three by the highway department, would be .09 mile west of the existing road at its maximum distance and would eliminate two holes of a golf course expansion planned by the club.
Young said he favored that alternative because it would have very little effect on homes, would put a hill between the road and any homes in the area, provide a better gradient on the road and take truck traffic away from the center of town.
He reminded the panel of engineers that the highway had been requested by the Fairfax City Council as long ago as 1973 and was included in a city master plan in 1968. "There are already 15,000 cars per day going through the city," he said. "We need that road now."
Three members of the Army-Navy Club - Gen. W. H. Robinson, Allen Turner and Richard Arms - argued against the route. They cited the need for recreation and said their 18-hole golf course was as intensely used as a similar 22-hole club in Arlington. "There are other road alternatives that will not prevent the addition," Robinson said. The country club is a private, nonprofit club with a waiting list of 876, according to Turner.
Another objection to the Line Three alternative was raised by C. E. Buck, a member of the Church of the Apostles, who said that church property intended for a future church building would be bisected by the highway and would make the property virtually useless.
Attorney Blaine Friedlander represented property owner Shelley Krasnow at the hearing and objected to another alternative, called Line A, which would move Pickett Road 30 feet closer to Krasnow's house. According to Friedlander, it is an 18th century house that has historic architectural interest and is cited by the Virginia Landmarks Commission. Line A would require removal of several large trees in front of the house.
Sally B. Ormsby by the Mantua Civic Association asked for more studies, particularly impact effects as residential areas such as Blake Lane and Lee Highway. She said the road should not be completed unless the residential character of the area could be preserved, noise abatement precedures put into effect, and trucks prohibited from using Blake Lane.
Dudley Kyle was one of several residents who told the panel, "I don't see the need for a four-lane highway at all." He suggested that the existing road be improved.
According to the preliminary study by the department of highways, if Road Line B were adopted, a maximum of three families and two businesses would be displaced. Two families would be displaced if Line C were adopted but no families would be displaced if either Road Lines A or 3 were adopted. With A, a gas line would have to be moved, however.
The Cherry Dale Cement Block Co., represented by David Boszien, said that all four of the proposed alternatives would cut through their firm's property and would force the company to relocate. Bobzien offered another alternative route that wuold by-pass the Cherry Dale property.
Fairfax County Supervisor Jim Scott testified on the short northern portion of the proposed road that would fall within the county of Fairfax. "We are concerned about the possible adverse effects on residential areas and ask for more studies on the impact of the project," he told the panel. The Blake Lane area particularly concerns him, he said.
Jack Wilson, president of the Old Lee Highway Civic Association, said his organization supports the improvement of Pickett Road but would like the highway to consider noise buffering.
"Old Lee Highway is residential and we are concerned with keeping it residential," he said.