For those who prefer pastures over asphalt, farm animals over warehouses and nature over industry, the tale of how suburban growth swallowed up the Bar-J Stables in Fairfax County is sad.
AT the Bar-J Stables, the horses awake each morning to the sound of a traffic snarl. The noise rolls across 41 acres of spring-green pasture from the intersection of Interstate Rte. 66 and the Capital Beltway.
Off to the east of the pasture, where the horses and neighborhood teen-agers often rode to a picnic campsite, is an industrial park - rectangular buildings with signs that say Sperry Secor Simulation systems and W.W. Granger: Electric Motors, Fans, Blowers, Pumps and Tools.
To the west, just past Long Branch Creek where the horses swim in the summer, is the future site of Dunn Loring Village, a planned community of 229 town houses which will be built this year and sell for about $50,000 each.
Right where their owners, mostly teen-age girls, come out for several hours everyday to ride and groom them, the horses have fallen victim ot the growth that any Fairfax County developer could have told them years ago was inevitable.
Now the estate of Earl N. Chiles plans to sell the 41 acres of the Bar-J Stables, assessed at just under $1 million, to the Prudential plans to get rid of the stables and build an "industrial campus" occupied by warehouses and research and development offices.
Teen-age girls who have been tending their horses at the Bar-J Stables for five or more years and who heard just five or more years and who heard just four days ago about the sale, say they have been betrayed.
"We didn't get a piece of the rock," say the girls, referring to Prudential advertisements. "The piece of the rock got us."
The girls most of whom live inside the Beltway in heavily developed areas like Annandale and Falls Church, claim they are losing the only close-by horse facility in the county.
The proposed sale of the 41 acres to Prudential has been advertised and zoning hearings have been held on the sale. Owners of the property say that the $330 monthly rent paid by Bar-J Stables for the land does not pay one-fifth of the $22,000 in yearly real estate taxes on the property.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors sympathized this week with six teen-age girls who came to testify about the effect of losing the stable will have on their lives.
"I'll be out just hanging around and doing nothing," Carol Carlton, 16, told the board. Supervisor James M. Scott (D-Providence) told the girls that Prudential's plan to build an industrial campus conforms to the county's landuse plan. Scott asked them how much land they needed for their horses and they said about 60 acres.
"Sixty acres. Oh dear," Scott said, "I don't know where we are going to find 60 acres." Scott promised the girls he would meet with the Fairfax County Park Authority and try to find parklands near their homes where they could ride their horses.
An attorney for the estate of the family selling the land, William H. Hansbarger, told the girls at the board meeting that "sad as it may be," industrial use of the land is what the county has planned for.
Hansbarger said he was "touched" by the girls' plight and he volunteered to help Scott and the park authority find other land where the girls can ride their horses.
The manager of the Bar-J Stables, Tony Johnson, said yesterday she understands the land must be sold. But after spending 21 years on the property, raising both horses and neighborhood children, Johnson said the prospect of leaving the land is "sickening."