When Maryanne Paszkiewicz and her husband bought their $90,000 range home in Fairfax County's Burke Centre last year, she did not ask and no one volunteered the fact that one day, soon the county would begin erecting subsidized housing nearby.
But 13 weeks ago, bulldozers began breaking ground on the first 50 of an eventual 208 units for low and moderate-income families that the county will build on land conveyed to them by Burke Centre.
Burke Centre is a rapidly growing development of single and multi-family dwellings just west of Springfield in southern Fairfax County.
The first 50 units were about half completed when the county disclosed that a site in the same Oaks neighborhood of Burke, but tucked away near some railroad tracks, was the planned location for the second set of 50 homes for low and moderate-income families.
Residents of Burke's 150-unit Oaks neighborhood, one of five Burke neighborhoods, simultaneously became aware that a third site - in ominous proximity to the second site, in their view - was under consideration for the balance of the subsidized homes.
"That is what people are so upset about," Paszkiewicz said the other day. "People feel that 200 units taxes any neighborhood's ability to assimilate."
This week the Burke Partnership, developers of Burke Centre, disclosed that the last site of subsidized homes would be situated farther away from the other two. Maryanne Paszkiewicz says that news will make a difference to some residents who have been organizing resistance, "but there may be others who aren't willing to drop it."
"I don't think people who don't earn that much are any different," Pat Lukowsky, another Oaks resident, said recently. "It is just that I don't know that. And because I don't know that, I don't want them around me . . . I don't want to be the first social experiment."
Such an attitude is especially worrying to the county, which has only 3,500 subisidized units available for low-and moderate-income renters but figures there are about 27,000 families in Fairfax in need of some form of housing assistance.
The issue of subsidized housing has been a recurring controversy in Fairfax. After nine months of delay the County Board of Supervisors reluctantly approved a development of 100 subsidized townhouses known as Rolling Road Estates in Springfield in June - but only after the federal government had threatened to cut off $3.8 million in grants if they failed to do so. Then in September, after listening to Reston community leaders criticize that town's subsidized housing, the supervisors unanimously vetoed construction of an apartment complex that would have brought 42 more subsidized apartments to an area of Reston where there were already 490 subsidized units.
Developers of Burke, which will have 5,000 units by 1984, say it is far-Fetched to compare Burke to Reston.
"Our units will be properly managed, the tenants will be screened and most will be moderate-income. There isn't going to be one iota of property damage. We are insisting that the (county) housing authority make these model units," John T. Hazel, a local zoning attorney and one of Burke's three developers, said recently.
The population of Cravenna Oaks, the first site under construction, will be predominatly moderate income. Under guidelines of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will help pay the rent, that means families of four in an income range of $11,250 to $18,000.
With the "vast majority" of Fairfax renters paying too large a percentage of their income for housing - according to housing authority aide, Deirdre Coyne - and with "several thousand persons" commuting into the county because they cannot afford the county's high rents, getting subsidized rentals accepted at Burke is seen as especially important.
"It is particularly important in these planned communities because you don't have the problems of going into an [already] established neighborhood where you have a vacant piece of land and they want it to remain that way," Coyne says.
But to some of the 90 residents of Burke's Oak neighborhood, who will meet again Tuesday on the housing issue, they already are an established community, if only of 3 year's standing.
"It's not us against low-income housing," Pat Lukowsky says. "Its just that I don't want them all over near [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] CAPTION: Picture, Maryanne Paszkiewicz stands before county - subsidized homes going up near her $99,000 home in Suburban Burke Centre, By Ken Feil - The Washington Post