A majority of the Fairfax County supervisors said yesterday they would support a citizens' committee recommendation to reject a developer's offer of bargain-priced land for relocation of the county governmental center.
The supervisors' comments indicate that the offer of 158 acres of land by developer Milton V. Peterson and his lawyer, John T. Hazel, will be killed when the board formally takes up the issue within the next two weeks. If the board had accepted the offer, large tracts of nearby land owned by Petersonand Hazel almost certainly would have increased in value.
Peterson and Hazel, who are both major land developers in repidly growung Fairfax, had offered the site for the governmental center at about a tenth of the $5.5 million the county has already agreed to pay for anothe site.
The citizens' committee, which was asked by the supervisors to study the developerhs offer of land near the intersection of I-66 and West Ox Road, rejected the site because it said the soil was not suitable for the construction of large office buildings.
The offer of the bargain-priced land had hinged on a county promise to build a section of the Springfield bypass, a proposed cross-county highway, near property owned by Peterson and Hazel.
Supevisor Alan H. Magazine (D-Mason) sadi yesterday he was "delighted" that the committee had recommended rejecting the site. He said Hazel, whom he descrived as a "fine county citizen," has been involved in numerous legal actions against the county and is a major landowner.
"I think it would give the county a bad public image if we accepted the land (from Hazel and Peterson)," Magazine said.
Hazel yesterday sharply disputed the committee's recommenadation, calling the site he offered a "super piece of land with an excellent development outlook."
Hazel said the committee implied that "we were trying to peddle off a bad piece of land." But the influential zoning lawyer said the land was suitable for county government offices.
The citizens' committee, in rejecting Hazel's offer, reaffirmedits previous recommendation that county offices be moved to the 150-acre Smith-Carney tract between Lee Highway and I-66, a few thousand feet from the developer's site.
"That's fine with me," said Supervisor Martha V. Pennino (D-Centreville), who introduced a board motion in December to have the committee study Hazel's proposal. "I will stand by the committee's recommendation," Pennino said.
Michael Horwatt, chairman of the citizens group, said only 50 acres of the 158-acre site were rated "good" for the development of the governmental center. The remaining 108 acres were rated marginal, poor or unsuitable, he said. The ratings were done by a county soil scientist.
Horwatt said the committeehs recommendation does not imply that the developer was trying "to dump bad land on the county. We simpoly don't believe there would be enough land there to develop for our needs."
Under terms of the developer's complicated offer, the county would agree to spend the money it would save to start building a large portion of the proposed Springfield bypass.
Supervisor Marie B. Travesky, whose Springfield district includes both sites, said the developerhs offer relied "on the assumption that there would be a major roadway there." She said Hazelhs offer would have forced " a replanning of the land around it."