With the failure of 11th-hour efforts to reach a compromise, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to halt construction of a 15-story high-rise apartment complex across the road from the Lake Barcroft area.The action is almost certain to be challenged in the courts.

Zoning for the 384-unit high-rise being developed by Laszlo H. Tauber had been approved almost 15 years ago by a previous board. But the current supervisors, responding to widespread neighborhood opposition, decided to reduce the zoning density allowed on the property to eight units an acre -- a category which would permit nothing more dense than townhouses.

High-rise rezoning, under which Tauber was working, was granted in 1965. An additional 60 feet in height -- from 90 to 150 feet -- was gained automatically when a new zoning ordinance went into effect subsequently. The purpose of the new and higher height limitation was to encourage preservation of more open space.

The 1975 master plan, however, recommended single-family development on the 12-acre Tauber tract, but the county has made no effort until now to reduce the high-density zoning.

Supervisor Alan H. Magazine (D-Mason), in whose district the property is located, was working with Tauber's lawyer John T. Hazel on a compromise that reportedly would involve maintaining high-rise rezoning, but reduce the height. The effort failed because nearby residents would not back down.

Residents, well organized in their opposition, had claimed that apartment zoning was not a proper transition from the extensive single-family patterns of development in the area. They claimed that the high-rise profile would mar the horizon, especially from Lake Barcroft.