Two stories recently published in the Virginia Weekly about the proposed rezoning of the Chiles tract contained several errors which have been brought to our attention by Fairfax County Supervisor James M. Scott. The Chiles Tract is in the Providence District, which is represented by Scott, not by Supervisor Thomas M. Davis. Secondly we reported that Supervisor Davis was approached by Fairfax school board Chairman Ann P. Kahn with a proposal that 10 acres of the land be given to the schools. The idea was that the developer would donate the land to the schools in return for an agreement from the supervisors to rezone the property for commercial development. Although Kahn favors acquisition of the land for school use, she says she did not discuss the matter with Davis. Scott makes the point that the school board did not ask the supervisors to rezone the tract but only requested that if the rezoning takes place, that the 10 acres be granted to the schools. Scott also takes exception to a statement that the school board was trying to get "something for nothing" in acquiring the land, noting that it is not unusual for the county to obtain donations from developers of land for schools and other public uses. In addition, Scott denies that he was "lukewarm" to the proposal that the schools receive the 10 acres of land. He said he favors first dedicating the land to the county and then, if needed, to the schools.
A proposal that would allow the Fairfax County School Board to acquire 10 acres of the Chiles Tract, one of the most valuable pieces of land in the county, is encountering opposition from at least one county supervisor and a lukewarm response from another.
"My personal reaction is that the county could use that land," said Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III (R-Mason), who was approached by school board Chairman Ann P. Kahn with the proposal that the land be given to the schools. "I hate to take it and just turn it over to the school board."
The Canadian development firm of Cadillac-Fairview has proposed a large office-hotel-townhouse complex for the 178-acre Chiles Tract. The development proposal, which would require a major zoning change, come before the county Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors this month.
The Chiles Tract is in the Providence District, represented by Democratic Supervisor James M. Scott.
Scott said this week that school officials have been expressing interest in the land for the last two years. He said, however, no decision on the plan could be made until the supervisors first decide whether to approve Cadillac-Fairview's rezoning request.
Kahn and other school officials have indicated they hope to persuade the supervisors to agree to the donation plan as part of the rezoning process. A spokesman for Cadillac-Fairview already has said the firm is opposed to the donation, which would consist of 10 acres bordering Falls Church High School.
Scott is noncommittal on the rezoning question, but, like Davis, he is not enthusiastic about signing over land to the schools.
Instead, Scott said he has long proposed that any such land go directly to the county, thus allowing the supervisors the final say on which county agencies could use the land. Scott noted that his proposal has met with little support from county builders and his fellow board members.
Under the impending redistricting of county magisterial districts, according to Davis, part or all of the Chiles Tract eventually could be included in his district. And Davis is wary of any plan to donate part of that land to the schools.
Kahn and other school officials, in arguing for their proposal, have said the 10 acres could be needed to expand the adjacent Falls Church High School to include seventh and eighth graders. Davis, however, said the schools could eventually decide that no expansion is necessary.
Then, he said, the schools could "just end up selling the land back to us (the county)."