A number of Fairfax County homeowners are furious over the Beach Boys and rock performers Supertramp and Howard Jones.
It's not the songs -- or their lyrics -- that have the residents upset. It's where they are going to be played: the new 10,000-seat Patriot Center at George Mason University.
The residents, who live along heavily traveled Braddock Road, say they were stunned when they learned from newspaper reports earlier this month that the university had booked rock music concerts into the arena, just south of Fairfax City.
They say that runs counter to promises the university made as recently as late July that the arena would be used for college basketball and family-style entertainment shows.
"They outright lied to us," said Florence Naeve, president of the Twinbrook Homeowners Association.
"We definitely felt betrayed when we read about" the concert schedule, agreed Sharon S. Bulova, president of the Kings Park West Civic Association.
"We feel they misrepresented the purpose of the arena to us," Bulova said. "They told us it was going to be mainly a sports facility. That made it acceptable to us."
Naeve said university officials gave residents "assurances that they were going to ease into things," that they would refrain from booking large events until the area's severe traffic problems were resolved.
Officials of both George Mason University and the Capital Centre, which the university hired to manage the Patriot Center, bristled yesterday at suggestions that they misled the residents.
"We have met with civic associations all along and I've never told a group there wouldn't be concerts," said Donald J. Mash, George Mason's vice president for administration.
Naeve and other residents said that the university's promise came July 17 at the final meeting between the university and homeowners living near the Patriot Center.
The university officials then gave residents a tentative schedule that listed the school's basketball games, a Washington Bullets-New York Knicks exhibition game and a few family-oriented shows such as Sesame Street Live and the David Copperfield Magic Show.
The Bullets game Oct. 4 will be the first event at the facility.
The residents said there was no mention of the Beach Boys, Supertramp and Howard Jones, three popular draws that are expected to nearly fill the arena to capacity.
They say they didn't know about those shows until early September when the university officially unveiled the Patriot Center's first schedule.
"They obviously had been planning this well in advance," Naeve said. "You just don't call the Beach Boys and say: 'Hey, what are you doing next week?' "
Mash said that some of the residents did complain during the July meeting that "they didn't like the idea of concerts, and I said I'm sorry, that we'll retain control over scheduling and we'll schedule responsibly."
Gary Handleman, appointed by the Capital Centre as vice president of the Patriot Center, said that the three rock concerts were booked after the last of the community meetings.
However, he said that residents should have understood that concerts would be scheduled.
Underlying the tension between residents and the university is the severe traffic congestion that often imprisons motorists in their cars during even off-peak hours in and around Fairfax City.
One of the major bottlenecks is Braddock Road, which narrows from four lanes to two winding lanes a few miles from the university.
Braddock Road also is the major commuter artery for the thousands of homeowners in Twinbrook, Kings Park West and several other large subdivisions within a few miles of George Mason.
When the 17,000-student university is in session, some residents said, Braddock resembles a slowly moving parking lot. They expressed fears that large events at the Patriot Center will generate even more unwanted congestion.
Bulova said she is worried that Patriot Center visitors will cut through neighborhoods to escape the traffic on main roads and also will use the residential areas for parking. "I think traffic is going to be a stranglehold," she said.
The university and the Capital Centre have vowed to work with city, county and state police to alleviate congestion in the area.
They also said that the university has adequate parking for Patriot Center crowds.
Traffic planners have targeted 1989 as the earliest that improvements, including a possible widening of Braddock Road, can be made.