A major landowner in Centreville, claiming a proposed county development plan for the area would violate its zoning rights, has gone to court in an effort to block Fairfax County supervisors from giving final approval to the plan next week.
The Olin Corp. maintains in the lawsuit against the County Board that the plan's recommendation for lower commercial density is "fundamentally inconsistent" with the county's comprehensive plan for the area, said William T. Freyvogel, the firm's attorney. He said the plan would thwart a proposal for an office park on a 112-acre site in Centreville.
"This is World War III, and I'm going to enjoy every minute," countered County Board Chairman John F. Herrity. He disputed Olin's right to build an office park on the property, near the intersections of I-66 and Rtes. 29 and 28.
Herrity said there was a "good possibility" that the plan, which contains guidelines and policies for future development, will be approved Monday with minor revisions. The plan, prepared by a citizen group, was approved in principle by the board on Feb. 10. Final action was to come within 30 days.
The board chairman charged that the suit, filed Tuesday in Fairfax County Circuit Court, was an attempt by Olin to "bluff this county government."
Freyvogel said Olin had a contract to sell the property to Cadillac-Fairview Urban Development Inc. and had discussed the permitted uses and development with county officials. He said Cadillac-Fairview had spent tens of thousands of dollars developing plans for its 3 million square-foot office park and was awaiting a final review from the county.
The lawyer said the county cannot "downzone" Olin's property from commercial density to mixed-use residential and commericial. Olin, one of two major landowners in the area, had been given the "clear impression" that the Centreville study was going "into the trash can," said Freyvogel.
Herrity said Olin's legal action "belongs in the trash can."
Olin is seeking an interpretation of what the county says may be built on the property, an injunction to block approval of the development plan and a ruling on what the area's zoning is, Freyvogel said.
He said that a court hearing had not been set on the injunction, and that if the County Board adopts the plan before the hearing, Olin will contest it later.
"We are reading the tea leaves at this point," he said.
The County Board adopted the Centreville proposal for the area in western Fairfax by a 4-to-3 vote. The action was opposed by developers, who had sought nearly double the density suggested by the citizen group. They also wanted more commercial and office development than the citizens, who favored allowing more residential development.