Three months after losing a major zoning battle to Fairfax County citizens groups, two of the area's leading developers have drafted plans that could help transform Centreville into one of the county's most intensely developed urban centers.
The Hazel-Peterson Cos. and the Cadillac-Fairview Co., which were denied permission for the dense commercial development they sought in Centreville, have rebounded from the zoning fight and filed new proposals for their properties. Their actions ended speculation that developers might desert the area in protest of the county's action.
Those plans, combined with the projects of several other developers, could generate the construction of more than 6,000 residential units during the next five years in one of Fairfax's few remaining predominantly rural areas.
The proposed buildup also includes several million square feet of office space, a number of shopping centers and up to three hotels.
"You will see more construction there than anywhere else in the county" during the next five years, said Suzanne H. Paciulli, a landowner in Centreville and a vice president for commercial development at Mount Vernon Realty. "It will become a downtown-type area."
"To say it's rapidly developing is an understatement," added Albert J. Dwoskin, president of A.J. Dwoskin & Associates and developer of the proposed "Centreville Square" project.
Much of the development would take place within a 4,000-acre zone known as the Centreville core area, a prime tract where Rtes. 28 and 29 and I-66 converge in southwestern Fairfax County. It is one of Fairfax County's prime development sites, in part because of its access to the three major highways and to Dulles International Airport.
The coming development near highways that already rank among the county's most congested alarms some area residents, business leaders and county officials. D. Wayne Pumphrey, acting director of Fairfax's Office of Comprehensive Planning, said the county will keep a close watch on the proposals' impact on traffic congestion.
At the center of the buildup will be the firm of Fairfax developer John T. (Til) Hazel Jr. Hazel-Peterson is seeking to build up to 2,800 residential units, the bulk of them town houses and apartments, on 303 acres. The "Centre Ridge" project also calls for some office and commercial development, although far less than what was proposed in the Hazel-Peterson plan rejected by the county Board of Supervisors in March.
At that time, the county board, climaxing a heated three-month debate, sided with Centreville residents and adopted a master plan that authorized predominantly residential development for the area.
The decision represented a major setback for developers, many of whom had proposed high density commercial development with a minimum of residential construction.
Although Hazel is proceeding with plans to develop 303 acres of his 450 acre site, he has not filed plans for the remaining 147 acres, leaving some to contend that he will hold that acreage until after the 1987 county elections in the hope that there may be a more positive climate for development.
Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) said she believes Hazel is "just waiting for a new board to get elected and then come back and try to get what he asked for initially. I don't think there's any question about it."
Hazel declined to answer questions about his plans for the Centreville area. Robert Kelly, a spokesman for Hazel-Peterson, said "there isn't any real incentive to turn our attention" to the 147 acres. "We have turned our attention to the 303 acres that are the most profitable" to develop.
Supervisor Elaine N. McConnell (R-Springfield), who was accused by Centreville residents of misleading them during the zoning debate, did not respond to several telephone calls placed to her office during the past week to discuss development in Centreville, which is in her district.
In addition to Hazel-Peterson, the Canadian-owned Cadillac-Fairview Co. has filed plans with county planning officials to build on a 112-acre tract at Rtes. 28 and 29.
Cadillac-Fairview, which already is building the 220-acre "Fairview Park" commercial project at the Beltway and Arlington Boulevard, let its contract on the Centreville tract lapse after the county's zoning vote in March.
Development industry sources thought the firm had lost interest in building in Centreville. But earlier this month, Cadillac-Fairview reversed its stand and bought the property, agreeing to drop a lawsuit against the county initiated by the previous owner, the Olin Corp., over how the property was to be developed.
This week, Cadillac-Fairview submitted plans for mixed-use development of 2.3 million square feet of office space, 250,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel and 500 residential units. The plan exceeds the amount of office development approved by the county in March and falls far short of the required residential development.
David D. Fitch, vice president of Cadillac-Fairview, said he believes the proposal conforms to the plan adopted by the county. County planning officials, many of whom had not had a chance to review the proposal, said it would be premature to assess it.
Despite the county's acceptance of the citizen-backed development plan, some Centreville residents remain skeptical about the intentions of the developers and some county officials.
Harold Dodson said residents will monitor the county's actions, noting that a key component of the plan calls for development to be phased in to allow time for road construction and other improvements.
"We're overwhelmed with the density we have now," Dodson said. "We want development phased in so it doesn't play hell with the lives of the people out here."