The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted 9 to 0 last night to rezone a small tract near the future Reston Town Center to permit construction of a 30-unit rental town house complex for low- and moderate-income families.
If the rezoning is approved by the Board of Supervisors after a July 20 public hearing, the $2.1 million project would bring to 96 the number of public housing units available in Reston, a planned community in western Fairfax County.
County officials say the three-bedroom town houses, costing about $71,000 each, would be built with federal funds on 2.9 acres donated by the Reston Land Corp., the developer of Reston, at the northeast corner of Town Center Parkway and Bowman Towne Drive.
The site is about 1,000 feet north of the Reston Town Center, the future "downtown" of Reston, which developers say will have shops, restaurants, offices, two hotels, an art gallery and a movie theater when it is completed in about 10 years.
The project, to be owned and operated by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, would be adjacent to the Reston Regional Library, the Reston Hospital Center and the North County Government Center..
County Supervisor Martha V. Pennino (D-Centreville), whose office is at the Government Center, said yesterday that the proposed housing complex underscores the concept that "Reston is a community for all socioeconomic levels of society and all age groups."
Fairfax County has experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade, causing the value of land to rise dramatically and housing costs to skyrocket.
At the same time, development has been a boon to service industries, and growing numbers of county residents who have low-paying service jobs have found housing costs prohibitively high.
All but one of 20 speakers who testified in a 90-minute public hearing before the Planning Commission last night favored the complex, and many criticized the county's lack of affordable housing, saying it forces people who work in Fairfax to live outside the county and commute to work, further clogging the county's roads.
In another matter yesterday, the Planning Commission deferred a decision on whether to rezone a 37-acre tract immediately west of the Fair Lakes office park and merge it with the 620-acre development.
The 37-acre tract is zoned for one residential unit per acre, and the developer of Fair Lakes, Hazel/Peterson Co., is seeking to have the land rezoned to permit about 408,000 square feet of development at a two-to-one ratio of commercial to residential uses.
The rezoning would boost the maximum commercial space allowed at Fair Lakes from 5,078,000 to 5,350,200 square feet and increase the minimum number of dwelling units required in the development from 1,321 to 1,457.
After county staff recommended that the rezoning request be denied, the developer offered concessions involving an interchange at I-66 and Stringfellow Road and funds for increased sewer capacity.
The planning commission voted 7 to 1 to defer the matter while the staff reviews the offered concessions.