Fairfax County Supervisor Audrey Moore, facing an audience of business leaders wary of her longstanding opposition to unbridled economic growth, pledged last night to take their concerns into account if she is elected chairman of the county Board of Supervisors.

Moore, a Democrat who for more than a decade has championed slow growth, called for increased transportation funding -- an undertaking popular with business -- and endorsed "modification of the regulations" governing development.

"We must see to it that our transportation {system} is kept in balance with development," she said.

Moore's comments, at a forum for Democratic candidates for the county board, appeared to be in line with her recent efforts to stake out a more moderate image than she has had since she was elected in the Annandale District in 1971 on a platform of slowing development.

This year, Moore is challenging Republican John F. Herrity, a 16-year incumbent who is seeking his fourth term as board chairman. The election is Nov. 3.

Many of the county's influential business leaders and developers are worried that Moore and some like-minded Democratic board candidates may be swept into office by voters frustrated by the rapid pace of development in Fairfax, which has a population of 700,000. Moore's slow-growth policy, they say, represents a reaction to the most visible symptom of suburban prosperity: clogged roads.

Moreover, they say, Moore's current message of support for road-building measures is a departure from her consistent record of obstructing highway projects on the grounds that they would stimulate further -- and in her view, unwanted -- development.

Even some Democratic business people who have strongly backed Democratic governors Charles S. Robb and Gerald L. Baliles, the incumbent, are lukewarm about Moore's candidacy.

"I'm not supporting anybody," said Albert J. Dwoskin, president of a Fairfax-based development firm, who was in the audience of about 50 business people at the Democratic Business Forum meeting at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner last night.

Even among the other Democrats -- five women and two men -- running for the county board, Moore's message that growth should be curtailed through "modified" regulations is not unanimously popular. Those modifications may include a proposal that would severely restrict the amount of office construction permitted on more than 10,000 acres zoned for industrial use in the county. That proposal, strongly supported by Moore, was narrowly defeated last winter but could resurface if she is elected chairman.

Moore's advocacy of controlled development was countered last night by Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee), a probusiness conservative, who emphasized that the county's progrowth policies have brought glowing fiscal health.

"I personally do not think we've gone too far" with development, he said. "The more Mobils and . . . TRWs we have, the better, because that's going to be our tax base."

Alexander and many county business leaders say that attracting large-scale economic development is the only way to finance transportation improvements Fairfax greatly needs.

Also speaking last night were Democratic Supervisors Martha V. Pennino of Centreville District and Katherine K. Hanley of Providence District and Democratic candidates Sharon Bulova of Annandale District, Toni Carney of Springfield District, Gerald W. Hyland of Mount Vernon District and Lilla D. Richards of Dranesville District.