Fairfax County

The following was among actions taken by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 26 special meeting. For more information, call 691-3187.

TOWN HOUSE PARKING -- In its last meeting before the Nov. 3 election, the board unanimously approved a controversial measure to increase by 15 percent the number of parking spaces required at new town house developments.

However, in a concession to developers, the board voted to allow spaces in garages to count towards the increased parking requirement.

The ordinance, opposed by the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, requires developers to build 2.3 parking spaces for each new town house instead of the two spaces presently required.

At the urging of developers, the board decided to allow all spaces inside private garages to count toward the required parking allotment, instead of counting each garage space as only 75 percent of a parking space as recommended by the county planning staff and supported bySupervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale).

Robert Moore, chief of the county's transportation planning section, said the increase was necessary because the number of cars in Fairfax County is increasing faster than the number of houses. Requiring 2.3 spaces per unit would give 95 percent of new town house developments adequate parking.

He said 25 percent of garage spaces should not be counted because some people use them for storage, not parking. But Supervisor Farrell Egge (R--Mount Vernon) said the 25 percent figure was "just a guess."

Supervisor Thomas Davis (R-Mason), who proposed the higher standards, told the board "I've personally gotten a lot of complaints from town house developments where 2.0 is just not cutting it."

William Peacock, resident of the Kingsberry town house development in Annandale, said at the meeting, "We've had (parking) problems like you would not believe. . . . The problem has been such that we've had some scuffles."

The ordinance change would not affect existing developments.

Opposing the change, Building Industry Association president-elect Ray Smith said the proposed standard would mean many developments would have far more parking spaces than needed.

"You're going to have unused parking spaces that could be landscaping and that are going to raise the cost of housing," he said. "Trees are prettier than asphalt, if asphalt is not needed."

A county survey of 29 town house developments showed there were none that had more than 2.2 cars per unit, Smith argued.

Supervisors were sharply divided on the issue.

Supervisor Martha Pennino (D-Centreville) proposed a smaller increase in parking standards, at least for Reston, where she said citizens "were not complaining." But her motion to require 2.2 spaces per town house and to count entire garage spaces failed for lack of a second.

The town house parking ordinance is one of series of changes in parking ordinances, most of which will be heard when the board meets early next year. Other possible revisions include: changing parking requirements for shopping centers, office buildings, banks and fast-food restaurants. reducing the size of parking spaces to reflect today's smaller cars. allowing developers to build fewer parking spaces near Metro stations.

City of Falls Church

The following was among actions taken at the Oct. 26 meeting of the Falls Church City Council. For more information, call 241-5003.

TOWN HOUSE PROPOSAL -- The council held a public hearing on a developer's controversial request to build town houses on the largest remaining undeveloped tract of land in the city.

Ken Jennings, president of Jennings Properties Inc., presented plans for a scaled-down town house proposal for a seven-acre wooded tract off East Jefferson Street. Jennings is asking the city to rezone the parcel, currently zoned for single-family homes, to allow him to build five detached houses along East Jefferson Street with 43 town houses behind them. Jennings had initially proposed 57 town houses on the site.

The land, located just east of Washington Street, sits in the middle of a single-family neighborhood and stretches from East Jefferson Street to Four Mile Run.

About 25 citizens spoke in opposition to the plan and presented the council with a petition against the rezoning signed by 1,100 citizens. Only two citizens spoke in support of the project.

In exchange for higher density, Jennings had offered to dedicate 1.7 acres of the tract along Four Mile Run for a city park, build an access road from Washington Street to the development, build a bike trail along the edge of the development and contribute $100,000 to scheduled city improvements to the Four Mile Run channel.

But citizens argued that town houses are not wanted in a single-family neighborhood and would set a dangerous precedent for other city neighborhoods.

The matter goes to the Planning Commission Monday night. The council is scheduled to take final action on the project at its Dec. 14 meeting.