Developers Hazel/Peterson Cos. have proposed the county's first residential project where homeowners would be able to walk to public transportation.

The 107-acre Woodbridge project, as proposed, would include 651 town houses and apartments, all within walking distance of the planned Rippon commuter rail station, where service is scheduled to begin in October 1991.

At a community meeting Monday night that attracted about 100 people, the Fairfax-based developers said they plan to proffer, or donate, land for a 300-car parking lot next to the rail station, and all access to the station will be through the project -- tentatively named Riverside Station -- on Farm Creek Drive, and eventually on an extended version of Rippon Boulevard.

According to the preliminary rezoning request filed in April, Hazel/Peterson wants to divide their land into three segments: 18 acres of light industrial land, 68 acres zoned for 351 town houses, and 21 acres for 300 garden apartments.

The residents of nearby subdivisions, who listened to Hazel/Peterson's presentation, pronounced themselves skeptical.

"Farm Creek can't handle the traffic {it} has now," said Marumsco Woods resident Bea Henshaw. She also complained that the industrial portion of the site, which is adjacent to Featherstone Industrial Park, would bring more heavy truck traffic into her residential neighborhood.

The Planning Commission and the Board of County Supervisors probably won't rule on the project until next year, after the county's comprehensive plan for development is revised, planners said. Hazel/Peterson's proposals are not in compliance with the existing plan, but they do fit with current drafts of the new plan.

The developers have not yet set a price range for the housing, but Hazel/Peterson spokesman Robert C. Kelly said, "They should be premium sites" because they would have views of Neabsco Creek and the Potomac River and be within walking distance of the commuter rail station.

The planned access on Rippon Boulevard could be a problem because other developers are going to pay to extend the road to the border of the Hazel/Peterson project. "We can't control the other developers," said Jeff Saxe, Hazel/Peterson's senior vice president for planning. "If they don't do it {extend the road}, we're stuck."

That leaves residents of neighboring Rippon Landing -- which would connect to the new development on Rippon Boulevard -- worried that they would be living next to a rail station that they can't get to. "It's nice that {the residents of the new project} can walk . . . but the rest of us have a right to good access too," said resident Mary Leonard.

Hazel/Peterson is best known in Prince William for the abortive William Center project, which would have put a regional shopping mall adjacent to the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Congress foiled the plan by adding the parcel, known as Stuart's Hill, to the park.