The fight over "Midgetville" goes on.
For the past several months, residents of a number of neighborhoods in Vienna have waged a vigorous effort to scale back plans for a residential community on 12 wooded acres abutting the popular Washington & Old Dominion bike trail, just east of downtown Vienna.
The land -- most of which has been owned by the family who has lived on the site for generations -- is known locally as Midgetville because of the collection of diminutive early 20th-century cottages there.
The family has agreed to sell its eight acres to Elm Street Development of McLean for about $4 million. Elm Street teamed up with another developer that owns an adjacent property, and the two originally proposed rezoning both tracts -- on which 13 homes could be built under current zoning -- for a 29-home development.
The rezoning request was approved in May by the Fairfax County Planning Commission staff and was to come up for a vote before the Planning Commission itself in June.
But more than 100 homeowners in communities surrounding Midgetville have lobbied county officials and others to derail the project.
They say that the houses, which would be up to 6,000 square feet, would be too big and that too many of them would be crammed onto the site. They also contend that it would destroy the ambiance of the neighborhood and dump more cars on already overloaded neighborhood streets.
In the face of neighbors' objections, the developers withdrew their application in August. This month, they submitted a revised plan, reducing the number of homes to 26 and rerouting a proposed road in the new community so it wouldn't funnel traffic through the adjoining neighborhoods.
"It seemed to us like a reasonable response" to neighbors' concerns, said Fairfax lawyer Greg Riegle, who is handling the rezoning for the developers.
But the changes aren't enough for the project's opponents.
"The issues haven't gone away," Becky Cate said. The project still lacks an adequate buffer along the W&OD Trail, jams too many homes on the site, is out of character with adjacent neighborhoods and would destroy a wooded oasis, opponents said.
One of Midgetville's owners, Jane Nixon, whose great-grandfather purchased the land in 1892, has angrily accused opponents of trying to scuttle the project at her family's expense.
Nixon, who owns the land with her three sisters and lives on the property, said ownership has become increasingly difficult because of family illness, mounting property taxes, vandals and the cost of maintaining the dwellings.
But opponents say they don't object to a development of 13 houses, as allowed by current zoning.
"The community is not denying [Nixon] the right to sell and develop the property," Cate said. "We are just looking to mitigate the impact of the development over and above what she can put in legally."