Invitation to Sprawl

In summer 2004, County Supervisors Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) and Joan M. DuBois (R-Dranesville) decided to exclude a nomination submitted by two large out-of-town developers from the traditional Fairfax County annual plan review process.

The nomination requested a plan change for a 16-fold increase in the allowable density for 226 acres near Hunter Mill Road and the Dulles Airport Access Road. In March 2005, the supervisors announced that this nomination, along with two others for the area, would be evaluated through a special study. But the special study area included 86 additional acres, already built out to the current plan density of two to five units an acre or to allowable special uses.

The citizens in the immediate area are concerned and puzzled as to why the nomination was given this special consideration. The special study area is just outside the eastern boundary of the Reston planned community that was already part of a compromise reached in the late 1970s. That compromise allowed the development of Lake Fairfax Business Park east of the original greenbelt agreed upon by Reston founder Robert E. Simon and Fairfax County in 1962. The 1970s compromise has been honored by county supervisors, planning commissioners and citizens' task forces by preserving the low-density residential character of the area and summarily rejecting similar nominations in every area plan review.

The approval of the nomination would violate a cardinal principle in the policy plan: maintaining a green buffer between the Reston-Herndon area and Tysons Corner. The special study is viewed by many citizens in the Hunter Mill and Dranesville districts as an invitation to permit sprawl between Reston and Tysons Corner.

Feliza Kepler


Puffing Up Pulte

I am not sure what to make of The Post's puff piece on Stan Settle Jr. of Pulte Homes ["MetroWest Point Man in Fight of His Life," Metro, Sept. 12]. Maybe the article was misdirected from the Style section? In any event, I would like to set the record straight on several items.

First, Pulte claims it has done community outreach on the MetroWest project at the Vienna Metro station. Is it outreach if you hold a meeting but ignore what everyone says? I sat in meetings in which Mr. Settle said there would be no compromise.

It's great to learn, as The Post quotes Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence), that Settle has a "great sense of humor," but the community hasn't seen it.

Dr. Gridlock has commented on the traffic and Metro disaster that this development will create. In addition to Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) and state Sen. Jeanmarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax), state Del. Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax) and the entire Vienna Town Council have weighed in against Pulte's proposal. Only Fairfax County has refused to consider compromise, or to even study the obvious impact of this project. Why?

Finally, it is apparent from Pulte's full-page ad in Saturday's real estate section -- advertising developments in Frederick and Stafford counties, and in other sprawling locations -- that its commitment to "smart growth" only happens when it is in Pulte's economic self-interest.

When it comes to controlling traffic, preserving trees and otherwise being a positive neighbor, Pulte's interest in "smart growth" can be seen for the utter fiction it is.

Deborah W. Smith