Developers and politicians are asking for specific studies of existing and planned development in the Tysons Corner area.
In the wake of neighborhood confrontations and negotiations between county residents and developers of the proposed giant 107-acre Tysons II development, those who control economic and political power in northern Fairfax are asking for better definitions of existing height and density and for more concrete transportation studies.
And neighborhood leaders with expertise in the land use planning and transportation fields want existing zoning categories more strictly adhered to. Others want the language for specific zoning categories strengthened.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission has recommended that the board of supervisors approve the proposed H-L Land Improvement Venture project for Tysons II. The board is to hold a public hearing and vote on the project Monday.
That recommendation by the planning commission is tied to 19 proffers, or offers made by the developer, dealing with everything from height to roads, and recognizes the developer's commitment to make an estimated $14 million worth of traffic improvements before the end of 1985. The developer has promised those road improvements will be completed before construction of the Tysons II office buildings, parking decks, hotels or regional mall begins.
Tysons II is the only development in the area that has been asked to make such a significant transportation contribution.
"The Tysons II site is now in the center of a collection of high-rise structures. It has remained while all this other has developed round it," Tysons II attorney John T. (Til) Hazel Jr. told the planning commission. He said the Tysons II plan offers major solutions to some of the region's traffic problems.
"Traffic at Tysons has been the most talked-about problem in Fairfax in 20 years," Hazel said. "Tysons has seven major interchanges in the area. Why does it have a national reputation for being a major traffic problem?"
"The area needs a plan now," he argued, saying that the improvements offered by the developer do provide answers to long range traffic problems.
In a surprise move, attorney Ed Prichard appeared at the planning board representing The Hecht Co., Woodward & Lothrop and Bloomingdale's, along with a traffic consultant those three Tysons Corner Shopping Center department stores had hired to analyze the traffic study done by the Tysons II traffic consultants.
That study of a study calls for a "comprehensive areawide study" of the entire Tysons area. Prichard was careful to say those Tysons shopping center stores are not opposing the Tysons II rezoning. If approved, Tysons II would be built across Dolley Madison Boulevard from the existing shopping center. The anchor tenants for the new galleria-style mall at Tysons II are reported to be Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue.
"Our clients in no way oppose the rezoning," Prichard said. "Studies show that when there are competing shopping centers connected by a bridge, 25 to 30 percent of the shoppers who use one shopping center will use the other," he said. Tysons II is planning to grant its share of right-of-way and donate money for a two-lane bridge connecting the two parcels.
Jay Rick of the Washington-based Barton-Ashman Associates Inc., a District transportation consulting firm, recommended "that a complete study of the total roadway system in the area be done in order to solve problems not only in this development but in the whole Tysons area."
James Lewis, president of Tytran, has asked that county agencies move "aggressively to get the improvements planned by Tysons II in place" if Tysons II is approved. He also wants the county to undertake "continuing studies for plans for future transportation improvements." Tytran is a group of Tysons area business leaders and developers who joined forces last year primarily to promote long-range solutions to Tysons area transportation problems.
Lilla Richards, chairman of the McLean Citizens Association's transportation committee, said this week that there are studies that date to the late 1970s that detail density in the Tysons area.
She said the county needs to "put some teeth" into what she considers the "loose language" in its C-7 commercial zoning category. Richards said she feared everything between the Leesburg Pike and Old Courthouse Road that is now retail could go for higher density office use without developers having to pay anything to ease traffic problems unless the language in the zoning categories is tightened.