The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week approved development of a cluster subdivision on 38 acres in western Fairfax after developers lost a battle with residents of a new adjacent subdivision over roads that would have connected the two developments.
Residents of Ascot Walk, a new Victorian development, convinced the board of supervisors not to go along with a proposed road that would connect their development and that proposed by Battlefield Builders Inc.
Jean Lipnich, a resident of Ascot Walk, presented petitions to the board opposing the connection, which homeowners said they considered equal to a major link from the Leesburg Pike to Reston.
Battlefield Builders had filed for a special exception to build a cluster subdivision on land currently zoned for construction of one house per acre. Although supervisors rejected the road, they did not agree to a reduction in density from 30 single-family detached houses to 22 that also was sought by Ascot Walk residents.
The homes will be built on 26 acres, and nine acres will be kept as open space. Portions of the building site are in flood plain or steep slopes.
The land, known locally as the Crippen tract, is in the northwest corner of the Leesburg Pike and Baron Cameron Road, the main road leading from the Leesburg Pike to Reston. "We oppose any cut-through to Baron Cameron Road," Lipnich said.
"This short cut would tremendously increase traffic and air pollutants and endanger the lives and safety of our children," Ascot Walk residents said in their petitions.
Supervisor Martha Pennino was critical of the county staff's position in favor of an inner parcel connector. "There are those on the planning staff that would like to connect every road with every other road in the state," Pennino said.
Pennino added that a proposed connection between Route 7 and Baron Cameron Road has been in the county's comprehensive plan for many years.
Michael Mahaffee, a spokesman for the developer, said, "Battlefield Builders and the county staff had worked closely on this project." He said the developer had talked with residents of Ascot Walka about the roads.
But Beverly Gregory, a resident of Bishop's Gate Court, argued that "it is true that Battlefield Builders met with Ascot Walk residents, but it was only after I called to get a plat" of the project.
"We oppose any access through Ascot Walk. We are a small development. It is a safe place to live. We are not sure why both developments cannot be separate communities," she said.
Ascot Walk is a relatively new subdivision of homes on large lots along but not immediately adjacent to the Leesburg Pike west of Baron Cameron Road in the Centreville magisterial district.
The subdivision is not yet 50 percent developed. Supervisors were somewhat confused about possible road decisions because the roads within Ascot Walk have not yet been turned over to the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation.
Although the board decided against putting a cut-through to Baron Cameron Road through Ascot Walk, several supervisors predicted a connector would have to be put somewhere else in the future.
"We took the word of our real estate agents when we bought our houses," one resident said. He said those agents never mentioned a proposed cut-through, which the county now says has been planned for a long time.
Last week, the board of supervisors asked its legislative study committee to investigate ways to help ensure that real estate agents are informed about road projects that are planned and that they pass that information on to home buyers.
Supervisor James Scott this week said the board made a legislative effort several years ago to require that a statement dealing with projected roads be given to buyers. "But the Realtors and the homebuilders fought us in court and won," Scott said.
"I am sure that the majority of agents try to tell their buyers all the relevant information that is available. But we have heard these complaints so often."