A barrage of challenges to the Fairfax County land-use plan along the Route 7 corridor from I-66 west to Reston has generated a series of community meetings marked by strong words in defense of residential neighborhoods.
One proposed change has prompted some residents of one affluent McLean area to speak out in favor of maintaining a junkyard full of rusting old cars near the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and Spring Hill Road.
That old junkyard makes a pretty good neighbor, said one resident in a recent public meeting.
On Thursday, residents will have a chance to air their opinions about the proposed amendments to the county's land use plan during a community meeting at the McLean Community Center on Ingleside Avenue at 8 p.m. The session is a regular meeting of the McLean Citizens Association's planning and zoning committee but the meeting is being treated as a town hall focusing on the plan amendments, according to Stephen Hubbard, chairman of the committee.
Hubbard said representatives of NV Land, one of the several companies headed by McLean developer Dwight Schar, "will make a full presentation" on their application to change the master plan for 98 acres at the intersection of Route 7 (the Leesburg Pike) and Lewinsville Road from residential to commercial to allow for construction of one million squre feet of office space.
Fairfax County has traditionally considered the Dulles toll road as the barrier against expansion of the Tysons corner commercial area westward.
Some area residents said they were worried about the impact of renewed efforts reported early this week to revive plans for some sort of rail service down the toll lane median from the West Falls Church Metrto station to Dulles airport. But Lilla Richards, chairman of the MCA's transportation committee, said "that should not change a thing." She said the Schar plan was submitted without any reference to a rail station and added that the idea of rail service to Dulles has been studied several times and tossed out because the project has never proven to be financially feasible.
Residents speaking out in favor of the junkyard are opposing efforts by three property owners of 13 acres along Old Dominion Drive to have the plan changed from its present residential estate category to a commercial and high density residential status. Owners Stephen R. Horvath, John F. Schebish and Upar Inc. want to build a shopping center along 12 acres fronting on Old Dominion and town houses as a buffer betwewen nearby estate-sized homes.
Other proposals to be aired include an application by Hazelton Laboratories, which currently operate in a residential area at the intersection of Route 7 and Tolston Road under a special permit, to expand their present facilities to include an international corporate headquarters.
Also on the agenda is a proposal to bild a high rise facility for the elderly on 79 acres behind the Hazelton site. At recent meetings, residents have suggested that the lab buy that 79 acres to add to its present facility, a move some say might make it easier for Fairfax to go along with the company's expansion plans.
In addition, residents will hear from attorney Charles Shumate who represents the owner of 17.9 acres on Old Tolson Mill Rad, a dirt and gravel road, almost to Great Falls. The land is now zoned residential-estate and, without a plan change, could only be divided into five acre sites. The owners want the land plan changed to allow one acre sites.
The planning and zoning committee will also discuss a proposal for the northwest corner of Lewinsville Road and Balls Hill Road. Fairfax County is currently operating a government annex on part of that site.
Owners Kenneth and Minnie Thompson want the county to change the land plan on that site to allow for high density residential use, preferably eight units per acre, according to attorney Barnes Lawson. Lawson said Thompson hopes to build housing for the elderly on the 12 acre site.
Elderly housing exists nearby in The Lewinsville, a Presbyterian Church sponsored facility at the corner of Great Falls Street and Chain Bridge Road, and on the second level of the former Lewinsville elementary school on Great Falls Street.