In a surprise move, a citizens task force studying changes in the Fairfax County land-use plan for the Centreville area has asked the county planning commission to create a special group to study the future of a 347-acre area east of Washington-Dulles International Airport.
The action came after residents of the Greg Roy area immediately north of the property agreed that the future of the land needs to be reviewed in depth. The county planning staff had recommended that proposals to change the area to commercial/industrial for high-technology development be denied.
The request had been filed as a part of this year's review of the land-use plan.
"Every single resident of Greg Roy has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Batman Corp. which recognizes their support for continuing this plan review study," according to Charles Shumate, attorney for Batman, which controls almost 250 of the 347 acres.
"The Batman Corp. recognizes the need to address the continuing concerns about planning and zoning that exist in the Greg Roy community," Shumate said.
The tract is located in the southwest corner of Centreville Road and Fox Mill Road, south of the Dulles road corridor and west of the planned route of the Springfield Bypass.
Several weeks ago after lengthy debate, Greg Roy residents asked the task force to put off a decision so they could continue to negotiate with those proposing the land-use changes. Those negotiations led to the agreement with the Batman Corp.
Others filing applications for land within the 347 acres are James and Betty Mills, Stephen L. Best, Carlayne and Lee Holloway, William Moncure, and J. Horace Jarrett. In addition, planning commission member John Thillmann asked the staff to review the 347 acres as a total package.
Shumate said use of the land for industrial/office purposes would have to be contingent on several major factors, including either consolidation of small parcels or coordinated development planning; protection of the Frying Pan stream valley area, and mutually agreed upon buffers between Greg Roy and commercial buildings.
Shumate said the developers involved, including the Batman Corp., also would have to fund major traffic improvements including realignment of Centreville Road and construction of roads within whatever commercial development is finally built.
"I am very optimistic that we can accomplish some sound plan language with strong conditions that will protect the neighborhood," Shumate said.
However, the county planning staff report said the proposal "may have an adverse impact on an existing stable residential community," referring to Greg Roy. The staff report also said the volume of traffic would increase greatly if the land were used for purposes other than residential.
A planning staff member estimated that 6 million square feet of office space might be built on the site if the plan change is approved. The staff report estimated such development would generate more than 74,000 car trips per day while residential development at three units per acre would generate only 10,000 trips.
The site is west of Route 28, the western end of the Dulles toll road, and close to the future Center for Innovative Technology.
While the area involved may be part of the county that may be a future priority for commercial and industrial development, the staff report said existing commercially zoned land has not yet been fully developed. That means existing road networks in the area have not yet felt the full impact of development already planned.
The Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation has called for the future widening of Centreville Road to four lanes, but the project has not been funded.
The proposed land-use change would generate traffic that would hurt residential areas, the staff said. In addition, the staff contends that there is an adequate supply of existing commercially planned land in that area of the county.
"While the accessibility of the site to the regional road network is better than that afforded many other sites, the replanning of this site to industrial use will add more traffic to a roadway network already expected to carry heavy traffic," the staff said.
The planning commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal later this month. If the commission decides to recommend the change to the board of supervisors, public hearings will be held in early summer. If the planning commission vetoes the proposal, landowners will have to wait two years before asking the county to change the plan for their land, according to county regulations.