More than 15 years ago, Fairfax County targeted land near Tysons Corner along the east side of the Route 123 corridor between Old Courthouse Road and the Vienna City limits for possible revitalization.
The land holds single-family houses, some very well maintained and others in a state of disrepair.
Now, approximately 60 homeowners have assembled their land and want to sell to a developer who would build town houses and housing for the elderly on approximately 52 acres fronting on Route 123.
Residents are asking the Fairfax County Planning Commission to amend the county's land-use plan to allow denser development than the currently permitted level of two or three single-family homes per acre.
The land abuts the massive Tysons Corner area office and commercial development.
Attorney Robert Lawrence, who represents the landowners, told the Fairfax County Planning Commission during a midnight session that plans for any commercial use of the site have now been deleted from the landowners' original application to change the land-use designation.
The original application called for a small area of low-rise commercial construction.
A story in the April 20 Washington Post real estate section said the proposed commercial development would have been high-rise. The story should have said the development would have been low-rise.
Lawrence said this week that his clients want a PDH (Planned Development Housing) status at a density of eight to 12 units an acre.
He said his clients would like to build "an elderly-housing project next to an existing commercial area as a transition."
The tract under consideration is next to commercial property, including a McDonald's fast-food restaurant.
"What we are now proposing is without the commercial development," Lawrence told the planning commission.
He said the present proposal is totally in line with the requirements of the existing comprehensive land plan for revitalization of the area.
Commission member Rosemarie Annuziata has asked that the record on the application be kept open for acceptance of additional information until the commission meets in late May for markups on the 300 plan amendment changes now pending as part of the 1985 review of the county land-use plan.
Annuziata said deletion of the proposed commercial part of the project was a reason for keeping the record open.
However, she also has questioned whether housing for the elderly should be addressed in the plan amendment process.
"We are on the fringes of the commercial node of Tysons Corner ; we are right on a major thoroughfare," Lawrence told commissioners.
Route 123 is a four-lane major north-south artery in the Tysons/Vienna/Oakton corridor. Lawrence said access to the proposed development would be limited to Route 123.
He said this week that the land-use plan for the Tysons Corner development area calls for high-, medium- and light-intensity residential development.
He said the area does not have the medium-density residential units needed to support the existing commercial area. The Tysons office space is considered the largest office concentration in Virginia.
The application is one of more than half a dozen pending for various land-use changes in the same area.
Lawrence said he is trying to be "up front" with his intention of seeking approval for housing for the elderly.
Such a proposal would have to be handled through a specific zoning action. Lawrence said all conditions imposed by the county on such projects would be met at the time a zoning proposal is filed.
Assemblage of small tracts such as this into a single parcel for development often is considered a plus for getting a change in land use or a rezoning in Fairfax, because the county can make more demands for concessions by developers of large tracts than by developers of smaller parcels, especially when the latter are near highly developed areas such as Tysons Corner.