A long-awaited study of future land use in the Centreville area of western Fairfax County calls for dramatic increases in the number of residential units over the next 15 to 25 years.

The study of approximately 2,700 acres calls for less intense commercial development than previous county land-use plans for the area had projected.

Prepared by the Centreville Citizens Advisory Task Force, the study recognizes that Centreville long has been a likely candidate of county officials for high-intensity development.

Under the guidelines of the latest study, the area would contain 3,100 single-family detached houses when fully developed. That is 10 times the 311 single-family detached units that were available at the end of 1984. An office base of 3.5 million square feet also is projected in the report.

At the end of 1984, Centreville had only 624 town houses, but the study predicts a jump to 6,400 town houses. Only 139 apartments exist, but the study projects construction of 4,400.

The study also predicts that Centreville eventually will have almost a million square feet of retail space, 575,000 square feet of light industrial space and approximately 450 hotel rooms.

Commercial and residential real estate agents call the Centreville area a prime location because of its proximity to I-66, Route 28, Route 29 and Washington Dulles International Airport. The opening of the Dulles toll road has made land in the area more attractive to residential and commercial users.

The study was completed in September 1984 but has been shelved for months, primarily because of the Occoquan Basin Study and a related court decision upholding Fairfax County's right to downzone land in the Occoquan watershed.

Centreville is in the Occoquan watershed and, according to various land plans for the area, Fairfax County's policy has been to make sure that development does not have negative effects on the Occoquan reservoir.

The Office of Comprehensive Planning last week released the 92-page report. Several developers and landowners had been waiting to see the results of the study before pressing for action by the county on pending rezoning applications or filing for land-use changes. The study must be approved by the county's planning commission and board of supervisors before it becomes the official land-use plan for Centreville.

Fairfax Supervisor Elaine McConnell, within whose magisterial district the Centreville area lies, also is planning to hold public hearings on the study.

The study covers an area bounded on the north by Braddock Road, Big Rocky Run and Lawrence Park, on the east by Stringfellow Road, Route 29, Little Rocky Run and Centreville Road, on the south by the Virginia Power Inc. and Columbia Gas System Inc. easements, and on the west by the Big Rocky Run stream valley and Stone Road.

Although developers indicated that the study calls for less intensive commercial development than some of them might like to have seen, it also recommends establishing development guidelines similar to those adopted by the county for the Fairfax Center area.

The study calls for creation of a high-density, mixed-use development on a triangle formed by I-66, Route 28, Route 29 and the southwest corner of the 28/29 intersection. "That area should have the highest-intensity use in the study area and should contain a comprehensive mixture of residential, commercial, retail, office and public facility uses," the study says.

Development of residential units at the proposed densities will generate a need for three new elementary schools, one intermediate school and one high school, the study notes.

The study recognizes that Centreville long has been a potential high-growth area because of its general location in western Fairfax and the road network. That potential has been intensified by the western sprawl of Fairfax commercial development and the eastern spread of development in Loudoun County, as well as the planned construction along Route 28 of the state's Center for Innovative Technology.

Wayne Pumphrey, director of Fairfax County's land-use planning division, said the study calls for a "concept of mixed-use kinds of development to bring in the residential units to support the commercial and retail. You have to create a balanced environment."

"We reduced the office development" from the levels of previous plans, Pumphrey said. But most of that reduction was on a 100-acre site that had been planned long ago for a regional shopping center. The new study primarily calls for development of that area for residential purposes, with perhaps some supporting neighborhood retail space, Pumphrey explained. Plans to build that regional shopping center were dashed when Fair Oaks Mall was built, because the Centreville site was too close to the Fair Oaks site, county planners said.

More single-family detached housing is called for in this study than in other plans. "Town houses -- the plan calls for more town houses than the old plan," Pumphrey said. However, the study calls for fewer garden apartments or apartments that would be served by elevators in high and taller buildings than previous land-use plans.

Pumphrey said the task force was trying to achieve a better balance of housing types in the area. County planners said the study tries to balance office and residential development with the transportation system.