Intense residential and limited commercial development should be permitted around the West Falls Church Metro station at Route 7 and I-66 and the Dulles Airport Road interchange in keeping with the residential character of the neighborhoods that surround the station site, according to recommendations produced by a citizens task force, county planners and outside consultants.
However, there also are recommendations for road improvements that are certain to kick off strong criticism from residents of the Falls Church and McLean areas. And building heights will be limited to a maximum of five or six stories if Fairfax officials adopt the recommendations.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission has scheduled public hearings on the proposed development plan and amendments to the county's comprehensive land plan that would be necessary to implement the proposals. The hearings will be held on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. at the Massey Building in Fairfax City.
In comparison to development at Metro rail stations in the Arlington area, proposals for the West Falls Church station are modest, county staff members said.
"We really did not need another Rosslyn," said Art Sabin, chairman of the Citizens Task Force. Sabin lives in Pimmit Hills, a subdivision along the north side of Route 7 between the Metro station and the Tysons Corner area. He said the West Falls Church station study area is about the same size as the Rosslyn station area, but is in the middle of well-established single-family neighborhoods.
Single-family houses with prices beginning at $110,000 are close to the station, and that may be some of the least expensive housing available in close-in neighborhoods, according to several county staff members.
Sabin predicted that values of residential property in Falls Church and in Fairfax County would skyrocket when the Metro station opens in mid-1986.
The proposal calls for construction of 289,900 square feet of commercial office space and 1,534 apartments and town houses in the station study area.
The station study area surrounds the Metro station, which is in the median of I-66 near where the Dulles road merges with I-66 close to Route 7. According to the task force report, the station area "is dominated by the regional roadway network" created by I-66, the Dulles road and the rail station.
The station site is bordered on the west by Idylwood Road and on the east by Haycock Road and the Grove Avenue areas. It is immediately west of the Falls Church city limits in Fairfax County, and it includes Falls Church's only high school, George Mason High.
The area immediately surrounding the Metro station site is predominately residential in character, the report said. It includes town houses on the southeast corner of Idylwood Road and Route 7 and single-family homes along Haycock Road.
Although the study calls for maintaining the school on the site, Falls Church officials, Metro officials and developers have been talking for many months about relocating the school within the Falls Church city limits and developing its present site for residential or commercial purposes.
"The 82.81 acres bordered by Route 7, I-66 and Haycock Road offer the greatest potential for development," the task force report said. That land includes the school site, an undeveloped 40-acre site owned by the City of Falls Church, and land along Haycock Road owned by developer Miller & Smith and a joint-venture group identified as Hooper-Marriott. The task force report said those parcels might be consolidated for joint-venture development.
In addition, a church owns 23 acres that the task force said could accommodate approximately 480 dwelling units.
The study calls for a building height limit of 65 feet -- five or six stories -- on land immediately adjacent to Metro parking. The height limit "would establish the Metro station as the visual focal point with strong identity for the community without being out of scale with surrounding development," the report said.
Other buildings would be limited to three or four stories, the proposal said.
The task force is calling for major controversial road improvements. Some have been talked about for several years but have generated consistent strong opposition from residents of the areas involved. Proposals include:
*Widening Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) from four to six lanes from the I-66 and Idylwood Road area west to the Beltway ramps near Tysons Corner, and installing turn lanes at Route 7 and Pimmit Drive.
*Improving the intersection of Route 7 and Idylwood Road, including additional lanes on Idylwood Road.
*Making Haycock Road four lanes from Route 7 at George Mason High School to Great Falls Street.
*MakingGreat Falls Street four lanes from Haycock Road to Dolley Madison Boulevard.
*Improving the interchange at Great Falls Street, Kirby Road and Idylwood Road, including additional lanes for all three. Kirby and Idylwood merge at that intersection.
County officials predicted the proposed improvements to Haycock Road and Great Falls Street would stir citizen protests. Battles over widening those roads have caused major confrontations in the past