Fairfax officials and residents of the Fox Mill Estates community in western Fairfax are working to come up with sufficient guarantees to protect their community from the possible future construction of Lawyers Road Extended.
Officials and residents expect to reach agreement in preparation for Monday's meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, when the board will vote on a compromise dealing with trigger mechanisms that must be met before the road would be built.
Recently, the board of supervisors killed a proposal by Fox Mill residents to remove from the county's long-range land-use and transportation plan a segment of Lawyers Road Extended that would have cut through their neighborhood.
Fox Mill residents say they are supporting the upcoming county road bond program scheduled for a November vote because the bond money would fund major portions of the Springfield bypass. The residents say Lawyers Road Extended will not be needed once the bypass is completed. However, they believe negotiations on details that will minimize the impact of the road if it is built are significant.
Trigger mechanisms involved in the compromise are specific increased traffic levels on Franklin Farm Road, West Ox Road and Fox Mill Road. Exact trigger numbers, however, have yet to be determined.
The Lawyers Road Extended battle began more than six months ago and since has pitted against one another the communities of Reston, Franklin Farms, Navy Vale and Fox Mill. Suzanne Rhodes, a member of the Fox Mill transportation committee, said she hopes compromises in the works won't cause further divisions. "We have been working pretty closely with Fairfax Board Chairman Jack Herrity and with Centreville District Supervisor Martha Pennino," Rhodes said.
Herrity this week said the "issue previously was whether the road would stay in the plan. We had to make a tough decision." He added that construction of the road would have to be sensitive to Fox Mill and triggered by heavy traffic on nearby roads.
Herrity produced a compromise when supervisors voted to keep the controversial road in the county's plan. But he agreed to go along with a delay in the final vote so that Fox Mill residents could participate in additional work on the compromise.
Herrity and Pennino have been working on plans to provide buffers and fencing that would give Fox Mill homes protection from the road if it is built.
Pennino said she is working on a compromise that would call for construction of a two-lane divided Lawyers Road Extended rather than a four-lane road. She also is proposing "appropriate fencing along the property lines" of homeowners along the route. The median would be planted with trees, Rhodes said.
Pennino said traffic counts would not take place until at least a year after the Springfield bypass is completed. She said, however, that construction of Lawyers Road Extended "is at least 10 years away," if it is ever built.
The vote on the Lawyers Road Extended proposal was one of 76 changes to the county land plan voted on by supervisors. Only a few were rejected, and several were deferred for action until Monday. All proposals acted on by the board were supported by the county's planning commission.
A proposal to make West Ox Road four lanes between Ox Hill Road and Franklin Farm Road was approved. In addition, the board asked the planning staff to study a proposal to make West Ox four lanes between Franklin Farm Road and the existing Lawyers Road near Folkstone Drive.
The board voted to deny "without prejudice" a plan -- opposed by some community groups -- that would allow construction of taller buildings along Dolley Madison Boulevard in McLean. Supervisor Nancy Falck won approval recently for a county-financed study of the McLean central business district. The denial "without prejudice" will allow her to bring that proposal back to the board when the study is finished if she chooses.
The proposed deletion of Lawyers Road Extended, the widening of West Ox Road and changes in McLean were all part of this year's update of the county's land-use plan. More than 350 challenges to the plan were filed, but almost half of those were killed by the county planning commission before making it to the board of supervisors. Early in the process, county staff members deferred action on 75 proposals pending the outcome of a variety of special land studies now under way.
The board voted to change the land plan for the Mosscrest subdivision, an area of old houses on a hill off Gosnell Road, overlooking the Route 7 corridor at Tysons Corner. Residents of that neighborhood had asked for a change that would allow redevelopment for commercial town houses. The board voted to allow only residential town houses.
Among the plan amendments scheduled to be considered Monday are: A proposal to change 15 acres at the northwest corner of Route 50 and Prosperity Avenue for four residential units per acre. That change may lead to a request for construction of housing for the elderly. A proposal to allow town-house development on 51 acres next to King David cemetery west of the city of Falls Church. A proposal to allow town-house development at six units per acre at the southwest corner of Lincolnia Road and Braddock Road. Even though only a small piece of land is involved, the proposal triggered strong public comments. The planning commission maintained the change is needed to give developers incentives to build on the site.
The board killed a proposed commercial marina south of Route 1 and east of the Occoquan River and a proposed industrial development on 17 acres near Route 1 and Furnace Road.
Action on a proposal involving the Woodley-Nightingale mobile home park on Route 1 near Lockheed Boulevard was deferred indefinitely. According to the planning staff, the mobile home park "will soon undergo redevelopment in accord with an adopted redevelopment plan" that recognizes the permanence of mobile home park use at the site.
Changes approved include:
Limiting expansion of commercial use of land at the northwest corner of Towlston Road and Route 7 west of Tysons Corner.
Allowing low-density residential cluster development on the site of what has been known locally as McLean's "best-loved junkyard" at the Springhill Road and Old Dominion Drive intersection.
Allowing development of town houses along the historic Merryhill Mansion on Dolley Madison Boulevard between the Central Intelligence Agency and the McLean business district.
Allowing residential development at 12 to 16 units per acre on a site on Route 50 between a town-house development and Woodlake Towers. The applicant originally sought commercial designation for the property.
Allowing for town houses on land at Cedar Lane and Hilltop Road abutting I-66 if consolidation of adjacent parcels can be achieved. The land is adjacent to the Dunn Loring Village town-house project and is "a logical extension" of that project, according to the planning staff.