Residents of Random Hills, a subdivision next to Rte. 50, I-66 and the proposed new Fairfax County government center, have told county officials they want to redevelop their home sites at the same densities elected officials have given themselves on the county's 217-acre site.
"We see our community as an island surrounded by development," said Richard Redfearn, president of the Random Hills Home Owners Association.
"What we are asking is that we be treated the same way as any parcel around us," Redfearn told a standing-room-only crowd at a recent Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting. "What makes us different?
"The county has gotten a 0.35 FAR floor area ratio, which refers to the amount of construction permitted in relation to the land available . And we want the same thing," Redfearn said.
The county planning staff disagreed with the residents and members of a special citizens task force that evaluated the Fairfax Center area, which encompasses the Random Hills neighborhood.
The planning staff has recommended development of 12 residential units an acre for the site. Residents and task force members support mixed-use development.
Random Hills residents said their community was once a "nice, quiet place" to live before the building boom and heavy traffic along I-66 and Rte. 50 came to the Fair Oaks Mall area.
Random Hills was the first Fairfax neighborhood to pool its land and sell to a developer. The 19 property owners have all signed contracts with Property Co. of America.
Random Hills is bounded on the north by Rte. 50, on the west by I-66, on the south by the county's land for the government center and on the east by commercial and industrial development.
"This is no longer a viable single-family neighborhood," said attorney Martin Walsh, who represents the residents of Random Hills.
Random Hills residents own 20 of the 60 acres in an overall proposal that seeks a change from residential to a mix of commercial and residential development.
The remaining 40 acres are vacant and controlled by the Random Hills Limited Partnership, represented by Fairfax attorney Ralph Louk.
Both the partnership and the residents asked Fairfax officials to change its comprehensive land-use plan for the area in December 1984. Those requests were deferred pending completion of a study of the 5,200-acre Fairfax Center area. The study was finished last month.
Louk said the two groups want the same mix of commercial and residential development as county supervisors have approved for their own joint-venture development that is designed to get Fairfax a new government center built by a private developer in exchange for the developer being able to build as much as 1.4 million square feet of commercial development and more than 730,000 square feet of residential projects on a big chunk of the county's 217 acres.
Louk said allowing development in Random Hills at that level "would allow homeowners to sell for close to $140,000, rather than $100,000 each." That amount should allow most homeowners to buy another house or town house in Fairfax if they choose to do so, he said.
The average price of a home today in Fairfax County is about $137,000, according to the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors.
The Planning Commission will make its recommendations on the Random Hills issue during next Wednesday's mark-up session on other amendments to the county's land-use plan.
Decisions by the commission will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for action in June.