The Fairfax County Planning Commission has deferred or denied proposed land use changes that would have increased commercial and high-density residential development in the Fair Oaks area even though county transportation planners said existing roads could handle traffic that would have been generated by a majority of the proposals.
At the same time, Commissioner Rosemarie Annunziata has refused to allow a request by about 70 percent of the residents of the 338-acre Fairfax Farms subdivision, located across Rte. 50 from the Fair Oaks shopping mall, to withdraw their request to redevelop their land for high-density residential development.
The commissioners voted to ask the county Board of Supervisors to make it harder in the future for Fairfax Farms residents to pool their land and sell to a developer. The commission tightened language in the county's comprehensive land use plan, saying that Fairfax "should execute their best efforts to protect Fairfax Farms" as a stable single-family neighborhood.
The commission's decisions on possible land use changes in the burgeoning 5,200-acre Fairfax Center area, as the overall community is known, came almost a year after the commission first deferred action on the same proposals until a review of the area was completed. That study, saying that new construction or approved new developments were occurring faster than county planners had predicted, was released several weeks ago.
Residents of several other neighborhoods told the commission during recent public hearings that their neighborhoods were severely impacted by noise and dust generated by construction of new buildings and traffic along Rte. 50 and I-66. Several said they were disappointed by the commission's action to leave their neighborhoods intact at this time.
Residents of the Random Hills community, located immediately north of the proposed new county government center complex, had asked to develop their neighborhood of moderately priced homes at the same commercial density the county would be using on its own land. But the commission deferred action on the request.
Homeowners in the Cedar Lakes-Hangar Road area adjacent to Hazel-Peterson Co.'s Fair Lakes mixed-use project said they thought their land should be used for a combination office and residential project that would be compatible with new construction under way on adjacent land.
But commission members also voted to defer any action on the Cedar Lakes land. County transportation planners said that existing roads could accommodate the proposed changes, but Annunziata said she did not see how traffic could continue to flow without adding new lanes to I-66.
Several county sources said they doubted any action would be taken on either the Random Hills or Cedar Lakes proposals for at least 18 months or until after next year's elections for all nine seats on the Board of Supervisors.
A proposal for redevelopment of the Pendercrest area, southwest of the mall, for an office and residential project was the only item approved by the commission for change in the Fairfax Center area. The supervisors are scheduled to hold a public hearing on that proposal on Monday.
All proposed changes deferred or denied by the Planning Commission are considered killed and are not heard by the supervisors under existing county land use regulations.
Other proposals, supported by the commissioners and scheduled to go to the board Monday, include land use and transportation changes in almost all sections of the county.
A proposal to strengthen land use plan language aimed at maintaining the Rte. 7 corridor from the Dulles Airport Access Road interchange west to the Loudoun County line has strong support from Planning Commission Chairman George Lilly.
"This will keep the Leesburg Pike free of [additional] office development," Lilly said. "It simply codifies existing policies that call for maintaining high-density development in places like Reston and Tysons Corner separated by low-density residential development."
He acknowledged that the proposal has generated concern in churches along the highway because church leaders feared the action might inhibit future expansion of existing churches or the establishment of new churches.
Lilly said the new language, which would prohibit industrial, office, research and development and retail operations, will have no impact on churches.
Hearings are also scheduled Monday on:
*A proposal by residents of the Mantua community to make certain that future development of empty land in their neighborhood is limited to one house per acre.
*A plan to encourage the location of a new car dealership on the site of an existing old body shop along the Rte. 1 corridor. "We can spruce up the area with an auto dealership," Commissioner Carl Sell said.
*A plan to widen Hunter Mill Road from two to three lanes near the Dulles Road interchange and the possible relocation of Sunset Hills Road.
*A proposal for road improvements in the Springfield-Centreville area, including a study of a new interchange at Rte. 50 and Centreville Road.