A little community is rising on a five-acre parcel that combines old-forest growth with contemporary suburban homes just 20 miles west of the District in Burke, Va. Twelve large single-family houses on lots from a quarter- to a half-acre are taking shape.
Right now, Sheads Court, the new street, is paved. Pretty soon foundations will be dug, driveways put in and house frames will go up. “The first homes will deliver in spring 2016,” said Mike Holland, community sales manager for the Park Glen.
Park Glen is a Van Metre Homes development. The company bought the site and is building the houses, two of which have sold.
“What’s really special here are the vast numbers of trees we’ve saved. All the houses back up to or are surrounded by mature hardwoods. Some of the sites even have tree preservation areas in the front yard,” said Holland. “The county protects areas of trees from being removed.”
Tree advocacy: Fairfax County has long endeavored to maintain a healthy urban forest of trees as a vehicle for cleansing air pollution and providing shade and pleasurable outdoor space for the public.
A Fairfax County tree conservation ordinance — allowed by the state in Northern Virginia cities, towns and counties — requires developers to take preserving trees into serious consideration on lots where they build new homes. Park Glen is in Burke in the south-central part of the county.
At least 30 percent of the site of a new home development must be left in tree canopy from preserved and newly planted trees. “We’re moving toward more trees overall in the development process. A bigger tree canopy with an emphasis on preservation of existing trees and more new trees planted,” said Keith Cline, director of the Urban Forest Management Division of Fairfax County.
“People like that, but, understandably, some aren’t satisfied,” he said. “They’re saying ‘That’s not good enough. We want more of the older trees saved.’ ” In many neighborhoods, small older houses are being torn down along with large old trees to make room for large new homes. “We don’t have jurisdiction over all those old trees on private property.”
“Our office reviews development plans and we work with engineers, builders and developers to ensure that trees are preserved and planted as required. We advocate for what’s required and, where possible, recommend going above the minimum to keep trees standing,” Cline said.
Interior spaces: Six floor plans in the Marquis Collection — Van Metre’s luxury line of single-family homes — are offered. “The layouts are open but flexible,” Holland said. Some rooms can be used for multiple purposes. For example, on the left upon entering the front door, is a bright corner room that can be configured as an office, lounge or bedroom.
The great room, adjoining the kitchen, is anchored by a gas fireplace with slate surround. A party of guests can congregate there leisurely while the hosts finish the meal a few steps away in the kitchen. Cabinets hug three walls and rise to the 10-foot-high ceiling. A center granite island can accommodate serving platters and utensils, a pitcher of water, wine glasses and a couple of bottles. Pantry space is plentiful. The mudroom can be outfitted with a dog bath. An extra bedroom suite can be arranged in the flex room behind the kitchen.
Upstairs, a large loft area framed by railing overlooks the cathedral-high entry hall. Windows border the corner space and sunlight streams in. A lounge, study or play area can be set up. Three spacious bedrooms and bathrooms fill out the second level. The laundry room contains a built-in sink and vanity.
The lower level includes the entire house footprint. “We will initially include a free finished lower-level rec room,” said Holland. There’s ample room for an en suite bathroom and bedroom with a sliding-glass door opening outside, as well as a bar, pool table, dining table, couches, chairs and sink.
What’s nearby: Burke Lake Park with a 218-acre lake offers fishing, boating, camping, trails, fields, ball courts, a carousel, miniature train and 18-hole golf course.
Pohick Creek Stream Valley Park is a lush landscape. Trails border the water and are beloved by dogs and owners. Winter scenes in Facebook photo posts look like Christmas cards.
Lake Accotink Park is nearly 500 acres and includes a 55-acre lake. There is abundant aquatic wildlife and vegetation. Bikes, canoes and pedal boats can be rented.
Burke Village Center Shopping Center has restaurants, a gym, groceries, cleaners, auto service and an animal hospital. Along Burke Center Parkway there are additional retail and commercial establishments, including Safeway, Kohl’s, Wild Bird Center, Potomac River Running, Cold Stone Creamery, Five Star Hair and Five Star Jewelers.
Schools: Cherry Run Elementary, Lake Braddock Secondary (grades 7-12).
Transit: The Manassas Line of Virginia Railway Express picks up passengers at Burke Center and stops in Alexandria, Crystal City, L’Enfant Plaza and Union Station, where you can catch Metro. Burke is 15 miles from the Pentagon, 18 from Reagan National Airport and 22 from Dulles International; it’s five miles east of Fairfax, six miles southwest of Annandale and seven miles west of Springfield. The exchange to interstates 495, 395 and 95 is a short drive.
Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.
6408 Spring Lake Dr., Burke, Va.
Twelve single-family homes will be built. Two are sold. Ten are available ranging from $1.07 million to $1.089 million.
Builder: Van Metre Homes
Features: The houses are Energy Star certified with a two-zone heating/cooling system. Smart home technology includes one Schlage Camelot Smart Door Lock and one Honeywell Smart Thermostat. There are 10-foot-high ceilings and eight-foot-high doors on the main level. Kitchens have recessed lighting, granite counters and stainless steel GE appliances.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 4 to 8/ 4 to 8
Square-footage: 3,742 to 3,964
Homeowner association fee: $147 per month
View model: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Sales: Mike Holland, 703-764-5457 or www.VanMetreHomes.com .