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Area Plans Review: What's Approved

Hotels, homes and medical and other offices were among the many construction suggestions area residents and landowners recently proposed for property in the Sully District.

Their ideas were contained in the 2001 Area Plans Review (APR) nominations, which were actually proposed amendments to the county's Comprehensive Plan dealing with land in the Sully District.

Each one was considered by a special task force and then by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Feb. 28 and the county Board of Supervisors, March 18.

In last week's issue, Centre View presented synopses of some of the proposals — and the changes approved by both entities. Below are the rest:

* HOTELS: Molly Harbin, representing Axar Management Inc., nominated a change in designation for 35 parcels owned by various people. The land — some 134 acres — is in an area of Chantilly on which a hotel could be built, but the current Comprehensive Plan restricts its size. The property is behind the Bob Evans restaurant, in the northwest quadrant of the Route 28 and Route 50 intersection — which has historically been planned for and developed with mixed-use, commercial projects.

Harbin noted that this land is "strategically sited in close proximity to Dulles International Airport and ... two of the most significant employment centers in western Fairfax County — Westfields and the Route 28/Dulles Airport Access Road Technology Corridors. Even more significantly, the site is among the commercial properties in closest proximity to the new Air and Space Museum Annex" currently under construction nearby.

Because of all these factors, she wrote, there's an increasing and legitimate demand for hotels in the immediate area. She stated, as well, that these things could not have been foreseen when the Plan wording limiting hotel sizes there was written. But now, she said, the wording should be changed to allow larger-capacity hotels to be built there to meet the demand.

Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch and county staff believe that hotel use is appropriate as an option to the office and industrial/flex uses if the hotel does not have direct access to Route 50 or to Centreville Road.

Koch also noted that hotel use "will result in fewer [traffic] peak-hour trips" than would office and industrial/flex uses there. Added Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully): "Hotels will be constructed according to the design criteria for hotels in the Dulles Suburban Center."

* MORE HOMES: This proposal dealt with a nearly 3-acre parcel owned by Alvin and Geraldine Dodd of Chantilly. It's at 3933 Chantilly Road, along Route 50 in Chantilly, and John H. Thillman of Landmark Communities in Alexandria wanted it changed from its currently allowed one to two homes per acre to three to four homes per acre.

Noting that this piece of land wraps around a busy commercial area including a 24-hour, Texaco gas station and quick-food mart, Thillman wrote that it has "heavy traffic at all hours of the day." Therefore, he contended, his proposal would provide a transition between the commercial and lower-density residential area, while also forming a buffer.

Koch approved the task-force recommendation adding an option for residential use at two to three homes per acre, with a 35-foot buffer from non-residential uses and substantial buffering from Route 50.

"Staff had concerns about design issues and adequate buffering," said Frey. "By letting them add a house or two, we can mandate fences, buffers and screening." The Supervisors deferred final decision on this matter until May 6.

* OFFICE, HOTEL: On behalf of Dominion Virginia Power, attorney Martin Walsh nominated a 35-acre parcel owned by Dominion at 3901 Fairfax Ridge Drive, along Route 50. The Comprehensive Plan currently recommends low-intensity office use there. Walsh agreed, but wanted public-utility use added, plus an option for hotel development.

"This will allow Dominion Virginia Power ... to maintain and expand the northern portion of the property as a storage and maintenance facility," wrote Walsh. Providing a hotel option, he explained, would "increase the potential mix of uses on the site and provide a service to the employment and residential uses in the Fairfax Center area. Route 50 is an ideal hotel location [due] to its regional accessibility."

Dominion Virginia Power later decided against pursuing an equipment storage and maintenance yard there. But Koch moved that the Planning Commission approve county staff's recommendation supporting hotel use as an option, and Frey and the Board of Supervisors concurred.

* MEDICAL OFFICES: On behalf of Inova Health Care Services, attorney Timothy Sampson nominated 19 parcels totaling 65 acres along Rugby Road, Ox Trail and Joseph Siewick Drive. They're owned by Inova Health Care Services, Inova Health Systems Foundation, Fair Oaks Medical Plaza, Fair Oaks Professional Building and Allimaye Taylor.

These parcels are currently earmarked for hospital and related low-intensity, ancillary medical office, service uses and clinics. Sampson proposed increasing the allowed intensity of use and raising the permitted building height from a 60-foot to a 100-foot maximum.

He wrote that these changes are necessary to enable Inova Health Care Services "to provide the highest-quality health care services to residents of Fairfax County. Development at the Fair Oaks Hospital campus has reached its maximum potential under existing density recommendations, while the community and its demands for health-care services continue to grow."

The task force and Planning Commission approved this one; however Frey did not want the building height to be more than 60 feet, on the perimeter of the site, and the Board of Supervisors agreed. The hospital also wanted access there, on land between Alder Woods Drive and the parkway, but Frey disapproved, saying, "I don't think access to the [Fairfax County] Parkway works there at Route 50 and Rugby Road, and they already have access nearby."