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Votes

Plans For Family Land Scaled Back

From the top of the hill on the fourth hole, golfers can see the expanse of the Hilltop facility as well as the oak trees of Mount Vernon and Maryland in the distance. Hilltop Sand and Gravel spokesperson Mike Whitfield admired the view.

"This is the signature hole," he said.

Hole 4 is one of the four par-4 holes on the course, and the other five holes are par-3s on the Scottish-links-type executive course being constructed on Telegraph Road. On the remainder of the 190-acre property, there is a driving range, land for a miniature golf course and other plans for the remainder of the land.

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, Clem Gailliot's alternate plan with a density of five to eight dwelling units per acre for housing and commercial space was rejected by the Fairfax County Planning Commission, when the south-county portion of proposed plan amendments to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan were reviewed by the Planning Commission.

The Gailliot's have owned the land since 1917, and the new plan was a financially feasible way to keep it in the family, said Gailliot.

"Our goal is to keep it in the family. We put forward what we thought was a smart development plan," he said.

The Planning Commission opted to stick with Gailliot's original plan, which called for private recreation use (i.e., the golf course, and an option for "residential use at a density or two to three dwelling units per acre"), according to the staff report. This plan was submitted in 1996, said Jeff McKay, chief of staff in Supervisor Dana Kauffman's (D-Lee) office.

"They don't preclude development, just not to the density he wanted," said McKay. "There's no way we could have supported that density."

Kauffman looked at the scaling back from Gailliot's proposed plan as feasible.

"What Mr. Gailliot was proposing would have set the stage for 572 homes. But under the existing plan, it's 72 homes," Kauffman said.

"Part of the land is protected wetlands and a certain portion is dedicated to the golf facilities, so that acreage could not be included in the density equation," McKay added.

Gailliot feels the only way to come out ahead after taxes is a mixed-use development with a density for more houses. He envisioned high-end condominiums, aimed at working adults.

"The impact on the schools was minimal," Gailliot said.

He can still get the land rezoned at R-2/3, two to three dwellings per acre which is in his 1996 plan, but would require the rezoning procedure. The 1996 plan is now being incorporated into the comprehensive plan, but it has not been officially rezoned yet.

"He can still take advantage of what they've already planned. He certainly is not without options," McKay said.

Gailliot is discouraged by the ruling but hasn't given up.

"We will develop the property eventually," he said.

ALSO ON THE APR agenda was land along Beulah Street that is slated for development. Plans for seven parcels along Beulah were to go from the existing zoning of R-1, or one to two houses per acre, to three to four, five to eight or eight-12 houses per acre. The staff's preliminary recommendation was to approve an alternative for three parcels and retain the previously adopted plan for the other four, which had been requested at a density at eight-12 units per acre.

In the staff report, there is an analysis of the impact to roads and public facilities. Information pertaining to the schools, which is called "general comments" in the text, reads, "All schools serving this area are functioning beyond their capacities." It does take into consideration the Island Creek Elementary School, currently under construction, but adds, "The high end of the proposed nomination will generate 102 additional elementary students, 27 additional middle-school students and 60 additional high-school students."

For parks, the deficit created by the proposed additional housing is listed at more than 18 acres.

"The nominations create the need for approximately 18.3 acres of parkland in addition to the present need," said the report.

Kauffman said that if all the land on Beulah and Gailliot's land was zoned as proposed, there would have been an additional 900 homes in the area.

"We need to scale back. We will scale back," he said.

OTHER CHANGES include a child-care center and increased height limitations for a 18.4-acre parcel of land at Walker Lane and Beulah Street that is already approved for housing and hotel. Near the Metro station, south of Springfield Mall, there are two portions of land where hotels, office space and conference facilities are proposed. This plan is supported and the site looked at as a part of the vision where people can live and work in the same area, minimizing transportation impacts.

Kauffman indicated the final two-lane, 1.3-mile portion of Beulah that needs widening is still slated to go to four lanes. Construction on that project will be starting soon and is due to be complete by October 2004.