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Votes

Lower Density Again Recommended

Final meeting of the Providence District APR Task Force continues trend.

Yet again, the Providence District Area Plan Review Task Force voted for lower density options.

The Task Force has been meeting biweekly since September to consider proposals to change the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. A total of 14 proposals were considered. Nine of these were proposals made by developers to increase the density on a piece of property. Of the remainder, two were recommendations to decrease density, one to allow a sewer line to be placed outside the county’s Approved Sewer Service Area at the Flint Hill School on Jermantown Road, one to recognize the historic value of Hunter Mill Road and one to allow a different kind of business to be opened at the intersection of Nutley Street and Route 29.

At the final meeting where it heard a new proposal on Nov. 30, the Task Force for the first time accepted a proposal to add residential density to a property. The property is at the intersection of Route 50 and Waples Mill Road. Currently the area is undeveloped and is planned to be developed as office space. The developer, Trammel Crowe Residential, suggested allowing an option to build residential units at a density of 20-25 units per acre.

The Task Force originally heard this proposal at its Oct. 20 meeting but deferred the decision until it could be presented with further information.

Fairfax County planning staff proposed an alternative density of 16-20 units per acre, said Renata Wade, co-chair of the Task Force in an interview after the meeting.

In this case, the Task Force accepted the proposal because it has the potential to protect an environmentally sensitive area — a stream, and therefore, a Resource Protection Area run through the land.

The zoning for the land, however, predates the establishment of the Resource Protection Area and is therefore subject to by-right development. If the recommended change to the plan is adopted, the developer would need to have the land rezoned and would therefore not be permitted to build in the Resource Protection Area.

THE TASK FORCE also heard a new proposal at the meeting on property located at the intersection of Magarity and Anderson roads in Tysons Corner. The area is currently planned for residential use at a density of up to 20 units per acre. It also allows for some retail development. Building heights are capped at 45 feet.

The Task Force rejected the nomination, Wade said.

The proposal would have allowed for a higher density residential and retail, with an additional option of office space. It also would have allowed for the construction of building up to 150 feet in the center of the land, tapering down to the lower heights.

The Task Force heard another deferred proposal to add development options, including residential density, to an area called “Fairview Park.” It is located just north of Route 50, inside the Beltway. The existing plan calls for 1.7 million square feet of office space and allows for an accessory use, which is currently the restaurant 2941.

In this case, the developer, Fairview Property Investments, wanted to provide an option to allow some of that space to be developed as residential, a “boutique” hotel, and another restaurant. The Task Force recommended against the change, Wade said.