Swift action by Fairfax County staff and Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) may have helped preserve the future of Lake Braddock Park.
Following an inquiry by Bulova, the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning has discovered that the park is off-limits for potential development.
"They finished their analysis, and … it’s their judgment that there’s no available density for development to occur there," said Florence Naeve, Bulova’s chief of staff. "It’s all used up."
Lake Braddock Park, a 13-acre parcel of land located off Wallingford Drive in Burke, was one of 16 properties designated for possible sale by Fairfax County Public Schools as part of its "Classrooms for Kids" project to supplement the Capital Improvement Program.
One problem with that plan, however, is that under the guidelines of the Lake Braddock Community master plan, the 13 acres of open space may not be developed and must remain open space.
"We were as concerned as the residents of the Lake Braddock community," said Bulova, who attended the Lake Braddock Community Association’s November meeting, along with Naeve and School Board member Tessie Wilson (Braddock). At the meeting, Bulova laid out the facts and reassured the residents of Lake Braddock that her office was working to uncover the truth about Lake Braddock Park.
"Rather than stringing things out, we wanted to find out pretty quickly so that we could put an end to the speculation," Bulova said.
THE END RESULT, according to Naeve and Eileen M. McLane in the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, is that the density specifications for the Lake Braddock community, of which Lake Braddock Park is a part, are such that it would be impossible to build any further in the community according to current specifications.
The findings of the county staff have been forwarded to Wilson and the School Board.
"The community is ecstatic that Sharon Bulova’s office went through the necessary steps to research to find out that there isn’t any space available for sale," said Brian Huempfner, a member of the Lake Braddock board. "I’m not sure it would have been done if such a big stink hadn’t been done about the sale of the property."
Huempfner, acting as a private citizen and not on behalf of the board, joined other residents at the polls on Nov. 2 to distribute pamphlets protesting the potential sale. The community association meeting took place on Nov. 9.
"A week later, we got the word that indeed the property was not available," said Bulova. "That’s good news for the community."
When Lake Braddock was built in 1970, it was zoned as a planned development, and the 13-acre parcel owned by Fairfax County Public Schools was included in the base density calculations. Under the guidelines of a Final Development Plan Amendment passed in 1979, all of the 13-acre site must be designated as open space. Currently, the Fairfax County Park Authority uses the fields through an interim-use agreement with the county schools. Lake Braddock Secondary and community sports teams are among the field’s clients.
The land is currently set aside for a possible elementary-school site, but it is likely it will never be used for that purpose, based on growth projections for the surrounding area.