About 100 citizen-activists, many wearing identical T-shirts and yellow construction helmets, showed up at last Thursday's Planning Commission meeting to follow the vote on the controversial Fairlee/Metrowest development project. About five minutes later, they were gone.
Providence District Planning Commissioner Ken Lawrence started the meeting by saying he was still working on the application and deferred the vote until Oct. 14.
"There are many issues now being examined," he said. "Additional time is needed to get a recommendation."
He said he would distribute a draft of a motion on the proposal to the Planning Commission on Oct. 7 and asked that it be posted on the Internet on Oct. 8 for people to consider before the vote.
Many of those in the audience were members of a newly formed group called Fairfax Citizens for Responsible Growth, or FairGrowth for short.
The helmets and T-shirts were "a good way to draw attention to our new organization," said Steve Pastorkovich, a resident of Circle Woods, which is right next to the planned development. "We know there are a lot of people in Fairfax County who agree with us."
The proposal put forward by Pulte Homes would replace single-family homes in the Fairlee neighborhood immediately south of the Vienna Fairfax Metro Station with about 2,350 condominiums and townhouses along with 300,000 square feet of office space and between 25,000 and 75,000 square feet of retail in 14-story towers.
Many residents of Circle Woods, including Pastorkovich, say the development would overwhelm their neighborhood.
"I ride the Orange Line every day, and every time I talk to fellow passengers about this, they sigh and their eyes roll and it's an 'I can't believe it' kind of reaction."
Will Elliott, another Circle Woods resident, said the new group would try to recruit residents from all over the county who are unhappy with the way the area is being developed.
"We're going to continue to try and make more and more neighborhoods aware of this," he said.