Subdivision Possible in Steamboat Landing

Subdivision Possible in Steamboat Landing

A developer has bought 6 acres of land in Burke Centre but isn't sure what to do with them.

An out parcel of land within the Burke Centre boundaries might become a small subdivision, should a Fairfax County developer clear remaining hurdles.

The Remco Group, a land developer located in Annandale, purchased the 6.1 parcel of land, located between Steamboat Landing Lane and the Fairfax County Parkway, in January 2004, but is moving slowly on developing the property.

"Something is going to be developed over there and we don’t know yet what. We’re still exploring options of what can be done over there," said Farooq Ibad, president of Remco.

The land was previously owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who had identified the land as a site for a possible church. After deciding to build their church on a larger lot, the church sold the land to Remco, which was excited about the possibility of building there.

"I looked at it as a developable piece of land," said Ibad, who said one possibility for the land would be a small subdivision, composed of six homes and a small street that would connect to Steamboat Landing Lane.

The land is zoned R-1, which means Remco’s desire to build six homes on one-acre lots would be by-right. This would require, however, the submission of a subdivision plan to the Fairfax County Planning Commission, and meetings with the Burke Centre Conservancy to ensure the subdivision fits with the general look of the neighborhood around it.

"They carved the association around it, and when … people want to develop it, it has to fit into the community around it," said Sam DiBartolo, Landings neighborhood trustee who has been monitoring the progress of the development of the land. Although technically, Burke Centre Conservancy would only have the same level of input as any other adjacent homeowner, DiBartolo said the organization relies on the good faith of developers to submit their plans to Burke Centre prior to building.

Ibad said since purchasing the land, his company has been taking engineering steps to determine the best use for the land. The major roadblock encountered thus far relates to the entrance and exit to the subdivision from Steamboat Landing Lane.

ACCORDING TO Florence Naeve, chief of staff for Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock), the land originally contained two access points, one on Steamboat Landing and one on Pohick Road. When Pohick became the Fairfax County Parkway, that access point was shut off, meaning any subdivision that is built on the 6-acre property would only have access onto Steamboat Landing. According to Virginia Department of Transportation regulations, any single property owner must be allowed at least one entrance permit. When the entrance permit serves more than one house, in this case, likely six, the standards are more rigorous. In order for VDOT to allow entrance onto Steamboat Landing, the department's sight line guidelines — 10 feet of sight for every mile per hour speed limit on the road — would need to be met. That would be a difficult standard to meet with the 6-acre parcel, since it sits on the top of a hill and sight is impeded additionally by trees.

"Even with trying to get easements from neighbors … to cut back the shrubbery, I know VDOT feels it can’t support an entrance permit for a six-house development," said Naeve. "Right now, he (Remco) is kind of at a standstill."

The primary objection from residents of the area he has spoken with in community meetings, said DiBartolo, is to the increased traffic a subdivision would bring. But, he said, the community overall has few objections to the plan.

"One way or the other, it doesn’t matter too much for me," he said, noting that the Conservancy granted Remco an easement in February to allow drainage through Conservancy property from the parcel.

Construction is not even on the horizon as yet, said Ibad.

"We’re in the very initial stages of doing our study," he said. "I’m not even thinking of building yet."