The land which was once home to the Groveton School took a step toward becoming the home to more than 300 new residences on June 30.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the mixed-use Groveton Heights project, situated on 4.59 acres at the intersection of Richmond Highway and Memorial Street.
The plan calls for 290 multi-family (apartment or condo) units and 19 townhouses. It will also include 50,000 square-feet of office space and 20,000 square-feet of retail.
The developer is MDP Groveton, LLC whose managing members are listed as Daryl J. Butcher and Jon E. Hass, Sr.
Many of the speakers at the Planning Commission were in favor of the project. The property, currently an empty lot, had been zoned for an office building.
The proposal which will add people to the neighborhood will likely help the existing residents, said Annabel Baer, president of the Groveton Virginia Civic Association. “We felt that this plan versus another office building was better for the community,” Baer said. Her association represents homeowners in an abutting neighborhood.
By bringing in more residents, Baer said, the area will add people who are more invested in the community. “This is the kind of project we’d like to welcome and encourage.”
“EVERY OTHER community in the area opposes it,” said Doug Boulter of the Virginia Hills Citizen’s Association. Boulter was one of eight speakers opposed to the project.
The others in opposition, Boulter said, did not want to drive all the way to the government center in Fairfax to speak against a project they thought would be approved anyway.
Although the Lee district land use committee approved the project, many of the communities in favor of it are from areas which are far away from the development, Boulter said.
Planning Commissioner Rodney "Lee" Lusk bristled at Boulter’s comments. “I feel very strongly about the process we have, as far as it being open,” Lusk said.
This area, Boulter said, is not near a Metro station and will only serve to aggravate traffic on Richmond Highway. “What we have here is a development that will make a very bad situation worse, with no relief on sight,” Boulter said.
LUSK ALSO disagreed with Boulter’s take on traffic, noting that the developer is planning a traffic management program and shuttle bus to the Huntington Metro stop, designed to reduce the number of car trips. “I think they have done a lot of things that are going to be helpful,” Lusk said.
“I would say they bent over backwards,” said Al Lupenski, a nearby resident who supports the proposal.
The Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the plan.
To review the plan, go to the Department of Planning and Zoning, 7th floor of the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax and ask for file RZ-2004-LE-012. Most of the documents are available online at http://ldsnet.fairfaxcounty.gov/ldsnet/ZAPSMain.aspx?cde=RZ&seq=4042891.
The Board of Supervisors has scheduled a public hearing for July 11. To register to speak at the hearing, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gov/bos/speaker_bos.htm or call 703-324-3151 before 3 p.m. on the date of the meeting.