Poplar Terrace Defeated

Poplar Terrace Defeated

Planning Commission votes down controversial nomination.

A proposal to change Fairfax County’s Land Use Plan for a neighborhood known as Poplar Terrace was rejected by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Wednesday, May 18. This area is located west of the MetroWest development and the Vienna/Fairfax Metrostation, but does not fall within the 1/2-mile radius necessary to be considered a transit-oriented development.

"The subject property is naturally outside the transit station area," said Planning Commissioner Ken Lawrence (Providence).

The proposal which would have demolished roughly 70 single-family homes and replaced them with more than 1,400 townhouses and condos was deemed too dense. While the development may be appropriate within a 1/4-mile radius of the Metrostation, it is not appropriate in a suburban neighborhood, Lawrence said.

On the opposite side of the station, a proposal to intensify a section of Swanee Lane, just off Nutley Street, was also defeated. The land is located in the Briarwood area and abuts a more dense section of homes. The neighborhood, however, has a varied set of densities, so two different areas abutting each other is in character with the rest of the development. "In point of fact, the Briarwood neighborhood has developed over time with different residential densities abutting each other," Lawrence said.

The Planning Commission approved a change to the Fairfax Center Area. The property is located in the northwest corner of Waples Mill Road and Route 50. The current plan calls for "medium intensity" office use on the 3.51-acre parcel. The proposed change calls for adding the option of a residential use at 20-25 units per acre.

County staff recommends changing the Comprehensive Plan to allow for an optional use of 16-20 units per acre. The Planning Commission approved the staff alternative.

The Planning Commission also approved a request from the Flint Hill Upper School on Jermantown Road to extend a sewer line to serve a comfort station the school plans to build near its athletic fields.

The proposals that were defeated will not go any further. Those that were accepted will be considered by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a July 11 public hearing.

County residents who wish to register to speak at the public hearing before the Board of Supervisors should call 703-324-3151 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz. The hearing is scheduled for July 11, 5:30 p.m., in the Board Auditorium, Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035. Written comments may be sent to the same address.

— Ari Cetron