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Votes

Tysons Committee Expands

<bt>A committee that has been charged with shaping the fate of Tysons Corner will have more members and a sharper focus, thanks to actions taken at Monday's Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The committee was formed several months ago with 13 members appointed by the supervisors of the Providence, Hunter Mill and Dranesville districts. Tysons Corner is in the Providence District and abuts the other two.

Currently, 21 proposals (called Area Plans Review nominations) to change the county’s land-use plan have been made for Tysons Corner. The Board of Supervisors determined these to be dependent upon the introduction of a new Metrorail line through the area. The proposals generally call for more dense, taller buildings with mixed office and residential use to be permitted in the area.

The committee’s initial charge had been to facilitate communication between citizens and the engineering firm performing a transportation and urban design study.

At its meeting on Monday, the Board of Supervisors gave the committee a more extensive and specific charge. The committee has been given the following goals: promote more mixed use, better facilitate transit oriented-development, enhance pedestrian connections, increase the residential density, improve functionality and provide for public amenities such as public spaces, art and parks.

The committee’s scope is to focus on the transit nodes (areas around the Metro stops), fold the Area Plans Review nominations into the process, ensure transportation impacts are addressed and help define the future of Tysons.

THE COMMITTEE is charged with hosting community meetings including focus groups, public outreach presentations and working groups. It is expected to complete its work in 12-15 months and present a report, including appropriate changes to the Comprehensive Plan as necessary.

Although many nominations are in place for Tysons Corner, the nearby areas cannot be excluded, said Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence). She pointed out that no plans are in place for redevelopment on the side of Route 7 outside of the Tysons core area. Since some Metro stops will be on Route 7, it would not make sense only to plan for changes on one side of the road, she said.

The communication aspect of the committee will still be its overarching responsibility, said Smyth. Ideally, the committee will work to coordinate the ideas of various citizens, landowners and developers, in addition to county planners. “Really, this is still not a matter of a committee that is coming up with its own idea,” Smyth said. “What we want really is a synthesis of what’s out there.”

The board also voted to expand the membership of the committee. Each of the magisterial districts that is not yet represented can appoint one member. The Chamber of Commerce and the Tysons Transportation Association (TYTRAN) may each nominate three members, five nearby neighborhoods may each nominate one member.

Former Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Katherine Hanley (D) was appointed chair of the committee.

<1b>— Ari Cetron