A 13-acre area straddling Foley Street will be redeveloped if the plan proposed by Madison Homes is approved.
The area, just north of Huntington Avenue and south of City of Alexandria is currently developed with 19 homes. The development would replace those homes with 85 townhouses. "We believe that we have created a new neighborhood in the Huntington community," said Susan Blakely, a representative of the developer.
Neighbors in the Berkshire Homeowners Association, on the opposite side of Huntington Avenue are concerned about a proposed entrance to the new development. While Foley Street will still be in place, a new entrance will also be constructed diagonally opposite from Wyomissing Court, the only access to Berkshire.
"It already takes five minutes for a break in traffic," said Lauran Ashworth of the association. She said that now drivers on both sides of the road will be waiting for the same break. "This plan sets us up for crash after crash," she said.
Blakely said that Madison homes did not want to include the additional entrance, but that the Virginia Department of Transportation is requiring it.
THE ISSUE of Transportation Demand Management (called TDM for short) is increasing in visibility throughout the county and came up in this development.
While the members of the county Planning Commission have been receptive to the sentiment, they have also questioned if it would have any meaning in the long term.
This concept came to the fore during the replanning of the MetroWest area near the Vienna Metro station. Since then it has been included in development proposals around the county.
Essentially, developers of a property promise that the people who move in will use their cars less than would be expected. Transportation engineers can estimate the number of vehicle trips a development of a given size will generate, and the developer will commit to a percent reduction from that number.
These reductions can come in many forms such as carpools, bikers bus riders and Metro riders. The developer of the Huntington project has proffered a 15 percent trip reduction. Blakely said the development is close enough for people to walk to Metro.
Commissioner Laurie Frost Wilson asked what would happen if, after the development is built and occupied, the proffered reduction is not achieved.
The developer did not respond.
Commissioner Suzanne Harsel (Braddock) noted that this has been an ongoing issue. "We have never been able to find a way," she said. Harsel pointed out, however, the county now has staff working on the issue full time.
THE COMMISSION DEFERRED their decision on the development. They want to ensure that the developer includes in their sale documents what size deck each individual lot can build. The sizes vary from one house to another, and the commission wants prospective owners to have the information. "We want to let people know, before they even get to a contract, what they can do," said Commissioner John Byers (Mt. Vernon).
A decision on the development is scheduled for Oct. 19. A public hearing before the Board of Supervisors has not yet been scheduled.