For the first time this year, the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted to turn down an application for rezoning.
"We had considerable difficulty with this," said Commission Vice Chair John Byers (Mt. Vernon) during the Oct. 19 meeting.
The planning commission said no to Phase II of the Lyndham Hill project. The developer, D.R. Horton, is proposing to build 43 townhouses and 36 detached houses on a little more than six acres on Telegraph Road near Richmond Highway.
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed development on July 14. During that hearing, residents of Phase I of the Lyndham Hill project spoke and complained about the way that the developer had built their neighborhood.
Some basic things had not been done, like completing paving the road, and driveways were wider than the cut in the curb, forcing residents to drive over the curb.
During the July hearing, Michael Jones of D.R. Horton said that was the first he'd heard of the problems. He also argued that it is not appropriate for approval of one development to hinge on another, and that the commission should not take issues with Phase I into account in discussing Phase II.
But Byers said the first phase could be viewed as a demonstration of what might happen if the second phase is approved.
“Fix the existing problems and make sure that similar problems don’t occur in this development, assuming this development gets approved,” Byers said at the July 14 meeting.
The Commission then deferred the decision on the hearing. Deferring a decision on a proposed development is a fairly common practice. Typically, it allows the developer to work out issues raised during the hearing.
After a few weeks to resolve the concerns, the project will come back before the planning commission and be approved. When projects have more serious issues, the planning commission will defer them indefinitely, but rarely are they voted down.
In this situation, at least some of the issues in the Phase I portion of the project were addressed. The developer paved the streets, completed some unfinished driveways and completed some landscaping.
Byers did not elaborate on what the problems were with Phase II of the project. "The applicant doesn't want another deferral," he said on Oct. 19. He then moved to recommend denial of the project, which the commission agreed to unanimously.
The plan will now go to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and a final decision. A date has not yet been scheduled.