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Votes

Pohick Houses Denied

The Fairfax County Planning Commission denied a request which would have increased the allowable density on a stretch of Pohick Road near the Fairfax County Parkway.

A developer, Christopher Management, had proposed changing the county’s Comprehensive Plan for about 13 acres along Pohick Road. The plan currently allows 1-2 houses per acre to be built on the land, but Christopher suggested that they should be permitted to be 3-4.

Christopher’s proposal came as part of Fairfax County’s review of its Comprehensive Plan. According to state law, every locality must review its plan every five years. Fairfax’s does this through the Area Plans Review process. Beginning last year, residents, developers and property owners in the Springfield, Mount Vernon, Mason, Lee and Braddock magisterial districts could submit proposals, more formally known as nominations, to change the plan. There are no restrictions on what might be suggested.

The proposals are then analyzed by the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning and a citizen task force. Often, proposals which are opposed by either county staff or the community are withdrawn. Those that are not go to the Planning Commission for a public hearing. Proposals rejected by the Planning Commission stop there. Proposals accepted by the commission go to the Board of Supervisors for an additional public hearing and final decision.

Christopher’s proposal along Pohick Road had been the most controversial remaining in the Mount Vernon District during the Public Hearing on June 21. Both county staff and the citizen task force oppose the change, but the developer pushed ahead.

Planning Commissioner John Byers (Mount Vernon) sided with the citizens on July 26, when the commission made its decision. "The proposal would not encourage redevelopment," Byers said.

Commissioner Laurie Frost Wilson (At-large) disagreed with Byers saying the plan would have encouraged consolidating the properties — considered one of the county’s overarching planning goals — and helped with stormwater management. "[The proposal] would actually have been a benefit for the residents there," Wilson said.

The proposal, having been rejected by the Planning Commission, will not get another hearing.

Proposals which were accepted by the commission will now go on to the Board of Supervisors for another public hearing and final decision on Sept. 25.