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Neighborly Perspective; Fairfax Weighs In

Fairfax County has expected this sort of thing for some time. "We realized years ago that there was going to be a fair amount of traffic coming out of Loudoun County," said Fairfax Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully).

The Fairfax's Sully district runs along southern portion of the Fairfax County line, and will be directly impacted by the projects proposed for the Transition Policy Area. Frey's three main concerns are transportation, the environment and recreation.

He stressed that he understands that the decision is Loudoun County's. However, "there are limits as to what we can do," Frey said.

Route 50 is the obvious choice for moving the most cars, Frey said. While it is currently two lanes in each direction from the county line to Route 28, it has long been planned to go to three lanes each way.

Two years ago, the Commonwealth Transportation Board set aside $19 million to begin the preliminary engineering work, but that funding was cut before the work began. With the lack of funding coming from Richmond, the road is unlikely to be widened by the state in the foreseeable future, Frey said.

Braddock Road is also planned for widening, Frey said, but it is an even lower priority. Frey says that the densities in the area will not be high enough to warrant a rail line, although bus service could be a viable alternative for mass transit.

The Fairfax Board of Supervisors plans to put transportation bond up for a referendum in 2007, which Frey estimated will be in the $100 million range. However, he said that using the money to widen roads which would serve residents of another county would be unlikely. "It's a tough sell," he said.

Even building the roads may not be enough. "Whether the planned roads can handle it if they're built is the long-term question," he said.

On the environmental front, Frey pointed to several streams which have their headwaters in Loudoun County and then flow into Fairfax. While Frey acknowledged that Loudoun County does "a lot" to protect its streams, it has not adopted the state's Chesapeake Bay protections. This set of regulations works to protect the Chesapeake Bay from pollution by working to protect the streams and rivers which flow into it. For example, as a result of the laws, no development is permitted in Fairfax County within 100 feet of a perennial stream. "It would be nice to see them impose Ches[apeake] Bay standards," Frey said.

Frey was also concerned about the lack of recreation facilities. He said that many Loudoun County youths come into Fairfax to join sports leagues. Frey thinks this isn't a major problem now. "It makes sense to get kids into productive outlets, no matter where they live," he said.

However, he noted that the Sully District, and Fairfax County in general, lack sufficient fields for youth sports, and 28,000 new houses would add a lot of children to the area. "At that point, we'd have to adopt a Fairfax-only requirement," Frey said.