Randy Broadway does not care who is responsible for the withdrawal of the comprehensive plan change that would have cleared the way for the redevelopment of Waples Mobile Home Park. Whoever it is, he said, he thanks them.
"We had nowhere to go," said Broadway, who has lived at Waples for 12 years.
The revision would have permitted the redevelopment of the mobile home park into multi-family residential units at 20-30 dwelling units per acre. In the 25-acre park, this would have been a maximum of 750 units, some of which would have been designated as affordable dwelling units by developer and property owner A.J. Dwoskin and Associates, Inc. According to A.J. Dwoskin representative Roni Robins, the developer would not have done anything with the property until January 2012.
Last week, A.J. Dwoskin sent a letter to members of the Braddock District Task Force and residents of Waples, stating that the real estate developer wished to withdraw the APR nomination. The letter did not cite the reason for the withdrawal, but stated that it came "after meeting with the Waples Mobile Home Park community, the Braddock District Task Force and Supervisor [Sharon] Bulova."
A.J. DWOSKIN OFFERED no comment, however, according to the letter, the developer plans to revisit the APR process in the future. The next cycle for revisions to the comprehensive plan in southern Fairfax County is in four years.
"‘We believe it is critical that the issues associated with an aging mobile home park in an urbanizing environment be addressed in a manner that is fair to all stakeholders’," stated the letter.
A.J. Dwoskin had surveyed the residents of the park to obtain a sense of the area's demographics and the needs of the community members. The results were not surprising, said Bulova [D-Braddock].
"Many of them were older or disabled citizens, who would find it very different to find another place to live," she said. "There were also quite a few with young children." Also, said Bulova, many of the trailers are in such poor condition that moving them would prove a logistical impossibility.
It was for these reasons, Bulova said, that she told the developer she could not support the nomination. "I told him at the meeting that his nomination was something I felt I couldn’t support, and that even though, yes, well, the mobile home park is considered a transitory use in Fairfax County, this park has been there since the 1950s and is a very stable community," she said.
Also, she said, the park is a source of affordable housing in a county where the average assessed property value is $540,746. Also, she said, it is a low density affordable housing source. With a maximum of 750 units, A.J. Dwoskin's plan for the area was an intense use of the land, she said. The comprehensive plan for Lee Highway in that area outlined a denser development on the north side of the property, where the mobile home park is located.
"What he was proposing was way out of whack with what was already in the plan," said Bulova.
HOWEVER, THE WITHDRAWAL of the nomination has not stopped Broadway and fellow residents Jack Langford and Peyton Moncure from worrying about the future of their homes. When the developer re-files the nomination in four years, said Broadway, the same discussion will ensue of what will happen to the park.
"You can't help it from lying in the back of your mind," he said. "When is that piece of paper going to hit Fairfax County again?"
The primary question on Moncure's mind, he said, was whether the anticipated date of 2012 still stands as the date the park will begin redevelopment.
Even though he is glad the nomination was withdrawn, it adds a measure of uncertainty to the situation, he said. "My question is, can we plan on staying here, or do we plan on leaving?" said Moncure. "I'm going blind. I don't want to be moved to an area I don't know."
According to Bulova, the date of 2012 still stands. However, she said, she is not likely to support the nomination the next time around, either.
Although Broadway's five children want him to move with them into the country, he has an attachment to Fairfax County. He has lived here all his life, he said, and his doctors, hospital and pharmacists are all in the county.
"I don’t see myself going anywhere," said Broadway.
However, Langford knows that no matter what happens, he is selling the trailer he has owned for 25 years. Fairfax County is becoming too urban for him, he said.
"I have to get out," said Langford. "This place is getting to be like New York City."