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Commission OK’s Van Dorn Townhouses

Plan for 17 townhouses now goes to Board of Supervisors.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved a plan to bring 17 new townhouses to South Van Dorn Street.

The houses will go on a 2.37-acre parcel at 5939 South Van Dorn Street which currently contains three detached houses. The three existing houses will be removed.

The plan includes building a new public road that has been on the Comprehensive Plan and, which Planning Commissioner Rodney Lusk (Lee) says is needed.

"This solution will provide an alternate route for the community," Lusk said.

Area residents came to speak at the commission’s March 29 meeting because of environmental concerns. Alison Lawler, who lives in an abutting property, acknowledged that she prefers to look at the trees currently on the land more than she would like to look at townhouses.

Lawler said she is also concerned that the new road will impact a stream.

The road will indeed go into a "resource protection area," the buffer around streams established by state law, but public road construction is one thing allowed to go into stream buffers.

The developers, Michael and Joanne Curtiss, have committed to correcting any damage they might do to the stream, said their attorney, Greg Riegle.

"There’s a number of measures in place to protect the existing stream and, in fact, enhance it," Riegle said.

The proposal was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission. It must now go before the Board of Supervisors for another public hearing and final decision. A date has not yet been set.