Commission Questions Expanded Proposal

Commission Questions Expanded Proposal

Van Metre Homes will likely reduce size of proposed development.

Four new houses are just too much, according to county planners. Van Metre homes is already putting 33 houses on 12.3 acres near the intersection of Electric Avenue and Frank Street. The developer just acquired 0.8 adjacent acres and wants to add it to the overall project.

But its proposal results in four new lots, said Cathy Lewis of the Department of Planning and Zoning.

The proposed layout, said Lewis, does not allow the new houses any privacy, does not preserve any existing trees and does not allow for usable yards. “These new lots have been laid out in a haphazard fashion for the sole purpose of maximizing lot yield,” Lewis told the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Jan. 18.

A neighbor, Vijay Kanodia was also upset with the development. Kanodia’s property adjoins the previously approved development, and a turning lane to access it cut across his front yard.

The lane under construction is not what Kanodia thought it would be. “Whatever I was told was not fulfilled,” he said.

Bob Lawrence, attorney for Van Metre, at first argued that his proposed development could work and is well integrated with the already approved 33-house development.

He noted that his development will provide access to two lots used by county residents. “It will be of benefit to the county,” Lawrence said.

Then, about halfway through his presentation, Lawrence changed course and asked that the commission defer its decision. He presented another plan with one less house on it, which might preserve some environmental integrity of the site.

“I believe, with these changes and with the additional tree save, we’re getting pretty close to what [planning and zoning] staff wants,” Lawrence said.

He also said he did not realize that Kanodia had a problem with what was happening, but committed to examine the situation.

“If it’s anything caused by our construction, we will address it,” Lawrence said.

Planning Commissioner Ken Lawrence (Providence) was not happy with the proposed development, which he said does not work with the already approved development.

“If the goal is to have a seamless blending in … that goal has not been achieved,” he said.

Ken Lawrence admonished the developer to present its new plan in sufficient time for the commissioners to study it.

“We cannot make any kind of informed decision based on a sketch you show us,” he said.

The Planning Commission deferred its decision on the proposal until Feb. 22, but the record is still open for comment.

Residents who wish to read the staff report should visit, and follow the link for “staff report.

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