Storck Defers Farm Vote

Storck Defers Farm Vote

"We don’t have much time to lose.” — Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon)

— Once again, Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon) recommended the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors defer taking action regarding the development of more than four acres of the land close to the Inova Mount Vernon medical office suites on Hinson, or Bock, Farm.

There’s a proposal to build 128 units for independent senior living, but to do so would require zoning approval and a change in several community covenants covering the land.

“My objective here is to recognize if we can get the developer, the Bocks, together with the covenant holders and come up with way of getting an agreement that will last a long time,” Storck said in an interview. “One that won’t cost attorneys’ fees, and also won’t take a year or more to get an answer on.”

The board voted unanimously to defer any vote until Feb. 14, 2017, Valentine’s Day.

The extension, Storck said, “will give me and us enough time to hopefully spread the love of community and get a consensus about what would work for the community and for the Bock family.”

Some community members have voiced numerous concerns, including through a petition with more than 500 signatures. Some of those concerns are that the increased density on the property would add too much traffic to the area, potentially hindering response time by first responders. Others say having the structures so close to the road destroys the natural, bucolic feel that’s been enjoyed by the community for years.

“The farm there now serves as lovely buffer, between the residential area and landscape of the hospital,” said Brittany McMaster of the Riverside Gardens area of Fort Hunt. “If there could be some kind of more gradual development, that’s what what folks would hope for. There is an opportunity for members of the community, the landowners and developers to come to a compromise on a proposal that would work well for the community and be of benefit to the county.”

Queenie Cox, president of the Gum Springs Civic Association, is most worried about the potential for a traffic light to be added at Holland Road and Sherwood Hall Lane.

“Gum Springs will fight tooth and nail to stop that,” Cox said. “We’ve got a stake in it as well.”

Cox said the historic neighborhood has already seen the brunt of traffic travelling those roads for the hospital, the Gartlan Center and Sunrise at Mount Vernon senior living center.

Storck said he plans to schedule private meetings with community covenant holders, the developer and owners in the near future.

“We don’t have much time to lose,” Storck said. “Feb. 14 is not the day. The day to get this done, to bring people together, really is the end of this year, the holidays.

“Once we have a consensus, a general agreement” he continued, “then we can get county staff involved. It will take a fair amount of time to bring this together.”