I’ve written to the Gazette previously about Bock Farm, and, like H. Jay Spiegel, I attended the information session on Jan. 26. It was a good meeting, but what was clear, and what has been clear all along is that a minority in the adjacent neighborhood has been given too much power by Supervisor Storck. These few neighbors want the townhouses (option 3), but ultimately they want to determine what is built on this corner of the current Bock Farm.
Initially, the neighbors expressed concern about increased traffic, an issue that was dispelled at the meeting; there is no appreciable difference between anticipated traffic from the planned senior housing and the townhouses. Traffic is a non-issue.
They expressed concern about increases in the school population, also dispelled at the meeting; the expansion of Stratford Landing Elementary School will accommodate any increase. Of course, it is important to note that the senior housing will by design not include persons of any public school age. The townhouses potentially will include not only two working parents but children from elementary through high school ages. Mr. Storck reported that Carl Sandburg Middle School is at capacity and West Potomac High School is significantly beyond capacity; both would draw students from the townhouses. So the townhouses potentially create a school capacity problem.
Ultimately, option 1 is the only one that has gone through all the county processes needing only the approving vote by the Board of Supervisors. Option 2 and 3 would have to go through the long process of approvals that option 1 has already completed.
Senior housing serves the Mount Vernon district and the broader community best; the townhouses will just add more housing stock to the area, so much of which is priced out of reach to public servants and the general population along this corridor. Yes, it will change the view in the area, but I’ve seen many changes here in my 42 years in the area, some acceptable to me, and other distasteful. Changes happen in a community all the time; we have the multilevel processes to ensure those changes are good for the community. It’s unlikely everybody is happy with every change.
Let’s not forget in all of this, the Bocks, two people who have provided this idyllic environment for nearly two decades for the community and have been faithful neighbors to the adjacent neighborhood and well as the broader community. We have been able to enjoy the presence of the farm without taking on all the intense labor involved. Are the Bocks not entitled to their choice now?
I encourage Supervisor Storck to show leadership and present the approved option 1 to the Board on Feb. 14, let the Bocks move on and let the community move on to the construction of this positive and needed development.