Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Protecting Vienna and Oakton

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Protecting Vienna and Oakton

The Silver Line is here and Tysons is becoming city-like as a result of the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2010 that effectively eliminated caps on building heights and density limits. One candidate in the June 11 election for the Hunter Mill District seat on the County’s Board of Supervisors, Walter Alcorn, had much to do with the 2010 Tysons Plan. Although Mr. Alcorn’s campaign mailers and website promote his 15-year tenure on the Fairfax County Planning Commission as a positive, during his tenure, Mr. Alcorn routinely ignored the impact his vision for Tysons would have on surrounding communities.

For instance, Mr. Alcorn supported high rise development opposed by nearby residents (Reston Connection – early 2007); as Vice-Chair Mr. Alcorn defended Fairfax County’s major tax increase on residents to pay for the $3 billion redevelopment plan for Tysons crafted by his planning commission (October 2012 - Washington Examiner); as Chairman Mr. Alcorn recommended eliminating residential development limits as his Planning Commission developed a plan allowing 45 million square feet of office space in Tysons (McLean Connection - 2010) which would rank Tysons in top 10 U.S. office markets; and recently, as the head of a Workforce Dwelling Unit Advisory Group of the current Planning Commission, Mr. Alcorn recommended reducing the workforce housing requirement for a large developer at Tysons from 20 percent of units to 13 percent (Fairfax Sun Gazette - 2017).

Tysons density limits and building heights were previously a fraction of the densities and heights allowed by Mr. Alcorn’s plan for Tysons. Examples of Mr. Alcorn’s vision for Tysons are proposed or emerging throughout Tysons. Look no further than the massive Capital One Bank complex emerging along Route 123 near Anderson Road; or the intersection of Routes 123 & 7 where Mr. Alcorn’s vision has allowed buildings so large that there will be 8 square feet of buildings for each 1 square foot of land; or at the intersection of Springhill Road and Route 7 where a massive complex with skyscrapers as tall as 600+ feet is being seriously considered by the Board of Supervisors. Consider the impact on Vienna and surrounding communities of a Tysons “city” with 45 million square feet of office towers plus millions of additional square feet of residential towers, and two major shopping malls with the only notable infrastructure improvements being four Silver Line Stations that have virtually zero commuter parking and Fast-Pass Toll Lanes that cost as much as $50 or more to reach I-95 at peak times.

These are just a few examples of what to expect from Mr. Alcorn if Hunter Mill District residents elect Mr. Alcorn on June 11. Mr. Alcorn has a history of discounting the impact of his vision for Tysons on surrounding communities and now Mr. Alcorn wants to be in charge of the entire Hunter Mill District that includes Vienna, Oakton, Reston, and parts of Herndon and Tysons.

Of the five candidates on the ballot June 11, the only one that has the experience and knowledge necessary to protect the Hunter Mill District from Mr. Alcorn’s support of massive development is Maggie Parker, a committed community servant that supports limiting development to areas and scope that will not continue to erode the quality of life that makes our community so special.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maggie Parker at Comstock. We’ve worked together on many community development projects and volunteer efforts over the last few years. I also reside in Vienna on the border of Tysons and have lived in Fairfax County for over 15 years.

David Zapponi

Zapponi is Director of Development at Comstock, working with Maggie Parker.