It's now on to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a proposal to build 10 new townhouses in Centreville. Earmarked for 1.7 acres on ODay Drive, off Stone Road, the homes got a thumbs-up recently from the county Planning Commission.
The controversial proposal has drawn fire from residents of the neighboring Woodgate Manor community, who'd hoped the developer would build just eight homes there. But Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch said it just wasn't possible to comply with their demand.
"WE CAN'T arbitrarily make a developer cut his density if he meets all the conditions set forth [by the county]," said Koch. "That's not the way we do business."
Actually, the Planning Commission was originally slated to render its decision on the matter during its Oct. 19 meeting. But it postponed the issue until Oct. 26 to give the applicant time to make some other changes in the proposal's proffers, as were earlier recommended by both Koch and the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee.
The developer had to add a blasting proffer to protect nearby residents from any damage incurred as a result of this project. And a retaining wall intended to go between the new townhouses and the home of the nearest neighbor will be done on a diagonal to lessen its visual impact.
Named The Courts at Riverwind, the community of 3 1/2-story, 2,600-square-foot, luxury townhomes is planned for construction about 1,000 feet from the ODay/Route 29 intersection. Although the neighborhood would have a density of 5.72 units per acres, the project needs the county's approval for a rezoning from one home per acre to eight homes per acre.
The developer hopes to save two, large tulip poplar trees on the property and will route an asphalt trail to link up with an already-existing trail in the Big Rocky Run Stream Valley Park to the east.
Koch said he knows some of the Woodgate Manor residents are "still displeased" about the new townhouses, "but the applicant had the support of [county] staff and the WFCCA and finally convinced me that he did everything he could to address the citizens' concerns."
As for the residents' desire for the developer to drop two of his units, Koch said, "At some point, it wouldn't be worth it [to the applicant] to develop the property. He's [already] at the low end of the density [allowed there]."
THE RESIDENTS also worried that the new neighborhood's proposed entrance would be in a dip on ODay where cars disappear from view. But the grade there will be pushed back so motorists at that curve will be able to see a minimum of 335 feet, each way.
Koch said he, too, was initially concerned about the entrance but, "after talking to the county transportation people, where they have it sited is the optimal place. And the improvements the applicant will do to ODay Drive will increase the site distance further by leveling out the dip. And when they remove the brush and scrub, people coming out will have a better view of traffic in both directions."
Next stop: The Board of Supervisors on Monday, Nov. 21.