Great Falls: Awaiting Brooks Farm Decision

Great Falls: Awaiting Brooks Farm Decision

Planning Commission scheduled to make recommendation to Board of Supervisors at this Thursday’s hearing.

Editor's Note: The Planning Commission is scheduled to make its decision only recommendation to the Board of Supervisors this Wednesday, March 2.

Great Falls awaits the Planning Commission’s decision on the potential rezoning of Brooks Farm off Springvale Road.

Dranesville Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder said the commission is scheduled to make its decision only recommendation to the Board of Supervisors this Wednesday, March 2.

“The applicant has submitted a set of revised proffers and a number of changes,” said Ulfelder.

“Planning staff has been analyzing these changes. They are preparing an addendum to the original staff report. That should be coming out tomorrow or Monday,” he said at last Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting.

More than 1,400 people in Great Falls signed a petition opposing Basheer-Edgemoor Brooks application to rezone 51.97 acres of farmland off Springvale Road and around Walker Lake to allow building 20 homes.

Many testified before the county’s Planning Commission in a four hour hearing that started Thursday, Jan. 21 and lasted past 2 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 22.

“We are the voice for Great Falls. We find that consensus and take it to the county to make sure our voice is heard,” said Great Falls Citizens Association president Eric Knudsen. “You’ve heard multiple times tonight how the community feels.”

Great Falls was part of a downzoning more than 30 years ago designed to protect drinking water and the Potomac River, with much of the area zoned for one house for five acres.

THE PLANNING COMMISSION listened to more than four hours of testimony from commission staff and from citizens, mostly in opposition but some in support of the plan to rezone 51.97 acres of property off Springvale Road.

“It is very clear this is a special piece of property to people in the community,” said Gregory Riegle, representing the potential developers. “We went to great pains to ensure that we have complete answers to questions.”

Basheer/Edgemoore-Brooks spent more than a year revising its application in attempt to meet concern of residents, especially regarding density, septic, stormwater, environmental, well, water, preservation of trees, and other features of the property around Walker Lake.

The proposal to rezone the property to permit Basheer/Edgemoore-Brooks to develop 20 single family homes in a cluster subdivision, meaning houses would be on smaller lots with open space around.

The developers convinced some, including neighbors Elyse and Bob Turkeltaub.

“Initially we did not favor it, but over time, as we met with them, we think it is is a good and reasonable idea,” Bob Turkeltaub said.

Members of the Planning Commission said that the 36nsections of proffers in the application should include arduous guidelines for attending to the environment long-term.

“If those HOAs don’t have good guidelines and understanding of the responsibility to do this, it will go away,” said Knudsen. “We need to do more.”