|This building is on the site of a proposed apartment project on Columbia Pike.|
The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved a motion Nov. 5 calling for the Board of Supervisors to approve a county staff report recommending an amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan to allow a mixed-use development in Bailey’s Crossroads. There was no opposition from any of the commissioners.
About 3.5 acres along Moncure is owned by the county, which plans to use it for a new elementary school. It would be an urban-style school with four or five stories, Brent Krasner of the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning, said at the Planning Commission hearing.
Clyde Miller, of the Holmes Run Valley community, urged the Planning Commission to oppose a school on Moncure Avenue. The site is “not a suitable location for a public school,” he said, and local residents haven’t been given adequate opportunity to review and comment on the proposal.
The school would be too close to Columbia Pike and too close to the proposed apartments, Miller told the commissioners. Apartment residents would be able to look right into the school windows, which would be a security risk, and there wouldn’t be enough space for emergency vehicles and for an escape route for 950 students in case of disaster.
Miller has urged the county to instead consider building a new school on the site of the Willston Center in Seven Corners. That building, which used to be a public school decades ago, is now being considered for a county office building as part of a Seven Corners redevelopment proposal.
Commissioner Janet Hall (Mason) asked Krasner whether the plan for school on Moncure would preclude the Willston site from being converted to a school later, and he said it would not.
Suzie Wells, a resident of Sleepy Hollow Manor, also complained that the community hadn’t been informed about the project. She said there are a lot of problems with the new Bailey’s Upper Elementary School, the county’s first urban-design school.
When asked by at-large commissioner Tim Sergeant about recreational facilities at the school, Krasner said there would be playing fields on top of a one-level parking structure.
According to Hall, the school board is desperately looking for a solution to the severe overcrowding at schools in the area. The proposal for a school at the Moncure site “has potential,” she said. “I don’t think it’s perfect.”
New schools won’t be like the old ones, Hall said. “They will not be surrounded by lots of green space. You don’t need that for a good education. What you need are good teachers.”