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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Planning Commission approves housing on Campbell and Ferrara site

Willow Run Drive
Despite extensive opposition from nearby residents, the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved a rezoning request to allow 29 single-family houses to be built on 8.78 acres on property now occupied by the Campbell and Ferrara nursery on Little River Turnpike.

No commissioners voted against the proposal although three members abstained: Kenneth Lawrence (Providence), Earl Flanagan (Mount Vernon), and the chair, Peter Murphy (Springfield).

The Mason District Land Use Committee voted in February to recommend that the Planning Commission not approve the rezoning request by Neighborhoods VI. The Planning Commission deferred action twice on the Willow Run project before approving it June 14. It will now go before the Board of Supervisors, which in all likelihood will approve it.

The proposal calls for the property to be rezoned from R-2 (which allows two houses per acre) to PDH-4 (planned development housing) which would allow much higher density (four houses per acre) with a homeowners association responsible for the maintenance of stormwater management facilities and common areas.

During earlier hearings and in letters to county officials, residents of the Willow Run community had complained that the development would not fit in with the character of the neighborhood, which includes many small houses on large lots. There were also complaints about increased traffic, increased storm water flowing into their yards, and overflow parking.

A letter from the Mason District Council urging the Planning Commission to reject the project says, if the property is to be developed, local residents prefer low-density housing in keeping with the existing neighborhood rather than PDH zoning, which would result in damage to an environmentally sensitive area.

They also note that the cash proffers Neighborhoods VI agreed to pay, including $75,471 to the Park Authority, $140,670 to the school system, $2,250 for a traffic light already in place, and funds for affordable housing and a bus shelter would benefit the county, not the existing neighborhood.

During the Planning Commission meeting, Janet Hall, the commissioner representing Mason District, said many of the community’s complaints with the original proposal have been addressed in the revised version.

William O’Donnell, with the Department of Planning and Zoning, explained the changes: The number of houses was reduced from 35 to 29, the configuration of the houses and private road through the property was modified, the buffer was increased from 25 to 30 feet, and storm water will be managed with a dry pond instead of an underground facility.

“The community will continue to be dissatisfied that this property will be developed,” Hall acknowledged. “But I doubt that nine acres in Mason District is going to sit vacant. Whether it’s done by right or by this application, something is going to happen. I think this is the very best that can be done with it at this point.”


  1. Like it or not, those representing us will always go for development By doing so, they can raise more tax revenues on homeowner's land than land allocated for businesses. Do the math. At least we don't have hundreds of Condo units reaching into the sky. More home units, more traffic, less roads, more tax revenues, less representation of the people. Sound familiar?

  2. You are right. We should all feel lucky to live in Annandale where Penny and Co. dont listen to her constituents and in FX County where we are getting run over by illegal aliens. I am just going to stop complaining right now. In fact, I will be sure to vote Penny back in, b/c nothing will ever change. We just have to accept our lot and shut up. Yeah.

  3. It is really true -- developers ALWAYS win in Annandale and Mason District. No wonder -- the Real Estate/Construction industry sector was the largest contributor to Supervisor Gross' last campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. But it isn't just Penney. The same sector came in second behind Political Parties in contributions to Chairman Bulova's race. And so it goes: Largest donor to John Cook,Braddock District supervisor. And so on -- developers own a lot in Fairfax.