|Traffic congestion at the Beauregard Street/Little River Turnpike intersection on a weekday evening.|
The task force, convened by Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, will provide community input as Fairfax County officials develop a plan for guiding future development and transportation improvements in Lincolnia.
Gross told the group at its first meeting Feb. 22 that its goal is to determine what Lincolnia should be like in the next decade and beyond.
The work of the task force is focused on the 200 acres around the intersection of Beauregard Street and Little River Turnpike. That is a small part of the Lincolnia Planning District, which comprises 2,000 acres, stretching from Old Columbia Pike almost to the beltway.
The task force is chaired by Daren Shumate, a resident of Parklawn, Other members are:
- Matt Lyttle, a resident of Seminole Avenue;
- Alan Ackerman, member of a HOA board for a community on Beauregard Street;
- Rita Zimmerman, a resident of Lincolnia Park and former member of the BRAC task force;
- Fred Cornett, a Camelot resident who serves as the assets manager for HHH Properties Corp., the owner of the Plaza at Landmark;
- Debi Gerald, a third-generation Lincolnia resident;
- Nazir Baghat, owner of an office building on Cherokee Avenue; and
- Kathleen King, a member of the Charleston Square HOA.
Deborah Fraser, a resident of the Stonegate at Landmark community complained that Gross unfairly rejected her request to join the task force and asked Shumate to add her to the group, or at least someone from Stonegate. “We are ground zero on this,” she said. “Why can’t we add one more person?”
Fraser believes Gross’ decision is retaliation for her actions to mobilize the community against the county’s plan to temporarily relocate the Bailey’s Crossroads homeless shelter to Lincolnia. [That plan was subsequently dropped.]
Shumate agreed to “take this under advisement” and discuss the matter with Gross, but added, “this is not about having every neighborhood represented.” The meetings are open to the public and anyone can ask questions. Task force members promised to listen to audience members and take their concerns into account.
The task force has been charged with reviewing existing conditions in Lincolnia, developing a vision for the future of the community and a plan for achieving the vision, and serving as a liaison to the community.
The task force will provide input to Fairfax County planning staff as they conduct phase two of the Lincolnia Planning District Study. The first phase, completed over the past year and a half, dealt with editorial changes to the Lincolnia section of the county’s comprehensive plan.
Phase two, which will address substantive changes, will probably take a couple of years to complete, said Faheem Darab, a planner with the Department of Planning and Zoning,
Darab urged task force members to be mindful of a state law enacted last summer that restricts the ability of local governments to request or accept “unreasonable” proffers from developers related to new residential projects.
The proffer law, advocated by developers, limits the ability of communities to get developers to pay for amenities like parks and sidewalks. A local government that violates the proffer law could face stiff penalties.
Under the law, “all proffers are deemed unreasonable, unless they address an impact specifically attributable to the proposal,” Darab said. For example, an addition to a school to relieve overcrowding due to new residential development could be reasonable, but a community gathering space would not be.
A small area plan designated as a revitalization area, such as a CBC, however, is exempt from the restrictions on proffers if it allows mass transit, mixed-use development, and a density of at least 3.0 FAR (floor area ratio).
In addition to the CBC issue, the task force meetings will cover such topics as the strengths and weaknesses of Lincolnia, transportation improvements, the City of Alexandria’s plans for Landmark Mall, and the impact of HOV lanes on Interstate 395.
The task force is scheduled to meet twice a month, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 p.m., at the Lincolnia Senior Center, through July 18. The next meeting is March 7.
Meanwhile, the Washington chapter of the Urban Land Institute will independently convene experts to conduct a mini-technical assistance panel and submit its own recommendations for improving Lincolnia on May 18.
The task force’s recommendations will be incorporated into a report on the Lincolnia Planning District Study by county staff, which will be presented to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will hold public hearings on the study recommendations, and a final decision will be made by the BoS,