May 21, 2020 via email:
Supervisor Walter Alcorn
Hunter Mill District
North County Governmental Center
1801 Cameron Glen Drive
Reston, VA 20190
Subject: Preserve Low Density Residential Development in Hunter Mill Assemblage
Dear Supervisor Alcorn,
We are aware that Brookfield Residential Properties (BRP) is seeking to develop the Hunter Mill Assemblage, 62.4 acres along Sunset Hills Road and along Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Airport Access Road Bridge that crosses over Hunter Mill Road. The latest plan that BRP presented to the neighboring communities proposes 351 dwelling units to be built in an area that would accommodate only 31 homes under the current Comprehensive Plan.
The singling out of a relatively small parcel of land (62.4 aces) for a land use classification that is radically inconsistent with that of the surrounding area of approximately 1200 acres, for the benefit of BRP (and the Hunter Mill Assemblage owners that it represents), is classic spot zoning which seeks to change a broad category of land use density for a single developer. This approach violates the concept of land use planning, is inconsistent with the area’s long term history and goals, and can set precedents that impact area planning into the future.
Specifically, the zoning proposed by BRP is 1) inconsistent with the Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan for the Upper Potomac Planning District in Area III of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, 2) inconsistent with the surrounding low-density residential uses and 3) does not confer any desirable benefits to the community at large. In fact, the BRP Hunter Mill Assemblage plan causes harm by destabilizing the low density residential communities along Sunset Hills Road, east of Lake Fairfax Business Park that are the beginning of the green buffer zone that separates the Reston Suburban Center and the Tysons Corner Urban Center, effectively shifting the boundary of that green buffer east of Sunset Hills Road intersection with Hunter Mill Road.
In addition, RCA specifically objects on the following grounds:
In 2006, the Hunter Mill Road Special Study Task Force found that the Special Study Area was well served by the current Comprehensive Plan and development of any kind was not suitable and therefore recommended no change in the allowed density and/or permitted use of the study area. Therefore, the Study Area should remain designated for low-density residential use at .2 to .5 dwelling units per acre. In February 2006, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to take all the actions recommended by this Special Study Task Force.
Further, the Concept of Future Development for Area III, Upper Potomac Planning District mandates that the area which includes the Hunter Mill Assemblage be preserved for low-density residential development. This is a critical concept for development in the Hunter Mill District and impacts all the owners who invested in this with these density limits in the Comprehensive Plan and it is a founding concept of our area.
The Brookfield Residential Properties’ Hunter Mill Assemblage plans which call for development at an intensity that is typically designated for Transit Station Areas clearly violates the guidance provided by the Concept for Future Development as implemented in the Upper Potomac Planning District.
Improved integration of land use and transportation planning requires the development of the Hunter Mill Assemblage in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan’s low-density residential provision for the area and consistent with the neighboring established neighborhoods.
The realignment of Sunset Hills Road described in the transportation amendment to the comprehensive Plan PA-2017-08 is premised on the retention of the longstanding Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan provision for low-density residential development for the area. More intense development as proposed by BRP would negate the validity of the transportation studies that justified the said realignment and heighten the environmental and resource protection challenges associated with the road construction of the realignment.
During the community meetings on the realignment of Sunset Hills Road up to and including the presentation of Commissioner Carter to the Planning Commission endorsing PA 2017-08, the County staff and the Commissioner firmly and repeatedly assured the neighboring communities that the Plan Amendment was a transportation amendment only and in no way changes the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan’s low-density residential development provision for the area. Any changes in the development intensity represent a betrayal of the commitments made by the County to the neighboring established communities and will send an ominous message to other neighborhoods throughout the Hunter Mill District.
Further, more intense development of the Hunter Mill Assemblage increases commuter and through traffic not only in Hunter Mill Road but also on the rural roads that serve the low-density residential neighborhoods south of Leesburg Pike and north of Hunter Mill Road – Beulah Road, Browns Mill Road and Crowell Road. Already, these roads have been stressed by the traffic generated by the Special Exception granted to Oakcrest School and in the coming year, even more congestion is expected with the opening of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints under a Special Permit.
The property falls under the Sunrise Valley Elementary School, Langston Hughes Middle School, South Lakes High School pyramid. The recent expansions of SLHS and LHMS (ongoing) certainly did not account for 351 unplanned residences.
Based on all the preceding rationale, Reston Citizens Association asks that the Hunter Mill Assemblage be developed as a low density residential community consistent with the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan provisions for the area.
Dennis Hays, President
Reston Citizens Association
cc: Jose del Cid, Land Use Aide
Planning Commissioner John Carter
RA President Julie Bitzer
Great Falls Citizens Association
Hunter Mill Defense League