MetroWest (Virginia)

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MetroWest is a transit-oriented development being developed by Pulte Homes (residential) and CRC (previously Clark Realty) (commercial) adjacent to the Vienna Metro station in Fairfax County, Virginia. It replaces 65 single-family detached houses with a mixed-use neighborhood including up to 1,174 residential units, up to 190,000 square feet (18,000 m2) of retail space, and up to 1,000,000 square feet (90,000 m2) of office space. The north boundary is Saintsbury Drive (south of the southern entrance to the Vienna/Fairfax Metro station), and the south boundary is Lee Highway (U.S. 29). In July 2009, Fairfax County approved Pulte's request to change the allocation of space to provide more office space and less apartment space.[1]

The project spurred significant local opposition[2] due to its relative density compared to the surrounding area, which is generally suburban in character. Neighbors fear increased development will lead to increased traffic congestion, while planners argue that dense development clustered near transit stations and diverse land uses generates less traffic congestion on a per unit basis than low density development, and is the only way to reduce or manage congestion on a regional basis.[3]

The primary proposal was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on March 27, 2006,[4] to incorporate all of the former Fairlee residential subdivision, as well as some adjacent parcels. Fairlee was razed at the time the project was approved, construction begun in 2007.

In addition to a Transportation Demand Management Plan to reduce congestion in the development's immediate vicinity, Pulte released a list of proffers as agreed to with Fairfax County. Among these are commitments to maximum density, construction schedule, and amenities/buildings accessible to all (such as a community center, seasonal skating rink and town square).

Development was postponed due to a housing market correction that has impacted Fairfax County as well as most densely populated areas in the United States, but finally began in November 2008. In June 2009, Pulte requested a modification to the plan to swap out approximately 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) of planned residential space for use as office instead; this request was approved by Fairfax County in July 2009, reducing the total number of planned residential units to 1,174.

In 2013, developers Pulte and Clark pursued an alternative to leaving much of the razed site undeveloped by releasing a scaled down development plan, most notably replacing the multistory office and residential buildings with single-story retail shops.[5] Developer representatives insisted the companies were still committed to the original plan but cited lukewarm development interest as the reason for the plan's revision. During a public meeting in June 2013, County Supervisor Lynda Smyth reiterated her commitment to developing a full town center consistent with the original plan approved by Fairfax County, saying the revised plan had not been submitted for approval and in her opinion the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors would not give approval if it were submitted.[6]

In late 2015, Pulte submitted a Partial Proffered Condition Amendment (PCA 2003-PR-022) proposing to delete proffer 5.b. Timing of High Rise Construction.[7] The intent of this proffer was to incentivize the construction of the office and retail component of the MetroWest development that is primarily owned by Clark Reality.[8] Clark expressed interest in joining with Pulte in the PCA, although as of early 2016, Clark had not identified a timeline for submittal to Fairfax County.[8] A PC zoning hearing for Pulte is scheduled for April 16, 2016 at 8:15 PM.

In 2016, Pulte completed construction of five four-story residential condo buildings (160 units) with underground parking and elevator service. Pulte was interested in constructing buildings 14 and 15.

On October 24, 2016 Pulte and CRC held a public outreach meeting at the Providence Recreation Center to discuss the pending Pulte Proffer Condition Amendment (PCA) and to provide updates and obtain feedback from the surrounding neighborhoods about the final phasing and build out of MetroWest.[9] Pulte indicated that it plans to start construction of four 55-and-over age-restricted residential buildings in 2017. Additionally, Pulte placed their pending PCA application (PCA 2003-PR-022) on indefinite deferral.[9] Their PCA proposes to modify previous commitments to permit the development of its remaining residential buildings. CRC discussed with the community current design, market and financing constraints that have held them back from initiating construction of their portion (commercial) of MetroWest. CRC committed to the community that they would do additional market research and design work to develop some draft design concepts that they would bring back to the community for review and comment in early 2017.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A big change for MetroWest... fewer homes". dougfrancis.com. July 28, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ Rein, Lisa (April 21, 2005). "Lawmaker Steps In on Va. Growth". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ "TOD - Coalition for Smarter Growth". Smartergrowth.net. June 4, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  4. ^ Rein, Lisa (March 28, 2006). "MetroWest Development Is Approved In Fairfax". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  5. ^ Dan Malouff (14 June 2013). "Vienna Metro Town Center Won't Have a Town Center". GreaterGreaterWashington.org. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Dan Malouff (3 July 2013). "Fairfax Still Wants a Real Center at Vienna MetroWest". GreaterGreaterWashington.org. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "PCA 2003-PR-022". Fairfax County Virginia Government. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Land Use Updates, The Providence Report, Fairfax County Virginia Government, Volume XXIII (1), 8, 2016.[1]
  9. ^ a b c Land Use Updates, The Providence Report, Fairfax County Virginia Government, Volume XXVI (1), 9, 2017.

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