Fairfax planning body backs 15-home Oakton subdivision

The Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 17, 2019, recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve plans by Williams Meadow LC to build 15 single-family houses at this site on Sutton Road in Oakton.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 17 unanimously recommended that county supervisors approve a proposed rezoning to allow a 15-house subdivision in eastern Oakton.

The applicant, Williams Meadow LC, wishes to build the homes on 5.89 acres along the eastern side of Sutton Road, just north of that street’s intersection with Oleander Avenue.

Planning Commission member Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner moved for the application’s recommendation a week after a July 10 public hearing. The commission fielded numerous concerns from neighbors about the site’s stormwater-management facilities, affects on adjacent Nottoway Park and potential traffic impacts, he said.

The applicant’s attorney, Lori Greenlief, on July 17 said the subdivision’s contribution to traffic congestion would be a “drop in the bucket,” with a maximum of only 11 projected vehicular trips in the peak morning hour and just an expected 10 trips in the busiest evening hour.

The subdivision’s density is below the allowable limit and is less dense than some nearby developments, she said.

“This application aligns exactly with the use and the density that is recommended in the comprehensive plan,” Greenlief said. “It does not maximize the allowable density, but rather falls squarely in the middle of the planned density of two to three dwelling units per acre.”

The subdivision’s lots would range in size from 7,500 to 11,800 square feet and each property would have a two-car garage, with room for two more vehicles in the driveway, county planning staff said.

The homes, which would be built by Sekas Homes Ltd., would be accessible via a public cul-de-sac from Sutton Road. A 5-foot-wide sidewalk and street parking would be available on both sides of the street.

An asphalt trail within the site would link up with an existing asphalt path leading to Nottoway Park just to the east. There also would be a 6-foot-wide asphalt trail along the site’s Sutton Road frontage.

Niedzielski-Eichner supported the developer’s stormwater-management plans for the property.

“I am satisfied that the drainage from the site, when developed, will be substantially lessened due to the addition of underground storage vaults that will catch the runoff and slowly release the stormwater into an installed drainage system that serves the area.”

John Sekas, owner of Sekas Homes, said the company has installed a similar stormwater-detention system on some of its other developments. While the system is 30 to 40 percent costlier than average, its 80-year projected useful life and easy maintenance help ensure the company’s long-term reputation, Sekas said.

In response to residents’ concerns about stormwater runoff in the vicinity, the Virginia Department of Transportation has assured Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) that it soon will inspect neighbors’ drainage ditches, Niedzielski-Eichner said.

To bolster the site’s buffer with Nottoway Park, the applicant has offered to plant 6- to 8-foot-tall holly trees along the property line of Lots 9 and 10, Niedzielski-Eichner said. The developer also will plant trees that are larger than proposed earlier along the property’s western edge, he said.

The application has an environmentally sensitive design, with more open space and a larger tree-preservation area than required, and the developer has offered to have invasive-species management done in the tree-save area, Greenlief said.

“The process does work,” she said. “This application has evolved by virtue of the review process. The density has dropped from the initial filing, the open space increased and was redesigned to be more useful and the proposed internal public street was expanded to allow parking on both sides.”

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take up the case July 30.

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