The Great Falls and McLean citizens associations, worried about traffic impacts at Toll Bros.’ proposed development of 102 single-family homes at Route 7 and Towlston Road, are asking state and county transportation officials to consider options that would improve vehicle flow and safety.
The by-right Grantstone development, which would be managed by Toll Bros.’ wholly owned subsidiary Toll Mid-Atlantic LP Co., would be built at 9120 and 9200 Leesburg Pike and 1295 Towlston Road at the former location of Covance Laboratories.
Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) board members on June 19 passed a resolution calling on the Virginia and Fairfax County departments of transportation to study issues raised by the development, including how much extra traffic it will generate.
The resolution also asked the agencies to re-evaluate the Route 7/Towlston Road intersection and examine ways that traffic would enter and leave the Grantstone development, with the intent of moving vehicles efficiently while preserving bicyclist and pedestrian safety. One possibility could include direct access to Route 7.
As of 2017, Route 7 handled about 54,000 vehicles per day between Georgetown Pike and the Dulles Toll Road, while Towlston Road between Route 7 and Leigh Mill Road saw about 4,800 vehicles daily, GFCA’s resolution read.
GFCA leaders also were concerned about the potential impacts that a proposed cut-through-traffic restriction on Bellview Road might have on Towlston Road. They urged transportation planners to expand their study to include houses that might be affected by the restriction and asked that they explore other options to limit cut-through traffic between Route 7, Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive in the morning and evening peak hours.
The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) has expressed similar concerns about the project. In a July 2 letter to state and county transportation officials, Transportation Committee chairman David Wuehrmann wrote that because hills and turns on Towlston Road near the development hamper driver visibility, the planned entrance roads to the site from that road raise safety concerns.
MCA’s Transportation Committee also recommended that the Virginia Department of Transportation analyze whether the planned right-turn lane on Towlston Road should be extended farther north and if additional land should be obtained for that purpose.
“The committee is concerned that the proposed right-turn lane from Towlston onto Route 7 might not be sufficient in length, considering the likely build-up of traffic headed for Route 7 at certain times of day,” Wuehrmann wrote.
The committee “urges VDOT to expedite its study and implementation of the intersection improvements to ensure that they occur contemporaneously with the projected completion of this development,” he added.
Toll Bros. has proposed two access points off of Towlston Road, but no homes will access that street directly, a company spokesman said. A shared through and left-turn lane currently is proposed on Towlston Road and Toll Bros. is seeking ways further to enhance traffic flow at the road’s intersection with Route 7, he said.
Fairfax County planning officials are reviewing the Grantstone development proposed by Toll Bros. to see if it conforms with the county’s comprehensive plan, subdivision requirements and environmental regulations.
The 124.9-acre property has been cleared for residential use. Covance in 2004 finished remediating all environmental concerns from the laboratories’ uses at the site, a Toll Bros. spokesman said.
The developer plans to conduct some tree preservation at the site, enhance its landscaping and provide active and passive recreational spaces. Toll Bros. will rebuild an existing pond, add trails and boardwalks and enhance open areas to create communal features for homeowners, the spokesman said.
The luxury homes will have open, modern floor plans and top-of-the-line finishes, the Toll Bros. spokesman said.
Because Toll Bros. is not seeking a rezoning for the site or any special exceptions, the project will not require approval from the Board of Supervisors. The company anticipates it will obtain plan approval and permits for the first phase of the project in late 2018 and begin construction in early 2019.