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Fairfax Board OKs Wolftrap Downs Development

Five-home development approved despite objection of the Manors at Wolftrap community.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday the development of five new homes in Vienna’s Wolftrap Downs area, despite the protests of many nearby neighbors.

The Board unanimously approved Sekas Homes' rezoning application to redevelop the 2.5-acre plot on Drewlaine Drive, which currently contains a single house, to hold five new houses around an expanded cul-de-sac.

During a 45-minute public hearing Tuesday night, residents representing the 38 families residing in the Manors at Wolf Trap, a neighborhood immediately north of the development, spoke against the new homes.

David Gibson and Michael Sciulla, both Manors at Wolftrap residents, argued the new houses were going to be built on a plot of land much too small for them and in too close a proximity to other houses.

Sciulla said the back of one particular house would jut into the Manors at Wolftrap cul-de-sac, causing an eyesore and headache for Manors residents.

“The owner of this house will be practically barbecuing on the front lawn of his neighbors,” Sciulla said.

He asked the board to consider decreasing the number of homes in the Sekas application to four, or at least move the fifth house back so it would be less visible from the Manors.

“I am a taxpayer and homeowner whose property value will drop if you allow this,” Sciulla said.

Gibson also pointed out the environmental problems with the proposed redevelopment.

Stormwater runoff from the new houses could put extra strain on the headwaters of Wolftrap Creek and the majority of the old Oak trees on the lot would be removed.

“I’m deeply troubled by the direction of this and I’m surprised it’s gone as far as it has,” he said.

Gibson and Sciulla both said that all 38 families who live in the Manors at Wolftrap had signed a petition – 83 signatures in total – opposing the development.

But John Sekas, the developer, said other neighbors were thrilled the current plot, an unmaintained, temporary cul-de-sac, is going to become an established part of the community.

He also said a stormwater infiltration trench proposed as part of the development will control drainage and soak it right into the ground.

But Jacqueline Hunt, vice president of the Wolftrap Downs Homeowners Association and resident of the street on which the development would be built, spoke in support of the project.

“It has been a nightmare,” she said, referring to drug incidents at the house that will be torn down. “We were so happy when Mr. Sekas bought the property.”

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) said she had originally thought this development, which is in her district, would go through smoothly, and was sorry it had not.

“I do regret that some of residents think the homes are too close to them, but frankly, their homes are very close to the lot,” she said.

For more information on the development, click here.

Robyn Oskuie January 11, 2013 at 01:09 PM
On the same day that the Superintendent says we have a huge budget issue for our schools the Board of Supervisors approves more homes to be built in our county. Unbelievable.
J Anderson January 13, 2013 at 02:44 AM
This sounds eerily familiar .... in fact it's pretty much identical. It ended up being about 15 homes as more land was acquired. And to be clear....the neighbors in both cases simply wanted LESS homes....in Wolftrap Downs it appears to be one. In the case on Beulah Road it was two. We were not opposed to it but simply felt shoving much bigger homes into same size lots just doesn't make good sense. The Planning Commission heard our case pretty well...as they voted 5 Yes, 1 No, 5 Abstain. Apparently that doesn't happen. What is most annoying is that there is no reason history should repeat itself....both the PC and BOS should have remembered and sadly each neighborhood has to reinvent the wheel and never hears what others have done to raise the in fill issue. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2007/mar/20/neighbors-oppose-11-houses/
Dave Gibson January 25, 2013 at 04:30 AM
Please note that by approving the application the BOS endorsed a precedent-setting 35% increase in density in a fragile & failing headwater a mere ½- mile from the glorious Tysons. In doing so the BOS discarded the water quality objectives set forth in Vienna Planning District Guidelines (“maintenance of low planned densities in stream valley headwaters”). They also ignored the Land Use Recommendations set forth in the Spring Lake Sector Area Plan Sector (“protect Wolftrap Creek as a tributaries to the environmentally sensitive Difficult Run watershed”). These key components of the so-called “Comprehensive Plan” were dispatched by the BOS as they had been by County Staff during review. They approved Sekas Home’s intent to remove of 80% of the site’s impressive canopy in order to cram five homes & an unnecessary cul-de-sac onto a steep slope that drains into a neighboring community’s “dry pond” and then quickly into “the hollow that floods all the time” on Old Courthouse Road. Coming an hour after their decision to create a new tax district inTysons should not have been a surprise. But there was no attempt to explain or justify why increasing density to the absolute “upper limit” was in anybody’s best interest except the developer’s. “Upzoning” of in-fills under the guise of “redevelopment” is simply another indicator that established residents tax dollars can’t compete with the promise and glory of future developer income.

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