Fairfax County officials on Tuesday approved a landmark proposal to allow the transformation of Tysons Corner from a sprawling, auto-dependent office park into a vibrant, walkable city.The "good" news is that time constraints brought about by Metro actually pushed the supervisors to approve the more desirable option -- as opposed to what happened when the county started feeling the heat to approve the Wiehle
The Board of Supervisors voted 8 to 2 after a six-hour public hearing on new building rules and a 20-year blueprint for Tysons, its most significant land-use decision in recent years. The proposal permits Tysons to become a city of office and residential towers with sidewalk cafes, boutiques and manicured courtyards. It also calls for energy-efficient buildings, affordable housing, park space and a new street grid to filter local traffic. A planned circulator bus system would ferry riders among future Metrorail stations, offices and shopping malls.
"Tysons is a downtown. While it may not be a municipality, it will be a community," Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), whose district includes the employment hub, said before the vote. "Tysons is not going to be an auto-oriented environment. It's going to be walkable for the people who live there and for the economy."
The biggest hurdles have yet to come. Excluding the rail system, officials have yet to identify a way to fund about $1.5 billion in road and transit improvements needed through 2030.
The public hearing was the culmination of five years of planning. The county was under pressure to adopt a final land-use plan because the four Metro stations are slated to open in 2013.
The Tysons plan calls for 20 percent of housing to be devoted to those who make $51,350 to $123,240, or 50 to 120 percent of Fairfax's median household income of $102,700. In exchange, developers would be allowed to build 20 percent more units.Yeah, who wants those icky teachers or police officers as neighbors? All that chalk dust, handcuffs, etc. We're just happy that people who make the paltry sum of $123,240 are finally being designated as
Lynne J. Strobel, a land-use lawyer with Walsh Colucci Lubeley Emrich & Walsh representing several Tysons Corner developers, urged supervisors to cut the lowest tier of workforce housing, for those earning 50 to 60 percent of the median household income in Fairfax. That would include annual incomes of $51,350 to $61,620. Starting salaries for teachers and police officers in Fairfax County range from $44,000 to $49,450.