Fairfax board may reverse itself, save Tysons trees

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Local,Virginia,Taylor Holland

Fifteen Fairfax civic associations fighting to save a 33-acre forest near Tysons from development say they're hopeful the County Board of Supervisors will vote on Tuesday to reverse itself and vote to permanently protect the area.

The group said it was reassured by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, D-Hunter Mill, that the board would discuss a plan to thwart the extension of Boone Boulevard -- which would run straight though Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley Park.

"She's definitely planning on [raising the issue]," Pam Konde, president of the Save Tysons Last Forest coalition, said. "It's never over until it's over, and we know that, but I think every minute they spend studying this is a waste of funding."

When the Board of Supervisors in 2010 approved a massive redevelopment of Tysons, turning an office district into an urban downtown, their plans included extending Boone Boulevard to the Dulles Toll Road. The road now stops at Route 123.

To reach the toll road, though, Boone Boulevard would have to run straight through the park, a plan that outraged neighbors.

Among residents' concerns is that development in that area would cause a spring running through the "forest" to flood.

"This should be a five-minute conversation," she said. "Stop spending money to analyze transportation feasibility because it's not a part of our vision. It's not part of the county's vision."

Hudgins did not return calls seeking comment. But Konde said residents are not sure whether the board will put off a vote while it contends with Hurricane Sandy. Still, she said she plans to be at Tuesday's board meeting to represent the 15 civic associations, comprised of 1,800 households, who first mounted opposition to the county's plan.

Supervisors, if they meet Tuesday, would first vote to schedule a public hearing on a proposal to create a service district that would help fund transportation-related improvements associated with the new Tysons.

The county expects to collect approximately $253 million from the service district, which will increase property taxes for residents and businesses in the development area.

Supervisor John Cook, R-Braddock, said the board will not decide the rate of the tax -- expected to be between 7-cents and 9-cents -- until April.

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

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Taylor Holland

Staff writer
The Washington Examiner