As a member of Supervisor Hudgins’ outreach committee regarding Oakcrest School’s proposed Special Exception Amendment, I write to update the community on this important matter before the Board of Supervisors.
Our community has submitted a compromise proposal that we believe is a win for the school, a win for Fairfax County, and a win for the community. This win-win-win solution was submitted in our compromise plan to the board and discussed at length with Supervisor Hudgins. The key highlights of the compromise proposal are:
1. School access at the current Golf Park Hunter Mill Road access, the same access as the SE that was approved in 2010.
2. Improvements at the intersection of Hunter Mill and Crowell — which retain the stop sign but add additional turn lanes.
3. Preserving the ecologically sensitive character of Crowell Road and the highly effective sound/visual buffer of the forested berm.
There are several reasons why this compromise makes sense:
1. It allows school construction to take place. All the members of the community are united in welcoming Oakcrest to the neighborhood and sympathize with their predicament (they sold their existing property prior to finalizing their new property).
2. It eliminates the safety concerns and additional congestion from Crowell Road.
3. The latest traffic counts proffered by Oakcrest are well within safety limits for an access onto Hunter Mill. In fact, these counts are no more than the existing Golf Park and Fairfax Christian School — current establishments that access Hunter Mill Road at this point. Furthermore, Oakcrest offered to provide police assistance for entering/exiting vehicles — exactly what is in place at other schools in Fairfax County which front on busy streets. FCDOT and VDOT approved those arrangements in the past and therefore should have no concerns with this arrangement at the exit onto Hunter Mill — especially due to its interim nature.
4. The compromise also enables future Hunter Mill Road/Crowell Road intersection improvements as part of future developments for the residual land.
5. The “green buffer zone” between the Reston-Herndon Suburban Center and the Tysons Corner Suburban Center is preserved.
Finally, and most importantly, it upholds the integrity of the Special Exception process … something that community residents as well as builders in the area are closely watching. The county does not need a precedent for letting developers wriggle out of prior critical commitments and requirements.
The community’s compromise proposal is a solution that holds significant promise. It enables school construction to start and also provides time for the school to take advantage of the Hunter Mill Road improvements that will come with the opening of the Silver Line and increased development in Reston. The county needs to conduct an expeditious, thorough, and transparent consideration of the proposal instead of simply making an expedient decision driven by the school’s schedule.
Laddie Suk, Vienna