Land Use & Zoning Committee News

Committee Chairs

  • Jennifer Falcone


Committee Role

The LUZ Committee examines and recommends appropriate actions on land use matters and articulates GFCAs objectives, with the goal of preserving the historic, low-density, semi-rural character of Great Falls and the protection of its natural resources.  
  • 02 Aug 2016 3:43 PM | Anonymous

    On July 26, over the opposition of many in the community including GFCA, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the Brooks Farm cluster rezoning and cluster development.

    Citing GFCA member opposition and community environmental and density goals that were not met by the proposal, Bill Canis, GFCA President, provided testimony at the BOS meeting, which you can read here.  Several other residents spoke or wrote against the proposal.  At the meeting, a few speakers supported the proposal, including a consultant to the developer.

    After the speakers concluded, Dranesville Supervisor John Foust introduced a motion to approve the project, which was then passed unanimously by the BOS with no debate. 

    After the vote, Canis said:  “We are disappointed by the Board’s decision.  We are not opposed to appropriate development that preserves the environment and our community’s semi-rural character.  However, there are meaningful issues about this project that could have been improved, especially in the areas of storm water management for major storms, tree canopy protection, road access, and project density.

    GFCA and community volunteers spent thousands of hours over the past two years on the evaluation of this development.  Discussions with both county staff and the developer led to meaningful changes from the original design, and 12 iterations of the proposal.  There were concessions by the developer, including reducing the number of homes from 20 to 19, and improved storm water management features.  GFCA and community representatives placed significant pressure upon the County to raise the bar on managing development runoff, and to stay true to County rules and regulations designed to protect the community against environmental and other negative impacts.   GFCA found areas where the county missed pertinent aspects that were not addressed until residents brought them to the county’s attention.  In the end, GFCA believes the final approved proposal is better than the original, though still deficient in the key respects mentioned above.

    Brooks Farm is a lesson for our community.  Great Falls still has other developable properties.   The pace of development is picking up – it has been many years since GFCA has had as many active land-use projects under study as we do today. Our wells, septic fields, woods, meadows and two-lane roads give us a special country-like ambiance that has, in the past, been protected by low-density development.  GFCA will continue to resist efforts by developers and the County to change the character of semi-rural Great Falls to that of more suburban areas. 

    Most developers seek to build at the highest density possible, through cluster and other approaches. Too often we have seen that such projects, fully endorsed by the county, result in neighbors facing long-term costs and challenges of dealing with storm water and other issues not appropriately addressed by the development.  Once new projects are built and sold, the developer is gone leaving the community impact permanently in place.  The current system makes it hard for residents to influence the outcome and ensure a fair and balanced consideration of community concerns.

    However, Brooks Farm shows the value of community perseverance in development projects because our two+ years of work produced a much-improved final plan.  The experience also highlighted the difficulties and pitfalls of going toe-to-toe with developers’ highly paid attorneys and consultants, compounded by the limitations of county staff resources.   GFCA believes it is essential that our community understand the importance of community/resident involvement in development, assisted where necessary by attorneys and consultants working on the community’s behalf.  GFCA will redouble our efforts to work together with all parties to thoroughly evaluate future development projects in Great Falls for which community input is permitted or needed, and press developers and County officials alike to appropriately address and remedy valid community concerns.

  • 28 Jul 2016 8:43 AM | Anonymous

    In an effort to fully understand and address community concerns about this proposed development of 11 acres of R-A zoned land before a planned hearing by the Fairfax County Planning Commission, members of county staff met with local homeowners, the developer, GFCA representatives and Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder, on Friday 08 July. Residents and GFCA Board members expressed ongoing concern about several aspects of the General Development Plan (GDP), including density, storm water management and tree removal.

    At its 21 July public hearing, the Planning Commission voted to defer its decision and recommendation to the Board of Supervisors until 15 September, in order to allow the developer, neighbors and county staff to continue to work together to resolve outstanding issues. Though it allows more time for residents to act, the delay leaves in place the approval recommendation of county staff. Also, because it is less contentious than the recently approved Brooks’ Farm re-zoning, it is likely that the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will ultimately approve this re-zoning.

  • 19 Jul 2016 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    At last night's GFCA TownHall meeting, concerns about this project were shared by residents.  It was requested that certain resident concerns be posted for members to refer to (see below).  The GFCA is asking the Planning Commission to delay their decision - currently planned to be voted on Jul 21.

    If you would like to submit your opinion(s) to the County Planning Commission please send them to: by email, or to
    703-324-3948 by fax.

    Please cite this Hill's Nursery project number to ensure your comments are properly handled:   RZ 2015-DR-009, GULICK GROUP, INC

    Resident Statements of Concern:

    1. GFCA Letter to Planning Commission (Jul 19)
    2. Sam & Sandy Cappiello Email (Jul 15, Jul 19)
  • 28 Jun 2016 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    Today, GFCA's President Eric Knudsen sent a letter to Fairfax County's Planning Commissioners expressing concerns about the current plans to develop the old Hill's Nursery property along Challedon Rd in Great Falls.  Those plans call for a rezoning and cluster development exception.  GFCA's concerns center on the following areas:

    • Adequacy of Storm Water management plans
    • Disruption and safety during construction
    • Density and number of proposed lots vs. conventional development
    • Adequacy of tree preservation
    GFCA is asking the Planning Commission to defer a decision until these concerns can be addressed to the satisfaction of the community.

    The full text of the letter is available here.
  • 26 Jun 2016 11:56 AM | Anonymous

    At issue is a Special Exception application presented by Seneca Corner Associates, LLC to allow a drive-through component to an otherwise by-right commercial development of a CVS pharmacy. The property is currently vacant land (Tax Map 0064-03-0001, 1020 Seneca Rd., Great Falls, VA 22066, 3.23 acres) and is zoned as a combination of C-8 (commercial) and R-1 (Residential).

    On 14 June, the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) committee of the GFCA held a public Town Hall meeting on the matter. The applicant’s representatives presented a review of their general development plan (GDP) and questions were taken from the audience. LUZ intends to hold a follow-up meeting in late July or early August.

     At present, Seneca Corner’s application has been submitted to the Fairfax County staff for review but has not been formally “accepted” pending potential revisions. At present, the county Planning Commission hearing on the matter is currectly scheduled for 19 October at the Fairfax County Government Center.

  • 26 Jun 2016 11:56 AM | Anonymous

    At issue is an application presented by the  Gulick Group Inc., a contract purchaser, for Rezoning (RZ) to develop an approximately 11-acre property located on a portion of the former Hills Nursery (Tax Map 12-4((30))Z. The property is currently zoned R-A, and the applicant seeks rezoning sufficient to permit the construction of a residential cluster development.  The development proposal shows 10 lots to be developed with single family detached dwellings accessed via a public street, which is an extension of existing Challedon Road.

     County staff issued a report recommending approval of the application on June 8, 2016.  A copy of the report can be found here:

    The Fairfax County Planning Commission will consider the application Wednesday 27 June at the Fairfax County Government Center @ 7pm. This hearing is a public hearing the community input is encouraged. The Speaker’s List Sign-up for the Planning Commission can be accessed on-line at:

  • 26 Jun 2016 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    At issue is Basheer/Edgemoore-Brooks, LLC application for Rezoning (RZ) to develop a former horse farm and riding stable (Tax Maps 0072-01-0017 & 0072-01-0023, 439 & 439A Springvale Rd, Great Falls, Virginia 22066, 50.00 acres) into 19 single-family detached dwellings under the cluster subdivision option.  Basheer has the property under contract. The sale is contingent on rezoning the property from RA (Rural Agricultural District) to RE (Residential Estate District) and approval of cluster subdivision.

    On 12 May 2015, the membership of GFCA passed a resolution opposing the application and development. The Board of GFCA has continued to work in that spirit since.

     Based on Staff recommendation (, on Wednesday 22 June, the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the project to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors has not yet set a public hearing date but could do so very soon. Community input is welcome and the hearing is open to the public. The Speakers List Sign-up for the Board of Supervisors can be accessed on-line at:

  • 28 May 2016 8:11 AM | Anonymous

    On May 9, GFCA President Eric Knudsen sent letters to Supervisor John Foust and the Fairfax County Planning Commission, reaffirming GFCA's continued opposition to the development as currently proposed.  In the letter, Knudsen cited the GFCA's opinion that the applicant has failed in multiple ways to meet the objectives of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, which (among other objectives) establishes that the County "should encourage a land use pattern that protects, enhances, and/or maintains stability in established residential neighborhoods", which includes protecting and enhancing "existing neighborhoods by ensuring that infill development is of compatible use, and density/intensity, and that adverse impacts on public facility and transportation systems, the environment, and the surrounding community will not occur" (Objective 8(a), Comprehensive Plan).

    Knudsen cited many inadequacies of the proposal from GFCA's perspective, including that it:

    • fails to sufficiently address environmental and storm water management concerns raised by experts engaged by GFCA and the community
    • contains and unacceptable plan for tree preservations and fails to address likely damage to trees on adjacent properties
    • includes requests for several waivers of county requirements, which seem unacceptable in an application for cluster development
    • fails to address the potential negative consequences of an existing easement for access to Springvale Rd, which easement was not voluntarily disclosed
    The full text of the letter is available here:

  • 31 Mar 2016 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    The owners of the property located at 631 Walker Road in Great Falls have filed an application with Fairfax County seeking a Special Exception (S-E) allowing them to sub-divide their property. An S-E is required because the current lot layout does not meet the county requirements for minimum lot width.  The applicant is currently working to make the application/submission complete and has been in discussion with nearby homeowners to address questions and concerns.  Once the application is complete and accepted by the county, LUZ will schedule a public meeting to discuss the application and to gather community input.

  • 31 Mar 2016 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    On February 9, 2016, LUZ held a public meeting to discuss the property located at 9800 Georgetown Pike, locally known as “Marmota Farm.”  The 22.8 acre parcel, currently listed for sale, is zoned Residential Estate (R-E) and could be developed as a residential development “by right.”  The purpose of the meeting was to foster community discussion regarding the future of the property. In attendance were representatives of “Save Marmota Farm,” a group unaffiliated with GFCA whose stated mission is to preserve the property as open space, potentially through purchase via a Fairfax County bond issue.  Other residents attended and expressed a variety of opinions and thoughts regarding the property.  Representatives of Supervisor Foust’s office, the Planning Commission, and the Parks Authority also attended to respond to community questions and concerns. Since the February meeting, LUZ has continued to gather community feedback and to liaise with the Save Marmota Farm group.

The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Great Falls Citizens Association

Great Falls Citizens Association
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA  •  22066 

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