MVCCA Urges County To Consider Environmentaly-Friendly Measures For North Hill
MVCCA discusses the Route 1 housing, park plan.
The Mount Vernon Council of Citizen Associations (MVCCA) urged the Board of Supervisors to strengthen the environmentaly-friendly features of the proposed 33-acre, U. S. 1, North Hill affordable housing and park plan at the Council's December 22 meeting.
With a 12-to-eight vote, and one abstention, community representatives supported a resolution stating that the Council "does not support the county's compromise plan to build affordable housing" and a park "unless and until four conditions are met."
The four conditions included strengthening stormwater runoff controls, intesifying tree preservation efforts, eliminating one of the 67 housing units, and ensuring that park funding is guaranteed before the groundbreaking for the homes.
The group rejected an amendment, nine to 11 to one, saying that "MVCCA supports the county's plan and "strongly encourages" that the four conditions be met.
David Dale objected to allowing developers to claim wooded areas as stormwater control credits, in this case the 22-acre park, and he argued, that since North Hill is a "by-right" development, the resolution is "the little leverage" citizens have.
John Jeszenszky, chair of the MVCCA Affordable and Workforce Housing Committee, urged attendees to not "hold the project hostage." He added that "every single tree" has been carefully analyzed.
Teresa Champion, Middle Valley Civic Association and author of the defeated amendment, said that the county staff could address the concerns highlighted in the resolution without stopping "a project that can help a lot of people," emphasizing that the project is "one-third housing, two-thirds trees."
After the vote, Mount Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland said that 30 years ago Fairfax County paid $5 million for the property and committed to build affordable housing for 500 families.
"Now we're down to 66, not even half of what we committed to do," he said. Describing North Hill as "an excruciating problem for all of us," he asserted that the project has "split the council and split the community, but I am still here. The county cannot renege."
He promised to ask the county staff to respond to the resolution and closed with, "We will come to closure in 2011."