The Manassas City Council is expected to vote Monday on a re-zoning request by Van Metre Homes to develop 59 new townhouses on a vacant lot in Old Town.
The builder is asking council to approve it's request to re-zone 3.2 acres of land that stretches from Zebedee Street to Fairview Avenue and Center Street to Quarry Road from retail and residential condos to townhouses.
The original mixed-use commercial and residential planned development fell through in 2006 after the economy collapsed, so the developer is now wanting the area re-zoned from commercial to transitional, according to city documents.
Manassas officials told the Washington Post that while it is unfortunate the original plan of 200 condos and commercial space was axed, the new plan is still appealing because it is consistent with the goal of making Manassas more attractive to younger homeowners. The Lee Square townhouse-style condominium community recently built on Center Street is currently the only option for this demographic, according to Senior Planner for the city's Community Development Department, Gregory Bokan.
Opponents say the city does not need more townhouses that will only add to the existing parking and traffic issues in the Old Town area.
There is also the issue of some residents and the city's Beautification Committee wanting to preserve two mature trees on the lot, including a Sycamore at the corner of Fairview and Center streets that was originally protected by a tree conservation easement. According to the Washington Post, the tree may not be able to be saved per the new plan. A second tree—a Fir tree—located on the corner of Zebedee and Center streets, would be saved in the new plan.
Another concern among residents is that the city's schools get a fare share from the development. According to the Post, Van Metre originally offered $4,100 per unit for the school system in 2006, but the city is now requesting $15,480 per unit for schools. Van Meter said the original amount is desirable because of the strict building restrictions imposed when building in Old Town and that not many school-aged children are expected to live in the townhouses.
The council is expected to vote after a public hearing on the resolution is held Monday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
So what do you think? Do you think Old Town needs townhouses that will allow younger families to move into the area, or do you agree that the area does not need any more townhouses or traffic! Tell us in the comments.