Fairfax County hopes to turn a site for waste into a recreational treasure, reviving plans to redevelop a landfill by I-95 that closed in 2018.
The Lorton Landfill could be transformed into a public park under a new proposal from property owner Waste Management. Dubbed Overlook Ridge Park, the amenities at 10001 Furnace Road could be completed in 2025, according to Fairfax County.
“When opened, this new passive park will be the highest point in Fairfax County, with beautiful vistas of Northern Virginia and the Potomac River, plenty of open space and a performance venue,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck said in a statement.
Submitted on Feb. 11, the plan calls for bird sanctuaries, hiking and equestrian trails, picnic areas, exercise and kite-flying areas, bathroom facilities, and an amphitheater with an earthen stage.
The application is going through the county’s initial approval process for new public facilities, known as a 2232 review.
According to county staff, the site would remain privately owned, but the Fairfax County Park Authority would operate the park amenities once they are built.
“WM looks forward to continuing our partnership with Fairfax County to provide a recreational area for residents of all ages to enjoy,” Waste Management public affairs director Lisa Kardell said, declining to answer how insurance liability would work.
Waste Management took over the Lorton Landfill when it acquired former property owner EnviroSolutions in 2018.
Efforts to redevelop the landfill have repeatedly stalled.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors denied a proposal in 2014 to continue landfill operations through Dec. 31, 2040, with the addition of solar panels, a methane-capturing system to create electricity, a baseball hitting area, and a golf range.
In that application, county staff said all structures atop the landfill should be open-air facilities to prevent the build-up of landfill gases. The site continues to undergo regular inspections for runoff that discharges to the area’s sanitary sewer system.
In an August 2020 letter to the county, Furnace Associates requested that BMX trails not be considered for the landfill, saying that they could create safety hazards and would need to be removed along with other paths and trail bridges.
Brian Lemon, who recently rode near the landfill on his mountain bike, said even if more trails were added to the landfill, he’d want others to go down them first.
“I would bike it if it was developed,” the Woodbridge resident said.
The Lorton Landfill collected construction and demolition debris. County staff noted that the type of waste generally raises less of a concern about odors, compared to sites like the county’s I-95 Landfill Complex that accept food and household waste.
Nearby, the company Alpine X wants to build an indoor ski resort called Fairfax Peak on top of another I-95 landfill area between Route 123 and Mordor Drive.
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