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Proposal to replace Herndon area cricket field with affordable housing gets hearing

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority hopes to acquire land at 13500 Dulles Greene Drive for future affordable housing (via Fairfax County)

The community will soon get a chance to comment on whether a temporary cricket field near the Innovation Center Metro station should be opened up to affordable housing proposals, even as the search for a replacement athletic facility continues.

The Board of Supervisors voted 9-1 yesterday (Tuesday) to schedule a public hearing on the proposed transfer of county-owned land at 13500 Dulles Greene Drive for Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m.

While no specific development proposals have been made public yet, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority sees the approximately 9.6-acre site as an opportunity to add affordable housing in a growing area close to transit, according to county staff.

The future project would also feature a 10-foot-wide, shared-use trail connecting the Metro station to residential neighborhoods to the east.

“There is a critical need in the Dulles Corridor for the creation of housing opportunities for low- to moderate-income households,” staff said in a memo to the board. “The FCRHA is evaluating measures to leverage this underutilized property for development of affordable multifamily rental housing by partnering with a private developer.”

The property is located in walking distance of the Metro station’s north entrance, and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to add a 10-foot-wide, shared-use asphalt path along its perimeter to connect the neighborhoods to the east to the station.

The site is currently undeveloped except for the Dulles Greene Cricket Ground, a regulation-sized cricket field operated by Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services and maintained by the Capital Cricket Premier League.

County staff are “actively engaged” with the Fairfax County Park Authority to find an alternative site that cricket players can use if the field is redeveloped, but no locations have been identified yet, they told Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, who voted against scheduling the public hearing.

The search for a permanent cricket facility in the area is “in a holding pattern” while the park authority solicits proposals for a multi-sports complex, according to Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who represents the Herndon area.

“Once the responses come in, assuming that we don’t give all that land away, there will be an opportunity to hopefully move the cricket field to these other locations,” Foust said.

Sites suggested in the request for proposals include Mountain Road and Halifax parks in Centreville, Rock Hill Park in Chantilly, and Patriot Park East near George Mason University’s campus. Patriot Park North — a $28 million baseball and softball complex that opened in April — represented the county’s first project under a sports tourism initiative championed by Herrity.

GMU may add a cricket facility of its own. The university has partnered with Major League Cricket to study the possibility of a joint cricket-and-baseball facility, though county leaders expressed concern earlier this year about potential traffic and community impacts.

Before Tuesday’s vote, Foust noted that the Dulles Greene field was always intended to be temporary.

“We spent $6 billion on Dulles rail,” Foust said, referring to the Metro Silver Line extension that opened last November. “This is almost immediately adjacent to the station, perfect opportunity for an affordable housing development.”