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Proposal for townhomes near Franconia-Springfield Parkway clears planning commission

A proposal for 40 new townhomes in Springfield is heading to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote next month.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval last Wednesday (April 24) for developer JR Real Estate Group’s plan to construct 40 single-family homes on a 5.81-acre property located near the Franconia-Springfield Parkway.

According to the county staff report, 50% of the site at 7051 Villa Park Road will be designated as open space with several amenities for residents, including a playground, seating areas, a bicycle rack and a multi-purpose lawn.

The plan also calls for 174 parking spaces and emphasizes environmental preservation with nearly 60,000 square feet dedicated to existing tree conservation. Tree plantings are proposed on an additional 33,000 square feet to buffer the noise and sight of the nearby highway.

The Towns at Villa Park project was first submitted to the county in October 2021, originally proposing 49 single-family townhomes, 35% open space and approximately 8,000 square feet of tree preservation.

Commissioners generally shared mostly positive feedback about the proposal, with a few caveats. Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina and others expressed some concern that the level of noise generated by traffic from the highway would be burdensome to residents.

A representative for the developer acknowledged that a sound study revealed a few homes, specifically those with decks, would be exposed to noise levels of 65 decibels — comparable to the volume of an air conditioner or background conversation in a restaurant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the representative mentioned that JR Real Estate Group plans to install several sound barriers and will conduct a supplemental noise study in the future.

“It’s consistent with the county’s noise policies once you include the sound walls on those units on each side,” he said.

Toward the end of the hearing, Franconia District Commissioner Dan Lagana, who is resigning after this month, noted that no speakers had signed up to comment, which he interpreted as a sign that the project is on the right track.

“All in all, I think we’re in a great spot and I’m just really proud to support this project,” Lagana said.