Fairfax County could exercise its eminent domain powers to acquire land for a road planned to connect Capital One’s future campus extension with the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons.
The Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday (Tuesday) to set a July 19 public hearing on the proposed acquisition from the Gates of McLean Condominium Unit Owners Association, which represents the 624-unit neighborhood that currently owns the land.
The land is needed for the construction of “an important public grid street” that will eventually run north from Scotts Crossing Road to the toll road’s eastbound off-ramp, according to the board agenda for yesterday’s meeting.
The connector road is in the street network envisioned by the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, and developer Cityline Partners committed to helping build it as part of the Scotts Run North project that the county approved in 2015.
The 9.4-acre development site at the northwestern corner of Scotts Crossing and Dolley Madison Blvd was sold to Capital One in May 2019. In a recent proposal to redevelop the land with parks and, later, mixed-use buildings, the financial corporation said it has been working with the county to accelerate the connector road portion of the project.
“Capital One…is committed to advancing construction of this planned public street, among others in the vicinity, to frontload critical transportation infrastructure as Tysons East continues to develop,” county staff said in the board agenda. “Acquiring this piece of land will enable this process to move forward.”
The Gates of McLean has owned the parcel in question since the community was first built as apartments in the late 1990s, according to Lisa Samuels, president of the association’s board of directors.
Located on the neighborhood’s southeastern side, the land is currently undeveloped green space, and pieces of it are protected by conservation easements.
“In terms of future plans for development, we certainly didn’t have any, but we knew that there might come a time where some of it might be acquired in order to build the extension of the road,” Samuels said.
According to Samuels, Capital One informed the association’s board of its interest in acquiring the land for the road about two years ago, but the discussion was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Samuels says the board “has no concern” about the county’s plan to take the land, since heavy overgrowth prevents the community from using it for recreation or other purposes.
However, the association’s bylaws require approval from 75% of unit owners for any land changes, and because most Gates of McLean owners don’t live on-site, instead renting out their condos to tenants, the board typically struggles to get a response rate higher than 15%.
“It’s just very difficult for us to get that supermajority that would be needed to sell the land,” Samuels said. “Our owners aren’t overly responsive to communications from us.”
Taking the land through eminent domain would enable construction on the connector road to begin on schedule, according to county staff.