Supervisors Approve Controversial Wedderburn Development in Vienna

After a contentious three-hour hearing last night, the board unanimously approved a development of 24 homes on 13 acres abutting the Washington & Old Dominion bike trail in Vienna.

Close to 30 neighbors and civic groups, evenly split between opponents and supporters, testified about McLean developer Elm Street's proposal to develop the property as Wedderburn Estates.

The issue has galvanized many residents frustrated by the rapid pace of development on the county's remaining buildable land.

Opponents, who lobbied to scale back the project, said the developers would jam too many houses onto the wooded property and provide an insufficient buffer to the adjacent bike trail. And they were angry at the county's decision to reclassify a stream on the property to allow development around it.

"I'd like to plead for the quality of the neighborhood," said Dorothea Walsh, whose property adjoins the Wedderburn tract. "And I think we are about to lose that. . . . It's not sufficient to leave a few great old trees."

But supporters said they were satisfied that the new homes would not change the neighboorhood's bucolic character -- and could even improve it.

Edward Blum, another neighbor, called the land a "messy, messy, overgrown parcel of untamed trees" and said traffic from the new homes project would be "barely noticeable."

By Steve Fehr |  September 27, 2005; 11:31 AM ET  | Category:  Neighborhoods
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