"Promoting housing affordability by combating exclusionary housing policies"


Much-improved housing plan adopted for Route 28-South TSA


On December 3, 2013, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA) for the Route 28-South Metrorail TSA. The CPA plans for a total of up to 9,300 housing units (11,160,000 sf) and about 33,925 jobs (10,515,000 sf of commercial development). DPZ, Staff Report, Route 28 Station Area-South, Attachment 1, p. 4 (Oct. 17, 2013). (The planning horizon apparently is 2040—as with the Reston CPA.)


That TSA is the one west of the three Reston-area Metrorail TSAs in Fairfax County, near Dulles Airport. To help plan the Route 28-South TSA, the County’s Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ)) worked with a committee of knowledgeable local residents (“Work Group”).


EHI can take part of the credit for much of the housing growth—including increased numbers of “affordable” units—included in the CPA, and for the much better jobs-housing ratio achieved after EHI got involved. EHI did not provide input directly to the Work Group—which initially ended its proceedings in early May, 2011, shortly after EHI began advocating before the Reston Task Force for more housing in Reston’s TSAs. However, numerous members of the Route 28-South Work Group also were members of the Reston Task Force. The Work Group’s deliberations, which reopened in June 2012 with increasing amounts of new housing being studied, were heavily influenced by the Reston Task Force proceedings.



Growth under the Route 28-South CPA includes up to 6,000 new housing units and 13,625 new workers by 2040 (using DPZ’s generally expansive estimates of the amount of commercial floor space per worker). The jobs-housing ratio for that growth would be 2.27 jobs per housing unit, and the overall jobs-housing ratio would be 3.65 to 1 (33,925 jobs and 9,300 housing units). 


 Of that growth, about 3,300 new housing units—more than half the total—were added after EHI began its advocacy before the Reston Task Force. EHI can claim some of the credit for between 396 and 528 additional affordable units under the Route 28-South CPA too, because they were added only after EHI got involved in Reston.  And the jobs-housing ratio for new development under that CPA dropped from about 5.6 to 2.27 jobs per household. Below, we summarize how that happened.


Evolution of housing planning for Route 28-South TSA


The Route 28-South Work Group began work in 2010 and initially ended its proceedings in early May 2011, by approving (for testing by County agencies) a scenario with an initial development level of 120 percent of GMU’s 2030 Intermediate Forecast. Meeting notes, Working Group Meeting #13, May 2, 2011.


Under that scenario, there would be a total of 35,400 jobs and 6,000 households in the TSA by 2030 (nearly a 6 to 1 jobs-housing ratio). Growth from 2010 to 2030 would include 15,100 new jobs and 2,700 new households—a jobs-housing ratio of about 5.6:1 for new development.  DPZ, Developing a Flexible Comprehensive Plan Framework for the Study Area, Part 2, p. 2 (May 2, 2011) (“Establish development level at 120% of GMU 2030 Intermediate Forecast”). See GMU, Forecasts for the Reston/Dulles Rail Corridor and Route 28 Corridor 2010 to 2050, p. 24 (July 26, 2010).


 The County’s transportation department (FCDOT) tested a somewhat different mix—Scenario E, the same projections it used for its transportation analysis of Reston’s TSAs. Scenario E posited an additional 1,091 housing units compared to the Work Group’s scenario (for a total of 7,091) and 59 more jobs (for a total of 35,459). See FCDOT, Dulles Corridor Special Study Transportation Analysis, Presented to: Route 28 Station – South Study Group (June 20, 2012).



The Work Group reconvened in June 2012 and developed scenarios with more residential growth and reduced job growth (in line with emerging job growth projections). The Work Group’s Scenario E.1 envisioned 32,230 total jobs and 7,920 total households in 2030 (for an overall jobs-housing ratio of 4.1:1). Finally, Scenario G contained the adopted development levels—including  9,300 total housing units and about 33,925 jobs in 2040 (for an overall jobs-housing ratio of 3.65 to 1). Staff Report, Route 28 Station Area-South, Attachment 1, p. 4.


The Route 28-South CPA includes a workforce housing provision and a developer contribution policy similar to the ones in the Tysons Corner and Reston TSA plans. (Because the maximum FAR allowed under the CPA is 3, the maximum number of affordable units would be 16 percent.)


EHI can take pride that it was a catalyst for efforts to increase the ratio of housing to job growth near the Route 28/Innovation Metrorail station, based on its advocacy before the Reston Task Force.