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Ask the Supervisor: The Future of Salona Park

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust answers questions submitted by Patch readers.

Question: What was the public consensus of the Salona Park public meeting?

Answer: Salona Park was created when the Fairfax County Park Authority entered into an agreement with the landowners to place over 40 acres of land into a conservation easement. The conservation easement is intended to preserve the land from development and to create a park which would integrate the cultural, natural and historic nature of the property with opportunities for active and passive recreation.

In November 2010, the Park Authority presented a draft Master Plan for Salona Park to the community.  During the meeting and in the subsequent comment period, the Park Authority received numerous suggestions and proposals for how the park could be used and developed.  Residents requested more community input into the park planning process. The Dranesville Representative on the Park Authority Board and I created the Salona Task Force to provide that opportunity for community input.

The Task Force has been meeting for over one year during which time it has hosted land use presentations from a wide spectrum of stakeholders.  to present the variety of land use concepts which it has considered and to solicit community feedback to the presentations. Hundreds of people attended the meeting. They heard presentations, visited exhibits of various land use options and completed a survey.

The Task Force conducted the public meeting and has not yet submitted a report the level of consensus that may have been reached. The citizen comments are one part of the overall review by the Task Force as to how Salona could be used.  The Task Force will present a report with recommendations for Salona Park to the Fairfax County Park Authority.   Park Authority staff will then develop a proposed Master Plan for the park, which will be presented to the community for comment.

Do you have a question for Supervisor Foust? You can submit it below in the comments section or contact his office directly via email, dranesville@fairfaxcounty.gov, or by phone, 703-356-0551.

Dave Webster January 08, 2013 at 11:46 PM
I hardly think a Fairfax County taxpayer who wants to know what we got for our $16,000,000 payoff to the DuVals represents a "special interest." It's not like Mr. Aguilar is in charge of some PAC seeking special treatment.
A. Jones January 09, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Wow! Do you think it would have been a better idea to sell the land to developers for 150 million, and have it turned into an Evan's Farm Inn nightmare? Mr. Webster by the tone of your postings, it sounds like if you were the owner of the Salona property, you would have sold it to the highest bidder without a blink of an eye. What's the rush? Let the county and the citizens take their own sweet time to decide what to do or not do with this historic and last open land space in McLean.
Dave Webster January 09, 2013 at 01:22 AM
What do you mean "what's the rush"? It's not like the DuVals just got their $16,000,000 check last week. The conservation easement was entered into in 2005. I am attaching to this article minutes of a meeting from 2 years ago on what to do with the property. Dan and Karen DuVal could have sold the property to developers, it is true. However, they would have lost the pleasant view from their home. So they did the next best thing. They got Fairfax County to fork over $16,000,000 and still protected their view. Didn't you read the quote from the email about the DuVals treating the propery as if it is still completely privately owned? Be that as it may, I am certainly not an expert on this matter. So you tell me. Are a number of citizens getting put off by the length of time it is taking to finalize this process or not?
A. Jones January 09, 2013 at 03:26 PM
As a matter of fact, no, the majority of citizens are not getting put off by the length of time. If you took a poll in the 22101 area code and asked every paying taxpayer if there is an urgent need to decide on what to do with the land, I am confident a majority would say no. What you have here is a situation where certain groups have particular interests on what they want the land used for and they are a vocal minority. Last by not least, if you cannot recognize that the Duval's decision to sell the land to the county was not a generous act that will benefit the citizens of McLean for generations to come, then my dear friend you have lost sight of the big picture. Go up to Evan's Farm Inn and take a walk around and imagine what that area could have meant to the citizens of the county if it had not been sold to developers. And remember that the Duval's could have sold the property for at least 150 million. Do the math. 150 minus 16 equals 134 million. That's a very generous gift to the county and our citizens.
Dave Webster January 09, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Well, I am certainly willing to admit I am wrong if the facts are as you say. The majority of McLean residents are not unhappy with the length of time it is taking to finalize the plans for Salona Park and the DuVal's interest in granting the conservation easement was solely for the benefit of the community.

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