A Virginia developer is proposing the county convert the currently vacant North Hill site in Hybla Valley into apartments housing 204 families, 9 percent of which would serve low-income residents.
According to county documents made public to Patch through a Freedom of Information Act request, AHP Virginia LLC has submitted an unsolicited proposal for the wooded site, which the county currently plans to turn into a park and a mobile home development. In its proposal, AHP Virginia calls for keeping the northern section of the property a park while building apartments on the southern end.
Nine percent of the apartments would be set aside for low-income housing in a public-private partnership.
This isn't AHP Virginia's first foray into low-income housing in the area. The Bethesda-based firm is listed as receiving low-income housing tax credits of $416,595 annually by the Virginia Housing Development Authority as the sponsor of the 99-unit Janna Lee Village II (now Creekside Village) apartments in Hybla Valley. It also developed Hunting Creek apartments.
Rick Edson, managing member of AHP Virginia, said affordable units at North Hill would comprise the first phase of construction. The second phase is envisioned as higher-end residential apartments with ground-level retail, like the Beacon of Groveton, which is currently under construction on Route 1. That could change if the market shows a lack of demand for higher-end units or if community input gained through a potential rezoning process is unfavorable, Edson said.
“We’re totally open to that,” he said. “We just wanted to start the process.”
The proposal contrasts sharply with the county’s current plan, which is to build 67 mobile homes on the south end of the lot, turning the remainder of land into a passive community park to be developed by the Fairfax County Park Authority. Fairfax County spokeswoman Stacy Patterson said the AHP Virginia proposal is currently under consideration. It has not been accepted for what is called "conceptual phase review," but it is in the initial stage of review.
County officials declined further comment on the proposal.
The North Hill site is in the Mount Vernon District but borders the Lee District, located directly across Route 1. Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay said he doesn’t support the county’s current plan to build a mobile home park on part of the vacant lot while turning the remainder into a park.
“I think putting mobile homes on North Hill would be a disaster, so I’m glad that at least other options are being looked at,” he said.
Still, McKay said he held reservations about the AHP Virginia plan, including that low-income apartments would be built first. For now, he said, he’d like to see the lot kept as a greenspace and said a better solution has yet to be found.
“I’m glad we’re continuing to look at other options,” he said. “That gives me promise.”
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland did not return messages requesting comment on the proposal.
North Hill is a wooded, 33-acre lot that borders Route 1 across from Lockheed Boulevard. The lot and the land adjacent to the south end were bought by the county’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority using federal Community Development Block Grant funds, for the purpose of creating affordable housing, in 1981. The first phase of the project, completed in the early 1990s, was a 15-acre manufactured home park named Woodley Hills Estates, which stands today on the south end of the lot.
The county has already rejected a public-private partnership proposal from Holly, Woods & Vines of Mount Vernon to build an expanded center and Japanese garden because the project wouldn’t create any housing as mandated under HUD guidelines.