The Federal Highway Administration has offered an alternative Route 1 bypass proposal that would preserve more acreage at Woodlawn Stables and build new barns, and mitigate impact to the historic cemetery at Woodlawn Baptist Church.
This decision comes after a and public comment period that ended early last month. The public comment period generated
The FHWA was for Route 1 widening improvements near Fort Belvoir.
"It's a big deal in the sense that the FHWA would not normally do that," Save Woodlawn Stables cofounder Shelley Castle said. "It's a good response to the public."
The alternative bypass will move the barn and the indoor riding arena to the same side of Route 1 as the pastures, eliminating the need for the horses and riders to cross the road, according to Fairfax County Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Coordinator Laura Miller.
"The revised bypass alternative avoids impact to the historic cemetery, and provides for continuous operation of the horse farm on property currently leased from the Trust," Miller said in an email to Patch.
However, this will still affect Woodlawn Stables' ability to operate. The amount of land Woodlawn Stables will operate on will be slightly larger than other options offer, but owner Cindy Mitchell will have to get rid of some of the herd.
"The question is: will it be enough for her to continue to operate?" said Castle.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation owns the land on which Woodlawn Stables operates. The trust has not yet determined whether it will renew Woodlawn Stables' lease.
Congressman Moran is planning to meet with the trust at the end of the month to try to get the trust to come to an agreement. Save Woodlawn Stables has prepared a petition to ask the National Trust for Historic Preservation to consider renewing the lease. As of Thursday evening, the petition has garnered nearly 300 signatures.
“The widening of Rt. 1 is long overdue and this federal funding is our only shot to make it happen," Congressman Moran said. "It’s critical for long term economic growth and traffic mitigation along the corridor. I support the widening in place option and am still hopeful that will be FHWA’s decision. But if they determine otherwise, then the new bypass option FHWA is circulating, which provides the stables the option to continue their operations, seems like a worthwhile alternative."
The FHWA has processed all the public comments and will be announcing their decision in the next few weeks.
"I hope that the outcome of the choice made by the FHA will be one that will accommodate the needs of those who will be effected by the construction, including Woodlawn Baptist Church," Woodlawn Baptist Church pastor Travis Hilton told Patch.
For more information about the alternative, visit the Eastern Federal Lands Division projects page.