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Supervisors may use eminent domain to complete Oakton walkway

One property owner remains a holdout for Chain Bridge Road project

Fairfax County supervisors on Oct. 24 unanimously agreed to use eminent-domain powers to obtain land rights from one property owner in order to proceed with the planned Chain Bridge Road Walkway project.

The county plans to build a 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalk along the 1,760 linear feet of the south side of Chain Bridge Road in Oakton between Courthouse and Sutton roads. The project also will include 193 square yards of curb ramps, a pair of bus pads, updates to four driveway entrances and the addition of crosswalks and pedestrian-signal heads.

The initiative is intended to connect more housing units, especially those in mixed-use areas, with multiple transportation modes and provide a safe travel route between neighborhoods, county officials said.

The county’s Land Acquisition Division (LAD) earlier obtained land rights, including temporary construction and access easements, for five of the seven parcels that would be affected by the project.

County officials earlier in the afternoon before the hearing also obtained rights from one of the two remaining properties, thus eliminating the need to use eminent-domain powers there, said J. Scott Herider Sr., senior right-of-way agent with the Land Acquisition Division.

On the final property, located at 2646 Chain Bridge Road and owned by Dana Hess, the county is seeking a 179-square-foot land dedication for public-street purposes, plus a grading agreement and temporary-construction easement for 259 square feet of land. County officials estimates the value of interests and damages for the project at this property at $2,450.

“We have attempted to reach out to the owner of the remaining property, but have been unable to get any response,” Herider said. “We will continue to reach out and attempt to negotiate. However, in order to keep this project on schedule, it is necessary for the board to utilize quick-take eminent-domain powers.”

No one testified at the public hearing, either in person or over the telephone, so supervisors approved the of use eminent-domain powers to obtain the necessary land rights.