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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hillbrook Automotive Center to clean up

Mr. Choi of the Hillbrook Automotive Center and Pure gas station (at 6701 Little River Turnpike in Annandale) has an excellent reputation for good work, good value, and reliability, which has attracted an ever increasing customer base.

And that has caused some problems: As the business has grown, there have been complaints from people who live nearby, including the Hillwood-Tall Oaks community, about noise and excess cars all over the property.

The issue appears to have been resolved. As part of a special exception approved by the county recently, Hillbrook Automotive is allowed to retain its four service bays and will be able to have parking spaces closer than 10 feet from a public road, says Inda Stagg, a senior land planner with Walsh Coluci, an Arlington-based law firm specializing in commercial real estate.

The agreement with the county also calls for Mr. Choi to install a fence in the back of his property to shield it from the residential area and limit parking to 17 designated parking spaces. According to Stagg, he needs to comply with these requirements by December.

“He is very popular. That is why there are so many vehicles,” Stagg says. “He has to change his customers’ habits” and get them understand that they can no long drop off their cars outside the parking spaces. “That is his biggest challenge,” she says.

“There is a lot of support for Mr. Choi,” Stagg says. “He is very well liked.” [Check out the glowing reviews on Yelp.]

He isn’t trying to skirt the law, she notes. He is just one of many immigrants who have settled here “and are so busy trying to get ahead, start a business, and follow the American dream” that they haven’t realized that “we have different business practices,” Stagg says. “There are all these rules and regulations here that people don’t know about.”

According to Stagg, there has been a service station in that spot, at the Little River and Old Columbia Road intersection, since 1959.


  1. I am glad to see this happy resolution. But, I am a little weary of the poor immigrant just trying to make a living butting against all our rules and regulations narrative. All our rules and regulations were put into place to ensure that we wouldn’t look like a Third World country - and if you want to do business here - learn the rules.

  2. Lets make a distinction between legal and illegal immigrant. This guy apparently came here from South Korea which is far from a third world country and is trying.

    My friend took his Mazda there for a second opinion and he saved him hundreds by NOT performing the work someone told him was critical. His fix worked, and it became obvious the other place was trying to rip him off.

    Throw the illegal bums out - but let’s work WITH legal immigrants to help them understand they need to assimilate into our society by following the rule of law, which this guy seems to be learning and complying with.

  3. This article was a mundane but solid piece of journalism that demonstrates why the US works best when power is consolidated in the hands of the lowest common denominator - state and local government and NOT the federal government. It goes like this. Constituents have problem with eyesore in mixed use area. Local politicians respond. A compromise is found that hopefully is acceptable to all parties. Man goes about his business and government promptly backs away and stays away as long as the problem remains resolved. Not unlike the sheriff in the old West.

    This is why when you vote you should vote to shift power away from a Federal-government-one-size-fits-all model that resides in Washington to a model where the states and local governments most in touch with their problems make things happen. Under this model, local people can reach out, touch, and hold local politicians accountable. We are so in debt and the national economy a mess because we can't reach the politicians in Washington. The Federal model has failed us miserably and needs to be majorly cut back like it was during the 1980s. What happened then? - an undeniable economic miracle that's what. People in each state should decide what size their government should be and what it should and should not do in that state.

    In the Third World, this dude would have just paid off the local officials and they'd have gone away. If this problem is solved, this is a microscopic look at how well this country CAN still work at times together to resolve issues.

  4. christ, when did the TEa PArty take over the comments on this blog???

  5. I wrote that, and am NOT and will never be a Tea Partier.

    When did this blog become a place where you could take the Lord's name in vain just because you didn't agree with a post? The opposition to these folks like you overract and turn civilized dialogue to uncivilized rants by saying like Maxine Waters (D) did "they can go to hell."

    All proves the point yet again - Liberals are THE most intolerant group out there. By this intolerance, they make the religious right look downright moderate.

  6. jeez you guys need to loosen up. The Lords name is a popular curse word, get used to it. And if someone wants to rant about states rights vs. Federalism, hey its a free board. Back to the issue at hand, S. Korea is hardly a 3rd world nation and its great to see the community working with this person to achieve good outcomes for everyone. It sounds like everyone wins in this case - good for Annandale, good for America (hopefully something we can all agree on!).

  7. Thou shalt not take the Lords name in vain.