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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Potential for Little River Turnpike widening is factor in future development



Pinecrest Exxon

Plans to replace the Pinecrest Exxon station on Little River Turnpike and Braddock Road with a drive-through TD Bank hit a snag when the county planning staff refused to sign off on the proposal because it conflicts with language in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan calling for Little River Turnpike to be widened.

There are no immediate plans to do that; it could take 10 or 20 years before the county decides to go ahead with expanding Little River Turnpike, or it might never happen.

If the county does go ahead with expanding Little River Turnpike from four to six lanes, however, it would have a huge impact far beyond the proposed bank project. The entire Pinecrest shopping center, a series of townhouse communities, and the Pinecrest Golf Course would all be affected. 

Property owners would see their buffer zone shrink substantially. For some residents, the road would be right at their doorstep.

The Comprehensive Plan calls for widening Little River Turnpike using a “context sensitive approach” and eliminating the existing service roads to provide “additional travel lanes, transit lanes, pedestrian and bike trails, transit amenities, larger center median widths, and streetscape improvements that facilitate safety and enhance pedestrian circulation.”

Areas along Little River Turnpike that don’t have service roads, though, would likely see privately owned land converted to a VDOT right of way.

A Planning Commission hearing on a special exception application for the TD Bank project was postponed to Dec. 5 and might be delayed further, Lori Murphy, a land use attorney with Bean Kinney & Korman, told the Mason District Land Use Committee Oct. 22.

The county planning staff wants the bank project to reserve a 30-foot wide swath of land along Little River to accommodate any future plans to widen the road. Murphy has been working with the project’s architect to redesign or reposition the bank and its parking lot on a smaller property, but so far they they have not been able to make it work.

They are hoping the county will provide more flexibility to allow fewer parking spaces or narrower setbacks, for example, or modify the space requirements for drive-throughs. There seems to be more flexibility for projects along Little River Turnpike in Annandales central business district, such as the TD Bank by Backlick Road and the Walgreens under construction.

The MDLUC deferred a decision on the special exception until they get more information from the county’s planning staff.

2 comments:

  1. "They are hoping the county will provide more flexibility to allow fewer parking spaces or narrower setbacks, for example, or modify the space requirements for drive-throughs. There seems to be more flexibility for project along Little River Turnpike in Annandale’s central business district, such as the TD Bank by Backlick Road and the Walgreens under construction."

    The greater flexibility is because of the form based code, IIUC, which is due to the commercial center being aimed for densification, while the area east is not - and thats presumably why TD which did such a nice "urbanist" style bank in the commercial center, is doing a drive through further east (why Walgreens was allowed to do a drive through in the commercial center I dont know). Some relaxation of parking minimums seems like a fair compromise. And if the County is going to limit development for the LRT rebuild, its incumbent on them to prioritize the rebuild.



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  2. Why just the other day I was commenting to Ol' Bess that these days what with so many people are making so much money, it's a wonder there aren't more banks. We need more banks! And more drug stores...

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