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Friday, October 31, 2014

Seven Corners Working Group on Sears site to start with clean slate



The Special Working Group on Area C at its first meting in the library at Bailey's Lower Elementary School.

The first meeting of the newly formed Special Working Group to consider Opportunity Area C in Seven Corners (the Sears site) Oct. 29 was mostly taken up with procedural and operational issues plus a briefing on “urban planning 101” by county staff.

Mason Supervisor Penny Gross had created the committee because the Seven Corners Land Use and Transportation Task Force was unable to reach a consensus for that site, which is along Leesburg Pike and is currently occupied by Sears and two office buildings. The task force did agree on a land use plan for the other two areas in the Seven Corners redevelopment area – the Willston area and the Seven Corners Shopping Center – and a transportation improvement plan.

Gross told the new committee that its recommendations for the Sears site will be combined with the task force recommendations in a proposed amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. The proposed amendment is expected to be presented to the Planning Commission in March 2015.

Members of the special committee consist of presidents of community associations or people they designate.

The committee chair, Marty Faga, a Ravenwood resident who served as a community representative on the Seven Corners Task Force, told the group he wants the committee to start from the beginning in envisioning a plan for the Sears site – and not continue the discussion where the task force left off.

In addition to Faga, other committee members who had been on the task force include Steve Tillman from Old Sleepy Hollow, Blake Smith of Juniper Lane, and Karl Moritz of Lee Boulevard Heights. Moritz is an urban planner for the City of Alexandria.

Others on the committee include Jan Keyes of Sleepy Hollow; Bill Lecos of Lake Barcroft, a past president of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce; Margaret van Voast of Seven Oaks II; George Fitchco of Buffalo Hills; Marty Machowsky of Ravenwood Park; Duane Morse of Sleepy Hollow Manor; Catriona MacDonald of Ravenwood; and Jeannine Dietz of Greater Hillwood.

The committee is scheduled to meet seven times between now and Feb. 5. The next meeting will be Nov. 6 at the Mason District Government Center, 7-9 p.m.

The third meeting, Nov. 19, will be a design charette, or workshop, during which the committee will spend several hours, 3:45-9 p.m., to come up with one or more redevelopment concepts for the Sears site.

A community open house would be scheduled for Dec. 9 to give local residents an opportunity to  review the redevelopment concept developed developed at the charette, ask questions and get answers, and have one-on-one dialogues with committee members. A couple of the committee members felt that might not be enough and said the committee should also hold a public hearing.

By the final meeting, the committee is expected to come up with a consensus on a plan amendment, but it doesn’t have to. If the committee fails to agree on a redevelopment plan, the existing comprehensive plan language would remain in effect.

3 comments:

  1. Ellie: Does all of this mean we are going to lose Sears at the present site eventually? That's sad if so...

    RFP

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  2. So no Sears down the road?

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    Replies
    1. I think Sears may close eventually whether that site is redeveloped or not. I don't think the company is doing that well.

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