The Seven Corners Ad Hoc Community Working Group is finalizing its work on drafting a revised redevelopment plan for Seven Corners and will submit its recommendations to Mason Supervisor Penny Gross and Mason Planning Commissioner Julie Strandlie on June 23.
The ad hoc group consists of representatives of community associations in the Seven Corners area. Their recommendations are based on the plan approved by the Seven Corners Task Force and Special Working Group on Area C (the Sears site). The Planning Commission is expected to consider their recommendations before voting on a Seven Corners amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.
- Density – The total floor area should be reduced by 20 percent with all of the reduction taken from residential floor areas in Land Units A and B [the Willston shopping and residential areas and the Seven Corners Shopping Center]. The scale of the redevelopment then would be more compatible with the community’s vision for the future of Seven Corners.
- Schools – The Willston Multicultural Center site should be redeveloped by the school board as a school to serve current and future needs of Seven Corners and neighboring communities. Ownership of the site should be transferred from the Board of Supervisors to the school board.
- Parks and open space – Seventeen acres of parkland appears to be appropriate for the Seven Corners redevelopment in lieu of the 14 acres described in the current plan.
- Seven Corners Working Group – Representatives of two neighborhood associations should be added to the Seven Corners Working Group on a rotating basis to serve as direct links to local communities.
- Transportation – An additional follow-on motion is recommended to provide assurance that the roadway improvements described in the plan amendment are feasible financially and could be implemented in phases paced with the redevelopment of the land units.
- Area C screening – Staff added text regarding barriers and screening for Area C [the Sears site] in what was understood as an effort to reassure the community that such would be provided. The text should be deleted in order to avoid any implication that the text is intended to modify zoning ordinance requirements for barriers and screening.
- Affordable housing – The 589 affordable housing units in Areas A-1 and A-2 that would be displaced by the planned redevelopment should be replaced within Areas A, B, and C by units providing the same number of bedrooms and affordable at the same income levels as the current units (60 percent of area median income).
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Seven Corners amendment on May 7, and at that time, deferred a decision until July 8.
The group asked Strandlie to recommend the Planning Commission hold another hearing to consider its recommendations.
Strandlie denied the group’s request to reopen the hearing, but did agree to defer a decision from July 8 to July 15. Another hearing “would require unnecessary delay and additional taxpayer expense in staff and advertising costs,” Strandlie wrote in a June 19 email to the group.
The one-week delay “will give the ad hoc group more time to rally community support,” says member Marty Machowsky, a Seven Corners resident who serves on the group.
The hearing record will remain open until the Planning Commission makes a decision, which means the commission will consider additional comments submitted after the hearing. To facilitate the process, Strandlie says, county staff will post written comments to the Planning Commission and additional background materials on a dedicated Seven Corners webpage.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Seven Corners on July 28.