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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Spectrum resubmits plan for shopping center on Route 7

The latest blueprint from Spectrum shows the drive-through for CVS in the middle of the shopping center.
Three months after the Board of Supervisors agreed to “defer indefinitely” a rezoning application for a shopping center on Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads, Spectrum Development has resubmitted an application that doesn’t address any of the problems raised by local residents or the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ).

A blueprint of the revised plan submitted by Spectrum to the county May 29 shows only one change – there would still be a drive-through for the CVS but it would be in the middle of the shopping center rather than close to Charles Street.

A drive-through pharmacy was one of the main elements opposed by residents of the Courtland Park neighborhood and county staff.  

At the Board of Supervisors hearing March 3, Brent Krasner, who was then a planner with the DPZ, said the staff recommended that the project be denied primarily because the plans for a drive-through pharmacy and the stores’ inward facing entrances don’t conform to the Bailey’s Crossroads amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, which calls for an urban, pedestrian-oriented streetscape. (Krasner is now branch chief for the Board of Zoning Appeals.)

According to the blueprint, the shopping center would be the same size as before, it would still have three separate buildings, and the entrances would still be at the same place on Charles Street and in front of Concetta Difalco’s driveway on Washington Drive.

There would be about five more parking spaces, and a “pocket park” that would have added a touch of green has been removed, said Irene Xenos, the granddaughter of Difalco. Xenos, who also lives in Courtland Park, has tried to convince Spectrum to move the entrance away from the home of  DiFalco, 93, due to safety concerns.

Carmen Bishop, the new planner in DPZ assigned to the project, said staff hasn’t reviewed the revised plan yet and hasn’t set a date for a hearing. A meeting with Mason Supervisor Penny Gross is planned but hasn’t been scheduled yet.

When the BoS considered the earlier proposal March 24, Gross made a motion to “defer indefinitely” a vote on the shopping center and asked Spectrum “to go back to the drawing board and rework the plan.”

The latest plan “is pretty much the same exact plan as before. It’s not really going back to the drawing board,” Xenos says. “It would still be opposed by the neighborhood.”

According to Xenos, local residents were supposed to be notified as soon as Spectrum submitted a new plan. That didn’t happen. She only found out about the new plan when another neighbor happened to see a county staff person at the site who agreed to share the new blueprint. 

24 comments:

  1. Spectrum is on their 5th plan submission for their " Mason Row" project in Falls Church.

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  2. Unacceptable and unbelievable. Redesign it without the drive thru. It is really that difficult?

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  3. why Spectrum would do this is beyond common sense. they know this doesn't meet what they were asked to do by the supervisor or the county so why waste more of the time and money of both and just increase everyones frustration. like the other person pointed out, they are on their 5th submission on Mason Row. are these real developers? doesn't seem like they have any idea what they are doing!

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    1. Spectrum is wise not to concede anything in this matter and thereby lessen its bargaining position. It's obvious that the Walgreen lease is more valuable with a drive through, particularly if Walgreens won't lease without one. Spectrum is in this for the long haul, so I expect more jockeying. If this dispute results in an impasse, I expect it to end up in court. However, the County may instead decide to make some concessions to Spectrum because it's highly debatable if the County can legally prevent the construction of a drive through. So, right now, my money's on Spectrum.

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    2. They have no right to bully their way past a comprehensive plan that clearly spells out what developments will be approved, and I'd rather that lot stay a trash-strewn wasteland than turn it over to these clowns.

      Would the Tyson's or McLean comprehensive plan be discarded by a developer, with residents threatening lawsuits on their behalf? I seriously doubt it.

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    3. well it is a CVS, not a Walgreen and they need an exception for the drive-thru i believe as that area isn't zoned for one so not sure their bargaining power here.

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    4. Stop with the hyperbole. Spectrum has a right to develop its property and the opponents of this project certainly haven't pulled any punches either. Moreover, that comprehensive plan is advisory and lacks the force of law. Such plans are frequently modified to suit the circumstances. I'm sure the County planners would like to etch their idyllic vision into stone, but Spectrum has submitted a concrete proposal that will provide the County with badly needed tax income.

      BTW, I seriously doubt if the residents have legal standing to contest Spectrum's plans for developing this property. This matter lives or dies with the BOS and any court action related to the latter's final decision.

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    5. the thing is the county staff rejected it and supervisor gross told them to come back with something different if they wanted it passed. so at the moment spectrum has no right as they haven't done anything to change enough to get it passed. all they need to do is come up with something the staff and supervisor will sign off on regardless what the neighbors think but this isn't that.

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    6. @318

      "I'd rather that lot stay a trash-strewn wasteland than turn it over to these clowns."

      This is perfect, nothing more perfectly captures righteous indignation at the cost of any development better than this complete moron. Enjoy your trash lot.

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    7. I will, Adam! I know in Pennyland, developing anything that comes along is best. BUT MAYBE, we should be approving development plans that are consistent with the comprehensive plan, zoning laws, the surrounding neighborhood, and common sense.

      Spectrum is clearly staffed by clowns, and I hope the City of Falls Church takes them up to 10 redesigns on Mason Row before telling them to take a hike.

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    8. i think the point is that development is fine but not just any development and you can't just say we should allow anything b/c its an eyesore now. the current plan will be any eyesore for 30 years and outdated the moment it is build. there is a lot of forward thinking development in the area and there is no reason that this site can't be the same.

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  4. Seems like a perfect place for a Homeless shelter to replace the one half mile away.

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    1. that would be a better idea

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  5. Between the NIMBYS, the developer and constant gridlock, the BOS and the adjoining communities, Mason remains on track to stay a dump.

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    1. too bad there isn't someone with common sense who could get development that everyone was semi happy with.

      Supervisor Gross shouldn't have allowed the developers to submit a plan with so many issues the first time and guided them towards something that would have gotten approval and would have had ground broken by now.

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    2. This has nothing to do with the NIMBYs who live next door. They can stuff it. They bought houses adjacent to a busy, commercial road and can deal with that accordingly. Their whims are not what the BOS and DPZ are speaking out against.

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    3. The problem with your theory, oh brave "Anonymous", is that you assume that what I am concerned about is development of commercial lots.

      I am not.

      I have been clear this entire time that what bothers me is that because the residential home across the street is proposed to be demolished in this plan, A 93-YEAR OLD WOMAN'S DRIVEWAY BECOME A PART OF AN UNREGULATED INTERSECTION.

      There is no traffic light at the intersection of Washington Drive and Leesburg Pike.

      The developers believe that 8,100 cars are going to come to this shopping center daily. They try to finesse it and say that only 5% will be coming up from Washington Drive. That is 450 cars. Put that aside, when your only two entries to a shopping center are inside of neighborhood, including aligning DIRECTLY with a residential driveway, that means there will be over 4,000 opportunities per day for a car accident to occur at my grandmother's driveway.

      Currently, the developers are not proposing to ask the County for even a stop sign or speed hump to regulate speed.

      That is my problem. Do you really think I care if the GEICO building and the vacant lot are developed? I absolutely do not because you are right that my grandmother, who immigrated from Italy, chose to live near the current commercial lots in 1984. So have at it on those lots.

      But DO NOT put my grandmother in danger. This woman moved to America for opportunities, and she found them. She has always paid her taxes even though she is old enough not to qualify to pay them anymore because she loves this country and what it has done for her.

      And I am so glad that she does not know how to use the computer because I am ashamed of you people who want to bash her for wanting to be safe and enjoy her property with the same zoning surrounding her that SHE BOUGHT INTO.

      So you know what, "Anonymous", start owning your own comments and show your face before you start making assumptions about my reasons for being opposed to this project.

      I maintain, as always, that you know exactly where I live thanks to this development proposal and I am more than happy to engage you in a real conversation where you have to come out of hiding before positing a theory about why I am fighting for my grandmother.

      Own it or shove it.

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    4. It is clear that there are many posters here who have interests directly at stake (on both sides -- there is clearly someone from Spectrum, or their law firm, posting too). Only one such poster has the guts to sign her name. Bravo.

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    5. I wish I were a member of Spectrum's law firm. Then I'd be able to move to a really ritzy neighborhood and kiss Mason goodbye. Although it should be obvious, most of the comments here betray a complete lack of knowledge about the procedures to be followed in gaining approval for the construction of a commercial development. They're readily available online yet most commenters here seem to erroneously believe that they have an intuitive understanding of what's going on. That naive attitude has, in turn, led many here to believe they're being ignored when, in fact, they're saying nothing that merits attention. By this time, most of you "should know what you don't know." So, if you want to be taken seriously, make an effort to learn the facts.

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  6. Looks like Spectrum is putting their middle finger up to Supervisor Gross who told them to go back to the drawing board and come up with something different.

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  7. City planning should not be left to the whims of drug store chains, developers or banks that back them. We all have to abide by zoning laws ….so do they. If it has been rezoned with the caveat of following the Comprehensive Plan then the developer needs to abide by the plan or move on.

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  8. I would not be so sure of yourselves that Penny would not vote for this project. Penny does not care about the people.

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    1. we can all agree that Penny does not care about this neighborhood nor any of ours.

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  9. 0/10, empty lot still preferable.

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