|A section of the revised plan showing the pharmacy drive-through in the middle of the retail center.|
Despite some “significant improvements,” a staff report issued by the county’s Zoning Evaluation Division Sept. 22 still recommends the BoS deny the application. The primary objections have to do with the failure to provide an acceptable realignment of Charles Street with Glen Forest Drive and the failure to provide building entrances that are accessible from Leesburg Pike.
Spectrum is seeking 2.7 acre property between Charles Street and Washington Drive be rezoned from C-2 and R-3 to allow development of a shopping center, a special exception to permit a drive-through pharmacy and fast food restaurant, and a waiver to permit a 20 percent reduction in the number of parking spaces (108 instead of 135 spaces).
The zoning staff had issued a report last January recommending denial, citing the proposed retail center’s inconsistency with the redevelopment plan for Bailey’s Crossroads. Many residents of the surrounding streets testified at a public hearing Jan. 14 urging the Planning Commission to deny the application, citing concerns with the proposed layout, potential increases in traffic, noise, trash, and other quality-of-life issues.
The Planning Commission deferred a decision and asked Spectrum to make changes in its application. The staff again urged the project be denied, but the Planning Commission recommended approval on Feb. 12. Residents continued to oppose the project at a BoS hearing March 3, and on March 24, the BoS deferred a decision indefinitely until further changes could be made.
The revised plan for “the Shops at Bailey’s Crossroads” still includes a drive-through pharmacy even though that goes against language in the Bailey’s Crossroads plan calling for pedestrian-friendly development. The revised plan, however, moves the drive-through from the side of the building facing Charles Street to the center of the shopping center.
In other changes spelled out in the revised application:
The central plaza area has been expanded and redesigned to provide additional seating.
- The monument sign has been relocated from the central plaza to the Charles Street side of the pharmacy.
- The pharmacy entrance has been shifted, making it more visible from Leesburg Pike.
- The loading space and dumpsters have been relocated to a central place in the parking lot.
- The total number of trees has been increased from 82 to 84.
- The number of parking spaces has been increased from 108 to 114.
The proffers also state the pharmacy drive-through will be closed from midnight to 6 a.m. and other businesses will be closed from midnight to 6 a.m. or 11 p.m.-5 a.m. Residents had opposed the possibility of shops and restaurants open all night.
The Sept. 22 staff report recommends the plan be rejected primarily because of the following problems:
- The proposed right-of-way dedication along Charles Street does not provide for a safe realignment of Charles Street with Glen Forest Drive on the other side of Route 7. The realignment would result in a 67-degree angled approach, while the maximum recommendation by the Fairfax Department of Transportation is 75 to 80 degrees.
- The orientation of the pharmacy toward the parking lot conflicts with the recommendation in the Bailey’s Crossroads section of the county Comprehensive Plan calling for primary pedestrian entrances to be accessible and visible from Leesburg Pike. Under the revised proposal, none of the business would have entrances on Leesburg Pike.