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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

FXCO staff again rejects revised shopping center plan for Rt. 7

The proposed shopping center site as seen from Charles Street.
Spectrum Development has submitted another revised plan for a shopping center on Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads – and it still doesn’t meet the county’s requirements.


Staff Report Addendum #3, issued by the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning Oct. 8, recommends the Board of Supervisors deny the project, basically for the same reasons it recommended denial in September: The proposed right-of-way dedication along Charles Street would not create a smooth alignment with Glen Forest Drive, and the CVS entrance would still face the interior of the property rather than Route 7 as called for in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider a rezoning proposal to permit development of the shopping center on Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m.

The staff report does acknowledge that Spectrum had made some positive changes to the project since its revised plan submitted Sept. 8. The smallest of the three buildings has been removed, and the larger retail building has been expanded, although there would be a net reduction of 845 square feet in the project. That building would be closer to Washington Drive, however.

Many nearby residents have actively raised objections to the project design for past year and a half. They have spoken at hearings, circulated petitions and emails, and met with Mason Supervisor Penny Gross – and are still not happy with the revisions. Among their complaints: traffic, the possibility of fast food odors and litter, insufficient screening next to single-family homes, and the continued proposal for a drive-through pharmacy which goes against the Comprehensive Plan.

The Xenos family had been particularly concerned with a plan for an entrance to the shopping center on Washington Drive directly in front of the driveway of the family’s matriarch, Concetta Defalco, age 94. The family hired a lawyer, and Spectrum agreed to move the entrance closer to Leesburg Pike.

The Oct. 8 staff report notes, however, that the entrance in the revised plan would be 140 feet from Leesburg Pike, while the Virginia Department of Transportation’s access management standard is 225 feet. If VDOT fails to approve an exception, the plan would be to be revised again.

Leesburg Pike, with Charles Street on the left and the Glen Forest Drive intersection on the right.
A section of the proffers that lists prohibited uses in the shopping center has deleted a ban against gun shops and pawnbrokers. The list of prohibited uses still includes uses like title lenders, tattoo parlors, and pornography.

There are some improvements in the revised plan, the staff report says. For example, at least two of the businesses in the non-CVS building will have entrances on Leesburg Pike and flaws in the configuration of the drive-through for the pharmacy have been fixed. Several problems regarding signage, screening and other issues haven’t been addressed.

The biggest remaining problem, however, deals with the alignment of Charles Street. The developer is only providing enough of a right-of-way to allow for a 67-degree angled approach to meet Glen Forest Drive across from Leesburg Pike. VDOT requires an angle of 75 to 80 degrees.

The alignment is included in VDOT’s long-term plan. If the developer fails to provide enough of an easement along Charles Street, VDOT would have to align Glen Forest through the shopping center parking lot on Leesburg Pike, which would cost taxpayers about $5.5 million. 

Despite the improvements in the plan, the report concludes, “staff is unable to reverse our recommendation for denial, based primarily on the need to provide for a safe realignment of Charles Street and to provide building entrances that are visible and accessible from Leesburg Pike, in accordance with the site-specific guidelines of the Comprehensive Plan.”

27 comments:

  1. "Among their complaints: traffic, the possibility of fast food odors and litter"

    These folks have many legitimate complaints, some which are being addressed - but this is not one of them. They are situated next to a major thoroughfare. There are plenty of people who live among restaurants and other retail that don't seem to have quality of life issues.

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    1. > possibility of fast food odors

      It's not a possibility, it's a given. There are at least two spots in Fairfax where this exact thing has happened since 06-07. Making a decision to move next to a pre-existing fast food establishment is totally different than being told one is going to be plopped right next to your previously-stink-free yard whether you like it or not.

      > restaurants and other retail

      Again, "restaurants and retail" is different than "fried food processing depot", which is what's on offer here (along with the ninety-seventh drug store within a square mile, of course).

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    2. the county doesn't see a difference between casual and fast food so even though the developers claim it will be casual it could be a mcdonalds and there is nothing to prevent it if this passes

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    3. The traffic will not be on Leesburg Pike but on their neighborhood street. They never signed up for that when they bought the house.

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  2. I wouldn't go so far to say their complaints are being addressed. Some might be more legitimate than others but the main point is that this has gotten 3 negative staff reviews which is more than any project i can think of. The developers have had over a year to get at least the staff on board and failed to do so. The public should not be on the hook for $5.5 million because the developers couldn't lose the drive thru and make the project work.

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  3. "A section of the proffers that lists prohibited uses in the shopping center has deleted a ban against gun shops and pawnbrokers"
    Who approved deleting this section and thereby permitting gun shops and pawnbrokers? Hardly a means to revitalization...

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    1. we need more title loan shops!

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  4. so 3 bad county reviews, goes against the comprehensive plan, needs a VDOT waiver and puts the tax payers on the hook for 5.5 million we could spend on schools.

    RETURN TO SENDER

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  5. I think we should build a CVS, a Walgreens and a Rite-Aid in the lot and let them fight to the death in a battle royale of noxious civic engineering.

    Or maybe we could (on the model of FFXCOs fine schools) build a highrise full of twenty CVSs, thus meeting the county's construction quota for the next six months.

    Perhaps we could all come together as a community and affirm the need for a $100mil bond to construct a monument of grandeur in homage of the great merchants of seasonal plastic doodads?

    The possibilities are endless!

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  6. I hope this development doesn't get built.

    I am gaining a greater appreciation for this plot of land as I drive by it during my daily commute as the weeds and trees grow out of control, and the rundown GEICO office becomes more and more of a building that poses a public nuisance.

    I'm hoping for a little more time for nature to take its course, and then I will have about a mile and a half to travel to take the kids to the Forest.

    I hear all these taxpayer-funded ads on the radio and posters plastered at the local mall promoting the benefits of taking the kids for a day to the forest.

    It would be awesome for Mason District to have its own little "Pocket Forest" right in Bailey's Crossroads.

    I'm sure Mollie is on board with this concept, because she absolutely refuses to support any development that has a whiff of local opposition.

    I can't wait for Election Day and for Mollie's joke of a campaign to go away.

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    1. It's actually not much of a campaign. Haven't see anything from her...mainly just whining like this on the comments of the Annandale Blog. And don't forget she works or worked for the Annandale Blog. That is why she put an ad up for herself in the top right. I hope once Penny wins and the election is over, the Blog can get back to down the middle reporting. Until then, it is merely a mechanism for Mollie's obviously going nowhere NIMBY "campaign".

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    2. a pocket forest would be better than another strip mall on leesburg pike. nothing wrong with nature!

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    3. Paid for by Hair On Fire Development Co.

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    4. I want to hear from someone who can tell me what has Penny done that would make me want to vote for her.

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  7. Remember that Loeffler wrote an editorial in the Fairfax Times in March opining against this development. Indeed, an overgrown lot suits her and her NIMBYs well.

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  8. this has nothing to do with NIMBY. the neighborhood wants the lots developed. they want it to stick to the commercial zone and stick to the comprehensive plan. sometimes it is better to have an overgrown lot than an eyesore of a strip mall. would it be NIMBY if they start to do fracking on that lot or something else that isn't permitted currently?

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  9. Once again, the issue isn't Mollie except for the oblivious Penny supporters. The issue is the waste of County money on staff time, advertising etc.on a project that has been rejected three times.

    Always good to know that this kind of waste doesn't affect some of the blog readers who complain the most about NIMBYS and believe that all " development." is beneficial.

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  10. Gross should be ashamed for letting it get this far as she should have pulled the plug after bad review #2 and not wasted more of the developers money, staff and community time.

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  11. Irene Xenos (of the Xenos family - affected party) posts her advertisements on the Annandale Blog, and this application receives a disproportionate amount of attention and press on this site, continuing to stir up negative press about it. Regardless of how you feel about the application you can't help but notice this.

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  12. yes you can't help but notice you work for Penny Gross and post these comments. .

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  13. NIMBY NIMBY blah blah Mollie is the worst blah blah. Grow up and make a cogent argument

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  14. Penny can take all the credit for this waste of time and money. That's her way!

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  15. To Anonymous10/13/15, 2:05 PM

    Your NIMBY accusations are very shallow, You don't consider the implications of the decisions made by our Supervisor. If you were really tracking issues you'd understand that Loeffler is interested in smart development. Unfortunately, Gross only considers development based on off election year donations.

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  16. Mollie wouldn't know smart development if it ran her over like a Mack truck.

    Smart development for her is development that doesn't upset her toni lake barcroft supporters.

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  17. i live in the ghetto of Mason District and support Mollie so don't assume her supporters are "toni". please name the smart growth in mason under penny's leadership.

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