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Friday, February 19, 2016

Board of Supervisors approves Bailey's Crossroads land swap

The Southeast Quadrant, with Columbia Pike at the top and Moncure Avenue on the left. [Fairfax County]
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted Feb. 16 to approve two land transactions aimed at facilitating redevelopment in Bailey’s Crossroads.

The BoS will swap a 1.49-acre piece of land it owns on the corner of Columbia Pike and Moncure Avenue with an equal amount of land nearby owned by AvalonBay and will purchase for $6.35 million a 2.94-acre property next to Radley Acura owned by Landmark Atlantic LLC.

Avalon Bay is proposing to build a 375-unit apartment building with market-rate rents. The county will use the land it is acquiring, currently occupied by an office building, for a possible future human services center and a road extension to connect Seminary Road and Columbia Pike. The board held a public hearing on the land swap Jan. 13.


None of the supervisors voted against the land deal. Supervisors John Cook (Braddock) and Linda Smith (Providence) abstained because, while they said they supported redevelopment of the area, they were uncomfortable that there is no agreement yet on where the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter will be relocated.

The AvalonBay apartments would be built on the site of the homeless shelter on Moncure Avenue, and relocating the homeless shelter is a key part of the project.

“The shelter will be relocated in Mason District, not closed,” Mason Supervisor Penny Gross stressed at the BoS meeting.

“We’re absolutely committed to making this deal work with no interruption in services” for the homeless, Robert Stalzer, deputy county executive for planning and development, told the supervisors. “The temporary location will evolve into a permanent site that will include not only the 50 beds that are currently a part of the existing facility but also enhanced services including transitional housing for the homeless community.”

However, there has not been an announcement from the county about where the shelter will be relocated, and possible sites were not discussed at the BoS meeting. 

First Christian Church at 6165 Leesburg Pike had offered to host a temporary shelter on its grounds but that deal fell through. Residents of Ravenwood Park raised concerns about the prospect of a homeless shelter next to their neighborhood, as well as other issues related to the land swap, in an open letter to Mason District residents.

“We’re not hosting a homeless shelter at our property. The negotiations have ended,” Rev. Kathleen Kline Moore, senior minister at First Christian Church, told the Annandale Blog Feb. 19. “There simply wasn’t enough time for negotiations to reach the necessary conclusions and also receive public comment and meet the deadlines required by the AvalonBay developers.”

Regarding the value of the Southeast Quadrant, Stalzer said, “Over a five to 10-year build-out period, we’re anticipating the tax base would increase from its current value of roughly $5 million to $150 million.”

A public private partnership to develop a mixed-use project in the Southeast Quadrant was first proposed 13 years ago, Gross said at the BoS meeting. But that project was “sidetracked due to the Great Recession.”

The BoS approved a comprehensive plan amendment last January to facilitate the current mixed-use project and road realignment. The next step is review of a rezoning application.

“In 2010, the county updated the land use plan for the Bailey’s Community Business Center to recommend the development of a ‘town center’ with a mix of uses,” states a Feb. 18 Fairfax County news release. AvalonBay’s proposal helps to advance the broader vision for a revitalized Bailey’s Crossroads.”

According to the news release, the board’s approval of the land deal “doesn’t commit us to building a new human services center.”

 “A new human services center will be considered at this location because it will allow the county to consolidate services into a single building,” it states. “We are currently providing services out of leased spaces. The decision to build a new county human services center, or to continue leasing space, will be considered by the Board of Supervisors at a future time.”

87 comments:

  1. Very glad to see the land deal was approved with no opposing votes by the Board of Supervisors.

    Mason District needs a brand-new homeless shelter that is able to provide greatly enhanced services to its clientele.

    The supporters and opponents of the land deal should join together "move on" and focus on what they both claim they truly care about - helping the homeless receive the assistance they need to find a home of their own.

    Rather than following the NIMBYs of Ravenwood Park who strongly opposed the location of a temporary homeless shelter anywhere near their homes; the supporters and opponents of the land deal should join together and open their hearts and support the relocation, for a temporary period of time, of the homeless shelter outside of the Southeast Quadrant of Bailey's Crossroads.

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    1. There were no opposing votes by Board members because it is very rare for supervisors to oppose anything proposed by a supervisor in another district. The two abstentions are properly translated as a stinging rebuke by the Board. What was not reported here was the voluntary recusal of one supervisor, who likely would have voted in opposition, because he had received substantial contributions from the developers. Also not reported was the fact that Supervisor Penny Gross and several other supervisors who voted for the land swap deal received larger contributions from those who would be in a position to gain from the ‘deal’.
      Opponents should definitely not join with proponents in this travesty and “move on”. Corruption won this round. This is not a time to embrace corruption, it is a time to expose it, discuss it, shed light on it, stop it. Only then do we have any chance of moving on, of getting the real revitalization Mason District has been waiting 20 years for. This is not revitalization. Do we see evidence anywhere in Mason District that our present leadership knows anything about revitalization? Looting yes, revitalization no.
      “Rather than following the NIMBYs of Ravenwood Park who strongly opposed the location of a temporary homeless shelter anywhere near their homes”. That is classic, ubiquitous big-developer rhetoric. Some version of this hypocritical refrain is always injected into the discussion whenever money can be made by it. I would ask the author where she lives and what efforts has she and her community made to compete for this homeless shelter in their neighborhood.
      Let’s be honest here, homeless shelters are not enhancing to residential neighborhoods. There is no competition or clamor in any neighborhood for a homeless shelter in their back yard. On the other hand, everyone seems willing to have one placed in someone else’s back yard as long as it not too close by. This is as true for those calling others NIMBYs as it is for those who are called NIMBYs. Ravenwood Park’s concerns are not evidence of a neighborhood-wide character flaw. Their concern is legitimate and universal. We are all concerned about what goes into our family’s back yards.
      What there is a clamor for, is good solutions for meeting OUR community’s compelling need to meet OUR responsibility for meeting the needs of those of us who have become disenfranchised and under-served by shortcomings in the design of OUR social systems. The solutions for meeting this shared responsibility must be determined in open sessions with full representation of all stakeholders, not in closed sessions between a barely elected representative and unelected out-of-town special interests. Not in closed sessions from which the parties conspired to exclude the community in general and the “NIMBYs”, who had an especially great interest in the question, in particular.
      I would remind the anonymous NIMBY caller above that it is his side, not the opposition side, that supported closing the existing, purpose built, county owned shelter before community involvement could take place and before a suitable replacement site was found. I know of few people in Mason District who want to “join together” and “move on” behind that. It was the “NIMBYs” who wanted to retain the existing site until a new community-chosen and community-owned site was properly designed and solidly secured, before ownership was transferred to developers seeking to replace the shelter with high income, high density commercial housing. That is one of many reasons why so many “opened their hearts” and opposed the relocation.
      And that isn't even the half of it.

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    2. Enough with the damn homeless shelter. It will go where it will go. I've lived nearby for years and didn't even know there was a homeless shelter there until this land swap came to light. Other people in opposition to this land swap do not want any more haphazard last-century development built onto parcels near their homes. This will make the already unbearable commute down Columbia Pike even more unbearable, and to boot bring nothing of value to my neighborhood. More apartments and penny's palace? No thanks.

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    3. Anon 1243. Agree on the commute, even as late as 9:30 am traffic is backed up before the Barcroft Dam. Then add traffic from the new townhouses SE of the dam! (That's going to need a traffic signal) Even if the majority take a bus, there are only 2 lanes.

      call me a doubting Thomas, but I can't believe folks who can afford market rate rents will find that area desirable ... take a look at the business district that surrounds it on 3 sides.

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    4. How is it, with the new requirement that supervisors that have had donations from parties in front of the BoS have to recuse themselves, that there was anyone left to vote?

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    5. I built the property at Col. pk and Lacy bl....developed it in 07 , Lacy Sq.Office Condominiums....the shelter is a disaster and has forced down property values in my building...

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  2. FINALLY!

    Now let's see how many NIMBY NUTS fall from the tree into a fruit basket to try to thwart this, I'm taking bets.

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    1. You are very judgemental and closed minded to what others thought and idea. If people do not agree with you then immediately call them names. Very Saul Alinsky of you.

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    2. No I'm practical and thanks to PG the NIMBYs are getting worse.

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  3. where is the mixed use part of this deal?

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  4. Anon 740 makes excellent points ... can't wait to hear the other half.
    Anon 1025, good Question. Take a look at the latest monster development on Broad Street in Falls Church for clues.
    While Harris Teeter will be a great addition to that area, just waiting to see how it affects the little local grocer across the street and the weekly farmers markets.

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    1. it mentions mixed use but what got passed would have no retail from what I can tell.

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  5. Well overdue and many more like this in Baileys, 7 corners and Annandale. We should use these small urban nodes for development that provide biggest bang for the buck, for the investment. Case in point..."Regarding the value of the Southeast Quadrant, Stalzer said, “Over a five to 10-year build-out period, we’re anticipating the tax base would increase from its current value of roughly $5 million to $150 million.”"...This investments will go long way towards providing funds for schools, roads, mass transit and other services.

    Population will grow, Mason District with is preferred location will attract its share and more of people and companies willing to invest. We should consider ourselves lucky for the investment and renewal.

    As for the homeless shelter, there seems to be no shortage of people feigning a desire to help the homeless but as long as the homeless are not housed near them. No doubt we can find a temporary shelter and eventually provide a more substantial, permanent solution. This development and homeless shelter is far from an either/or choice.

    As for the homeless shelter, there seems to be no shortage of people feigning a desire to help the homeless as long as they are not housed near them. Mason District is big, no doubt we can find a temporary shelter and than provide a more substantial, permanent solution.

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    1. Now if the County would just anti up some good and desirable mass transit we may even have a chance to be a place of destination and a luring place for people to live.

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    2. Well Route 7 transit and Columbia Pike Transit should be built in next few years, though they been talking and talking and talking about them for long time.

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    3. Anon 5:09 alleges that as a result of this land swap, the $5 million assessed value of the property will increase to $150 million? In the January 12 hearing it was alleged to be $100 million. From which orifice are they pulling these numbers? Why are the supporting numbers always unavailable to the public? Because it is always just frivolous speculation by used building salesman.

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    4. the tax numbers are fake and made up as any smart person knows.

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    5. So what do you guys think? Gauging by 100's of such developments around the area, what is the return on investment? 75$ million...$50 Milllion..$25 Million? What number fits your BS narrative instead of opinions of professions in the field? More of this type of development is coming to the area (see Daren post below) and the ROI is WELL worth it!

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  6. What our neighbors in Arlington are doing just down the road: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2016/02/goodbye-food-star-arlington-board-backs-new.html?ana=e_wash_brk&s=newsletter&ed=2016-02-22&u=VB9d7tMkH2AERW8rOQPEtA0a8095be&t=1456161503

    The Avalon Bay development is an excellent first step and will be a catalyst for the Bailey's masterplan.

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    1. Good planning? "...developers have sought approval for roughly a half dozen new projects along the 3.5-mile corridor totaling nearly 1,000 residential units and more than 100,000 square feet of retail.
      Columbia Pike remains a corridor dominated by pavement, and the Arlington board has yet to reveal how it will move people with streetcar no longer in the plans."
      http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2016/01/on-columbia-pike-surface-parking-will-give-way-to.html

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    2. Look at what Alexandria is proposing on Bailey's eastern door step:

      http://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/tes/info/West%20End%20Transitway%20Flyer%20-%20December%202015.pdf

      We can realistically forget light rail and metro - these will take years to approve, then years to design, and years to build. (DC is opening up H Street after over two years of ONLY TESTING.)

      As former bus commuter, I think dedicated bus system might be the transit option that will help make this work. Shuttles to metro one mile away are a key element to the success of Mosaic.

      We just need to be a bit more progressive and embrace the bus! I commuted by bus for years from Parklawn to Georgetown: Express Bus to Metro, Metro to Rosslyn, walk to Georgetown.


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    3. Waiting for driverless cars.

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    4. Darren I read your article and I all I could think of was how much worse the traffic back up on Columbia Pike will be. I understand and agree that I would love some beautiful building to replace the old falling apart buildings but I do not see Arlington or FXCO thinking about the traffic or infrastructure issue first. Keep in mind Arlington is also the one who spent a million dollars on a bus stop. I think the Arlington project has a lot of great ideas but I would like someone to look at the whole picture not just one project at a time. Thank you for directing us to that article it was a good read.

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    5. Yes, CD.

      Buses sit in that same traffic, too, Daren and anything that makes riding them even more untenable is not good. I occasionally ride the bus to the Pentagon and transfer to metro, but I don't see how that will even be a possibility in the near future.

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    6. CD:
      I've been driving Columbia Pike between Carlin Springs and Braddock since 1991: since before the light at Dick's and the Best Buy. I whined mightily at the two new stop lights but now am used to them.

      And by they way, I noticed that the foundation is in place for a new light at Powell so get used to your commute getting one light slower!

      There is no magic bullet for transportation - you cannot make Columbia Pike a six lane road. So we are going to have to be realistic and live with buses. There is already a major bus station at Seven Corners.

      The challenge: the stigma of the bus. It's cool to ride Metro, it's not cool to ride the bus.

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    7. "...you cannot make Columbia Pike a six lane road. So we are going to have to be realistic and live with buses." Actually, it is in the Bailey's comprehensive plan to widen Columbia Pike into a six lane road.

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    8. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/comprehensiveplan/area1/baileys.pdf

      As I read the plan, the comprehensive plan is to widen Columbia Pike from Leesburg Pike to Lacy.

      I stand corrected. However, I do not know if that is being considered in the Avalon deal.

      Again, imagine the disruption to the traffic flow to perform this construction.

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    9. Widening roads makes pedestrians less safe.

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    10. This is your team Daren: http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/fairfax-county-questioned-in-7-million-land-deal If we can trade Sharon and Penny for Arlington's management, we would be in a new world of land use possibilities.

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  7. Comments to general points made by all.
    1. Mixed use. There is no mixed use in this plan. Penny's determination to put a $125M human service palace nixed that along with her myriad out of turn plan amendments. This plan for the SEQ no where near resembles what the people supported in 2007.

    2. The tax base for the SEQ would be far, far greater IF Penny would stepped aside and let AvalonBay do a mixed use plan. Instead, as usual, every plan has to include her $125M palace. First the Seven Corners plan with a Willston palace and now the SEQ. Retail is a much stronger tax base than apartment rentals.
    3. There is a 47% commercial vacancy in Bailey's and there are lots of cost-effective properties for a homeless shelter. There are additional vacancies in Annandale where the social services are located. But, Penny sought to go against all best practices and put the shelter at First Christian Church. Not a good location for anyone: the homeless, the church, nearby residences and the 2 schools, 2 daycare centers and the women's and children's abuse center. What is Penny smoking? Now scuttlebutt is that she will attempt to locate it next to the Lincolnia Senior Residence Center. What? She needs to study the recommendations and best practices published by the American Planning Association and do some worthwhile planning.
    4. A missed point about the abstentions. Lynda Smith abstained because of the process as well as the lack of a shelter location. Penny's famous for her secret deals and her disdain for her constituents concerns. This land swap deal is par for the course.
    5. Purchasing 5827 Columbia Pike. Bulova and Gross were the two largest recipients of campaign donations from the owner. John Thillman (yes, the Seven Corners Planning chair) is a registered agent of 5827 Columbia Pike. So, he got his reward for manipulating the Seven Corners Plan to include Penny's Palace, which is still a possibility. Don't kid yourself.
    6. AvalonBay should be allowed to develop the entire SEQ as the people wanted in the 2007 plan. Move over Penny. You could be a hero to us all. Why do you fight that?

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    1. I know the Seven Corners/Patrick Henry area well. Two schools? Upper Bailey's and ____? (Surely not the original Bailey's E.S.--it can't be any closer to the church property than it is to the existing shelter.)

      Nearby residences? While Ravenswood Park abuts the church property, the only accesses to the church property are at Leesburg Pike (two pedestrian, two vehicular).

      Oh, and the church has been hosting a day shelter for homeless and needy neighbors one/two days a week for nearly 20 years. The population served by the SafeHaven program has significant overlap with the shelter population. Neither the church nor the neighborhood have experienced any negative impact resulting from that program; I dare say few in the neighborhood even knew about it. (But now that they do, and we know from their protestations that they care greatly about the plight of the homeless as long as the shelter doesn't relocate onto the church property, I'm sure the church would welcome volunteers and donations to help sustain the SafeHaven program--founded, coincidentally, by a now-deceased long-time Ravenswood Park resident, Bill LaLiberte.)

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    2. "I know the Seven Corners/Patrick Henry area well. Two schools? Upper Bailey's and ____?" The other school is JEB Stuart and both are roughly a .5 mile walk from the church.

      The Chateaux condos are adjacent to the parking lot where the "shelter" trailers would have been placed at the church.

      You should speak to the reverend at First Christian about the complaints by community members related to the safe haven program which is held two days a week and also ask her why the church is no longer a prospective site.

      The Laliberte property directly abuts the church property and we can only speculate as to whether or not he would have found this to be an appropriate site and accommodation.

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    3. I guess I do know Seven Corners better than you, since Google Maps says the shortest walking route from 3301 Peace Valley Lane to 6165 Leesburg Pike is .8 miles.

      While I don't agree with the concern about a shelter near an elementary school, I can understand it; however, I think citing a high school as the basis for your concern is without merit. Add in the reality of the distance, and you're just talking through your hat.

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    4. You are the one that didn't remember JEB Stuart was nearby and you and your google map have naively considered that the safe haven program participants only use sidewalks. Ask the neighbors, they will tell you otherwise.

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    5. I know full well where JEB Stuart is, and I knew instinctively that it's further from the (no longer) potential shelter site than has been insinuated in these comments. Which is why I asked. Sidewalks or not, it's practically much further than has been suggested.

      Whatever. The anti-crowd won. I'm sure their concerns about having homeless in the neighborhood will be greatly improved when there's no longer a shelter in the area.

      Gripe all you'd like about Safe Haven. First Christian has been living out its faith by caring for our brothers and sisters for nearly 20 years. We've fed them, clothed them, seen them buried and married. Some will always struggle; some are down on their luck; some have made remarkable turnarounds in their lives. We've come to know them as individuals with human dignity--not some nameless borg that could in some way be a threat to students at a high school 3/4 of a mile away if they were living in a shelter on the same property.

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    6. Per the post above: "The anti-crowd won." But, the story reads:
      “We’re not hosting a homeless shelter at our property. The negotiations have ended,” Rev. Kathleen Kline Moore, senior minister at First Christian Church, told the Annandale Blog Feb. 19. “There simply wasn’t enough time for negotiations to reach the necessary conclusions and also receive public comment and meet the deadlines required by the AvalonBay developers.”

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  8. After reading the article referenced by Daren Shumate, there are major differences between the 2 properties (SE Quadrant in Baileys and the Columbia Pike/George Mason intersection in Arlington).

    As mentioned by Concerned the Baileys property has no retail or green space planned, only 375 apartments and a proposed
    County Human Services building next door.

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    1. The article that I referenced starts with this sentence:

      "Changing Columbia Pike from a concrete corridor of surface parking lots into a lively main street, as is Arlington’s goal, comes one project at a time."

      The key theme is "one project at a time." The SEQ cannot be built overnight and the Avalon Bay proposal is an excellent first step toward this goal. Avalon Bay is an excellent locally-based developer.

      The land swap makes the site usable and ultimately ADDs a significant tax base.

      Once in place, the Avalon Bay development will become the anchor for not only the SEQ but also the greater Bailey's area.

      A rising tide lifts all boats.

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    2. We have been sitting in our boats for 20 years. The tide has been going out around us all that time. This "Trust Us" thing is just not working for me any more. We can't even do simple, basic code compliance in Mason District what reason do we have to expect revitalization. Our boats are full of holes. More high density residential is not revitalization, it is more of the same.

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    3. one piece at a time is fine except when you have allowed strip malls in all the pieces and they will be there for another 20 years due to poor decision making.

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    4. If your boats have holes in them, fix the holes.

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    5. Fix the holes, yes, that’s what we have been trying to do here in Mason District but the officers keep shoot two new ones in the bottom of the boat for every one we fix. Not surprisingly, that’s unnerving the passengers and they are leaving, but maybe that is the point, to get the paying passengers to leave so they can have the boat to themselves. Our problem is not the holes in my boat. It is the maniacs in the wheel house. Metaphors aside, I don’t change that by fixing holes.

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    6. I didn't understand a word of what you wrote.

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  9. And yet another bold move of progress from our neighbors in Arlington just 2.3 miles from Bailey's:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2016/01/11/new-affordable-apartments-coming-to-arlington/

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  10. To D.S. Adding residences and a county office building to the SEQ does not stimulate economic recovery in this area. Mixed use residential and retail would.

    AvalonBay is hoping to attract an upscale tenancy to the SEQ and wants the homeless shelter moved. No quarrels there as long as the move is to an appropriate permanent location. Key words: appropriate and permanent.

    But, Penny undermines economic stimulation and AvalonBay by insisting on a human services building. A county building doesn't add to the tax base and a human services building attracts the very people AvalonBay is dissuading from the area.

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  11. In response to Concerned:
    In fact, adding residences does stimulate economic recovery. Look down the Columbia Pike in Arlington and down Leesburg Pike toward Alexandria. More homes means more residences means more people spending money. There is already a Trader Joe's across the street and you rest assured that the business owners in the Trader Joe's plaza think that it is good for the economy.

    The mixed use will follow.

    Avalon Bay wants to develop in the SEQ because there is a need and their economic pro forma models indicate that it will be prosperous. They do not abide by the "build it and they will come" model else they'd go out of business.

    Again, this is a first step. Look at Mosaic: it is growing due to the success of its first phases. AND, Mosaic started over 10 years ago. This is a process.

    Regarding Human Services, I cannot believe Avalon Bay is dissuading anyone from the area.

    Nor is a county building a done deal.

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    1. how will mixed used follow? they either have it in the plan or they don't. you can't add retail to a project once its built without it.

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    2. The Bailey's Revitalization is not one project. It's the aggregation of many projects by many developers. Mixed use is part of the overall masterplan and is not necessarily just one building. Go to Mosaic for a great example. That is an aggregate of many buildings by several developers that in whole, is a mixed use success.

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    3. so the strip malls around it make it mixed use?

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  12. What happened in Ballston? Metro and thousands of apartments, but the mall died. Will have to wait to see if it thrives with the changes being made.

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    1. Many malls are dying. Landmark, Springfield (pre-town center redo) are just a few other examples. Tysons is an exception, of course, but that is in large part because its now such a destination that people drive past Ballston, Landmark, etc., to go there.

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    2. Landmark and Springfield mall don't have thousands of apartments in high rise buildings within walking distance and aren't on top of metro stations.

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  13. lets discuss that they just finished a few million dollar project of bricking the sidewalk going from Columbia Pike to Seminary and that will be torn up if they re do Seminary/CP connection. Look at the dumb lamp posts they put in that are under the street lights as an example of dumb things done in that stretch

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    1. I drive by the sidewalk daily. There is big blue sign there that says it cost something like 200k not "a few million dollar project" number you pulled. And there is no reason to rip up the sidewalk, it will still provide access to pedestrians between Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike. The sidewalk will also provide access to whatever else is built there which could possibly be a recreation area.

      http://valanduseconstructionlaw.default.wp1.lexblog.com/files/2014/05/Baileys-Preferred-Concept-Plan.jpg

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    2. Of course they will rip it up! it actually cost over a million. go look at the sign.

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    3. Sign says "$176,565". Stop BSing already.

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  14. Baileys Crossroads is not, and cannot, be Mosaic. There is no nearby Metro and aside from all the happy talk, no easy solution to the transportation problem. Buses use the same lanes as cars. Widening a road is a quick fix until it also becomes overcrowded.
    Unless Arlington tears down some of its new construction, widening Columbia Pike isn't feasible. It's the same situation along Route 7 in Falls Church.

    We all want revitalization and an attractive, vibrant community. The logic of addressing the infrastructure first, e.g. roads, sewer, water, electricity and the impact on schools, public safety, recreation facilities is lost

    We live in a warren of existing apartment complexes, about 15 between Baileys and 7 Corners with 5,000 more on the books for 7 Corners.

    We all want revitalization and quality developers. We also need a comprehensive plan that makes sense and rather than ignoring community input , welcomes it.

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    1. Mosaic is hardly walkable to the metro. I wouldn't cross the newly widened 29 or Gallows on a regular basis by foot if you paid me. This is a misconception that they have sold people - they provide residents a shuttle to the metro. And traffic around there is horrendous.

      I absolutely agree with you on everything else, though.

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  15. Hear, hear! Welcome community input. A key missing element in Mason District revitalization.

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  16. Bailey's could easily be a Mosaic. It is a 15 minute express bus ride from Bailey's to Pentagon. I frequent Mosaic for shopping and the movies all the time and I drive. They even have free car charging for my Chevy Volt.

    Bailey's could also be a Shirlington which also has no metro.

    There will be continued community input on the SEQ as the design develops. And as future developers come into Bailey's following the Comprehensive Plan, there will be continued community input. A project almost never ends up exactly as presented in original architectural renderings and concepts.

    Visit Avalon Bay's website. They are a quality developer headquartered in Ballston, less than 3 miles from Bailey's.

    The impact on infrastructure is always part of development and specific concerns addressed during the approval process.

    And regarding the "transportation problem" there is an easy solution: buses. True they use the same roads, but they more efficiently transport a lot of commuters. Look at the photo illustration in the attached website:

    http://www.fta.dot.gov/14526.htm

    We need to be patient with the process. If you remember what Mosaic used to look like - say 15 years ago - you'll know that Bailey's can become Mosaic.

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    1. Daren - I do not nescessary agree with you but I appreciate that you have very civil discussions versus name calling and I also enjoy your informative arguements. It gives everyone something to think about.

      By the way, when I think of Shirlington I think about how it is directly on 395 and less than 10 minutes away from DC which makes it a great place to stop at on the way home from work.

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    2. Daren--Bless you for trying, with information and rational discourse. I don't know how Mason can ever improve when the loudest voices say "everything is terrible here; don't dare do anything to change it" and spend so much time trying to delegitimize the area's elected leader (who handily beat not one, but two, challengers in last year's primary and general elections).

      They're so sure that developers are getting sweetheart deals, you'd think they'd spend some of this energy putting their own development proposals together, so that they could get a piece of that action.

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    3. a neighborhood recently asked for a electric charging station in a new development in Mason and also Solar Panel trash cans and both things the developer didn't care about but Penny said no way to. She has no interest in moving Mason forward.

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  17. DS...The developments you are referring to are mixed use. Mosaic started out by building retail/restaurants then adding residences. It was done slowly and methodically with a lot of land available.

    In 2007 the community was included in and supported the final SEQ mixed-use village plan. Sup. Gross has repeatedly stated that "there were no takers" for the 2007 plan and has systematically undermined it with numerous out of turn plan amendments.

    So, now AvalonBay is interested in the SEQ. Finally, a taker. AB built wonderful mixed-use in Mosaic and Arlington. But, they haven't been given the opportunity in the SEQ. Penny is reserving land for her East County Government Center and created a road so as to purchase the land of her 3rd largest campaign donor. Is that illegal? No. Is it unethical? Yes. Sharon Bulova (also a recipient of large donations) stated at the Feb. 16 meeting that the road would improve the heavy congestion at that intersection. Obviously, she didn't go take a look for herself. That statement is laughable. The exit to Seminary is about a long block from the purchased land. What is the need? Any study done to prove the need? No.



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  18. Daren,

    Have you looked at the 2007 Comp vs. the latest version of the Plan lately?

    To build the possible road, the county would have to remove many small businesses and a single family home property. Is this necessary when we have a clover leaf exit from Col. Pike to Seminary already? I think no. Did the county do an analysis? No.

    No Urban Planner worth a lick of salt would design the SEQ plan that we have now. It is a bad plan and is a bad deal for the taxpayers.

    If Penny had our best interests at heart she would have stayed with the 2007 Comp Plan and let AvalonBay have the entire SEQ. This would be a grand economic stimulator.

    Don't confuse sales tax with a real estate tax base. All those additional AvalonBay renters shopping taxes will go to the state, not Fairfax County. We need funds that go to FFX County without raising our real estate taxes.

    The county needs to take a hard look at its bottom line and stop wasting taxpayer money like the $6.35M road purchase and $880K building demolition. The county is proposing to raise the tax rate (assessments are already up) another 4%. That is 40% since 2000. Did your income rise that much? Mine didn't.

    Penny spends our money like she's playing a Monopoly game. The SEQ is a prime location for retail/restaurant mixed use for all the reasons you stated. It is an economic crime to build a county human services building that does nothing to build tax revenue and take land for a possible someday road. The county owns lots and lots of acreage in Mason District. Some of it should be monetized to lower the deficit and encourage revitalization.

    There are other more viable locations for human services that are much closer to the majority of the population. Why stick these on the outer edge of the county next to Arlington and Alexandria? Who are athey intended to serve?

    Patience? Penny has been in office 20-years and look what has happened to us. I'm long out of patience. Given your time line for Mosaic, we should be sitting pretty right now.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, I'm certainly no economist but the RE tax rate went up 33% (not 40) since 2000, and inflation went up 37%...So...if anything, real estate taxes have dropped.

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  19. I have looked at the Comprehensive plan for 2007. It appears that the Avalon Bay adheres to both the intent and the letter of the plan. It is a mid-rise "Village Center" project and that is exactly what is called for in the 2007 Comprehensive Plan.

    Remember, the Avalon Bay property is a small fraction of the entire comprehensive plan and will serve as the catalyst for future development.

    The building purchase is also part of the 2007 Comprehensive Plan to extend Seminary Road to Columbia Pike - it is not possible to get from Seminary to Columbia Pike and this is this first step in making that happen.

    It is also the first step in a "transportation solution."

    Looks like to me the entire SEQ endeavor is actually beginning to carry out the 2007 Comprehensive Plan and it's most recent amendments.

    This is how good deals are accomplished: teamwork between citizens, leadership, and developers.

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps I missed something in the chain, what "tansportation solution" are you referring to above?

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    2. A transportation solution would be either:
      1. Light rail
      2. Metro
      3. Dedicated buses
      or
      4. Improved roads

      Light rail has been nixed; metro would take billions of dollars and tens of years; dedicated buses are a possibility as reported by Ellie in an other post; and the remaining "transportation solution" is improved roads.

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    3. Daren - You can get from Columbia Pike to Seminary Road currently if you are going east. There is an exit ramp and you can choose to go either Route 7 or Seminary Road. If you are coming west on Columbia Pike towards Annandale then yes you have to get on Route 7 then take right on Carlin Spring then an immediate left on Seminary Road.

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    4. Although I believe the Avalon Bay would help spawn a resurgence in Baileys; the lack of a commitment to a metro system will sustain anemic revitilation. You can thank Arlington for that and Fairfax's weak support of the trolley.

      Metro is the blood line, as crappy as it is and the buses are terrible. Unlike Mosaic the bus route there is straight down Gallows. To get from Bailets to East Falls church is an obstacle course.

      If there was a better express program w dedicated lanes it may work. But it's gonna have to be far better than what it is to get people out of their cars. Fairfax leaders need to get that message through their fat heads. Metro service sucks in Mason District, look at the metro map, it's a black hole. The bus stops are full of trash and the shelters are falling down. Give people a reason to use metro bus, and right now there isn't one other than desperation. Neither the County or WMATA has invested well in Mason.

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    5. exactly, who wants to stand out at those stops!

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  20. Looking at best practices of cities and counties across the nation, homeless shelters are not placed near schools, daycare centers or adjacent to single family neighborhoods.

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    Replies
    1. Mason doesn't use best practices, it uses no practices.

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  21. Above the Noise2/26/16, 2:44 PM

    to Daren: thank you for your civil, no name calling discourse.

    to Concerned: you are far too focused on Penny. This is bigger than Penny or anyone person. Stop the hatred!

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    1. The SEQ (and all Mason District Revitalization) is completely under Penny's control. Pointing out the deficiences of the plan involves pointing out the deficiences of Penny's planning. It's that simple.

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    2. To: Above the Noise. "Stop the hatred!" Did Penny tell you to shout that?

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  22. To: Daren Shumate2/25/16, 4:09 PM

    AvalonBay is a phenomenal company and what they will build will certainly be a step up.

    However, what they are being allowed to build is not a part of the 2007 Comprehensive Plan for the SEQ. Yes, it will look nice and be nice and pretty up the blighted area, but it isn't in line with the community's 2007 vision.

    As you stated, the 2007 plan calls for a village approach. AvalonBay is allowed to build an apartment building with no mixed-use. Next to it will be a county office building. Penny says it will likely be human services offices. She mentioned that perhaps there could be some retail. Then there is a road. These three components are NOT what the 2007 plan envisions. The 2007 Plan beautifully laid out a destination mixed-use village.

    The road was not in the 2007 plan. It is unclear what drove the addition of this road in subsequent plan amendments. It doesn't appear that an analysis was done to justify it. There is a non-congested clover leaf entry from Columbia Pike to Seminary about a block and a half away. Why spend money the county can't afford on a "possible" new road?

    I appreciate that you want to make lemomade with this lemon, but this is not a path to true revitalization. Sorry. I remain unconvinced.

    I want the destination mixed-used village, which is a specialty of AvalonBay's. They were not given the opportunity to fulfill the 2007 community dream plan.

    Just allow AvalonBay to develop the entire SEQ. Sell the county property to AB. The county has a huge deficit and needs the money anyway. The people want a mixed-use village. That would be a win-win.

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    1. right on!

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    2. A few things:
      1. The road is in the 2007 Comprehensive Plan. Many new roads are. They are central to the overall change from a car-centered development to a pedestrian friendly development.
      2. There will be plenty of public forums on the Avalon Bay design for community input. And remember, it is the first of many developments.
      3. Look at Ivy City in DC. This place was truly a dump -- way, way, way worse than anything in Fairfax County - and now look at it. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2015/11/02/the-next-cool-d-c-neighborhood-you-have-never-heard-of/

      4. Do not give up.

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    3. http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/fairfax-county-questioned-in-7-million-land-deal

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  23. Daren Shumate3/1/16, 9:30 PM

    Pat Herrity puts himself "above the fray" in the quote, but Pat Herrity gladly takes donations as well. It is the American system.

    http://www.vpap.org/candidates/97559/top_donors/

    He takes money from developers and big construction firms: Hazel, Miller and Long, and MCDean just to name three.

    This has been going on as long as we've had a representative democracy.

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    Replies
    1. Pat Herrity recused himself from participation in the matter.

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    2. Penny did not recuse herself. Am I being a Penny hater or just pointing to a fact?

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  24. What I would like to see from our leaders in this county is leadership and communication - here's the overarching plan and here's how this fits in. Leaders are supposed to lead and hold the big picture. What we have is snippets of this, of that, and have to get wind of what's to come by waiting for a newsletter. In this day and age of technology, it would not be hard to communicate with the community about what you have planned that will impact everyone's lives. Speak to the issues instead of denying they exist or dismissing them as NIMBY. People raise good points and are asking for the overall big picture.

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