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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Planning Commission approves rezoning for townhouses at Heritage Mall

An illustration of the proposed townhouses from the Department of Planning and Zoning staff report. 
The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved a rezoning application Nov. 30 to allow a townhouse development at the rear of the Heritage Mall shopping center in Annandale.

The applicants, MHI-Heritage LLC and Bristow Shopping Center LTD (entities formed by the Webb Cos.), proposed rezoning the 11-acre site from C-6 to PDC to permit the construction of 67 single-family attached residences. The housing units would be for sale, not rent.

Heritage Mall
The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the application Dec. 6, 3:30 p.m. The BoS approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment for the project in June.

The site, currently occupied by a parking lot, green space, and 7-Eleven, is bordered by the Avant Apartments, Rectory Lane, Commons Drive, and the rear of the shopping center on Heritage Drive.

The residential area would have a tot lot, picnic area, stormwater management facility, and landscaping.

Eight of the new townhomes would be affordable dwelling units, as required by Fairfax County. Nineteen units would have garages accessible from the front, and the rest would have garages at the rear. There would be 33 on-street parking spaces.

To ensure there would be enough parking, the application calls for the HOA documents to require residents to use garages solely for cars, rather than storage.

The project also includes a new 1,200-square foot community resource center in the shopping center – available to the county rent-free for 30 years – to provide space for meetings and other events. Minor upgrades would be made to the shopping center plaza area, parking lot, and sidewalks. There would also be two new crosswalks on Heritage Drive.

None of the Planning Commission members voted against the application, although Julie Strandlie (Mason) abstained, citing the need for more work on it. One of her major concerns is traffic on Heritage Drive in the morning when Annandale High School opens.

Commissioner Ellen Hurley (Braddock) said there will be less traffic when the 7-Eleven is demolished. The property is in the Braddock District but across the street from Mason District.

This 7-Eleven will be torn down. 
Other commissioners raised concerns about whether the garages would be wide enough and whether the developer should contribute more funds to local parks. Hurley noted Ossian Park is across the street.

The applicants’ representative, Elizabeth Baker of the Walsh Colucci law firm, said the units with two-car garages in front would be 21 feet wide and those with garages in back would be 24 feet wide. The affordable units would be just 16 feet wide and would have one-car garages.

Hurley said she supports the project, even though the Braddock District Land Use Committee voted against it. That committee had issues with the lack of sufficient parking, the narrow garages, the lack of front yards, and the fact that the playground would be open to the public.

“There is a market for this kind of housing,” Hurley said. “Not everyone wants to deal with grass or have a front yard.” Other concerns have been dealt with, she said, including the addition of 10 parking spaces.  

2 comments:

  1. "67 single-family attached residences"

    "33 on-street parking spaces"

    "HOA documents to require residents to use garages solely for cars"

    Ha. Ha. HAHAHAHA!

    Good luck with that. Surrounding streets, get a petition for an RPPD ready.

    Please also bear in mind that residents of a street or community have no recourse when one “family” household has 10-15 residents and parks all of their cars on street, taking up more than a fair amount of allotted spaces. There are no ordinances on how many cars a household or address can register, as long as they all claim to be “family”.


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  2. The law firm of Walsch, Colucci owns this county. They represent almost every development that happens certainly in Mason District. I wonder if our county government officials would even try to go against the firm out of fear of having to fight for something.There should have been more proffers for parks given. How is it that a development can now count state roads as parking spaces? That must be illegal. Why is it that the affordable houses get less of a driveway than the others? They are going to have as many cars as the others. Yeah to the Braddock District Land Use Committee for standing up for commonsense solutions. Unfortunately, developers, their lawyers, and our government officials could care less.

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