The Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization (OCR) is working on urban design guidelines for Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners that will address such issues as landscaping, sidewalks, how buildings should be sited, how storefronts should look, and what amenities like benches and lighting should look like.
The draft, including illustrations of how various urban elements could create a sense of place, is expected to be published online by next week.
The guidelines complement and further refine the vision in the comprehensive plans that have been approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners and would serve as a guide for developers, property owners, and planners.
The design guidelines will come into play when new redevelopment projects are planned, such as the Weissberg Corp.’s proposal for the Columbia Crossroads apartments on Columbia Pike at Moncure Avenue in Bailey’s Crossroads.
Mason Supervisor Penny Gross’s newsletter to residents, Mason Matters, says OCR “staff sought public comment about the desired character for the area and crafted recommendations to reflect community preferences” and that OCR will present the draft document at public meeting in November and December.
Several Bailey’s Crossroads residents, however, as well as the Mason District Council of Community Associations, say they hadn’t heard about the design guidelines until now and feel they should have been asked to comment earlier.
The public will have plenty of chances to comment, says JoAnne Fiebe, a program revitalization manager and urban design at OCR.
The first round of public input took place last year, before the guidelines were drafted, when OCR put out a survey “to gauge interest in the guidelines and look for ideas on the character for the area,” she says.
Public input was solicited through a survey publicized in the Department of Neighborhood and Community Development listserv, at farmers’ markets, and at several community meetings, including the Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation (BC7RC), Fiebe says. OCR received dozens of responses.
The next round of public input will give people a chance to suggest tweaks and edits on all aspects of the guidelines, Fiebe says. “It’s not like people missed an opportunity to comment.” The guidelines will likely be discussed at the Mason District Land Use Committee meeting in November and the BC7RC meeting in December.
The document creates a new design for the streetscape in Seven Corners and updates the design guidelines for Bailey’s Crossroads. It will address such issues as what types of trees should be planted and what kinds of materials should be used, says Fiebe. If there are park benches, for example, the document recommends they should be of a certain quality and be low maintenance and includes several illustrations of examples.
In setting a design character for Bailey’s Crossroads, a majority of the survey respondents favored a focus on the area’s international culture, which Fiebe describes as “a melding of public spaces from different places around the country and around the globe and bringing it to Bailey’s.”
“The effort is all about creating a certain feel for the area, building on ideas already there, and bringing more of a personality to the area,” she says.