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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Courtland Park residents raise concerns on proposed retail center

The site of a proposed shopping center on Leesburg Pike as seen from Charles Street.
With a public hearing scheduled before the Fairfax County Planning Commission July 17 on a proposal for a shopping center on Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads, local residents are urging that the project be modified to protect the Courtland Park neighborhood. 

A letter signed by 37 residents was sent to Mason Supervisor Penny Gross July 14 urging her to “help us defend the integrity and livability of our deeply rooted community.”

The project, proposed by Spectrum Development, calls for a retail center on a 2.7-acre property on Leesburg Pike between Washington Drive and Charles Street. The center would have a CVS drugstore, Smashburger, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and additional tenants not yet determined. A Geico claims center and two houses would be demolished.

The Planning Commission will consider an amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan calling for a rezoning (from C-2 and R-3 to C-6) and a special exception to allow a drive-through pharmacy. A staff report from the Department of Planning and Zoning recommends approval of the shopping center, calling it consistent with the redevelopment plan for Bailey’s Crossroads.

The Mason District Land Use Committee deferred a decision on the shopping center proposal in June and is scheduled to consider it again on July 22. A hearing before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for July 29.

Courtland Park residents believe the project is likely to go forward so they are concentrating on ensuring that disruptions to their neighborhood will be minimized.

“Restaurant uses should not be permitted,” their letter to Gross states, noting that those businesses would lead to significant increases in cut-through traffic on Washington Drive, Charles Street, and adjacent roads.

The letter quotes from a 2013 Planning Commission document that states a proposed development along Route 7 and Charles Street “should be urban in character and pedestrian friendly” and says “auto-oriented uses, including drive-thru facilities should be prohibited” and “restaurant uses are strongly discouraged.” 

“The need for redevelopment of Bailey’s Crossroads along pedestrian-friendly lines is self-evident,” the residents agree. “We who live in and walk around our historic neighborhood hope that you and your colleagues on the board will be committed to a strengthened pedestrian standard to stem the tide of car-oriented development.”

The residents call it “unconscionable” that Gross would support a plan amendment allowing a project that favors “auto-oriented uses that would endanger residents” rather that a pedestrian-friendly development.

UPDATED, July 16, 2014:  Mason Supervisor Penny Gross sent a letter to the Courtland Park residents July 16 in response to their concerns about the proposed shopping center, inviting them to a community meeting with the developers on Monday, July 21, at the Mason District Government Center.

In the letter, Gross notes that “community interest and support for this application has been steady since meetings first began in April” and that the July 14 letter from Courtland Parks residents was the first sign of opposition.

“This property has been a blight on the community for more than two decades and continues to be an eyesore to the adjacent residential uses and the Bailey’s Crossroads Commercial Revitalization District,” Gross writes.

In response to residents’ concerns about traffic, Gross says, the application would retain pedestrian orientation via Leesburg Pike and restrict vehicular access, and while “this development will not reduce traffic, it cannot be expected to eliminate pre-existing traffic conditions.” She also notes that “community sentiment from the meetings held thus far for this application welcomed the type of restaurants identified by the applicant as potential tenants.” 


  1. Ugly design! Who needs any of it! Not enough green space! Much too dense!

  2. > CVS
    > Smashburger
    > Potbelly

    I can't be the only one who thinks the vacant lot is the more appealing option.

  3. I'm happy to see the buildings pushed to the road so there isn't a gigantic parking lot in front but do we really need another drugstore around here? I'd love to see some more food options in the area though! There are hardly any options and any that I do go to are always packed (again because there are no options!).

    1. Apparently the new CVS would replace the CVS on South Jefferson Street.

  4. How ironic that the residents are obecting to it failing to meet the plan standards for being urban, and the first comment here is "too dense". I think Smashburger and Potbelly are fine additions, but agree we don't want more drive throughs, and do want more new mixed use (which means offices or residences above the retail)

  5. Be happy they are building something that is not Mamasita's house of bad mattresses and crap. I agree mixed-use should be encouraged. And maybe someday this idiotic County will embrace sensible mass transit that will justify densities and vice versa. The ladies running this county either need to get smarter or go take up knitting.

    1. WELL Said!! Do not expect "the ladies running this County" to get smarter and do not expect any of the men to BE any smarter either. Just look at the Meals Tax SAFU if you have any doubt.

  6. Perhaps the developer can help offset traffic concerns by subsidizing traffic circles to calm the flow through their neighborhood as it is a race way at present