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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Task force endorses development nominations from Inova and Fairview Park

Construction is under way on the cancer center on Inova's property on Gallows Road.
A Providence District task force voted April 17 to endorse nominations for site-specific plan amendments to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan for two large properties – the Fairview Park office park and the Inova property that was formerly the site of the Exxon Mobil headquarters.

The task force – after a lengthy and confusing procedural discussion – voted to recommend that the county’s planning and zoning staff consider the two nominations in tandem.

The task force decision means the nominations will be included in the 2018 work plan for considering comprehensive plan amendments by the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

The Inova nomination, presented by land use attorney Tim Sampson, proposes a major redevelopment to incorporate healthcare facilities, medical research, housing, and other uses on the mostly wooded 117-acre property across Gallows Road from Inova Fairfax Hospital.

The Providence task force approved Option I of the Inova proposal, which calls for adding 5 million square feet of development on the western side of the property. That would increase the FAR from the current level of 0.35 to 1.0. (FAR is a measure of density.)

Under Option 1, Inova is proposing 1,550 multifamily units, nearly 3 million square feet of office uses, 100,000 square feet of retail, and 850,000 square feet of institutional uses.

Inova is currently in partnership with the University of Virginia, which wants to expand its presence in Northern Virginia, and is considering establishing a medical, engineering, and business campus on the Inova site, said Inova spokesperson Kelly Schlageter.

The nomination also would include additional access points to the property from Gallows Road. Inova is currently building a parking garage on the site, as well as the Dwight and Martha Schar Cancer Institute, which is expected to open later this year.

The task force did not endorse Option 2 in Inova’s nomination, which would add 15 million square feet of development with a FAR of up to 3.0 over the next 20 years.

Task force members questioned why they should even consider Option 2, when Inova doesn’t have any details about its development plans that far in the future. Sampson called it “a placeholder for the idea that we’re likely to be back.”

In deciding to remove Option 2 from the nomination, the task force agreed to add a note in its recommendation stating future development is possible on the Inova property.

The nomination for Fairview Park calls for an additional 3.7 million square feet, with a FAR of 3.7, between Arlington Boulevard, Lee Highway, and the beltway.

The nomination was submitted by land use attorney Elizabeth Baker on behalf of Fairview Property Investments LLC, which owns most of the 86.5-acre site, including the Northrup Grumman building and the 2941 building.

The site is currently zoned for office uses, but there is little demand for new office space in that area. The current office buildings have a 22 percent vacancy.

The nomination would retain the existing office buildings but add other uses. The mix would be about 50 percent office, 45 percent residential, and 5 percent retail, civic, and cultural uses. A small hotel could be included, too.

Several residents of the Lakeford community were at the task force meeting. They objected to the nomination, saying they hadn’t been notified about it in advance and that they wanted to be more involved.

They were informed that only property owners within the study area have to be notified at this stage and that people who live near the property will have plenty of chances to participate in other meetings and hearings as the details get fleshed out.

Once a nomination is added to the work program, county staff would conduct analyses of the impact on traffic, school capacity, water drainage, and other issues.

The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors are expected to adopt the work program this summer.

After that, county staff would prepare studies on the existing conditions, public facilities, infrastructure, and land use changes. The task force would meet several times during that process.

The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors would then hold public hearings in spring or summer 2019 to amend the Comprehensive Plan.


  1. I hope the clowns on the Commission and Board give some thought to how these projects (particularly Inova) will impact traffic in the area. Traveling that stretch of Gallows between 29 and 495/Woodburn is a nightmare, particularly in front of the hospital, with new development at Mosaic and people from Tysons/Mosaic trying to avoid the outer loop bottleneck at 50 by getting on at Gallows. I hate to think what happens when they increase density at the old Mobil/Ex site.

    1. How much worse was it when ExMob was in business there?

    2. The clowns don't believe in good mass transit for the inner Mason neighborhoods because they live areas such as Tyson, McLean and Falls Church where metro exists. VOTE THEM ALL OUT!

  2. i hope that some of the area will be used to add an additional school to support the residential development. And, I agree with anon#2 - good mass transit in Mason is GREATLY needed.

  3. When ExMobil was there the density in that area was pretty light. There were more trees and the older neighborhoods that are less dense. Since then Mosaic has flourished and more has been put in the area.