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Friday, June 28, 2019

Planning Commission defers decision on Lincolnia

The Plaza at Landmark on Little River Turnpike.
Members of the Fairfax County Planning Commission expressed some concerns about the final report on Phase 3 of the Lincolnia Planning District Study, which was presented at a hearing June 26.

Specifically, commissioners said the plan should have stronger language on affordable housing and questioned why the proposal on transportation won’t reduce traffic on Little River Turnpike.

The Planning Commission deferred a decision on the plan to July 10. The Board of Supervisors’ hearing is set for July 16.

Phase 3 covers land use and transportation network alternatives for the Community Business Center (CBC), which covers 169 acres centered around the Little River Turnpike/Beauregard Street intersection.

The plan was agreed to by Fairfax County Planning and Zoning staff and a task force made up of Lincolnia residents and commercial property owners. The task force held 18 meetings on Phase 3 over a two-year period.

In accordance with the county’s Comprehensive Plan, the CBC would be a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly area. The densest development and tallest buildings would be in an “opportunity area” currently occupied by the Plaza at Landmark shopping center.

That area would be transformed into a town center with 1,470 dwelling units and 516,500 square feet of non-residential uses, including 373,100 square feet of ground-floor retail and 143,400 square feet of office uses. The plan proposes four acres of green space.

Currently, that area has 684,700 square feet of non-residential uses (586,300 square feet of retail and 98,400 square feet of office) and no residential units.

Mary Cortina, an at-large member of the Planning Commission, suggested more protections be included to retain affordable housing and raised concerns about redevelopment resulting in increased rents and tenants being displaced. Other commissioners agreed.

Clara Johnson of the Department of Planning Zoning said there is a statement in the plan calling for efforts to preserve affordable housing but acknowledged there are no tools identified to accomplish that.

While there currently is no housing in the opportunity area, there are three housing complexes in the transition area – Morningside, Arbors, and Crystal Woods – with affordable rents.

The transportation recommendations call for a traditional multimodal grid of streets within the opportunity area that would include on-street parking, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and landscaping. 

Leonard Wolfenstein of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation told the commissioners there would be a new north-south connection between N. Beauregard Street and Little River Turnpike as the site redevelops.

The Little River Turnpike/Beauregard intersection is among the worst in the county, and several members of the Planning Commission questioned why the proposed plan for the CBC wouldn’t make much of an improvement.

FCDOT assumes that in 20 years, Little River Turnpike will be widened to three lanes in each direction, Wolfenstein said. If land use stays the same within the CBC and there are changes outside the CBC, in 20 years, the delay at the intersection would be a little less, but there would be more of a delay at the Oasis Drive intersection.

The plan doesn’t improve traffic along Little River Turnpike, but doesn’t make it worse, Wolfenstein says. He referred to the plan as a “non-degradation of future problems.”

Three people spoke at the hearing in support of the Lincolnia Planning District Study: David Gill, an attorney representing the owner of the Plaza at Landmark, and task force members and Lincolnia residents Matt Lyttle and Debi Gerald. 

Alan Ackerman, a member of the board of the Duke Street Station HOA and the only task force member who voted against the study, told the commissioners it will result in displacing lower-income renters and traffic, which is already “horrendous,” will get worse. He said the only reason for creating a CBC is to facilitate the redevelopment of Landmark Plaza.

“None of the other retail or commercial property owners participated or indicated any interest in this proposal,” he said, noting that the shopping centers on both side of Little River Turnpike are fully leased and are improving. The shopping center with the New Grand Mart even has a high-end restaurant, Chef Guo, with a 12-course prix fixe dinner for $278.

Gill told the commissioners the owner of Landmark Plaza supports the development of new affordable housing in the opportunity area. The current traffic issue is caused by people who are trying to get through the area, he said. Redevelopment will make it a destination in and of itself.


  1. Another master plan that may have improved this DUMP gets squashed.

  2. It is not squashed. Far from it. Fairfax County staff will add the language and this will be approved. It will also be presented to the board of supervisors mid-July. As chair of the citizen’s task force, I can assure you that this has been a thorough and thoughtful process. The task force, county staff, and Landmark Plaza ownership have worked diligently and patiently through multiple phases over more than two years. The planning commission was simply doing its job in the process. I can guarantee that the end result will be a tremendous new asset to not only Mason District, but to the metro area!

    1. Will the language improve the traffic?

  3. So, here we are again. The "progressive" leadership of Fairfax County will once again place so many requirements and regulatory burden on this project that it will not happen. I cannot understand why liberals haven't learned their lesson from places like Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit where the unions and government placed so many burdens on the auto companies they only one choice - shutter and leave to other countries. Their workers are now flat broke, most of the areas are now at a third world status, but the auto companies are still in business. They sure showed the "man" - Ford and GM - didn't they!
    Fairfax County is headed in the same direction. The "leadership" was have is making it so hard on business that eventually what is going to happen is that no large business will want to do business here. What does that mean? That all the social programs in Fairfax will be paid for by the tax dollars generated by small business and individuals. What happens then? Take a look at any socialist country that has socialized most of its large companies. Do Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea sound familiar? I'd prefer the Singapore approach - business friendly policies that then generate enough of a tax base to fund healthy social programs. Point being, there is a better way of doing it than how Fairfax County is doing it. Their continued 1960's approach has long been proven ineffective. The clothing and hairstyles of the 60's are no longer in vogue. The same should happen with the political style.

  4. Anon 11:43. The language will not improve the traffic. New roads, traffic patterns, and transportation inclusiveness will improve the traffic. Please go to the Planing website for the exact language in the report and the traffic studies.

    Anon11:05 - not sure what your point is. No zoning and planning begets utter chaos. (Look at Harris County, Texas. You can build whatever you want wherever you want. Even in flood plains. Then when a hurricane floods all of Houston, everyone wonders where the regulators were.) Regarding Singapore, if you think caning is a good punishment for spitting on the sidewalk I’m curious what side of “regulations” you like there.

    And please, if you want to be considered seriously, get out from behind “anonymous.”

    1. Planning Commissioners expressed particular concern about the proposed plan's failure to improve traffic.
      "The Little River Turnpike/Beauregard intersection is among the worst in the county, and several members of the Planning Commission questioned why the proposed plan for the CBC wouldn’t make much of an improvement."

    2. Mr. Shumate, your reply is why people like me, 11:05 and 11:43 remain anonymous. If you were unsure what they were getting at, ask them to expound rather than throwing out a reply with a condescending tone. No where was it said that no regulations was needed, it said that sticking it too hard to corporations will make them flee. Also, your comment on caning concerns me. You totally changed the topic. 11:05 was making a comment on Singapore's economic policies, not their judicial system. Where did 11:05 say that we should embrace all of Singapore's policies? Please read more carefully or ask for clarification in the future.

    3. Anonymous of 7/1/19, 5:42 PM, thank you for your reply and coming to my defense. Evidently, my points were clear to you if not Mr Shumate. I will say, however, that I believe Mr Shumate has worked long and hard on this effort so I can certainly understand why he would respond in such an emotional way. I didn't say I condone it. I said I understand it.

      Mr Shumate, Anonymous of 5:42 pm was exactly right in her or his paraphrase of what I wrote. I was pointing out that capitalism and social justice can coexist. It is the point that when one or the other dominates to the extreme, we need to be concerned. So, please learn take 5:42's comments to heart.

      As for zoning and planning, I agree 100% with you. It needs to happen and BE ENFORCED. That is why I disagreed with the BOS approving gardens in the front yard. Penny Gross and the BOS have proved that they are unwilling to fund code enforcement to the levels required. That is why I blame them, not those who work in code enforcement, with the atrocious enforcement of even existing codes. That is also why this district and the county in general is in a death spiral.

      As for being taken seriously, why should I attach my name? So, like others who have other than liberal points of view, I can be called racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and every other name in the book in an attempt to censor and squash a counter-point without even a shred of evidence that I am any of those things? Should I be threatened with being "doxxed" by the militant left? I think not. There are any number of great Americans and world leaders who wrote either anonymously or under a nom de plume to prevent the same from happening to them. Do Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams ring any bells for you? I am sure there are more great leaders outside the U.S. who did the same but those are some whom I could list quickly. Should their anonymous writings or those they did under a pseudonym not be taken seriously? I believe they were probably greater visionaries than you, I, or we combined.

      I would say that for me, I need not know the specific source of a good idea, a wise musing, or a piece of constructive criticism. I simply need to endeavor to understand it, heed the points it may present, and learn how to make myself better from it. Would it be so hard for both those from the right and left to take a similar approach? Introspect is a powerful tool and should be used often.

      Have a great evening - and I mean that sincerely.

  5. Team anon:
    Indeed, the Federalist Papers were authored anonymously.

    My points again:
    1. The planning study for Lincolnia did include traffic language based upon exhaustive traffic studies performed by a third party traffic engineering firm under the leadership of the Fairfax County transportation authority. The studies were based upon a 20-30 year projected growth in population and traffic. The net result of the studies is that the traffic will be better than it is now. (Not withstanding a year or so of construction to make the improvements.)

    2. My comment about regulations in the Singapore style. If Singapore is being used as the "standard" it cannot be a partial standard. I'm not an expert in Singapore tax and/or regulation policies regarding business but I'm aware of their very strict regulations about conforming to societal norms. Since the effort in this polemic to understand each other, I think it is critical to fully understand Singapore culture.
    3. Houston planning and zoning: Harris County does not have planning and zoning laws. The entire area north and west of downtown Houston is an overwhelming, poorly planned sprawl. No consideration to architectural style, aesthetics, form or function. Not even water and sewer utilities are masterplanned. Greater Houston utilizes Municipal Utility Districts that build and maintain their own water and sewer treatment plans in the city: no comprehensive plan nor zoning exists. So, when Hurricane Harvey floods a significant percentage of Harris County because it was clearly constructed in a floor plain - who pays? The same people who don't want government regulation expect government bail out for poor planning and for risk they took on themselves.

    That was my "caning" point.

  6. There is absolutely no reason to remain “anonymous” in your responses in this blog, all it does is creat massive confusion. It takes approximately two seconds to register on blogspot with a fake name and that way people can at least attribute your comment correctly. No one is forcing you to use your real name, just something identifying. There are plenty of people here that comment with pseudonyms, stop being so lazy.

    1. Adam, there is a great reason to remain anonymous. Because I want to. And, it's not because I'm lazy.

      So, in Fairfax County we're not supposed to have standards our neighbor's yards, but we're supposed to have standards for a blog?

      Also, if you can't keep from being confused in a string of 8-10 comments, I feel for you, man.

    2. No one is saying you need to identify yourself with PII bro, just call yourself something like's not hard. And guess what, you're still anonymous, that doesn't tell us anything about you! While I do confuse easily because I like beer too much, it's often very hard to respond to a string of people who all parrot a similar tack, it happens constantly on here. How do I know which Penny ranter I'm supposed to respond to?

  7. Adam and Mr and/or Mrs Anon:

    Quoted directly from the Annandale Blog rule book -
    Guide for commenting
    • Sign your name. If it’s your opinion, own it. Avoid personal attacks and vulgar language.

    • If you don’t want to use your real name, use an alias. That will reduce confusion when lots of people are commenting as “anonymous.”

    • Think about what you’re saying. Are you adding something productive to the conversation?