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‘One Tysons East’ Undergoing Changes to Potentially Kill Fewer Birds

Developers of a distinctive curved-glass tower called One Tysons East have promised to make peace with the local bird population and improve nearby roads.

With an endorsement from both the McLean Citizens Association and the Planning Commission at last night’s (Wednesday) meeting, approval of rezoning for the project at a Board of Supervisors meeting next Tuesday (April 9) seems likely.

But while the project seems to have had a relatively smooth development track so far, Providence District Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner noted that it raises issues in the air and on the ground that will need to be addressed as more of Tysons East is developed.

There are 27 pages of proffers — accommodations on the part of the developers offered to Fairfax County to get a development approved — associated with the project. Among them are a series of transportation improvements for Old Meadow Road, including new street lanes and a potential bike lane.

But Niedzielski-Eichner noted that new developments planned throughout Tysons East are going to put a considerable strain on the four-lane street.

“There are existing traffic issues on Old Meadow Road today, and will be as future already entitled developments are constructed that are significant and beyond the scope of this single zoning application,” said Niedzielski-Eichner. “Solutions will require all stakeholders on Old Meadow Road to resolve. I recommend staff identify concrete steps to help mitigate traffic and queuing on Old Meadow Road.”

Niedzielski-Eichner also said problems with how the glass building might impact birds came up during the development process. The proffers included an obligation on the developer to make changes to the building design to deter bird-strikes.

According to the proffers:

In an effort to reduce bird injury and death due to in- flight collisions with buildings, the Applicant will include one or more bird friendly design elements, as determined by the Applicant, in the design plans of the building. The bird friendly design elements may include, but not be limited to, the use of color, texture, opacity, fritting, frosting, patterns, louvers, screens, interior window treatments, or ultraviolet materials that are visible to birds, the angling of outside lights, curbing of excessive or unnecessary night-time illumination in commercial buildings, reduction of bird attracting vegetation, the use of decoys, and breaking of glass swaths.

It’s estimated that between 365 million and 988 million birds are killed in the United States each year from crashing into windows, with an average 24 expected to die annually at a single skyscraper.

“There was a request for clarification of how we intended to meet bird-friendly design guidelines in the proffer commitment,” said Scott Adams, representing the developers. “We’re happy to commit to work with staff to ensure the goals of bird-friendly design are met with the design of this building.”

Image via Akridge

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