Planning Commission Backs Valo Park, Spring Hill Station Projects in Tysons

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted last night to support two projects that would continue urbanizing Tysons.

Now proposed changes to open the Valo Park office complex up to the public and two developments near the Spring Hill Metro station in Tyson West will head to the Board of Supervisors with favorable recommendations.

Both proposed projects aim to enliven Tysons, Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, noted.

The Planning Commission kicked off its meeting by making a decision on Georgelas LLC’s two proposed mixed-use developments that would redevelop car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road into West Spring Hill Station and North Spring Hill Station.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the developments back in September. Niedzielski-Eichner requested delays on the decision to allow time for the developer and staff to address concerns with West Spring Hill Station.

Staffer Tracy Strunk outlined the “high points” of the changes the developer made in the resubmission in January:

  • reduced residential, meaning the parks and open space is no longer deficient
  • “brought mix of uses into closer alignment”
  • did new traffic study
  • provided new information on connection to Dulles Toll Road
  • gave more ideas for how surrounding properties could be developed

While the original staff report recommended denial of the project, Strunk said that the staff now support approving both developments even as the proposal is “still a little light on office.”

In response to the comment about the amount of office, Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh who is representing the developer, said that approved projects in Tysons West include millions of square feet of office space.

“So we have just been very cognizant of the amount of office in the area,” Baker said. “We want to be realistic about what can be built on this site.”

Strunk also noted that the proposed ramp will function more as a local street with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour.

“I fully support these applications,” Niedzielski-Eichner said, adding that they, along with The View and Adaire, will further transit-oriented development in Tysons West and make it an “exciting and vibrant place.”

During its second public hearing last night, the Planning Commission took up the proposal that would allow Valo Park in the North Central neighborhood to attract diners, shoppers and people looking to exercise.

The newspaper giant Gannett and cloud computing company Appian are headquartered at the roughly 785,000 square-foot office park (7950 Jones Branch Drive), which was bought by London-based Tamares a few years ago.

Tamares is looking to add shops, at least two restaurants and either a 5,000-square-foot craft beverage production establishment or restaurant on the roof on an existing parking garage. The owner also wants to open the office complex’s current conference center, auditorium and fitness center to the public.

The proposal did not receive any public comment during the hearing. Planning and zoning staff supported the proposed changes, and the Planning Commission voted to also back the plan.

Niedzielski-Eichner called it “a straightforward attempt to bring more people onto the property.”

Now, the Valo Park proposal is slated to head to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on June 9. The West and North Spring Hill Station developments will get a public hearing before the county board next Tuesday (May 12).

Images 1 and 2 via Fairfax County

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