Fairfax County board defers decision on rezoning for The Boro extension

A rendering of the proposed residential-retail expansion of The Boro (courtesy The Meridian Group)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors expressed enthusiasm for plans to expand The Boro to the north side of Westpark Drive in Tysons at a public hearing last Tuesday (Oct. 19).

However, the scope of the project and lingering concerns from neighbors led the board to defer its vote on two rezoning applications submitted by developer The Meridian Group to Nov. 9.

Calling this “the largest case” she has worked on since taking office, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik praised the developer, county staff, and residents who will be affected by the project for working to reconcile their differences.

“I believe we have a much improved and very high-quality project to look at now, thanks to your dedication and work on this,” Palchik said. “…We have something that can work, and my only hope is that a few more weeks can give a little additional time for those final improvements.”

The Boro extension will bring 1.1 million square feet of development to the 9.37-acre site occupied by the former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters building, which is now being demolished.

The building layout for The Meridian Group’s planned extension of The Boro (via Fairfax County)

After securing the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s support for the senior living facility proposed for Block J on Oct. 13, the developer is asking the county to rezone the NADA site at 8400 Westpark Drive as well as the adjacent Westpark Corporate Center lot.

No new development is planned for the corporate center, which has two office buildings, but that rezoning is needed for construction of Broad Street and three blocks of the Tysons Community Circuit, a recreational trail that will eventually loop around Tysons.

Meridian will also modify an existing private alley, county planning staff coordinator Katie Quinn told the Board of Supervisors.

Walsh Colucci land-use lawyer Elizabeth Baker, who represents Meridian, acknowledged that neighbors, particularly residents in The Rotunda Condominiums, raised concerns about the development’s accessibility, traffic, and construction activities.

She says the developer reached an agreement with the Rotunda after making revisions along Greensboro Drive, putting construction management commitments in its proffers, and obtaining approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation for a rapid-flashing beacon on Westpark Drive.

“We think it’s very instrumental in connecting these two developments and ensuring pedestrian action between this development and all the amenities and shopping on the east side of Westpark,” Baker said of the traffic signal.

A pedestrian-activated traffic signal will be installed on Westpark Drive at the dotted red and yellow line (via Fairfax County)

Rotunda Condominium Unit Owners Association President Douglas Doolittle confirmed that the group supports Meridian’s project, but some residents still fear congestion on Greensboro Drive from the construction site and an internal loading dock planned for a pair of residential buildings on Block K.

He also noted that the amount of traffic could vary depending on whether Block L turns into townhomes or a health club.

“Bottom line, the Rotunda supports the Meridian Group’s project to expand The Boro,” Doolittle said. “…But we’re looking to both the Meridian Group and to the county to honor the commitments made to the Rotunda and to address our concerns.”

Other neighbors have concerns about retaining walls planned for the perimeter of Block L, according to Palchik.

Some walls will come down once the property is developed, but some will be permanent, ranging in height from 2 to 18 feet, a difference Baker attributed to the sloped terrain from Greensboro down to Route 7.

Baker said Meridian has an easement with the Greensboro Corporate Center to reduce the walls on its property line, but talks are ongoing with the Maserati dealership next to Westpark Corporate Center as well as Greensboro Square Condominiums, which did not have a representative at the public hearing.

“To build the streets and meet engineering standards, there’s a significant amount of cut that has to occur,” Baker said. “…We have worked with our neighbor to try to talk about grading easements off site that would allow us to reduce the size of those walls. Those negotiations have not been completed.”

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