Tysons, VA

Updated 12:45 p.m. — Updates information on the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on March 24.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has canceled its meetings for the rest of March. Here are the proposed projects that have delayed for consideration this spring.

The Planning Commission was originally set to hold a public hearing tonight (Wednesday) on a continuing care facility near Wolf Trap. The facility would have 172 beds at 9439 Leesburg Pike, according to county documents.

Now, the Planning Commission will consider the proposal on April 22.

A public hearing on plans to open Valo Park, an office park in Tysons, to the public and add restaurants, a 9/11 memorial and a bocce court has been postponed from the now-canceled meeting next Wednesday (March 25) to April 2.

London-based Tamares is looking to redesign roughly 19,000 square feet of the ground floor space and some areas of the garage to accommodate new retail and restaurants, according to the applications submitted to the county.

The plans also include an outdoor gaming area with a bocce court, horseshoes, cornhole and a fire pit. The public would be able to use a 20,000-square-foot health club, along with a possible rock climbing facility.

While the county’s Board of Supervisors will have its meeting on Tuesday (March 24), the public hearing on the office tower near the McLean Metro station will be postponed, according to a county spokesperson.

It’s unclear yet if coronavirus-prompted changes will impact the dates for two mixed-use projects by the Spring Hill Metro stop, which are set to go before the Planning Commission on April 22, and the commission’s hearing in June on a late-night cafe at 7787 Leesburg Pike.

Photo via Valo Park

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission is delaying its decision on two mixed-use developments by the Spring Hill Metro station again.

Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, who represents the Providence District, asked the commission last night (Wednesday) to push its vote on the proposed project to next month.

Niedzielski-Eichner said the postponement is to give more staff more time to review a resubmission and changes by the developer, Georgelas LLC.

The project is split into two parts — North Spring Hill Station and West Spring Hill Station — and would transform current car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road into commercial and residential units.

Previously, the project has been held up over Fairfax County planners’ concerns that the West Spring Hill Station doesn’t fulfill the Tysons Comprehensive Plan.

The decision was previously postponed from December, when Niedzielski-Eichner said that the Georgelas LLC asked for more time on the application.

The project is now scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on April 22.

Images via Fairfax County

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A new British pub with live music is no longer eyeing a spot in the building that also houses Amphora Bakery in Vienna.

Tom Kyllo, the applicant for the project, told the town’s Planning Commission at the meeting yesterday (Wednesday) that plans to bring the Hawk & Griffin Pub to 405-409 Maple Avenue W. have been withdrawn.

Kyllo said that issues with signage rules and the site’s subdivision prompted the withdrawal.

“This site is one of those difficult sites in Vienna,” Kyllo said, adding that the subdivision means that there is one site plan for two sites. Since it is a shared site, Kyllo said that the pub would share a dumpster with the other businesses there, but would not have shared parking.

“Because we are on a side street, we can’t have a sign on Lewis Street,” Kyllo said. “And because don’t own the property, we can’t have the sign on Maple [Avenue].”

Kyllo told the Planning Commission that he is looking to bring “the authentic British public house atmosphere” with live acoustic music to another spot in the town.

Image via Town of Vienna 

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The developer wants a proposed retail building in Falls Church to house a kids’ play center.

Bob Young, the developer, told the Falls Church Planning Commission Monday night that Scramble, a self-described “European-style play center” in Alexandria, would be a tenant.

“It’s what I would call a high-end, indoor children’s playground,” he said. “It will have a cafe. It will have an area for parents to work on their computers.”

Fairfax One LLC wants to redevelop the lot, which is across from the Protestant Episcopal Church and currently being used as a surface parking lot for the church, under a land lease agreement with the church, according to city documents.

Called Southgate II, the development would add a 12,000-square-foot retail building at 130 E. Fairfax Street. (Southgate I is at 116 E. Jefferson Street.)

While the redevelopment would remove parking spaces, the developers told the commissioners that churchgoers will be able to use the parking at the redevelopment and at an adjacent property on Sunday mornings.

“[The church] would have exclusive use of parking 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sundays,” Young said. “Scramble would be closed.”

The project includes solar panels on the roof, which would provide roughly 25-30% of the electricity use, Young said.

Discussion of the proposed building and kids’ play center was mostly limited to comments from a handful of commissioners.

Vice-Chair Brent Krasner was the most vocal with his concerns, calling building a “very suburban, strip mall feel.”

Krasner also questioned if Scramble would be the best tenant, saying that the kids’ center seems to be better suited to “industrial” areas.

“I’m not saying there’s no use for it here,” Krasner said, adding that he doesn’t know if the space would “translate” well to a future tenant if Scramble were to close.

In response to Kranser’s comments, Young said that the building is “probably a step in the right direction,” emphasizing that the “filthy parking lot” could add tax revenue to the city as a commercial building.

“There’s good and then there’s best,” Krasner quipped back.

Not all of the feedback from the commissioners focused on concerns. Commissioner Cory Weiss, who described herself as a “semi-young mother,” called the building “a great opportunity.”

When Weiss asked the developer if the project could be more pedestrian-friendly, Young said that constraints on the site, like being “dense with underground utilities,” would make that difficult.

The site also has some restrictions from the church, although Young did not elaborate much on what those restrictions entail.

“We have a lot of constraints that are put on us by the church itself,” Young said. “We had to work through a lot of issues with the church.”

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 2, according to the documents.

Image via Google Maps

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Falls Church officials are set to review a proposed retail building directly across from the Protestant Episcopal Church.

Fairfax One LLC wants to redevelop the lot for a future commercial tenant under a land lease agreement with the church, according to city documents.

Called Southgate II, the development would add a 12,000-square-foot retail building on an existing surface parking lot at 130 E. Fairfax Street, the documents say.

More from the documents:

The proposed height for the new building is approximately 28.5 Feet, and appears to be one and half stories with the mezzanine level. The adjacent property at 116 East Jefferson known as Southgate I was renovated under a building permit application in 2016, also by Fairfax One LLC under a similar lease agreement.

The current development on this property contains a commercial building with several retail and service tenants and surface parking.

The developer is proposing to add a curb cut on Douglass Avenue near E. Fairfax Street and new access to the alley that connects to Fairfax Street.

“The proposed building will remove 47 parking spaces from the existing lot. The parking tabulation shows that 40 spaces are provided around the new building and that 52 spaces are provided on adjacent property,” according to the documents.

The Falls Church Planning Commission is scheduled to review the application during a work session on Monday (Feb. 3).

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 2, according to the documents.

Image via City of Falls Church; map via Google Maps

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The W&OD Railroad Regional Park may get parallel walking and bicycle trails in the City of Falls Church.

The city’s Planning Commission held a work session on the proposed plans last night (Monday).

The dual-path would run between N. West and Little Falls streets, according to the city documents.

“The project would include replacing the existing 10-foot wide shared-use trail with an 11-foot wide bicycle trail and an 8-foot-wide pedestrian trail separated by a 2-foot-wide stamped asphalt buffer,” the documents say.

The city is also working on updating four W&OD crossings:

  • N. Spring Street
  • N. Oak Street
  • Great Falls Street
  • Little Falls Street

Staff said at the meeting last night that the new paths and crossings would improve safety.

Stormwater management still needs to be coordinated between the city’s Department of Public Works and Nova Parks, staff said.

The proposed plan appears to match the city’s vision for the W&OD. The city’s W&OD Master Plan calls for separated walking and biking trails, along with improved intersection crossings, new plazas and restored lighting, according to the city.

Meanwhile, the city’s Comprehensive Plan desires either trail widening or adding a parallel pedestrian path, the documents say.

While the commissioners voiced support for the plan, Chair Russell Wodiska said that he wants to give residents a chance to comment on the proposal. Locals can expect a public hearing to happen in the near future.

Images via Falls Church

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Vienna residents voiced support for new plans for Sunrise Senior Living Facility to use the spot of an approved mixed-use development to the town’s Planning Commission.

Sunrise wants to come to the site of an approved mixed-use development at 380 Maple Avenue after the Vienna Town Council killed Sunrise’s controversial plans for a facility farther up Maple Avenue.

At last night’s meeting, locals praised Sunrise for listening to and incorporating feedback from residents for its plans.

In September, the owner and developer behind the mixed-use development told the Vienna Town Council that selling the project to an assisted living facility could address neighbors’ concerns.

Now, Sunrise wants Vienna officials to approve its tweaks to the approved building designs and use at 380 Maple Avenue.

Representatives from Sunrise said that they want to make “minimal changes” to the previously approved building design for 380 Maple Avenue, adding that they are mindful of the location as a “gateway to the town.”

The majority of the roughly half of a dozen people who testified at the public hearing said they support the project, but do have lingering concerns about cut-thru traffic on Wade Hampton Drive.

Most of the discussion at the meeting focused on whether or not adding time-restrictions to the road would address the issue.

“I really do appreciate the look of the building,” resident C. John Pott told the commissioners before echoing concerns about traffic and safety.

By the end of the meeting, the Planning Commission indicated support for the new plans. The proposal now heads to the Board of Zoning Appeals and Town Council for consideration.

If the changes are approved by the Town Council, a Sunrise representative said that the facility would take 20-24 months to build.

Three images via Sunrise; map via Google Maps

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission postponed its decision on two mixed-use developments by the Spring Hill Metro station again last night (Dec. 11) to March.

The fate of Georgelas LLC’s proposed project is now slated to be decided on March 11, 2020. The Planning Commission will either determine that the project needs more revisions or recommend denial, approval or indefinite deferral before sending it to the Board of Supervisors.

The project would bring more commercial and residential units into the area, remodeling the current car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road.

Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, who represents the Providence District, said last night that the project is not ready for a final recommendation, but did not provide any additional reasons for the delay at the meeting.

This is the third time that the Planning Commission has deferred the decision on the project since the public hearing. Back in October, Niedzielski-Eichner said the developer asked for more time.

“There were a whole host of issues that were laid out [previously],” a spokesperson from Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth’s office told Tysons Reporter, adding that the decision was deferred because there are still unresolved issues from previous meetings.

Fairfax County planners have said that the North Spring Hill Station addresses the expectations in the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, but the West Spring Hill Station “does not fully address the criteria, particularly with regards to providing a comprehensive, functioning grid of streets; the provision of open space; and coordination of development.”

For now, anyone interested in the project can still submit comments online, a commissioner said last night.

Image via Fairfax County

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Vienna’s Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing this week on Sunrise Senior Living’s new proposed spot in the town.

After the Vienna Town Council killed plans for a Sunrise facility farther up Maple Avenue, Sunrise now wants to move to an approved mixed-use development at 380 Maple Avenue.

The spot is currently the site of a contentious, approved redevelopment, which would add a four-floor building with ground-floor retail and multi-family condominium units.

The hearing is set to start at 8 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 11) at Town Hall (127 Center Street).

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The City of Falls Church wants to update Oak Street Bridge, but funding uncertainty leaves the project without a distinctive start date.

Even though the damage to the bridge from the flooding in July has been completely repaired, the Falls Church Planning Commission still met last month to discuss the construction of a new bridge.

Now the city is just awaiting the results from grant applications — which will inevitably fund the project, Susan Finarelli, a spokesperson for the city, said.

Initial concept designs are in the works to rethink the aesthetic appeal, modernize the bridge, improve pedestrian and traffic safety.

The project is currently in the design phase, which should be completed from August 2020 to February 2021, potentially allowing construction to begin shortly after, according to a planning commission presentation.

Due to safety concerns, the bridge is on a yearly inspection list, which monitors at-risk infrastructure projects. Originally built in 1953, the bridge needs to be redone for engineering improvements to increase the weight limit.

“We will be lengthening the bridge approximately two feet on either sides,” a representative at the Oct. 21 Planning Commission meeting said, adding that pedestrians will have easier access to Tripps Run.

The project is expected to cost around $2.6 million.

The Planning Commission made a unanimous recommendation for the City Council to relocate a utility pole so it isn’t in the middle of the sidewalk, include adding wider sidewalks, a crosswalk for Tripps Run and decorative guard rails on the southeast side of the bridge.

Image via The City of Falls Church

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