Letters to the Editor: August 28 – September 3, 2014
7 Corners Doesn’t Need Revitalization
Let’s not revitalize Seven Corners. In the front-page article of last week’s Falls Church News-Press, Fairfax County’s Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross assured readers that the bulldozers are not yet on the way. Hopefully, the bulldozers will be able to find other work because the plan that has been developed by the Seven Corners Revitalization Task Force should not be implemented.
Seven Corners today is a community-serving retail center. The plan would turn the area into a high-rise residential complex of buildings akin to those in Ballston and Clarendon. The plan calls for leveling the existing Seven Corners Center, Willston I Center, Willston School, and virtually all of the apartment buildings behind Willston I Center between Peyton Randolph Dr. and Patrick Henry Dr. up to Wilson Blvd. The new construction would create a dense urban environment consisting primarily of 28 residential buildings each six-to-ten stories high. Residential floor area would be increased by a factor of nine from today’s 0.6 million square feet to 5.9 million square feet, enough for 6,000 apartments. A sprawling road network would be constructed to serve the complex.
Much planning has gone into warping Seven Corners into an urban compound. What’s missing is the discussion about who wants it. Who wants to turn Seven Corners into a citified Ballston or a Clarendon? Who wants the sprawling road network that would be required, or the overflow traffic cutting through our neighborhoods, or the crowding in our Fairfax County schools, or the loss of convenient community-serving retail stores? What’s the problem with Seven Corners in its long-time role as a retail center that well serves a diverse community?
The question of who wants to “revitalize” the area needs to be answered before more effort goes into planning. We are likely to discover that we can save ourselves the additional planning effort.
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