Earlier this month, the Seven Corners Special Working Group (SWG) completed its review of proposals to amend Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) language for Opportunity Area C, the “Sears” site. The Seven Corners/Willston Visioning Task Force previously spent nearly two-and-a-half years studying the area, making recommendations for changes for Opportunity Areas A (Willston) and B (Seven Corners Shopping Center), but the Task Force could not come to consensus on recommendations for Area C.
That’s when I asked several civic and homeowner associations to select representatives to serve on the Special Working Group, chaired by Ravenwood resident Marty Faga. The 11-member panel spent more than three months, working through the holidays, to reassess language for the draft plan. Draft plans were circulated to their neighborhoods by the SWG members and, on March 3, the SWG recommended, unanimously, the following language for the “Sears” site:
• 60 townhouses vs. 72, as previously proposed;
• 275 multifamily units vs. 375 previously proposed;
• 50,000 square feet of office;
• 40,000 square feet of retail;
• 45,000 square feet for theatre/entertainment retail;
SWG Chairman Marty Faga noted that “These numbers clearly reflect community buy-in for the concept of mixed-use development on the site.” The recommended language must be incorporated into the draft Comp Plan language for the area, in preparation for review by staff and the community. All Comp Plan amendments must be approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors in a regular public process. Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan is general in nature, and outlines a variety of recommendations for land uses, transportation needs, public facilities, such as schools, parks, libraries, fire stations, and other items. Comp Plan amendments may not result automatically in redevelopment. Most Comp Plan recommendations are long-term in nature – the Seven Corners/Willston draft is based on a 40-year planning horizon. Most current leases still have years to run, but property owners need to be able to plan their future investments for sustainable businesses serving current and future customers. The Comp Plan helps them do that, and encourages community involvement in the process. Change can be managed, and the Comp Plan process is a good place to start.
Reminders: The Mason District Budget Town Meeting will be held tonight, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. County Executive Edward L. Long, Jr. will discuss his proposed FY2016 budget that currently is being considered by the Board of Supervisors. A question and answer period will follow Mr. Long’s presentation.
The grand re-opening celebration of the Woodrow Wilson Library is this Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the library, 6101 Knollwood Drive, in the Culmore area of Bailey’s Crossroads. Come see a gorgeous expanded facility that will serve the community for decades to come. A Lion Dance will be featured at 11 a.m., and the Kaydee Puppet show will be at 3 p.m. All events are free, and geared to the whole family!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]