By a unanimous vote Monday, the Falls Church Planning Commission recommended approval of the plan changes to Mill Creek’s 4.3-acre Founder’s Row project. The modification calls for switching up a proposed hotel with a 72-unit senior age-restricted apartment building.
The vote followed unanimous approvals from the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board and the Architectural Advisory Board earlier in the month. The only negative report came from the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS). The matter comes back to the Council work session on Aug. 8 when a summary of the comments from the various boards and commissions will be presented, and the Council is expected to vote, itself, on Aug. 13. Mill Creek officials say they want to begin construction in September.
In a letter to the Council released June 11 following an off-the-record meeting Tuesday night, VPIS president Elizabeth Meade writing on behalf of the board, cited the proposed modification (authorizing a 72-unit active senior restricted apartment building in lieu of a hotel on the same footprint) represents a “shift away from commercial uses, and with other issues, the board believes the project resulting from approval of the amendment to the special exception would not be ‘exemplary’ and recommends that the Council not approve the proposed amendment.” But according to a report from the AAB, after a three-hour presentation and discussion of the issues, the board voted unanimously to accept the applicant’s substitution proposal. Of more concern to the AAB was the look of the east side of the building facing onto the St. James Church, and Mill Creek architects indicated they would do more work on that.