By a unanimous vote (with one abstention on a technicality), the Falls Church City Council late last night once more gave its blessing, and authorization, to the Mill Creek developers for their Founders Row plan to build the biggest development in Falls Church history.
Construction on the 4.3-acre project, at the northeast intersection of W. Broad and N. West Streets, includes a multi-screen movie complex, one major restaurant so far, almost 400 apartments, including affordable rate and active senior age-restricted ones and a public square with a large fountain. It will now commence with a groundbreaking by late September, the developers promise.
The vote concluded over six years of efforts to get the approval finally done, and of the large crowd that turned out at the start of last night’s public hearing, debate and vote, enough the developers and their entire team remained standing to congratulate one another with once the votes were cast. Only Councilman David Snyder, who expressed support for the project, withheld a “yes” vote on the technicality that family members were working with the project’s legal team which, in his view, created a potential conflict.
The Mill Creek team appeared to clinch the deal with a few voluntary concessions added in the days following last week’s lengthy work session on the subject. On the most potentially contentious issue, that of a crosswalk from Grove Street that approaches the project at a diagonal from the west which the developer did not include last week, Joe Muffler for Mill Creek announced last night that it will comply with any decision among three options reached by the Council for a crosswalk there or in the immediate vicinity. However, it was City Manager Wyatt Shields who then reported it was not so much Mill Creek as the City’s engineer who nixed the original plan for a crosswalk on safety grounds and that any modification of that plan would still need to be signed off on by him.