Vehicles parked long term take up spots in Springfield commuter lots, organizer says

Vehicles parked long-term in two Springfield commuter lots are preventing those spaces from being properly used, an organizer of the area’s sluglines program says.

Fairfax County pays for 235 spots at Springfield Plaza (7025 Old Keene Mill Road) through two leasing agreements worth over $199,000 per year. The spots are supposed to be reserved for commuters, but sluglines organizer Nicole Miller says several vehicles stay parked there for weeks.

“Those cars have been there 30 days plus,” she said in an email to FFXnow, citing four vehicles and an ice-cream trailer.

The ice-cream trailer, which is acting as a pop-up food truck, and other vehicles are using the premium commuter parking spots, making them unavailable for commuters, says Miller, who has tried to get the county to have them towed.

Both lots must have the spaces available for commuters between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation says staff have talked about the issue with the lot owners, who are responsible for enforcing those hours, according to their lease agreements.

The lower lot where the ice-cream truck parks must have 127 spaces for commuters, delineated by blue parking space lines. The county currently pays over $648 per each spot there for the year as well as paving work under a 2019 lease agreement.

Fairfax County leases commuter spots in two Springfield Plaza parking lots (via Fairfax County board documents)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the agreement in June 2019 to give commuters a substitute for the nearby Old Keene Mill Park and Ride, which was rendered unusable by construction of the new six-level Springfield parking garage slated to open in 2023.

The Springfield Plaza lot appears to be owned by property management company Rappaport under the name Springfield Plaza LLC. A Rappaport executive responsible for shopping centers declined to comment, saying he’s “not the right person to answer those questions” and has “forwarded your email along to the appropriate person.”

The county has to keep leasing the blue-marked spaces until it has completed the new Springfield parking garage and transportation center.

In response to long-term parkers taking up spots, Miller said she called police yesterday (Monday) about the ice-cream trailer. A worker said the vehicle has been there for about a month and uses the space to sell ice cream and frozen treats to customers. The business owner, Teo Arias, said he pays his county permit each month.

A Fairfax County Police Department officer confirmed to FFXnow that the trailer has a food permit.

The county board approved a lease agreement in February for another 108 spaces in an adjacent upper lot with faded paint lines for parking spots. The county is paying over $1,081 per spot for the first year of the contract, and it’s slated to increase to over $1,113 starting Oct. 1.

That lease can be canceled for any reason with a 30-day notice.

The owner of that lot, Springfield Plaza Section II LLC, shares an address with the real estate developer A.J. Dwoskin & Associates. An executive didn’t respond to emails.

Fairfax County has been allowed to have commuter parking at Springfield Plaza since the early 1980s. Springfield Plaza maintained the commuter lot at its own expense for approximately 30 years without any formal agreement, according to the county.

In 2012, the county and Springfield Plaza entered into a formal agreement with annual payments of $16,200 for the use and maintenance of the 108 spots, according to a staff memo. The county renewed the lease in 2017, starting at over $60,438 for the first year of leasing.

If the spaces are unable to be used, the county can deduct the costs from the agreements.