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Mosaic District skating rink proposal skids to a halt until next year

A few skaters use the Mosaic District’s roller rink in July 2022 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

There will be no ice skating at the Mosaic District this winter.

The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals agreed on Wednesday (Oct. 19) to postpone a decision on Rink Management Services Corporation’s special permit request for a rink in the Merrifield neighborhood that would have roller skating in the spring and ice skating in the winter.

This is the third time that the board has deferred or continued the case after previously chiding the applicant for its public outreach efforts. Residents voiced concerns about the rink’s potential impact on noise, traffic and access to their homes during a public hearing on July 13, the Sun Gazette reported.

“Essentially, what the applicant has decided to do at this point is not pursue an ice skating rink for this winter season,” Department of Planning and Development staff coordinator Brandon McCadden told the board this week. “So, they’re looking for a deferral to Feb. 1, which would give them time to again reevaluate their plans for the roller rink and the ice rink for future seasons.”

Mosaic District owner and developer EDENS introduced its temporary roller rink in 2021. Mosaic Skateland returned this summer but got moved from Strawberry Lane, where it required a closure of one of the district’s main thoroughfares, to Merrifield Center Town Drive near Barnes & Noble.

The rink has now been dismantled after the season wrapped up on Sept. 25.

In a proposal submitted for county review this past spring, EDENS and Rink Management Services, which operates the facility, are seeking to have the roller rink annually from April 1 to June 30 and add ice skating from Nov. 1 to March 15.

They had hoped to start the ice rink this year, but the delays in the permitting process have nixed that.

“[They’re] really looking to target spring and summer 2023 for roller skating and then ice skating the following winter,” McCadden said.

Mosaic District owner EDENS hopes to put an ice skating rink on District Avenue (via Fairfax County)

The planned roller rink would be 76 feet long and 36 feet wide with 10-foot-tall poles for lighting and six speakers to play music. The ice rink would be 100 feet long by 50 feet wide with a 3.5-foot-tall enclosure, a 1,000-square-foot admission and rental tent, and space for a portable aircooled chiller and a zamboni.

Both rinks would accommodate up to 50 skaters per session with two to five employees on site, according to the application.

If approved, the roller rink would stay on Merrifield Towne Center Drive, where it takes up two travel lanes and five parallel parking spaces. The ice rink would be on District Avenue next to Penny Lane Park, requiring the closure of that section of the street and 18 parking spaces.

In a staff report dated July 6, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation said that it “has no concerns” related to traffic circulation and parking, noting that the Mosaic District has about 2,500 garage parking spaces and 150 on-street spots.

“The proposed street closures will not impact deliveries to the adjacent mixed-use buildings since the loading spaces are located at the rear of the buildings along Merrifield Cinema Drive,” the report said.

The Office of the Fire Marshal requested some changes to the plan, including requiring that the street closures be marked with signage with caution lights and/or moveable barriers, but staff felt the modifications addressed their concerns about access for fire department personnel, according to the report.

However, some additional revisions to the plan are evidently in the works. McCadden told the zoning appeals board that, when the case returns on Feb. 1, it will “essentially” require a new public hearing “because it’s going to substantially be a new application.”

FFXnow reached out to EDENS and Rink Management Services for comment but didn’t hear back by press time.

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