The redevelopment of the West Falls Church Metro station secured the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s endorsement last week, a critical step forward for a project that could serve as a guide for other transit-oriented developments in the D.C. region.
The commission voted unanimously on Wednesday (March 15) to recommend that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approve a rezoning of the 24-acre property to allow over 1 million square feet of development, including 810 multifamily residential units, 85 townhouses, a 110,000-square-foot office building and up to 10,000 square feet of retail.
As seen at a public hearing in February, the proposal from developers EYA, Rushmark Properties, and Hoffman & Associates (FGCP-Metro LLC) has divided the community. Some hope the new housing and infrastructure will energize the neighborhood, while others worry it will fuel traffic and parking issues.
“It’s going to be a big change, and that’s difficult for some people, but I think it’s going to be a positive change in the long run,” Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder said. “We’re going to have to break a few eggs on the way to get there, but I think, in the long run, it’s going to be great for the neighborhoods, for the people who’ll be living there, and for the county.”
The commission’s vote followed weeks of negotiations involving the developers, the county, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and neighboring residents, primarily over an existing stormwater pond on the site.
Expected to be retained with the redevelopment, the pond manages stormwater runoff from Metro’s facilities and the Village and Pavillion condominiums southeast of the station along Haycock Road.
The agreement between WMATA and the condo associations granting residents access to the pond is set to expire in 2026. Condo representatives asked the planning commission last month not to approve the redevelopment until they get a permanent extension of the easement.
While Ulfelder said then that he couldn’t delay the rezoning for “really an off-site issue,” FGCP-Metro LLC has agreed that its development won’t use the pond for stormwater detention and to “reserve sufficient detention capacity” for stormwater from Metro’s facilities and the condos, according to a draft proffer agreement updated on March 13.
Walsh Colucci lawyer Andrew Painter, who is representing the developers, confirmed that the proffer essentially guarantees that the condos will have perpetual access to the pond.
“It is very close,” Painter said regarding WMATA extending the stormwater agreement. “…We received an email earlier this evening…from counsel for the Villages and Pavillions saying that we are very close and they’re confident they will be able to resolve this issue shortly.”
Ulfelder acknowledged the lingering anxiety from some neighbors over the developers proposing 40% fewer parking spaces on the site than what the county requires, but he noted that the parking reduction request will be voted on by the Board of Supervisors separately from the overall development plan.
If the request is rejected, the developers must provide parking in accordance with the county’s zoning requirements, which could soon be lowered.
Ulfelder thanked the developers for working with county staff and the community on their application, which he said was made “better, stronger and more fitting” by the public input. A county-led study of potential pedestrian and bicycle improvements in the area, for instance, led FGCP-Metro LLC to agree to build a shared-use trail on Haycock Road.
“I believe it is an excellent example of how the county can and should address large and complex applications, while making sure they are consistent with the county’s long-range plans for development and redevelopment,” Ulfelder said. “We don’t need to fall into the trap of development for development’s sake to make progress on long-term county goals.”
The proposal is now set to go to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and vote on May 9.
Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…
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Great Clips at South Lakes Village Center (Reston, Virginia) is seeking hair donors to participate in the Wigs for Kids program this Valentines Week. If you meet the minimum requirements and would like to donate your hair for children fighting cancer, we would love to host you in our salon this Valentine’s Week for a free haircut.
Hair donations must be a minimum of 12 inches
Hair donations must be clean and stored/packaged completely dry.
Hair donations cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.
Temporary coloring or highlights that wash out are acceptable but must be completely washed out before cutting. Gray hair is accepted.
Peace in Gaza: Prayer Liturgy and Community Discussion for Peace in Arlington VA, Sunday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM
Prayer, liturgy, and community discussion for peace in Gaza, an immediate cease fire and resumption of humanitarian aid will be hosted by Nova Catholic Community. The focus will be Pope Francis’ call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, resumption of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, and peace talks for a lasting and just peace for all people in the region.
Discussion will follow at Noon on US military role in the conflict and appropriate steps the US should take to foster peace and rebuilding. Light lunch served.
The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Active Bystander Certification course, also known as Active Bystander, is the premier training program to prepare civilians for how to respond during an intentional violent event and to address life-threatening emergencies.
Similar to FEMA’s