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Plan to modernize Taco Bell in Fair Lakes wins county’s approval

The Fair Lakes Taco Bell is slated for an update (via Google Maps)

The Taco Bell in Fair Lakes will be getting a new makeover.

During a public hearing on Wednesday (Oct. 11), the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved an application request to replace the 2,300-square-foot fast food restaurant with a larger, more modern building.

The new design will still be located at 12811 Federal Systems Park Drive, but it will feature a 2,700-square-foot building with two drive-thru lanes and an outdoor dining area.

Matt Roberts, an attorney with Hirschler Fleischer, represented the applicant during the hearing. He said there are three goals driving the application, the first being the desire to construct a new modern Taco Bell restaurant on the premises.

“The second is to add a drive-thru lane to accommodate increase in customer usage, which has been a longer-term trend but as you might imagine, really accelerated during the pandemic, and then lastly to update the sign-in for the site,” he said.

According to Roberts, 79% of peak-hour transactions take place at the drive-thru.

“So, expanding that on-site really relieves any of that pressure that’s starting to build up,” Roberts told the commission.

The application, submitted by Fairfax Commerce LLC in February, also calls for a surface parking area with the required 33 spaces and a pedestrian path from Federal Systems Park Drive to the restaurant’s front entrance.

Damaris Martinez, a planner with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development, presented the applicant’s requests during the hearing.

“The applicant also proposes to extend a 5-foot-wide sidewalk along the property frontage of Fair Lakes Parkway from the intersection,” Martinez said.

The modern makeover will include grayscale fiber cement siding and metal panels and it will also provide a level two electric vehicle charging station.

“It’s going to be incorporating modern design standards for Taco Bell that you’ve probably seen throughout the county and basically are rolling out nationwide,” Roberts said, adding that the overall impact on traffic will be “negligible both in the current situation and as proposed.”

There were no public comments from the community, and the commissioners showed overwhelming support for the approval of the application.

Photo via Google Maps