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Renderings of “Devonshire,” a townhome development to built in Franconia (via Fairfax County)

An application to build a new townhouse development on Beulah Street, a mile from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, was filed with Fairfax County last week.

Beazer Homes is looking to bring a 26-unit development called Devonshire to the corner of Beulah Street and Alforth Avenue, according to a rezoning application was sent to the county’s planning and development department last Friday (June 17).

Devonshire would include a 1,500-square-foot “tot lot,” public plaza space, a picnic area with grills and tables, and a walking trail. A new private street and a sidewalk will be constructed, connecting the development to Beulah Street.

Each house is anticipated to have a deck and a 200-square-foot private yard, the renderings show.

Renderings of “Devonshire,” a townhome development to built in Franconia (image via screenshot/Fairfax County)

The development’s total area of land appears to be about 3.3 acres, though about half of it will be open space. The lot also contains five single-family homes that were built between 1934 and 1950, per a note in the application. Those homes are expected to remain.

Since Devonshire would have fewer than 50 units, it does not need to adhere to the county’s Affordable Dwelling Unit requirements. However, Beazer Homes notes in the application that it “will consider a contribution to the Housing Trust Fund.”

This appears to be Beazer Homes’ sixth development in Northern Virginia, though only its second in Fairfax County.

With the development in the permitting stage, it remains unclear when construction will start and might be completed. FFXnow reached out to Beazer Homes, but didn’t receive an answer prior to publication.

With its close proximity to the Metro station, that area of Franconia is set to see a lot of development and changes in the coming years.

Plans for a multi-million dollar expansion of the Inova HealthPlex on Walker Lane could be approved later this month. If it is, construction would potentially start in late 2023 and be completed in 2027.

Franconia is also slated to get a new 90,000-square-foot building that will house a government center, police station, and library. Construction was expected to begin this summer and be completed in 2024.

The medical campus would be located less than a mile from Devonshire, while the county government facility would be essentially across the street.

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Preliminary plans call for a park at the site of the Lorton landfill (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has given the green light to preliminary plans to convert the closed Lorton Landfill into a public park.

Dubbed Overlook Ridge Park, the park would house the highest point in Fairfax County, hiking trails, picnic areas, an amphitheater, bathrooms and bird sanctuaries.

But concerns about the safety of the site — particularly issues related to methane gas — dominated the discussion at a meeting on June 15. Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina led a line of questioning concerning whether the landfill was determined safe for park use and what parameters were used to come to that conclusion.

County officials and representatives from the Fairfax County Park Authority repeatedly stated that the site was deemed safe for use as a park, according to an analysis by a third-party consultant hired by applicant and property owner Waste Management.

David Kaasa, district manager of the Lorton Landfill, said the applicant would ensure that safety is a top priority.

“If it’s not safe for me to go up there, then we’re not sending anyone up there,” he said.

The applicant is working on a shared agreement to sort out unidentified issues related to the site. A similar plan was discussed in 2007 but stalled due to a number of issues.

County officials encouraged the applicant to determine if there’s a way to avoid potable water at one of the bathrooms at the park. Commissioners also wondered if access to drinking water could be provided at the top of the park — including installation of a water line or a well.

Waste Management’s plan includes two main access roads, a cultural garden and overlook, an amphitheater with benched seating, and 120 parking spaces.

If the planning process moves forward, the park would open to the public as early as 2025. The application has to clear several more steps before official approval, including a site plan. The landfill officially closed in 2021 after operations ceased in 2018.

Despite the possibility of hiccups, Kaasa said the applicant intends to move forward with the proposal.

“Waste Management is committed to this project and its obligations at the landfill both locally and at the state level,” he said.

Mount Vernon District Commissioner Walter Clarke said he is eager for the park to open to the public.

“It’s really amazing up there so once it’s built and if it does come to fruition, we should all please make an effort to enjoy that park,” Clarke said.

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The Toll Brothers have proposed a 48-unit townhouse development in Tysons East (via Fairfax County)

The proposed Seneca Assemblage townhouse development could bring a number of enhancements to the transportation network in Tysons East.

With a rezoning application currently under review by Fairfax County, developer Toll Brothers envisions 48 townhouses, including eight workforce dwelling units, on a 3.8-acre site between La Salle and Seneca avenues, just west of the Dulles Toll Road.

The plan has been tweaked from an initial proposal submitted in September that called for 52 townhouses to replace the 13 standalone, single-family houses currently on the property. The developer now intends to keep one of the houses — labeled Unit 49 in the plan — whose owners want to stay, according to a county staff report published today (Thursday).

“The inclusion of Unit 49 allows the streetscape on La Salle Ave to be extended from the proposed [single-family attached] units all the way to Point Park,” staff wrote, referring to one of two potential public parks.

The 0.2-acre Point Park will be located on the southern end of the development near Magarity Road and could feature an open lawn, kids’ play equipment, bicycle racks, benches, a pet waste station, and other amenities.

The other public park, dubbed Buena Vista Park, will front some of the townhouses in lieu of a street, providing an 8-foot-wide sidewalk and seating areas with benches. Seneca Assemblage residents will also have access to private Courtyard Park at the center of the site with pedestrian paths, a turf lawn, a shade pergola, and bicycle racks.

The proposed Seneca Assemblage development will have 48 townhouses, three parks, and a new road (via Fairfax County)

The proposed streetscape for La Salle Avenue, Seneca Avenue, and a new Buena Vista Road connecting the two on the site’s northern end includes 6 to 8-foot-wide sidewalks and 8-foot landscape panels.

Toll Brothers initially designated Buena Vista Road as private, but the developer has now committed to designing and constructing the street within the project limits as a public road, with two 10-foot-wide travel lanes and an 8-foot-wide parking lane, according to a draft of proffers dated June 14.

As part of the proffer conditions negotiated with the county, the developer has also agreed to provide “a comprehensive walkway system” throughout the property and a painted crosswalk across Magarity Road at the Pimmit Drive intersection, pending approval by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Read More

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Staff raised several issues with the cohesion of the former Fannie Mae site in Reston (via Fairfax County)

The redevelopment of the former Fannie Mae campus in Reston is still waiting to clear the docket of the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

At a meeting last night (Wednesday), lack of agreement on whether or not part of the nearly 9-acre townhouse project should have security gates led the group to defer a vote to June 22.

Instead of the two additional office buildings currently approved for the site at 11600 American Dream Way, the applicant is seeking the county’s permission to build up to 74 townhouses and eight two-over-two units. The existing 396,074-square-foot office building will remain on the site.

The deferral was hung up by a discussion on whether or not it was appropriate for the applicant to retain a gate along American Dream Way around the existing office building. This is the second deferral for the project, which was delayed by six weeks to work through a litany of issues.

Developer Wheelock Street Capital said discussions are underway with a prospective tenant that has a strong need for security gates around the road.

As a compromise, the county attempted to draft a proffer that would let the owner put in and take out gates, depending on the needs of future tenants.

But county staff and planning commissioners called that approach confusing for the area, particularly for residents of the townhomes whose access could be cut off sporadically.

“It’s coming and going and coming and going…There’s no consistency there,” said Mary Cortina, planning commissioner for the Braddock District.

Mary Ann Tsai of the Department of Planning and Development’s zoning evaluation division also said allowing the removal and reinstallation of the gates was contrary to the county’s vision for a mixed-use project in a transit area.

“We felt it was a very confusing situation,” Tsai said, particularly regarding getting in and out of the facility.

Ultimately, Wheelock agreed to drop the proffer and instead apply for a final development plan that could retain the gates, prompting the deferral to give staff the time to draft language for the revision.

Although the gates issue held up a vote on the project, Hunter Mill District Commissioner John Carter said the developer agreed to a number of changes to the project.

“The project has come a long ways over the years and especially since the initial application,” he said.

According to Carter, the changes include ensuring that residential units are not built inside the site’s ponds, that the site isn’t completely gated off, and that appropriate setbacks are put into place.

He noted that the plan now ensures that adequate setbacks are provided, public access is provided for ponds and trails, and the ponds are preserved with a joint maintenance agreement is in effect. Between eight to 10 units were shaved off of the project to accommodate the changes.

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The Parkview development is designed to serve as a gateway from the Herndon-Monroe Metro Station (via Town of Herndon)

Lerner Enterprises has tweaked some elements of Parkview, a massive, mixed-use project at the door of the Herndon-Monroe Metro Station.

The developer plans to build three mixed-use buildings on a nearly 5-acre site at 593 Herndon Parkway. Plans were already pared down significantly over previous proposals, which maxed out on the maximum allowable density for the areas.

At a Herndon Planning Commission work session last night (Monday), town staff noted that Lerner Enterprises was able to beef up some aspects of the development to ensure that it provided an inviting and activating entrance into the town from the Metro station.

“Staff views the concerns raised for this objective are largely satisfied,” staff said in a presentation provided to the planning commission.

Overall, Lerner agreed to increase the minimum square footage of restaurant and retail space from 5,000 to 7,500 square feet and ensure that mostly restaurant and retail space will take up the ground floor of the promenade, a proposed gateway that would extend from Metro’s pavilion to Herndon Parkway.

Town staff want to make sure the ground floor space activates the area. Lerner says that retail leasing will create a lucrative environment, with possible tenants like a coffee shop, bagel shop, dry cleaners and other service-related tenants.

The tallest of the three planned buildings is 170 feet and will feature a mix of mostly retail and housing, while the remaining two are 85 feet.

Still, staff said they are concerned about the timing of the Worldgate Drive extension, which would provide a new connection from the existing road at Van Buren Street to Herndon Parkway. In most situations, land is dedicated as needed before final site plan approval, but the date of construction is unknown at this time.

“For funding purposes, however, the dedication may need a specific trigger during the planning phase of the extension. Staff is still evaluating this and expects further coordination with the applicant to be necessary,” staff said.

Lerner has no plans to include any affordable housing units within the development. That’s largely because the town does not have a formal Affordable Dwelling Unit (ADU) program, policies or guidelines.

“The town does not have an ADU program, a policy for implementation or guidelines as to specific needs,” Lori Greenlief, a senior land use planner with law firm McGuire Woods, said.

The application will go before the planning commission for a public hearing on June 27.

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Plans to modernize an office building co-located with Hilton’s corporate headquarters in Tysons are a vote away from becoming a reality.

Tysons Park Place owner B.F. Saul Company garnered the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s support on Wednesday (June 8) for its proposal to allow a 175-foot-tall, “trophy-class” office building in place of the 135-foot-tall building that has stood at 7926 Jones Branch Drive since 1975.

Designed to more closely mirror its 147-foot-tall Park Place II counterpart, which was built in 2008 and houses the Hilton Worldwide headquarters, the new Park Place I will transform the corner of Jones Branch Drive approaching Scotts Crossing Road with more open space and landscaping, according to the special exception application.

“It will be just a tremendous addition to Jones Branch, so [I’m] a hundred percent excited about what you’re offering in this regard,” Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner said during last week’s public hearing.

Following up on a final development plan from 2018, the application requests a height increase “for an architectural feature to go a little higher to reflect our gateway location,” land-use lawyer Mark Viani told the planning commission as B.F. Saul’s representative.

In addition to producing a taller, more modern-looking building, the redevelopment will reorient Park Place I 90 degrees to face the Hilton headquarters building and make room for a publicly accessible urban park space and plaza along Jones Branch Drive.

The Park Place I redevelopment will include the addition of a plaza along Jones Branch Drive (via Fairfax County)

The 4,040-square-foot plaza will feature cafe-style tables, amphitheater seating, curved benches, and landscaping. It’s envisioned “as an outdoor room, which could be utilized for a variety of programming, including public gathering and community recreation,” a county staff report says.

The project will also widen Jones Branch Drive to accommodate on-street parking and a new, four-foot-wide bicycle lane. The developer will provide an eight-foot-wide sidewalk with rows of trees along both sides “to provide shade to the pedestrian space and the plaza area,” according to the staff report.

With no curb ramps, the sidewalk will be raised across all three entryways into the property to provide “a continuous experience,” Viani said, adding that B.F. Saul has agreed to include warning strips to alert people with visual impairments when they reach a driveway.

“That’s the focus: to make sure as much as you can within the bounds of safety and appropriateness, make that pedestrian experience continuous along the road front,” Viani said.

The developer has committed to introducing stormwater management features, since there currently isn’t a detention facility for the site. However, its proposal to retain at least 0.78 inches of rainfall on site falls short of the 1-inch minimum recommended by the Tysons Comprehensive Plan.

While the developer has agreed to look for possible ways to increase the amount of retention during the site plan process, Viani said it has “kind of reached the limit of what we can really do.” County planner Sharon Williams noted that there are “several” utility lines under Jones Branch that need to be taken into account.

“We are interested in looking at it, and I think there are ways we can probably reduce imperviousness, but even if we reduce imperviousness, it’s unlikely we’re going to get to 0.79, let alone 0.8 or 1 inch,” Viani said. “That’s just not going to happen in terms of where we are.”

The application is scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and final approval on June 28.

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(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Inova is one step closer to getting the planned expansion of its Franconia-Springfield medical campus to 21 acres.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted unanimously last night (Wednesday) to endorse an amended plan for the multi-million dollar Inova HealthPlex on Walker Lane and bordering the Franconia-Springfield Parkway.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to hold a public hearing and, possibly, vote on approving the plan at the end of this month (June 28). A concurrent rezoning application for the project is scheduled to go before the planning commission on July 20.

The amended, consolidated plan calls for the five-story, 146,000-square-foot Inova medical building to remain with the addition of three new six-story medical buildings. All told, it would add 296,000 square feet of medical care, medical offices, and ancillary/support uses to create a “regional medical campus.”

As noted in last night’s meeting, the additions mean an updated emergency room, modernized inpatient and outpatient facilities, more centrally located offices, and better parking.

There’s also an option to add upward of 500,000 square feet of more medical space, hotels, residential, or, even, retail to the parcel of land next door.

This is all being done within just over half a mile from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.

“The proposed Medical Campus Option for 1,000,000 square feet of medical care, medical office, and ancillary uses in Land Units S and U would help to address the healthcare needs of the region’s residents and creates an opportunity to promote Transit-Oriented Development at this location,” reads the staff report.

If the board approves the plan later this month, construction could start by late 2023 with a completion date of 2027.

The Franconia-Springfield project was first announced in May 2020. It’s part of a dramatic overhaul of the Inova system, including a whole new facility in Alexandria.

The planning commission’s discussion of the proposal touched on a new roundabout that will hopefully slow down traffic and allow emergency vehicles to exit and enter the facility more swiftly. There was talk about updated and repaved trails, but concerns remained regarding how protected pedestrians will be from “high speed traffic” on the Franconia-Springfield Parkway.

Commenters also raised noise concerns. During the public hearing portion, one neighbor who lives just behind the site for the new facilities on Ayers Meadow Lane expressed fear that the addition of potentially thousands of new employees could lead to more noise and traffic in the area — plus, the ambulances.

“When you are talking about ambulances going up and down the street, how many will have their sirens on in the middle of the night?” the neighbor said.

County staff and Inova representatives responded that they are commissioning a noise study, will work on noise abatement measures, and generally trust drivers to know when to use their sirens. They appreciate the “burden” neighbors will be taking on with the added noise but cautioned that ambulances not using their sirens isn’t an option.

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A 7-acre property bordering Accotink Creek in Annandale was bought at auction (via Google Maps)

A local environmental nonprofit is concerned that a recent sale of a 7-acre forested property near Accotink Creek could lead to its development.

A public auction was held last week for seven lots near Woodburn Road and Accotink Creek in Annandale, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) and the Fairfax County Parks Authority confirmed to FFXnow.

However, despite both organizations participating in the auction, neither were the winning bidder.

The property was owned by a small family foundation for years before “falling into tax delinquency,” which forced them to sell, according to NVCT. The property was initially set to be auctioned off in October, but it was canceled in hopes that another solution could be found. Ultimately, none was.

NVCT Executive Director Alan Rowsome says the foundation served as “good stewards” of the property and often worked with local organizations to preserve the forest, while also allowing appropriate public recreation.

The land is full of intact forest that buffers Accotink Creek and home to a segment of the county-managed Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail. The property is also in a floodplain and a county-designated resource protection area (RPA).

RPAs are environmentally important lands that “protect water quality, filter pollutants from stormwater runoff, reduce the volume of stormwater runoff, prevent erosion, and perform other important biological and ecological functions,” according to the county website.

Rowsome calls the property a “rarity” in the D.C. region for the density of the forest, its natural resources, and its importance to the ecosystem. NVCT was hoping to purchase it to keep it intact and work with the park authority on other preservation efforts.

The park authority was interested in the land for “natural habitat, possible cultural resources, possible trail connections,” FCPA spokesperson Judith Pedersen said in an email.

But neither were able to purchase the lots, leaving the future of this section of Annandale forest in doubt.

“We do not know who purchased the properties,” Pedersen wrote. “We do not know if the purchaser(s) intend on developing the properties.”

The buyer’s identity won’t be known publicly for several weeks, stirring anxiety about its intentions.

Since the land is designated an RPA, any development or “land disturbing activity” generally requires county approval. Removal of native vegetation is also not allowed, and the use of pesticides and fertilizer are “strongly discouraged.”

But Rowsome remains worried, since the bidder spent a lot of money on the property. He estimates it was three to four times the amount that NVCT and the Parks Authority were able to bid.

“These properties are not developable…but somebody still bid a very high amount on each lot anyway,” Rowsome says. “So, a developer still bought them, despite the county’s affirmation of them not being buildable and [could] try to work different angles to release some of those restrictions.”

Rowsome allows that the buyer “could be a do-gooder citizen” whose intentions are aligned with NVCT and the park authority and “thought they were being helpful.”

Since it could be weeks or even months before the fate of the property becomes clear, Rowsome says he’ll be patient and remain optimistic that rare county natural resources can be protected.

“The story of this property is not over yet. We’re still going to work diligently and with the assumption that [the property] will eventually be protected in some way or another,” he said. “And we will work in good faith with anybody who is willing to do that.”

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The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is scaling up its ambitions for Tysons.

The nonprofit has submitted a new plan to Fairfax County for its much-touted affordable housing project in Dominion Square West, the planned redevelopment of a strip of car dealerships on the west side of Spring Hill Road.

After getting the county’s approval in January for a 175-unit, nine-story residential building at 1592 Spring Hill Road, APAH wants to bump that up to 225 units and 20 stories in height in order to match a second tower that it can now construct, thanks to a $55 million investment from Amazon.

Collectively, the two buildings will deliver 516 units — all aimed at people earning 60% or less of the area’s median income, according to the application, which the county received on Thursday (June 2).

“This important project addresses a key objective for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors by providing significant affordable housing opportunities within close proximity to Metro,” Scott Adams, a McGuireWoods land-use attorney, wrote on APAH’s behalf in a statement of justification dated May 31.

The final development plan for the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s Dominion Square West affordable housing high-rises (via Fairfax County)

Designated as C5 in the plan, the second building will allocate up to 33,500 square feet on its ground floor to a community center that will be operated by the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services.

The community center will be much larger than the 15,000 square feet of retail currently allowed by the existing Dominion Square West plan. Despite the increase in units and height for the approved building C6, the developer says it’s proposing 69,000 fewer square feet of residential space than what it could have to compensate for the additional commercial use.

The buildings will be constructed on top of five levels of underground parking, which will provide one space for each housing unit as well as 140 spaces for the community center. There will be two loading spaces and 209 bicycle storage spaces, including 15 for the community center.

According to the submitted development plan, the buildings will abut each other, but they will have separate lobbies. Proposed amenities include:

  • Private skyparks for both buildings, totaling 12,900 square feet, with swings, an outdoor kids’ play space, lawn games, a community garden, and movable tables and seating
  • A 1,900-square-foot skypark for the community center
  • A 14,800-square-foot interim park with publicly accessible seating on turfed areas along a planned Boone Boulevard that will extend west off of Spring Hill Road

The interim park will eventually become a 3,700-square-foot urban park once the property on the other side of Boone Boulevard is redeveloped, shifting the road’s final alignment.

APAH’s proposal covers two of the six buildings envisioned in the Dominion Square West conceptual plan that the county adopted in 2017. Final plans for the other four buildings — two office buildings and two residential — haven’t been submitted yet.

While the new application hasn’t been formally accepted yet, the county has previously said construction on the all-affordable housing project could begin by the fall of 2023.

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A rendering shows several changes the developer proposes for the Arrowbrook Centre in Herndon (via Arrowbrook Centre)

The team behind more than 2.3 million square feet of development at Arrowbrook Centre in Herndon is poised to make some big changes to the massive mixed-use neighborhood near the Herndon Metro Station.

Property owner Arrowbrook Centre LLC — a subsidary of the Ruth and Hal Landers Charitable Trust — and developer Pulte Home Company hope to shuffle several previously approved buildings, consolidate residential buildings and eliminate certain aspects of the plan.

Overall, the approved square footage of development would remain unchanged, despite significant changes to its components, according to a rezoning application submitted to Fairfax County on May 20.

Most of the changes are in Land Bay A — the only one of seven land bays in the center that is not yet under development.

The applicant wants to absorb unused density from the six completed land bays and shuffle several buildings in order to move forward with the project.

“The applicant will be able to meaningfully improve the final piece of Arrowbrook Centre while ensuring it is carefully integrated into the distinctive place that has already been established,” the May 20 application says.

While one planned 140-unit apartment building would remain unchanged, staying up to 14 stories and 170 feet tall, the developer hopes to consolidate two multifamily buildings into a single building with 290 units. The building would stand between five to eight stories tall with a maximum height of 85 feet.

Instead of an additional residential building, the application proposes an office building with around 280,000 square feet and 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. A second planned office building will have slightly increased square footage — between 220,000 and 240,000 square feet — and 13,000 square feet of retail.

A 300-room hotel is proposed with 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office buildings and hotel would have a height cap of 175 feet.

The developer also wants to reallocate approved office space within the land bay and eliminate a parking garage in the area. The hotel would be relocated, and an auto court at the terminus of Wind Charm Street would be removed to accommodate an approved pocket park.

“The Land Bay A Applications will result in more housing options, while keeping the previously approved residential density, within distinctive, livable neighborhoods in close proximity to transit, public parks and amenities, in accordance with the County’s vision for transit station areas,” land-use attorney John C. McGranahan said in a statement of justification on Arrowbrook Centre’s behalf.

Photo via Arrowbrook Centre

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