At the February meeting the Committee voted to support the staff position for this Area Plan Review item, which opposed multifamily on this site, and to therefore oppose the Sully Task Force position on this item. At the Planning Commission hearing the item was delayed a month to 4 April to encourage further discussions with the community.
Messrs. McDermott and Saxe presented the case for multifamily for Dulles Discovery, their proposed development on this site. They wish to plan 14 acres of the 54 on the site for multifamily residents, 30 dwelling units per acre (DUA). The residences would be on the eastern portion of the property, closest to Centreville Road, but not directly adjoining it (a self-storage site exists between this planned development and Centreville Road).
This property is directly across from the new Smithsonian Air and Space Annex, which is scheduled to open in December 2003. The state is building half of an interchange for the Smithsonian, which is scheduled for completion in November 2003. The Public Private Tax Partnership that was scheduled to improve Route 28 and build ten interchanges, may, due to the economic downturn, only build six. In any case, the other half of the interchange is scheduled to be to be built in either scenario. If it were not fully built with its own cloverleaf ramps, the developers would work VDOT and the Smithsonian to build spur ramps to allow access to this property via lights and turn lanes at the appropriate locations. As the Smithsonian Air and Space Annex supports this tourist-servicing facility on its front door, the developers see no problem in getting the appropriate approvals for the backup plan.
The property, not in the Sully Historical District, is currently planned for multi-use at a floor area ratio (FAR) of .5. The development would be comprised of three hotels, several office buildings, fast food and sit-down restaurants, bank, gas station and a retail sales component. The prospective commercial tenants of the property are concerned that without a residential component of the development there won’t be 24-hour by 7-day a week use of the commercial properties. They think this would be necessary to make it a going concern.
Therefore they propose a Plan Amendment to allow 350 multifamily units. The units are planned for rental use. Because the residential units are in the Rt. 28 tax district, the units would have to be bought out from the district with a cash payment.
The county schools used their standard guide for determining how many school-age children would be added to the county’s roles based on the size of the development and came up with 97 students. The county uses two rules for apartments, one for elevator units, and the other for garden style units. The developers paid for their own study that showed that for upscale apartments like these the projection should only be 30 students. The county’s guide encompasses apartments throughout the county, many of which are heavily populated by immigrants whom have large families, not the cliental expected to populate these units.
The developers had added wording to their proposed amendment that would allow the Board of Supervisors to determine that the proposal satisfactorily addresses any potential school and/or recreation uses.
The committee had several questions:
The development’s transportation impacts on the neighborhood were a concern. The developers indicated that they expected that 75% of the traffic would enter from Route 28 and the remainder from Centreville Road. They also indicated the possibility of contributing to a traffic light at Wall Road and Centreville, or with EDS’s cooperation realigning Wall Road opposite Kinross Circle South. When the transportation impacts of the overall development were raised, they indicated that their proposed residential use in lieu of the currently planned offices should reduce transportation trips to/from this property by 31%.
Questions concerning the phasing of the development were raised. The developers thought that the multifamily units, the restaurants and the gas station would be the first pieces built.
They were asked why they thought that if residential was allowed here that other developers might not request the same on their properties, for instance, on the parcels south of Wall Road. The developers pointed out that they thought their site was unique as it was directly opposite the Smithsonian Annex.
The committee decided to defer further discussion on the proposal until staff had a chance to review the developers proposed modifications and the developers made a presentation to the Franklin Farm community on 19 March. The matter will be taken up again at the committee’s 1 April meeting.
Jeffrey M. Parnes
Chair, Sully District Council
Land Use and Transportation Committee