SULLY DISTRICT COUNCIL MEETING
August 21, 2013
I. CALL TO ORDER
President Mark McConn called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.
1. Mark McConn, President Bull Run Community Association
2. Jeff Parnes, 1st Vice President Chantilly Highlands
3. Lewis Grimm, Treasurer Franklin Farms
4. Priscilla Knight, Secretary Sully Station II
5. Charles Fleming Chantilly Farm HOA
6. Al Francese Little Rocky Run
7. Rick Vaughan Dartmoor Woods HOA
8. John Litzenberger Sully Planning Commissioner
9. Jim Horner Century Oaks?
10. Jim Hart Board of Zoning Appeals/Planning Commission
Guests and Visitors
11. Judith Heisinger BRCA
12. Nick Perfili FCDOT
13. Bob Lerch Rocky Run?
14. Sara Mariska Walsh Colucci
15. Clayton McCane Sunoco
16. Don Lore Sunoco
17. John Anderson Cornerstone, Sunoco
18. Jody Bennett HMDC
19. Mary Ann Tsai DPZ
20. Janis Vitols Holly Acres Community Council
21. Lidia Soto-Harmon CEO, Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital
22. Evan Pritchard Walsh, Colucci
23. Sam Butz GSCNC architect
24. Laura Bassett GSCNC, director, information services
25. Carol Cross GSCNC
26. Gene Cross consultant
27. Nancy Wood GSCNC
28. Laura Bassett GSCNC
29. Jackie Wooldridge GSCNC
30. Barbara Hunter GSCNC
31. Kathy Duda GSCNC
32. Yasuko Okuno GSCNC
33. Newt Wood Justin Knoll Rd.
34. Hamid Taheri Justin Knoll Rd.
35. Susan O’Connor Justin Knoll Road
36. Kathy & Joe Whitcraft Justin Knoll Road
37. Lommot & Leslie Copeland residents
38. Mike Fleming Fairfax
And 47 other Oakton residents
III. LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION
A. A-Plus Sunoco Application
Sara V. Mariska, of Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley, Emrich & Walsh, P.C., represented A-Plus Sunoco gas station at Willard Road and Daly Drive. She requested approval for A-Plus’s application to remodel the station and allow alcohol to be sold.
Judith Heisinger, a member of the Western Fairfax County Citizens Association, said WFCCA has objected to the application if the gas station sells alcohol. She noted that years ago neighbors objected to allowing other gas stations in the area to sell alcohol. She said the prohibition has been the practice in Western Fairfax for 15 years.
Mr. Parnes noted that the SDC agreed with the WFCCA and took a position against alcohol sales when the SDC met on July 24, 2013.
Attendees asked questions about alcohol sales. Mr. McConn said the Sully District does not have a policy that says it will oppose alcohol sales at gas stations, but if this A-Plus Sunoco can do it, the other 20-some gas stations in the Sully District would probably request that their prohibition be removed.
Mr. Francese made a MOTION that the Sully District Council not object to the expansion and remodeling of the A-Plus gas station. Mr. Grimm SECONDED the motion and made a FRIENDLY AMENDMENT that says the Council requests that alcohol not be sold at the gas station. Mr. Francese ACCEPTED the Friendly amendment. The motion was APPROVED. (5-0-1 abstention)
B. Girl Scouts Application for a Special Exception for Camp Crowell in Oakton
Evan Pritchard of Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley, Emrich & Walsh, P.C., discussed an application for a Special Exception. The Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital would like to build a storage facility at Camp Crowell off Justin Knoll Road in Oakton.
Mr. Pritchard went over the application and the timeline. The Girl Scouts originally proposed a 4,000 square foot facility with the option to expand it to 6,000 square feet. He said the Council would like to store Girl Scout records, equipment for camping, materials for badges and crafts, and memorabilia. Mr. Pritchard noted that Fairfax County approved in 1981 a Special Exception that allowed the Girl Scouts to build a caretaker’s cottage, as well as a new lodge, parking lot, and amphitheater. The Girl Scouts did not build the cottage and they do not plan on building one. They applied for an amendment that would permit the Council to reduce the size of the lodge from 12,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet.
In 2013, the Girl Scouts were told they must find another storage facility because the one they have been using in Merrifield would not be available sometime this year. (Currently, the Girl Scouts have a month-to-month lease.) Therefore, the Girl Scouts’ application to build a storage facility at Camp Crowell was put on a fast track in February with plans to go before the Planning Commission in July.
Mr. Evans said the Girl Scouts have had several meetings with homeowners, and they presented their case before the Sully District Council in May. They held a meeting at the lodge on June 12 and answered questions about the proposed location of the structure. Neighbors asked that the building blend in better with the woods. Mr. Evans said the Girl Scouts will increase the number of evergreen trees and bushes to camouflage the structure. He noted that homeowners requested that Camp Crowell not increase its occupancy.
Mr. Evans said the Girl Scouts did not anticipate neighbors’ strong opposition. Because of the concerns, the Scouts asked the Planning Commission to delay the hearing until September.
Delays have occurred as the Girl Scouts have tried to accommodate changes in the proposed storage facility and location. The application for the building will go before the Board of Zoning Appeals. It may go before the Land Use Commission in September.
GSCNC CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon
Ms. Soto-Harmon said there are more than 64,000 Girl Scouts in the National Capital region. The GS Council supplies equipment for camping – including for girls with special needs. For 25 years they have stored materials in Merrifield, but since that area is going to be changed, the Scouts have to find a new location. Therefore, the Scouts would like to use part of the 67.5-acre Camp Crowell for a storage facility.
Ms. Soto-Harmon noted that the camp was there before any nearby houses were built. She said they have been good neighbors: they have had Justin Knolls plowed during snow storms. And, they have not asked for a change in the Special Exception for 22 years.
Ms. Soto-Harmon said the storage building will remain at 4,000 square feet. The colors have been changed. They have shifted the orientation so that the narrow side of the building will face Justin Knoll. Trucks will not be used for deliveries. Instead, the Scouts will use a van that will leave in the morning to deliver materials, and then return in the afternoons. The van will be stored in the building’s garage. The facility will be closed at night and on weekends. She said, “We will not allow an increase in traffic.”
Ms. Soto-Harmon said the Girl Scouts have made a successful effort to reduce the traffic of girls coming to the camp by organizing parent carpooling and uses buses. She said Girl Scout cookies will not be stored there.
She said, “As the CEO and as Girl Scouts, I can tell you our word is good: The proposal will be exactly as we say.”
In answers to SDC questions, Mr. Evans and Ms. Soto-Harmon said the site was selected because of its relatively level topography. The building will be approximately 50 feet from the cul de sac. The high berm that is there now will remain; it will block part of the building.
Camp Crowell is the most centrally located camp for Scouts in the Washington, D.C., area. The Nation’s Capital region comprises 25 counties.
Mr. McConn noted that if the Girl Scouts sold the camp to a real estate developer there would be a lot of construction and traffic. Ms. Soto-Harmon said they want to keep the camp and they would like to build a storage facility.
Mr. Evans said a traffic analysis did not have to be done because the application does not meet the threshold. He said they anticipate no more than about six trips a day to and from the camp because of the storage facility. Mr. Grimm asked how many trips have been made daily from the Merrifield facility. The Girl Scout study came up with a little more than 100 trips a year. Ms. Soto-Harmon reiterated that troop leaders will not be allowed to pick up materials from the facility or return them. The van will deliver and collect all materials to reduce traffic.
Spokespersons from Oakton Neighbors
Newt Wood, a property owner next to the camp, said the building could be modified someday to be 6,000 square feet. He said he objects to having a steel corrugated pre-fab structure built in the neighborhood. He said it doesn’t look like a house or a garage, and it would detract from their property values.
Tippman, president of the Girl Scouts, is involved with real estate. Therefore, Mr. Wood asked that she use her real
estate connections to find another location.
Mr. Wood said the warehouse is going to be a regional distribution center. It said the Scouts will have a 15-foot box truck that will pick up on Friday and return on Monday. He said he doesn’t believe that a van will leave in the morning and return at night.
Kathy Whitcraft said the Justin Knoll neighbors have asked for the delivery records, but they have not received them. She noted that the camp can have 550 people at any one time. She said, “We feel it isn’t appropriate for the community.”
Jim Hart said he serves on the Land Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. He said that by law a public hearing will be scheduled 90 days before the BZA hears the case. There will be a sandwich board to announce a hearing at the Government Center. All nearby homeowners will receive a letter notifying them of the hearing. Homeowners may come and speak and they may submit comments. Or they can watch the meeting on television.
John Litzenberger, Sully District Planning Commissioner, encouraged the sides to keep talking to see if they can come to a compromise.
· A former Girl Scout leader said she doesn’t think the facility is in the best location at the camp. The Girl Scouts want to only use the 5-acre spot noted.
· Another homeowner wanted to know if the Girl Scouts will increase development. Mr. Litzenberger and Mr. Hart said that the Special Exception will spell out the agreement. If the agreement is violated, the Girl Scouts will be fined. Mr. Litzenberger said the County has an office of zoning enforcement. The more the violations, the higher the fines.
· In section I of the July Special Exception application, the Scouts indicated they would pave a trail to connect it to the Cross County Trail. The Girl Scouts are agreeing to a partial connection to “maintain the primitive nature of the area.”
· A gentleman said he is concerned about the effect on the property value of nearby homes. He asked the SDC if the warehouse would affect it. Mr. Parnes said to ask real estate agents about a possible affect.
· Regarding vehicles needed for construction, the Scouts and Mr. Evans said the concrete pad will need about 30 trucks of concrete. The County ordinance allows construction to occur between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Construction should last several weeks.
Mr. Parnes said the SDC will wait on making a decision on the application until the BZA takes a position. The Girl Scouts agreed to come back to the SDC in a few months.
IV. SCHEDULE OF UPCOMING MEETINGS
Mr. Parnes went over the upcoming schedule of events. He urged homeowners to join the council and have a vote in what the SDC does.
September 25 – Candidates forum
October 23 – Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, Dulles rail
November 20 – Updates from VDOT, FDOT, and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority
December 18 – Westfield Business Property Owners
February 2014 – Fairfax Center Area Task Force
The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m. The next SDC meeting will be on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013.
Respectively submitted by,
Priscilla B. Knight
Sully District Council Secretary