Looming decision for potential townhouse conversion of Leesburg Pike office building
The Fairfax County Planning Commission will vote on whether to convert a Tysons office building to residential use at its meeting this Wednesday (October 6).
The decision for the building at 7700 Leesburg Pike follows the commission’s postponement of a decision on the potential modification of the plan during a public hearing on September 29.
EYA Development submitted a rezoning application and development plan for the 6.7-acre site to redevelop the property on December 15 before it was accepted by the county’s Planning and Zoning Department on March 5. .
According to the proponent’s proposal, the site would be converted into 80 to 107 attached single-family units or stacked townhouses. The site is currently home to a 167,274 square foot office building that was constructed in 1976.
In a presentation to the planning committee at last week’s public hearing, county planner Stephen Waller said staff considered a series of factors related to the amendment, including:
- Compatibility of land use with surrounding neighborhoods
- Quality of active and passive open space
- Preservation of trees and transitional buffer zones
- Stormwater management
- Multimodal connectivity
- Historical resources
Waller added that staff recommend approving the plan change “to allow the property to develop for residential purposes with attached single-family units or stacked townhouses.”
The recommendation is accompanied by several proposed conditions including a maximum height of four stories with siding design elements and landscaping to make the property compatible with adjacent low density residential neighborhoods, as well as a high quality property, well designed, attractive and accessible to the public. open space and site amenities.
Other staff recommendations include:
- Preservation of healthy and mature trees existing along the boundaries
- Complete year-round buffer zones for visual filtering of adjacent residences
- Stormwater management controls above minimum standards
- Safe and convenient access to existing and planned multimodal options
- Document the existing office for significance prior to demolition
Mark Looney, partner at Cooley law firm, spoke on behalf of EYA at the public hearing. He said the developer was working to meet requests from the Pimmit Hills Civic Association (PHCA) for pedestrian improvements and upgrades, but both the PHCA and the McLean Citizen’s Association have offered general support to the proposal.
“The modification of the plan envisages an important component of open spaces,” he added.
As part of the developer’s rezoning request, approximately 36% of the site has been set aside for open spaces or urban parks that will be accessible to both residents of the development and residents of surrounding communities. The public space plans include a fitness trail, a walk for small dogs and a playground.
The EYA has also made arrangements for a future expansion of Route 7, including the bus rapid transit proposal that will be presented to the commission later in the fall, according to Looney.
During the public hearing, Commissioners John Ulfelder and Mary Cortina asked for further explanation of the stormwater management standards that were proposed for the site.
According to Waller, the staff requirement that stormwater management be above minimum county standards was made in recognition of the existing conditions of the Pimmit Run watershed and flooding in the area.
Looney said two quantity installations have been proposed for the site – an arch along Route 7 and a set of chambers in the northeastern part of the property – which would capture water before releasing it at a rate slower than current conditions. A series of other filtration devices throughout the property would also improve the quality of the discharged water.
However, he added that he would require engineers at the company to explain the water management efforts in more detail after the hearing.
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