After Recent Community Meeting, University Mall Ready for Planning Commission and Board Decision

On January 19, 2011, after the public hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission, Commissioner Suzanne Harsel delayed a decision on the proposed rezoning of the University Mall. Since that time, staff and the developer have been working to respond to community concerns. Additional meetings were held with both the covenant holders and the larger community to allow opportunity for more questions and comments. On March 23, staff from the Department of Planning and Zoning issued a Staff Addendum which contains the latest proffers - dated March 18, 2011.

That report can be found at:

Staff is recommending approval of this application. Page five of aforementioned document contains staff’s analysis of the changes made since the original Staff Report.
The new/amended proffers address issues such as architecture, lighting, the height of several accent towers, green building practices, pedestrian elements and bike racks, the placement and screening of dumpsters, security and a future traffic signal on Ox Road.

The Planning Commission will vote on the application during their meeting on April 6. Should it be approved, the application will be scheduled for a Public Hearing before the Board of Supervisors on April 26, 2011. To speak at the Public Hearing, call 703-324-3151 or register on-line at
If issues exist that you believe have not yet been adequately addressed, please call or email the office. Limited hard copies of the Staff Addendum are available in the Braddock Supervisor’s office and the plans themselves can be reviewed during normal business hours.

One final piece of news - at the community information meeting of February 23, Rick Wolff, President of Rucker Realty, announced that Giant Food had expressed its intention to fully renovate the store contained within Mall. This is wonderful news for those who live near the Mall and use this store to shop.

Knollwood Community Church Set to Undergo Construction to Grow Nursery School and Sanctuary

In July, 2006, the Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special permit request (SPA 82-S-028-05) from the Knollwood Community Church, 10000 Coffer Woods Road in Burke to expand the sanctuary on its five acre site from 9,127 square feet to 42,000 square feet in several phases. However, the site plan for phases 1 and 2A for this project (006791-SP-001-3) was only approved in December, 2010.

This construction will increase the number of seats in the sanctuary from its current 168 to 300, add 75 parking spaces and increase the size of the nursery school enrollment from 80 to 99 students with, 50 children present at any one time. Ultimately, the egress from the church will be shifted from Coffer Woods Road to Burke Centre Parkway using a ‘right-in-right’ out turn movement. These changes have caused significant tree loss on the site, though the county’s urban forester is working closely with a Certified Arborist hired by the church to assure that tree protection fencing and preservation areas are clearly delineated.

Community Meeting on Commonwealth Swim Club Scheduled

In 2008, T-Mobile Northeast filed a 2232 application to place a 150 foot telecommunications tower at the Commonwealth Swim Club, 9800 Commonwealth Blvd. After meeting with the community, T-Mobile amended its application, which requires a Special Exception and a Special Permit Amendment (SE-2009-BR-020 and SPA 79-075-03). This application had been deferred since 2009 to allow the Swim Club to resolve a number of issues associated with its ownership of the property, but has now been revived, and is again undergoing staff analysis.

The current proposal is to construct a 120 foot tower disguised as a pine tree. At this height, the pole is not visible from most streets in the community. To address concerns about the Resource Protection Area which extends into the existing parking lot, staff has requested that the pole and the base unit be moved approximately 15 feet.

Supervisor Cook will host a Community Information Meeting on Monday, April 11, 2011 in Braddock Hall, 9002 Burke Lake Road, at 7:00 p.m. T-Mobile has agreed to provide a status update on this proposal and offer time for the community to ask questions and raise any issues that may remain unresolved. T-Mobile will bring new maps showing the revised location and will bring the earlier photos which show the pole from various streets in the community.

While public hearings have not yet been scheduled before either the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors, the approval process requires that this application undergo hearings before both boards, as well as the Board of Zoning Appeals. If you cannot attend the meeting, please feel free to send an e-mail to You can also send an e-mail directly to the Planning Commission at

Before You Dig, Things to Know

It is almost the start of the spring construction season and you may have a long awaited project in mind. However, before you dig-up or dump dirt in your yard, there are some important facts that you should know. Fairfax County may require you to get permits to clear land, dig-up dirt or dump fill dirt.

This is because these land disturbance actions can cause soil erosion that can harm your home, your neighborhood and our environment. To disturb the land means to cut down trees or shrubs, excavate, grade, or add fill dirt. You need a site permit and grading plan anytime you will disturb 2,500 square feet or more of land. You also will need to put down a conservation deposit. Projects that may disturb 2,500 square feet of land include:
    •Building an addition to your home.
    •Building a large garage or carport.
    •Installing a paved driveway or in-ground swimming pool.

Many projects do not need permits and plans, including:
    •Gardening or landscaping at home.
    •Installing a fence, post or sign (a building permit may be required).
    •Digging for individual sewer or water connections.

If you think you may disturb 2,500 square feet of land or more, follow these simple steps:
    •Check whether you need a site permit and grading plan.
    •Check whether your property is located in a Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area; development is limited in these areas.

Contact Fairfax County’s Site Permits Branch at 703-324-1510, to find out if you need a permit and grading plan or if your property is in a protection area. Also call Miss Utility at 811, TTY 711, before you start digging, so you know where utility lines are buried in your property. If you see potentially illegal digging, filling or clearing, call the county’s 24-hour environmental hotline at 703-324-1937. The best time to call is when you first see signs of any suspicious activity. Be sure to provide a street address, so inspectors know which property to investigate.

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