Seven Corners Visioning Task Force


PLAN AMENDMENT 2013-I-B1: SEVEN CORNERS SPECIAL STUDY

Summary of Pre-staffing Comments

Planner: Bernard Suchicital – bsuchi@fairfaxcounty.gov – (703) 324-1254

Background

On October 29, 2013, the Board of Supervisors authorized Plan Amendment (PA) 2013-I-B1 for the Seven Corners CBC to consider the incorporation of recommendations of the Seven Corners Land Use and Transportation Task Force (Task Force) into the Comprehensive Plan for Land Units A, B, C and D. This Plan amendment will also evaluate the area-wide recommendations and review the transportation network in the area. As a first step in the Plan amendment process, a pre-staffing meeting was held in December 2013, allowing for different county agencies to review and provide comments on the potential impacts of the proposed Task Force land use alternatives. This document summarizes comments submitted to planning staff in the areas of heritage resources, parks, public schools, housing, the environment, wastewater management, and water service. Transportation issues will be provided separately, pending completion of the transportation study for this area.

Land Use Alternatives

Four opportunity sites were identified by the Task Force, property owners and staff for further evaluation within the study area. In June 2013, a planning charrette was held to develop an alternative pattern for future development that addresses housing, parks, retail, office, and an enhanced street grid that will provide for greater connectivity within Seven Corners. This formed the basis for two development options that are being considered, as shown in below. Option 2 allocates less ground-floor retail space than Option 1 to provide flexibility for future changes in market conditions. The task force will make a final recommendation upon review of the final land use alternatives and transportation analysis by staff, which is expected to occur in summer 2014.

 

Analysis

Heritage Resources – Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning

-          Photographic documentation of the entire Seven Corners Special Study Area should be undertaken prior to any ground disturbing activity to record the existing development patterns, context, and viewsheds. Each individual building in Opportunity Sites #1, 2 and 3 should also be photographed prior to any changes. The photographs will provide value to students, researchers, and educators in understanding the development of the area. The documentation should be filed with the Virginia Room of the Fairfax County Public Library and the Department of Planning and Zoning heritage resource staff.

-          Numerous buildings are eligible for listing in the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites and may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The wholesale demolition of the apartment complex and realignment of the streets in the Willston area (Opportunity Site #4) is inappropriate. Any redevelopment should occur within the existing apartment buildings to preserve the current configuration.

-          Within Opportunity Site #4 is one of the original National Capital Boundary Stones planed in 1791, when Virginia ceded land to create the District of Columbia. Any movement of the stone should be coordinated with the Washington-Lee Society of the Children of the American Revolution, and follow guidance in the 1994 National Capital Boundary Stones Committee report. The stone could be retained in its current location and be incorporated into any new development.

Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Engineering Services

-          Sewage generated within the Seven Corners Special Study Area is treated at the Arlington Water Pollution Control Plan and the Alexandria Renew Enterprises.

-          Under current service agreements, Fairfax County’s current allocation of sewage treatment capacity at the Arlington plant site is not adequate to handle the additional sewage flow generated by the proposed Seven Corners Plan amendment. To alleviate the future treatment deficit due to the proposed Plan amendment, Fairfax County needs to either purchase treatment capacity from Arlington County or explore other options.

-          Fairfax County’s existing allocation at the Alexandria Renew Enterprises treatment plant is capable of handling the projected sewage flow through 2040. For this treatment plant, additional sewage flow, above the current projected flow through 2040, is not anticipated for both Plan amendment options.

-          All of the trunk sewer lines within the study area have adequate capacity to handle the projected flow for both Plan amendment options through 2040.

Fairfax Water

-          Additional transmission and distribution facilities are required to meet Fairfax Water’s service objectives in the vicinity, and to specifically meet increased demands to the Seven Corners area associated with the proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment.

-          Potential projects include construction of additional transmission along the Route 7 corridor; expanded water storage facilities; and additional pumping facilities.

Fairfax County Public Schools

-          The schools serving this area are Baileys, Eastern Fairfax, Beech Tree, Glen Forest, Sleepy Hollow Elementary, Glasgow Middle and Stuart High schools. Currently, five of these schools are projected to be over capacity by 2018-2019.

-          There are 392 students who currently reside in the study area and 209 that would be anticipated if the opportunity sites were developed to its full potential under the current Comprehensive Plan.

-          The two proposed options would yield between 406 (218 elementary, 69 middle, 119 high) and 422 (227 elementary, 71 middle, 124 high) additional students over the current zoning and Comprehensive Plan according to the county-wide student yield ratios.

-          A trend has been observed that older multi-family communities have produced more actual students than the county-wide student yield ratios being used. At this time it is difficult to know how the selected proposed option will impact the surrounding schools when an area has more students than would be anticipated using the county-wide student yield ratio. FCPS believes that it is unknown how redevelopment will affect anticipated student yields over time.

-          In consideration of projected conditions at surrounding schools, as well as the impact that redevelopment would have on school facilities in the Seven Corners area, the dedication of an elementary school site and additions to schools serving the development would be necessary to increase school capacity in this area.

Fairfax County Park Authority

-          The Parks and Recreation Policy Plan includes the Urban Park Framework that seeks a balance between residential and non-residential uses by establishing the urban parkland standard that new development should provide at least 1.5 acres of onsite urban parkland for every 1,000 residents and at least 1 acre of onsite urban parkland for every 10,000 workers.

-          The projected increase in housing density would likely add 8,425 to 8,705 new residents, and 3,643 to 4,232 new workers to the Seven Corners CBC. The proposed Plan Amendment seeks to address the need for publicly-accessible parkland and recreational opportunities through the provision of various park spaces throughout three of the four identified opportunity areas that total 3.87 acres in size. Additional park spaces and recreational facilities will be needed to fully meet the generated need from the increase in residential population and area workers.

-          As Plan text is developed, language from the Urban Parks Framework should be incorporated, which will place greater emphasis on pedestrian accessibility, urban design, and mobility. Future Plan Amendment text related to parks for the Seven Corners CBC should include:

o   Include text describing each park space shown in the land use concept, its type and function and any specific features and facilities envisioned;

o   Include plan text supporting civic plaza spaces in areas of substantial retail that will add economic value, public open space and places for public art, performances, community festivals, markets and events;

o   Integrate well-designed, publicly-accessible park spaces per guidance from the Urban Parks Framework; and,

o   Address impacts to park facility service levels through provision of appropriate facilities, especially as considered in context with adjacent development.

Environment – Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning

-          A portion of the Four Mile Run stream valley is located between Leesburg Pike and Arlington Boulevard, beginning at the eastern edge of the Seven Corners Shopping Center. The majority of this area was developed in an era when stormwater management relied on measures to move water away from developed areas as quickly as possible with no real consideration for removing pollutants or reducing adverse impacts to nearby streams. As a result, many surrounding streams are in poor condition. Any redevelopment should recognize the need to reduce pollutants and manage the volume and velocity of water running off of developed areas.

-          Measures such as access to transit, reducing single passenger vehicle trips, ridesharing, mixed-use development, tree preservation and the planting of new tree cover can aid in the goal of air quality improvement, as in the Environment section of the Policy Plan.

-          Much of the opportunity sites area has been developed over time in a manner which did not promote the preservation of existing vegetation and tree canopy. As a result, there are expansive areas of impervious surface with little to no vegetation or tree canopy. Any redevelopment project should provide tree cover and other vegetation and/or existing tree canopy.

-          Buildings proposed as part of zoning applications on land within the Study Area should consider achieving a green building certification (LEED Certified, or equivalent). Currently, there are no certified green buildings in the Study Area.

-          Transportation generated noise is likely to impact residential and other noise sensitive uses along portions of Leesburg Pike and Arlington Boulevard. Based on current guidance in the Policy Plan, no new residential uses are recommended in areas impacted by noise levels exceeding 75 dBA DNL. Buildings proposed in areas impacted by high noise levels should provide mitigation for exterior and interior spaces.

Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development

-          The residential communities within the opportunity sites were constructed in 1952, and are primarily comprised of renter-occupied housing. These units have rents that are restricted pursuant to the terms and conditions of Federal financing.

-          Under the Zoning Ordinance, the maximum required number of Affordable Dwelling Units (ADUs) in a development is based on the density requested versus the Comprehensive Plan recommendation and the type of dwelling unit being constructed. For-sale ADUs are made available to households with an income of 70 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) and rental ADUs are made available in two tiers to households with an income of 50 percent AMI and 65 percent AMI or less. One-third of all rental ADUs produced must be affordable at up to 50 percent or less of the AMI; the remaining two-thirds are affordable up to and including 65 percent of AMI.

-          Preservation of the county’s existing affordable housing stock remains a key strategy for the region. Many units in the Seven Corners CBC are affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The location of this housing is important as it is situated near a multi-modal transit center with easy access to jobs and services. The preservation of affordable units embodies many of the best planning principles for a successful, sustainable community. A goal of the Comprehensive Plan is that any affordable units lost in the advent of any redevelopment should be replaced on a one for one basis. Consideration should be given to providing these units in partnership with a non-profit organization.

Next Steps

Staff will incorporate these agency comments into a draft outline for the new Plan text, which will be presented to the Task Force later this spring. Transportation impacts will be included upon completion of the transportation network study. Based on Task Force input on this draft outline, staff will draft Plan text for the study area, which will be reviewed by the Task Force this summer. Subsequently, staff will re-evaluate all comments and impacts, make modifications to the draft Plan text, and then conduct a staffing for the final draft product.

Pre-staffing:                                    December 12, 2013

Drafting Plan outline:                        March-April 2014

Draft Plan text:                                June 2014

Final staff recommendations:             September 2014

Planning Commission hearing:           October 2014

BOS public hearing:                          November 2014

 


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