The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an out-of-turn amendment to the county's Comprehensive Plan on Monday, May 1, for the development of a 3-acre lot at the intersection of Lorton Road and Richmond Highway.
"We propose to build two buildings, a bank and a pharmacy, with drive-through lanes," said Robert Lawrence, a land use attorney with Falls Church based Reed Smith, which submitted the proposal to the Board of Supervisors.
Currently, the property is zoned for commercial use, but the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan does not allow for automotive-based businesses on that site, Lawrence said.
The development of the businesses themselves could be done by-right, he explained.
"There were certain uses not permitted by proffers or zoning," including drive-through businesses. A change to the Comprehensive Plan would allow for those uses, Lawrence said.
In March, Lawrence gave a presentation to the South County Federation in Lorton about the proposal, which was "well received," he said.
A resolution was passed on March 14 in favor of the plan amendment, said Calvin Smith, the land use committee chairman for the South County Federation.
"Essentially, the plan was written to keep another McDonalds out of that area," Smith said. "We didn't think this kind of use would generate as much traffic as a fast-food place."
THE SOUTH COUNTY Federation has seen several presentations on proposed development at the Lorton Corner site, Smith said, but "this was one of the best uses we can put there. It was one of the best presentations we've seen," he said.
Lawrence will have to return to the Federation later in the development process, to discuss the site plan and impact the businesses may have on the neighboring communities, Smith said.
"We'll be working with the developer," he said. "We'll get into look at traffic flow in that area, how people will enter and exit the site and try to make sure it doesn't interfere too much with the neighbors."
Placing another pharmacy in the area might be helpful to the Sunrise Assisted Living facility, located just across Lorton Road, Smith added.
However, support of the plan amendment doesn't necessarily mean the Federation will approve the proposal.
"Right now it looks like a good use, but we'll wait until the County accepts their application," Smith said.
The proposal is in its early stages, Lawrence said, and it could take "several months" for the county to review the plan amendment and give zoning approval. After that, it may take "eight to nine months to get site plan approval. It might be 18 months before we break ground," he said.
This will be an out-of-turn amendment because nominations for the Area Plans Review process have already been submitted and discussions have already begun in the Mount Vernon District, said Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon).
"It's unusual to get an amendment submitted in the middle of the APR process," Hyland said, adding that he brought it to the Board of Supervisors for approval because "the community supported it. That property has been sitting there for a long time and we've gotten a lot of proposals."