On 6 Dec, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing and approved their Plan Amendment 2015-I-J1 to revise the Comprehensive Plan for Graham Park Plaza (aka Loehmann’s Plaza) located at Arlington Blvd and Graham Rd. The amendment increases the recommended floor area on the 19.5-acre site from 297,500 to 425,000 sq ft and allows residential development. It supports Federal Realty’s rezoning request (RZ/FDP 2016-MA-022) to redevelop the site with 248 apartments as well as retail and office uses. After the first of the year, the community will have an opportunity to influence the redevelopment plan as described below.

Seven residents, including reps of Broyhill Park and Raymondale civic associations, testified at the hearing. While no one directly opposed the redevelopment, six of the seven residents expressed strong concerns about the increased traffic that would be generated. HRVCA’s testimony and a supporting three-page paper emphasized the requirement for a comprehensive traffic impact assessment reviewed by residents prior to any rezoning of the site. Two residents complained that they had not been made aware of the plan amendment in advance of the hearing.

Residents’ testimony had a good effect. Linda Smyth, Providence District Supervisor, stated that she recognized the constrained nature of the site and residents’ traffic concerns. She said that she will be watching the situation closely. The area facing Graham Park Plaza on the north side of Arlington Blvd is in Providence District. John Cook, Braddock District Supervisor, emphasized the need for residents to have the opportunity to engage (and to engage) in discussions with Federal Realty and the county regarding details of the redevelopment plan for the shopping center.

Cook’s comments prompted Supervisor Penny Gross to offer a series of meetings with residents after the first of the year. Residents interested in participating should notify Gross via email at Mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Over the past three years, a concerted effort has been made to inform the Board and the Planning Commission regarding Gross’s systematic efforts to exclude the community from planning land use. Now, Graham Park Plaza is an opportunity for residents substantially to influence the redesign of our community. Please sign up for and attend the meetings with the county and Federal Realty.

Sample email to sign up:

To:  Mason@fairfaxcounty.gov

Subject:  Graham Park Plaza Redevelopment

Dear Supervisor Gross –

Thank you for volunteering to organize a series of meetings with residents to work though the planning for Graham Park Plaza redevelopment with Federal Realty and the county.

Please invite me to any and all such meetings. I believe that the redevelopment is warranted and community engagement in the planning will be essential for the success of the project.

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