Residents of McLean Mews and the Hamptons say they were caught by surprise when Exxon moved forward on its plan to construct an “On the Run” store, car wash, and additional pumps at the site it has occupied since 1957.
McLean Mews resident Barbara Phillips, who represents McLean Mews homeowners at the McLean Planning Committee (MPC), also chairs the subcommittee to which the Exxon proposal had been assigned.
But she said she wasn’t contacted with the latest update of the plan before it went to the McLean Citizens Association for review.
That prompted a flurry of emails which implied that Exxon was attempting an “end run” around the MPC.
Another issue was whether, and how much, Exxon will contribute to the cost of undergrounding utilities at its location on the central intersection in McLean: Old Dominion Drive and Chain Bridge Road.
At a meeting of the MPC last week, Exxon Attorney Keith Martin said his client asked the Planning Commission to defer a decision on the plan until July 25 because “We wanted to listen some more.
“There was no object of end-running you,” he told the MPC.
He also suggested that the company won’t yield its position to office space, as suggested in the plan to revitalize downtown McLean.
“Like it or not, Exxon was one of the first commercial residents of this corner in 1957,” Martin said. “It is a profitable business. This is the last Exxon station in McLean. They are not giving this up.
“Even in futuristic plans,” he said, “I don’t see [the corner] being an office. Unless they quit selling gasoline, it will be here,” he said.
He said Exxon will figure its fair share of the expense of undergrounding utilities at the intersection.
Phillips asked Martin to go back to his client, Exxon, with a request to delete the plan for the car wash.
“It is the big sticking point for everyone,” she said.
“Would you be willing to go forward without the car wash?” one MPC member asked Martin.
“No sir. Not right now,” Martin said.
Asked if Exxon would reconsider the car wash in the future, Martin replied, “No.
“The car wash is critical,” he said.
An eight-foot wall, landscaping, and closed doors will shield the sight and sound of the carwash from Mews residents, he said.
Exxon has agreed to a right turn only traffic movement from northbound Chain Bridge Road for access to the pumps, convenience store, and car wash at its station.
Traffic moving north on Chain Bridge Road would turn right into the station, then exit via Center Lane to Old Dominion Drive.
The MPC also listened to a preliminary proposal for expansion of the Bank of America on Chain Bridge Road.
“It’s not a big project, and it should give better service,” said Robbie Stewart of Stevenson and Stewart in Chantilly.
The bank, which hopes to get Planning Commission approval by Aug. 5, will expand the front of the building “to give it more of a residential feel,” expand the entry canopy, and add columns.
No action was taken by the MPC last week.