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McDonald's Is Still Problem for WFCCA

McDonald's quest for earlier opening hours at its Centreville restaurant is still on special order and is still unfulfilled. And the one concession it has made is not enough to satisfy the WFCCA's hunger.

The issue was on the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee's menu, for the second time, last Tuesday, June 17. Again, attorney Keith Martin spoke on behalf of McDonald's.

He said area residents have asked the McDonald's next to the Fort Hill Building on Route 28 to open an hour earlier — at 4 a.m., instead of its current 5 a.m.

But the problems are much tougher to solve than the questions usually heard in connection with McDonald's, such as, "Would you like fries with that?" And it'll take more than special sauce to make this idea go down easily.

The WFCCA gave the initial OK for construction of this McDonald's — to replace the old one on Route 29 that was gobbled up by a Route 28/29 interchange ramp. But ever since the restaurant opened for business, that decision has caused the WFCCA great heartburn. With its colorful fluorescent lights, signs and outdoor banners — for the WFCCA members — this McDonald's has been difficult to swallow.

So now that the restaurant wants a favor from the county, the WFCCA believes it's only good manners for McDonald's to do something nice in return. At last week's meeting, Martin told the members that — in response to their lighting concerns — McDonald's has agreed to place some tinting material inside its windows to prevent a good portion of the interior lighting from spilling outside.

But WFCCA Chairman Jim Katcham told Martin he wouldn't support the earlier-opening request with only that one concession from McDonald's. "The lighting around that whole building is just excessive," he said. "And they've continually violated the county sign ordinance [by placing banner signs on the building and on its wrought-iron fence along Upperridge Drive]."

In concept, said Katcham, the 4 a.m. opening is actually quite palatable to the WFCCA.

"They're coming back and asking for something, and it's our chance to renotiate issues," he said. "It's not just a one-way street."

The matter will be served up to the county Planning Commission on July 23. First, though, it'll be a special order on the WFCCA's July 15 bill of fare, at which time the members will put it to a vote.

So far, though, the WFCCA doesn't believe it's truly captured McDonald's attention. Said Katcham: "Even after last month — when we blasted them on the sign issue — they're still posting signs on their fence."