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Centreville McDonald's Wants Permission for 4a.m. Opening

Apparently, many Centreville residents are up and about at 4 a.m. — and craving breakfast from McDonald's. But that's a problem for them since the McDonald's next to the Fort Hill Building on Route 28 doesn't open until 5 a.m.

Noting the demand for an earlier opening, attorney Keith Martin said last week that McDonald's is now asking the county for permission to open at 4 a.m. He explained the proposal at the May 20 meeting of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee.

But — long unhappy about the appearance of this McDonald's — the WFCCA members seized upon this request as a possible opportunity to get McDonald's to make other changes beside its operating hours. When originally approving the restaurant's plan to build there, the members had no idea that the finished building would be so eye-catching and would feature so much fluorescent light.

"They want a change in their original conditions, so that authorizes us to ask them to make other changes," said WFCCA Chairman Jim Katcham. "The whole thing is in play again."

He said that particular McDonald's is "not attractive" for three reasons: "There are fluorescent lights on the rooftop, the interior lighting is so bright that it glows outside the building, and [McDonald's] is consistently violating the county sign ordinance by placing banner signs on the building and on its wrought-iron fence along Upperridge Drive."

Katcham said he has no problem with a 4 a.m. opening. "Working hours have changed, so 4 a.m. may be justified," he said. But he does want McDonald's to rectify some of the things that have made the WFCCA bristle, for quite some time. McDonald's should return again to the WFCCA in June and, said Katcham, "We told them, 'When you come back, we hope you'll have a plan to fix these things.'"

The matter is slated to go to the county Planning Commission on July 23.