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Rosenthal Lighting Waiver Gets its Second Approval

It's on to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors now for Rosenthal. In April, the car dealership received a hard-fought approval from the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee. Then recently, the county Planning Commission also approved its plan.

Rosenthal is opening a Jaguar and Land Rover dealership in the Dulles Auto Park along Stonecroft Road in Chantilly. But it wants to be able to install lights just as bright there as at three other existing car dealerships in that area.

Rosenthal's building is not yet constructed, and the other businesses opened their doors before Fairfax County adopted its new lighting ordinance. But believing that potential nighttime customers might think Rosenthal isn't open because its lights would be dimmer, it sought a special exception, or waiver, so it wouldn't have to comply with the new ordinance.

On Wednesday, May 26, the Planning Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the special exception, with one abstention. Next stop for the proposal is the Board of Supervisors on July 12.

"I think everybody recognized that, if anything warranted a waiver, it was this case," explained Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch. "It's surrounded by other dealerships, and it's in an industrial area so the lights won't affect any residential homes."

He said he understood how concerned the WFCCA was that approving this request might set a precedent for other businesses seeking similar exemptions from the county lighting ordinance in the future. But, said Koch, "each request for a waiver will be considered independently. Each will have to stand on its own merits."

<tgl> — Bonnie Hobbs