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Zoning Rewrite Wraps Up

Planning Commissioners pass zoning ordinance rewrite project on to Town Council for final review.

After more than a year of detailed review and scrutinizing hundreds of amendments made to the town's existing zoning ordinance, the Planning Commission has finally passed the responsibility on to the Town Council for its final review and hopeful approval.

"You guys have done it," said Kay Robertson, senior planner in charge of the zoning ordinance rewrite, during the commission's Feb. 27 meeting. "We're ready to present this zoning ordinance and zoning map for your recommendation of approval."

That's exactly what the commission did during its March 6 public hearing — it unanimously passed the zoning ordinance rewrite, recommending the Town Council to approve its final draft.

"I take a personal delight in offering this motion," said commissioner Bill Tirrell before making the motion to move the draft ordinance to the council level. Tirrell has worked on the various steps of the review process since 2001, he said.

"I think the town owes you [Robertson] a much larger thanks than they'll ever imagine," added vice chairman Jay Donahue.

BEFORE VOTING on the zoning ordinance rewrite, the commission unanimously approved a site plan application to build a three-story, 27,500-square foot mini-storage facility in the Sunset Business Park.

Constructed on 1.5 acres, the project would be built in two phases, said town planner Craig Mavis.

Phase one will include the construction of a 4-foot sidewalk that would run in front of the Sunset Business Park where it intersects with Spring Street. The sidewalk would continue over the on-ramp to the Fairfax County Parkway where it would meet an existing sidewalk that runs to the Target in Reston, Henry Bibber, director of community development, said.

During the meeting town planning staff recommended a median be constructed on Spring Street that would prohibit left turns into and out of the business park. Of the tenants that responded to a survey conducted by the town, 90 percent said they did not want the median to be closed, Mavis said. Town staff believes to reduce future accidents along Spring Street and to improve traffic conditions that will only get worse with increased cars on the road, the median should be closed. Additional entrance and exit points to the business park have been added in the last year, which allow patrons to enter off Herndon Parkway instead of Spring Street, Bibber said.

The final decision of the median will be made at the council level.

THE FINAL ITEM on the commission's agenda was an overview of the town's Capital Improvement Program. Presented by Michelle O'Hare, the CIP items presented are more of a current wish list than an actual "to do" list for the next six years, she said. Because the fiscal year 2006-07 budget has yet to be set, it is unclear how much money will be available to fund the various projects in the upcoming year.

In her presentation O'Hare highlighted the projects town staff that were new, projects that have been bumped up in the waiting list because funding would likely be available, or projects that may run into some funding problems.

These included the renovation of the tennis courts at Bready Park, because the courts are cracked. A replacement rubber-material would be laid that is more durable than the current pavement, O'Hare said. Other projects include the stream bed stabilization of waterways within the town that are currently eroding due to increased water flow and replacing the aging park equipment throughout town.

O'Hare also reviewed three parks and recreation department projects that have been bumped up from 2011. These include the extension of the Folly Lick and Spring Branch Trails, increased lighting along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail near the center of downtown and implementing a new water cleaning system at the Herndon Community Center's Aquatic Center.

"These are moving forward because we have identified proffer money for them," O'Hare said. "Not 100 percent of the projects can be supported by proffer money, but many are supported by money from the parks and rec department."

After Tirrell listed a number of projects he would like clarified and after questioning the placement of certain items, the commission voted to defer the item for further review until its April 3 meeting. The commission's next meeting is a work session March 20 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 765 Lynn Street.