A simple change to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan could turn a vacant lot on Route 1 into the new home for a drive-thru bank and pharmacy.
Robert Lawrence, representing Reed Smith developers, presented a plan that would locate a CVS pharmacy and PNC Bank, each with drive-thru windows, at the Lorton Corner Property at the intersection of Route 1 and Lorton Road, during a meeting of the South County Federation on Tuesday night, March 14.
The South County Federation is a group of homeowner's associations throughout the lower portion of the Mount Vernon district that meets monthly to discuss issues concerning that portion of Fairfax County.
“The property is currently zoned for commercial use; it’s zoned C-5,” said Lawrence. However, the Comprehensive Plan currently prohibits “automobile-oriented” businesses from being constructed on the property.
“I’m here tonight to ask for your support for an out-of-turn plan amendment to be considered,” Lawrence said. If the Federation gave its approval, he said he would then go to the Planning Commission with his proposal and would return to the Federation with a more complete plan later.
If the site plan was approved, the two buildings would take up a total of about 16,000 square feet of office space between the bank and the pharmacy, Lawrence said. Currently, a total of 39,000 square feet of office space is permitted, so the new plan would allow for more open space and fewer buildings than what the Comprehensive Plan calls for, he said.
“OUR PROPOSAL would also reduce the floor area ratio by up to 58 percent,” Lawrence said. “This is an opportunity for two quality uses that would serve the community with less building area and more open space on a site that isn’t big enough for a larger anchor store like a Giant or Safeway.”
Several other plans have been submitted on the property in the past, said Federation member Linwood Gorham. “I have to say, this is the best play I’ve seen for this site,” he said.
Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) explained that if the Federation gave its approval of the out-of-turn amendment, it would be included for consideration along with other proposals submitted during the Area Plan Review process.
“If the community decides this proposal is one you want to support and you want me to bring it back to the board, I will,” Hyland said.
John Fedorshik, a representative of the Lorfax community, which is close to the Lorton Corner site, said his neighborhood would support whatever the community closest to the property decides.
“I have a feeling this will put Rite Aid out of business,” Fedorshik said. “I think we’ll see a domino effect. I just want all of you to think about that.”
Competition is a necessity in a capitalist society, said Federation vice president Tim Rizer. “Nowadays, we’re always looking for the convenience of a drive-thru. This is a good site for it. I don’t see why we should be anything but supportive of this plan.”
When a motion was raised to “not oppose” the proposal, it passed with a vote of 48 votes, with two votes coming in against the proposal and three votes to abstain.