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Gas Station Deferred, Car Wash Pushes Onward

The future of two properties at the corner of Lorton Road and Lorton Market Street remains undetermined.

A bid to build an Exxon Mobil station on the corner of Lorton Road and Lorton Market Street has been deferred after opposition from the community. A representative of the land-use law firm Walsh Colucci was scheduled to make a presentation to the Fairfax County Planning Commission June 28, but deferred the appearance. A proposal to build an upscale car wash on the adjacent property may fare better.

"I don’t know if Exxon will continue pursuing it or not," said Calvin Smith, who heads the South County Federation’s land use committee. He noted that the company had been apprised of the local sentiment toward the situation, which would have included 10 pumps, a convenience store and a car wash. A special exception and a proffer amendment, both of which the company was pursuing, would have been required for the construction of such a service station.

The Federation’s land use committee has drafted a resolution opposing the station, although it has not yet been officially registered.

"We’re very concerned about the volume of traffic," said Smith, noting that most of the proposed station’s customers would come from and return to Lorton Road.

THE FEDERATION’S proposed resolution points out that the left turn onto Lorton Market back toward Lorton Road would be difficult without a traffic light, because most of the vehicles leaving the shopping center across the street are turning right, also heading toward Lorton Road and would not need to yield to left-turning vehicles leaving the gas station. The resolution also mentions that VDOT has said it would not install a signal at the proposed intersection.

South County Federation president Susan Fremit said that many residents of Lorton Market Road also opposed the gas station because "they don’t think a gas station is an upscale gateway to the communities there." However, she said, some who live farther away liked the idea of a gas station on the corner because it would be convenient.

A separate buyer has proposed an upscale car wash on the smaller, adjacent property on Lorton Market Street, which would also require a proffer amendment and special exception to be granted.

"The land use committee was prepared to propose that we go with the car wash," said Smith. However, due to a mix-up, the car wash advocate showed up at the wrong location for the last Federation meeting. Smith said that as long as both a right- and left-turn lane were included in the car wash’s exit, Lorton Market Street would be able to handle its smaller traffic output. The matter is scheduled to be addressed at the July 10 Federation meeting.

As for the proposed Exxon Mobil site, he said, "We’d like to see something with a little lower volume or maybe the volume is more early morning, while the Shoppers [Food Warehouse] volume is more in the afternoon. Maybe a Denny’s or an IHOP."

— Mike DiCicco