Supervisors OK Pohanka’s Plan in Chantilly

Supervisors OK Pohanka’s Plan in Chantilly

Diagram of the proposed Pohanka Chantilly Honda. Since it was drawn, the body shop was shifted to be behind the showroom.

Diagram of the proposed Pohanka Chantilly Honda. Since it was drawn, the body shop was shifted to be behind the showroom.

— Pohanka Honda is coming to Chantilly. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently gave its building proposal a checkered flag, clearing the way for it to build a Honda dealership here.

Both a showroom and a body shop will be constructed on a 10-acre site off Route 50, at Stonecroft Boulevard and Stonecroft Center Court, in an area that in recent years has become a destination for residents seeking to purchase new vehicles.

“Clearly, there’s already a base of auto sales across the street, so the use certainly fits in well,” said Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully). “And this dealership will offer even more choices for the people living here.”

But that’s not the only reason why approval of Pohanka’s application is of significance to the local area. Company officials have proffered to incorporate a number of efficient and environmentally friendly practices into the way this new business will be built and operated.

They include treating and capturing 100 percent of the storm-water runoff, reclaiming and recycling 80 percent of the used water from the carwash, using LED or fluorescent lamps in the light fixtures and using an energy-management system to control the lighting and HVAC systems.

Pohanka also intends to install operable windows for natural ventilation, increase the amount of roof and wall insulation to decrease heat loss and gain, use ultra-low-flow plumbing fixtures, install daylight sensors (automatic light controls tied into skylights), and recycle all waste oil.

Furthermore, it will use vegetable oil — instead of caustic hydraulic fluid — for service lifts and will use low-emitting materials (adhesives, sealants, carpet, paint and coatings) for all construction/renovation work. Pohanka even plans to install a wind turbine that will become a renewable-energy source going into the dealership’s electric grid. It will come off of a 100-foot high, single monopole with two blades.

Having a car-dealership there will also result in about half the planned density the county envisioned for that site. Yet county staff initially balked at the idea because the structures wouldn’t be officially LEED-certified – even though there’s no county ordinance requiring LEED certification for county approval of a project.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a for-profit entity that provides independent, third-party verification of a building’s green components. But, explained Scott Crabtree, president of Pohanka Automotive Group, “It would cost $200,000 in paperwork to do the LEED certification, vs. putting this money into green elements in our building that we know will make a difference.”

Both the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee and the county Planning Commission saw his point and approved Pohanka’s proposal. Then the matter went to the supervisors, March 6, for the final decision. Frey recommended approval, and the application was ultimately OKed.

“The county’s argument was that it didn’t have the ability to check that Pohanka does put in all the green elements it said it would,” he said. “That’s why it insisted on Leed certification. But it eventually agreed that Pohanka will basically be able to self-certify by providing documentation of the work and the materials used.”

And when it’s all finished, said Frey, “It will be the greenest auto dealership in the county.” However, he added, “Fairfax County does need to develop this expertise, ourselves.”

Another notable feature of the new business is that its parking-lot lights will be LED and downward facing and will cut off at a certain time to save energy. In addition, the service department will be open seven days a week, from 5:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

Customers won’t have to make an appointment. Instead, they’ll be able to come in whenever they desire. The idea is to fix each vehicle in an hour or less, while the customer is on the premises. And doing repair work in off-peak hours means that those customers won’t add to the area’s rush-hour traffic.

So all in all, Frey said the new dealership should prove to be a valuable asset to the county. “I’m pleased with the commitment they made to have green buildings,” he said. “It’s in everybody’s best interests — theirs, when they’re paying the utility bills, and ours, when we’re breathing the air. So I’m glad we were able to work this out.”