A photo of the TD Bank located near the intersection of Little River Turnpike and Pickett. The architecture is similar to the one proposed for Cardinal Forest Plaza in West Springfield. The enhanced architectural façade was one of the conditions requested by members of the West Springfield Civic Association and agreed to by Edens, the developer and owner of the 1970s shopping center.
TD Bank, one of the nation’s 10 largest banks, has moved a step closer to opening a drive-thru branch in West Springfield’s Cardinal Forest Plaza shopping center.
The project faced initial resistance from neighbors who raised concerns about traffic, safety and environmental impact when they learned plans called for sitting the bank in the parking lot of the 1960s-era center, located at the busy intersection of Old Keene Mill Road and Rolling Road.
"Few citizens, if any, saw a need for another bank to be built in an area with five banks within one block of the intersection," said John Rephlo, a longtime Springfield resident who spoke on behalf of the West Springfield Civic Association during a May 3 planning commission public hearing on the project.
After several meetings involving Edens, the developer that owns the shopping center, civic association members, and staff from the Fairfax County Planning Commission staff and Braddock Supervisor John Cook’s office, the developer agreed to several conditions addressing the concerns of residents.
"Since my community information meeting on this proposal in January, my office and the Planning Commissioner have worked tirelessly with the impacted neighbors to improve this project," Cook said.
"We have reduced the number of drive-thru lanes, closed a left turn onto Old Keene Mill Road that was a source of many accidents and obtained a concession from the bank to change its façade to better reflect the architecture of Cardinal Forest Plaza."
Peter Melmed, vice president of construction and development for Edens, said the bank will actually improve storm water management and other issues at the center.
"The layout of the bank will increase open space and reduce impervious area," Melmed said. "Safety concerns have been addressed through a series of transportation improvements, including making the eastern entrance on Old Keene Mill Road a right-in, right-out only, as well as bringing that entrance up to current VDOT standards."
Melmed added that TD Bank will enhance the aging center, built in the early 1970s.
"The addition of TD Bank to Cardinal Forest Plaza reflects Eden’s focus on enriching communities we serve by bringing high-quality tenants into our retail centers, "Melmed said. "In fact, this location helps West Springfield residents avoid driving all the way into Annandale or over to Fairfax, which are the nearest TD locations currently."
THE NEXT MEETING will be a "decision-only" session of the Planning Commission on May 31, where the commission will vote whether to recommend approval by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. After that, the case will go before the board, which will hold another public hearing to address any lingering community concerns.
During the May 3 planning commission public hearing, Rephlo said members of the civic association voted to accept the county’s conditions, but wanted further study of some issues, including sidewalk improvements, employee parking, storm drainage and traffic impacts.
According to Rephlo, the final major issue revolves around the nonstandard (four-foot) sidewalk that borders the front of the center. He said the civic association wants the developer to build a sidewalk that is five-foot-width with a two-foot buffer installed between the sidewalk and the roadway.
"This is the right time to do the hard thing of bringing the shopping center frontage and sidewalk up to VDOT standards and bring the plaza into conformance with other shopping centers fronting Old Keene Mill Road," Rephlo said. "This is our ‘West Springfield Town Center.’ Although it may not be as new and fancy like Ballston, Clarendon or Reston, this is where we meet, go out to dinner and hang out."