Businesses Navigate County Planning

Businesses Navigate County Planning

German grocery looks to Chantilly.

Lidl U.S. Operations, LLC, has proposed to amend zoning to permit a 30,000-square-foot grocery store and 18,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail building on 5.09 acres on the 73-acre Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center at the intersection of Lee Road and Chantilly Crossing Lane.

Lidl U.S. Operations, LLC, has proposed to amend zoning to permit a 30,000-square-foot grocery store and 18,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail building on 5.09 acres on the 73-acre Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center at the intersection of Lee Road and Chantilly Crossing Lane. Photo by Tom Manning

The German Lidl grocery chain offered to proffer $250,000 for athletic fields and recreational facilities in Chantilly.

Lidl’s U.S. operations is headquartered in Arlington; Lidl (pronounced leedle) plans to expand its business in the United States and Fairfax County.

“I’ve been to Lidl in Spain. They have good bread,” said Sully District Planning Commissioner Karen Keys-Gamarra. “I look forward to that.”

Lidl U.S. Operations, LLC, has proposed to amend zoning to permit a 30,000-square-foot grocery store and 18,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail building on 5.09 acres on the 73-acre Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center at the intersection of Lee Road and Chantilly Crossing Lane.

“We’re quite excited for what that vision can be in the center,” said Matthew Allman, who represented Lidl before the Planning Commission’s public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 10.

The site is currently an open field, according to Planning Commission staff documents. The application specifically discourages drive-through and fast food restaurants, according to Joe Gorney, with planning staff.

Keys Gamarra wants to ensure pedestrian safety with the project, especially pedestrians that may walk between hotels and the busy intersection.

“We are increasing traffic, and I’m not sure members of the public would understand,” she said.

“The Comprehensive Plan anticipates high-quality landscape and architectural design. In response, the applicant has taken into consideration pedestrian circulation and outdoor amenities,” said Gorney. “Pedestrian paths are proposed which could connect to the surrounding uses, including the adjacent stormwater management pond, and which would allow connectivity between the proposed uses.”

At-large Planning Commissioner James Hart said the fountain at the shopping center has been neglected and is currently an eyesore; he asked the applicant if they would be willing to take part in making the fountain an attractive central piece of the center.

“This point was going to be a special place and was going to be an amenity that was beautiful where people would have picnics,” he said.

Dranesville Supervisor John Ulfelder acknowledged Lidl’s efforts in Europe to build stores with high environmental standards. “Is there something we can learn from Lidl’s experience building in other parts of the world?” said Ulfelder.

Lidl currently operates nearly 10,000 stores in 26 countries throughout Europe and plans to open as many as 100 U.S. locations.

Keys-Gamarra deferred a decision-only hearing for Dec. 7.

Costco Adds Two Grades of Gas to the Mix

Costco hopes to add a service station with eight fueling tanks that can queue up to 60 vehicles at its 13.39-acre site in the Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center, 14390 Chantilly Crossing Lane.

The gas station will only be available to Costco members; only two grades of gas will be available, payable only by Costco credit card or debit.

“It’s a different animal than a traditional station,” said David Gill, who represents Costco. Gill estimates that 2,000 customers will use the station each day.

Only one employee will be needed at the station.

“Given its lack of visibility from the surrounding public road network, its interior position within the larger shopping center, and the limitation on sales, the proposed use can be expected to primarily serve existing patrons of the Costco retail warehouse and is expected to generate only a nominal increase in vehicular trips,” said Joe Gorney, planning staff.

County planners have recommended approval of the application. The Planning Commission is expected to give its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the application at a decision-only hearing on Nov. 30.

Costco has other similar stations in Fairfax, Sterling and Manassas.

Sully District Planning Commissioner Karen Keys- Gamarra said she frequents the store. “Keep coming back,” said Gills.

Underground fuel tanks, an above ground Healy tank for excess gasoline vapors, and a canopy will be needed as part of the special exception amendment.

Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center is on 73 acres south of Route 50, east of Lee Road and west of Route 28. The center was approved by the Board of Supervisors in the summer of 1996.

The center also has two restaurants, two extended-day hotels, a drive-through bank, a Costco retail warehouse, a Target store, two retail buildings with multiple tenants and an additional service station with quick-service food store.

Chickens Change, Roosting Place Remains

Chick-fil-A, Inc. wants to enlarge the existing 2,932-square-foot, 64-seat KFC in Sully Plaza shopping center with a 142-seat, 4,792-square-foot restaurant and two-lane drive through.

The Planning Commission recommended approval of the zoning application on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the application at a hearing in an upcoming Board meeting.

The 13-acre Sully Plaza shopping center is located northeast of the intersection of Route 50 and Centreville Road in the Chantilly area. Access to the shopping center is provided from Route 50, Metrotech Drive and Centreville Road.

Chick-fil-A would replace the existing KFC fast food restaurant located next to the stormwater management pond near the intersection.

“While the older restaurant was of a relatively small size, the proposed restaurant is not out of scale with the shopping center or other similar restaurants, and staff does not consider the expansion to be egregious,” according to planner Carmen Bishop. “The proposed design of the building and landscaping would provide for a visual improvement to the center.”

The restaurant would have a brick facade, as well as brick on three sides of its trash enclosure.

The two-lane drive through has the capacity to stack 20 vehicles.

“Large truck deliveries shall be scheduled to occur when the restaurant is closed,” except for unusual or emergency situations, according to proposed development conditions of the application, and “small truck deliveries will be scheduled “to avoid morning, noon and evening peak hours of operation.”

Sully Plaza was constructed in early 1985. The KFC, approved by the Board of Supervisors in November 1985, was constructed in 1986.

“We believe we will be an improvement to the shopping center and look forward to being part of the community,” said Sheri Atkin, of McGuire Woods, who represented Chick-fil-A, which is headquartered in Atlanta.

During busy times, Chick-fil-A is prepared to have an employee with an iPad ready to take orders so queuing never exceeds capacity.

“As recommended by staff, the application improves pedestrian circulation by providing a connection to the trail along Route 50. A development condition is proposed for the site plan to include appropriate crosswalks, such as to the CVS store, to further improve pedestrian safety,” according to Bishop.

Luxury Pawn Shop Requested

Ardavan Badii wants permission to operate a pawnshop, but one that will only deal with diamonds, gems, jewelry and precious metals.

“Nothing else,” said Badii. “That's what we specialize in.

“It’s really important that we keep that image of luxury and beauty,” he said.

Bullion and Diamonds Company is a 788-square-foot retail store at 4086 Airline Parkway in the 50 West Shopping Center, just west of the Route 50/Route 28 intersection.

“Jewelry is an asset,” said Badii, who has operated his store for eight years in Chantilly. “Occasionally, [customers] need some dollars but don't want to give up their jewelry.”

There are currently eight pawn shops allowed via special exceptions in Fairfax County, said Michael Lynskey, planning staff with the Department of Planning and Zoning. The county permits up to 12 pawnshops countywide, he said.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court has already given Badii approval after a background check.

“We’re expecting one to two people a day, at most,” he said. “This is something that can help my small business a lot.”

Sully Planning Commissioner Karen Keys-Gamarra deferred decision on the application to Dec. 7, 2016.

“I’d like to thank the applicant for coming in and coming to community meetings. At first glance, it seems like a simple application, but it hasn’t been so simple,” she said.

The commissioners will work with the county attorney to structure details on the proffered conditions to limit items for sale.