Planning Commission Approves Herndon Parkway Development Plan

Planning Commission Approves Herndon Parkway Development Plan

Seven-year plan brought forth through cooperation and understanding.

Conceptual Design, 555 Herndon Parkway, Building A.

Conceptual Design, 555 Herndon Parkway, Building A. Photo courtesy Penzance


Conceptual Design, 555 Herndon Parkway, Building C.


Conceptual Design, 555 Herndon Parkway, Central Plaza.

The Town of Herndon Planning Commission approved Application DP#17-01, 555 Herndon Parkway, in a vote of 5-0 for the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core (HTOC) Development Plan with proffered conditions to allow a mixed-use development by owner, 555 Herndon LLC, during its Feb. 25 meeting.

During the meeting, Bryce Perry, Deputy Director of Community Development, described the site as "slightly over four acres ... a few hundred feet from where the Metro station touchdown will be in Herndon ... with three mixed-use buildings." He said the buildings would be constructed in three phases, in no predetermined order, and include two tower buildings and one mid-rise building collectively comprising residential, high-rise office and retail with a 4.3-floor area ratio (FAR). He said there would be a podium garage, three entrances, plaza area, multi-modal streetscapes and cycle accommodations.

Perry discussed traffic lights and traffic impact.

The draft proffer statement read it would include proffers regarding uses, transportation impacts, recreation and community amenities and green building practices. The statement also offered contributions for off-site transportation improvements, off-site recreation amenities, Fairfax County schools, and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

During the meeting, town staff recommended approval given considerations stated in a resolution itemizing that the

PLANNING COMMISSION determined the applicant demonstrated the plan adhered to applicable sections of the Town of Herndon Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan dependent upon modification of tower separation requirements.

In addition, the resolution stated the applicant demonstrated that the requested modification for tower separation for buildings over 80 feet in height, "be reduced from 60 feet to not less than 55 feet.” The stated reason "(was) because modification would afford equal or greater assurances of meeting the goals of the Zoning Ordinance and the goals of the statement of intent of the PD-TOC Planned Development-Transit Oriented Core zoning district."

According to provided materials, the Planning Commission recommended the Town Council approve DP #17-01, 555 Herndon Parkway with amendments as follows: "The applicant provides additional illustrative images and statements, regarding Herndon’s unique identity, that typify physical elements and subject matter that can be incorporated into the development proposal during the site plan and Town of Herndon Architectural Review Board process. (And) the applicant provides acceptable enhancements to the mid-block pedestrian entrances to heighten the sense of arrival and direction to include special pavement designs, architectural elements, signage and other focal points."

Before calling the vote, Planning Commission Chair Melissa Jonas said, "It has been quite a ride since 2012 … Not only has this been a big application for us to look at as the Planning Commission but this was a big deal for the town." Jonas thanked the community.

"This has been a long process for everyone in the Town of Herndon to think about this area and what it means for our town." She said, "The market will drive this project."

Elizabeth M. Gilleran, AICP Director of Community Development stated, "The property at 555 Herndon Parkway is zoned Planned Development Transit-Oriented Core. If the Development Plan application is approved by the Town Council, construction cannot occur until the applicant completes several additional steps. The first step is the site plan. The site plan consists of all the necessary site engineering drawings. Town staff reviews the site plan to ensure its compliance with all site development and zoning regulations and that it is in substantial conformity with the approved Development Plan.

"Following site plan review and approval, the applicant must submit an application to the Architectural Review Board (ARB) to have the exterior architecture, plazas, streetscape and other exterior features of the proposal approved. The application to the ARB must include drawings of the proposed building and site design, as well as the proposed exterior building materials, the colors as well as other exhibits and samples. The town staff and ARB review the application to ensure that it meets the Town’s adopted Urban Design and Architectural Guidelines for the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core as well as any other applicable guidelines and regulations.

"Once the applicant obtains approval from the ARB, the Town reviews the applicant’s Building Permit to ensure that the structure of the proposed building meets all building code regulations. It is anticipated that this development may be developed in three separate phases, but that is not certain at this time."