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News Briefs

Chase Bank Building Planned for Village Centre

Final reviews are being conducted by staff from Fairfax County's Site Development & Inspections Division (SDID) to ensure a proposed commercial bank project to be situated at 778 Walker Road meets applicable county, state and federal regulations.  The site is the current home of the Great Falls Farmers Market.  The bank is being developed for Chase Bank which has a limited presence in Great Falls provided by walk-up ATMs in the row of shops in the 9800 block of Georgetown Pike that includes the 7-11, a dry cleaners, and Senor Ramons Taqueria. 

This site has been under active consideration since the Board of Supervisors granted a Special Exception for a drive-through financial facility on September 12, 2017.  Initially, the facility was to be built for SunTrust which subsequently withdrew from the project.

In the project's final review stages, the SDID determined that the site should include an additional concrete sidewalk from Walker Road west for a distance along the north side of Columbine Street,which forms the southern boundary of the Chase parcel.  This is a technical requirement of Fairfax County's Public Facilities Manual an engineering guideline for county-wide development projects.  This sidewalk would be in addition to a sidewalk that is already planned along the entry road leading from Walker Road.  That service entryway divides the Chase property from the current Wells Fargo Bank property.

A waiver application has been submitted by representatives of the site developer.  The waiver application contains the following statements by the project planners:

  • There are no walkways along Columbine Street to which a new sidewalk might connect.
  • Installation of a sidewalk along Columbine Street would result in the removal of 5 notable existing trees along Columbine which are intended to be preserved to provide transitional screening as required by the Special Exception. 
  • Two trees would be jeopardized by the proposed sidewalk: a 33” Pin Oak and a 24” Eastern Red cedar.  Further westward along Columbine Street, a 24” Red Maple, a 36” Red Maple, and an offsite 21” Red Maple are also incompatible with the installation of a proposed sidewalk.
  • The developer also cited existing conditions of overhead utilities and poles, storm drainage structures and existing topography prevent the installation of a sidewalk along Columbine Street.

The GFCA Land Use and Zoning Committee reviewed the waiver application at its April 9 meeting and resolved by vote of the committee to urge support of the waiver based primarily on the potential for a loss of mature trees; and, that the sidewalk would not have the potential for an interconnection with the neighborhoods to the west, as Columbine Street and the streets of Oliver Estates have neither curb and gutters nor sidewalks throughout.  Nor are any planned.  It would essentially dead-end at the west boundary of the Chase parcel.  One member suggested the sidewalk would provide safety to pedestrians.  However, the Land Use committee concurred that pedestrians would ultimately be required to dismount from the sidewalk onto the street to continue on their way.

The Transportation Committee April 15 meeting also has the item on its agenda for review and it has been shared with the GFCA Environment & Parks Committee in order to maximize public awareness. 

If you would like to express an opinion on this county requirement and you are a resident of the Great Falls community,

please click here to send GFCA an email.


Halacy To Lead GFCA

Following the resignation of GFCA president Christopher Rich, current GFCA Vice President John Halacy assumed the position of GFCA President on April 5, 2024.  Those changes were announced at the March Executive Board Meeting of the GFCA.  He will continue to head the GFCA Transportation Committee for continuity and because of the several critical transportation issues looming ahead. 

Halacy launched his involvement with the GFCA when he and his neighbors in the Springvale Road area learned of the possibility that the LIDL grocery chain was actively exploring the purchase of the former Meadows Farms Garden Center at Springvale Road and Leesburg Pike.  He joined with GFCA members and concerned residents who expressed concerns over the impact that the proposal could have on traffic and the creeping commercialism that such a development would bring to the community.  Shortly thereafter, he was asked to head up the Working Group on the Springvale Bridge VDOT replacement plan. 

He was elected to the GFCA Board in June 2023.  When he learned he would be next in line for the GFCA presidency caused by the departure of Chris Rich, he began to review the critical tasks and priorities that lie ahead and how he can work with the Executive Board to ensure that the organization’s activities are in furtherance of its mission and charter to advocate for the best interests of the community.

Halacy will immediately begin regular communication with the members and external stakeholders about GFCA programs and plans.  His leadership goals are to ensure  effective and transparent communications, by staying informed about critical issues in the community and keeping the GFCA leadership and members aware of new and ongoing concerns in the community affecting transportation safety, land development, zoning impact, and environment. 

GFCA Board Welcomes New Members


Executive Board Members Margaret Everett and Dennis Huber

The GFCA Executive Board voted in two new members recommended by the Nominating Committee at the February meeting filling vacancies that have occurred.  Margaret Everett and Dennis Huber, whose bios were presented to the Executive Board in January 2024, will serve from February 23, 2024 through June 30, 2025.

Everett retired from the Federal Government where she held senior positions in two agencies in law enforcement and intelligence.  She joined the GFCA in 2023 and is an active member of the Special Committee on Legislation, Transportation, and Environmental and Parks Committees.  In her free time, Margaret enjoys Swimming; Mah Jongg; Yoga; and Biking along with her husband David.

Dennis Huber, a GFCA member since 2020, is a former executive in the communications industry, currently a consultant to two agencies of the Federal government.  Previously, Huber managed engineering programs involving nuclear, chemical, and telecommunications.  Dennis and Elizabeth Huber settled in Great Falls in 1992.  Dennis is a member of the Transportation Committee and the Springvale Road Bridge Working Group.

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MORE NEWS BRIEFS

The Equestrian Side of Turner Farm Park

Did you know that one of the three missions at Turner Farm Park is equestrian activities? 

Equestrian activities at Turner Farm Park are supported by Turner Farm Events (TFE), a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization, founded in 2011.  Their mission is to provide funds for the equestrian activities and equipment  in the park.

TFE has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA).  They have seven horse shows every year to fund raise for their operation.  Since its founding, TFE has purchased or repaired all of the equestrian equipment used at the park. 

This year TFE donated $21,000 to the Fairfax Park Foundation to pay for a new ring fence.  TFE also donates an annual fund to FCPA for maintenance and mowing at the park. 

For more information visit:

https://turnerfarmevents.org/

Update on “No Casino Fairfax”


A spokesperson for Monumental Sports and Entertainment rejected the concept of pairing the arena with the casino.  Subsequently, Monumental Sports, the parent owner of the Capitals, Wizards, WNBA’s Washington Mystics announced an agreement with Washington, DC officials to keep the teams in the District through 2050 thereby ending speculation being offered by Virginia’s pro casino senators.

The GFCA is continuing to monitor activity surrounding the casino proposal and is meeting on an ongoing basis with its counterparts in McLean, Reston, Herndon, Tysons, and Vienna in anticipation of the 2025 legislative session in Richmond. 

For more information visit:

https://norestoncasino.org/


Workdays at the Oak Grove behind the Grange