Land Use & Zoning Committee News

Committee Co-Chairs

  • Jennifer Falcone
  • Eric Knudsen

Contact:  zoning@gfca.org

Committee Role

The LUZ Committee examines and recommends appropriate actions on land use matters and articulates GFCAs objectives, with the goal of preserving the historic, low-density, semi-rural character of Great Falls and the protection of its natural resources.  
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  • 05 May 2020 4:22 PM | Peter Falcone (Administrator)

    GFCA is examining a developer’s proposal to change the zoning of a parcel located on the Northeast corner of the intersection of Springvale Road and Leesburg Pike (where Meadows Farms is located). 

    The developer is seeking to create commercial zoning for the property.  This is a major issue as it would also require the County to amend the Comprehensive Plan, which directs that there be a limit to commercial encroachment into residential neighborhoods and a clearly defined "edge" between commercial and residential areas.  It also provides that the residential character of development along the Route 7 Corridor be maintained in order to prevent industrial, office, research and development (R&D) and retail commercial development in the corridor between the Dulles Airport Access Road and the Loudoun County line. (This is why there is very little commercial development between Tysons and the Loudoun County line).

    As most Great Falls residents know, this intersection is also heavily congested with commuter traffic.  Previously planned improvements to address traffic congestion at the intersection (supported by GFCA) were deleted from the Route 7 Corridor Improvements Project because construction bids came in higher than predicted. 

    GFCA is focusing on our mission of engagement on issues affecting the long-term nature of our community:  the issue before us is not the type of store that might be built here, but the land use issues as they affect Great Falls.  GFCA believes that commercial development due to rezoning will produce increased traffic volume in the area.   Access to the property is already being redesigned to a new, single, entrance off Springvale Road, because the widening of Route 7 will eliminate the current entrance to the property from that highway.  Neighbors will be subjected to increases in noise levels from more frequent deliveries in early morning and late evening hours and trash pick-ups, etc., if a new commercial use is approved.  The neighbors who live next to this property are unanimously opposed to the proposal.  

    Because of these factors, GFCA seeks your input. Be sure to cast your vote in the GFCA poll that was distributed by email to members on March 26, 2020, if you have not done so already.

    GFCA Land Use & Zoning Committee will discuss this proposed development at its April 8th meeting.  This will be a “ZOOM” Video Conference Meeting, due to the in-person meeting restrictions associated with COVID-19.  For information, please submit an email to: zoning@GFCA.org

  • 31 Mar 2020 5:31 PM | Peter Falcone (Administrator)

    By now, folks in our area should be aware of the numerous cancellations of public meetings and events due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

    Residents may be interested in what has transpired on the subject of land use and zoning activity in the face of recent meeting and event cancellations.  GFCA has consolidated pertinent information on key topics for your information.

    Fairfax County Planning Commission announces delay on proposed developments.  Click below:

    Planning Commission Cancels Meetings, Delays Proposed Developments

    The public can view site records on file with Fairfax County Land Development Services through its Online Plan Viewer.  Click the Site Records Viewer Link:

    http://fairfaxcountygis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=3b138555569049288c2dd34e3e888aaa

    Information that was to be provided at the March 11 GFCA Land Use/Zoning meeting follows below:

    Agritourism Link

    https://www.facebook.com/fairfaxcountyzoning/videos/849925138767393/

    Questions on Agritourism may be directed to: Sara.Morgan@fairfaxcounty.gov

    zMod Link

    This Presentation was given to the Board of Supervisor's Land Use Policy Committee on February 4th. The PowerPoint and handout can be found here: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/boardofsupervisors/board-supervisors-land-use-policy-committee-meeting-feb-4-2020

    and the video of the committee meeting can be found here: http://video.fairfaxcounty.gov/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=9

    Questions may be directed to: Carmen.Bishop@fairfaxcounty.gov

    Additionally, questions may be directed to:Zoning@gfca.org

     

  • 19 Mar 2020 12:51 PM | Peter Falcone (Administrator)

    Fairfax County has been engaged since 2017 in an ongoing process of revising and modernizing its zoning ordinance through a process known as zMod.  Through this review, Fairfax County will modernize its 40-year-old Zoning Ordinances. According to Fairfax County, zMod will help the County carry out its strategic plan to grow and diversify the local economy.

    GFCA has been actively engaged in the evaluation of land use policies since its organization, more than 50 years ago.  One of GFCA’s missions is to serve as a “watchdog” on matters of proposed changes in the County’s Land Use and Zoning policies to evaluate their effects on the area’s semi-rural and historic character.  Based on input from its membership, GFCA offers constructive feedback to County planners and elected officials to ensure that proposed changes to the land use regulations remain administratively fair and reflect broad citizen participation.  Because Great Falls is a community that is mainly residential in nature, the developing zMod proposals that directly impact residential uses are of concern to GFCA. 

    The latest zMod topics include proposals to change regulations on accessory dwelling units, home-based businesses, freestanding accessory structures, decks and patios, electric vehicle charging, and solar collection systems.  Some of these changes could have significant effects on our community:

    · The zMOD draft proposes a more streamlined process that would allow administrative approval of an Accessory Dwelling Unit when located within the principal dwelling. This proposal would also change the occupancy restrictions. 

    · For the proposals to revise Home-based Businesses: The home-based business change could allow customers of home-based businesses to visit the location, essentially turning a residential neighborhood into a commercial zone, generating possible traffic and parking issues on residential streets.

    · Freestanding Structure changes will propose to modify side and rear yard setback requirements, as well as the height of the structures.

    · Deck and Patio changes are proposed that will modify encroachment of decks and patios into setbacks, as well as address the height of screening and pergolas.  

    · New rules are being proposed for Electric Vehicle charging stations that relate to minimum parking requirements, dispenser and cabinet equipment height limitations, canopy requirements, and screening standards. 

    · Solar collection system standards are proposed to be revised to address the height of rooftop systems, and setback requirements for freestanding structures.

    Planning officials are also contemplating local rules that would address State-mandated “Agritourism” in the County.  This would entail the potential for the establishment of farm-related businesses, wineries, breweries, and other farm-based retail activities. Because Great Falls still has many potential sites that could be affected by this legislation, GFCA will be monitoring these proposals to ensure that residents are informed as the planning advances at the County level. 

    To learn more about these proposals, GFCA’s Land Use and Zoning Committee will host a Town Hall Meeting on March 11th, at 7:00 PM at the Great Falls Library Meeting Room.  County staff will deliver the latest presentation on these developments in land use regulation.  Please plan to attend.

  • 18 Mar 2018 1:53 PM | Anonymous

    GFCA is sponsoring a community meeting to educate and seek comment on a new development proposed for the Colvin Run commercial district, at 1131 Walker Road, across from Dante’s restaurant. 

    The community meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Falls Library.  GFCA members and Great Falls residents are welcome.

    The project requires a special zoning exception although the developer points out that the proposed project is significantly less impactful than that allowed by the current C-8 zoning of the property.  The developer cites less parking, noise and traffic impact than other allowed commercial uses, and create no impact on schools.

    An artist’s illustration of the project is below, and more descriptive information from the developer is available by clicking here.


  • 03 Jan 2018 9:21 PM | Anonymous

    Attend the Kick-off Meeting for zMOD: Fairfax County and its consultant, Clarion Associates, will hold a community meeting as part of the official kick-off for the next phase of the Zoning Ordinance Modernization project (zMOD) on Wednesday, January 24, at 7:00 p.m. in the Government Center (conference rooms 4 & 5). This phase of the project will include restructuring the format of the ordinance, and updating and "bucketing" land uses.

    Take the Online Survey: A public survey has been posted and will be available through January 31. Please let the County know your thoughts about the Zoning Ordinance: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZMOD

    For additional information, please see the project website (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-zoning/zmod) and the news release (https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicaffairs/attend-jan-24-community-meeting-launching-fairfax-countys-zoning-modernization-project).

    You may also contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314.

  • 26 Nov 2017 5:38 PM | Anonymous

    Representatives from DC Water will be holding a public meeting to discuss Great Falls impacts from their plans to rehab a section of the Potomac Interceptor Pipeline that flows along the Potomac River underneath Great Falls.  This section is at the end of its service life and needs reconstruction and repair.  This project is entering its planning phase, and is scheduled for construction to begin in 2020 and continue for 2 years.  The likely impact on Great Falls is construction traffic, although a breach of the pipeline could pose a serious concern for well water.  More information on the pipeline, and the rehabilitation project, are available here.

    The meeting will be held on Dec 14, 6:30-9:30 p.m., at the Great Falls Library.

  • 05 Mar 2017 10:08 AM | Anonymous

    GFCA recently met with the developer of the planned new CVS development, which will be built on the southwest corner of Seneca Rd and Georgetown Pike.   We reviewed and discussed the latest plans, including building design.

    GFCA and the developer have made a set of plans available for public review at the Great Falls Library.


  • 05 Mar 2017 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    GFCA recently met with the developer of the planned new Suntrust Bank building, which will be built in the parking lot south of the Wells Fargo Bank branch.   We reviewed and discussed the plans, including building design.

    GFCA and the developer have made a set of plans available for public review at the Great Falls Library.

  • 08 Dec 2016 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    GFCA has dropped its opposition to the proposed rezoning of the Gulick Group's project on the Hill's Nursery property.  In a letter sent today to the County Planning Commission, GFCA observed that all significant concerns expressed in our letter of June 28th have been satisfactorily addressed (often with revision) by the applicant and that the number of homes have been reduced from 10 to 9.  We commend Gulick for working well with the GFCA and local residents to react constructively to the concerns and issues raised in this process.

    However, in the letter GFCA President Bill Canis raised stronger concerns in general about continued development in Great Falls.  Canis said: 

    "GFCA board members  and general members are growing increasingly concerned about future rezoning and development efforts and believe the criteria the county employs to evaluate rezoning  and Special Exception applications are outdated, insufficient and not representative of the unique nature of this  area within the Dranesville district. We feel this is a critical long-range  issue for the community  and believe a serious review and revision of the county andlor state standards is merited to better reflect expected future trends in the decades ahead. We hope to engender the support of the Planning Commission as we study these issues and improve the standards for the betterment of all county residents."

    The full text of the letter can be found here.

  • 17 Aug 2016 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    By the end of August, the groundwater processing system operating on the old Exxon Station property at the corner of Walker Rd and Georgetown Pike will be temporarily removed. Initial site preparation for TD Bank construction will begin this fall with paving. The actual bank branch construction will occur early in 2017. 

    The groundwater processing system was installed 2 years ago to remediate groundwater contamination on the site.  The system will be returned in about two months to resume processing.  At present, groundwater contamination MTBE levels in groundwater on site are nearing cleanup goals. As shown in the attached graphic, the contamination that remains is mainly to the east of Walker Road, under the Safeway shopping center parking lot (BFSaul property). The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) has ordered recommendations from the owner of the old Exxon site for cleaning this MTBE contamination.  This situation is being closely monitored by GFCA, and the recommendations for cleanup of contamination east of Walker Rd. will be evaluated by GFCA once submitted to VADEQ.


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The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Great Falls Citizens Association

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