It was another long, long night for the Falls Church City Council and Planning Commission Monday, beginning with a walking tour of the site of the Spectrum Developers’ plans for massive mixed use development of assembled parcels adjacent the Broad and West Street intersection, but when it ended the developers got what they came for, a Council commitment to grant a preliminary first reading approval for the project at this coming Monday’s Council business meeting.
The Council seemed inclined to settle for more talk and no action Monday night when former Falls Church City Manager David Lasso, now a consultant for Spectrum, grabbed the microphone and told the Council in no uncertain terms that given all the money his client had already spent on the project plans, including many revisions, that it was unreasonable to send them away with no commitment to moving the project forward. The developer after all, he stressed, needs to keep its bank financing source in the game by showing some concrete signs of progress. A first reading OK allows the City to set in motion the full resources of its volunteers boards and commissions to weigh in on the plan.
The main value of the walking tour of the site was the ability to show how much of the land involved is nothing more than broken asphalt and concrete now. Were the Spectrum’s plan to be approved, it would generate, minimally, $1.2 to $1.3 million in net tax revenues to the City, compared the paltry sum the City is currently able to glean from the four-acre area. .