VPIS Thumbs Down, AAB Thumbs Up on Founder’s Row Changes

July 13, 2018 4:41 PM0 comments

THE ARCHITECTURAL Advisory Board met at the City’s temporary City Hall Wednesday night and voted unanimously to recommend approval of modifications to the Founder’s Row project. (Photo: News-Press)

As Falls Church boards, commissions and civic entities weigh in on the proposed modifications in the 4.3-acre Founder’s Row proposal, it received unanimous votes of support from the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board. The board of the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) and the City’s Architectural Advisory Board (AAB), however, were split on the changes in meetings later this week.

The matter will be the subject of a public hearing before the Planning Commission Monday night and then go to the City Council, which is slated to hold a work session on Aug. 6 prior to a Aug. 13 final vote on the proposed modifications (two and a half years ago, the project was approved by the Council in an unanimous vote).

In a letter to the Council released Wednesday following an off-the-record meeting Tuesday night, VPIS president Elizabeth Meade writing on behalf of the board, cited the proposed modification (authorizing a 72-unit active senior restricted apartment building in lieu of a hotel on the same footprint) represents a “shift away from commercial uses, and with other issues, the board believes the project resulting from approval of the amendment to the special exception would not be ‘exemplary’ and recommends that the Council not approve the proposed amendment.”

According to a report from the AAB, after a three-hour presentation and discussion of the issues, the board voted unanimously to accept the applicant’s substitution proposal. Of more concern to the AAB was the look of the east side of the building facing onto the St. James Church, and Mill Creek architects indicated they would do more work on that.

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