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Herndon Planning Commission Tackles Mixed-Use Project, Elden Street Improvements

by Catherine Douglas Moran January 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm 2 Comments

A mixed-use development project along Herndon Parkway hit some design snags and a zoning issue as the developer tried to move the project forward at the Herndon Planning Commission meeting on Monday (Jan. 14).

Penzance Properties plans to build a mixed-use development at 555 Herndon Parkway. Located on the south side of Herndon Parkway, the site is between Van Buren Street and Spring Street and north of the future Herndon Silver Line Station.

The 90,000 square feet of office space currently occupying the site is slated to be razed.

The Planning Commission staff report notes that the development plan needs one modification to abide by a zoning ordinance. The report also provided dozens of suggestions and areas to focus on to improve the project.

The Architectural Review Board reviewed the plans at its Dec. 12 meeting and said in a memo to the Planning Commission that the architecture and urban design of the project need more definition and revision.

ARB noted that the project is especially hard to review “since it is the first development of this size and scale in Herndon and the first time the ARB is evaluating architecture as part of a development plan review process.” Its “broad and general level” review a list of critiques, including a lack of facade detailing, insufficient material variety on the residential floors and roofline, an undefined pedestrian scale and an “overall stark and sterile design.”

A transportation impact study on the project expects minimal impact on intersections, with 25 percent of the anticipated travel connected to the four office buildings and 35 percent related residential.

Out of the three development alternatives, the transportation study analyzed the alternative with the highest trip generation. That option includes up to 406,000 square feet of office space, 380 residential units and 27,767 square feet of retail and a 250 room hotel. The buildout is slated for 2022.

“Herndon has long planned for intersection improvements on Spring Street between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway and at the intersection of Herndon Parkway and Van Buren Street,” according to the study’s examinations of the 2017 conditions. “These intersections operate at or near capacity under existing conditions.”

The Town of Herndon is studying three alternate bus bay location plans that include bus layby lanes, passenger car layby lanes and a signalized pedestrian connection crossing Herndon Parkway east of the site.

Penzance Properties has scheduled a neighborhood meeting for Jan. 23 and mailed invitations to neighboring properties, according to the staff report.

The Planning Commission also took up a proposal to create a design concept for street improvements on South Elden Street between Sterling Road and Herndon Parkway.

A revised resolution would add an 8-foot, shared-use path on the western side of Elden Street running from Sterling Road to Herndon Parkway and improve the existing five-lane section to be a four-lane section with 11-foot-wide travel lanes, a raised median and protected turning lanes. It would also add enhanced crosswalks at the intersections of Elden Street and Alabama Drive, the intersection at Dulles Park Shopping Center and the intersection of Elden Street at Sterling Road.

These changes are meant to increase visibility and pedestrian safety.

The Town of Herndon has until Oct. 1 to adopt a policy for the work under a previously approved $65,000 grant or repay the grant to the state after that date.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 28.

Images via Herndon Planning Commission

  • 30yearsinreston

    Traffic and pedestrian improvements before development?
    Pedestrian paths and crosswalks instead of bike lanes ?
    Its obvious Herndon doesnt have Hudgins or Plum as their representatives

    • Walter Hadlock

      On the planning board is a shared bike/pedestrian path from the W&OD Trail that will go along Herndon Parkway to the entry path to the under construction Metro station.

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