An office building near the Innovation Center Metro station is on its way to becoming 348 apartment units.
Last week, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a plan to replace the ePlus headquarters at 13595 Dulles Technology Drive in McNair with a new residential building.
It would be up to six stories tall with a partial basement and 41 workforce dwelling units. A 418-space parking garage is planned on the site, along with a 4-foot-wide pedestrian pathway next to the apartment building.
At the Sept. 14 public hearing, several residents testified against the development proposal, criticizing its density, impacts on environmentally protected areas, and other neighboring developments.
The area surrounding the proposed apartments has been the focus of increased residential development, including Stanley Martin’s Overlook at Dulles Tech project.
Kathryn Taylor, a lawyer for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh who represented developer H/F Techpointe, said the project creates a distinct community.
“The proposed development has been thoughtfully designed with high quality architecture, well landscaped public spaces, the preservation and restoration of onsite environmental features, an improved sidewalk and roadway network that enhances connectivity and facilities safe and convenient access to the Innovation Metro Station,” Taylor said.
But several residents said they were unconvinced of the project’s value to the community.
The Dulles Technology Building Association plans to seek a restraining order to stop the project if it moves forward, according to president Carl Strauss. He expressed concern about improper notification of the project, widening of a road that he said would encroach on eminent domain of his office building next door, environmental damages, and other issues.
He called the requested reduction in parking “stunningly disrespectful.”
His testimony was echoed by another resident who lamented the loss of environmental areas — including a runoff lake — caused by neighboring projects and the buildout of housing in the area.
“It’s like Moscow there,” one resident said, referring to the number of new residential units in the area.
Taylor emphasized that the proposal protects environmental areas and preserves as many trees as possible.
“The proposal will not encroach on any environmentally sensitive areas at all,” she said.
The commission approved the application after considering a motion to defer. Staff noted that a deferral would push a decision by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to January.
Braddock District Planning Commissioner Mary Cortina said several of the problems voiced by residents were linked to other surrounding projects.
“The damage has already been done on this other area,” Cortina said.
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