As the Chair of the Tysons Partnership, I’m pleased to report that on February 2nd the Partnership’s Board of Directors voted to appoint David Diaz as our new President and Executive Director.  David, who is currently the president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, succeeds to the position left vacant recently by Michael Caplin’s retirement.

We welcome David and his family to our Tysons community.  We look forward to the continued strengthening of our Partnership and the evolution of our “AudaCity”.  View press release.

The Comprehensive Plan is critical to land valuation and redevelopment potential.  Fairfax County has recently rolled out a proposed new process related to the procedural mechanisms for proposing site specific amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.  This process is a successor to the former Area Plan Review (APR) process and the more recent Fairfax Forward process.  This proposed process is in response to a directive by the Board of Supervisors to re-evaluate the Fairfax Forward process.  A summary of the new proposed process, as provided by Fairfax County, can be found at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/fairfaxforward/proposed_fairfax_forward_changes_flyer.pdf.  At first read, the proposed process retains features of both the APR and the Fairfax Forward processes, including the ability to directly nominate property for replanning consideration.  That said, when compared to prior processes, there are meaningful differences in the vetting and evaluation processes that warrant further consideration and examination.  The County has invited feedback from industry representatives and McGuireWoods will be actively participating in those discussions.  Updates on the evolution of this process and the strategic and tactical implications will follow.

David Gill will be speaking at the NVBIA Real Estate Finance Committee Luncheon on January 25th regarding the Land Use Process in Northern Virginia.  The luncheon will be at Noon at the offices of Miller and Smith in Tysons (8401 Greensboro Dr #450).  Please email Alex Johns, Committee Chair, at AJohns@Resmark.com or David Gill at dgill@mcguirewoods.com for additional information.

 

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a Policy Plan Amendment that will potentially open industrial planned areas County-wide by providing additional FAR for Data Center and Self-Storage uses.  This much needed amendment, which was adopted and developed largely in response to concerns raised by McGuireWoods for a key client, creates a new policy that allows the Board to increase the potential FAR to a 1.0 for these uses based largely on the lower-impact these uses generate in terms of traffic and County services.  The amendment requires a development site be located in an industrially planned and zoned district and meet certain criteria involving transportation, noise mitigation, building design, lot size or parcel consolidation, and site design in order to achieve the greater intensity. The text of the new amendment can be found here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/comprehensiveplan/adoptedtext/2013_p-08.pdf

 

Please contact any member of the McGuireWoods team if you have questions about how this amendment may apply to a site.

To Fairfax County’s credit, they have collectively recognized the structural shifts that have and are occurring in the commercial office market.  In 2016, the County seated a diverse “Workgroup” to study the issue.  The Workgroup included elected officials (thanks to Supervisor Cook), senior County staff, and industry professionals, including  McGuireWoods.  On December 27th, the County published a forward looking report that identifies a number of innovative policy objectives that are aimed at adding flexibility and efficiency to approvals process so as to give otherwise challenged office and commercial properties new and additional options to be put to productive use in a way that benefits landowners and the County.  These options are potentially wide ranging and include residential and live/work options.  We expect ongoing evolution of these Policies in 2017.  If you would like to know more about this process, next steps and how it can creative opportunity for individual sites, please contact Gregory Riegle at griegle@mcguirewoods.com.

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The Old Town North Small Area Plan Advisory Group will meet on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 and a community meeting will be held the following day December 15, 2016. Staff has begun releasing draft chapters of the revised small area plan to the Advisory Group. The City intends to send the new small area plan to Planning Commission and City Council for approval in March of 2017. Property owners in Old Town North should review these drafts chapters now to protect their interests. More information can be found here: https://www.alexandriava.gov/planning/info/default.aspx?id=86032

The North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan Advisory Group, established to allow for community engagement of proposed amendments to the 2010 North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan, will meet on January 31, 2017 to discuss transportation. The Advisory Group has been meeting since April 2016 to discuss topics such as land use, open space, housing, etc. in the context of proposed amendments to facilitate the redevelopment of the Hoyts theater site east of Potomac Avenue. Future Advisory Group meetings are scheduled to take place on February 13th and March 20th.  The Advisory Group will continue discussing the amendments until March of 2017 when a working draft of the small area plan amendments will be available. The amendments to the small area plan will be sent to Planning Commission and City Council for approval in May or June 2017. More information can be found here: https://www.alexandriava.gov/PotomacYardPlan

Loudoun County has approved actions to avoid the new proffer restrictions that become effective on July 1, 2016.  On June 23, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to create three new “small area comprehensive plans” comprising what is now the Suburban Policy Area, where most rezonings are expected.  Each small area plan will encompass one of the planned Metrorail stations in the County.  Under the new proffer bill, the restrictions that prohibit many of the proffers Loudoun has requested in the past do not apply to rezonings subject to such small area plans.

The Board has set a schedule for adoption of the new small area plans in October.  This schedule doesn’t allow for much community engagement, so the contents of the plan are likely to look very much like the existing Revised General Plan.  Don’t expect much activity on rezonings filed after July 1 until these new Small Area Plans are adopted.  The Board resolution prohibits county officials from discussing proffers related to new applications until the small area plans are done.

Proposed New Small Area Plans

Item 04 Resolution to Administer New Proffer Legislation

On June 21 the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved amendments to the Planned Residential Multi-Family (PRM) and Planned Development Commercial (PDC) zoning districts, along with changes to Community Revitalization District (CRD) and Community Business Center (CBC) requirements. The amendments will help implement existing Comprehensive Plan recommendations for increased FARs in limited locations and provide flexibility similar implementation of future Comprehensive Plan recommendations.  The approved amendment increases potential FARs in Transit Station Areas (TSAs) to 5.0 and permits up to a 4.0 FAR in CRDs and CBCs, with the exception of the McLean CBC.  The amendment also provides for additional uses in the PRM and PDC zoning districts and clarifies requirements for parking reductions.  Additionally, the amendment includes changes related to fast food restaurants in the PDC and PRM districts.

The zoning ordinance amendments are now in effect.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of the adopted ordinance amendments, do not hesitate to contact Scott Adams at sadams@mcguirewoods.com.

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In 2010, Alexandria Renew Enterprises needed land for expansion of its state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility. They already owned a vacant two acre parcel, but this land was cut off from the rest of the facility and was planned for residential use.  The only land meeting Alexandria Renew’s needs was a ten-acre former Go-Kart track already planned for high-density mixed use development.

After a long and difficult condemnation case, Alexandria Renew was forced to pay $36 million for the ten-acre tract of adjacent land. The price tag was so high because the parcel was already zoned for 512,000 SF of office and 170,000 SF of residential apartments, but Alexandria Renew needed the land for industrial-type use.  The solution: transfer of development rights.

Working with a team of McGuireWoods lawyers, the public authority known as Alexandria Renew crafted a complicated plan to sell the development rights for private development to JM Zell Partners and Alder Branch Realty. Key to the deal was an innovative site plan that concealed the wastewater treatment uses under a soccer field.  The soccer field merges with an elevated landscape extending onto the private land and covering several levels of above-ground parking.  Because Alexandria Renew is exempt from real estate taxes, the transfer puts the development rights back on the City tax rolls.

Alexandria Renew negotiated the sale of the development rights for 50% of the fair market value if the sale were to include the land along with the development rights. They also agreed to sell the surplus two-acre parcel that could not be used for wastewater treatment. When the final closing occurs in 2020, the public authority will have received up to $32 million from the private development.  In the meantime, the project continues to win national engineering and design awards and the public has begun to enjoy a new soccer field.

SliverLineCPAM_Page_5The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors initiated the plan amendment process for properties around the two Loudoun Metro stations on March 17.  The board’s motion included plan boundaries, shown above, and a detailed schedule leading to adoption of a plan amendment in November 2016.  The eight phase process will allow landowners to present ideas for future development.

The county planning staff is recommending adoption of a form-based code to regulate development within the small area plan, along with urban design guidelines and recommendations for changes to the Countywide Transportation Plan.  Staff noted it intends to have Shellhorn Road and adjacent roads reflect the alignments previously endorsed by the Board.

Stakeholder meetings will begin in April and interested property owners need to engage early.