So, Why Do They Want to Tear Down Rose Hill Plaza?
Because of incentives to "urbanize" suburbs. Many think this is wrong! The people who currently live here should have a say on what new developments "move in" if it's going to adversely affect their lives.
The Rose Hill Plaza owner wants to make a change. There is nothing wrong with this scenario. However, that change includes REMOVING the center and REPLACING it with as many as 400 high-rise apartments and smaller (expensive) retail space. Current merchants have already been told "You won't be able to afford space in the new facility!" Then, who will move in? In order for this change to occur, the zoning code for this property must be changed, first. Therein lies the problem.
In order to change the zone, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission must hear testimony from the property owner, developer, and the people. Then, they will rule on whether or not the proposed zone changes are warranted. This process is accomplished over several "tiers." First, the proposal must pass the scrutiny of the local district supervisor. Then, once that supervisor decides it is ready to advance to the next level, the supervisor presents it to the Board of Supervisors for a vote. This project has been moved back to the lowest tier because of public outcry. At first glance, that might seem like a victory for the people. Except, the Board of Directors are all up for re-election this fall. They do not wish this very unpopular project to jeopardize their chances of getting re-elected. That is the only reason why this project was delayed. Pure and simple. If the incumbents are re-elected, watch how quickly the zone change request will be approved. Vote in a new Board, and the current project, as proposed, will be dead on arrival. Because 'that' is what the people of Rose Hill want. "We, the people" have spoken. Question is, are the incumbent Supervisors listening?
If developed, we're told the proposed facility would be very similar to "South Alex" on North Kings Hwy. There, only one retail space has been filled with Aldi's Food Store. That's it. All other retail space is unoccupied, as is most of the expensive apartments on the block.
So much for "affordable housing!"
To build such a monstrosity requires significant zoning changes. Current supervisors are happy to grant such changes. But, we're told this project has been "put on-hold" until the buyer can meet with residents to discuss the project. Discuss? We sincerely believe the only reason the project has been put on-hold is because the current county board is up for re-election. After November, if the incumbent Board of Supervisors are re-elected, we can kiss this beloved shopping center goodbye, along with all the merchants we rely on for our day-to-day needs:
If the Plaza closes, say goodbye to: Safeway, Gabes, Dollar Store, 7-Eleven, Vocelli's Pizza, Mamma Mia's,T-Mobile, Anytime Fitness, Namaste, Laundromat, Hair Salon, Nail & Day Spa, Dry Cleaners, and all the others.
Get ready for problems! Can the current infrastructure handle all those new housing units? Sewage, water, natural gas, internet, even the mobile cell towers are already over-loaded! What about school classrooms?
Current traffic conditions are already crowded. What will it be like with upwards of 400 more housing units added to a one-block area? The current Board wants to "re-imagine" parking requirements. They want to reduce the number of parking spaces by half, and reduce the retail area by two-thirds! No more trips to the doctors office, grandma's house, or even work! You'll either have to walk there, ride your bike, or take an Uber. There's not even a Metro station close enough to walk! Don't they realize we get weather extremes here? (cold/hot/rain/snow)
Do you suppose any of the current Board of Supervisors are planning to move there? You can bet they won't even visit. (No place to park the Porsche!)
Only one solution: Elect a new set of Supervisors!
Choose wisely only candidates willing to listen to their constituents. Paul Beran, candidate for Supervisor of the Franconia District, hears the cries from local residents to keep the shopping enter open. Combined Properties, current owner of Rose Hill Plaza, is welcome to give the shopping center a fresh new look if they like. They can probably even expand their retail space to include outparcels. But to build a high rise apartment complex of 400+ units in its place is not needed, nor is it welcome by the people. Give the people what they want, and not force feed them what they don't want. That's the golden rule of business.
Elect Paul Beran -- but don't stop there. A lone conservative voice in a field of liberals can easily be drown out. Encourage everyone you know throughout Fairfax County to choose conservative supervisors for their districts, too. (Pick one of The Replacements!) To assure decisions are made at the county level that truly reflect what the people who live here want, vote honorable conservative candidates who put "voters" ahead of their own and special interests.