Although it’s planned for uses comparable to that of Potomac Mills mall, could land near the retail giant be better utilized by industrial businesses?
That’s what the Prince William County Planning Commission pondered Wednesday when it made a recommendation to study an area bound by Telegraph Road, Interstate 95 and Crossing Place near Bed Bath & Beyond in Woodbridge.
The issue arose when considering a rezoning for the Travers property on Telegraph Road.
The Commission recommended that the nine-acre lot be allowed a light industrial rezoning because businesses in that area thrive as industrial, not regional retail, as the county’s long-range plan calls for.
“Given the pattern of development there and that it seems to be changing over very slowly, I think there is a higher likelihood of getting some light industrial uses in there,” said Jay du Von, attorney for the Travers application. “Does it really make sense for people to put retail in there? Because it’s really not marketable.”
Occoquan District Commissioner Kim Hosen recommended that county planners change the county’s vision for that land from regional retail to light industrial.
The current comprehensive plan calls for large-scale retail with up to 30 residential units allowed.
The comprehensive plan is the county’s most powerful zoning tool that guides how land is developed.
“When we notice an area that is planned for one use and that almost all the actual real uses don’t conform with the comprehensive plan, it raises questions about how you are going to get to your end goal,” Hosen said.
The vacant Travers property is hidden behind Coleman Powersports, GDC Trucking and Oakwood Veterinary Hospital.
That section of Telegraph Road between Prince William Parkway and IKEA is situated near recently built hotels and under-construction fast-food restaurants.
Massive shopping centers are less than one mile away.
“With all the large scale retail there, it begs the question: Do we really want more?” Hosen asked.
The Commission’s recommendation to change the long-range land use designation is expected to be forwarded to the Board of County Supervisors, which makes the final decision on all land use cases.
In other business, the commission recommended approval of a seven-home residential subdivision in the Coles District at Canova Drive near its intersection with Whitting Drive.
The county’s first drive-through Starbucks also received the commission’s thumbs up. It is planned for the Fortuna shopping center on Va. 234 near Stockbridge Drive and Montclair in the Dumfries District.