Our friends in Tysons Corner are engaged in much the same sort of urban planning effort as is going on in White Flint. What happens in Tysons is important, economically, for the White Flint area. One reason White Flint is so enticing as a redevelopment area is that economic studies show as much as $2 billion in retail sales in Virginia came from people in the White Flint area.
Tysons is a much bigger and more expensive effort, with new Metro stations and a series of urban areas. Nevertheless, the Washington Post today reports the same sort of disagreement over vision and density plans which went on during the White Flint planning process.
Apparently, the Fairfax County planning staff disagrees with the planning task force and Board of Supervisors on how urban the new area should be. By “urban,” the planners apparently mean how much building density to allow. According to reports, translated into Montgomery County terms, the new Tysons plan would permit FARs of up to 6.0. The planners, apparently looking at the White Flint Plan, contend that good development can be had at lower FARs. The White Flint Plan permits maximum FARs of 4.0, and then only right next to the Metro station. (And some people think that is an “urban” design which does what Tysons intends.) During the planning process for the White Flint Plan, some developers said that they needed higher FARs; the Planning Board rejected the pleas, saying the same things the Post reports from Tysons: you can do just as good a job with the lower density.
The Fairfax planners will report out their vision of the new Tysons tomorrow.
You can find the Post article here: