I am writing to protest the proposal by Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Investment, Inc. to build condos and retail space on Mill Street in Occoquan.
The proposed building itself is an ugly-duckling monstrosity, a blasphemy totally out of line with the history of the town, its character, charm and significance. The size of the project is outrageous: 88 condos, 6,600 square feet of retail space and a 235-space parking garage, which, by the developer’s own admission would create an additional 864 vehicle trips daily. This totally ignores the already taxed traffic conditions in and around the town itself.
Obviously, MAREI does not wish to admit to the existing rush-hour traffic jams backed up to Lorton and beyond over the Va. 123 bridge, spilling through the town proper and continually snaking up the picturesque Tanyard Hill Road. Add 864 trips? Insanity!! MAREI is concerned only with the building and its profits. Let the town and the council members figure out what to do with the traffic.
All those cars have to come and go, not just park; there’s a problem without a solution. Occoquan is a dead-end location: just three two-lane roads in and out. An uncontrolled addition means complete gridlock.
The mention of optionally building an office building or hotel “by right and without a special use permit” is a clear threat and unmitigated insult to every member of the planning commission, the town council, the town’s citizens and the very history of the town itself. Extortion!
The requests for rezoning and zoning exceptions should be adamantly rejected.
Additionally, we must be wary that, as outrageous as this proposal appears, it may be merely a smokescreen to cover some future counter-proposal of perhaps half or a third of its size and scope. Still way too much for the conditions. Just stand on the bridge some late afternoon and . . . imagine!
Those “towering” dry dock pilings are indeed an eyesore. The empty lot(s) and two vacant buildings should be re-developed, but instead of this monstrous proposal (akin to dropping the J. Edgar Hoover Building in its place), let’s request several proposals holding to the vintage requirements of the historic district and keeping intact the proper size, character, charm, quaintness and significance of our much-beloved Occoquan, Virginia.
Joseph E. Wenzel