The Board of Supervisors has delayed until Sept. 22 its vote on Harris Teeter’s application to build a new, bigger type of store than originally planned, but nearby residents spoke for and against it at the board meeting Sept. 6 anyway.
Harris Teeter is also asking for permission to build a gas station. The development, Kirkpatrick West Commercial Center, is at the corner of Braddock Road and Northstar Boulevard in the county’s transition policy area. Feelings were strong, but mixed.
Supervisors Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), who represents the area around the proposed development, has voiced opposition to Harris Teeter’s plans.
Lisa Olivieri, a Loudoun Crossing homeowner, said her neighborhood would benefit from the jobs, tax revenue, and shopping the commercial center would bring.
“We came here together tonight to ensure that all of the supervisors are aware that our entire community supports this application and to make our voices heard, since unfortunately many of us have yet to receive a response to calls or emails made to our supervisor, Mr. Buffington.”
But other homeowners voiced opposition and suspicion. Stephan Dunhem said he loves Harris Teeter.
“They’re talking as if this is an all or nothing deal, this Harris Teeter’s just going to walk away,” Dunhem said. “I’m not against Harris Teeter. I’m against the new, revised, expanded super Harris Teeter with the Costco-style gas station.”
Dunhem also defended the transition policy area, which is meant to provide a buffer between Loudoun’s suburban and rural areas, and which he said remains intact—as evidenced, he said, by the smell of manure around the neighborhood from a nearby farmer.
“A super Harris Teeter like this does not belong in manure country,” Dunhem said.
Stew Macaleer said he is worried about the health and safety risks of having the gas stations nearby, and about the traffic.
“The traffic on Braddock Road has already reached a point where my kid’s schoolbus, which has one bus stop and only has to go three miles down Braddock Road, has been late to school every day this year,” Macaleer said. “This is before adding a commercial center.”
“Our kids look at Saturn at night, and the rings, and we look at the moons of Jupiter,” Tiffany Johnson protested tearfully. “And we will not be able to see them if this goes through because of the light pollution. The noise on Braddock, we can hear from our bedroom. There are nights we can’t even sleep because we hear the cars.”
Walsh Colucci Lubely Walsh attorney Michael Romeo, representing Harris Teeter, also spoke during the public hearing. He said the proposed fuel station, at 12 pumps, is no larger than any other neighborhood gas station.
“This is a good application, proposed by an applicant that has put forth a continual good effort to improve the application,” Romeo said.