Carol Hawn called the meeting to order at 7:41 p.m. and introduced the guest speakers for the evening: Mr. Todd Hanson, project manager for the National Air and Space Museum Dulles Center (Center), with the environmental engineering firm of Dames & Moore, Mr. Doug Wonderlic, Office of the Physical Plant, the Smithsonian Institution, and Ms. Suzette Goldstein with Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum, P.C. (HOK), architects of the project.
Mr. Wonderlic noted that this is the third presentation to the Sully District Council; meetings were also held in 1994 and 1995. In addition, local residents attended the scoping meeting held last September. Resident input is important to gauge how the Center will fit in at both Dulles Airport as well as in the local community.
The Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) report for the Center was sent to a number of individuals on March 14, 1997. Comments are due at 5:00 p.m. on April 14, 1997 and may be addressed to Mr. Hanson. After review, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will determine whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, or to not build the Center. The FAA is the lead agency in the project, the Smithsonian Institution and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) are cooperating agencies. The latter is responsible for funding road and infrastructure improvements.
The Center is necessary due to the number of large artifacts owned by the Smithsonian, currently stored elsewhere. Most of these artifacts cannot fit into the Air and Space Museum on the Mall, and if they could fit, could not be transported through the streets of the District of Columbia. This location permits large artifacts to land at Dulles and use the proposed taxiway from the current deicing pad to get to the Center. Two of the items to be displayed in the Center are the first Space Shuttle and a SR71 Blackbird from the 1960s.
Site selection for the Center began in 1989. Design work will take place through 1998. Construction will begin next year and continue through 2001, at which time the Center will open to the public. The facility will be fully operational by December 2003, the 100th anniversary of manned flight.
The Center will be located on 185 acres in the northwest quadrant of the Routes 28/50 interchange, and consists of two hangars serving as storage facilities to preserve the collection of the Smithsonian. It will be somewhat simple and cost effective, and built on the order of the Dayton Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The largest of the two hangars will be approximately three football fields long, with a vaulted, 100-foot ceiling. A smaller hangar will be built to the west of the large restoration hangar. Every effort is being made to not cast light from the Center to neighboring properties, including the Fairfax Police Training Facility and Avion Business Park. There is a 100-foot tree buffer between the Center and the western boundary; to the east of the parcel, on airport property, is a no build forested area. There will be an exterior area for temporary exhibits. The early plans included a small parking area to watch planes, however, for safety reasons this was removed.
Public access to the Center will be via a proposed partial interchange off Route 28, just south of the current Gate 4 intersection. The entire interchange configuration is a standard cloverleaf, however, the current proposal only presents those segments of the interchange necessary to enter and exit the Center. Segments used to travel east of Route 28 are not currently being planned, but will someday be built. Alternatives considered included constructing the cloverleaves on the north which would have created difficulty with left turns, and leaves on the south, which may disturb a possible archeological site. The proposed alternative was selected because it is less costly in that it will be built as would be needed in the future, and therefore will not have to be rebuilt when someday completed. Barnesfield Road has always been in the Comprehensive Plan, however the proposed alternative does not line up to the existing Barnesfield Road directly. At this time, the Comprehensive Plan does not show a direct connection from the interchange to Centreville Road. The present Gate 4 will be closed off and the intersection with Route 28 removed. VDOT is responsible for acquiring the land outside Dulles Airport for the interchange. There is concern that constructing a stub, to connect eastward, will invite developers to build along the Centreville Road corridor. The best way to prevent this would be to build a huge commercial building in front of it between Route 28 and Centreville Road. With the partial interchange, traffic levels should remain acceptable; without it, there will be unacceptable traffic levels. VDOT will conduct a public hearing this coming fall regarding the proposed interchange entrance off Route 28.
The entrance is a boulevard-type road with a toll plaza prior to the Center. There will be a charge to park and visit the facility. There are two reasons why a parking fee will be imposed: to discourage both cut-through traffic and individuals parking at the facility who are actually departing from Dulles. A bike trail may be built through the property.
At this time, shuttle buses are planned to transport visitors to and from the West Falls Church Metro Station, as well as shuttle buses from Dulles Airport to the Center. The planners are aware of the potential for light rail from Route 28. If rail is extended through the Dulles Corridor, it would be advantageous to connect to it. While a path has not been created for rail, it has not been precluded in the future. Dick Frank, Transportation Chair, noted that Sully should be proactive and cooperate with Hunter Mill District and Loudoun County to plan for rail now that will be built many years in the future. Commercial development is picking up in the Route 28 corridor; if we do not plan now, we may build ourselves out of the opportunity to build in the future.
There will be a passenger drop-off area and a single large entry plaza in the front. The singular access point is for security reasons. Parking for approximately 2,000 vehicles will be provided, as well as a designated bus parking area and six (6) bus drop-off areas, similar to the kiss and ride areas at Metro Stations. There will be a loading road for supplies in the rear. There will be an employee/emergency access road from Route 50 that will be controlled via a fence and gate. The Center will employ approximately 177 individuals, with 130 working during the first shift.
All amenities are planned using design day statistics, those days when the facility will be the most heavily visited. Amenities include a restaurant, gift shop, theater, and administrative offices. There will also be an archival area as well as a study collection area. Visitors will enter on the mezzanine level and walk through the main hangar on a second story catwalk to observe the displays. Artifacts will be on the first floor as well as hanging from the ceiling. Amenities for children are being incorporated, including a first floor education area with classrooms and interactive computers. Cable trays are being planned in the floor, with the ultimate goal to have touchscreens to disseminate information to visitors. Design day statistics are based upon approximately 20,600 visitors, averaging three individuals per vehicle. Therefore, 7,000 to 8,000 vehicles are expected, increasing traffic by approximately three percent per year. Visitors are expected to peak at both 10:00 a.m. and between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. when the facility closes. On weekends, the peak is expected to be from 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. Because the Center lies within the DNL 75 dBA (decibel) noise contours, interior noise attenuation will be considered.
Mr. Hanson briefly reviewed the contents of the EA, prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is the result of the studies conducted by Dames and Moore, HOK, and other companies since 1989. Dames and Moore and HOK have worked closely together since that time to determine how and where to build to least disturb the environment. Many alternatives were considered in preparing the EA. The alternative proposed overall impacts the environment the least.
Both field and library-oriented studies were conducted. Chapter 1 describes the purpose and need for the Center. Chapter 2 looks at all possible alternatives considered in the EA. Chapter 3 describes the existing environment, both physical and man-made. Wetlands delineations are highlighted. Twenty five acres of wetlands are on the site, of which seven to eight could be impacted. There are no threatened nor endangered species found on the site. Archeological site impacts are discussed, as well as traffic. Barton-Aschman Associates, Inc. has been in charge of examining traffic impact, including weekday evening rush hour and weekends. Chapter 4 looks at the environmental consequences of the current proposed alternative, and discusses the wetlands issue. The seven to eight acre most impacted would have to be filled after obtaining permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and an equal area identified to become wetlands. The FAA will not permit on-site mitigation; however, federal mandate requires mitigation in the same watershed. This decision will be made prior to construction. There is the need to build a viable wetlands, but it does not have to be in one area. This chapter also discussed the mitigation of the known archeological site. The proposed taxiway area must still be examined for artifacts. Chapter 5 looks at the impacts of the other alternatives. There has been an attempt to reduce site specific impacts wherever possible. Chapter 6 focuses on the mitigation necessary, including wetlands, surface water, archeological, air quality, and traffic. The watershed is in the southern part of the parcel. Because the parking lot represents a large impervious area, a permit will be necessary as it will drain into Cain Branch. There is a sanitary line near Cain Branch, and a public water connection is available along Route 50.
There is an archeological site near the proposed interchange, identified through two to three foot deep shovel pits taken every 75 feet. The State Historic Preservation Society is attempting to verify its importance. There is an intact well, possible from the 19th
century that may be related to Sully or Leeton Plantation. There are also several prehistoric sites within the parcel. Phase Two will start this spring. If significant, additional artifacts are found, it could impact the location of the proposed interchange.
Standard signage will be used for the Center. The Virginia Department of Tourism will vigorously promote the facility. A potential baseball stadium has not been taken into consideration in planning the Center. Sully Plantation has, however, and it is expected that there will be an increase in attendance at the Plantation, especially on weekends. Sully Plantation will be included in tourism literature. The Plantation is not prepared to see the increase in visitors that is expected. At this time, the plantation does not have public water, which will be necessary for the increased numbers. Sully District Council will pursue this issue with the county.
Mr. Wonderlic noted that the Smithsonian is setting up a foundation to accept contributions for the construction of the Center. There also may be information set up on the Smithsonian web page concerning the project.
As of February 28, 1997, the Sully District Council has a balance on hand of $1,635.59.
Land Use and Transportation Committee
At its March 3, 1997 meeting, the Land Use and Transportation Committee listened to a presentation from Mr. David Lause on behalf of the Arlington Catholic Diocese. The Diocese proposes to build a parish campus on Centreville Road, across from Franklin Middle School.
APR Task Force Member Applications - Supervisor Frey has extended the deadline for Associations to submit names for the Sully District Annual Plan Review Task Force. Please contact his office as soon as possible if you, or a member of your community, is interested in serving on this.
Dulles Airport Noise Contours Update - The Board of Supervisors deferred its vote on the issue until April 7, 1997. Carol Hawn spoke on behalf of the Sully District Council at the public hearing held Monday, March 24, 1997.
Thompson Road Out-of-Turn Plan Amendment - The Thompson Road out-of-turn plan amendment is scheduled for a public hearing before the Planning Commission on Thursday, April 3, 1997, at 8:15 p.m.
There will be a town meeting concerning Teenage Substance Abuse on Tuesday, April 1, 1997, at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway.
Burlap is available for communities interested in gypsy moth prevention. It can be picked up on Saturday, May 10, 1997 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. To request burlap, please call 324-5304. The county is cutting back on funding for the program this year as gypsy moths are expected to be in a dormant period.
Clean Fairfax Council will provide bags and other supplies to communities interested in cleaning debris up in their associations. Please call 324-5471 for more information. This runs through May.
Glenn Stroup, Federation President, announced that the annual Federation program on the Fairfax County budget will be tomorrow evening, Thursday, March 27, 1997 at 8:00 p.m. at the Packard Center in Annandale. Acting County Executive Tony Griffin will present the budget. The motions to be considered were in the last issue of the Federation newsletter. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Federation will be Thursday, April 17, 1997, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Guests speakers will be Peter Murphy, Chairman of the Fairfax County Planning Commission, and Mr. James Zook, Office of Comprehensive Planning. With no other business, the meeting adjourned at 9:26 p.m.
The next Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting will be held Monday, April 7, 1997 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fort Hill Centre Building, 5900 Centreville Road, in the conference room adjacent to Supervisor Michael Frey's office.
The next Sully District Council monthly meeting will be held Wednesday, April 23, 1997 at 7:30 p.m. in Conference Room 7 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway.
Carol A. Hawn, President
Sully District Council of Citizens Associations