Fairfax planning body OKs sign plan for hotel in Tysons

The Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 29, 2020, approved a comprehensive sign plan for the Archer Hotel, which is being built just south of the McLean Metro station's kiss-and-ride lot.

Fairfax County Planning Commission members on July 29 unanimously approved a comprehensive sign plan for the new Archer Hotel in western McLean on the edge of Tysons, after the applicant reduced the size of several proposed signs.

Tysons LW Hotel Associates LP is constructing the hotel on 0.75 acres south of Dolley Madison Boulevard at 7599 Colshire Drive. Construction on the hotel is slated to be finished by next summer, said applicant’s representative Lynne Strobel. The McLean Metro station’s kiss-and-ride area abuts the site to the north.

The 178-room hotel will be seven stories tall and have a 7,082-square-foot full-service restaurant called Almanac, as well as an attached, independent retail space that will be occupied by a tenant yet to be determined. The hotel and other businesses will be built atop a two-level parking structure.

The Planning Commission’s approval of the sign plan was final; the matter will not need further authorization from the Board of Supervisors.

The applicant now will be able to install six building-identifier signs, three address signs, two retail-identifier signs and three signs for restaurants. Most of the signs will be located on the building’s northeast side.

County planning staff concluded the amount of signage was not disproportionate for mixed-use developments near Metro stations and that the proposed signs were consistent with Tysons urban-design guidelines.

The hotel parcel is part of Scotts Run Station South, a much larger mixed-use development of more than 24 acres, Strobel said. The Archer Hotel will be 135 feet tall, but structures across the street will include a 363-foot-tall office building and a 276-foot-tall residential building. The hotel’s height will taper down as it nears the Metro station’s kiss-and-ride lot and Scotts Run Stream Valley Park, she said.

After receiving concerns from the McLean Citizens Association (MCA) about the hotel’s proposed signs, the developer reduced the size of seven of the 14 proposed signs, Strobel said.

MCA board members on July 1 passed resolution opposing the sign plan, citing what they called “excessive deviations” from the county’s sign ordinance. The applicant around the same time was submitting the revised package with smaller signs and sent MCA the new materials, Strobel said. The association was on summer hiatus and unable to respond to the revised proposal, she said.

County planning staff said they were satisfied with the applicant’s reduction of some of the signs’ sizes, and concurred that prominent signage was needed because some of the markers likely would be obstructed as future developments were built nearby.

“Adequate signs are necessary because that will ensure the success of this hotel and the restaurant and the retail within it,” Strobel said.

While the applicant requested more signage than usually is allowed, “from any one vantage point, the excess signage will not be visible,” said Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner (Providence District), who moved for the plan’s approval.

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