Fairfax County Planning Commission members on Sept. 18 unanimously recommended the Board of Supervisors approve a proposal by PS Business Parks LP to build a publicly accessible athletic field at 8229 Boone Blvd. in Tysons.
The field’s construction would be done in accordance with proffers from The Mile, a nearly 3.05-million-square-foot project being developed by the applicant on 38.8 acres to the north in Tysons. The development was approved by the Board of Supervisors in July.
The 330-by-180-foot field would be covered with synthetic turf, have 15-foot overruns and be surrounded by a containment area up to 24 feet tall, county officials said.
The field would be suitable for regulation games for ages 12 and under, but also for practice by adults, officials said. Full-sized rectangular athletic fields for adults usually are 360-by-220-feet, they added.
The 2.49-acre property is located east of Howard Avenue, south of Boone Boulevard, west of Gallows Road and north of Old Courthouse Road. The field would replace a planned, but never built, extended-stay hotel at the site.
The field would be built on what is now a surface parking lot next to the existing eight-story Tycon III office building, which would remain. The field would take up the equivalent of 233 parking spaces, leaving 647 to serve both that building and the Tycon II office structure.
The proposed field would make creative use of excess parking at a 40-year-old office building and provide a much-needed athletic field in Tysons, said Elizabeth Baker, the applicant’s attorney.
“I think it’s a field that’s going to be well-used and satisfy our requirements under the [comprehensive] plan,” Baker said.
The applicant would own the field, but coordinate with the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) regarding its construction, scheduling and perpetual-maintenance responsibilities. FCPA would program the field’s usage and operate it from 5 to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
To prevent errant balls from leaving the property and entering Boone Boulevard, the site’s perimeter would be surrounded with a series of up-to-3-foot-tall retaining walls and a containment area consisting of black chain-link fencing.
The fencing would be up to 24 feet tall on the northern and southern ends and up to 10 feet tall on the western side and part of the eastern side. Most of the field’s eastern end would not have a containment fence separating it from an adjacent parking garage.
The project also would include lighting, an equipment-storage shed and at least 25 parking spaces that would be shared with an adjacent office building. Spectators would have access to two sets of bleachers, plus benches, bicycle racks and portable toilets.
Planning Commission member Mary Cortina (At-Large) questioned the use of portable toilets, saying they are a holdover from when Fairfax County was more rural and more areas lacked sewer service.
“This is right in the heart of Tysons,”she said, adding, “As we’re doing urban design, we can’t forget the toileting needs. To continue to use porta-potties throughout this urban redevelopment, it just seems so incongruous with the rest of the streetscaping, etc.”
The applicant’s plans call for portable toilets to be put on a concrete pad at the site, a situation similar to that at Ken Lawrence Park in Tysons, which has two athletic fields, Baker said. The arrangement also is the same at the new Quantum Field in Tysons, which was built by The Meridian Group as a proffer for The Boro project, she said.
Portable toilets meet FCPA’s standards, said Baker, who added that bathrooms at the site’s secure, private office building would not be available for public use.
The portable toilets would not be situated within the site’s streetscaping area, Baker said. Instead, they would be located in a corner far away from Boone Boulevard and not visible to people walking or driving on that roadway, she said.
FCPA Park Planning Manager Andrea Dorlester said the agency views portable toilets as acceptable at stand-alone fields such as this one.
“When we have an opportunity, when the field is part of a larger development with building construction, we try to negotiate for provision of indoor bathrooms where we can,” she said. “In this case, it’s really not possible.”
To improve pedestrian access, the applicant would widen the existing 4-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side of Boone Boulevard to 6 feet wide and build a new 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the site’s western side and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk to the south.
The field’s addition would boost the site’s impervious-surface coverage from 80 percent to 92. The applicant has proposed to meet stormwater-management requirements by using a permeable-pavement structure under the athletic field and a linear bio-retention tree pit in the realigned surface parking lot.
LED lighting would be provided on four 60-foot-tall poles on the site’s perimeter. County staff members have recommended the applicant install light-blockers on the equipment to ensure it does not cause off-site glare.
“This new synthetic-turf field will be a welcome addition to the Park Authority’s inventory of playing fields in Tysons,” said Planning Commission member Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner (Providence District), who moved for the application’s approval. “This is a good-news story.”