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According to the dictionary, a “Faustian bargain” is a deal with the devil. For the next generation or two, McLean residents will have to live with the “Foustian bargain” – as in Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) – that was foisted upon them late last month.

Foust brought the Board of Supervisors around to a unanimous vote in support of a new development framework for the McLean Community Business Center. It was the culmination of more than three years of work, but critics contend that it needed more refinement, especially considering that the last half of the planning process was conducted in the pandemic environment that limited public input to the proposal.

Given that, it’s surprising (to say the least) that the Board of Supervisors would move forward on a 9-0 vote when both the McLean Citizens Association and Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce said more time was needed and more thought required to get a plan everyone could embrace.

Those who are backing the plan have seemed hell-bent get it approved, despite the opposition of those two organizations (and others). Makes one wonder why they were afraid of another couple of months’ worth of vetting.

From our perspective, there’s a fair amount to like in the adopted proposal. But we equally believe another few months of good-faith deliberation and consultation (with, one would hope, some in-person gatherings now that the pandemic is ebbing) might have satisfied opponents.

If it did not, then backers of the development plan could at least say they tried their best to take into account all views and consider tweaks that might make the proposal stronger.

By rubber-stamping the proposal, the Board of Supervisors let the public know who butters its bread – the development community that is salivating at the prospects of major opportunities they have been handed on a platter. This “Foustian bargain” is no deal with the devil. But is it step forward for McLean? We shall see.

(1) comment

Janet Smith

Bad deal for McLean residents. Another massive mixed-use infill redevelopment as seen elsewhere over the past 35 years. For what McLean residents pay in real estate taxes they deserve much better. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has never cared about residents' quality of life, as one can see when driving through vibrant Tysons, vibrant Reston, vibrant Merrifield, etc. What will McLean residents receive from the deal but bars, restaurants, yoga studios below commercial office space that's mostly vacan for lease and expensive apartments and condos with no usable open space so streets and sidewalks will be repurposed for recreation, e.g. e-scooters? Nothing much.

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