Commuters taking Huntington Avenue to Richmond Highway to work may eventually have a place to fill up and grab a morning (or evening) cup of coffee before they leave the neighborhood.
During a meeting earlier this month the Huntington Community Association heard a presentation from Sunoco, Inc. on a potential new gas and service station at 5928 Richmond Highway.
The available lot is a peninsula—bound by Huntington Avenue, Old Richmond Highway and Richmond Highway. Under the plans displayed at the Sept. 2 meeting, the station would be accessible from both Old Richmond and Richmond Highways.
The plot of land under consideration was once an operating Sunoco station before the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) took over the property to use as a staging area for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.
Currently the Commonwealth of Virginia and VDOT still own the property, but it is under contract for repurchase with Sunoco, according to Sunoco representative Sara Mariska.
Mariska and her team presented a tentative plan to a group of about a dozen Huntington residents. The plan calls for an 1,800 to 2,000 square foot design with a small convenience shop, gasoline service pumps and a diesel offering for cars and small trucks.
The quick food store would have typical gas station offerings like soft drinks, candy and salted snacks. It would not sell beer or wine.
Overall, the Huntington residents were open to the plan. They expressed interest to see the station well-maintained and landscaped nicely. The plans at the meeting denoted the southwest corner would have a place for plants and other greenery.
Residents also inquired about the entrance and exit points at the station. Some worried motorists would use the Sunoco's position between Old Richmond and Richmond Highways to bypass other cars and traffic lights.
One resident suggested Sunoco place "No Tresspassing" signs rather than "No Loitering" signs on the property. This issue highlights the community's concerns with individuals hanging out at the 7-Eleven on Huntington Avenue and the general vicinity. Patch has yet to confirm whether or not these individuals are homeless, although many in the community believe they are.
The project is still in its early stages and seeking preliminary feedback from the community. In addition to meeting with the Huntington Community Association, Sunoco also met with the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens' Association Planning and Zoning Committee. The committee recommended Mariska and her colleagues meet with the Huntington Community Association.
According to Mariska, the meeting with the Huntington community was beneficial. "Sunoco took away the need to continue working with the community to resolve possible concerns such as site layout and security," Mariska said.
If Sunoco decides to move forward with the plan, it would need to apply for special exception from the county to allow the proposed station.
From there, the Sunoco decision for the exception would go to two public hearings. First, the Fairfax County Planning Commission makes the recommendation, and then the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors decides whether or not to approve the decision.
The Huntington Community Association generally approved of the plan and "would welcome the new Sunoco station as long as it is well maintained and landscaped," president Georgie Evans said in an e-mail. "Vehicular access seemed to be a concern," she added.
Because the plan is still very conceptual, a current drawing of the station is unavailable, Mariska said.
Correction: The proposed Sunoco mini-mart would be 1,800 to 2,000 square feet, not 18,000 as originally reported.