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August 19, 2016

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Occasional Contributor

How'd the meeting go? Can anyone provide an update on the Council or Planning Commission feedback or the public feedback?

Cathy Baylock

Here is what Jennifer posted about the meeting under another category: Way too early for Council or Planning Commission feedback, and definitely not the proper venue. The turnout was excellent, it was very well advertised, and I thought it was really great to see so much interest (and concern) related to this project. From what I saw, reactions seemed to be mixed-- many did not really understand how the renderings related to the parcel, and site orientation. The sketch type of drawings generally elicited positive feedback, except for those who noticed that the sketched humans and the structures were not drawn proportionally. But that wasn't the point. This get-together was about promotion of ideas, period. The sketches were meant to show mainly what the outdoor spaces could be used for, what would become of public parking. Notably missing were full elevations depicting the Lorton side; and these would be quite massive --there is little to no setback for the first 4 stories, and the 5th goes back somewhat, though it is unclear how far. What about street trees on Lorton? Definitely not room for the magnolias, which is a pity. Personally, the biggest disappointment (and for me, THE fundamental flaw) is how the USPO structure has been handled. Rather than being the focus and heart of the project, the two remnant wings look sad and forgotten in a mass of mostly far more flamboyant architectural styles...

As a side note, since there will be no ability to plant real trees onsite (because of the underground garage), there is a great opportunity for local artists to be involved in some notable public artwork on the plaza. Whether an Anson Burlingame statue, and/or an eclectic mix of pieces from the talented artists associated with the Peninsula Art museum, this is a no brainer and one of the few largely blank slates available to make this happen, one way or the other.

Posted by: Jennifer | August 25, 2016 at 11:17 AM

Cathy's comments: I arrived at 6 p.m. and people were still coming in and out. I also raised the issue of the lack of drawings regarding the Lorton side. There is a huge risk of casting Lorton Avenue and its wonderful restaurants in shadow in the fall/winter months. I, too, would like the architect, Tom Gilman, to embrace the post office building and the Preservation Covenant attached to it, instead of it being "something to get around". The fact that we are using a local architect and the consultant who worked with us through the Safeway process gives me hope that we might have a shot of creating something exceptional. That being said, the community must be VIGILANT in demanding the best, not accommodations for this development. It will be with us for the next century and it needs to be done RIGHT!

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