Retirement Community Opposes Fast Food Restaurant Plans

Households in the Regency at Belmont retirement community next to a proposed drive-through fast food restaurant have voiced unanimous opposition to the proposal.

Developer Regency Centers has filed an application for a zoning special exception to permit an auto service and gas station flanking a commercial area under construction along Claiborne Parkway. The fast food restaurant would be at the intersection of Claiborne Parkway and Belmont Chapel Drive, next to townhouses in the retirement community on Stewart Gap Terrace and Hanes Hall Terrace.

The proposal is across Claiborne Parkway from a shopping center anchored by a Whole Foods.

Residents of every nearby townhouse, 18 households in total, have signed onto a letter urging the county to deny the application, saying they were “horrified and angered” to learn of the fast food restaurant plans.

“Toll Brothers did not inform us when we were purchasing our new homes that the adjacent commercial development would be a fast food drive-through restaurant,” reads the letter. “Rather, we understood that the forthcoming business would be a low-impact, attractive and positive part of our quiet Age 55+ community, compatible with and beneficial to our neighborhood.”

They argued the fast food restaurant is incompatible with the neighborhood, including potential early-morning and late-night operations, ambient light, traffic, noise, and impacts to safety and home values.

“…The proposed commercial uses are in keeping with the Plan’s vision for creating a vibrant mixed-used community in this area of the County,” the developer wrote in the Statement of Justification, part of the zoning application. “Commuters and other residents might be initially drawn to this location because of the automobile service station and drive-through restaurant, but the increased trips into the Property would likely also benefit the other business establishments in the vicinity.”

The application is still going through staff and referral agency reviews. To win approval, it will have to go through public hearings at the Planning Commission and then the Board of Supervisors, which has final authority to approve or deny the application.

This article was updated Aug. 16 at 7:07 p.m. to correct an error in the name of the community.

Part of a plat depicting plans to build a fast food restaurant next to Regency at Belmont. [Loudoun County]