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Concessions Granted, Clarendon Trader Joe’s Moves Forward

Trader Joe’s fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Last night the county board granted the grocery store chain the site plan amendments it sought as a condition of moving into the new Clarendon Center development.

The changes will allow Trader Joe’s to reserve underground parking spaces for customers and shopping carts, utilize the loading dock from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and allow an outdoor display of merchandise.

“I’m very happy to take this vote,” County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said, shortly before members voted 5-0 to approve the amendments without modifications. “It’s about time Trader Joe’s figured out what a great market Arlington is.”

Should the board have denied the site plan amendments, Trader Joe’s indicated it would have walked away from the deal. Instead, following the vote, a Trader Joe’s rep told the board to expect a Summer 2011 opening date.

Most of the handful of residents who spoke out about Trader Joe’s at last night’s board meeting expressed support for the proposed store. Some, however, had specific concerns as well.

Those concerns included the noise from delivery trucks idling, the practicality of the reserved parking scheme, whether validated parking will be abused, the potential for predatory towing in the parking garage and worries about the outdoor product display. In the end, the board discussed but did not specifically act on the concerns.

Fisette and county staff noted that Arlington has a explicit policy of modifying regulations in order to attract grocery stores.

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