Saul Centers sought to develop a mixed-use community on its newly acquired property in Ballston, VA. Strong opposition was raised by group of neighboring homeowners, led by a former member of the County Planning Commission. Time was of the essence as the County Board was scheduled to vote on the project proposal in less than 2 months and the County Board was not fully supportive.
The Chesapeake team quickly branded the effort, launched a micro-site, an online petition and a Facebook campaign to build support. The team worked with local reporters and leveraged a groundbreaking for a nearby B. F. Saul property to garner strong positive press for the project.
In just three weeks, more than 250 supportive community members signed a petition supporting the proposal and 50 residents sent individually written emails, attended and testified at the public hearing before the Mayor and Council – an unprecedented number for a municipal zoning matter, resulting in a vote of approval.