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Excavation Begins for New Housing Development

by Katie Pyzyk — January 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm 2,667 32 Comments

Excavation at Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) An excavating crew has begun clearing land in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood where a new subdivision will be built. The space at the northeast corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive is private property and was one of the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in the county.

The Department of Environmental Services recently reviewed and approved dividing the property into nine residential lots. This was done as a matter of right, which means the County Board does not have to give approval if the applicant meets all requirements.

During the preliminary review and approval of the subdivision proposal, the applicant, Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C., had to send notification to all adjacent property owners as well as those across the street. The president of the neighborhood’s civic association also had to be notified, along with the neighborhood conservation representative. The notification was to inform neighbors of a possible new development in their area, and to give them a chance to speak with county staff about the proposal.

The developer had to submit design plans for the site to ensure all the development’s infrastructure would be adequately designed and built. As with any public infrastructure to be built and be turned over to the county for operation and maintenance, this one had to be guaranteed by a public improvement performance bond and agreement. The applicant also had to meet requirements in the Zoning Ordinance regarding landscaping regulations and tree removal.

Arlington County Urban Forester Vincent Verweij says the developer was sent a letter suggesting preservation for many of the 150 trees on the land. However, Verweij noted it was only a suggestion because private land owners can cut down whichever trees they choose on their own property once receiving the initial land disturbance permit for the site. He believes the excavators left about five trees on the property.

Verweij believes the remaining trees are too exposed and may be unstable in storms or on windy days.

“I fear they may fall into houses now, because a forest is much stronger than individual trees,” said Verweij. “Most of the support and strength comes from being rooted outward and that’s going to be cut significantly by these houses.”

Under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, the developer must preserve, or in this case re-plant, 20 percent of the trees that stood on the site. The county will not award certificates of occupancy for the homes until those standards are met.

Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C. recently applied for a construction permit for one of the homes, which will be built at 1312 N. Evergreen Street. That permit could be approved in about 30 days. The developer will have to apply for individual permits for every additional home and each will have to be reviewed by the county. Currently, there is no estimate on when the subdivision will be completed; it will depend on the developer’s timing for submitting the additional eight permits and beginning construction those houses.

  • Hee-Haw

    negative comments, in 3,2,1…

    • ure

      fail

  • BBMS

    I had long wondered why that land had not been developed. I saw a boring rig back in the woods a while ago, a year, maybe more. I figured they were finally getting ready to do something.

  • ArlingtonNative

    Sorry to see it go – but amazed it has gone that long without development.
    Bet they found lots of bottles/cans back in there – that and Lacey Woods are where we’d stash any left-over beer back in High School days. Probably only found about half of what we hid!

    • Westover

      What appears to be slight natural rise, is 80 years of High Schoolers’ beer cans. Fifty years of tin/iron at the bottom with a crust of aluminum from the last thirty years, seperated only by layers of fallen leaves. Bet they had to go fifteen-twenty feet to hit virginia clay.

  • gnushell

    I noticed the pending construction last night. I just hope that they output traffic to either George Mason or that side street and not onto Washington Blvd. There’s too much congestion at that intersection. Also there’s a lot of confusion as to what lane one should use for going west on Washington.

    • Doug

      You use the right lane when heading west, correct?

    • Edjey

      I doubt nine new houses will have a material impact.

  • ArlBro

    It’s about time that was developed into some McMansions. Undeveloped land is a waste and greenspace isn’t needed anymore in Arlington. Plenty of prime parkland that could be developed too.

    • dd

      Ratables, bro. We need another hit!

  • Westover

    Yesterday it looked like they had been trying to spare as many mature trees as possible, hope most are still standing this evening.

    • LP

      Unfortunately they didn’t, drove by this morning and there’s only a handful of mature trees still standing, most were already taken down and piled up to be removed.

      • YTK

        Sad, but I am not surprised. Knock down more trees – add more houses, which means more cars, more pollution

        • Hee-Haw

          yea, we don’t want anyone else moving to our county.

        • John Fontain

          Were no trees knocked down when the house that you live in was constructed?

          • Westover

            I was not alive in 1939, so not sure what all was around and what was not on my property, but we have an oak that might be about that old, and the tall cedar was there marking the old country road. I do know that Mr. Mace left a lot of trees standing where they could in Westover, as evidanced by the 200+ old tree that fell in the summer storm.

          • Perd Hapley

            Knocking down some is unavoidable, but this policy of clearcutting every lot as part of every house build has got to stop. The canopy here is getting decimated.

          • drax

            lt would be nice to preserve some older trees, but the important part is whether the homeowners plant new ones. The old ones are about to fall anyway. We need more new trees to replace the old ones.

      • Westover

        That is too bad. Mature trees add serious value to a house. Some give a mature oak or maple a 10K price boost to a house. It would be a thing of value we could all enjoy too. I guess I will see what is left on the drive home.

  • George

    Does anybody know what company is building the houses?

    • ARLINGTON CO. INFORMANT

      CHAMBERLIN, A PROMINENT COUNTRY CLUB HILLS DEVELOPER HAS RIGHTS TO THE PROPERTY AND IS BUILDING 9 CHARLESTON STYLE HOMES

      • arlington co informant

        CORRECTION, IT IS THE T. BARRETT CHAMBERLIN DEVELOPING COMPANY THAT PURCHASED THE LAND AND IS BUILDING AND SELLING 9 HOMES ON THIS PARCEL

        • Princess

          I think people should do their research before putting information out there

  • dd

    Ratables, bro. We need another hit!

  • Boundto Happen

    I’m also surprised that it has taken this long for the land to be sold/developed/etc. I just hope the houses aren’t the typical generic looking ones with brick in the front and siding one the other 3 sides – yuck!!!

    • Ben

      Brick’s too expensive when I’m trying to maximize house to lot ratios.

      Remember Arlington is the land of people who buy 1 series so they can say they drive a BMW….

      • drax

        Yeah, Ben, those people are so shallow. Not you.

      • FourCircles

        No it is not.

  • Arl for Now

    Hard to believe it was part of a 162-acre farm once, but at least the Lacey family donated the park land to the County in the 1970s and the beautiful farmhouse was never torn down.

  • Bruce

    Yes, it was a sad day when they started to develop that block. Surprised it took this long, but it’s the owners’ right and I hope that at least the houses aren’t big uglies. Still, that little spot of woods was a landmark and it will be missed. I didn’t realize the Victorian beauty behind it was the original farmhouse — thanks for posting that. Bit by bit, Arlington is getting all built over.

  • Ughh

    Just like the clear-cut eyesore at Lorcom and Edgewood that is still to be built on over 1 year later.

  • GetReal

    Any idea how they got this zoned as R6? The county site is showing it as zoned R8/6. Do you know if this was zoned R8 before the subdivision then changed to R6 afterwards? I’m just curious b/c the county informed me that they would NOT change the R value of the zoning. This would allow about 2 extra homes being built. I don’t care as long as this was all done above board but these builders need to play by the same rules as everyone else.

    ARL Now do you care to investigate?

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