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Home Demolitions On Pace for Another Record Year

by Ethan Rothstein — August 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm 1,948 0

A new house built at the corner of 18th Road N. and Lexington StreetArlington County has received applications for 122 demolition permits this year, which is on pace to set another record for the tear-down of homes.

Preservation Arlington notes that 115 of the 122 demolition permits applied for are for homes, 22 of which are located in National Register Historic Districts.

“The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy, and materials,” Preservation Arlington wrote in its mid-year report. “These buildings are often replaced with new construction that is out of scale and proportion to the community. Preservation Arlington urges citizens to adopt Local Historic District designations for their communities, with standards for design, height, and placement that could be customized to reflect community needs while still allowing reinvestment to occur.”

The number of demolition permits is well ahead of the record pace set in 2013, when 92 permits had been applied for in the same time period. Preservation Arlington said historic districts in Arlington are seeing one home targeted for demolition about every week.

Arlington County Planning Director Bob Duffy told ARLnow.com that the county is “watching the trend” of increased home demolition closely, but has no plans to recommend changing the Zoning Ordinance to stem the tide of house tear-downs.

“We’re watching it and tracking it as we always do,” Duffy said. “At this point, Arlington’s housing market is quite robust. The investment in our single family neighborhoods will continue and we’ll work with everyone to make sure our zoning regulations are in place.”

Duffy said there is no provision in the current zoning regulations to prevent multiple demolitions on the same block at the same time. He said the East Falls Church, Williamsburg and Cherrydale neighborhoods have seen the most demolition permits, and the vast majority of all the home tear-downs are north of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

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