Crystal City Development Plan Faces Vote Tonight

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm 3,114 10 Comments

The Aurora Highlands Civic Association is asking the Arlington County board to delay a scheduled vote on a sweeping, 40-year development plan for Crystal City, to allow more time for resident review.

The board is scheduled to vote on the Crystal City Sector Plan at its 6:30 p.m. meeting tonight. But Aurora Highlands urban planning committee chairman Ted Saks says the county was unable to deliver an updated version of the plan to the association’s emergency meeting last night, prompting the call for a delay.

Saks says a meeting with County Manager Michael Brown two weeks ago has produced positive changes, including pledges of a traffic monitoring plan, a citizen advisory board, and a study of ways to smooth the transition from the high-density development that will surround Route 1 and the single-family home neighborhood to the west.

However, since the county could not deliver a final version of the plan that includes those changes, the association is requesting more time for resident review.

It’s unclear whether the board will grant the request.

The Crystal City Sector Plan has been in the works for years, and includes such changes as a new entrance to the Crystal City Metro station, a streetcar line to run along Crystal Drive, dense mixed-use development with ground-floor retail, and changes to the street grid that could result in existing apartment buildings being torn down or significantly modified.

  • Jason DL

    Wow this is really cool.

  • Obama

    yeah, I hope they pass this. It would be a big improvement for CC. The Aurora Highlands urban planning committee and Ted Saks are just trying to slow the process. The plan is the plan, maybe a few changes here and there but it’s essentially a done deal. If they wanted details or to be involved in the process I’m sure there were plenty of planning meetings, community input opportunities, and alike.

    The train has left the station Aurora. Now get ready for higher property values and more amenities (if R-B corridor is any indication).

    Choo choo…

    • rebecky

      If you lived in this neighborhood and saw how many cars were already using residential streets as a cut-through for their commute (esp. when Route 1 is backed up), you would feel as strongly as we do that there need to be better assurances from the county that the single-family neighborhood that is the foundation for this community isn’t steamrolled in the name of progress and urban design. I agree that there are a lot of great aspects to this plan, but ask anyone who lives near Clarendon about the constant struggle to keep their streets and sidewalks safe and you’ll appreciate our concerns.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Pretty soon every home-owner in Arlington will be experiencing much higher density with-in a mile of their home. Since Rossyln/Clarendon/Ballston are well along, and new plans for Crystal City and East Falls Church are(as the other poster said) a done deal over objections of the folks that actually live there. Isn’t it obvious that Lee Hwy is next – and then probably Glebe road, bringin it home to all those folks in North Arlington and where all those folks input will be ignored and steam rollered.

    • Are you saying that people in Crystal City are objecting to the plan? Because I’ve mostly been hearing from people who live near Crystal City, not in it.

      • ItsUrban

        Have you actually looked at the plan? Oh wait, it’s not actually complete, just a series of addendums and appendices. What they are calling “Crystal City” actually extends to Eads St and from 12th down to 23rd.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        I lived in Arlington Ridge for 3 years and anything that goes on in Crystal City affects that neightborhood strongly. At the board meeting they discussed the building at Eids and 23rd street and that it could go from 30FT right now to possibly 110FT and I know that parcel is a couple hundred feet from single family homes.

        What you are saying is, if I come along and drop the MCI Center a couple blocks from your house, but you happen not to be in the same neighborhood since the dividing line with the Civic Association is between you and the building, you don’t get to have any concerns or input on the decision?

        And I’m certain that the concerns on the poor condition of the plan are valid. The same thing happened with the EFC plan. They make tons of changes at the last moment and then rush it through so the opponents don’t have time to coordinate and marshall. I’d think a whole better about the process if there was suffient time to consider what actually goes to the board or gets voted on.

  • Jason DL

    Come now. This plan has been going on for a very long time. You act like you just found out about it and this was your first opportunity to react to it. The fact of the matter is that all communities are growing. The best thing we can do is manage this growth rather than letting it happen unchecked.

    Besides, wait a year or two and BRAC will clear out CC anyway.

    What do propose ReBecky? What is your solution or do you just want to vent about it and try to slow the inevitable?

    I’m sure the planning meetings were open to hthe public to hear your thoughts. Did you even go?

    • Rebecky

      JasonDL – I’m not opposed to the plan as a whole – I think that the development plans are going to be great for the area, but there are a few things that have been all but ignored (traffic impact and school impact). The AHCA has been very engaged with this entire process. All that we are asking for is that realistic recognition of the impact on the neighborhood be recognized with the inclusion of plans for traffic calming measures to deter cut-through traffic in the neighborhood and to keep what traffic there will inevitably be (23rd, 26th, Fern, Hayes, Joyce) at a safe speed.

      If you want to look at how unrealistic this plan is as far as the impact across Route 1, take a look at how it calculates the impact on the schools.

  • Jason DL

    ArlNow, how does the County feel about this? Do they know this? Does Rebecky have a point and is she getting something imposed on her that is unrealistic?


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