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Views at Clarendon Lawsuit Dismissed, Again

by ARLnow.com December 27, 2010 at 8:45 am 5,305 116 Comments

A lawsuit to block an affordable housing deal between the state, the county, a developer and a Clarendon church has been dismissed by a federal appeals court.

In 2004, the county gave its blessing to a plan that would build an eight story affordable apartment complex, known as The Views at Clarendon, on top of the First Baptist Church of Clarendon. The plan was touted for its ability to increase the affordable housing stock in Clarendon while paying for the construction of a new church sanctuary.

The developer would buy property from the church, thus supporting the sanctuary construction, and then pay for the apartment building’s construction with the help of nearly $50 million in loans and tax breaks from the county, the state and the federal government.

After considerable neighborhood outrage and two legal challenges to the building’s imposing design failed to stop the development, Clarendon resident Peter Glassman filed suit in Nov. 2009, accusing Arlington County and the Virginia Housing Development Authority of violating the First Amendment separation of church and state by facilitating the development and providing subsidies to the church.

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case in April. Glassman appealed, and in the latest development, the appeal was rejected on Thursday.

In his decision, Fourth Circuit Court appeals judge Paul Niemeyer agreed with the lower court’s findings.

“We can find no factual allegations that support a claim that the County sought to advance the First Baptist Church’s faith, to spread the message of the First Baptist Church, or to become entangled in its religious affairs,” Niemeyer wrote. “Rather, the County’s only interest was to accomplish the secular end of having affordable housing constructed in a highly urban area of Arlington County.”

No word yet on whether any further legal action by Glassman may be forthcoming. Meanwhile, construction of The Views at Clarendon has been progressing steadily.

Update at 4:30 p.m. — The county has released a press release about the case. Here’s an excerpt, after the jump.


“We welcome this decision,” said Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette. “The Court has reaffirmed that the Board’s goal in approving the Views at Clarendon was to provide affordable housing less than one block from a Metro station in the heart of Clarendon.”

. . .

Should Mr. Glassman wish to appeal this decision, he could ask the Fourth Circuit panel to reconsider its decision, or he could ask for a hearing en banc, meaning before not just a panel, but all judges of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He also would have an option to seek a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court. None of these avenues for further review is available automatically; each would have to be granted in the respective Court’s discretion.

  • South Arlington

    Great news, now Columbia Pike doesn’t have to bear the brunt of the “affordable housing” needs of the county.

    • NPGMBR

      +1

    • TGEoA

      So true.

    • AGREE!!!

    • el fat kid

      I like that you put “affordable housing” in quotes… because at a cost of over $600,000 per unit to build, it’s hardly affordable.

      Plus, you want to know the people who are taking advantage of Arlington’s “affordable housing? Students from Greenwich or interns from New Jersey, all with “outside income” (parents) that’s off the books allowing them to pull off the difficult trick of both qualifying and affording.

      • ClarendonKing

        I really hope so. I really don’t want low-income, potential criminals in my neighborhood. If I wanted poverty, I would have lived in Anacostia. Since when is it a right to live next to the metro?

        • South Arlington

          It’s great that Clarendon and Lyon Village are finally taking on their share of affordable housing units instead of pawning it off on the rest of the county like usual.

          • Not amused

            Clarendon and Lyon Village are NOT taking their share of affordable housing or the citizens that come with it!!! Clarendon developers “opt” or “cut deals” to pay into an affordable housing fund rather than include affordable housing in their Clarendon developoments. Hell, the Board just moved the County’s DHS (Human Services) away from Clarendon to Sequoia Plaza and made it much tougher for some of the County’s neediest and most vulnerable residents to access the services of DHS. But, heck, no problem for the County Board – it gets “those people” away from where Barbie Favola and Mary Hynes live. This Board is self-serving.

          • el fat kid

            these attacks on neighborhoods in the clarendon area kinda getting weird and irrational.

            you’re really in favor of “affordable housing” units that are more than 6 figures above the median SFH sales price? You think this stuff really goes to the people they claim to be targeting?

            I would love to see an audit of arlington’s affordable housing residents b/c when they’re posted on craigslist they’re mostly…. “student from new jersey seeks someone to share apartment. cannot make more than 42k to qualify (but somehow must afford $1100/mo) and no pets. We have furniture and a huge flat screen for watching movies and football so just bring bedroom furniture. Thanks!” They might not make enough to pay rent, but the cosigners, their parents, make 400k a year in jersey and like sharing the responsibility of subsidizing their kid with the county govt.

            Or it’s people with large off the table incomes like a waiter who makes 65k but only reports 32k. Or it’s the huge families cramming everyone and their second cousins into 700sq ft. The civil servants, young professionals or service industry positions and other people they claim to be targeting, are simply too responsible and smart to fit into that narrow window of qualifying and being able to afford. If you make 40k/year here you shouldn’t be spending $1100/mo on an apartment. that’s ridic. Find some roommates or find a more affordable neighborhood. Simple econ. don’t expect the govt to drop 600k on building you an apartment so your commute is 15 minutes shorter.

          • el fat kid

            this might be one of the most uninformed comments yet… where are the “county’s neediest?” … they’re not in clarendon. they’re not on a metro line. they’re 1 or 2 bus transfers from clarendon or a $8-12 taxi ride, making it extremely difficult and time consuming to access the services. It was stupid of the county to put the DHS building there to begin with.

            If you think Barbara Favola is serving the neighborhood she lives in – you have no idea what you’re talking about. Everyone over there is sick of her idiotic crap and she’s actually gone out of her way to screw the neighborhood she lives in as part of her twisted perversion of liberalism.

          • South Arlington

            El Fat Kid, I agree fully with you that the idea of having to provide affordable housing is ridiculous. Living in a certain municipality or area is not a right, its earned through hard work and discipline. But I am also acutely aware that the county is set on providing “affordable housing” and distorting the free market. As a huge supporter of the Columbia Pike trolley, I shudder whenever I hear cries about “think about the affordable housing!” that will be lost (not withstanding that there is only one designated “affordable housing” development on Columbia Pike).

            But as long as the county pushes affordable housing on the populace and will ignore the economics of it, I want it to be evenly distributed. And Lyon Park and Clarendon get their turn now to get this put in. Next, let’s get Cherrydale and Yorktown to pull their affordable housing weight.

            BTW, as a nearby resident, the new DHS building has endless empty ART 45 buses that were created just to accomodate this new transit inaccessible location (probably because they run only from Rosslyn to 4 Mile Run). Clarendon was WAY better served by bus service than Penrose if ample bus service was what you were concerned with.

  • g_clifford_prout

    Pete, let me know when you put your house up for sale. Will pay cash and avoid the Realtor fees.

  • NorthAdams

    people complain about the County wasting money on HOT Lanes, they also have to waste money on absurd lawsuits from NIMBY people.

    Glad this has been resolved in the right way. Hope it is the end of useless litigation.

    • Bluemont John

      The hypocrisy of this comment is so glaring I would almost think it’s intentional. So to oppose this project is NIMBY-ism, but the Board’s opposition to HOT lanes in its backyard is not? How are these different? They are not.

      • NorthAdams

        gosh John, the County is spending money to defend our way of life and fight the HOT lawsuit.
        and the County is spending money to fight a lawsuit of rich-hypocrites who are also trying to defend their way of life.
        so the point is that the county is having to do both. i suspect some of the people who are complaining about the HOT Lane lawsuite have been supporting the lawsuit against the church. They want their cake and they want to eat it and they want all the frosting to themselves.

        • el fat kid

          wow. you really have it out for ‘rich’ people don’t you? jealously or what?

          i’d hardly use the term as an insult in a county where we’re able to spend an absurd amount of money on schools, social programs, infrastructure, etc – because of these ‘hypocritical rich’ people.

          you ignore all the public policy flaws of the projectand attack anyone who thinks it’s absurd to spend 600k on affordable housing as ‘rich’ and therefor against the common good when it’s the well off who have for the most part provided for the common good in this county.

          • NorthAdams

            my comments are just on the land use issue, which I belive was the basis of the lawsuit.
            and I don’t “have it out” for myself.

  • Bluemont John

    What a shame. The county ignored its own zoning policies when it approved this. So any structure has “air rights” that supersede the zoning of the structure itself? Absurd.

    This project is going to hasten the ongoing ruination of Lyon Village, already overrun with drunken Clarendon louts. Sure, there’s a need for affordable housing, but it’s not right to force it into a neighborhood.

    Hopefully Mr. Glassman will appeal this to the US Supreme Court.

    • AllenB

      Riiight, the place for affordable housing is not within a block of a metro station. Lets put it where there’s no public transportation at all.

      • Bluemont John

        First of all, there are these things called buses. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They run just about everywhere.

        Second, a lot of lower-income people have cars because they need to use cars to get to their jobs. Low-income jobs these days are at hotels and in construction. Many of those jobs are not near bus or rail. And a lot of the time, driving is cheaper than transit, when you already own a car. (The reports claiming transit saves money operate on the premise that you’re going to not own a car if you ride transit.)

        That’s why a lot of the affordable housing we already have is on Columbia Pike or that pocket of it off Patrick Henry/Wilson/John Marshall. The residents have chosen a place with free parking, rather than nearby rail transit.

        • AllenB

          So I see you’re all for confining lower paid workers to buses so the “rich folk” like yourself can ride metro. Got it.

          • NorthAdams

            +1

          • Bluemont John

            That’s a pretty big assumption that I don’t ride the bus. I do.

          • Bluemont John

            Oh–and I’m not rich. (You’ll have to take my word for it.)

          • NorthAdams

            i love it when people claim to not be rich but have a BMW and a Volvo.

          • Bluemont John

            Uh, nice try? But no cigar.

        • NorthAdams

          john your ignorance of affordable housing is borderline offensive.
          please educate yourself on what affordable housing is, by Arlington standards.
          here is a list of the Arlington Housing Corporation projects
          http://www.ahcinc.org/affordable_rentalopps.html
          the other primary provider of affordable housing is Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. Their list of properties:
          http://www.apah.org/properties/index.html

          The stuff you cite on WIlson Boulevard is a: NOT IN ARLINGTON and B: pretty run down and c: not run by Arlington’s excellent affordable housing providers.

          And alot of poor people don’t even have cars and rely heavily on ALL public transit. BUT because of the way transfer from bus to rail are set-up it is Substantially more affordable to just stay on the bus where transfers are free.

          • Bluemont John

            Wah, wah–someone disagrees with your AHC echo-chamber, so you’re offended. There there.

            I think YOUR comment that the P. Henry housing is run down is borderline offensive. It’s not structurally deteriorating. Hmm…oh, let me guess: Could it be you think it’s run down because Latino people live there?

            There’s also a ton of affordable housing in South Arlington–oh, but I’m sure you’ll say it doesn’t count, because it’s not new construction, because Latinos live there, because it has parking, etc.

            Get off your high horse.

          • Lou

            Most, if not all, of those units off Wilson and Patrick Henry were completely vacated and extensively renovated a number of years ago. I think some went condo and they are more modernized than many of the two story apartment blocks in Arlington.

        • Ben

          “That’s a pretty big assumption that I don’t ride the bus. I do.”

          “But I have lots of black/gay/latino/poor friends!”

    • LVGuy

      As a resident of Lyon Village, and only two blocks away from this site, I have no idea what you’re talking about. These rumors of drunken Clarendon louts is a lie. I’ve heard rumors about people puking in neighbor’s yards, leaving beer cans on people’s yards, people sitting on people’s stoops, etc. But you know what? When I ask people if it happened to them they simply say that they’ve heard about from a friend of a friend of a friend and so on.

      Yeah, occasionally something happens. I found a beer can on my lawn in April or March. What do you expect when you live two blocks from the center of Northern Virginia nightlife though?

      • jan

        I get all kinds of trash on my lawn and sidewalk, although I’m in a residential neighborhood of single family homes a mile from Metro. My favorite find was a full six pack of beer stashed in my bushes. Of course I drank it.

        • LVGuy

          I think that just goes to show you can’t blame the people who go out in Clarendon for the riff-raff that goes on in Lyon Village.

    • South Arlington

      It’s about time the rest of the county shares in the so-called need for “affordable housing”. Lyon Village isn’t immune, and neither should the rest of the county. You say there’s a need for affordable housing, but it shouldn’t be forced on a neighbordhood – what neighborhood is clamoring for more affordable housing units to be put in and for their home values to decrease accordingly? Columbia Pike has had it forced on them for years, now other transit accessible neighborhoods can take on their share as well. Let’s get more of these put into Lyon Park, Courthouse, Ballston and East Falls Church.

      Also, if there is ruination of Lyon Village due to their home values doubling or tripling due to the Clarendon renaissance, then sign me up for ruination in Penrose.

      • g_clifford_prout

        I wonder whee Mr. Glassman’s maid lives?

        • el fat kid

          you’re kind of a brat, eh?

      • AllenB

        I live in Courthouse and I agree with everything you said except for one point. I don’t think there is any evidence that housing prices decrease due to nearby affordable housing. It’s not like they’re putting in a home for the criminally insane – it’s just decent housing for working people who couldn’t otherwise afford to live there (a single teacher or fireman with two kids, etc, that type of demographic).

        • Jennifer

          Thank you.

        • Arlington, Northside

          Unfortunately, for the most part single teachers and firefighters with two kids earn too much to qualify for the affordable housing units, yet make too little to have a place in the county without 50+ percent of their paycheck going to the mortgage or rent. There have been some condos built that put some units aside for our public service employees to buy. They were good deals for a single person or couple, but add kids and for the most part they were still too small or too expensive.

        • And that’s the rub. People that can’t afford to live there don’t DESERVE to live there. End of story.

          • AllenB

            End of story. Thankfully that’s not the way it’s going to be. NOW it’s end story. It must suck to have things never go your way.

          • Arlington, Northside

            How does anyone DESERVE to live one place or another? Some professions just don’t pay what others do for the same level of work and commitment. DESERVE has nothing to do with. If it did some of my old acquaintances making mega bucks for some shady dealings would be living in a van down by the river while some of my hard working teacher friends would be living in Mansions by the Naval Observatory. There is a big difference between housing projects and fitting affordable housing programs into development plans. It would be nice if the count figured out a way to help more of the county employees that work hard to keep the county nice and thus keep our property values high for a very reasonable property tax level, live in the county the serve.

    • NorthAdams

      OK Bluemont John, let’s put the next affordable housing project in … Bluemont.
      How about air rights over the county parking lot at Lexington & Wilson; or the church at Jacksonville. Both are on bus lines and we know those poor affordable housing people ALL take the bus, right?
      The project was NOT forced down the neighborhoods throat. The zoning was in place and despite a technical procedural error, it is an appropriate project.

      • el fat kid

        yeah, that’s a lie.

        can’t wait until someone decides to put your house in a shadow.

        • South Arlington

          Can’t wait for my house to double or triple in value in the course of a decade thanks to nearby urban and transit related development.

          • el fat kid

            if you like having things shoved down your throat, that’s your own biz.

            but watching the county change the zoning to construct a building that dwarfs the surrounding SFHs, then somehow agree to the idea that it’s good public policy to drop $600,000 per unit of ‘affordable housing’ and block out a couple hours of direct sunlight to your property, is kind of a scary thought to me. It’s a stupid project and a dangerous precedent.

          • david

            There is nothing dumber and nothing that makes me discount the arguments against this project more than when people say the shadows are going to block their homes. The ONLY part of the project that is gaining any height is the church and a portion of the old daycare site. The rest of the project fronting the SFH’s is remaining and is not changing.

          • OddNumber

            el fat kid – If your expectation is that you can own a SFH blocks from metro and not see more and more high rise construction nearby then I suggest you re-evaluate.

    • NorthAdams

      Affordable vs. McMansions. Personally i find the people in the affordable housing (market rate) houses and apartemtns in my neighborhood much more interesting then the self-absorbed work aholocis in their trophy POS McMansions.

      • el fat kid

        Most of Lyon Village was built during the 20’s and 30’s… hardly “mcmansions”

        • NorthAdams

          yes, most of Lyon Village was, but I hvae lost count on how many have been torn down and replaced by McMansions.
          my comment wasn’t jsut about lYon village it was abuot McMansions all over Arlington.

  • Lou

    Now Arlington needs to work on some affordable shopping and dining options for the people who will live there.

    • Arlwhenever

      And affordable car washes too! 🙂

      • The folks who live in the affordable housing can work in them.

  • Joe

    The LV neighbors did everything correctly. The County Board passed this abomination, just so some renegade Catholic priest would smile at them, or so they would be served a cocktail at the AHC or APAH or AHS or A-whatever cocktail party. Not even realizing that if they had just ASKED, the Lyon Village community would have happily showed their teeth and served them the finest Johnnie Walker.

    So the neighbors naturally sued the County. As they did so, the costs of the project went up dramatically, not just from legal costs but from the resulting construction delays.

    Now in most communities, the local government will walk away in the face of such hassles. I mean, that’s the point of a lawsuit–to raise the costs so that the project goes away. Most communities eventually understand the meaning of the phrase: “Look Jose and Maria, there’s no room in the inn.”

    But no, not the Arlington DemocRAT County Board! Instead of folding, they held to this notion that somehow we should house these “workers” a block from Clarendon Metro. When the church could have been torn down and an attractive 12-story office building or luxury condo development could have been built in its place. A development that would have even provided for a rooftop garden so that neighbors who lost their tomato plants would have had some sort of restitution.

    I weep for the children of this community, who have to scurry past this place as they hustle over to Trader Joe’s after school. I cry for the housewives, who must tremble every time they get into their car, wondering if their Arlington police officer will run home to the Views for lunch rather than actually doing some patrolling. My stomach turns as the well-planned decision to remove bathrooms from the Lyon Village sprayground is undermined by people in the Views who open their homes to their cousins and friends and whomever to descend upon the community.

    This is a crying shame. One hundred years from now, when the County is paying reparations to the descendants of the Lyon Village plaintiffs, maybe then they’ll finally understand the consequences of this modern-day Dred Scott “decision”.

    • JohnB

      I disagree.

    • Charly

      Hilarious!

  • The Dope of South Arlington

    Where do the preacher of this church live?

  • LVGuy

    It should be noted that Arlington County Board Member, Mary Hynes, lives across the street from this development, which many of her neighbors (actively) opposed.

  • Jason S

    Affordable housing is an idiotic idea. If people cannot live close enough to their jobs, then the jobs don’t pay enough. If the jobs don’t pay enough, the business is not viable. If the business is not viable, let it go under.

    • Just the Facts

      This might possibly be the worst understanding of economics ever posted on this site.

      • Jason S

        Perhaps the most counter to economics for social justice, but if you can’t hire people because nobody will pay enough for your product, then your product is not good enough.

        • CCM

          What, did you just turn in your final for Macroeconomics 101? If so, I don’t think you did very well on it.

          • Jason S.

            When tell us why subsidized housing is so much better than requiring living wages.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Where is this substandard housing in Arlington? 90% of the world population would love the upgrade to the worst apartment in Arlington. If you want to truly be philosophical, you could say that the lesser apartments give folks incentive to work hard to live in the nicer homes.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Opps, you said subsidized not substandard, my bad. But, I can counter that one too. The market can only bare what it can bare. The subsidized units are not really intended for the busboys and the janitors. Those are entry level or on-skilled jobs where for better or worse you are expected to live extremly modestly or with others. This subsidized houseing is intended for professionals in the public sector who have average saleries in an above average costing town. Teachers, starting nurses, firefighters and cops, the librarians, receptionists and clerks at the county building, etc who serve the community directly. In most places they would have a great salary, but with the COL here they can just get by. Providing this subsidy allows these people to live in the community they serve and thus have more personal “buy in” to provide the best of service when looking for higher profits and thus pay is not an option for them.

        • Wishful thinking that you will get better service because you throw these service employees subsudized housing.

          In any case most of those job types you listed make too much to qualify.

          • Arlington, Northside

            For established folks, that is true, for those at the starting levels they should still qualify.

          • Ben

            On what planet are you living? Are you aware that most teachers start out at $45k per year? Firefighters and police officers make less. Receptionists? Don’t get me started.

            You sound like one of those law firm partner pricks who can’t understand why everyone can’t just make as much money as them. But hey, then we’d all have to live in McLean.

            This thread is full of such vapid comments it’s making my head spin.

          • TGE

            The cutoff range is like 42k. And why should people “just starting out” get preferences?

            @Ben — Do the letters F O mean anything to you?

          • Arlington, Northside

            Starting salery for Cops and Firefighters in Arlington is $45K, Teachers salery with just a Bachlors is $44K. If the cut off for a single person without kids is $42k, I would say some adjustments might be in order.

  • Novanglus

    If the County had denied this loan application on the basis that the property seller was a church, THAT would have been unconstitutional.

    If the County had denied the loan because of the religious affiliation of the applicant’s board members, THAT would have been unconstitutional.

    If the plaintiffs were actually interested in preserving the Constitution and expelling religious interaction from the affordable housing process, they would have brought the Macedonian Baptist project in Nauck into the case as well.

    But instead, they asked the court to rule that the Constitution means the exact opposite of what it says, in order to continue opposing a legally zoned project, 100’s of feet from their homes, that is no larger than the closer buildings surrounding it on the other three sides.

    I know it’s unlikely, but I hope the Supreme Court gets to affirm this opinion, establishing a nationwide precedent on the true meaning of the First Amendment.

  • TwoBirds and A Stone

    dog poop dominates my neighborhood listserv, so maybe the County can hire the illegals who will live in the affordable housing to pick up the dog poop so that we can all live in peace.

    • AllenB

      “dog poop dominates my neighborhood listserv”… interesting… if that’s your neighborhoods biggest problem, no one cares. Pick up your own damn poop, you lazy trash.

    • Thurston B. Howell III

      AllenB — no one cares? Maybe I live in the same neighborhood because my dear neighbors seem engrossed in the topic the 2-3 times a year it pops up. I firmly instruct the Help to take care of the issue so such a topic does not arise. If only everyone had decent Help!

  • Bono of Arlington

    Babs Favola has stated that poor people have a “right” to live within blocks of the metro. That is an interesting view of the world, but I am confused about where this “right” sprang from. I cannot find such a right documented anywhere but in the minds of the County Board.

    • Sgt. Hartman

      Keep an eye out for emanating penumbras.

  • Silver Lining!

    At least the neighbor who wanted to deny others the opportunity to live there because her tomato plants will be shaded will now be able to buy tomatoes at the new Trader Joes when it opens.

  • Jenga

    Why is the government involved in setting housing prices anyway? Those who live in the area want to be around people that are similar to them — including economic status.

    • Thurston B. Howell III

      As distasteful as it is, the Help must live somewhere. Soon, I will be able to summon the Help and not have to wait for some long commute.

    • JamesE

      I don’t like middle class 25-35 year old frat boys living in 2-3 bedroom rental units because they can’t afford their own place and consider them beneath me but god damn it I have to deal with them.

    • AllenB

      You don’t speak for nearly all of us. Not everyone moved here to be around “people that are similar to them.” Most of us just want good neighbors who are respectful of everyone else and good proximity to metro, restaurants and shopping. Not all of us think that “different” people are to be avoided.

      Been called an elitist, much?

      • JimPB

        Allen B — You speak my mind.

  • ThereISaidIt

    It’s not the building itself, or the density of the units. I think very few would mind if some hard working, well intentioned people found affordable housing in Clarendon. The problem, I believe, is with the potential for less hard working, less well intentioned offspring of said people and the crime that they could bring. And before you go shouting about the political incorrectness of such a statement, first go talk to a cop and ask him/her how much crime (and suspects) are in and around the average affordable housing development vs. a wealthy community of single family homes. They’ll probably laugh that you would even ask.

    Residents feel safe there, and they don’t want that to change. They don’t want to have to look over their shoulders while walking at night, they don’t want their kids going to school with gang members, and they didn’t pay a million dollars to live next to the projects.

    The fact that it’s church affiliated only adds insult to injury in an area where people tend to be more highly educated and Less religious.

    • david

      I don’t understand your last statement. Are you saying that those who are religious are less educated?

      • Arlington, Northside

        Just let the bigot dig her hole…..

    • Arlington, Northside

      Affordable housing units in Arlington are actually pretty well screened. You don’t get a place if you live on welfare and unemployment. Having a job is a requirement. These are NOT housing projects.

      • el fat kid

        eh. system is perfect for either cramming 8 people into 750 sq ft or a student w/ rich parents who will cosign the lease… either way, it’s hardly effective in targeting the people it meant to or who the county board says it does.

        • Arlington, Northside

          When extra people start making their home out of these units, they get evicted. The programs I have seen also do not allow parental co-signs. Now if a starting school teacher has wealthy parents who slide her funds under the table and don’t pay the gift taxes, that is a whole other ballgame. The system is not perfect, not even great, but it is what it is and it does not put the welfare moms in these places.

    • She’s right. Lower income = more crime.

    • The Pope of South Arlington

      Maybe the church can fill the apartments with Somali Goat Herders or a Nigerian vampire cult and the brain-dead liberal white parishioners can pay the rent and give ’em a little spending money every Sunday? I’m just sayin….

      • Kalashnikev

        At least now we know which metro will be the first to blow up…

    • JimPB

      Most lower income folk are honest, hard working Americans. They don’t want to be victims of crime. No one does. How might they have the same safety that we who live in more economically advantaged areas have.

      And while we’re talking about crime: When “crime” is mentioned, what usually comes to mine are thefts, robberies and assaults. No one wants to experience any of them. BUT: the most financially and in many ways the personally adverse crimes are not the thefts, robberies and assaults that are associated with those with low educational achievement and low incomes, but white collar crimes that are perpetrated by the well educated and affluent. It’s doctors, lawyers, bank CEOs, pharmaceutical CEOs, Wall Street wheeler-dealers, etc. who perpetrate the most costly and often very personally devastating crimes. They are able to tap into big money, and they do. Their misdeeds can have serious consequences for individuals, and they often do. And these white collar criminals are numerous and quite active. Take another look at your educated and affluent neighbors.

      • Donna

        As for the safety of the area, I had my car parked across from Sette Bello, right next to the previously free parking @ Clarendon – right where the project is. And between 6 pm and 10 pm someone smashed my window and stole my laptop. Maybe more eyes / people working at different hours around that area would keep that kind of crime away.

        • Arlington, Northside

          And the “poor folk” have not even moved in yet! Was the laptop just sitting on your seat?

          • Donna

            No, the laptop was in a briefcase behind the front passenger seat! But thanks for the assumption I was an idiot – inviting it to be stolen.

          • charlie

            someone from lyon village has a laptop fetish. cars getting smashed all the time and lapstops and garmins disappearing.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Why be a Christian when you can be a man?

    • el fat kid

      class-e.

  • BallstonDude

    Well, those in Clarendon can look to the block or two around the Ballston Metro stop to see what it’ll be like. It’s not that bad, at night just watch your back and you’ll be okay.

  • g_clifford_prout

    In this season of Christmastide, regardless of which faith you profess, now might be a time to actually live INTO your faith. I can’t point to any scripture that speaks to your property value or the sunlight in your garden, but I can count many times over the admonition to tend to those in need and wanting.

    • JimPB

      g_clifford_prou — You speak my mind.

  • Kalashnikev

    Holy Crap! They’re building an MS-13 Barracks right in the heart of Clarendon?

    This is pure lunacy…

  • CJR

    As a conservative, and not living right next to the development (but within one-mile), I love it! It’s great to see the liberal bastion of Arlington elite come face to face with their elected officials and policies. How many of those who supported the lawsuit to stop the development are democrats?? Can you say hypocrites – except that since a “church” is involved, they can attack it on a religious basis, rather than their true prejudices. I do understand the issue of having a tall building take away from your home, but the issue about the people is a non-issue – they will not be the downtrodden, but the working folk who deserve a bit of a break, i.e. teachers and other public servants. I’ll give a little kudos to the comments worrying about the children of who live there, but even properly raised kids from working parents go bad for the adventure of it. But at least in that neighborhood, the kids will easily find entry level jobs to keep them occupied.

    • R.Griffon

      I think there’s a terrible lack of clarity as to who is actually going to live in those units that is causing a lot of fear and tension. I think if people knew that it would truly be teachers, fireman, police, etc. there would be a lot less vitriol.

      I’ve stayed on the sidelines b/c I’m one of the few who hasn’t quite made up my mind. The social liberal in me likes that it’ll (hopefully) provide a benefit to hard working middle-class families, and the treehugger likes that these people can finally live close to where they work. But the free marketer and taxpayer is pissed that we’ve used tax dollars to procure some of the most desirable and expensive real estate in the area for such a project in a time of reduced revenues and deficits. How much could the county have saved by moving the building just a mile away along a bus route, for example?

      I’m not real happy about the church connection, and don’t like that public dollars will be used to rebuild and renovate a place of worship. But the living spaces themselves will be secular, and I guess the church renovations can be seen as the carrot needed to secure “air rights” to the space above. I don’t like it, but I’ll live with it.

      So in short … “Meh.”

      • Lou

        I’m not familiar with the process for procuring these units. How are they able to make them available to teachers, fireman, police and not to people of other professions? Is that even legal? Maybe you can post a link that explains the application process.

        • R.Griffon

          I know nothing about the process, but I’d be confident going out on a limb and saying that there is no litmus test for this job or that. It’s probably strictly by income/need. I think people (including myself) use those jobs as shorthand for “hard-working middle class workers that you can trust/ordinary folk.” I think when people hear “affordable housing” they think “projects,” complete with welfare moms and angry youth. While I doubt that this is the case, I haven’t seen any authoritative reference at to who will be allowed to move in to these units and under what conditions (but nor have I actively searched for it).

          But as an aside, I think it’d be great if they were offered first to county employees like those cited above. Don’t we have a vested interest in having those people (teachers and police especially) live close to work and be connected to the community and its people in a meaningful way beyond where simply where they show up for work? But you can’t do that. I think once you use public dollars, it has to be made available to everyone on an equal basis.

        • Mary

          I think the references to teachers, police etc… is simply an example to mean very reliable, educated people who have chosen a profession that does not pay very much. With that said, if there is affirmative action, to the exclusion of common sense for the neighborhood, it could be a disaster for everyone.

      • tuesdayschild

        Good comment. I suspect that these are not fireman and teachers that will live in these developments. I don’t understand why the county just does not pay its employees more money if it wants them to live in the county or in condos near the metro.

        • Arlington, Northside

          This is cheaper for the tax payers.

          • Bluemont John

            Actually, the County already has housing reserved for County employees. I’m not sure where, but I know I’ve seen it referred to on the County website.

            To me the issues re. this development are more about 1. density and 2. process than anything else–i.e., why should it be OK to force anything (whether it be a waste dump, HOT lanes, a wider I-66, a prison, a mall, affordable housing, or anything else) onto residents of a community when they don’t want it? And what’s the point of zoning if zoning restrictions can be evaded with enough money?

            To me, being a NIMBY is not a bad thing. I admit it: There are things I don’t want nearby, like all those examples above. It’s easy for people to say “Oh, you don’t want this, so that makes you a NIMBY!” as a way to avoid the question of *why* it’s supposedly not legitimate for a community to want something.

            In my view (and that of many others), it’s 100% legitimate for a community not to want a lead smelter or landfill, etc. Those things have to be somewhere–and that’s why they tend to be put in the least desirable place. This project is nowhere close to that level of damage to this community–but I just don’t get why some are so quick to dismiss these residents’ objections to more residents being shoehorned into their neighborhood, as well as a much taller building staring down at them and, yes, blocking some light and making their homes feel, well, more “loomed over.” Whether this is the greatest tragedy ever is not the point; the point is that *local* communities have a right to have a say.

            If you disagree with that point, then I don’t see how you can’t be for the Dillon Rule along with the HOT lanes and anything else the state (or potentially the federal) government wants to foist onto Arlington.

          • el fat kid

            Actually it would be cheaper to just buy them all houses… the per unit cost at this site is higher than arlington’s median home price.

          • Arlington, Northside

            It’s a subsidy, not an out and out purchase.

          • el fat kid

            but at a building cost of 600,000 per unit, it might as well be. Why is the county paying more per unit of affordable housing than the median home price and new construction luxury condos?

  • Don S.

    El fat kid, you keep referring to a $600k price per unit. Not that I doubt you, but can you explain how you are arriving at that number?

    I saw in the first Post article referenced Mr. Glassman’s lawsuit alleged the total subsidy amounted to $660k per unit. Is that where you are getting the $600k number from for the price per unit?

    The article also referred to $48 million in county and state loans and federal tax credits that are paying for the redevelopment. So in simplistic terms (and assuming the numbers are accurate the Post was using) there are 70 affordable units and 46 market-rate units for 116 units total, which equals out to a roughly $414k price per unit.

    I apologize if you have explained this somewhere else but I was just curious as to the logic behind the figure and would like to know more. Is the total cost of the apartment building portion of the project greater than the $48 million in loans and tax credits they are receiving?

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