Board Approves East Falls Church Development Plan

by April 17, 2011 at 7:00 am 17,100 181 Comments

On Saturday the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a controversial plan for transit-oriented development around the East Falls Church Metro station.

The plan calls for the creation of a mixed-use “neighborhood center” with open spaces, a public plaza and ground level retail. Some of the new development will be built on the Metro Park and Ride lot. The single family neighborhoods surrounding the station, meanwhile, will be preserved.

The height of the new residential buildings — a major source of concern for East Falls Church residents — will range from nine stories along I-66 to three stories closer to the single family homes. Lee Highway, Washington Boulevard and Sycamore Street will be redesigned to add bike lanes, on-street parking, trees and pedestrian improvements. The plan is also expected to add 100-250 units of committed affordable housing to the East Falls Church area.

See the county’s press release about the plan’s passage here.

  • Bluemont John

    Nine stories? I would hate to live in one of the houses next to those buildings, with 300 people looking down over my backyard.

    And bike lanes on Wash. Blvd? I shudder to think what this will look like. At two lanes, it’s barely accommodating the car traffic as it is; there just isn’t room for a bike lane. If they force this to happen, it’ll be one long traffic jam.

    To me this is typical of the extreme development that seems to have become the only choice in this country. Many people wouldn’t mind *some* development at EFC–but there should be a happy medium between one-story dilapidated auto shops and nine-story towers.

    • CarsSuck

      People want to live here dude, get with the times. There’s a reason why the Washington area is the strongest economy and living space is competitive and expensive. Time to build up. People also want to live close to transit and close to work, not an hour away in Prince William County!

      • Yet more and more businesses are relocating to Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William. Strange, huh?

        • AllenB

          Not really strange at all. As our rental rates climb, there will be many businesses looking for cheaper space. But at the same time, our commercial vacancy rates remain low. So it’s clear that as people leave, others are taking their place.

          • Agent Michael Scarn


    • Bluemontsince 1961


    • mehoo

      Did you read the story?

      There won’t be any 9-story buildings next to single-family homes. There will be some 3-story buildings (about the size of the existing townhomes across Wash. Blvd. from the Metro). The 9-story buildings will only be in the middle, separated from the single-family homes by the 3-story ones.

      • wat

        yeh, it’ll be exactly like the rest of arlington. High density within x amount of feet/yards from a metro station, then nothing higher than 3 stories.

      • AllenB

        That’s silly. Why read the story when you can just spout off unintelligently?

        • Agent Michael Scarn

          +1 again

      • Burger

        Go look at how it is done else where in the county.

        tall 9-12 story building
        next is a 3 story townhome
        then single family home

        I’d expect it to be the same and look just as dumb.

  • Rick

    I would hate to live on the 9th floor to have a view of metro tracks and commuters…

    I don’t know where a bike lane is going to fit on Washington Blvd eastbound, and since the W&OD trail comes behind the kiss and ride lot as it is, is it totally necessary?

    • Bernard

      Nobody is asking, or expecting, you to move. There is definitely a market for these types of units that appeal a large number of people. You can remain in your home for as long as you wish.

    • So because you personally wouldn’t want to live there, nobody should be allowed to? I, personally, am not a huge fan of the suburbs, but you don’t see me going around and advocating laws that forbid people from living that way.

    • YTK

      LOL– much better than living in NYC on the 3rd or 4th floor and having the Elevated roar RIGHT past your windows — Kaboom Kaboom! Kaboom Kaboom! Screeeech!! — all hours of the day and night.

  • The question now is will VDOT give up the land for this development to go forward?

    The recent shenanigans by the CB have really endeared Richmond to Arlington’s needs.

    • Burger


  • Ted williams

    VDOT will not give up the EFC Metro parking lot, which they own. VDOT has been very clear and consistent on this. Therefore, the County’s master plan is DOA.

    • Arlwhenever

      VDOT and WMATA (which owns the rest of the parking lot and is in the process of having its Arlington representation stripped in the wake of Chris Zimmerman’s disastrous tenure) will be happy to cooperate, so long as the plan is amended to require developers to build out about 2,000 commuter parking spaces.

    • Futureman

      We’ll see how VDOT feels in 20 years when a tank of gas costs a week’s pay.

      • Or natural gas is the equivalent of $0.99 per gallon.

  • 4Arl

    One reason they may be pushing redevelopment- it increases the assessments so they have more money to spend while appearing to keep taxes steady.

    • Dan

      Not to mention all of the the tax revenue they will derive from the businesses and dwellings built on the site.
      Interesting that they would reject O’Connell’s request for lights and then approve this…….

      • Thes

        The O’Connell lights brought no benefits to the adjacent neighbors and might have harmed them. The EFC plan, if realized, will bring benefits to adjacent neighbors, and possibly no harm. That’s the difference.

        • Dan

          Hogwash !!
          It will bring more traffic, noise, litter etc.
          I see absolutely no benefits accruing to people living near the metro stop.
          It might bring some more business for the panhandlers on Sycamore though !!

          • Rick

            It also brings about 1970’s synonyms for disdain. I’m not thumbing through a pdf file but as long as the building has metro parking I really don’t see the problem other than not having parking while this is built. Might get people to actually ride the art 53…

          • Dan

            “Hogwash” significantly predates the 1970’s and is far less likely to get redacted than my unfiltered reaction!!

            Guess again about parking….better “thumb” through that PDF again to see how much parking is provided for.

          • Burger

            The plan is to reduce the 400+ longterm park spots at EFC to approximately 200 short term parking spots.

            So that means 400 more cars parked on local streets.

          • RosRes

            If you end jup with 400 more cars parking on your streets, you can just have them banished with zoned partking like they’re doing i Lyon Village. ;)-

          • mehoo

            Okay, let’s see, Dan sees no benefit to people living near a Metro stop, and meanwhile, Burger is worried about parking near a Metro stop. Hmm.

          • Bernard

            About 95% of the streets are PUBLIC streets, paid for by public taxes from EVERY Arlingtonian. So what if someone parks in front of your house? Most homes have private driveways. If you have issues finding a spot closer to the metro, then you should reconsider your lifestyle. Move closer to be within walking distance of the Metro or your office, drive to work, take the bus, bike, carpool, work from home, retire, or move far far away.

            In any rate, communities evolve just like society. They have to adapt to their new environment. Rosslyn-Ballston was just sleepy streets with low-slung buildings, now everything around them is a gold mine. Besides, wouldn’t you want a place to grab a cup of coffee before or after jumping on/off the train? I know I would.

          • This post has been edited. Please refrain from personal attacks.

        • shirley

          that is absurd. This now approved redevelopment of the METRO area will KILL any community in East Falls Church. It is a nightmare that this got approved. As a former EFC resident I’m greatly saddened.
          The only difference between this and O’Connell is that the Catholic Church brought forward the other proposal.

          • SteveB

            What community? There’s nothing there but a rail/bus station surrounded by single family homes with 66 and lee hwy running through. There’s certainly not much to walk to in the way of shops and restaurants.

          • shirley

            shops and restaurants do NOT MAKE A COMMUNITY.
            nice people. families. — that is what makes a community.
            outsider traffic, big buildings with people who aren’t invested in the neighborhood, folks who stay up all night blogging to an anonymous world — not.

          • Agent Michael Scarn

            I’m from a rural town and I agree that shops and restaurants in themselves do not make a community; my home town had nothing of the sorts, and it was tight-knit and a nice place. However, I don’t see how this plan — which literally does not touch any single-family homes — is going to be so calamitous for the “community” of EFC. They’re redeveloping parking lots (which I imagine you don’t use anyway, since you live so close). You’ll have renters in those apartments, obviously. But I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of people who come (and buy the newly-built condos) mostly because there finally IS walkability in EFC and will be friendly and engaged citizens.

        • South Arlington Ready

          I will say, I can’t imagine not having lights on a High School Football field. Of all the handouts this county gives…to not all HS kids to have stadium lights is just plain stupid.

          • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

            Agreed. It is merely a bunch of self centered home owners who held things up. The school has been there as long or longer than many of them have lived in the neighborhood. I bet if you asked the local residents near W-L, Yorktown, and Wakefield how badly the lights impacted them the response would be minimal. My family has lived near W-L since 1964 and not once did I hear anyone complain about traffic or noise related to night time events. And believe me, my dad likes to complain about things.

          • Lou

            These lights would have been brighter than the other high schools you mention. The comparison is pointless.

          • South Arlington

            Raise your hand if you think the curmudgeons around Bishop O’Connell would have complained just as vigorously if the same lights at W-L were being installed there.

            {raises hand}

          • mehoo

            That’s incredibly unfair of you to assume that. You can’t speak for them. And it doesn’t matter anyway, because the lights were different. The issue is the lights, not whether people are “curmudgeons.”

            I’m sure you’ve never ever complained about anything and never will, right?

          • South Arlington Ready

            Aren’t football games, family time and people being social what Arlington is all about? Is having a night game a cool idea for kids? Yes, it is. It’s not living next door to a Nascar Track for God’s sake. I grew up very close to my High School and our lighted stadium and directly adjacent to the Little League fields. These are GOOD things that the county should promote. When kids are involved in these activities they aren’t getting into trouble. Seems 100% in line with Arlington’s Social Agenda. Never in my life have I seen such a “Progressive Community” cow-toe to the vocal minority. The ENTIRE county board needs a turn over. It’s been long enough.

          • loocy

            Tell me, did you watch all four hours of the hearing? There was plenty of emotion on both sides, but the facts of the matter — zoning, distances, and other legalities — were what killed O’Connell’s lights proposal, not who brought it. As was said many times, if this was just about a few friday nights of football, no big deal, but it was about both fields, lit every night, with far brighter lights than any of those schools without the natural buffers in those schools. W-L doesn’t even have a baseball field on its property. What amazes me is that so many Arlingtonians have jumped on the bandwagon to criticize a small group of neighbors who are trying to face down a well-lawyered, well-financed goliath who is trying to trample on their rights as homeowners.

          • South Arlington Ready

            This is about a school, sports teams and bunch of nasty, nosy NIMBYS. People know your type. Would you rather have drug dealers and gangs in your neighborhood? Get over it.

          • Wait a minute… I thought there was no crime of this type in Arlington.

          • loocy

            Do tell, what is “my type?” I’m not even in that neighborhood, but I would be just as outraged as those neighbors if I were. This is not about kids and ball games, it is about a landowner who wants financial gain from its property despite zoning laws that restrict that activity. If it was about kids and ball games, O’Connell would have refurbished its sad fields a long time ago.

    • mehoo

      “Appearing” to keep taxes steady? If the rate stays the same but revenue grows because more taxpayers and property come to the county, it actually is keeping taxes steady.

  • MC

    I thought the real reason VDOT opposed this was to allow themselves the ability to widen 66 in the future. Having parking spaces at close-in Metro station is vestige of 1970s planning that is disappearing as Metro sells parking lots for development income. VDOT should focus on keeping our bridges from falling down.

  • SoCo Resident

    What exactly is “the problem” that this is supposedly addressing? What’s wrong with the status quo, i.e. leaving thing as they are?

    • Bluemont John

      It’s all about greed–developers’ greed for profits combined with the county government’s greed for more tax dollars, as 4Arl and Dan mentioned. As to why the County needs more and more tax dollars, even after assessments have risen so steadily and at a point when we have more commercial development than ever before–that’s another question. That combined with the county’s belief that Arlington should accommodate as many people as want to live here, no matter the effects on those already here.

      • OddNumber

        I don’t understand why people think that they can reap the benefits of living near a Metro stop, but not be accepting of the high density growth that follows. Metro stops are exactly where the county should be approving these developments! The traffic impact of this development will be less than it would be away from the Metro because so many people will chose to use Metro rather than driving!

        • Bluemont John

          I get no benefits from it whatsoever. I never use Metro. It has brought us nothing but higher taxes. And why do we need any new developments at all? Not everyone can live in Arlington, or even in the DC region. Local governments need to learn the word NO.

          • OddNumber

            So you’re suggesting that what we really need is more urban sprawl and that instead of using the Metro infrastructure we already have that we should continue to find places to fit in more lanes of traffic to support the commuters?

          • Bluemont John

            No, not at all. What I’m suggesting is that we put a moratorium on all new residential development in Arlington, because the highways/Metro/schools are full to capacity. Arguments for transit-oriented development are always based on the presumption of there being more residents–which need not be a foregone conclusion.

          • ballston

            well I am sorry that you feel that way – but you need to realize that the county and the region as a whole are growing and are going to keep growing.

            you cant just stick your head in the sand and click your heels and have things go back to how they were in 1985.

            if you want to live in an area with no new residents – try north dakota or central iowa, plenty of space and no tall buildings out there. but then you’ll miss out on the amazing schools, amazing jobs, smart people, great restaurants, nice parks and the millions of other reasons why people move to arlington.

            And sorry you dont ride the metro but with no more space to build more roads, it makes sense to focus development around this station. Clearly this is going to happen, asking for no more development on this corridor is a pipedream.

          • mehoo

            Um, that might help with the schools (though you can’t stop people from having babies, and that’s likely the main source of student growth), we can’t stop growth in other jurisdictions, so highways and Metro are going to be crowded anyway.

            In fact, one of the biggest misconceptions about highway congestion is that it is driven by population growth. If you look at the numbers, though, the DC area has largely kept up with population growth in building new road lanes. It’s the fact that people drive many many more miles per person, likely because they have to go farther because they live so damn far out in the suburbs, and have no alternatives to driving out there, that is causing the congestion. Sprawl isn’t sustainable, it eats itself.

          • mehoo, take a ride in the country. There is no traffic because there is a low population. Saying population has nothing to do with traffic is just wrong.

            Having a job center and sprawl all around it is a huge contributor. I would agree more dense development around a job center is smart. I would also suggest that spreading businesses throughout the urban/suburban community is also smart. That is happening as is evidenced by the number of people commuting suburb to suburb. The problem there is the lack of mass transit planning (such as metro rail) that goes burb to burb. It all goes inward, based on a 1950’s concept.

          • mehoo

            And on the moon, there’s zero traffic!

            I repeat, in an urban area, population growth is not the only factor driving traffic congestion. Read my post again if you didn’t get it the first time.

          • “one of the biggest misconceptions about highway congestion is that it is driven by population growth.”

            I get it.

          • mehoo

            No, you don’t get it if you think population growth is the only cause of congestion. It’s obviously a cause, but congestion has grown faster than population in our region.

            Look at the numbers from the Texas Transportation Institute – the miles driven per person has increased dramatically.

            Traffic congestion isn’t simply a function of more people living here. Just like solving traffic congestion isn’t just a matter of building more roads.

          • Now it is you who should read my post.

          • CarsSuck

            so all this urbanization and economic revitalization has done nothing for property values of homeowners around here, “Bluemont John”? I should have bought something inside the Beltway when I had the chance 8 years ago, but now I’m priced out and have to rent. Be grateful you live in Arlington, many can’t afford it, and it didn’t happen because of suburban sprawl.

          • Bluemont John

            Higher property values do nothing for property owners except for those who cash out and leave the region. So for us it just means steadily higher taxes and more overburdened infrastructure in the two decades plus that we’ve lived here.

            Had Arlington (and the DC region overall) placed firm limits on new development (and that would also include the subdividing of SFH lots into multiple McMansions), then employers would have to bring jobs to other cities–which in large part they’re not doing except for in a handful of cities.

            What I would like to see happen is to build more Arlingtons. Instead of cramming more people into the EFC neighborhood, who will mostly commute to Ballston, Clarendon, or DC, why not build a village of modest SFHs (keeping the trees!) and garden apartments somewhere currently undeveloped (or dilapidated) and entice employers (through tax breaks) to build new branch locations there? Then the many folks who feel like they missed out on the boom would have a shot at what they want.

            It seems like the only choices we’re given are more condo towers (the units of which are in many cases MORE costly than many SFHs in Arlington) or more McMansions.

            I’m a realist, and I know that EFC can’t remain the same forever, but I do think that nine stories is extremely tall.

          • OddNumber

            Although you don’t feel that you’re benefiting from the growth that Arlington has been experiencing (I can understand your tax frustration), you might also consider the overall social benefit of growth. Because Arlington continues to attract employers and new residents (new tax payers and patrons at local businesses), we get to benefit from new restaurants and expanded social services such as our great parks, bike trails, and amazing library system. We can’t stop the region from growing, but we can embrace the advantages and try to help our local leaders to make smart choices about how the region grows.

          • mehoo

            Everyone “cashes out” eventually, BJ.

          • Larchmont

            The Green line in PG comes to mind.

          • Ken

            John, I believe you do benefit from the Metro being close even if you “never use it.” Your property value is directly affected by the proximity to metro. When I was selling my condo on the Lee Hwy corridor the very first question virtually every single prospective buyer asked was “how close are you to Metro”? And when I answered “about a mile” virtually all of them rejected it sight unseen.

        • If you bought your home specifically to be hear a metro stop, then you are getting benefit. If you owned a home prior to metro, you likely don’t care for the change that’s come about. If you bought the home after metro, and prior to this plan being approved, it certainly is understandable that you may not like it.

          If I lived there, I’d wait for the inevitable market upswing and sell out to someone who wants the convenience over the peace and quiet. What little peace and quiet is left is going to be GONE.

      • Bluemontsince 1961


      • mehoo

        Every city and county wants economic development, and the jobs and tax revenue that come with it. Is there something wrong with that?

        • Every city and county government MAY want it, but certainly not all of the residents do.

          I would possibly argue your statement and use Faquier County as an example. They’ve specifically limited growth, as has Prince William in the western part of the county.

          • mehoo

            Sure, not every resident may want it (here’s where I get to yell NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY! Woohoo!)

            But my point is that a county government pursuing growth, jobs and tax base is normal, and hardly a big scandal like some people are making it out to be.

    • Uh, sky high housing prices? Maybe you haven’t heard, but the DC area will very soon surpass NYC and California as the most expensive housing market in the country, largely because very little new development is allowed. The fact that you live there now means you have the money to afford it, so you probably don’t care. That does seem to be the general attitude of Arlington residents – “I got mine, so screw everyone else.”

  • LV

    Look out singly-family neighborhoods! Management and the Board will give good soundbites about preserving your singly-family neighborhoods, but will actually look the other way when things start to go downhill. You can now look forward to late night noise, litter, vandalism, crime, spillover parking, etc. Developers will only be required to build 1.1 parking spaces per unit – yes, that’s per unit, not per bedroom. The County will tell you that your singly-family neighborhood is now part of an “urban village”, but contrary to what they promise, they will not protect the quality and character of your single-family neighborhood. Your property value may or may not increase, but your quality of life is going to go downhill. This Board is desparate to spend more tax dollars and is desparate to add new density. Look out for your wallets and your neighborhoods!

    • BoredHouseWife

      watch out for those water bottles filled with yellow liquid.

      • Ha ha! You will be lucky if it is in a bottle and the stench isn’t all over the front bushes from the patrons of the inevitable drinking establishments that are going to arise.

        • mehoo

          Yeah, EFC will soon be a stinking hellhole full of bums and drunks and urine!

          Where do you people come up with this stuff?

          • South Arlington

            It’s just the olds fearmongering again.

          • Yeah, of course! Ha. You want to build the urban center but don’t expect to have any of the typical urban problems to come with it. Get real.

          • South Arlington

            Yeah, I’m sure EFC will look like Detroit once this shopping center gets put in. There will be gunfights, gangs, arsons, mob protection rackets, homeless colonies, etc. Just like the rest of Arlington that had a little development, right?

          • Lou

            The Crime Map link is right at the top of this page. You can draw your own conclusions.

          • That’s not the point. The point is the current residents will have to experience the crime that does come with urban development. Denying it doesn’t make the facts change. Making fun of it by comparing it to Detroit doesn’t make the facts change. You can debate whether it is worth it, but you really can’t deny it.

          • mehoo

            No, there will not be “urban crime” just because you have a few tall buildings. Get real.

    • AllenB

      I don’t know where you people live but I live about two blocks off of Clarendon and the worst we’ve ever had done was some flowers uprooted one year. Annoying, yes. But not the crime and urine spree you all talk about.

      • I hope you washed your hands after cleaning up those flowers! LOL

    • Larchmont

      So there is hope for the Westover Beer Garden!

  • Wayne Kubicki

    If memory serves, back in the early 2000’s, three of the current five CB members (Zimmerman, Fisette & Favola) voted AGAINST the original 43 unit townhouse plan for the former Palmer fruitstand site (NW corner of Washington/Sycamore), saying it was too dense. How the political winds have changed!

    • That was because they didn’t get their pockets lined on that deal. How much money changed for EFC?

    • Dan

      Palmer and the county were not exactly on each other’s Christmas card lists…the county had it in for Palmer and he responded in kind.

      He was a character.

  • (another) Greg

    Greeeeaaaaatttt… Another Rosslyn/Ballston/Clarendon/Columbia Pike.

  • Arlanon

    The sky is falling the sky is falling!

  • The native

    Smart growth in Arlington= higher density units near the metro. I don’t understand people who complain about this. It has worked great at Ballston. Do I miss the putt putt? Sure. But the Key to Ballston like the key to EFC is higher density as close to Metro as possible. It had much less to do with developers than it has to do with hood sense. Higher density around Metro is smart.

  • JamesE

    Will it have a burger place, or maybe pizza?

    • y8s

      Assuredly. I was thinking though that the Lost Dog / Stray Cat owners should consider a “Free Bird” roasted chicken place. That’s the new hotness.

  • JZ

    I’m surprised at all the negativity. When built out this project will be a great boon to neighborhoods near East Falls Church. Let’s be clear, this planned development is modest in size. It isn’t Ballston or Courthouse or Claredon or Virginia Square–in fact, it won’t even come close to any of those destinations. East Falls Church will be more neighborly, much smaller in scale. Think Westover or Cherrydale, but with a Metro station. There’ll be a few restaurants and service-oriented businesses, but that’s about it. The density isn’t there for much more. A grocery store is a possibility, but that’s iffy because Harris-Teeter and Safeway are found just up the road at Lee and Harrison.

    Take a moment to visualize EFC becoming a small neighborhood center enlivened with a dash of urbanity, a place where on warm summer evenings you can stroll to with the kids, get some ice cream, relax a little in a green plaza and enjoy watching others do the same. Nice picture, isn’t it?

    • Burger

      Couldn’t the argument be that people specifically bought houses there so as not to have the urban village feel?

  • Undereducated

    “Bicycle support facilities, such as showers,
    changing rooms, and lockers” = accomodations for homeless and panhandlers = increased taxes for maintenence. What’s next, padded and heated benches? I don’t know, I go home to shower and change after a ride. Why not just drop a few port-a-potties around for when that moment arises. Oh, and how about including some fire pits. And I wonder where the traffic on Lee Highway and Washington Boulevard will squirt out once it is choked off by the new development. But other than that, I like the plan.

    • mehoo

      Yes, you’re undereducated.

      They wouldn’t be open showers for anyone on the street. Duh.

      (Though public restrooms are nice sometimes — I’ll bet you’ve even used one. Sure beats homeless people pissing on the sidewalk, huh?)

      Please don’t spout off about things you don’t understand.

      • Undereducated

        See recommendation 31. Just who, exactly, will be the potty police for this sanitary facility, since you seem to be the all knowing one? We’re doing just fine thank you in East Falls Church without public baths.

        • mehoo

          Jeez, you really are living up to your name.

          Recommendation 31: Require bicycle facilities including secure bike storage, showers and changing facilities, and bicycle parking for retail stores as a site plan condition for new development. Include sidewalk bicycle racks in new streetscape projects.

          In other words, the buildings will be required to have bike facilities like showers – for those people working in the building. No public showers or bathrooms involved. If you were educated about cycling issues you’d understand what this recommendation meant.

          • Still seems like a waste. The chances of anyone working in that building be able to afford to live in a bikeable distance approach zero.

          • South Arlington

            Are you kidding? Have you seen the slumtastic apartments between West and East Falls Church, not to mention along Route 7 in Falls Church City and along Lee Highway in Arlington? There are plenty of food service and retail workers that live along that stretch.

          • Burger

            Do you mean the City with the highest household salaries in America?

          • mehoo

            Anyone who thinks biking to EFC won’t happen should look at all the bikes parked at the Metro station.

          • South Arlington

            Your statement doesn’t refute the fact that there’s low rent, aging rental housing and apartments in the areas I specified. Not to mention in Westover, which is also a short bike ride to EFC.

            You talk like EFC is Great Falls or Beverly Hills. It’s not. It’s not even close.

          • mehoo

            WTF are you talking about? Only poor people are going to work there, is that what you think? And no renters living in condos? Or do you think a bikeable distance is less than 2 or 3 miles or something?

          • Retail workers won’t be able to afford living in that area. Next time you are in Giant or Safeway, ask the checker where THEY live. Almost all of them are from DC or Prince William.

          • Arl22204

            I hope the staff puts the EFC sidewalk bicycle racks father away from the curbside parking so bikes don’t get bumped by car doors. It is the same for the benches set too close to the curb. Check out street parking on S. 11th St. by the Halstead (but watch your car doors on the passenger side if you drive there).

  • y8s

    I hope it’s at least more exciting than the Midas-and-an-Exxon down the street.

    Look, if you want less infrastructure and less housing, then stop having babies and tell your friends to do the same. 7 billion people have to live somewhere and Arlington is pretty nice.

    • ballston

      well then we’ll end up like japan with a ton of old people and a dying, old society with a ton of debt and no young workers to make money to pay taxes to fund it, oh wait, thats already happening.

    • Undereducated

      “If you build it, they will come.”

    • Burger

      For those in EFC, the Exxon station is the only gas station for several miles and while it might not be necessary for those in inner Arlington to have a car it is in North Arlignton.

  • Deb

    How many of these commenters actually live in the shadow of 66? I do….the noise at all hours…the dirt…the sleepless nights… who wants to live here? My husband loves the conviencence…I can not get him to leave! I hunger for a quiet night…where or where is the at least 8 inches of snow needed to shut the place down?

  • CarsSuck

    To all the complainers about growth… move to DETROIT. Very cheap housing prices, and they’re actually bulldozing blocks and turning them back to open land and neighborhood farms. And if you’re extra picky, you may just get the ONLY house on an entire block, don’t mind the mountain of tires on the next corner, the prostitutes, or being waken up by the distant gunfire. People like Arlington and want to be here, get over it.

  • aptsguy

    East Falls Church Metro is going to become a major transfer station once the Silver Line becomes operational. It is a shame that the County is not building much higher and denser. around the station.

    • Lou

      Not sure what these two statements have to do with each other.

    • Wayne Kubicki

      I’ve repeatedly heard this statement about a “major transfer station” during the EFC debate. Please enlighten me – who exactly will be transferring between Orange & Silver line trains at EFC? Where will they be coming from/going to?

      • shirley

        well if you live in West Falls Church, Dunn Loring, Vienna, you may choose to take the METRO to East Falls Church and then go back out the Silver Line to Tysons, Reston, Herndon or Dulles.

        Similarly, if you live downtown you may just “grab” the first train that leaves and ride it to East Falls Church and then get transfer to silver.

        Of course these people may not plan to “leave” the station, but what happens when the train is running late, or not at all. THen they’ll leave and catch a cab/bus.

        Maybe more ART lines will feed into this station.

        The increased hub-bub on the platform will lead to increased activity outside the station.

        • david

          Yes. Just as the crowds at L’Enfant Plaza have done wonders for that neighborhood.

          • South Arlington Ready


        • Burger

          No one in their right mind would make that transfer. It would take an hour to go from Vienna to Reston when you could drive it in 30 minutes during rush hour.

          • shirley

            if you have a car. and it runs.

        • CarsSuck

          the transfer at EFC was a major design fail on the part of Metro. The transfer should have been @ WFC right after the split. There could’ve been an elevated station built where the tracks go up and over I-66, with a walkway connecting it to the main lobby of the existing WFC station and platform. What’s the point of having to go a mile out of the way, then back when a perfectly good station is within 300′ of the Silver Line flyover? Sounds’ like they rushed to get the plans through and didn’t think it through long enough. Not to mention that WFC has a third trackbed that could’ve somehow been utilized. And while more buses would extend metro accessibility, it also has some bad side effects. Look at the difference between Ballston and Virginia Square. All the buses feed in and out of Ballston, while very few access VA Sq. Lot’s of loitering into the wee hours of the morning around Stuart and Stafford St’s, while VA Sq. is all tucked in their beds, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads.

          • Southeast Jerome

            But you are assuming that they had the money to make that happen, which they clearly didnt. If money wasnt an issue, the whole metro extension would have been done correctly (think underground in tysons). All it is now is a commuter line. Total failure for the state. Tysons will never be like Arlngton with their stupid aerial track design above a giant highway – get real. Total waste of money just to save a few millions bucks when you are already spending billions. Its the equivilent of buying a $90K car then buying insurance for only $10K in coverage, just does not make any sense.

    • Southeast Jerome

      Yes i’d venture to say there will be very few transfers at EFC. The silver line will run all the way to Stadium-Armory on the same tracks as the Orange Line. I dont think the commenter knows that.

  • Lou

    Lets just be clear what the County approved on Saturday. Comprehensive up-zoning of every parcel affected by their plan. That’s the real trigger to the plan. Three, four, six times the density on parcels than was previously allowed by the law. It’s not about the pretty renderings of bike trails.

    And so for the people who say the development was inevitable, with the coming of the Metro, why was the density not increased decades ago when the station was built? Because the community was told they would preserve the EFC neighborhood.

    • mehoo

      I’m curious about the statement that EFC was told it would be preserved. Do you have details or a document?

      And it reminds me of the promise made to Arlington County that I-66 would not be widened…

    • shirley

      lou is correct. East Falls Church was to be “never touched”. But I guess it just got too easy.

      • mehoo

        Again, can you direct me to who said it was “never to be touched” and when or where they said it?

        • Suburban Not Urban

          It used to say something to that effect on the county web site, I think it was on the pages here:
          It didn’t say never to be touched but something more to the effect that EFC was not planned to be developed with the Metro Station Area(MSA) based development model. This was a promised part of the compromised that was made to bring Metro to Arlington, according to original owners I’ve known over the years. You’ll note that
          1) The page has been updated this year(at the bottom).
          2) The map shows MSA’s around the other metro’s but not EFC.
          3) You could probably get it from a FOIA or the hard copy original of the 2005 report.

          • Clarendude

            The plan for EFC was that it was not to be planned but the plan changed as plans do.

          • Burger

            So the County can insist on the firmness of the 66 2 lane highway because it was in the plan but the people of EFC can’t.

            My, sniff, what’s that I smell, hypocricy.

          • mehoo

            There’s potential for hypocrisy on both sides of the issue. There are people using the “you said you wouldn’t touch EFC” thing who are busy demanding new lanes for 66 too.

          • Clarendude

            Maybe, but I think its more parochialism. Activism over planning is all about who’s ox is being gored. e.g People want free access to park and drive on all streets but want to seclude theirs. Local gov’t is what sorts its all out. There are always people on both sides. On I-66, on EFC. Often there are more than 2 sides.

          • mehoo

            BTW, I learned something interesting in the history section of the plan – there was once a similar business district of EFC, which was demolished…to build I-66.

          • ….and in the middle of I66 sits the metro rail.

          • mehoo

            Yeah, that sucks too, they should have put it underground off the highway like the rest of Arlington’s stations.

          • Tell that to Dulles airport…. oh, wait….

          • mehoo

            The Dulles station should NOT be underground.

          • Agreed. But, I’d argue they should have put Tysons stations underground.

          • Southeast Jerome

            the dulles airport station should be underground, its a huge mistake not to do that. Look at the failure of the initial location at DCA as an example.

            If they raise the departure fee at IAD by $5 per ticket, they can recoup that money in 6 years. For something that will last a lifetime, thats a no brainer.

          • mehoo

            Thanks, SnU.

  • Pingback: Watch yourself on FFX Cty Parkway; VA Tech marks four year anniversary of shootings; Alexandria bar owner charged with harboring illegal aliens; East Falls Church development plan approved; and Another reason VA is better than MD, better for earning money()

  • borf

    I know I’d rather live near an urban village with a Metro stop and bike trails than a huge highway choked with traffic. Those are basically the choices.

    • You could choose to get a job in the burbs and live in the burbs. Choice goes two ways. If the opinion is people choose to live in the burbs and drive into town rather than live in Arlington then you also have to say people in Arlington choose to live in the urban setting. It is all a matter of choice, right?

      • mehoo

        Um, I’m not sure what your point is. Sure, moving away is a choice too, but that applies to everyone regardless of what happens, so it’s kind of a wash.

  • Westover

    By the time an eight car train gets to East Falls Church Metro Station during rushhour, it is already full. How will adding this density be a bonus to anyone?

    • Sure, it’s slammed. You’re right. But I-66 is nearing capacity too, so just moving those residents further west instead of at EFC isn’t really going to change much of that issue.

      More infrastructure, of some sort, is going to be required eventually. Either another freeway or another rail line (e.g., separated blue, to allow more capacity on the Orange/Silver line), but something. Growth isn’t stopping, though. Either you build it so that more freeways are required or so that more transit is required.

      That being said, there *is* excess capacity going outbound in the morning and inbound in the afternoons. I can’t predict the breakdown of residents, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see young singles/couples move into EFC to commute to Tysons. A lot of people in this demographic work in Tysons, want to live in a more smarty-growthy area, but yet can’t afford Ballston or Clarendon.

  • wat

    I feel like I’m reading over comments of people from a different country or something.

    What is up with all the people saying that this will bring crime, corruption, pollution, vandalism (crime), noise, etc. You aren’t in that quaint of a neighborhood. Its as though you think the rest of Arlington is West Baltimore or something. The whole Rosslyn-Ballston neighborhood is quite clean, relatively quiet, and Arlington as a whole is very low on crime.

    Are all of the people making the above type assumptions those who have never been into the city after the sun has set? Over the age of 60? What is it exactly that has you so afraid?

    • Burger


      I’ll give you the background for most in the EFC area if they are like me. I hardly ever lock my doors if I am making a short trip. I don’t lock my car doors.
      Why? because I know most of my neighbors and there is always someone about that is watching out for everyone. Everyone sort of knows everyone on the block. That changes as more people move through the neighborhoods as they come and go through the neighborhood.

      Further, it is inserting a segment of the community – those that can only be here by government largess via affordable housing – that isn’t already located in the neighborhood. There is no real apartments to own in the area. The closest is over a mile away (as noted in the EFC plan) but used as an excuse to ram affordable housing into the area.

      • mehoo

        I think it’s great that you can still leave your doors unlocked.

        However, I don’t think you should expect it. You live in a major urban area already.

        • Burger

          No, actually, I don’t. I live in East Falls Church and if someone spent some time in the area they would realize it is a sleepy suburban oasis in an urban area.

          • mehoo

            You just implied that you do expect it.

          • Burger

            Yes, I do. And I am for it. But the plan is really awfully concieved by people that don’t spend time here.

          • CarsSuck

            is it that much trouble to just start locking your doors?

      • South Arlington

        Good, EFC can take on their portion of the affordable housing burden instead of pawning it off on other parts of Arlington.

        It’s foolish to think supposed promises from decades ago about keeping EFC unchanged would just be a terminal, unchanged “deal”. You live in a major urban area next to a Metro station, this shouldn’t be that unexpected.

        • Burger

          You make me laugh with you witty clueless views.

          the fact of the matter is that if there were district voting in Arlington this wouldn’t happen but since the entire County board lives in either Inner Arlington i.e. near the Ballston/Roslyn corridor or in South Arlington they want to foist upon those that choose the area for a reason their own moral code.

        • South Arlington Ready

          +1,000,000. I know, I can’t hardly believe it! Now maybe we can build one CAF building immediately next to each and every board members home. Whatcha think?

      • AllenB

        I’m about to be pretty harsh… but you’re an idiot for not locking your doors. You live in a major population center, near a metro station. I’m not condoning crime by any means but it happens all over. I’m sure everyone who is a victim of burglary, and worse a home invasion, always thought it couldn’t/wouldn’t happen where they live. Wake up, East Falls Church is not immune to crime no matter how protected you feel.

        • wat

          Mainly agree.

          I grew up in a location where my Mom and grandparents still don’t lock their doors. But that neighborhood was all of 30 people, and everyone on the block was related to at least one other family on the block
          The ‘bigger’ town we were a part of was 3 miles away, and had a booming population of 3,400 people.
          To me, anywhere within the metro area seems ridiculous to not lock doors while you are away.

          That said, locking doors only keeps honest people honest. If someone wants to break into your single family home, they are going to do it. They will do it much easier than they will a condo or apartment building too. This is kind of like the people that leave car doors unlocked with no valuables inside so that if someone tries to break in to look under your seat or in your glove box (you know, where thieves will never think to look for your GPS), at least they don’t break the windows.

          • AllenB

            And now I mainly agree with you. 🙂 But from what I’ve been told by police and others, burglary is usually a crime of opportunity (not as sure about home invasions as those may be targeted). A locked door, a dog barking, a security alarm are all it takes for a would-be burglar to move on to another location. Most of them want to get in and out with the least effort and a locked door is a good deterrent. Not as sure about the cars with doors unlocked though.

  • Burger

    though most of my post come out as anti-development, I am actually not. I think it is smart growth to build near a metro station. My issue is more with the implementation that will surely only cause more congestion and cause a tearing apart of a tight knit community.

    on the congestion part:
    – for example, the plan calls for removing the right turn lane from Sycamore onto Lee highway. If any planners and come out during rush hour would know that lane typically has 8-10 cars waiting to make a turn on to Lee. Without that lane those cars now go into the next lane over. Given the left turn lane spills over into the left most straight lane during rush hour – there is no doubt the cars will back up to 26th street because of the inability to people to make turns.
    – the removal of 400+ long term parking spots at the EFC lot, while necessary in the short term, will not go back into the development. That means those 400 cars will know be parking in local neighborhoods. I don’t know if anyone noticed but even in the “zoned” parking spots along Sycamore people park in those all day. I doubt those cars come from the neighborhood given no one would drive 100 yards to park their car to go to the Metro.
    – As discussed the bike lane on Washington will only result in getting someone killed.
    – the short term parking for the local grocery store will result in a failed grocery store. No one is going to pay to park, when they can easily drive a mile down the road in either direction to two Safeways or a Harris Teeter.
    – Most of the traffic on Sycamore is out to North Arlington. Most of those people are high end professionals – lawyers, doctors, MBA’s. They aren’t going to take the bus to work but continue to drive because still will be faster and time is a major issue in their lives.

    As for the neighborhood community, the EFC calls for complete ripping apart of the community.

    – there are only 6 real service spots in the area (BBT, Suntrust, Exxon Station, Cote’deour, Suburban Animal Hospital/Richlands/Crappy car dealer, stores at the Crescent). None located within 1/4 mile of the Metro. The EFC plan essentially calls for all the locally owned places to be washed away to be replaced with chain type stores as rents skyrocket. I guess I like the fact my mechanic knows me by name and the Dr. Schrader has taken care of my dogs for almost 10+ years.

    This plan removes all of that.

    The last issue is that EFC is a major transportation center…but it isn’t for mass transit but cars. Unlike the Ballston/Rosylnn corridor which is about transit getting their EFC is a way station to other areas. Most East/West traffic out to Fairfax moves through the area. By making it harder to get through the area will only ensure more traffic on local roads.

    The plan could have been good for development and made traffic smoother but the County choose to ram down the throats of its taxpayers its own moral code of what is “right” for Arlington.

    • South Arlington

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure your use of “long term parking” is wrong. EFC isn’t one of the 3 Metro parking lots that offers multi-day, long term parking. If you’re worried about people parking on your streets, then cry and whine like the zilches in Lyon Village and get your streets zoned. If the zones aren’t being enforced, then go complain to the police or county.

      Your arguments are ridiculous at best, but border more on retarded in most cases. If you think this is the first grocery store with “short term parking”, you’d be wrong. The Harris Teeter in Pentagon City seems to be doing fine, and I think the Trader Joe’s in Clarendon will do just fine. It seems premature to fearmonger about this issue before the specific retail parking policy is even created (like whether there will be validation, 1 hour free parking, etc.). I can’t tell if you’re joking about the “service spots”. I don’t get why your vet would all of a sudden have to move out of his existing lease because a new development is going into the Metro parking lot. I’m fairly sure a Banfield won’t move in and crush all the independent vets in the area (as if people would choose a Banfield over a vet anyways). Walk around Clarendon and Ballston, most of the restaurants aren’t chains. I see independent clothing boutiques, I see independent running stores, independent retail. And in all truth, looking at how crappy EFC looks now, even chains would be an upgrade on the big heap of nothing you have now.

      • Burger

        Um…did you even read the plan? By your posts, I’d argue you didn’t. The plan calls for all those spots I talked about being replaced with various levels of condo’s, apartments or hotels which means a likely increase in rents.

        There are numerous articles on the demise of locally owned stores in the Orange Line corridor that have been replace by chains or bars. I’m sorry if that’s not exactly what I want though I understand the need for development.

        You position on grocery stores lacks support. The large community, and there was paid parking prior to the stores being built. This will be the reverse.

        EFC Metro parking is all day. So thanks for playing.

        You heap of nothing is a quiet neighborhood. As, I said, I’m for development, I was even for the lights at O’Connell. All this plan does is create more traffic.

      • Burger

        Considering your coming from South Arlington, I’ll take that as a compliment.

  • darrel

    Enough with this NIMBYism. This is what development looks like, if you want your private 1/4 acre you should move away from a major metro stop. That is the trade-off.

  • mehoo

    As I’m reading through the final plan, I just want to say that “This page intentionally left blank” is the stupidest, most ironic statement ever concocted by bureaucrats.

    • +1

      • mehoo

        [this post intentionally left blank]

        • Really?

          Until you have to answer the following question for the 100th time: “There’s nothing on page 32. Was that left intentionally blank or did you forget to copy that page for me?”

          • mehoo

            I understand the purpose of it. It’s just incredibly ironic. They could at least put the statement near the bottom of the page or something instead of in big letter right in the middle.

  • YTK

    “The single family neighborhoods surrounding the station, meanwhile, will be preserved.”
    More like “will be overshadowed and lost in the jumble of steel and concrete and cough cough poluttion”
    I went past East Falls Church after an absence of a year and am “so impressed” (NOT) by the behemoths that have already been constructed in that area. Goodbye quiet streets, trees, grass, places for quiet walks and kids to play – too much construction for too many people — maybe they should spay and neuter people as well…

    • mehoo

      Like the other hysterical posters here, you’re wildly overstating your case.

      And pollution will be reduced by this project.

  • Janet

    There will be massive urbanization of Arlington County over the next decade. Next middle class neighborhoods to be urbanized are around Bergmann’s dry cleaners on Lee Hwy. There are more than 100 County employees at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. involved with urbanizing Arlington County, including 30 in Economic Development who are marketing our neighborhoods nationally as “redevelopment opportunities.”

    • You can see the landscape changing before your eyes. This doesn’t surprise me, and I do believe in my lifetime what you say will be true.

  • LivesInThisNeighborhood

    How about they bring in shops that actually can do WELL in the area. Bear Rock closed a few months ago, one of the other shops has already turned over 3 or 4 times. Before you start building the space for these businesses that are going to “build the community” how about finding out what businesses the community would actually USE?!?
    (Anyone work for Caribou? I would LOVE to see that where Bear Rock was. Or maybe a bar so I don’t have to walk as far to 7 & 29 for a drink.)

  • HomeSweetHome

    Developers are already calling and sending literature on purchasing land from Single Family owners.

    They say they want to create a “Village Center”. DAHHHH
    Present Village is dying a slow death.

    Get a grip Clark Realty and CBRE, Why aren’t they supporting “current Village”

  • YTK

    Yay! Retail — for the weary traveler– and just in case you miss your once-an-hour MetroBus on a Sunday, you can drown your sorrows in a meal, a drink, a coffee, a purchase….

  • leaveareply

    sorry, falls church is an over priced dump. it’s packed with moronic people who can’t keep up with the cost of living in a place that can only dream of being a valid city. that’s how it is, falls church went the wrong direction. the city should have taken the hint to stay small town because of it’s unique abilities which are not just run of the mill franchise hell and condos that can’t be filled, not even half capacity.

    give it up already, you’re past bankrupt, you are doomed.


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