County Board Member Mary Hynes seemed a bit surprised at last night’s Bluemont Civic Association meeting when she started fielding questions about a development plan for the North Arlington neighborhood.
“It’s not on the county’s radar,” she told anxious residents and businesses owners who had gathered in the library of the Arlington Traditional School.
It turns out that the plan everybody wanted to talk about was not a county plan at all, but a private plan commissioned by the leaders of the civic association. The 32-page document, which includes renderings of an imagined “Bluemont Village Center” along Wilson Boulevard, was created after civic association leaders decided just over a year ago that it would be prudent to begin thinking of the neighborhood’s long-range (10-20 year) future as part of its upcoming neighborhood conservation plan.
The reasoning, as explained by the civic association’s president, was that the Bluemont Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd) — which seems to be serving fewer and fewer customers lately — may decide to sell its large property. If that were to happen now, the neighborhood wouldn’t have much of a say in the kind of business they sell it to. A plan could help guide the use of the land so that it — and properties around it — could be gradually transformed into an attractive, pedestrian-friendly commercial district.
“These edge properties [along Wilson Boulevard] present some really interesting opportunities to get some neighborhood-serving businesses,” she said, promising: “I will follow up on that.”
Not so fast, said a number of residents and local business owners, concerned about the effects on the neighborhood and on the small businesses whose existing buildings were digitally erased in the renderings.
“The development keeps marching closer and closer and closer,” said one resident, as the rhetoric started heating up.
“Small is beautiful, we like small and we don’t like big,” said another resident. “We don’t want huge corporations coming in.”
“I would strongly oppose this plan,” said yet another.
Some business owners argued that their businesses would be “wiped out” by the planned redevelopment, which would likely result in higher rents. They added that while surveys about the plan were sent to residents, they did not receive proper notification.
Civic association leaders, however, assured critics that the plan was created to gather community input, not to force anything on the neighborhood. But, they argued, being proactive about redevelopment is better than waiting.
“Development happens, things will change,” said a plan supporter. “I want this to be a viable community.”
Despite an informal discussion with developer JBG, civic association reps told the audience that they weren’t working with any specific builders on the plan.
With the meeting running long, discussion of the plan was tabled until May.
An alleged shooting threat briefly sent students practicing on a school field indoors tonight.
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At Generation Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting teen parents in college as they work toward earning their degrees. We are in need of caring child care volunteers for upcoming events on Saturday, October 21st (in Washington, DC), and Saturday, November 4th (in Arlington, VA). Join our growing volunteer community and support us at an event this fall!
At all of our events, we provide free onsite child care for the children of the teen parents we serve, creating a nurturing environment for the kiddos while their parents learn valuable life skills and build community.
If you enjoy working with children and are looking to make an immediate impact in your community, please visit https://www.generationhope.org/volunteer to learn more.
Join us for Arlington’s biggest civil rights & social justice event of the year. The banquet is back in person at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.
Our keynote speaker this year is Symone Sanders from MSNBC and former Chief of Staff for Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The Master of Ceremonies is Joshua Cole, former state delegate, NAACP President, and local pastor.
Tickets/seating are limited. Purchase your ticket today! Sponsorship opportunities available.
Live standup comedy starring John F. O’Donnell (Comedy Central)
Friday, October 20
Headliner: John F. O’Donnell
John was a correspondent on the radical comedy news TV show, “Redacted Tonight,” for 5 years. Recently, he released his debut one-hour standup special,