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County to Identify Public Land for Affordable Housing

Rendering of the Arlington Mill ResidencesArlington County will work to identify 3-5 county-owned sites that can be redeveloped as affordable housing.

County Board Chairman Walter Tejada made the pledge at its Tuesday meeting, in response to a petition delivered by VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). VOICE collected more than 10,000 signatures for the petition, which called for 1,000-1,500 new units of affordable housing to be built on public and non-profit owned land over the next 3-5 years.

Possible sites identified by VOICE include the Arlington Career Center, Arlington Central Library, East Falls Church Metro station, and the parking lot of the Lubber Run Community Center. Tejada, in a statement, said the county will carefully consider the best use of public property.

“The County Board… has made affordable housing one the County’s top priorities,” he said. “The County Board is the steward of the community’s public land. In that capacity, we have a responsibility to assure that land decisions consider how best to provide what the community needs — schools, parks, recreational opportunities, and facilities.”

Tejada cited the 122 units of affordable housing built next to the new Arlington Mill Community Center as a model for using “public land for public good.”

The county is expected to identify 3-5 sites as part of its 2014-2024 Capital Improvement Program. After that, “a timeline for a comprehensive land use review process involving the community would be developed for each of the priority sites identified in the CIP,” Tejada said.

Despite the pledge from Tejada, VOICE representatives, who were hoping for quick action on their proposal, expressed disappointment that no firm deadlines were established for the process, the Sun Gazette reported.

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*Lighting of a giant 9 foot Menorah

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