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Affordable Housing Plan for Community Center Draws Opposition

Lubber Run Community Center (photo via Arlington County)Arlington County is receiving some pushback over its “Public Land for Public Good” affordable housing and school capacity initiative.

Specifically, the identification of the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive) as a site for potential affordable housing has drawn the ire of the 76-unit townhouse community Cathcart Springs, across N. George Mason Drive from Lubber Run.

Arlington is expected to begin studying Lubber Run, the “salt dome” along Old Dominion Drive and land adjacent to Jennie Dean Park in Shirlington as county-owned land that could be developed or redeveloped into affordable housing. The community planning portions for those sites, if approved by the Arlington County Board, would begin next spring.

The county is already accepting online comments on the proposed sites, and recently extended its deadline to receive those comments by a month, until Oct. 31.  The association is passing out flyers to its residents, encouraging them to send this comment to the county:

“Using park and recreation facilities should be preserved for future generations and should NOT be considered for conversion to alternative uses. Once beautiful parkland is gone, it is gone forever. Preserve LRCC as a recreation/community center only.”

So far, the county has received about 70 comments, according to the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development.

“Many of the comments suggest revisions to improve the proposed site evaluation guidelines,” CPHD spokeswoman Jessica Margarit told ARLnow.com today. “Other comments range from concerns about preserving parkland to ensuring that affordable housing locations are balanced across the entire county.”

Cathcart Springs Homeowners Association President Sandy First told ARLnow.com that she’s not opposed to affordable housing — far from it — but that site should not be considered. She also said Cathcart Springs has teamed up with the Arlington Forest Civic Association to rally against the proposal.

“I’m not against affordable housing at all, it’s just that most of it is [in the 22203 ZIP code],” she said. “Across the street at Lubber Run you’ve got an opportunity over there. With the community center, playground and amphitheater, it could play into an incredible array of programs.”

The opposition to Lubber Run’s redevelopment joins opposition from the Old Dominion Civic Association to plans to redevelop the “salt dome” site, for which adjacent green space had originally been slated for a new fire station and emergency management headquarters. That plan has been scaled back since as the county mulls its options, but the County Board approved $28 million to redevelop Lubber Run.

Photo via Arlington County

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