The County Board unanimously approved the plans for a new six-story development on Glebe Road in Ballston during it meeting on Saturday.
The new building, to be located at 670 N. Glebe Road, will be developed by Penrose Group. It is planned to have 173 apartments, seven of which will be affordable housing units, two different retails spaces on the ground floor and an underground garage with 177 parking spaces and 70 bicycle spots.
The building, to be known as 672 Flats, will sit on the site of a current Exxon gas station, used sales lot and parking lot, which are across from the Ballston Commons Mall and a few blocks from the Ballston Metro station.
“672 Flats is part of the exciting redevelopment of the west side of Glebe Road in Ballston. Importantly, this new building is the last piece in the long-planned transition from the high rise mall to the site-plan townhome communities built nearly 25 years ago,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement.
Under the approved site plan for the development, the seven affordable housing units must stay affordable for 30 years. Penrose will be giving the county $75,000 for the public art fund and $12,000 toward a new bus shelter. The site plan also requires the developer to reimburse the county for the $7,000 needed to conduct transportation and parking performance studies.
The new development will provide a tapering of density from the the core of Ballston to the neighborhoods that surround it, the county said.
“The site, located between North Carlin Springs Road and Seventh Street North, will provide a transition from the high-density commercial core of Ballston to medium-density residential uses to the west,” said a press release. “Between 672 Flats and the abutting townhouses, The Townes of Ballston, a shared alley will have plantings and a special paving treatment to ease the transition between the new residential building and the existing townhouses.”
The County Board’s decision was met with little protest, with only three speakers talking about the development during public comment. Of the three, two spoke out against the site plan, while the third spoke on behalf of the Bluemont Civic Association in support of the new development.
“Some 40 homeowners were planning to attend today but given the positive report before you they decided to go about their normal activities. On behalf of them and Bluemont, we support, enthusiastically support, the site plan on the agenda today,” said Terry Serie, who led the civic association’s task force on the Glebe Road development.
Other Arlington residents raised concerns about a supposed lack of transparency surrounding the Board’s process and the possibility of extending street parking on N. Glebe Road.
Under the site plan, Penrose will have to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of extended street parking on N. Glebe Road. The developer will also be required to help implement the new parking spaces and meters.
Local civic activist Bernie Berne criticized the decision to increase parking spaces on the Glebe Road, saying that it would cause the road to be even more dangerous to cyclists.
“Glebe Road is a major cycling route, even though its not dedicated as one. You put parking there, the card doors will open in the way of people on the bikes,” Berne said. “This is one of the biggest hazards of cycling. There’s no bike lanes there. There are no plans for a bike lane on Glebe Road. You put parking there, people are going to be on the sidewalks.”