The Arlington County Board will vote in December on allowing the creation of “Housing Conservation Districts” to protect affordable housing and make it harder to demolish and build townhomes in some areas.
A proposal by staff would help create the districts within the county’s General Land Use Plan, the primary policy guide for new development that also establishes the character and extent of land uses. It would also add the districts to the county’s Affordable Housing Master Plan and the Zoning Ordinance.
Earlier this year, county staff found in a report that affordable apartment buildings and complexes tend to be located in the following nine general areas:
- Along the edges of the Rosslyn Metro station area
- Along the edges of the Ballston Metro station area
- Central Lee Highway
- East Lee Highway
- Lyon Park
- Nauck/Long Branch Creek/Aurora Highlands
If approved, HCDs would be allowed in areas of the county planned for low-medium and medium residential use, and zoned for multi-family homes like apartments. Any proposed district must also contain two or more apartment buildings or complexes, or one large one.
The HCDs would allow for what staff described in a presentation to the Board as “context-appropriate renovation, addition, infill and redevelopment projects in exchange for affordable housing.”
Development of townhouses would be reclassified as a special exception use within HCDs, meaning it would require site plan approval by the County Board on a case-by-case basis. That change comes after a spate of by-right townhouse development to replace affordable apartment buildings, including in Westover.
“The Board is considering this action to encourage the preservation of affordable housing,” County Board chair Jay Fisette said in a statement.
This plan is the first phase of adding HCDs. Subsequent phases could include giving tax- and zoning-based incentives to developers.
The Board will hold a public hearing on the plan at its December 16 meeting, with the Planning Commission also holding a hearing on December 4. In a letter, Joan Lawrence, chair of the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board, said the group supports the planned HCDs.
Image via county presentation
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village