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Condo Residents, County Officials Reach Agreement on Public Access to Courtyard

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 1, 2018 at 5:45 pm 0

Updated with County statement 3/2/2018 at 11:17 a.m.:

Arlington County believes that the dispute with the Berkeley Condo Association over public courtyard access is close to being amicably resolved, and that public access will be restored to the pathway on the property. The County Board authorized the County Attorney to engage in settlement negotiations with the Berkeley Condo Association, to resolve ongoing litigation, and the parties are negotiating a proposal, which, in all likelihood, will be finalized soon. Any final settlement would be between the County Board and the Berkeley Condo Association, not their attorneys or other County officials.

The proposal requires the Berkeley Condo Association to take down the existing gates at the pathway and keep the path clear for public access from 6 a.m. to midnight, or one half-hour before opening and closing of the Ballston Metro station, whichever is later. Under the proposal, the Berkeley Condo Association would be allowed to put up security fencing off the path to prevent trespassing onto the areas adjacent to the residential units.

The Berkeley Condo Association has applied for a Site Plan amendment, and the County Board could advertise a public hearing on that proposed amendment as early as at its March meeting, if the settlement agreement is finalized in time.

An agreement over contested public courtyard access has been reached between the County Attorney and Ballston’s Berkeley Condo Association, the association’s attorney says.

The compromise would allow the Berkeley Condominiums to fence off pathways and the privately-owned patios. The patios will not be accessible at any point to the public and the pathways will only be available during hours that Metro is operational.

“We’ve come up with a win-win, I think,” said William Lawson, the building’s attorney and a Ballston resident.

According to Lawson, a site plan amendment request will go before the Arlington County Board in April to approve the compromise.

In September the Board unanimously rejected the condo association’s desire to remove a requirement — dating back to when the condominium complex was built — that it allow the public to access a courtyard on the property.

Residents cited criminal mischief, from fighting to public drunkenness to drug use, for keeping its property off-limits. A staff report, however, noted that only one police report was found regarding activity at the outdoor space.

The condo building, at 1000 N. Randolph Street, is across from A-Town Bar & Grill and IHOP and down the block from First Down Sports Bar & Grill.

File photos.

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