Arlington, VA

The Arlington County Board is slated to consider changes to an existing development plan in Ballston.

In 2018 the County Board approved a plan to replace a two-story church and its parking lot at 1031 N. Vermont Street — formerly Grace Community Church and currently Portico Church Arlington — with a 72-unit condo building and 12 townhouses. The development changed hands in 2019 and is now returning to the Board for a site plan amendment.

A county staff report has not yet been posted online, less than 48 hours before Saturday’s Board meeting, but a preview of the item says that about 4,300 square feet of floor space will be added to the project “by removing an on-site alley.”

More from the county’s preview of the site plan amendment:

Proposed changes to the approved redevelopment plan for 11th Street and Vermont Street – The Board will hold a public hearing and consider a requested amendment to the site plan for an approved residential multifamily and townhouse development in North Ballston. If approved, the changes would include adding 4,289 square feet of space to the building by removing an on-site alley and would make other changes to the building architecture, massing, siting, circulation, and location of building services.

Nearby residents opposed the redevelopment ahead of its original approval, saying it was too big. From ARLnow’s 2018 article:

Many residents who spoke during the public comments section took issue with the height of the future residential buildings, as well as the the loss of property value and quality of life from the new building blocking sunlight.

“We will have nine floors of units that… will now be limited to fully dark most of the year — a maximum of one and a half hours during the summer solstice,” said Dana Hofferber, a resident of the nearby Westview condominium tower, citing a shadow study produced by the developer, NVR. Inc.

Another resident, Justin Heminger, noted that the community isn’t against all development, just this particular plan.

“The community is not against the development of this project, the community is against what has been proposed,” said Heminger. “And I think it boils down to: it’s too big, it’s too tall, and it’s too close.”

Many of the 26 public comments were from immediate Ballston neighbors, who wore matching t-shirts and held signs. A number of speakers noted in remarks that they purchased condominiums based on the current General Land Use Plan (GLUP), which the Board was voting to modify. Others said they were concerned about traffic, school overcrowding and the impact of the development on mass transit.

Image (3) via Google Maps

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