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Goodwill redevelopment plans receive largely positive feedback, mixed with some concerns

Plans to redevelop the Goodwill near Route 50 — with affordable housing, childcare and a new store and donation center — have received a relatively warm reception, per a recent survey.

Goodwill and AHC Inc. propose to replace the existing Goodwill Retail and Donation Center in the Alcova Heights neighborhood with a 6-story apartment building with 128 units of affordable housing, a new store and donation center and a 3,300-square-foot childcare facility.

The redevelopment at 10 S. Glebe Road would have 168 total parking spaces, including 50 for customers and four for childcare.

The plans are early in the Arlington County approval process. Now that the recent feedback opportunity is complete, there will be two site plan review committee meetings, not yet scheduled, followed by Planning Commission and Arlington County Board hearings.

A majority of respondents, including community members, planning commissioners and other county commission members, welcome the addition of childcare and affordable housing to the site. Most of the 167 respondents said the density and land use “appropriate,” with several suggesting even more units could be added.

“I love this!” wrote one. “The more childcare facilities and housing the better!”

Another noted that about three-quarters of the units would be family-sized 2- and 3-bedroom units, which are in short supply in Arlington.

“Likewise, Arlington is in desperate need of additional childcare facilities like this,” the person continued. “The playground and green space proposed would benefit the entire neighborhood. This corner abuts office, commercial, and multifamily site, so additional density here should not be a problem.”

Not everyone is pleased with the increased density, however. Some objected to locating housing and childcare so close to busy Arlington Blvd, predicting even more congestion.

“The building is much [too] close to Route 50 and the residents are not connected to the surrounding community,” wrote one commenter. “They will be isolated. For all its progressive bona fides, it looks like Arlington is opting for the warehousing of the poor.”

“I question whether this site can handle this sort of expansive growth,” said another. “Traffic in this area is already horrendous and has been getting worse. This new site use will only increase that.”

For self-identified county commissioners who responded to the survey, the devil will be in the details, with concerns about insufficient landscaping, greenspace and traffic.

“Installing Right- as well as Left-turn traffic lights for South- and North-bound traffic across S. Glebe Rd. at the entrance to and exit from the proposed building site would make it more convenient and safer for motorists and pedestrians who will use S. Glebe Rd. close to its intersection with Arlington Boulevard,” recommended one.

The county says the developer conducted a traffic analysis that looked at three signalized and three stop-controlled intersections around the site. It found that the overall operations are and will be “at an acceptable Level of Service” if the development moves forward, per a staff report.

As for donation traffic, donors would enter and exit a drive-thru line from S. Glebe Road, similar to the configuration used today. The difference is that the new one would take drivers inside the building and up a level.

The current line sees backups onto S. Glebe Road during busy donation seasons, according to some commenters and a county report. The report did not indicate whether the plans would address this, noting that traffic volumes were manageable most of the year.

The designs received several compliments, including that it was “genius” and “light years better than the existing circulation plan.”

Goodwill donation queuing crosses two levels (via Arlington County)

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