Take a drive through Fairlington and you will see sprawling acres of modest Colonial Revival-style condominiums with manicured lawns.
Once, they were garden apartments and townhouses, built between 1942 and 1944 to house the masses of defense workers who flocked to Arlington during World War II.
The complex is one marquee example of Arlington’s World War II-era garden apartments. Other examples include Arlington’s first complex, Colonial Village, and its second, Buckingham Village.
While denser than exclusively single-family-zoned neighborhoods, they are roomier, greener and lower to the ground than mid- to high-rise developments along Arlington’s Metro corridors. That is, they fit the definition of “Missing Middle” housing stock that Arlington County is looking to increase.
Today, Arlington is once again facing a housing crunch, one that is expected to tighten as Amazon hires more workers and companies spring up in its orbit. Garden apartments were once a solution to Arlington’s housing problems 80 years ago. But as Arlington County considers a plan for allowing “Missing Middle” housing in all residential area of the county, the “Missing Middle” of 80 years ago — these low-rise, gentle density developments — are worth a look.
Arlington’s housing history
Garden apartments first came online in the 1920s and were billed as a more spacious and light-filled alternative to denser, taller tenement housing, says George Mason University Mercatus Center fellow Emily Hamilton, who studies housing and development.
“Their setting, in park-like areas, was also shaped by the ‘garden city‘ movement, which started in the UK and was influential in the U.S. and based on the belief that urban housing should be surrounded by greenery, even in the city,” Hamilton said said. (Reston is nearby example of a planned “garden city.”)
But that trend didn’t pick up in Arlington until 1935, when 245 Colonial Revival-style buildings were built on 55 acres and named Colonial Village, writes Gail Baker, a former member of the Arlington County Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board. Construction began on Arlington’s second complex, the 100-acre Buckingham Village, in 1937, and was completed in the 1950s.
Hamilton says demand shifted toward single-family homes in the mid-century, as living standards and federal financing made buying a house more feasible.
As a result, garden apartments became a “starter option” for families, according to historian Charlie Clark.
“A lot of Arlingtonians who are middle-aged homeowners got their start in the garden apartments in the 40s and 50s,” he said. “Then, they ambitiously rose the economic scale, and wanted a single-family home with a yard, and ended up in other neighborhoods.”
By the 1970s, as the regional population grew and Metro was built these garden apartments faced development pressure. Colonial Village was broken up: some units were conserved, others were converted in condos, and still others were razed and turned into office buildings.
The county preserved Buckingham through an affordable housing deal and the units at Fairlington Villages were converted into condominiums and sold. One selling point was that their Colonial Revival façades were maintained, Baker writes.
Fifty years later, garden apartments are some of the last affordable dwellings to rent in the county in part because the buildings are dated, Hamilton says. And development pressure is mounting, as these buildings are reaching the end of their useful lives.
“It’s interesting,” Clark said. “They were probably considered middle-class when they were built, but they probably have declined a little bit in terms of economics.”
A collection of them near Rosslyn, on N. Ode Street, will be redeveloped as a high-rise affordable housing complex. Meanwhile, the owners of a similar complex along Columbia Pike will be redeveloping its property with townhouses.
Arlington County pre-empted speculative redevelopment of a third garden apartment complex, the Barcroft Apartments, by brokering a deal with Amazon and developer Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, which agreed to preserve 1,334 units on the site as committed affordable units for 99 years.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed 25 bills this week, of which nearly half were proposed or championed by Arlington lawmakers.
The new governor signed 700 bills sent to his desk during the 2022 General Assembly session, including some from Arlington lawmakers addressing mental health treatment, medical debt and virtual meetings.
Of those he vetoed, nine were proposed by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30), who represents part of the county, and four were filed by Arlington’s Del. Patrick Hope (D-47).
Some lawmakers and observers in state politics have interpreted the rebuffs of Ebbin’s bills as political tit-for-tat. Ebbin was at the center of some Youngkin appointments that were blocked earlier this year and Youngkin signed identical House bills in a half-dozen of those cases, the Washington Post reports.
In a statement, Ebbin said he is “stunned” by Youngkin’s decision to veto “meaningful, non-controversial” legislation.
“It is the polar opposite of what he campaigned on,” he said in an email to supporters and on Twitter. “These vetoes, from protecting living organ donors to enhancing consumers’ data privacy to reforming the [Virginia Employment Commission], are not in the best interest of Virginians.”
Gov. Youngkin vetoed 9/10 bills that reached his desk from Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria).
— Ben Paviour (@BPaves) April 12, 2022
As for Hope’s vetoed bills, one that caused a splash was HB 669, which would have initiated a study to see if the Virginia Department of Health should regulate swimming pools and water recreational facilities.
Advocates of the legislation say unregulated pools can pose health risks and the bipartisan-supported legislation would have added safeguards for swimmers and coaches.
A thread: Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed HB 669 @HopeforVirginia's bill that would have directed the Commissioner of Health to create a group study to determine whether pools should be regulated by VDOH. As a swimmer, I have some serious concerns.
— Langston Carter (@LangstonACarter) April 12, 2022
This isn't government overreach. It's something the government should have been doing a long time ago. When a pool isn't properly maintained, it's dangerous to the public.
Thank you @HopeforVirginia for working to fix this.
— Langston Carter (@LangstonACarter) April 12, 2022
Youngkin said the goal is “commendable” but directed lawmakers to consolidate this proposed work with existing efforts, rather than create “duplicative work.”
Another that went up in smoke was HB 675, and its Senate equivalent, which would have eliminated health insurance premiums for tobacco users. He said these higher rates incentivize healthier habits and the legislation would require non-users to foot the bill for increased healthcare costs.
Hope rebutted that it would have expanded coverage and decreased premiums.
HB 675 would have DECREASED premiums by 4.5% and REDUCED the number of uninsured by 14,000. @GovernorVA vetoed the bill. Virginians can’t afford to pay higher health care costs. https://t.co/As81uIkTDX
— Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) April 12, 2022
These vetoes come after Youngkin vetoed Hope’s bill earlier this year that would have allowed the Arlington County Board to hire an independent auditor for the Community Oversight Board, which reviews complaints of alleged police misconduct.
That duty remains with County Manager Mark Schwartz. Locally, it was viewed as a procedural bill giving the Board a similar level of authority enjoyed by other local governing bodies.
Another bill with Arlington ties, HB 802, would have allowed a local governing body to force landlords to address decaying conditions at their properties if they constituted a serious threat to life, health or safety of tenants.
Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (D-45), who represents parts of Arlington, was a chief co-patron. The text was developed with the Arlington branch of the NAACP in the wake of the discovery of mold, rodents and other health concerns at the Serrano Apartments on Columbia Pike, says NAACP Housing Chair Kellen MacBeth.
He said he was “deeply disappointed” by the veto, calling it “a troubling sign of what the next four years will be like for low-income tenant rights at the state level.”
Still, Youngkin approved or amended a number of bills from Arlington lawmakers tackling their legislative priorities.
Jefferson Apartment Group has filed plans to redevelop the Clarendon Wells Fargo site with offices, retail space and apartments.
The company proposes to build a 128-foot tall, 12-story structure with 238 apartments, nearly 67,000 square feet of office space, about 34,500 square feet of ground-floor retail and 244 parking spaces across a two-level, below-grade garage.
The bank at 3140 Washington Blvd is situated on a parcel bordered by N. Irving Street and N. Hudson Street. Next door is the 97,000-square foot Verizon building at 1025 N. Irving Street.
Jefferson proposes only to redevelop the bank property for now. Wells Fargo — the seller of the property at 3140 Washington Blvd — is requiring the developer to keep the bank open for business during construction.
“The project must take a phased permitting and construction approach, first constructing a new bank branch on the northwest corner of the site, followed by demolishing the existing Wells Fargo building and constructing the new mixed-use building once Wells Fargo is operational in the new bank branch building,” writes Sara Mariska, an attorney for the project.
Including the Verizon site in the overall plan will “facilitate development of the Wells Fargo property, while also facilitating preservation of critical telecommunications infrastructure on the Verizon property,” Mariska continues.
The Verizon site “is not going to redevelop any time soon,” noted Brett Wallace, a county planner, during an Arlington Committee of 100 discussion about Clarendon area development projects on Wednesday.
The new filing comes comes a week before the Arlington County Board is set to consider adopting an update to the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan, which targets the western portion of the neighborhood. The Committee of 100 panelists discussed the plan and potential changes to the area.
The sector plan update was precipitated by multiple property owners expressing a “strong interest” in redevelopment around the Clarendon Metro station area, Jennifer K. Smith, a county planning supervisor, told attendees.
Forthcoming developments include: the Silver Diner/The Lot, Joyce Motors and Wells Fargo/Verizon sites, as well as projects proposed by the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, the YMCA and George Mason University.
“The process would provide an opportunity to showcase preliminary proposals that were being contemplated and share them in a broad way with all the civic associations and other stakeholders who may be reviewing those individually over time,” she said. “Some of the developers were seeking alternatives that diverged from sector plan guidance and zoning regulations that apply in this area and [Planning Commissioners] wanted to provide forum for review and consideration of those potential changes or divergences from the sector plan.”
She added that the county felt “it was important that we consult with the community on new ideas to meet public facility and public space needs going into the future.”
(Updated at 9:40 p.m.) The man who was arrested on Sunday for robbery and carjacking after an inter-jurisdiction car chase on I-395 was awaiting trial in Fairfax County for stealing a car, court records show.
Laysohn Jones, 21, of Suitland, Maryland, had a hearing date set for May 2 for the auto theft charge, as well as a preliminary hearing for a failure to appear and charges for driving without a license and eluding police. He had been “released on recognizance,” according to court records, or released without bail when he allegedly committed the crime.
And two weeks ago, a man who has committed a slew of petty thefts over the last five years — from the Springfield Mall, Tysons Corner Center, and a CVS pharmacy and Macy’s in Pentagon City — was arrested on nearly a half-dozen charges.
Ronald D. Thomas, 24, is now being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility for his most recent alleged crimes — spitting on an officer, grand larceny, petit larceny, trespassing and identify theft — as well as an outstanding warrant from Fairfax County for grand larceny. Court records indicate he also had a felony second-degree assault charge from Maryland and a misdemeanor assault charge in D.C.
These cases have some blaming recent bail reforms, championed by many prosecutors who were elected on pledges to reform the criminal justice system.
“Repeat criminals are crossing jurisdictional lines and facing no consequences in first, second and third jurisdictions due to progressive policies like abolishing bail,” said Sean Kennedy, a spokesman for Virginians for Safe Communities, an organization that launched efforts last year to unseat the Commonwealth’s Attorneys for Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington counties.
“They go on to commit more crime elsewhere and those jurisdictions don’t understand their full criminal history because the same prosecutors have downgraded serious charges to light misdemeanors,” he continued. “More and more people are suffering because of that.”
Those who champion reforms to the criminal justice system, however, say repeat offense cases like these have long existed and systems like jail and bail did not deter people from offending over and over again. They add that these policies did nothing to solve underlying problems driving the criminal behavior, such as drug addiction and unstable housing.
“The inclination is, ‘We need to send him to jail for longer.’ We tried that before — that doesn’t work either,” said Arlington’s Chief Public Defender Brad Haywood.
He refuted the idea that there is a “progressive prosecution angle” at work, referencing the ongoing political tug-of-war between reform-minded prosecutors like Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, whose changes have prompted some backlash, and those who advocate for more stringent prosecution and punishment.
“This is a problem that has been an issue for decades in the U.S.,” Haywood said. “This is an issue, very broadly, with the criminal justice system.”
In the case of the carjacking, Randall Mason, the president of the Arlington Coalition of Police, said Fairfax County’s release of the alleged carjacker put officers, the driver and the public at risk of injury.
“He went out and did the same thing again, and it put Arlington officers at risk because pursuits are inherently dangerous,” Mason said. “Luckily everyone was safe, and no citizens injured.”
Police are concerned about and frustrated by the pattern of people who are arrested for serious offenses and released without bond, Mason said.
Dehghani-Tafti countered that her office does seek to hold people deemed to be dangerous or a flight risk.
“It’s the danger you pose, not whether or not you have cash, that should control whether you are released pre-trial or not,” she said.
(Updated at 12:55 p.m.) Plans are taking shape to rebuild the Arlington Career Center with improved amenities and, potentially, an additional 450 seats.
And it seems Arlington Public Schools is proposing a novel use for those seats: a middle school component to the Arlington Tech project-based learning program.
The idea appeared to elicit surprise from some Arlington School Board members, who requested to see this idea fleshed out more before they voted on it. The board is set to pick between two concepts for the Career Center project, only one of which proposes the additional seats, during its meeting on April 28.
Board Vice-Chair Reid Goldstein said using the seats for a middle school component “[puts] the cart before the horse.”
“There’s been no decision that a middle school component is decided and going to take place or appropriate,” he said.
School Board member Mary Kadera said she needed to see “a robust evaluation” of the program before deciding to create a middle school program.
“Before we talk about expanding a program, I want to make sure the program is actually delivering on what it promises to offer,” she said.
Although the idea of a middle school appears new, plans to add 450 seats to the Career Center date back to the fall, when the School Board directed APS staff to flesh out two designs: a “base” plan with the additional seats and an “alternative” plan without them.
The only other difference between the plans is the cost: the added seats raise project costs from $158.2 million to $174.6 million. Both those estimates are $4 to $5 million higher than initial projections back in October, due to higher construction costs.
Board Chair Barbara Kanninen reminded the School Board members that the designs reflect the Board’s direction to come up with plans that meet, or nearly meet, its requirements to spend about $170 million and complete the project by 2027.
“I think it’s important for us, and the community, to recognize what’s been approved by the board and the question on the table,” she said. “It’s generally good practice for us to honor what’s been voted on in the past — otherwise, we end up with chaotic governance.”
Goldstein said he does not intend to further delay the project but added that the designs and cost estimates do not totally meet Board parameters.
“I need more insight into the future vision to know this is the right step,” he said.
Should the School Board accept one of the two designs during its meeting on April 28, the long-awaited project would still require the approval of voters via a School Bond referendum this November.
If that is approved, demolition could begin in the summer of 2023 and construction could start that December. The new building would be completed in 2025 and the entire project would be completed in April 2027.
Career Center renovations have progressed in fits and starts over the last decade. Most recently, a two-year planning effort to add 800 seats to the building ground to a halt in 2020 because estimates came in $84 million over budget.
Arlington County will be studying a two-mile stretch of S. George Mason Drive, from Route 50 to the border with Fairfax County, to identify potential transportation improvements.
The study is happening now because the road is a solid candidate for grants that have applications due in the winter. But before they can apply, county staff need to examine current conditions and hear from locals about their biggest safety concerns, according to Leah Gerber, an county transportation planner.
She said one reason staff are optimistic about grant funding is because the upgrades would benefit residents of census tracts with high concentrations of ethnic minorities, or “equity emphasis areas,” according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Over the next two months, staff will analyze data such as transit ridership and traffic counts and develop concept plans for three segments of the road:
- North Segment — Arlington Blvd to Columbia Pike
- Middle Segment — Columbia Pike to S. Four Mile Run Drive
- South Segment — S. Four Mile Run Drive to county line
Staff will also develop 15% designs for the Columbia Pike-county line segment.
“The southern portion we feel will really be eligible for grant funding,” said Valerie Mosley, the bureau chief of Transportation Planning and Capital Project Management for Arlingtons Department of Environmental Services.
The study is slated for commission and County Board review this fall, in time for applications to go out this winter.
“We’re working on a fairly truncated timetable for this study and we wanted to start by asking about your experience,” public engagement coordinator Nate Graham said during a community kick-off meeting last week. “That feedback from the community will help us, along with data analysis, plan a study and identify solutions that can resolve those issues.”
A survey, open through Sunday, May 1, asks respondents how safe they feel walking, scooting, driving and biking the road. People can signal their preferred upgrades from options such as protected bike lanes, sheltered bus stops, bus-only lanes and widened sidewalks. Using an interactive map, respondents can pinpoint specific locations they say need attention.
What staff members know so far is that some residents have long requested safer pedestrian crossings through improvements such as flashing beacons. One oft-cited intersection is with 6th Street S., near the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where shrubbery and trees make it hard to see oncoming cars.
Some cyclists, meanwhile, have pointed out inconsistent bike infrastructure, with lanes that start and stop at random. Other residents say more parking enforcement is needed between Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive, where large commercial trucks park despite being too wide for the parking spaces available.
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
It has been a newsy two months for Ballston-based restaurant commerce platform GoTab.
The company, located at 901 N. Stuart Street above the Ballston Metro station, is crossing international borders into the land of hockey and maple syrup, bringing its contactless ordering and payment platform to Canada.
Meanwhile, 2022 is looking to be a big year for sales, as it aims to process more than $1 billion in sales at restaurants, bars and sports and entertainment venues. To facilitate all those sales, it has added a new feature to eliminate one hassle of smartphone ordering — punching in payment details — and is working to establish itself in the hotel industry.
The northward expansion, announced last week, has already yielded fruit for the six-year-old startup. GoTab has a new partnership with a Canadian company called Baseline Payments, which sees the technology as a way to help restaurant operators and front-of-house staff.
“We are excited for GoTab to enter the Canadian market and see tremendous opportunity for its innovative technology,” said Marc Weber, business development vice-president for Baseline Payments, in a statement. “Our mission aligns perfectly with GoTab’s vision: to make life simpler for operators and allow them to provide a superior level of service.”
Canada is not the only new frontier for GoTab. The company is also working with Mastercard to get rid of the need to punch in credit and debit card details or remember passwords.
Mastercard customers can choose to have their information saved to the credit card company’s platform called Click to Pay. When checking out with retailers, restaurants and venues — online or in-person — that accepts Mastercard, they can use the Click to Pay icon to checkout without pulling out their card.
“We strive to help our operators enhance the guest experience,” GoTab CEO Tim McLaughlin said in a statement. “Mastercard Click to Pay is the perfect solution to simplify and make the checkout process easier, faster, and completely seamless.”
The new option first launched at the Stone Brewing taproom in Richmond late last month.
“We’ve had a very successful run with GoTab and Mastercard Click to Pay across all of our taprooms and bistros,” said Gregg Frazer, VP of Hospitality for Stone Brewing. “Our guests were already big fans of GoTab, but the convenience and security of Click to Pay made the payment experience even better.”
This year, GoTab is looking to expand beyond restaurants and bars entirely and get into — and strengthen its presence within — the hotel industry.
That comes as the hotel business, hit hard by the pandemic, is trying to embrace new technologies to streamline processes like check-in. But the industry is projected to see more growth this year, driven by an uptick in domestic leisure travel, less restricted international travel and a return to the office.
“There are so many opportunities to modernize systems within the hospitality industry and utilize GoTab’s technology for guest amenity programs, in-room dining, common indoor and outdoor spaces [and] rooftop bars,” said Deborah Tappan, GoTab’s new Director of Hospitality Management, in a statement. “The options are endless.”
Arlington Public Schools is adding funding to its proposed budget to fund positions supporting student mental health and safety.
The revised budget includes about $800,000 to add the equivalent of 5.5 full-time school safety coordinators and restore four psychologist and social worker positions, which were initially cut due to lower enrollment projections.
“I’m really glad to see our budget is paying attention to mental health, which we know is a significant concern locally and nationally,” School Board member Mary Kadera said during the School Board meeting Thursday night.
Members of the School Board unanimously approved several changes to the proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, but the budget is not yet set in stone — final approvals are slated for May.
The additional safety and mental health expenses come as many schools — particularly the middle schools — are seeing an uptick in fights and instances of students either bringing, or threatening to bring, weapons to school, as ARLnow previously reported. School administrators say they are stepping up their focus on social-emotional learning in response.
Last week week, Arlington police investigated text messages referencing potential violence at Swanson and Dorothy Hamm middle schools, but concluded there was no active or ongoing threat, Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. The week before last, a Swanson student brought a taser to school, according to an email to families.
Additionally, in response to students filming peers in the restroom, teachers have started monitoring bathrooms and confiscating students’ phones during bathroom breaks, Fox 5 reported.
Responding to concerns from Swanson staff and parents, administrators said in a School Talk email, provided to ARLnow, that there will be increased monitoring, more mental health and social-emotional learning and improved communication with families and staff when incidents arise.
This year, APS has leaned on specialized school safety staff after removing sworn ACPD School Resource Officers from its buildings last summer.
None of the newly budgeted “school safety coordinators” will go to Swanson, but they will go to Gunston Middle School, the Langston High School Continuation Program and New Directions programs, and the newly renovated education center building that will serve Washington-Liberty High School. There will also be two substitutes.
The coordinators add to an existing 28.5 full-time-equivalent school safety staff members, who once were called “security resource assistants.” APS aims to have at least one coordinator per middle and high school building, with an additional coordinator per 500 students beyond that. Roaming coordinators support multiple elementary schools.
These staff monitor hallways, watch for student behavior during arrival and dismissal and during night time events and activities, ensure searches of students are performed correctly and conduct drills, Director of Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management Zach Pope said during a budget work session last month.
They are required to complete more than 60 hours of training, including compulsory minimum training through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, schools spokesman Frank Bellavia tells ARLnow.
“APS has been engaging in conversations since 2018 with Arlington County public safety agencies about the best way to adjust these positions and provide maximum level support to the safety, security and wellbeing of our communities,” he said.
A two-vehicle crash this afternoon in Ballston caused one vehicle to flip over in the Harris Teeter parking lot.
The incident happened around 1:10 p.m. at the intersection of N. Randolph Street and N. Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic.
Two vehicles were involved: a white SUV driven by a woman turning left onto N. Glebe Road, and a black Ford sedan with two occupants, per scanner traffic and the observations of an ARLnow photographer.
Momentum from the crash caused the white SUV to roll over and into the entrance of the grocery store’s parking lot, next to a large redevelopment project that’s under construction.
Airbags deployed for both vehicles. The woman in the SUV was initially said to be trapped but later was reported to have been able to get out uninjured. Dispatchers said the black car was “smoking” after the crash, but no injuries were reported for the occupants either.
Both Glebe Road and Randolph Street have since reopened to traffic.
LOCATION: Glebe Rd/ Randolph
INCIDENT: Traffic Collision
IMPACT: All lanes are now open to traffic. pic.twitter.com/vGBHMVFmE8
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) April 8, 2022
Staff photographer Jay Westcott and reporter Matt Blitz contributed to this report
The Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center closed early yesterday (Thursday) due to an electrical emergency.
“At approximately noon on Thursday, the incoming voltage to the building began spiking beyond what was safe for our equipment,” Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish tells ARLnow.
DPR closed the facility so that power could be shut down, and Dominion Energy responded yesterday afternoon to make repairs.
“The spiking stopped and contractors replaced or repaired damaged equipment,” she said. “We are happy to report the community could dive in once again by 8 a.m.”
Typically, the center opens at 5 a.m. on Friday for early risers to get in their morning swims and dives.
Members were notified of the closure “due to emergency maintenance” in an email time-stamped at 12:55 p.m., according to a copy shared with ARLnow.
This is the first reported emergency repair resulting in the temporary closure of the Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center since it opened in August of last year.
The facility will next be closed on Sunday, April 17 for Easter Sunday.
A four-story apartment building proposed for Green Valley is wending its way through Arlington County review processes.
The project would redevelop a gravel and asphalt parking lot at 2608 Shirlington Road with 27 market-rate units and three affordable ones atop ground-floor retail and a 38-space parking garage built into the hillside. Tenants will have access to a rooftop deck and pool.
Currently, the property is surrounded by warehouses, low-rise townhouses, a barbershop and a funeral home.
The property owner, Shirlington Investments, is seeking to buy a sliver of land from Arlington County to expand the property lines slightly. Approvals for that purchase are concurrent to the proposed development review process.
The property falls within the Green Valley Village Center Revitalization District and is subject to different standards for urban design, building heights, affordable housing and streetscape, county planner Kevin Lam said during a recent Site Plan Review Committee meeting.
“The Green Valley Village Center Action Plan outlines a vision for revitalizing the Green Valley community by encouraging mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development centered around the John Robinson, Jr. Town Square,” he said.
Describing high ceilings, tall windows and the contrasting light and dark brick façades, project architect Lisa Clark said her firm has “tried to design this project to reinforce the industrial-arts focused vision laid out in the Four Mile Run Area Plan.”
Green Valley Civic Association Vice-President Robin Stombler says the association is “enthusiastic” about this project.
“We think it fits very well with our plan for the community and we do encourage its approval,” she said. “We do want to state publicly the applicant has been communicative, accessible and has addressed issues we have raised over time. For all those reasons we do welcome them to Green Valley and hope their project is approved.”
Unlike typical development projects going up in Arlington, this one is being processed as a use permit through a special process called a Unified Commercial Mixed-Use Development (UCMUD).
Such projects are reviewed according to standards that emphasize predictability, architectural style and streetscape design, similar to the form-based code projects approved along Columbia Pike, Lam said. Another example of a UCMUD in Green Valley is The Shelton apartment building, built in 2009.