by Jennifer Currier — November 18, 2015 at 11:15 am 0

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall at its meeting last night.

In its approval of the project — which is now referred to as Ballston Quarter — the Board also entered a Letter of Intent to pursue a public-private partnership with Forest City Enterprises, the company that currently owns and operates the mall and is spearheading the redevelopment effort.

“This is an important, exciting redevelopment in the heart of Ballston,” Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “The long-term benefits of a revitalized Ballston Quarter warrant a public-private partnership — a wise strategic investment for the public good.”

The partnership is primarily financial at this stage of the project. According to a press release, the county plans to contribute $10 million to the project, including parking and transportation improvements around the mall, and would issue a $45.4 million Community Development Authority bond to further finance the redevelopment.

At the meeting, Hynes said other details of the agreement are “not fully fleshed out.”

The entire project is expected to cost $317 million for interior, facade streetscape improvements to existing buildings at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road. It also includes new development, like a 22-story, 406-unit apartment building where the Macy’s Furniture Store currently is.

The redevelopment of the mall itself involves more than 323,000 square feet of retail space, an open-air plaza with vendor stalls, improvements to the parking garage and a new pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd.

Public testimony given at the meeting by Ballston residents, business owners and stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive, thanking the Board for their work and expressing support for the project moving forward.

“Ballston has continued to evolve and transform over the years,” Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone said. “This property has served as a huge economic generator in the past, and it is vital to Ballston’s sustainability and long-term competitiveness.”

Resident and small business owner Jennifer Galloway echoed the need to rethink the mall.

“There’s currently a void in Ballston for most of our daily needs,” she said. “The redevelopment of the mall helps to fill that void and truly bring a town center feel to the heart of the area.”

Some residents did raise concerns and asked the Board to reconsider a proposal to remove the median strip on Wilson Blvd and to maximize the amount of space made available to the public on the property.

Board members addressed those concerns and took note to consider them moving forward. Still, members had positive views of the future of the project and of Ballston.

“This is a unique experience for us, stepping up like this to partner in the way we’re proposing to do it,” Board member Jay Fisette said. “It’s a smart, strategic investment all the way around, both public and private. We’re doing it with a reliable, experienced partner. That’s no small part in this.”

Board member J. Walter Tejada also shared his excitement.

“Ballston has the dynamic where you have to like urban living because it almost has the pulse of a city,” he said. “You can almost feel it, and [the project] has so much potential to make it even greater.”

by ARLnow.com — November 13, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

A dog along the banks of Four Mile Run near Shirlington

Owner of Clarendon Restaurant on ‘Real Housewives’ — Ashley Darby, who co-owns the new Oz restaurant in Clarendon with her husband, will be a cast member on the upcoming “Real Housewives of Potomac.” The series will premiere on Bravo on Jan. 17. [Eater]

Arlington ZIP Code Makes ‘Most Expensive’ List — The 22207 ZIP code, which includes the northernmost neighborhoods of Arlington, has made the Forbes list of “Most Expensive ZIP Codes” in the U.S. The ZIP code ranked No. 339 on the list, with a median home price of $1,212,952. [Patch]

Biggest Developments Along Orange Line Corridor — Former ARLnow.com reporter Ethan Rothstein has compiled a list of “the 10 biggest developments in the R-B corridor pipeline.” The developments will be discussed at a Bisnow event on Nov. 18 in Ballston. [Bisnow]

Breezy Conditions Today — Expect a breezy day in the D.C. area today, with wind gusts up to 35-40 miles per hour. [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com — November 11, 2015 at 9:35 am 0

Fall in Arlington National Cemetery

Wreath-Laying Ceremony — Among other observances of today’s Veterans Day holiday in Arlington is a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial. The event will take place at 11 a.m., with a group of World War II and Korean War veterans on hand. [Twitter]

School Board Considers Gun Safety Measures — The Arlington School Board is considering asking the Virginia General Assembly for new legislation that would restrict guns around schools, although no one seriously believes that the Republican-controlled legislature would actually pass such a measure. [InsideNova]

Lee Highway Residents Debate Development — Arlington County’s planning process for the Lee Highway corridor has prompted many residents to come out against “overdevelopment” and taller building heights. The corridor is currently car-oriented, though neighborhoods like Cherrydale developed thanks to a former streetcar line. [WAMU]

Middle School Tourette Campaign — Williamsburg Middle School staff have created a Public Service Announcement ad as part of Bullying Prevention Month. The campaign, called “Accept Tourette,” is based around a seventh grade student at Williamsburg with Tourette Syndrome. [Arlington Public Schools]

by ARLnow.com — November 10, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

The Arlington County Board is scheduled to consider a 12-unit townhouse development in Ballston this weekend.

The Ballston Oak Townhomes development, between 1124 and 1138 N. Stuart, has been in the county’s Site Plan Review process for about a year. Originally slated for as many as 16 townhouses, the latest proposal calls for four separate buildings containing a total of 12 townhouses.

Each home will have a two-car garage, accessible via a shared concrete driveway with a single entrance to the street. Three visitor parking spaces are also proposed.

The development, which is adjacent to the Arlington Market on Washington Blvd, will replace four single family homes, each dating back to the 1920s or 1930s. One home, at 1124 N. Stuart Street, “is a stucco covered Apartment Bungalow that is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places,” according to a Site Plan Review document.

The County Board is set to consider a site plan for the development and an associated storm sewer easement-related item on Saturday. So far, the county staff report and recommendation for the items has not been posted online.

by ARLnow.com — November 9, 2015 at 9:20 am 0

Finish line at Tuckahoe Elementary (photo courtesy Buzz McClain)

Wakefield Wins, Ends Undefeated in Conference — The Wakefield Warriors football team defeated the Lee Lancers 50-18 on Friday to finish the regular season 8-2 and undefeated in the Capitol Conference. Wakefield will play in the first round of the 5A North Region playoffs on Friday. [InsideNova]

W-L Makes Playoffs with Win Against Yorktown — The Washington-Lee Generals secured a playoff spot and a 5-5 season with a win against cross-county rival Yorktown on Friday. It wrapped up Yorktown’s first losing season since 1995. [Washington Post]

I-66 ‘Worst Damn Freeway in America’ — Traffic-clogged I-66 is the worst interstate highway in America, so says the website Thrillist, based on federal highway data. I-10 in New Orleans was ranked the second worst.  [Thrillist]

Arlington to Get Development Boost at Alexandria’s Expense? — After years of losing big office tenants to Alexandria, the economic tables may be turning for Arlington County. This month Alexandria elected a new mayor who ran on a mildly anti-development platform, while Arlington elected two new County Board members who spoke in favor of economic development efforts. [Bisnow]

Photo courtesy Buzz McClain

by ARLnow.com — November 6, 2015 at 10:10 am 0

"Peacock" tree in Bailey's Branch Park (Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk)

Task Force Recommends TJ Site — Ten months after the Arlington County Board nixed a proposed new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, a working group appointed by the Board has concluded that the site is, in fact, the best one for a new school. The group also recommended that the School Board starts planning for a second new South Arlington elementary school, most likely in the Pentagon City area. [InsideNova]

Election Day Bar Crawl Was a Bust — Organizers of an election day bar crawl in Clarendon say they have learned “that people are not up for celebrating democracy on a Tuesday night of a work week.” Despite giving out 65-70 bracelets for the crawl, which was to encourage younger people to vote, one of the participating bars — Whitlow’s — didn’t see a single customer wearing the bracelets. [Washington Post]

‘Suburban North Arlington Is Going to Develop’ — The urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington says that development is inevitable for Lee Highway. The website is encouraging residents of the car-oriented corridor to participate in a county-led planning process for Lee Highway that’s currently underway, including a “visioning charrette” this weekend. [Greater Greater Washington]

Ray’s Maintains Steak Supremacy — Despite an influx of flashy new steakhouses in the District, Ray’s the Steaks in Courthouse still has the best-tasting steak around, and for a lot less than the newcomers, says food critic Todd Kliman. [Washingtonian]

W-L, Yorktown Rivalry Game Tonight — Yorktown will face Washington-Lee in a cross-county rivalry game with playoff implications. Both football squads could make the playoffs with a win tonight. A win also comes with the unofficial distinction of being this year’s Arlington County champion. [Washington Post]

M.J. Stewart Back at UNC Following Suspension — Former Yorktown standout M.J. Stewart is back leading the University of North Carolina’s secondary, after an off-campus altercation led to an assault and battery charge and a suspension from the team. [Daily Tarheel]

Tuckahoe 5K Road Closures — The annual Tuckahoe 5K race will take place Saturday. Arlington police will close portions of Williamsburg Blvd, Little Falls Road, 26th Street and Underwood Street between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. to accommodate the race. [Arlington County]

Dems Captured All But One Precinct — The two Democratic County Board members-elect nearly swept every voting precinct in the county during Tuesday’s election. Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey together captured all but one precinct in Arlington. In the Madison precinct of North Arlington, a “bastion of Republicanism in an otherwise true-blue community,” Republican-endorsed independent Michael McMenamin finished second to Christian Dorsey. [InsideNova]

Jury Duty Questionnaires Due — If you were among the seven percent of Arlington and Falls Church residents who received a juror qualification questionnaire in the mail last month, it’s likely past due by now. Recipients are required by law to return the form within 10 days of receiving it. [Arlington County]

Development Forum Next Week — Registration is closing at noon today for a forum on development in Arlington County. Speakers at the event, scheduled for Nov. 10, include Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins, Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick and Shooshan Company COO Kelly Shooshan. [CREW Northern Virginia]

Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk

by ARLnow.com — November 5, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

A new MOM’s Organic Market is opening next week on Lee Highway, within walking distance to Courthouse.

The store, at 1901 N. Veitch Street, is planning a grand opening celebration between Friday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 15.

“Join us for a weekend of local tastings, environmental activities, henna art and more!” the company said on its website. “Five percent of Grand Opening sales will be donated to Moms Clean Air Force, a community of moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health.”

There will also be meet and greets with environmental organizations, like the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and live music Saturday and Sunday afternoon from Arlington singer-songwriter (and H-B Woodlawn studentCalista Garcia.

In addition to the grocery store, MOM’s is also opening a Naked Lunch storefront along Uhle Street. Naked Lunch is an organic, vegetarian and vegan-only eatery that serves soups, sandwiches, bowls and raw juices.

Other MOM’s features include free car charging stations, local beer and organic wine, and recycling drop-off for wine corks, CFL bulbs, eye glasses, plastic bags, household batteries and shoes.

MOM’s is located in the new Verde Pointe development, along with 162 luxury apartments and 36 townhouse flats.

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

The Arlington County Board is scheduled this month to hear a proposal to replace Ballston watering hole Carpool with a 22-story luxury apartment building.

Developer Penzance and a real estate investment firm acquired the Carpool property and an adjacent office building just under a year ago. In a site plan amendment, Penzance is proposing to build a 330,000 square foot, 330-unit residential building on the Carpool site at 4000 Fairfax Drive.

The 1960s-era, 10-story Webb Building next to Carpool, which was recently renovated and is being used on an interim basis by Marymount University during construction on its “Blue Goose” site, will remain “for the near future.”

The new residential building will have a 264-space parking garage, but 66 spaces will be made available to residents in the Webb Building’s garage, which has 286 spaces. The residential building will also have 8,400 square feet of ground floor retail space, and will be built to LEED Gold sustainability standards.

The Arlington Planning Commission heard testimony from the developer last night (Monday). The County Board is expected to decide on final approval at its Nov. 14 or 17 meeting. A draft document indicates that county staff is recommending the site plan amendment be approved.

There’s no word yet on when Carpool will close nor when construction will start on the new building.

Update at 11/17/15: Consideration of this development was deferred to the County Board’s December meeting.

by Heather Mongilio — October 28, 2015 at 8:00 pm 0

Lee Highway Streetlight (via Google Maps)Arlington County is looking for participants for a four-day workshop focusing on the future of the Lee Highway corridor.

A consulting team will run the workshop, which is meant to help the county shape its vision for the Lee Highway corridor.

“Lee Highway isn’t going to plan itself,” Arlington County Planner Justin Falango said in a statement. “The people who live or work there, own businesses or land, or just visit, need to be integrally involved in this effort — and that begins with crafting a vision for the corridor’s future.”

The four-day workshop will take place at the Langston-Brown Community and Senior Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street) and starts on Friday, Nov. 6, with an introduction to the design team from 6-8 p.m.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, participants will draw their vision for the corridor as part of a community hands-on design session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will then have the opportunity to take a tour of a temporary design studio to watch designers work on the plans for Lee Highway on Sunday from 3-5 p.m.

The workshop will end on Monday, Nov. 8, with a wrap-up open house from 7-9 p.m., where participants will hear the first draft of recommendations for the Lee Highway corridor.

While picturing the vision for Lee Highway, participants and county staff will discuss:

  • pedestrian accommodation
  • cyclists and vehicles
  • issues for commuters
  • opportunities for housing
  • appropriate development
  • transitions from commercial zones to single family homes
  • streetscape design
  • the preservation of cultural resources

Planning for a redeveloped Lee Highway Corridor is an partnership effort between the county government and multiple civic associations that are affected by the road. The county is currently in a planning phase for the development project, and has been conducting multiple walks and hearing to gather information about the state of the corridor.

by ARLnow.com — October 23, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

A new residential redevelopment is coming to Rosslyn, but it’s not without a measure of controversy.

Reston-based developer NVR, Inc., the parent company of homebuilder Ryan Homes, is proposing a townhouse and condominium development at 1411 Key Blvd. The proposal was heard by Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee last night, and is expected to be heard by the Planning Commission next month.

NVR is proposing a total of 63 dwelling units in a six-story, 66-foot-tall building with 64 parking spaces. The developer is asking Arlington County for a change from “Low-Medium” to “Medium” residential zoning in the General Land Use plan in order to accomplish that. In return, NVR is promising LEED Silver sustainability certification and on-site affordable housing.

Located 2-3 blocks away from the Rosslyn Metro station, the new development would replace an aging but affordable building: the Metro Rosslyn Apartments.

Residents of the building were notified via a letter dated Oct. 1 that the building is being sold and they must vacate by Jan. 31, 2016. However, a sign placed on the door of the building says that the notice, which called the forced move an “inconvenience” and did not offer moving assistance, is being reviewed by Arlington’s Tenant Landlord Commission.

“All tenants are entitled to relocation assistance: monetary compensation and assistance in finding a new apartment,” the sign says. “The 120-day notice may be rescinded (recalled) by law.”

A second, smaller apartment building is also slated to be demolished to make room for the new development.

by Heather Mongilio — October 21, 2015 at 2:35 pm 0

The County Board unanimously approved three new residential buildings for the western end of the Clarendon neighborhood last night.

The new buildings, developed by the Arlington-based Shooshan Company, will have up to 580 housing units and 3,477 square feet of retail space. The new development will sit on the site of the current Red Top Cab headquarters and two low-rise commercial buildings, which house a furniture repair shop and childcare center.

“This is an ambitious redevelopment that will transform the western end of Clarendon,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes in a statement. “It continues and expands the vision set forth for the Clarendon Revitalization District, and brings a much-needed street realignment and improvements to the transportation network.”

The new buildings may be as tall as 110 feet, but will “taper” from the single-family homes surrounding the buildings. The company is proposing to use three different colors of brick, keeping in mind the general look of the surrounding buildings.

“I think its a series of very striking buildings, architecturally. It’s going to continue the forward momentum of Clarendon,” County Board member John Vihstadt said.

Shooshan is proposing six committed affordable units in the complex, as a community benefit, in addition to meeting the zoning ordinance requirement for a development of its size as it pertains to affordable housing.

The ordinance gives Shooshan the option of a $1.8 million contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, including 16 affordable units on site, or 23-31 off-site affordable units. That fits in with the county’s plan for more affordable housing, said County Board Vice Chair Walter Tejada.

“We’re looking at what we call the Metro corridor, so it’s not easy. And anything you can get in that site is great, and I’m not surprised that an effort was made by the applicant,” Tejada said.

The site plan also calls for a street realignment. Under the project, a portion of N. Ivy Street south of 13th Street N. will be deleted. 12th Street N. will be shifted to the east, providing a connection between N. Hudson Street and Washington Blvd. Shooshan will help the county with improvements to the streets around the development and with the construction of a new park.

“This is a traffic pinch point that we are going to be able to fix by doing what we’re doing together,” Hynes said.

Shooshan will paying for the changes to the streets and dedicating land for the new park.

“The developer will reimburse the county $3 million for costs associated with the improvements to Washington Blvd, 13th Street N., and N. Johnson Street. In addition, the developer will dedicate parcels to the county which eventually will be used to create the Clarendon Sector Plan’s recommended Washington Blvd/13th Street Park,” the county said in a press release.

Other community benefits include a public art contribution and sustainable building design elements that meet LEED specifications.

The proposed development was met with little public comment — only two members of the public chose to talk, activist Jim Hurysz and the lawyer for the furniture shop being sold to and demolished by the developer. The latter spoke in favor of the development, calling it a “win-win-win.”

“Although we started late, it’s pretty remarkable that something this significant has only two speakers, one of them who is our usual visitor,” Hynes said.

Board members also kept their comments brief, mostly praising the new development plan.

“There’s not much to dislike about it,” County Board member Jay Fisette said. “It’s a very attractive project.”

Construction on the project is slated to take place in two phases.

by Heather Mongilio — October 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm 1,439 0

The County Board unanimously approved the plans for a new six-story development on Glebe Road in Ballston during it meeting on Saturday.

The new building, to be located at 670 N. Glebe Road, will be developed by Penrose Group. It is planned to have 173 apartments, seven of which will be affordable housing units, two different retails spaces on the ground floor and an underground garage with 177 parking spaces and 70 bicycle spots.

The building, to be known as 672 Flats, will sit on the site of a current Exxon gas station, used sales lot and parking lot, which are across from the Ballston Commons Mall and a few blocks from the Ballston Metro station.

“672 Flats is part of the exciting redevelopment of the west side of Glebe Road in Ballston. Importantly, this new building is the last piece in the long-planned transition from the high rise mall to the site-plan townhome communities built nearly 25 years ago,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement.

Under the approved site plan for the development, the seven affordable housing units must stay affordable for 30 years. Penrose will be giving the county $75,000 for the public art fund and $12,000 toward a new bus shelter. The site plan also requires the developer to reimburse the county for the $7,000 needed to conduct transportation and parking performance studies.

The new development will provide a tapering of density from the the core of Ballston to the neighborhoods that surround it, the county said.

“The site, located between North Carlin Springs Road and Seventh Street North, will provide a transition from the high-density commercial core of Ballston to medium-density residential uses to the west,” said a press release. “Between 672 Flats and the abutting townhouses, The Townes of Ballston, a shared alley will have plantings and a special paving treatment to ease the transition between the new residential building and the existing townhouses.”

The County Board’s decision was met with little protest, with only three speakers talking about the development during public comment. Of the three, two spoke out against the site plan, while the third spoke on behalf of the Bluemont Civic Association in support of the new development.

“Some 40 homeowners were planning to attend today but given the positive report before you they decided to go about their normal activities. On behalf of them and Bluemont, we support, enthusiastically support, the site plan on the agenda today,” said Terry Serie, who led the civic association’s task force on the Glebe Road development.

Other Arlington residents raised concerns about a supposed lack of transparency surrounding the Board’s process and the possibility of extending street parking on N. Glebe Road.

Under the site plan, Penrose will have to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of extended street parking on N. Glebe Road. The developer will also be required to help implement the new parking spaces and meters.

Local civic activist Bernie Berne criticized the decision to increase parking spaces on the Glebe Road, saying that it would cause the road to be even more dangerous to cyclists.

“Glebe Road is a major cycling route, even though its not dedicated as one. You put parking there, the card doors will open in the way of people on the bikes,” Berne said. “This is one of the biggest hazards of cycling. There’s no bike lanes there. There are no plans for a bike lane on Glebe Road. You put parking there, people are going to be on the sidewalks.”

by ARLnow.com — October 13, 2015 at 5:25 pm 2,407 0

The Arlington County Board next Tuesday will consider a major redevelopment of the western end of the Clarendon neighborhood.

Arlington-based developer The Shooshan Company is proposing to build three residential buildings with up to 580 units of housing and 3,477 square feet of retail space. The apartments or condos will be built on what is now mostly parking lots and offices for Red Top Cab, along Washington Blvd and 13th Street N. Two other aging, low-rise commercial buildings are also slated for demolition.

The proposed maximum building height is 110 feet, but the structures are designed to “taper up” away from the single family home neighborhood.

A county staff report for the final proposal has not yet been posted. At a July Site Plan Review Committee meeting, Shooshan proposed only 468 parking spaces for the project, or 0.8 spaces per dwelling unit, explaining that those who live in apartments near transit are “less likely to own automobiles and more likely to utilize alternative modes of transportation.”

Two phases of construction are being proposed. The first will be the building at the corner of Washington Blvd and 13th Street, on the current Red Top Cab communication center property. The second phase, which will be built “dependent upon market conditions,” will raze the Red Top headquarters property along N. Hudson Street.

Shooshan says benefits of the project include an improved Washington Blvd and 13th Street alignment, a new 12th Street N. to break up a large block, stoop entrances along 13th Street to improve street activity, a new Ivy Street pedestrian path and dedication of open space near the Washington and 13th intersection for a future park.

The County Board is scheduled to consider the development at its Tuesday night recessed meeting on Oct. 20.

Red Top Cab has said that it intends to move its headquarters to a new location in Arlington.

“Red Top Cab has served our community for over fifty years and plans to continue to do so,” Red Top Director of Sales and Marketing Von Pelot told ARLnow.com in March. “Over the years we have moved our offices from time to time to update our facilities and accommodate a growing staff. Each time careful planning has enabled us to make these moves without any interruption of service to our customers.”

by Heather Mongilio — October 12, 2015 at 4:05 pm 2,085 0

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) A new six-story residential building may be coming to Ballston.

The County Board is scheduled to vote Saturday on a proposal by developer Penrose Group to turn a parking lot, used car lot and Exxon  gas station into a six-story mixed-use building. County staff is recommending that the Board approve the request.

If approved the new building, located at 670 N. Glebe Road — across from Ballston Common Mall and a few blocks from the Ballston Metro station — will have 173 apartments, 177 parking spaces in an underground garage and two separate retail spaces on the ground floor. The first retail area with 1,799 square feet will be located at the corner of N. Glebe Road and 7th Street N. The second area, which is 2,527 square feet, will be at the corner of N. Carlin Springs Road and N. Glebe Road.

The new mixed-use development — originally dubbed 672 Flats — will also have bike storage, two lobbies, a leasing office, mail room, gym and amenity room on its ground floor. There will be 175 parking spots for residents and two for retail uses. Typically, the county calls for at least eight retail parking spots for mixed-use buildings.

“Staff supports the applicant’s request for modification because of the small amount of retail space and the likelihood of its serving users in the immediate vicinity of the site, and the availability of parking in the Ballston area. The applicant’s proposal implements the ‘High-Medium Residential Mixed-Use’ General Land Use Plan (GLUP) designation in that it provides a transition from the high-density commercial core of Ballston to medium-density residential uses to the west,” county staff said.

Of the 173 apartments, at least seven of them will be committed affordable units (CAFs), according to Penrose Group’s proposal. The building falls under the Bluemont Civic Association.

“The applicant is proposing bonus density in exchange for achieving LEED Silver certification consistent with the County’s Green Building Density Incentive program, and is proposing an affordable housing plan including a cash contribution and seven (7) on-site committed affordable units (CAFs) consistent with Arlington County Zoning Ordinance (ACZO) requirements,” county staff said.

According to county staff, Penrose Group’s proposal for the mixed-use building fits in with the 1980 Ballston Sector Plan and the 1981 West Ballston Land Use Study.

“The proposed site plan implements a successful transition through use of architecture to the existing townhouses abutting the site to the west, including façade design, plantings, and a special paving treatment in the alley,” county staff said.

by ARLnow.com — October 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm 1,454 0

County Board candidate Mike McMenaminIndependent Arlington County Board candidate Mike McMenamin says he is “worried about overbuilding in the Pentagon City area.”

McMenamin, a former Arlington County Civic Federation president who’s endorsed by the Arlington County Republican Committee and County Board member John Vihstadt, says he shares concerns about traffic and a strain on local services with residents from a nearby neighborhood.

Residents of Arlington Ridge — an affluent neighborhood overlooking Pentagon City — have long protested planned development in Pentagon City and Crystal City areas on the grounds of negative impacts to their community. Among the projects causing concern: approved development on the Pentagon Centre shopping center site and the as-yet vacant PenPlace site, plus proposed additions to the RiverHouse apartment complex.

McMenamin issued the following press release this morning, suggesting that such development does not represent “smart growth.”

County Board independent candidate Mike McMenamin expressed support today for a citizens’ group that is worried about overbuilding in the Pentagon City area.

“I agree with the Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA) that the County board should undertake a study to determine how much additional density 22202 (Crystal City, Pentagon City and adjacent residential neighborhoods) can accommodate without compromising the area’s livability,” said McMenamin.

ARCA is concerned about traffic and transit congestion that will result in coming years, together with the additional fire, police, school, green space and other services that will be needed once all of the development the County has already approved for construction in 22202 gets built out.

Further, Vornado is now asking the County to amend the General Land Use Plan and up-zone its River House property to allow it to build an additional 1,084 apartments on top of the already approved development to be built in Pentagon and Crystal City.

In the past, the County has considered each new proposed building and zoning variance, one at a time, in isolation of its impact on the greater, surrounding area.  “That needs to change,” McMenamin said, “particularly in 22202 which is a uniquely cordoned off segment of the County with limited transportation avenues.”

McMenamin supports the 22202 residents’ request that the County should step back, take a breath, and reassess its extraordinarily robust development policies that were enabled by the Metro system.  “Until we better understand how much additional growth our infrastructure can accommodate,” McMenamin noted, “we cannot claim to be approving ‘smart growth.'”


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