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Crystal Plaza Apartments (via Google Maps)

Sixty-eight residents of an apartment building in Crystal City were told this week that they have 14 days to leave due to damage from a fire in the boiler room last month.

One resident tells ARLnow the news leaves affected tenants scrambling for last-minute housing options. He says those told to vacate include an octogenarian who has lived in her apartment for three decades and “is unsure of where to go.” 

“To say that this has caused turmoil and distress would be an understatement,” the resident said. “Finding alternative housing, coordinating a move, and dealing with the various challenges that come with such a sudden eviction is a monumental task in itself.”

On Aug. 21, a fire broke out in the boiler room of the southern wing of the Crystal Plaza Apartments at 2111 Richmond Hwy. Industrial hygienists, air quality specialists and engineers, among other specialists, assessed the impacts to every apartment, according to a letter shared with ARLnow.

They determined some apartments need new flooring, cabinetry, walls and systems to remove all residual soot and other pollutants — work that would require tenants to vacate, the letter said. The notice gave them 14 days, the minimum required by Virginia law, to leave.

The notices were dated Sept. 14, after owner Dweck Properties learned from an industrial hygienist that these apartments would need a more comprehensive assessment and, possibly, extensive remediation work, a Dweck spokesperson tells ARLnow.

These additional assessments are contingent on apartments being vacant, the spokesperson added. They would determine the scope and cost of work as well as how long it could take. 

“This notice was needed to ensure we could access units for repair if required,” the spokesperson said. “We are now working with each resident on their transition — identifying alternative apartments, understanding each of their timing needs, and assisting them in any way we can.” 

Before this notice, the resident says a community-wide notice went out a few days after the inspections, describing which apartments suffered the most damage and required immediate work.

“Our apartment was not included in this list,” the resident said. “It is essential to emphasize that since the fire, we had received no communication or updates regarding our situation.”

The Dweck spokesperson did not say whether residents also received the community-wide notice. 

Notice to vacate from Dweck Properties (courtesy photo)

In its letter, Dweck was apologetic and offered to cover $2,000 in moving expenses per unit. 

“The fire incident has had a wide-ranging impact, and we are so very sorry for the disruption it has caused,” the letter said. 

Since the letters went out, Dweck tells ARLnow it has taken more steps to ease these transitions. In meetings convened Monday and Tuesday, Dweck told residents it would also cover insurance deductibles up to $500 and reimburse residents for rent paid from the time of the incident to the time they move out.

“While some of this work requires units to be vacant, our inspection team is revisiting all of these 68 apartments this week to see if there is any possibility of performing remediation while the apartments are occupied — in apartments that potentially require less work,” the company spokesperson said. 

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Last week, ARLnow reported that neighbors successfully dissuaded a developer from building a duplex in the Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhood.

Their concerns included traffic and parking challenges on the street, writing that the “proposed development will only exacerbate this, endangering residents, including the many children who live on the block.”

While the neighbors were able to leverage a restrictive deed covenant from 1938 to scuttle the duplex and convince the developer to build a single-family home instead, more duplexes are on the way following the Arlington County Board’s approval of the “Missing Middle” zoning changes earlier this year.

According to real estate agent Natalie Roy’s latest EHO Watch newsletter, one duplex has been approved under the new “Enhanced Housing Options” process, another is nearing approval, and two more were recently submitted for review.

Notwithstanding a successful legal challenge to Missing Middle — a lawsuit by a group of residents is set for a court date next week — Arlington residents are likely to see more duplexes, alongside 3-6 unit EHO projects, in the coming years.

Given that, we were wondering how ARLnow readers feel about duplexes specifically, given that they’re perhaps the most palatable to those otherwise skeptical of higher density projects. Yes, duplexes are now allowed countywide thanks to “Missing Middle,” but our poll questions asks if you are in support of that.

Do you think duplexes should be allowed to be built in most or all residential neighborhoods in Arlington — assuming that current EHO restrictions, including only being able construct the same size building as that allowed for single-family homes, remain in place?


1313 N. Harrison Street (via Google Maps)

Last month, some neighbors told a developer they would “oppose any attempt to obtain permits” for a duplex in the Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhood, and the developer backed down.

McLean-based BeaconCrest Homes bought a single-family home at 1313 N. Harrison Street, an area residents have dubbed “Larchmont.” When it announced to neighbors its plans to build a duplex, a skirmish over the lot’s future — based on a provision in a deed from 1938 — ensued.

The tiff began in early August and ended with BeaconCrest agreeing to build a single-family home almost two weeks ago, according to correspondence between residents and the developer. The letters were published in an email newsletter authored by former Arlington County Board candidate Natalie Roy, tracking Missing Middle or “Expanded Housing Options” developments.

Two months ago, Arlington County began accepting applications for plans to build 2-6 unit homes where previously only single-family homes were allowed. Staff have approved five projects and 18 are under review, while the Larchmont neighbors fought BeaconCrest and some Alcova Heights residents are asking the county to reject some zoning changes associated with two EHO proposals.

On July 31, BeaconCrest bought 1313 N. Harrison Street for $950,000, according to Arlington County property records. In a letter dated Aug. 3, the developer told neighbors its plans despite an 85-year-old deed attached to the home saying “not more than one house shall be constructed upon the lot.”

Based on its analysis, the developer said it doubted this would be enforceable. Touting their previous experience going up against developers, neighbors disagreed, saying the law and Arlington County zoning code are on their side.

“As you may be aware, the Larchmont neighborhood has a history of successfully halting developers’ attempts to ignore similar existing deeds and covenants… e.g., 1320 Greenbrier and 1500 Harrison, among others,” the letter said.

They pointed to a provision in the county zoning code saying the more restrictive agreement, whether county code or existing agreements, controls what happens on a property.

How Arlington County zoning code handles conflicting provisions (via Arlington County)

Neighbors also accused the project of compounding unsafe traffic conditions on N. Harrison Street. They say drivers will slalom around parked vehicles on the narrow road to get between Washington and Langston Blvd.

“Your proposed development will only exacerbate this, endangering residents, including the many children who live on the block,” they said. “Adding multi-unit housing, which requires mandated space for on-street parking, will result in further traffic and safety issues.”

Street parking has been discontinued on some parts of N. Harrison Street for safety reasons, the letter says, noting other residents have asked the county for more parking restrictions to mitigate these traffic issues.

In her “EHO Watch” newsletter, Roy, who launched her campaign earlier this year opposing Missing Middle, called this a “win.”

“The takeaway from this win is that neighborhood covenants — where they exist and are germane — can be effective in promoting Arlington County’s stated Comprehensive Goals of having a diversity of densities while preserving existing neighborhoods,” she wrote.

“The other key point is it takes considerable volunteer time, energy, and organizing prowess by neighbors, to not only be vigilant but to act fast,” she continued.

Missing Middle advocates, including the leaders of pro-housing group YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, are celebrating their own wins, however. Jane Green recently lauded newly approved plans to turn a dilapidated carriage house within walking distance of the Ballston Metro station into a 6-plex.

An old real estate listing for the property she found had touted that the new owner could build a 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom custom-built home and convert the existing carriage house into a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom accessory dwelling unit.

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(Updated 10:30 a.m.) Where the prosaic golden arches of the stand-alone McDonald’s once perched, a residential high-rise now joins the many skyscrapers defining Rosslyn’s changing skyline.

Some old landmarks have been incorporated into new high-rises, including the McDonald’s now beneath Central Place Tower on N. Lynn Street and the former Fire Station 10 at the base of The Highlands.

Others, such as Tom Sarris’ Orleans House, a fixture for nearly 50 years, were replaced with offices and a newer generation of businesses like Compass Coffee and Cava.

Although commercial office buildings have been a constant feature of Rosslyn’s skyline over the past 40 years, the last decade has seen a shift towards more living space.

Anthony Fusarelli, Arlington County’s planning director, says that out of the approximately 8 million square feet of new development planned in Rosslyn, nearly half is designated for residential use. Office space accounts for roughly 2.8 million square feet, retail occupies 171,459 square feet, and the remaining space is allocated for hotels.

The transformation reflects a broader shift the county undertook over the last 20 years to steer urban planning toward residential and mixed-use development to accommodate a growing population, boost economic activity and adapt to people’s waning enthusiasm for the conventional workplace.

This trend is likely to persist, not only because of changes in work patterns post-pandemic, but also because Arlington County is encouraging residential development in Metro-oriented Rosslyn to help address its reported shortage of housing supply.

Planning Rosslyn’s future

To understand how and why this shift occurred, Fusarelli pointed to Rosslyn’s history.

Sixty years ago, if someone had ascended the 555-foot Washington Monument and looked westward across the Potomac River, they would have seen a very different Rosslyn. The view would have been dominated by rail yards, pawnshops, oil storage tanks and other retail and industrial operations.

“So, just this mix of varied uses that is quite different from what we have today,” Fusarelli said.

Aerial view of Rosslyn circa 1962 (via Arlington County)

After  World War II, Fusarelli said the Arlington County Board recognized the area was valuable because of its proximity to D.C. Eager to establish Rosslyn as an auxiliary office hub for the growing federal government, the county embarked on an aggressive campaign to transform the area into a vibrant business district.

“Back in the early ’60s, Arlington established a new zoning tool called the ‘site plan process,’ which incentivized private landowners to build much taller buildings, much bigger buildings, in exchange for providing certain public benefits,” Fusarelli said.

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When Penrose resident Pete Giannino answered his doorbell one day this March, he was surprised to see his neighbors standing there, looking concerned.

“They said, ‘Hey, are you guys planning on renting your home?’ And I said, ‘No. Why do you ask?’ And they pointed out there was a listing on Zillow or Redfin for our home that we own,” Giannino told ARLnow.

Now, the local couple is sounding the alarm on an internet rental scam falsely advertising that their 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home on the 600 block of S. Wayne Street is on the market. They say the scam appears to target people who are lower-income or who speak limited English and has defrauded several people and families.

In the last six months, Giannino and his wife, Kate Colwell, said upwards of 20 people have come to their door asking to tour the house while another half-dozen have contacted them via social media. They say the home is listed as available for rent, for $2,400 a month, on real estate and social media platforms, including Zillow and Facebook.

Giannino and his wife have gotten many fraudulent listings removed from mainstream real estate websites. Despite seeking help from law enforcement, they’ve struggled to eliminate listings on Facebook Marketplace, where scammers continue messaging potential renters.

“We’re just really angry that this person on the internet is cheating people, stealing from people,” Colwell said. “There’s no accountability and we really want them to be stopped.”

Rental scam depicting house on S. Wayne Street on Facebook Marketplace (courtesy Kate Colwell)

Giannino and Colwell are convinced they are not the only ones to whom this is happening. When Giannino filed a police report in late March, an Arlington County Police Department detective told the couple he had heard of similar scams happening to other newer homeowners in the area.

On April 5, Giannino said he got his hopes up after the detective said the department’s financial crimes unit would handle the case. About a month later, he got a letter in the mail from the police department stating that their case was closed.

The department did not immediately respond to ARLnow’s request for comment.

“In a rage, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’And just like, I threw it away because I was just so upset by the fact that they were turning a blind eye to this,” he said.

Meanwhile, strangers asking to tour their home continue knocking on their door. So far, Giannino and Colwell say most do not speak English as their first language and there will typically be a translator with them.

Colwell noted that one Hispanic couple who came to their door in early April said they paid a $1,800 security deposit.

“She had like text conversations with the scammer. She had phone conversations with the scammer… and they showed up for the tour. And we’re like, ‘Oh, we’re here for the tour,” Colwell said.

While it’s been emotionally draining to keep turning away hopeful renters, Colwell said that any “annoyance or discomfort we feel with people wanting a tour of the house… pales in comparison to how it feels actually to lose your hard-earned savings.”

Giannino said he had filed an addendum to the initial police report to try and get ACPD to reopen the case.

But, just in case, the couple has also filed a complaint with the FBI.

In the interim, Giannino and Colwell have posted signs in front of their house and spreading the word to prevent more people from falling victim.

“It’s a good thing to shine a light on it, too, because it’s harder for an internet criminal to operate [than in the] darkness,” Colwell said.

Hat tip John Antonelli


A row of townhouses in Portland, Oregon (courtesy of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability)

Arlington didn’t start the ‘Missing Middle’ fire — localities across the country and around the world have been trying to figure out how to deal with rapidly rising housing costs.

While Arlington’s approval of new zoning regulations allowing small-scale multifamily housing in previously single-family-detached only neighborhoods was not the first time a major jurisdiction made such a move, the underlying debate is still raging in certain pockets of cyberspace.

ARLnow’s comment section aside, one place where the fire is still burning is on Twitter. (The social network was recently renamed “X” in a bid to incorporate additional features, arguably making it the National Landing of tech companies.)

On Twitter, a persistent anonymous account named Arlington Transparency has been posting side-by-side images of older homes set to be redeveloped as Missing Middle housing, next to speculation about how much those new units may cost given the price of existing, similar homes in the area.

In each case, the detached home set for demolition is less expensive than a newer townhouse or other multifamily home.

On the other side of the debate are local housing advocates like Jane Green, who point out that, yes, the resulting Missing Middle homes will likely be more expensive than the tear-down that’s being replaced, but they’re much less expensive than the “McMansions” that would otherwise be going up.

Plus, the more affordable homes being replaced would need “significant work” to be viable for buyers seeking to live there.

Unsurprisingly for Twitter, there’s a counter argument to the counter argument: that $900k+ townhouses benefit “elites” and not buyers in need of greater affordability.

Given the arguments above, who’s got the winning team, in your view? (With apologies to those who feel that this debate has been burning since the world’s been turning.)


Real estate for sale sign in the Arlington Heights neighborhood (file photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at noon on 7/10/23) Recently, a family of five with three boys bought a two-bedroom home with a den in Arlington, thanks in part to a little-known county program that helps first-time homebuyers secure a mortgage with small loans.

“They were completely comfortable with that,” says Karen Serfis, a program manager with Latino Economic Development Center, who helped the family work with the county to get the loan. “Not everybody wants to live in a two-bedroom with a den but they wanted to stay in Arlington.”

Since 2018, Arlington County has operated the Moderate-Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP), which helps income-eligible people buy homes that cost less than $500,000. Last year, it issued 13 loans to applicants, 65% of whom were single and 25% of whom belonged to two-person households. They were able to buy one-bedroom or small two-bedroom units.

The number of loans issued last year could be a program record for the last decade, according to data provided by Serfis and the county, which is seeing more people interested in accessing the funding.

As interest in the program grows, however, applicants are finding few housing options under $500,000. On top of an income eligibility restriction of 80% of the area median income (AMI), that makes the program difficult for many to effectively utilize.

“There’s been a huge uptick in people trying to use MIPAP in the last year and I don’t know why,” Serfis said. “Is it because it’s so impossible to buy? I don’t know. Is the county doing better outreach? Possibly. Or are people more aware of these programs because they’re on the internet?”

Arlington County says it could be because applicants were confident in post-pandemic economic recovery and could be taking advantage of another county program that uses state funding to lower loan interest rates one percentage point.

Despite the uptick in recent years, MIPAP is just now reaching the numbers of people helped in the late 2000s, when the program was run by a local nonprofit affordable housing developer. In the years before AHC, Inc. ceded it to Arlington County to focus on rentals, the number of loans issued fell to four to six per year throughout the 2010s.

Some say the program’s structure and requirements are getting in the way and it should be revamped. They say Arlington County should raise the $500,000 purchasing price limit as well as the income restrictions, rebrand the program and spread the word.

“MIPAP is an anemic program and represents a significant underinvestment in helping Arlington residents successfully transition to homeownership,” says Kellen MacBeth, a housing policy advocate and member of the Arlington branch of the NAACP. “Homeownership offers unique opportunities to bridge the racial wealth gap and we need to step up county support for residents, especially residents of color, looking to become homeowners.”

The program is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which stipulates households must earn at or below 80% AMI, or $120,560 for a household of four, and qualify for a conventional first-trust mortgage. Under both these conditions, lenders typically say applicants can qualify for homes priced below $400,000, according to the county.

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(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Eight permit applications for Missing Middle housing proposals have been accepted by Arlington County since Saturday, the first day for such filings.

Another seven are at various stages of completion, marked “application complete” or “awaiting plans and documents,” according to permit records, as of Wednesday afternoon.

There are several other placeholder permits — those that people have started but not yet finished.

Some were at the ready on Day 1 of the Missing Middle — also called Expanded Housing Options — permitting process. Nine permits were filed on July 1, while another two each have come in on Sunday, Monday and yesterday, per the records.

The homes proposed for redevelopment are typically concentrated in or near Metro areas, such as East Falls Church, Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon and Pentagon City, per the addresses associated with each permit.

So far, all eight accepted applications are located in R-5 and R-6 zoning districts, or those with 5,000 to 6,000-square-foot lots, respectively, Arlington County Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman Erika Moore said.

Specifically, three are in R-5 and five are in R-6 districts, according to the county. This means only four more permits can be issued for homes in R-5 districts this calendar year, as the county capped the permits for this zoning district at seven annually. Meanwhile, 30 total permits can be issued for R-6 districts in one year.

Another 21 permits are allowed annually across zones with 8, 10 or 20,000-square-foot lots (R-8, R-10 or R-20). None have been issued in these districts yet.

One-third of the permit applications so far are for 3-unit townhouses. Duplexes and six-plexes each comprise roughly one-quarter and the remaining two are quad-plexes.

As for off-street parking, five have one parking space per unit, four have more than one space per unit and six have less than one space per unit. Earlier this year, critics predicted (and some incorporated this into a lawsuit) that lower parking minimums — and thus greater reliance on on-street parking — would clog narrow streets.

Arlington County has launched a web page with information about applying for an EHO permit, in addition to a page tracking these developments. The tracker includes the address and zoning district for each property, the number of units proposed, the permit number and submission date, among other information.

“The County has committed to tracking EHO permit submissions and approvals so both potential applicants and interested community members can see how many EHO projects are proposed — and where they are located,” per an Arlington County email newsletter.

“Work is underway on connecting permitting system data to the County’s Open Data Portal to create a user-friendly dashboard. Until that tool is available, County staff will post weekly updates on applications and their status online,” the email continued. “Tracking will begin on Friday, July 7.”

The tracker was updated almost two days early, on Wednesday evening.

Currently, the EHO permits issued do not authorize construction, according to the webpage. A separate county staff review is needed before builders can start construction.

There is no fee associated with this permit though one may be proposed next year.

The county recently published a how-to video, below, demonstrating the application process.

Photos 1, 2, 3 and 4 via Google Maps


The Shelton in Green Valley (staff photo)

Residents of The Shelton, an affordable housing development in the Green Valley neighborhood, are raising concerns about property management and poor treatment of residents.

They previously raised these same issues in 2016, along with other quality-of-life that they say plagued the building, owned by local affordable housing developer AHC Inc.

“We are having problems in my apartment complex,” Frank Duncan, who has lived there since it opened, told members of the Tenant-Landlord Commission earlier this month.

He described an exorbitant water bill, errant late fees, a whole week without hot water and disrespectful management staff. He articulated a feeling among residents that their housing situation is not guaranteed because rent has been paid month-to-month since the pandemic started.

The testimony before the commission comes as AHC Inc. says it is making it easier for residents to report complaints. Some current and former commission members say these complaints reinforce their powerlessness to do more than advise residents. ARLnow has previously reported on how limited mediation options in Arlington, compared to Fairfax County, dissuade residents from bringing up issues.

Duncan said residents feel mistreated when they try to raise issues with management, which causes them to let issues go unresolved.

“When you go to the rent office, the manager is so disrespectful,” Duncan said. “She does not have the time to listen to what we have to say. So, they don’t go in there. They come to get me to go in there and talk.”

Disrespectful management was one of the complaints levied against management at the Serrano Apartments on Columbia Pike two years ago. AHC received public and county scrutiny after ARLnow reported on complaints about poor living conditions at the complex.

Since then, AHC made changes to its operations, including getting new leadership and committing to third-party management at The Serrano, though advocates and some residents say issues persist, WAMU/DCist reported in April.

The nonprofit developer says it is working to address concerns at The Shelton.

“AHC’s mission is to put residents first. Thus, we value resident feedback, take resident concerns seriously, and do not tolerate poor customer service from anyone interacting with residents,” AHC President and CEO Paul Bernard said in a statement. “When we learn about issues, including disrespectful behavior, we act swiftly and follow up with our property management companies.”

AHC spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said the nonprofit developed and distributed a Resident Concern Guide for all residents at all Arlington communities to ensure residents know how to report — and, if needed — escalate issues.

She says the management company, Harbor Group is working extra hours and through staffing shortages to certify residents meet income eligibility requirements to live there. After this is done, Smith says, eligible residents can get back on year-long leases.

Harbor Group is also trying to make bills and late fees for rent easier to understand, she said. The company also scheduled a meeting with residents to discuss concerns and issues. This was planned before the Tenant-Landlord Commission meeting, Smith notes, and was attended by AHC staff and Bernard.

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County Board hopefuls at Arlington County Democratic Committee forum (via Arlington Democrats/YouTube)

The specter of Missing Middle haunts the slate of candidates for Arlington County Board.

Two months ago, the County Board allowed the by-right construction of 2-6 unit buildings on lots previously zoned for single-family homes.

Prior to voting for the changes, Board Chair Christian Dorsey and member Katie Cristol announced that they would not be seeking reelection. Those vying to replace them vary widely in their stances on Missing Middle, though a forum last week hosted by Arlington County Democratic Committee revealed areas of common ground.

Some Democrat hopefuls opined about how the process leading up to the zoning changes divided the community and revealed how renters are underrepresented in civic life. Mostly, the candidates suggested that they are focused on life after Missing Middle and supporting other policies to help people afford to live in Arlington.

“We don’t get a do-over. There is no do-over, there is only a do-next,” said policy analyst Maureen Coffey. “We need to learn from this process, what went wrong — never repeat that ever again — and move forward, bringing everyone to the table to talk about how this is going to play out and what we need to solve our housing and larger issues.”

All of the candidates agreed the county will need to analyze data before deciding on next steps.

“Monitoring closely is going to be really important — especially monitoring on elements of diversity and affordability,” said Susan Cunningham, who has run for County Board before as an independent and criticized the zoning changes.

Cunningham suggested modifying rules for accessory dwelling units and for lot coverage, which could curb the development of large homes oft-derided as “McMansions.”

“My biggest problem with Missing Middle was not just the process but the fact that we did not do a comprehensive look at housing,” Cunningham said. “Housing is complicated and housing this whole community in its diversity and amazingness is also complicated, and we oversimplified that in my opinion.”

To that end, another candidate opposed to the changes, real estate agent Natalie Roy, detailed her views on housing in a three-part plan. It includes implementing a proposal from the Arlington branch of the NAACP to prevent the displacement of low-income residents.

Roy said the county should provide a public dashboard showing where and what kind of permits are issued, as well as the selling price for completed units. Arlington County has already committed to publishing this data once it becomes available.

Missing Middle supporter Jonathan Dromgoole said he too is watching where the units are built. Next, he said, the county should focus on shoring up the dwindling supply of relatively inexpensive, market-rate units. This is something Arlington County is already looking at as these units are continuously lost to redevelopment and rehabilitation.

Former NAACP Arlington Branch president Julius “J.D.” Spain, Sr. said he is thinking farther outside the box.

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(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) After a pandemic-era hiatus, Habitat for Humanity has revived plans to turn a county-owned historic farmhouse into a group home.

Habitat DC-NOVA and HomeAid National Capital Region are propose to restore the exterior of the Reeves Farmhouse in the Bluemont neighborhood, modernize and renovate the interior, construct two new, historically compatible additions and update the landscaping.

The public would still be able to use two acres of parkland around it, including a milk shed, sledding hill and the Reevesland Learning Center gardens.

The nonprofits will be meeting with the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board tonight (Wednesday) to discuss plans for the home, which is more than 100 years old. Given the home’s local historic district designation, this board has the authority to review and approve major alterations, per a county report.

The farmhouse sits on the Reevesland property, notable for being the last operating dairy farm in Arlington County before closing in 1955. The local historic designation of the farmhouse and milk shed , from 2004, recognizes the property’s “architectural history and association with the rural and agricultural history of Arlington,” the report said.

“The Reevesland farmhouse is a two-story building with a stone foundation,” the report says. “The wood framing remains as underlying physical evidence of a number of additions and remodeling undertaken over more than 100 years, with the major changes occurring from 1878 to 1911.”

Arlington County purchased Reevesland in 2001 and began searching for appropriate uses for the “endangered” historic place in 2010, putting forth requests for proposals that never led anywhere. During these doldrums, some community groups suggested the county turn the property into a museum or learning center.

High renovation costs convinced the Board to move toward selling it in March 2017, despite some community opposition. Two months later, Habitat came to Arlington County with an unsolicited proposal to reuse the farmhouse for a group home for people with developmental disabilities.

It took three years, but the county and Habitat reached a non-binding letter of intent. One month after that was signed, the nation shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and the project stalled.

Talks among the nonprofits and L’Arche Greater Washington — which will use the facilities for their core member program — and county staff about the project resumed in September 2022. DPR met with the Boulevard Manor Civic Association in January to provide an update on the project, a neighbor and a spokeswoman for Habitat told ARLnow after publication.

Plans include a two-story addition at the back of the house and a one-story addition at on the southwest side. These will increase the number of bedrooms to seven and provide access and gathering spaces suitable for people with mobility impairments.

A paved area west of the farmhouse will be expanded to provide parking and clearance for Metro Access vans that will provide transportation for future residents. It will also build a stormwater management bio-facility, which could be something like a rain garden.

A tree near the proposed two-story addition will be removed as the addition will conflict with some roots that are critical to its health. Habitat will discuss ways to mitigate this loss with the county’s Urban Forester.

In the county report, Historic Preservation Program staff say they support the project because the addition will be distinct from the historic structure and the landscaping changes will not harm the property’s setting.

“The proposed one- and two-story additions will not detract from the scale or massing of the historic farmhouse, as their designs are compatible with the existing vernacular architecture and can be distinguished from what is historic and new construction,” per a county report.


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