Press Club

Arlington’s planning division is looking to change the definition of a “family” in the county’s zoning code.

Housing planners say this would stop potentially exclusionary housing practices that discriminate against larger groups of unrelated residents who live together in order to afford staying in Arlington, where home prices and property taxes are rising and there’s a shortage of affordable housing options.

Currently, Arlington’s Zoning Ordinance says up to four unrelated people living together — including “servants,” in a peculiar anachronism — can constitute a “family.” The Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development staff intend to review and possibly write an alternative definition that eliminates the four-person cap.

The code also defines “family” as: a single person living in a household; two or more people living together who are related by blood, marriage, adoption or foster care; or up to eight people who are elderly, sick or disabled living with staff or counselors in a state-licensed facility.

Planning Commission Chair David Weir says he welcomes CPHD’s intentions to do away with the “exclusionary, inaccurate terminology of ‘single-family’ and ‘multifamily’ homes.”

“It’s tempting, I think, to see this change as minimal or immaterial but it’s neither of those things,” he said during a joint CPHD-County Board work session last week. “The difference between zoning for families and zoning for households is as fundamental a matter as the right to choose the people with whom we share our lives, and zoning ordinances are lagging behind other fields of law — like, for example, family law — in recognizing this.”

Planning Commission Chair David Weir (via Arlington County)

Weir recalled when the late County Board member Erik Gutshall realized in a zoning meeting that his family of four probably lived in violation of county ordinances when they took in a foreign exchange student.

“A group of people who choose to share their lives in ways that don’t meet the Mayberry formalities must not for that reason alone be unwelcome in the definitions of the laws that shape how their homes are built,” he said.

County planners have recommended this change for a few years now, saying that people are choosing to live together to afford Arlington prices and access its schools and job opportunities.

“There’s been a rise in the number of non-traditional households living together for socio-economic reasons, such as pooling resources to find affordable housing near good schools or job centers,” county housing planner Joel Franklin said at a 2020 Tenant-Landlord Commission meeting. “For that reason, it was recommended to amend the zoning ordinance to be more inclusive of non-traditional families.”

That recommendation was in the 2019 draft Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing, according to CPHD spokeswoman Erika Moore. The analysis concludes that the cap disadvantages residents who have been priced out of single-family homes.

“As the norms of the American family are shifting, it is apparent that single-family housing is less viable, increasingly unaffordable, and not achieving fairness and inclusion,” it says. “Placing restrictions on the number of unrelated persons living together but who function as a single housekeeping unit restricts housing choice for households comprised of persons living together for economic or other reasons.”

Changing or eliminating the four-person cap dates back at least to 2015, when the County Board adopted the Affordable Housing Master Plan, Moore said. The plan says a more flexible definition is one way the county can try to meet its affordable housing needs through 2040.

While making the change is on the agenda for CPHD, a new definition won’t come overnight.

The planning division identified revising the definition as a second-tier priority for 2022, falling behind more pressing zoning study areas — such as allowing permanent outdoor dining options, permitting micro-fulfillment centers to operate in vacant office buildings and adding elder care housing options in the code.

Tiered priorities of the Arlington planning division (via Arlington County)

Updating the definition would require the county to start a zoning study to examine alternative definitions and develop amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, Moore said.

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An ongoing redevelopment project on the “Landmark Block” in Courthouse is poised to realize a significant portion of a 2015 vision to transform the neighborhood.

But beyond the “Landmark” project (2050 Wilson Blvd) by Greystar, there are no near-term private or public projects set to pick up wherever Greystar leaves off.

Over the next 20 years, Arlington County has plans to transform some of the mid-rise buildings, county facilities and the surface parking lot at the epicenter of the neighborhood into a vibrant area. Dubbed Courthouse Square, the area is bounded by Clarendon Blvd to the north, N. Courthouse Road to the east, 14th Street N. to the south and commercial buildings to the west.

The future Courthouse Square would feature a civic square for rallies and programs, new cultural and civic buildings, shared streets and a pedestrian promenade. Courthouse Square will be, visionaries said in a 2015 planning document, “where the revolution begins.”

Greystar is leading the charge with “The Commodore” apartments, which replace some brick buildings that housed CosiBoston MarketJerry’s Subs and Summers Restaurant. But the revolution will only be fully realized after a few more county projects and private developments materialize.

“It’s a balance. The full vision will come together through public- and private-sector investment and actions,” says Anthony Fusarelli, Jr., the director of the county’s Department of Community, Housing and Development.

Part of the burden of redevelopment is on the county, which envisioned in 2015 building a new headquarters — after the county’s lease was set to end in 2028 — as well as up to two civic and cultural facilities. The then-looming end to the lease on the headquarters was the impetus for the 2015 Courthouse Square addendum, he said.

In 2018, Arlington County negotiated a lease extension until 2033, however, allowing the county to focus on renovations to its existing building and giving it an extra five years to start on new construction. The pandemic — and the changes it brought to the workplace — could mean a more modest approach instead of building a 400,000-square-foot building once envisioned in 2015.

“There’s been a massive forced experience about how people do work, whether they’re in a small business or a government agency,” Fusarelli said. “I think going forward in the immediate future, trying to pursue discrete development plans would be very challenging.”

A map of the blocks comprising Courthouse Square and their proposed uses, per the 2015 addendum (via Arlington County)

As for the cultural facilities, Arlington Cultural Affairs is still determining whether they’re needed after conducting an assessment in 2006.

“Informed also by the findings of our comprehensive 2017 Enriching Lives Arlington Arts and Culture Strategy, Arlington Cultural Affairs will continue to work with other County agencies to determine next steps,” the division said.

Meanwhile, of the privately owned sections, the Landmark Block is the only corner where a developer has expressed interest in redevelopment. (Across the street from Courthouse Square, Greystar is shepherding a 220-unit building on the vacant Wendy’s lot through county processes.)

“We worked hard to realize as many of the public benefits as we could through community benefits partly because we understood it may be some time, and there may be some uncertainty, [before] the next private development could come forward,” Fusarelli said.

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A look inside Inner Ear Studios in Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Once the epicenter of D.C.’s punk scene, Inner Ear Recording Studios it is set to be razed by Arlington County to make way for an outdoor entertainment space.

The new open space, comprised of two parcels of land — 2700 S. Nelson Street and 2701 S. Oakland Street — would be part of the county’s efforts to implement an arts and industry district in Green Valley.

Arlington Cultural Affairs says a community engagement process exploring temporary uses for the site could begin later this fall or, more likely, in early 2022. Dealing with the optics of demolishing a famed recording studio to build an arts and industry district, the arts division argues the space responds to community needs and makes art more accessible.

“The exploration of outdoor activation space as a short-term possibility for the site is a direct result of our conversations with the surrounding community,” Arlington Cultural Affairs Director Michelle Isabelle-Stark said. “Bringing the arts outdoors and into the community is a low-cost, high-impact way to reach a broader and more diverse audience as we continue to explore the needs of the surrounding community.”

The outdoor space would tie into the Theatre on the Run venue, used by a number of Arlington-based dance and theatre ensembles, she said. And it would support existing programming, such as New District Brewing Co.’s outdoor beer festival, Valley Fest, as well as other cultural events.

Isabelle-Stark added that there’s an equity component to the open space.

“As the County continues to explore ways to address long-standing equity issues as it pertains to arts and culture opportunities, the addition of expanded outdoor performance space allows us to continue to present the arts outside of traditional brick and mortar venues and directly engage with the community,” she said.

So, after many years of recording bands including the Foo Fighters, Fugazi and Minor Threat, studio owner Don Zientara has until Dec. 31, 2021 to pack up the gear and the memorabilia before the building is demolished.

Crumbling cinder blocks and communication 

Before the county agreed to acquire the building, Zientara told ARLnow he was at a crossroads: move the studio or retire. At 73, retirement was an option, and on top of that, the building was decrepit and recording sessions were down due to the pandemic. The county acquisition merely expedited that decision.

As soon as the building is demolished, the county says it’ll park its mobile stage there and start hosting outdoor performances, festivals, markets and movie screenings. Isabelle-Stark says South Arlington needed an outdoor arts venue — a community-generated idea. She told the Washington Post that the acquisition saved the property from being sold to a private developer for a non-arts-related development.

As this unfolded, the Green Valley Civic Association, a longtime champion of reinvestment and an arts district, criticized the county for the acquisition.

“It is curious for the county to spend millions to purchase and demolish a building, but state that intended cultural events will be provided in the remaining lot only if funds are available,” GVCA First Vice President Robin Stombler tells ARLnow.

At least the arts district could pay homage to Inner Ear, she said.

“Losing a small, yet significant, arts-related business is antithetical to this vision” of an arts and industry district in Green Valley, she wrote in a June letter to the county. “As the county takes a step in support of the district, it should recognize what is being left behind.”

She suggests naming the county’s mobile stage “Inner Ear Stage.” In addition, she said Zientara had indicated willingness to sell some music equipment to the county, which she recommended be used for a new recording studio in Green Valley for musicians and music educators.

“There has been no response to date,” she told ARLnow.

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More than a dozen major redevelopments are in the pipeline in Arlington, from the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2 to large-scale apartment buildings.

Of the 16 ongoing and anticipated major site plan reviews, the county’s planning division expects 10 of them to go before the County Board for approval over the next nine months, before the beginning of the 2022-23 fiscal year on July 1.

1. Amazon HQ2 / PenPlace

One of the most consequential projects slated to go before the County Board by the end of 2021 is the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City, PenPlace, the public review process for which is ongoing. If approved as initially proposed, the “PenPlace” site would feature The Helix, a 350-foot tall spiraling office building that recreates a climb in the Blue Ridge Mountains..

2. Vacant Wendy’s site (2525 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse

Another notable development winding through public meetings is the apartment building proposed for the long-vacant Wendy’s site in Courthouse. A date has not yet been set for Board review.

3. Marbella Apartments near Rosslyn

The Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development recently accepted an application from Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to redevelop the Marbella Apartments near Rosslyn. The public review process is just kicking off with an online feedback opportunity slated to open today (Monday) and close Wednesday, Oct. 13.

4. Joyce Motors site in Clarendon

Planning staff say a site plan application to replace Joyce Motors in Clarendon with apartments and retail, filed in May 2020, has also been accepted, with a County Board review expected before July 1, 2022.

Continued progress on the Joyce Motors project, however, is tied up with efforts to plan the future of development in Clarendon, precipitated by a bevy of other projects proposed there. Planning commissioners continue to provide feedback on the Joyce Motors development as part of their input on the Clarendon Sector Plan update, which currently includes three other proposed projects.

5. Wells Fargo/Verizon site in Clarendon

Site plans for two of the projects proposed in the Clarendon Sector Plan — one for the Wells Fargo and Verizon sites and the other for the Silver Diner site — could be filed by July 1. Only the Wells Fargo site is expected to see County Board action this fiscal year.

The Wells Fargo site is slated to be redeveloped as a mixed-use building with retail, office space and apartments. The second would be a hotel and apartment building over on the Silver Diner assemblage at 3200 Wilson Blvd, which includes well-known beer garden The Lot (3217 10th Street N.) and neighboring office retail buildings. Staff don’t anticipate this one reaching the board before July.

As part of the sector plan update, the county’s Long-Range Planning Committee is examining everything from building heights to historical preservation to open space. According to a recent timeline, the committee will issue draft recommendations this month that the County Board could consider in November or December.

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Since 1980, Glebe Road has been considered the border between central and west Ballston.

But in recent years, the dividing lines drawn in Ballston’s 40-year-old sector plan have become more stark, with businesses thriving in one area and struggling in another.

Today, Ballston contains the densest census tract in the D.C. area. As more apartments and retail are proposed and built, however, some argue that the county needs to address the impact of uneven development on either side of Glebe.

Many of the new business openings orbit the Ballston Quarter mall and the ground floor of Ballston Exchange, both in the central part of the neighborhood. But west of Glebe Road and north of Carlin Springs Road — which is technically part of the Bluemont Civic Association — there have been numerous high-profile closures.

Leaders in planning and business development have different ideas for improving west Ballston, but they do share an interest in making it welcoming, walkable and sustainable without getting into the weeds of a sector plan update. During a joint County Board and Planning Commission meeting this month, Planning Commission Vice-Chair Daniel Weir stressed the importance of re-examining Ballston in the near future.

“Glebe Road continues to become a wall that separates east and west Ballston, which are separate communities,” Weir said. “Pedestrians and people not in cars are unwilling to cross five to seven lanes of traffic to get a very excellent donut or to go to one of the many restaurants that have been circulating through some of the bays there.”

A map of Ballston from the Ballston Sector Plan, adopted in 1980 (via Arlington County)

Rather than rewrite the admittedly old sector plan, which county staff don’t have the capacity for, he said they ought to take “a more agile, nimble approach.”

“It doesn’t need to be completed in 2022, but it’s an opportunity we can and should think about, especially since, if done right, it could be a model for more agile sector planning going forward,” he said.

Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone agrees that Glebe Road is a problem. She says no other road elicits the same number of complaints, ranging from excessive vehicle speed to unnerving pedestrian crossings. She suggested extending the sidewalks, turning some parking spaces into parklets and widening the medians.

“We need to come together as a neighborhood and work with county to solve the problem,” Leone tells ARLnow. “There hasn’t been a plan — everyone does their own thing and no one is looking at Glebe Road as an entity.”

In response, Arlington County’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development said it is using and will continue to use opportunities during development, capital improvements and county programs such as Vision Zero to improve Ballston’s walkability.

“Over the past two decades, we’ve worked with partners to make N. Glebe Road in Ballston safer and more attractive for all users and have better integrated the street within Ballston’s overall urban fabric,” CPHD Director Anthony Fusarelli, Jr. said. “The County will continue to make the most of similar opportunities in the future.”

“Enhancements have occurred thanks to the combination of infill development, streetscape improvements, signalized pedestrian crossings, intersection improvements, and curb space management techniques, all of which have collectively and significantly improved the experience of traveling along and across N. Glebe Road in this area,” Fusarelli added.

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The County Board has granted restaurant and bar owners more leeway as to where they can set up and winterize outdoor seating.

Owners will now be able to set up temporary outdoor seating areas — or TOSAs — in common areas, such as plazas, following a vote during the recessed County Board meeting on Tuesday.

In May, when the County first established a program to allow TOSAs to respond to the pandemic, the seating on sidewalks and patios had to be associated with specific restaurants and bars.

The decision to give restaurants more space and flexibility is partly in response to a request from representatives of a plaza in Shirlington to open the space to outdoor seating for several nearby restaurants.

“Businesses have discovered another dimension of work in this enhanced environment,” County Board member Takis Karantonis said during the meeting. “I believe for the most part they are working very well, I’m very thankful for the enhancement before us today.”

This seating arrangement could be here to stay, County Manager Mark Schwartz told the board.

“We may need to drop the ‘T’ in TOSA,” Schwartz said. “We’ll see.”

To keep this going post-pandemic, the County Board would have to codify it in the zoning ordinance, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac said. This ordinance will last up to six months after the emergency is declared over.

Expanding seating options through TOSA will accelerate implementation and avoid the fees associated with existing county processes for approving outdoor seating, Anthony Fusarelli, assistant director for the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Urban Development, told ARLnow.

The change comes as County officials encourage restaurants, which have set up tents and heaters outside the new permitting process, to go through official channels.

“We’re finding propane heaters used and stored under tents, and tents not being set up under TOSA,” which is not allowed, Fusarelli told the County Board.

CPHD has received only a dozen tent requests through TOSA applications, which means owners may not be aware of the rules, or are going outside of them, Fusarelli said.

This spring, the County had 250 requests for outdoor dining “of some sort,” and 120 TOSA applications, Fusarelli said. Since the temporary program launched, his department has approved 93 TOSAs.

“We’re doing the best we can on our end to respond to requests,” Fusarelli said. “We approved the first applications late last week, and will approve more in the future.”

The change would especially help restaurants without space on their property to accommodate and winterize outdoor seating according to Virginia’s fire codes. Heaters have to be five feet from exits, awnings and tents, and only electric heaters are permitted under tents.

Medium Rare owner Mark Bucher, who said he has not heard back about his TOSA application, is still chafing against the restriction that prohibits propane heaters from being installed under tents.

He is doing it anyway, even though the Arlington County Fire Department has repeatedly asked the restaurant to turn the heaters off.

“We have to because people are freezing,” Bucher told ARLnow. “If I stop, and I don’t heat the tents, I’m out of business.”

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Just a few months into the county’s “Housing Arlington” initiative, Arlington’s Housing Director is retiring.

David Cristeal is stepping down after 15 years with the county, including six as Housing Director. Cristeal was elevated to the position in 2013 after a nationwide search.

At the time, he won plaudits from then-County Manager Barbara Donnellan for “working successfully with Arlington community members and non-profit partners to plan and preserve affordable housing.”

On Thursday, a county spokeswoman said Cristeal was retiring, after an inquiry from ARLnow about a job ad on the Washington Post website. His last day will be next Friday, the spokeswoman said.

From the job listing:

Arlington County’s Community Planning, Housing and Development is seeking a dynamic, energetic, and innovative Housing Director. This is a unique opportunity to work on a variety of housing solutions for one of the country’s most densely populated and well-educated communities. Recently, Arlington County has attracted new and expanding companies that have or will be bringing tens of thousands of new, high paying jobs to the County over the coming decade. This significant influx of workers will further stress the region’s already competitive housing market.

Duties include:

  • Implementing a new Housing Arlington initiative through a multi-department effort, while remaining responsible for other housing programs and initiatives that serve a diverse community;
  • Providing regional solutions to solve the complex challenge of serving the growing needs of the low and moderate-income residents in the County;
  • Developing strategies to increase supply for low income residents and moderate-income residents who are also impacted by increasing housing prices; and
  • Providing comprehensive approach to meeting housing needs, which is vital for economic sustainability, diversity, and quality of life.

The ad was posted on Thursday and lists an annual salary range of $101,150.40-$197,163.20.

The Housing Arlington initiative aims to create more housing — particularly for low- and middle-income residents — to help accommodate anticipated population growth. Earlier this year Arlington County reported that it had lost 17,000 market-rate affordable housing units since 2005 and was expecting 58,000 more residents by 2045.

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County Manager Mark Schwartz announced Thursday (September 14) the appointment of Claude Williamson as director of the Arlington County Department of Community, Housing, Planning and Development.

Williamson, who served as interim director since March following the departure of Steven Cover, has been with the department for 20 years. He served as Comprehensive Planning Supervisor for more than 11 years, and has experience in planning, management and civic engagement.

Becoming CPHD director is “a unique opportunity to lead a very talented and creative group of professionals to deliver the highest quality products and services,” Williamson said in a statement.  “These efforts are necessary to achieve our community-based vision for an Arlington that is inclusive, diverse, safe, and urban, with economically strong commercial centers and stable residential neighborhoods.”

The department has come in for some criticism in recent times, with some in the community blaming it for delays in new businesses opening in the county.

More from a county press release:

Claude Williamson has been named Arlington County’s Director for Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) after serving as acting director since March.

In appointing Williamson this week, County Manager Mark Schwartz said the 20-year County staffer “brings vast experience plus great talent in understanding the needs of residents, businesses and long-term community objectives. That’s the kind of essential leadership that we want to encourage and keep in Arlington County.”

CPHD is responsible for planning in County neighborhoods and along the densely developed, transit-oriented Metro corridors. CPHD is the lead agency in implementing the County’s Smart Growth planning vision.

Becoming CPHD Director is “a unique opportunity to lead a very talented and creative group of professionals to deliver the highest quality products and services,” Williamson said.  “These efforts are necessary to achieve our community-based vision for an Arlington that is inclusive, diverse, safe, and urban, with economically strong commercial centers and stable residential neighborhoods.”

Williamson joined the County and CPHD in 1997 and served as the Comprehensive Planning Supervisor for more than 11 years. His broad background in planning, management and civic engagement has influenced a multitude of major planning initiatives and projects.

He has been instrumental in the development and implementation of both sector and area plans across Arlington, and has provided significant leadership during zoning ordinance reviews and updates, inter-jurisdictional planning efforts and other key planning activities.

In the director’s role, Williams oversees all CPHD activities including the development review process; housing and comprehensive planning; neighborhood services; zoning administration; inspections, code enforcement and data analysis.

Before joining Arlington County, Williamson worked for the New Orleans City Planning Commission on a variety of projects and initiatives. He holds a Master of Community Planning degree from the University of Maryland School of Architecture and both a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science from Suffolk University in Boston.

Williamson is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He lives in the Palisades neighborhood of Washington D.C. with his husband Michael and son Evan.

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Claude Williamson (photo courtesy Arlington County)Following the departure of Steven Cover, Arlington County has named an Acting Director for Community Housing, Planning and Development.

Claude Williamson, who has been with the department for 20 years, will lead it on an interim basis as the acting planning director. Last week County Manager Mark Schwartz said that a search would be starting soon for a permanent replacement for Cover.

Williamson’s long tenure at CPHD contrasts with Cover’s attempts to shake up the department and streamline its processes, which have been the subject of grumbles from the business community. Cover was named CPHD director in 2015.

More on the appointment from a county press release:

Claude Williamson has been named Arlington County’s Acting Director for Community Housing, Planning and Development (CPHD).

Williamson joined CPHD in 1997 and has served as the Comprehensive Planning Supervisor for more than 11 years. His broad experience in planning, management and civic engagement has influenced a multitude of major planning initiatives and projects. He has been instrumental in the development and implementation of both sector and area plans across Arlington, and has provided significant leadership during zoning ordinance reviews and updates, inter-jurisdictional planning efforts and other key planning activities.

“Claude brings a wealth of experience and tremendous professionalism to the Acting Directorship of this critical County department,” said Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz. “He has a deep understanding of our community and of the planning principles that have successfully guided Arlington for decades.”

In his new role, Williamson will lead all the department’s efforts, including the development review process; comprehensive planning; neighborhood services; zoning administration; inspections and code enforcement and data analysis. The department is responsible for planning both in Arlington’s neighborhoods and in the densely developed, transit oriented Metro corridors. CPHD is the lead department in implementing the County’s Smart Growth planning vision.

Prior to joining Arlington County in 1997, Williamson worked for the New Orleans City Planning Commission on a variety of planning projects and initiatives. He holds a Master of Community Planning from the University of Maryland School of Architecture.  He also holds a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science from Suffolk University in Boston.  Williamson is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.  He lives in the Palisades neighborhood of Washington D.C. with his husband Michael and 11-year old son Evan.

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Director of Community Housing, Planning and Development Steven CoverArlington’s planning director has accepted a job with the city of Sarasota, Florida, a move seen by some as a blow to the local business community.

Steven Cover joined Arlington County as director of Community Planning, Housing and Development in March 2015. He won the respect of many in Arlington’s business community by trying to streamline processes in CPHD, which has gained a reputation for a heavy-handed, intransigent approach to enforcing county regulations, sources tell ARLnow.com.

The City of Sarasota announced Cover’s hiring yesterday.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Steven Cover to Sarasota,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “Steve has extensive and highly successful experience in two of America’s great communities: Arlington, Virginia and Madison, Wisconsin. Steve’s experience and passion for walkable communities, cutting edge bicycle and transportation planning, appreciation for great architecture, innovative zoning codes, and commitment to affordable housing collaborations will serve our community well.”

In a statement released to ARLnow.com, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said the search for Cover’s replacement will be starting soon.

After more than two years of service as our Director of Community Planning, Housing and Development, Steve Cover is leaving to take another job. We wish him well. With the guidance of the County Board, Steve, together with our excellent staff of CPHD professionals, and in coordination with Arlington Economic Development, helped make improvements in service during his tenure. We will begin a search soon for a new director to lead this vital department.

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Arlington County has hired Robert J. Duffy as its new planning director, to fill a position that’s been vacant for months.

“Bob Duffy has a long and varied career in local government planning and leadership positions,” said Robert E. Brosnan, director of Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. “He is exactly what the Planning Department needs right now as we move into implementation for some of our major planning projects to create more affordable housing and continue our smart growth, transit-oriented development.”

Duffy was most recently a planning supervisor with the Prince George’s County Planning Department. Previously, he was Director of Planning and Community Development for the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts; Assistant Director of the Louisville Development Authority and Downtown Development Corporation; Town Planning and Development Administrator for the Town of Southampton, New York; and the Director of Planning for the City of Sanibel, Florida.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of Arlington County,” said Duffy. “I look forward to leading our planning staff and working with Arlington residents and businesses, Planning Commission members, the County Manager and County Board Members to further advance Arlington’s nationally recognized commitment to community-based planning, smart growth and active civic engagement.”

Duffy fills a position that had been open since Peter Katz resigned in March, after less than five months on the job. Duffy will start in September.

In a press release, the county gave the following details about Duffy’s experience:

Duffy has managed and facilitated a number of award-winning planning projects such as the Central Annapolis Road Sector Plan, which transformed an auto-oriented corridor into a “complete street” with a transit village as part of the planned Purple Line light rail transit project. The project has been recognized by the American Architectural Foundation External link and featured in the recently published “Living Streets: Strategies for Crafting Public Space”.

Duffy provided leadership on the planning study of Brookline, Massachusetts. The Comprehensive Plan 2005 – 2015 External link focused on future growth within Brookline’s transit corridors and establishes neighborhood conservation, affordable housing, and business district improvement strategies. The plan won 2006 Outstanding Planning Award from the American Planning Association, Massachusetts Chapter.

He also led planning and improvement efforts that contributed to the transformation of the historic, but deteriorated West Main Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky External link into a “vibrant commercial, residential, retail, cultural, and entertainment district. The West Main Street Cultural Arts District was recognized by the American Planning Association in 2008 as one of America’s “Great Streets”.

Duffy currently serves as a Technical Advisory Panel Committee member for the Washington District Council of the Urban Land institute (ULI), and a board member for the American Planning Association’s (APA) National Capital Area Chapter. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Parker-Gray Historic District Architectural Review Board in Alexandria.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Planning from the University of Cincinnati. His start date is Sept. 10, 2012. Duffy and his wife Adele Cramer currently reside in Alexandria. They enjoy hiking, cycling and kayaking.

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