Arlington County Board members this week are slated to get the ball rolling on requests that could significantly alter the landscape in a portion of Virginia Square.
Board members are being asked to set November public-hearing dates on proposed changes to the county government’s General Land Use Plan (GLUP) and Master Transportation Plan for three contiguous parcels, totaling 7.25 acres, that their owners aim to redevelop eventually.
Changes to the GLUP would be a precursor to any zoning changes and to consideration of redevelopment plans for the parcels, centered on Washington Boulevard and Kirkwood Road. The most notable facilities within the subject area are the YMCA of Greater Washington complex and American Legion Post 139.
Board action to set the public-hearing dates is slated for the Oct. 21 board meeting. Because of the level of community interest in the project, County Board members will accept public testimony even though the only action being sought that day is setting public-hearing dates.
“It is a challenging collection of parcels, given the mix of ownership of varied uses, and location on the edge of a Metro corridor,” County Board member John Vihstadt said. “The board needs to determine whether we should just allow this area to redevelop by-right in a piecemeal, ad-hoc fashion, or facilitate a more comprehensive and unified approach that might, on balance, make more sense for the surrounding neighborhoods and yield greater community benefits.”
County Manager Mark Schwartz has proposed moving forward with the public hearings next month, although he and his staff have not indicated to what degree they support, or oppose, changes to the status quo for the parcels.
The proposal already is working its way though the county government’s advisory-body process, with the Planning Commission having looked at it last week and the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board slated to be briefed this week.
A variety of community meetings have been held on the proposal over the past year.Throughout the process, questions have been raised on potential limits to the size and height of buildings, as well as issues related to improving transportation in the corridor.
Also being discussed is the future of a small cemetery nearby, which has legal protections through its designation as a local historic district.
Specifics of the requested changes coming to the County Board for review:
• Eleventh Street Development LLC submitted an application for an assemblage of land parcels fronting Washington Boulevard and Kirkwood Road to change the GLUP designation from “Service Commercial” to “Medium Office-Apartment-Hotel
with an associated rezoning from “C-2” to “C-O-2.5.” The parcel size is 1.58 acres.
• The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington has submitted an application for properties fronting 13th Street North and Kirkwood Road, to change the GLUP designation from “Semi-Public” to “Medium Residential.”
No rezoning is being sought at present. The parcel totals 4.39 acres.
• The American Legion has submitted an application for its property at 3445 Washington Blvd. to change the GLUP designation from “Service Commercial” to “Medium Office-Apartment-Hotel” with an associated rezoning from “C-2” to “C-O-2.5.” The parcel totals 1.29 acres.
If the County Board OKs advertisement of the changes, the proposals will be heard by the Planning Commission on Nov. 6 and by the County Board on either Nov. 18 or 21.