Editor: Two recent news items concerning Arlington regulatory proposals demonstrate that both the county staff and the County Board are out of step with reality.
First, we learned that a very large residential development is about to go into Crystal City. The developer hopes to get approval to build high-rises with 819 new residential units.
This will be a great addition to our county and will undoubtedly be needed when Amazon is fully moved in.
But we also learned that the developer wants the neighborhood’s street parking to absorb hundreds of cars.
The developer seeks permission to build a parking garage beneath the building and a small surface lot, with a total of 96 spaces. They want to reserve about one-third of those spaces for non-residents of their buildings, with the remaining 60 for their tenants’ use only.
Let’s do the math. With 813 new units and 60 new parking spaces provided for these units, that means that the developer plans space for one car for every 13.55 units. Anyone who believes that this is appropriate is defying both reality and common sense.
The developer may submit studies (development-industry funded) that show that not every rental unit adds a motor vehicle, but there are many rental units that add more than one (a car and a pickup truck or motorcycle, for example) per occupant. In any case, I would seriously doubt the veracity of any study that shows less than one vehicle for every residential unit in our county.
Now let’s look at an item that came up on the heels of this proposal. County staff (with what appears to be the board’s encouragement) wants to eliminate or drastically reduce zone parking for Arlington residents.
Has anyone on the board considered that the reason that we need residential-parking restrictions is that new construction, whether it is single-family homes or multi-family developments, is allowed to build without regard to how that new building will affect street parking in the area? As more density is being pushed into older residential areas, existing seniors, parents with small children, and homeowners with mobility problems are being deprived of convenient parking and being forced to become homebound.
If a builder wants to build a residential unit without providing off-street parking for that unit, then the buyer or renter of that unit should be made to understand (by clear deed or lease documents) that there will not be any parking for the vehicles associated with that unit. The buyers or renters must also be told that there are residential-parking restrictions in the area, and that they will not be eligible to get a permit to park on the street near their units.
The County Board will be doing a great disservice to the community if any residential development is allowed to proceed without providing at least one off-street parking space per unit (I would suggest that one parking space per bedroom would be more appropriate). Also, eliminating the current residential-parking restrictions will have a very negative impact on current and future Arlingtonians, and should not occur.
Mike Green, Arlington