Citizen Comments on Plan Lee Hwy

Citizen Comments on Plan Lee Hwy
The survey form is very pretty, but seems designed to make comments difficult to submit. Questions are hidden under icons that must be individually found and clicked. Survey questions are “loaded,” offering only limited replies, like a choice between “A” or “B” with no ability to say neither. Written comments require using a novel and confusing method that attaches comments to specific locations on maps and slides. Survey: Land Use Scenario Area 1 & Area 5

With over 100 comments submitted so far from “Area 5 West” (including Lyon Village) all but 4 are strongly against the plan. Here is a sample of some of the comments…

Poor Knowledge of Subject Area
● This proposed “New Publicly Accessible Open Space” at the foot of McCoy park is a stormwater drainage area adjacent to I-66
● This proposed “Publicly Accessible Open Space” is a small steep hill next to a busy highway.
● The proposed entrance from Spout Run Parkway to this unneeded costly street is in a Watershed Resource Protected Area (RPA). RPA’s are protected natural buffers intended by Virginia Law and Arlington Ordinance to keep and lakes healthy, filter storm water runoff, and provide habitat for animals and birds.
● Virtually all of the proposed “new green publicly accessible open space” shown along the Custis Trail from Spout Run Parkway Through McCoy Park is already public. To the east, the mapper drew outside the line onto private property, e.g., at the Circle Condominums.
● …this property is one of only a handful of properties on the Historical Resources Inventory surveyed at the in-depth level and found to be culturally significant. Notably, the original building is still standing and it has a well-maintained brick facade and a nice, green courtyard. To my knowledge, this building has an affordability level that allows younger people to rent in Lyon Village…
● Both scenarios A and B propose eliminating garden apartments in Lyon Village on Lee Highway that (to the best of my knowledge) are MARKS affordable at 0.6-0.8 AMI.

Not Reflecting Community Values
● Rezoning the block between Lee Highway and 18th Street is government intrusion at its worst because it will displace families and their children and accomplish nothing that couldn’t be accomplished through less brutal means. First, there are tons of single family homes between Lee Highway and 18th street in which people have built lives and dreams; their kids go to school and hang out with their neighborhood friends in those houses; we take care of and host our neighbors there; we volunteer for the community from those houses; we commute to work from those houses; and we are living our dreams in those houses. Rezoning our homes would empower and encourage developers to slowly chip away at our neighborhood until we have no choice but to sell and leave Lyon Village for good because we can’t afford a similar house in the same neighborhood…
● It likely will continue the trend to push top earning quintile even higher without the proper safeguards for those at lower levels who are not keeping up. Witness how the county is now prepared to assist 80% of AMI households, aid which necessarily crowds out aid to those at 30% and 60%, who can no longer live in Arlington. That is not MY “Arlington Way.”

Failure to Consider Consequences
● Looking at the plan, there is a significant increase in population density. However, I did not see anything that has to do with increasing the capacity of our public schools which are already strained.
● The current infrastructure cannot support parking for this density and there are also no sites for elementary, middle, or high school options that are already bursting to support this type of growth.
● The existing multi-family units occupying this plot already do not have sufficient parking, often times overflowing onto adjacent residential streets. How will parking for increased housing density and building heights be accommodated for the proposed new buildings and the surrounding single family homes?
● This is an upzoning commensurate with the 1979 Metro density decision, without any of the requisite planning or financing for all the new residents it will bring in, not to mention the havoc to residents who will be uprooted, representing all income levels and demographic groups.
● It appears that constructing this part of the proposed street grid will require demolishing 129 units of the Ft Strong Apts and Villas which are market affordable and 4 houses on N Cleveland St. Beside being unneeded and costly, the building a new street grid would eliminate a lot of affordable housing. The handful of committed affordable units developers include in new high rises won’t make up for the loss. With no benefits and substantial negative impacts, the notion of a new east-west street grid should be dropped.
● Replacing a single story strip mall and surface parking lot with housing for people and more amenities makes sense to me. However, it only makes sense if there are complimentary increases in ALL of the infrastructure, services and amenities that would make living there worthwhile: schools, sewers, transit connectivity etc.
● My concern is that the developers would be making the short term profits from any redevelopment while the taxpayers would be on the hook for the long term expenses of upkeep and maintenance of all of the supporting infrastructure and services.

Puzzlement About Motivation
● …the process has not properly identified the primary goal (more units per acre, more units for those identified as part of affordable housing study, more units for those earning 100% of AMI, more units for retail at higher rents)… And it does not indicate what the impact on other populations living there now will be.
● The “whims” that seem to be dictating these scenarios are the developers, along with the county’s insatiable lust for more tax revenue. “Wealthy” homeowners (a lot of us aren’t — hence the air quotes) don’t have anything to say about it, apparently. In fact, some whose houses are in the proposed “consolidation” area are hearing this for the first time. If you allow upzoning, your fate is in the developers’ hands, and I’ve got news for you — they’re not going to build you a more affordable apartment.