Public Comments Sought for 2025 Clarendon Blvd
Located at Clarendon and Courthouse Rd, on the east edge of LV, a residential building with retail is proposed.
● 16 stories (166 feet)
● 231 units (some affordable) Comment Form due 9/16 County Project PageARLnow story A nearby building, having trouble renting units, is asking the county to permit conversion of some floors into hotel space.LyonVillage.org
Fed Up With Tree Loss
Lengthy discussion of tree loss on NextDoor. Why Should We Care?
Trees are one of the primary buffers against urban heat. Trees both block and absorb heat, remove pollutants, and absorb greenhouse gasses that drive climate change. Studies have also attributed green space with other societal benefits: less crime, violence, respiratory illnesses, and even obesity. NCR: EarthbeatWhen a Single Tree Makes a DifferenceArlington Tree Action Group
Arlington Leads Region in Pop Density
The 2020 Census reveals that the region’s densest neighborhood is the 5 blocks east of Ballston Metro around Randolph & 9th St with a population density of 96,758 people per square mile. This is not only the highest density census tract in the metro area, but also in Virginia.
● Just east of Quincy another census tract has 72,487 people per square mile.
● Just west of Stafford another census tract has 51,735 people per square mile.
This high density was achieved by Arlington’s planners encouraging high-rise residential and office buildings along the Orange Line corridor while discouraging single-family homes even a short walk away. (Very similar to what Plan Lee Hwy proposes for Lyon Village.) GGW StoryARLnow
Heat Islands Sorry About the Environment, There’s Money to Be Made
Heat islands are areas that experience much higher temperatures than surrounding areas. Heat islands are created when rural and suburban areas (like Lyon Village) are replaced by high-density (as the County is now proposing). While trees and lawns absorb heat, high-density areas retain and radiate heat. Thus high-density areas are hotter both during the day and even at night as retained heat is released. NCR: Earthbeat
● Extreme heat can become deadly, leading to more US deaths than flooding and hurricanes combined. Retained heat results in hotter nighttime temperatures exacerbating the deadliness of extreme heat (as we are currently experiencing in the DC-Metro area).
● Heat islands lead to unhealthy levels of ozone (as we are currently experiencing in the DC-Metro area).
● Heat islands increase use of air conditioning, which starts a vicious cycle as more power is demanded from power plants that are often fueled with fossil fuels, which add to global warming.
Chamber of Commerce Letter on Plan Lee Hwy
A letter from the Arlington Chamber of Commerce supports additional commercial/residential density as proposed by Plan Lee Hwy.
But even the Chamber sees that parts of Plan Lee Hwy are deficient: “Much of the proposed open space in the scenarios fronts on high-traffic, unwelcomingly loud places, or is in locations which could hinder reinvestment. Additionally, the scenarios propose open spaces that will be broken up by development and transportation infrastructure or that may not even be realized because of placement at sites that are unlikely to be redeveloped.”
Climate Change Score for 22201 Redfin real estate brokerage is now publishing climate risk information for every location on its website. Ratings, provided by ClimateCheck, are by county, city, neighborhood and zip code. Our zip code, 22201, is generally low risk, but very high risk for storms and high for heat. (Click image to enlarge)
The score does not reflect that some parts of 22201 are very high risk for bulldozers.
Excerpts from Letters to the County Board
Over 30 neighbors sent letters opposing up-zoning LV. One letter was signed by 34 households. One letter supported up-zoning. Here are a few of the thoughtful comments. Additional posts based on the letters may be aded in the near future. Hopefully the impressive thought that went into writing these letters will have the desired effect.
Board Member Tours Lyon Village
On Thurs afternoon, LVCA President, John Carten and two dozen LV residents lead County Board member Takis Karantonis on a walking tour of LV. When residents were asked “would you prefer the proposed changes or keep Lyon Village as is” 22 out of 23 residents on the walk raised indicated a preference to keep Lyon Village as is.
All County Board members are invited to take Karantonis’ lead to meet with each of the affected communities.
Some attendees expressed unhappiness with Karantonis doing lots of talking and little listening. One attendee sent a long, fiery email to the entire County Board and County Manager.
Karantonis will be running for re-election this November, challenged by 3 independent candidates. The County Board has decided this election will not use ranked choice voting.
Does Arlington Lack Rental Apartments?
Plan Lee Hwy proponents insist that large swaths of our neighborhoods must be bulldozed for high-rise apartments. Do they offer a convincing explanation why this is true?
● The vacancy rate along the R-B corridor is currently a high 9.7% Costar Data
● Developers are begging the County Board to let them convert empty apartments to hotel rooms ARLnow
LRPC Meeting on Clarendon Sector Plan Update
The Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) of the Planning Commission will hold a virtual meeting on the Clarendon Sector Plan Update on July 27 at 7PM. County planner, Brett Wallace briefed LV residents on the plan in March 2012 March Meeting Recap: Clarendon Development Plans
● The update primarily adds larger buildings (up to 12 stories) south of the tall buildings that already exist or under construction on the southern edge of LV.
● The major concern for LV residents is the proposal to build a convention hotel where the Silver Diner is currently located. This has the potential for significantly increasing cut through traffic in LV. Clarendon Sector Plan Update Homepage LRPC Meeting Agenda Staff Presentation Slides (June 30)
LVCA President’s Message on Plan Lee Highway
The Lyon Village Citizens’ Association (LVCA) wants to ensure that you aware of the current proposals being developed by the Plan Lee Hwy (PLH) team and County staff and the impact these proposals will have on single-family homes in Lyon Village.
These proposals would change the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) and zoning for the R6, single-family homes between Lee Hwy, N. Veitch St., 18th St. N., and N. Highland St. in Lyon Village. This ultimately will result in the destruction of
● 75 single-family homes (10% of all single-family homes)
● 43 townhomes (50% of all townhomes)
● 6 affordable apartment buildings (40% of all affordable apartment buildings)
● As well as the futures of all the families living in them
The LVCA strongly opposes these proposals, as is spelled out in our Position Paper.
LVCA supports maintaining the current GLUP and zoning, as shown on these Maps.
We feel these proposals, if approved, would set a precedent that would negatively impact Lyon Village and additional neighborhoods in the future, as well as harm the reputation of the County. We respectfully request your support in stopping these proposals from going forward to the County Board for approval in October 2021.
Please send letters to the following letting them know you oppose the proposals for Lyon Village. Get at least 10 of your friends and neighbors to send letters, too. We need every Lyon Village resident in every household to speak out and make his/her/their voice heard.
CountyBoard@arlingtonva.us — General address for all Board members
firstname.lastname@example.org — County Board Chair
email@example.com — County Board Member
firstname.lastname@example.org — County Board Member
email@example.com — County Board Member
firstname.lastname@example.org — County Board Member
CountyManager@arlingtonva.us — Mr. Mark Schwartz, County Manager
email@example.com — Chair of Plan Lee Highway
firstname.lastname@example.org — Lee Highway Project Manager
email@example.com — Ms. Elise Cleva, Acting Comm & Engagement Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org — Ms. Rachel LaPiana, Comm & Engagement Specialist
email@example.com (Please send a copy of your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. As we learned in the past, the County will not publish or provide copies of letters from individuals.)
Concerns Grow Over Increasing Urbanization of Rte 29
Scott McCaffrey writes…
Having seen the “it’s just a work in progress” ruse pulled on others in the past, those concerned about the prospect of major zoning increases in the Lee Highway corridor are getting their objections in front of elected leaders sooner rather than later. Critics have pounced on staff proposals for the North Arlington corridor (recently renamed John Langston Boulevard), which project major increases in land-use options.Sun Gazette
Does the World Have Room for Phil? (Plan Lee Hwy Says No) Sadly, the Rod+Reel store already has a sign in the window “Business for Sale.”
One of many 5 star Google reviews… I don’t know where to begin describing how happy I am with this place! I’ve had an unbelievably destructive fishing season that culminated with me breaking the handle on one of my Loomis rods and the frame of a Garcia MGX mounted on it. I was devastated, absolutely devastated.
Out of desperation I googled rod and reel repair in the area and Phil’s shop was the first place that popped up. I never would have believed a place like this exists in our area. I checked the reviews and they were all five star.Click to Continue Reading…
How Re-Zoning Destroys Communities
This review of Zoned Out! Race, Displacement, and City Planning in New York City, published on Good Reads, explains how rezoning works over time to destroy communities. It is about, New York City, but I think rhymes with what we are facing in Arlington. Zoned Out! Race, Displacement, and City Planning in New York City
by Tom Angotti (Author, Contributor), Sylvia Morse (Author, Contributor), & 3 more
ISBN: 0996004130 Click to Continue Reading…
Video: Living Near Condo Construction
Kennedy St in DC has several 5-story condos under construction by speculative developers next to single-family homes. The neighbors are not happy and have repeatedly complained to city authorities. Definitely not a nice place to live and possibly a preview for what the County has in store for Lyon Village. NBC4 News (has pre-load 15-second ad; citizen issue begin at 1:36)
Watch: Special LVCA Meeting on Lee Highway Plan
County representatives encountered over 100 angry residents at LVCA’s recent virtual meeting on the Lee Hwy Study. The study proposed rezoning all of LV north of 18th St for commercial and high-rise development. Despite it all, we want to thank Paul Holland, Chairman of the Plan Lee Highway Community Forum and Leon Vignes of Arlington County Planning Staff for patiently facing our 2-1/2 hour pummeling.
Intro & Slide Presentation by Paul Holland (20:00)
Please Complain About the Lee Hwy Plan
County representatives encountered 100* angry residents at LVCA’s recent virtual meeting on the Lee Hwy Study. The study proposed rezoning all of LV north of 18th St for commercial and high-rise development. This, along with other proposals on the south, east, and west would drastically change the character of the little sliver of LV that remained.
It is extremely important that LV residents, who want to preserve their homes and their neighborhood, contact County officials to signal their opposition. Below there is a sample letter and information about who to contact. Many other problems with the study were voiced by LV residents during the meeting. The the meeting recording is worth a listen or a re-listen (the recording will be posted very soon).Click to Continue Reading…
Dealmaking: Arlington vs. San Jose Arlington (March 16, 2019)
The Arlington County Board today approved the County’s proposed direct financial incentive to Amazon, an annual pay-for-performance grant valued at approximately $23 million… News Release Jan Jose (May 25, 2021)
San Jose officials voted late Tuesday to approve Google’s plan for a sprawling downtown campus… To secure approval for the project, Google agreed to pay a first-of-its-kind $200 million community benefit, which will see it invest in anti-displacement and job readiness programs… the company also agreed to create a $155 million community stabilization fund for job training, homelessness and affordable housing…a stark contrast to tech peers like Amazon and Tesla, which have at times asked governments to compete for business by cutting costs — as well as developers from other industries where community concessions are not the norm…SF Chronicle
When: Thurs, May 27, 7PM. Discussion of Lyon Village/North Highlands will begin at 7 PM.
Where: Online Links to the Meeting
The Lee Highway Alliance and the Plan Lee Highway (PLH) Working Group will hold a second on-line meeting where the County will present its proposed concepts for the future development along the Lee Highway Corridor in Lyon Village/North Highlands and East Falls Church. Following the presentation, there will be a facilitated discussion to garner feedback on the proposed concepts.
This plan will determine the kind, size and heights of new developments along the northern edge of Lyon Village, among other things, possibly eliminating single-family housing south of Lee as far as 18th St.
Additional information are posted on the project website. Links to the meeting recording and presentation materials will be posted there after the event.
The Lee Highway Alliance was formed to create a joint community vision for a more economically vibrant, walkable, attractive Lee Highway that benefits neighborhoods and the business community. The goal is the development of a new General Land Use Plan (GLUP) for Lee Hwy to guide future rezoning and development.
New Planning Director, LV’s Future
In early June Arlington’s new planning director will be Anthony Fusarelli, Jr. Fusarelli has worked in the County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development for 15 years most recently as Assistant Director. He was responsible for development agreements, land deals, strategic initiatives, and demographic and development data analysis. He led the creation of the first Crystal City Sector Plan (2010) and the Realize Rosslyn planning process, which resulted in an update to the Rosslyn Sector Plan (2015). Fusarelli’s work will be especially important to LV residents as LV faces encroachment on all sides.
Planning documents are currently being revised for the Clarendon Sector Plan and developed for Lee Highway. Fusarelli told ARLnow that this will likely require changes to zoning ordinances to ensure a diverse range of people can live in Arlington’s residential neighborhoods, keeping racial equity and inclusion top of mind.” County News Release ARLnow story
Meeting on Development of Lee Hwy in LV
When: Thurs, May 20, 7PM. Discussion of Lyon Village/North Highlands will begin around 8PM.
Where: Online Links to the Meeting
The Lee Highway Alliance and the Plan Lee Highway (PLH) Working Group will hold an on-line meeting where the County will present its proposed concepts for the future development along the Lee Highway Corridor in East Falls Church and Lyon Village/North Highlands. Following the presentation, there will be a facilitated discussion to garner feedback on the proposed concepts. This plan will determine the kind, size and heights of new developments along the northern edge of Lyon Village, among other things, possibly eliminating single-family housing south of Lee as far as 18th St.
Links to the meeting and additional information are posted on the project website. Links to the meeting recording and presentation materials will be posted there after the event. The Lee Highway Alliance was formed to create a joint community vision for a more economically vibrant, walkable, attractive Lee Highway that benefits neighborhoods and the business community. The goal is the development of a new General Land Use Plan (GLUP) for Lee Hwy to guide future rezoning and development. Map of Planning Study Areas (LV is #5)
Meeting Recap Video: April LVCA General Meeting on Zoning “Bonus” Heights
County staff provided an overview of a proposal to award 60 extra feet of height for new buildings that include affordable units. The proposal was approved by the County Board at their April 17 meeting.
County Updating Stormwater Regs
A common complaint in LV: after a neighbor’s home gets replaced by a spec developer surrounding yards get flooded when it rains.
Responding to increasing flooding and rampant development, the County plans to change its stormwater management regulations for single-family home construction projects. Developers are, of course, unhappy. The proposed changes are to be published in July and take effect in Sept 2021.
The county surveyed neighbors, home builders and engineers in 2019 and met with engineers early this year. The County found that soil under new homes is 10 times less permeable than the soil under existing homes. County Land Disturbing Activity (LDA) webpageAnnouncement of LDA 2.0 Program UpgradeLDA Summary Slide DeckARLnowStormwaterManagement@arlingtonva.us
E-CARE Recycling Event Resumes
When: Sat, May 22 at 8:30AM–3:00PM
Where: 1425 N Quincy (across from Washington-Liberty High School) Note: List of accepted items has changed
Arlington residents can dispose of household hazardous materials. Business and commercial waste will not be accepted. Bring ID to verify residency. Current instructions have some contradictions, expect future clarifications.E-CARE Details Residents should wear masks and stay in their vehicles. Make unloading simple by clearing trunks of items you do not want to recycle. Pack your vehicle in reverse order of E-CARE drop-off: electronics first, hazardous materials next, then last (closest to the outside) metals and non-repairable bicycles. Items Not Accepted: Nonhazardous trash will not be accepted. Small metal items will not be accepted (see alternatives below). Bikes for the World will not be accepting bikes to be sent abroad. Easy Disposal Alternatives: Small metal items:pots, pans, tools, pipes, venetian blinds, small appliances and metal items can be put out on residential trash day (Wed in LV). County now asks us to schedule such disposal, like tossing out a kitchen pot. Are they kidding?
The County will pick up many bulky items like sofas, mattresses, box springs, futons or home construction debris curbside on residential trash day (Wed in LV) without a pickup request.
Metal items (large and small) and appliances (TVs, air conditioners, cabinets, exercise equipment) need to be requested. Large items now have a $10 pickup fee. Old-style computer screens have $15 or $20 fees. Pickup Details Request Pickupsonline or by calling 703-228-5000 M–F from 7AM–7PM.
The county has a great online guide with detailed instructions for specific items (some recent changes seem questionable/contradictory): How to Dispose Your Item
LVCA Meeting: Water Mains & Zoning “Bonus” Heights, Apr 12
When: Monday Apr 12, 8PM
Where: Virtual via Zoom
ONLINE ONLY: No meeting at the Community House A link to the meeting will be emailed to LVCA broadcast email subscribers on the event day (Apr 12)
Key Boulevard Water Main Replacement
County staff will brief us on replacement of the water main along Key Blvd from Jackson to Danville and the block of Herndon north of Key. The existing, aging water main was built in 1927 and has had numerous breaks in the past few years. The new larger-diameter and more-durable watermain will improve fire flow capacity and better support demand in the neighborhood. Construction is expected begin in the Spring and is expected to take a year and a half. There will be detours, parking restrictions, and unavoidable noise (between 9AM & 4PM). Water service may be disrupted for up to two hours. when the new main is connected to the water system disruptions may last up to eight hours. Advance notice will be given to residents before any planned water shut-offs. County Board Agenda Item
Zoning “Bonus” Heights in LV
In the second part of the meeting county staff will provide an overview of a proposal to award 60 extra feet of height for new buildings that include affordable units. The proposal is ostensibly for projects that are 100% “affordable,” but gives the County Board leeway offer extra height even if a project isn’t completely affordable. The proposal applies to properties zoned RA14-26, RA8-18, and RA6-15. There are several RA8-18 districts in Lyon Village (shown on map in yellow). This could potentially allow 10 story buildings to be built next to single-family homes. The proposal is supported by County Staff, the County Manager, and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The county board has advertised a hearing on April 17 to approve this change. Click map to enlarge Sun GazetteWashington Business JournalCounty Staff PresentationCounty Board Agenda ItemZoning MapZoning Ordinance 2020Letter of Support (Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing)
March Meeting Recap: Clarendon Development Plans
County planner Brett Wallace, who is project manager for the Clarendon Sector Plan (CSP) Update, reviewed the current status of work on the update. The plan has shaped the physical development of Clarendon over the past 14 years, including private development projects and major public investments like the Clarendon Circle transportation improvements. Several large developments are currently proposed in Clarendon, including redevelopment of key sites south of Washington Boulevard, reconfiguration or relocation of Fire Station 4, several high-rise residential buildings, and a convention hotel. Changes to the plan may have a significant impact on traffic, parking, trash, and safety in LV.
How does the Sector Plan update relate to the County’s “Missing Middle” initiative and proposed changes to zoning?
Are you discussing moving Wilson Boulevard a few feet South into the Silver Diner block between Clarendon Circle and 10th Street N, so as to provide more sidewalk space on the North side of the street, where Northside Social is currently located?
It is widely acknowledged that there are limits to growth. Will you consider limits on Clarendon’s infrastructure? Streets and sidewalks in Clarendon are narrower than Rosslyn or Ballston. Is there a limit to what can be reasonably built in this area?
How will the proposed projects taper down to the residential neighborhoods — particularly on the 10th Street side where you are very close to Ashton Heights and Lyon Park?
Are any parcels north of Wilson and Washington Blvds. in play in your study? Parking in Clarendon is tight and spills over into Lyon Village. Are any thoughts be given to increasing the parking requirement — the County seems to be reducing it to about 0.46 spaces per unit in residential buildings.
How much more density has been added above the current density under the 2006 Sector Plan in the four private project proposals? Their presentations don’t seem to list the original density nor the additional square footage they have requested.
What is a modified step back?
On the St. Charles side of Washington Blvd. opposite the Bromptons, the proposal is to keep the edge of the site at 55 feet and then taper up more rapidly than currently planned. Yet this is the lowest part of the site, and elevations are typically measured based on the whole site. What would be the likely height at that point with an average site elevation of 70 feet or more?
Is there not enough parking in Clarendon, or is it just a matter of folks not wanting to use the public parking garages?
A convention hotel is proposed for the Silver Diner site. The transportation needs for a hotel are very different than those for a residential building or office building. How would you keep traffic from cars, shuttle vans, and tour buses from spilling out into the neighborhoods?
How many of these sites will include residential that will cater to families? where will those children go?
Dittmar is currently proposing to remove seventy-five homes from our housing supply by converting them to short/medium-term rentals across three of their buildings (not in the subject area, but nearby) in a “minor” site plan amendment. What is the County doing (through this sector plan amendment or anywhere else) to compensate the community for the removal of those 75 homes, especially in the context of our housing shortage?
Will the fire department station and office building remain? Will their current activities continue? Will any of it need to be moved?
When will the Joyce Motors site be bringing something to the Board?
County Board Waffles on Tree Survey
Arlington last conducted a tree inventory in 2016. The inventory became surprisingly controversial as it suggested significant declines in Arlington’s tree canopy as development projects turned Arlington from green to gray.
The Civic Federation overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Mar 16 calling on the County to “immediately” update Arlington’s tree inventory as part of the ongoing Forestry and Natural Resources Plan update. The president of the Civic Federation raised the matter at the Mar 20 County Board meeting.
County Board members seemed flummoxed by the request despite having received in advance a lengthy letter from the Civic Federation.
The “Information Gathering” phase of the Forestry and Natural Resources Plan update is scheduled to end in Nov of this year leaving little time to complete and analyze the tree inventory. Hence time is of the essence. Sun Gazette News Report Civic Federation Website County Forestry and Natural Resources Plan Overview Page Click image to enlarge
17-Year Cicadas Are Coming
Cicadas re expected to emerge this May across much of Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington. This is “Brood X”, emerging every 17 years. Cicadas emerge after the ground temperature reaches the mid-60s so the exact time depends on the weather. The next emergence will be in 2038. cicadas.uconn.edu Photo by Michael Kropiewnicki from Pexels