Report of Landis Jones -- SPRC Rosslyn Gateway
Last Monday, March 12, the fifth site plan review meeting was held at the court house. The developers, in response to earlier appraisals, has changed its plans to some degree. The footprint for the three buildings will be slightly smaller. The southern building facing 19th. St. will have a bend in it to reflect the changing direction of the street. It makes it more interesting and reflective of the public art that will soon surface the power station. The smaller footprint will not mean a drawback from Lee Highway for the hotel and condo buildings facing Lee. The push-out towards Lee Highway comes as much from the County planning people as the developer, so there is little likelihood of limiting the inevitable lessening of the breadth of vision enjoyed by some residents of the high ground to the west of this development. There was some addition of tree pits on Moore and Fort Myer. In fact there was some recognition of the possibility that someday the Holiday Inn property (whose driveway between Fort Myer and Nash is actually 20th Street) might be redeveloped in similar fashion – out to the sidewalk abutting Lee highway. This follows the long approved dense, high-rise development of the core of Rosslyn. The only protection of the view-shed will be for the views from the observation deck of the taller of the two Central Place buildings (tentatively scheduled to begin later this year). The most promising changes for us as residents were some changes on Moore and Fort Myer that will mean more retail space and life on these streets and perhaps the improved design of the large building facing 19th St.

These incremental improvements are typical in the process of the site plan reviews. There may be more. I believe that as residents deeply affected by this ongoing redevelopment of the core that we should concentrate on the “community development” package that will be proposed and the remuneration of the county for the surface roads that will be consumed by the development. VDOT (the Virginia Department of Transportation) has approved a properly synchronized light at Moore and Lee Highway. This will provide more useable safety provision for pedestrians than the current crossing at Fort Myer, which has lots of turning traffic. Slug access is not something that we should worry about so long as loitering drivers seeking HOV riders do not relocate to neighboring residential streets. We need to assure that the developer is paying adequately for the parts of the public right of way that currently exist and that this community development money is used to improve Gateway Park, removing most or at least much of the redundant concrete and opening green space for community use and a better view for the whole of our community. We don’t want to see public funds generated from the land transfer siphoned off to Clarendon or elsewhere in the County. I believe that individual inquiries by Mark Antell and others have had a positive effect on making sure that County officials and the developers are aware of our intense interest in this sale and the use of the resulting public benefits. We as a civic association aren’t going to get very far with a flat disapproval of this project and a request for backtracking on a decade or more of dense urban planning by Arlington County for the visualized “downtown core” of the county.

We can assert a lot of citizen (voter) influence at the County Board level in order to achieve a good deal reinvesting the community benefit dollars here within our civic association boundaries. The improvement of this open space at Gateway Park is essential to compensate for the rigors and discomforts of intensive land use. We may even have the support of the developers, who want to see an improved park landscape as an asset for their development. We have an ongoing interest in these three proposed buildings having a maximum of street life and large useful retail space and being as innovative and aesthetically pleasing as the market will allow. We should use the voter clout that we have as residents to improve and not to obstruct this development. If we were to undertake obstructionist actions, we would lose any constructive influence that we can assert in the remainder of this process.

Landis Jones, NRCA board member and representative to the site plan review committee for Rosslyn Gateway
Posts: 285 | Registered: January 09, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  

© 2002-2020 North Rosslyn Civic Association. All rights reserved.