+At Thursday’s NRCA executive board meeting, Bill Maron and Mark Antell, representing the Georgetown Vista Condominium Association, spoke against the Rosslyn Gateway project on the basis of the following arguments:
1. This project involves transfer and intense development of 2/3 of an acre of County owned land (currently used as a loop road around the block formed by Lee Hwy, Moore, Key and Ft Myer) to JBG, a private developer. Several months ago NRCA general membership adopted the following position statement on Rosslyn Gateway:
“NRCA opposes the current Rosslyn Gateway Project insofar as it asks for permanent cession of county owned right-of-way.”
Alas, interpretations of this position statement differ; but surely it should not be interpreted as supportive of the project*.
2. This project will harm views toward the east for many people in living in Georgetown Vista. It appears it will also harm views from most HighGate units facing north along Colonial Terrace. We think that our Civic Association should object to taking away resident views and ceding them to developers.
3. The precedent set by this project in terms of views are horrible for North Rosslyn citizens. The Holiday Inn will of course ask for similar concession of publicly owned land in front of their building. Buildout of the Holiday Inn all the way to Lee Hwy would greatly affect views from Georgetown Vista and those from Highgate and the Dakota.
4. The loop road scheduled for removal by this project is currently used to ease traffic movement from Lee onto Moore; it is used for informal ride sharing (slug lines); and it is used by a number of commuter buses bringing people to Rosslyn and the Rosslyn metro. Adding burden and reducing capacity on Lee Hwy seems a bad idea. Certainly it would put additional burden on all alternate routes including Key Blvd.
5. This project brings many other ‘quality of life’ issues. True, the developer provides artistic sketches of a vibrant urban streetscape. But we have a different vision of this project. We see concrete meeting concrete meeting concrete along Lee Hwy. We see a narrowed Lee Hwy where pedestrians and bicyclists will have an even tougher time than now moving from Rosslyn to Georgetown. We see a downtown Rosslyn with even more traffic and even less traffic capacity.
Mark Antell and Bill Maron
* 2/3 of an acre, zoned CO Rosslyn a block away from metro, must be worth tens of millions of dollars. It is our contention, from experience with similar projects (including Central Place, Turnberry, and 1812 Moore), that we the public will never get an objective accounting for the dollar value of land transferred, nor will we get a objective accounting of the value of the various benefits that JBG will give to Arlington to pay for this transfer. JBG execs told us that this information would be available. We will followup with their suggested contacts.
Mark is correct in noting that the line in front of the Holiday Inn will come into question. At the site plan review for this project, staff was unhappy that some of the proposed building was not closer to Lee Highway. They stated that a line had been established by Waterview and that was the line that they were in general wanting to achieve...that is, flush with Lee Highway.
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