Dear NRCA members:
Last October, the membership of NRCA approved a motion that opposed the Rosslyn Gateway development “insofar as it asks for permanent cession of County owned right-of-way.” The minutes of that meeting are not as inclusive of the discussion surrounding that motion as one would hope, but a couple of clarifying observations are in order.
(1) The motion does not oppose the Rosslyn Gateway redevelopment outright. The motion opposes only the transfer of the county-owned right-of-way. It also does not specify whether such cession would be favored if adequate remuneration were received for that land.
(2) As I remember that discussion, NRCA’s vote opposing cession of the county-own right-of-way was in large measure predicated on the notion that the community would not be receiving adequate compensation for the land. Although there are those who might now debate that observation, support for this interpretation can be found in the footnote to Georgetown Vista’s latest statement positing that the land in question “must be worth tens of millions of dollars” as well as its position statement to the SPRC on December 11, 2011, which stated in pertinent part that: “The relevant County ordinance (Arlington County Zoning Ordinance 25B, C-O Rosslyn) allows dense development in Rosslyn if ‘the proposal includes important community benefits....’ A lot might be forgiven if this project helped out somehow with community needs.”
In this February’s meeting between the NRCA Board and the developers of Rosslyn Gateway, we learned that the county enters into negotiations with a prospective purchaser of county-owned land. In those negotiations, the purchase price is set according to the fair market value of the land as determined through independent third-party evaluation. Thus, if the system works properly, the developer will be paying handsomely to acquire this county land.
Without a doubt, the civic association must work to ensure the Rosslyn Gateway development is as amenable as possible to residents – including minimizing to the extent possible any loss of viewshed, shadowing effects, and any impacts on pedestrians and cyclists in and around Lee Highway and Gateway Park. We must also vigorously champion the position that all proceeds from the land transfer be cycled back into our Rosslyn community. In my view, however, these goals differ distinctly from being “against” the Rosslyn Gateway development.
Please note that this message reflects my own opinions on the subject and does not represent an official position of the NRCA.
Reading between the lines, there appears to be some friction on this topic within NRCA. That would be a shame because Rosslyn Gateway is a topic of considerable importance to many members of our community. I understand that, realistically, we may not be in a position to oppose the massive, overall project. But I hope NRCA would be willing and able to express a strong and consistent message of opposition to full-scale expansion into the Lee Hwy. right-of-way. I don't think these positions are mutually exclusive. Thanks,
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