Rosslyn Skyline Forum
This is a short synopsis of the "Rosslyn Skyline Forum" held on April 19th:

Summary of Second Meeting of Long Range Planning Committee for Rosslyn Building Height and Taper Study

November 5, 2009

Perhaps the most illuminating element of the second meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee for Rosslyn Building Height and Taper Study was obtaining a more precise definition of what the committee was about – its purpose and scope. The chair made clear that the committee meetings were primarily an opportunity for dialog between the planning commissioners and county staff. The meetings are not site plan meetings (discussions respecting the development particulars for a particular site including architecture, community benefits and the like) and will not be addressing urban design principles or discussing land use generally.

The purpose of the meetings is to add definition to the existing policy of Rosslyn height guidelines: i.e., what does “taper down” mean? The goal is to provide more certainty to developers and the community.

The committee will not be making recommendations on anything except height and tapering and will not be proposing any modification to CO-Rosslyn or to the principles set forth in the county’s Adopted Resolutions covering height (including the 2002 Resolution on Building Heights in Rosslyn and the 2007 Resolution on Urban Design for Rosslyn Central Place). Furthermore, the committee will consider height and tapering only within the boundaries of CO-Rosslyn and will not be considering any change in county policy such as any proposal to change the height limits for CO-Rosslyn (max 300 feet above average site elevation) or within the Central Place area.

Groups (the primary group being notified appeared to be the developers) were invited to approach staff individually for matters not within the announced scope of the meetings, or to make any presentations not invited by the committee chair.

Accordingly, the committee considered (and proposed modifications to) the following principles:

Views of monuments, historical landmarks, bridges, natural features, urban landscapes and other significant features should be preserved, to the extent feasible, from any public observation deck (approved or built) within Central Place. [[Proposed modifications included changing the word should, expanding the charge to include other tall buildings, adding the concept to consider how buildings looked from other buildings.]]

In order to preserve views, consider height, spacing and slenderness of the middle and tops of buildings.

Consider variations in height within the overall tapering framework of Rosslyn. [[Acknowledgement that tapering above 300 feet would constitute a change in county policy and would not be considered in this forum.]]

Consider focal buildings within Rosslyn that have additional height beyond that of nearby buildings, so long as view corridors can be maintained.

Buildings should generally taper toward the river. [[Proposed modifications included consideration of tapering towards adjacent neighborhoods including Iwo Jima, Court House and lower-density residential areas to the north; a request for line of sight, sun and shadowing studies to maintain space, light and air for healthy environment and views.]]

In developing a height plan, consider impact on density, as it continues to be an important incentive for revitalization of Rosslyn.

Views of the Rosslyn skyline should be analyzed from the following points: Key Bridge, George Washington Parkway, Georgetown Harbor, and the Kennedy Center. Other views of Rosslyn may be considered (Jefferson Memorial, 14th St. Bridge, Lincoln Memorial); however, as distance from Rosslyn increases, the impact of variation in building heights is less significant. [[Proposed modifications included adding viewpoints from the west including Key Boulevard, Court House, Wilson/Clarendon Boulevards and considering the pedestrian viewpoint.]]

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Paul Derby,
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