NRCA Collaboration Area
Latest update from the Alliance for Housing Solutions

This topic can be found at:
http://community.northrosslyn.org/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/66920445173/m/83120545173

June 11, 2013, 08:42 PM
<Morton Friedman>
Latest update from the Alliance for Housing Solutions
The latest update from the Alliance for Housing Solutions has important information for members of the NRCA community.

KEY BOULEVARD APARTMENTS. On May 15, AHS organized a meeting to discuss the state and future of affordable housing in Arlington. Among the presentations was one by HCA, Inc., who had proposed replacing the Key Boulevard Apartments with a 6-8 story building whose perimeter was limited only by setback restrictions. The neighborhood strongly opposed the HCA design, and HCA seemed to abandon the matter. However, in a PowerPoint presentation by Walter Webdale, the HCA CEO, downloadable at www.allianceforhousingsolution...rdable-housing-2013/ , the proposal has reappeared, substantially in its original form. Many of the community concerns about this redevelopment were aired in correspondence available in this Forum under "Discussion - Key Boulevard Apartments".

WILSON SCHOOL. AHS sees the Wilson School Site as "an important housing opportunity". Quoting the update, "The Arlington County Board will shortly appoint a working group to head a year-long process of re-examining the Wilson School site and adjacent parcels. The County aims to shepherd a 'public-private redevelopment partnership' to meet multiple goals including affordable housing, open space, and a new fire station. AHS is already working with other groups and advocates to ensure a high level of affordable housing on the site". As indicated in their letter, cosigned with other housing advocates, to Arlington Board Chair Walter Tejada. (click here to read) , they are proposing "at least 200 units of affordable housing" on the site. It is not clear how much open land will remain for recreation after redevelopment.

The NRCA will continue to monitor these events and be a voice for the community.

Mort Friedman

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Paul Derby,
November 11, 2013, 09:03 PM
Andrea Armstrong
Thank you for this update on the efforts of AHS to redevelop the Key Blvd Apts. I, however, do not feel AHS / HCA Inc. has selected an appropriate site for their personal desire to increase multi-family housing in this neighborhood. It appears that they are proposing an increase in allowable density and mass in order to make their own numbers work not for the benefit of the Rosslyn community. Zoning changes are "special permission" and must reconcile the impacts on the surrounding neighborhood. The thoughtful letters to AHS were right on target with the significant and valid objections to their proposal and I don't believe anything has changed in the neighborhood to alter those views.

While I am saying "no" to this proposal, I am offering a better solution - I strongly believe, based on fundamental site selection criteria, that their development is much better suited for the property on the NE and/or the SE corner of Key Blvd and Quinn St., merely feet away from the current proposed location. This site offers the location characteristics that would make their proposal more appropriate and possibly acceptable.

The size, scale, density and mass of their proposal is much better suited to the location I suggest. This site(s) offers:

1) better street access both ingress and egress options on appropriately designated streets, for residents and the daily loading dock uses (smelly, noisy trash hauling, recycling, moving, repair workers, etc) for this many units.

2) the building height, scale and setback are more appropriate for the area based on the existing apartment community on Quinn St./Key Blvd.

3) there is no low-density family development to be dwarfed by this building(s) in terms of loss of light and increased usage noise.

4) the reverberated noise from airplane traffic bouncing off the taller building would not affect a well-established low density neighborhood area.

I would strongly urge AHS / HCA Inc. to reconsider their location and find an alternate, more appropriate site for this size development.

I further wonder if affordable housing is a current requirement for all multi-family development (over a nominal size) in Arlington County(?). Affordable housing requirement ordinances offer a truly equitable way to deliver affordable housing across the board in terms of geography and economics. I believe a more typical affordable unit ratio is 12.5 - 20% affordable units and not the more the 50% currently on the table (causing a density above and beyond what is currently allowable). According to a ULI publication, developers have determined that having no more than 50% affordable units in a mixed development has proven to be the most successful standard. A mixed-income development pattern really provides a much more organically diverse community.

Maybe AHS should spend some time developing appropriate policy for application throughout the County.

Please do keep us posted on this proposal.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Andrea Armstrong,