MINUTES OF THE NORTH ROSSLYN CIVIC ASSOCIATION GENERAL MEETING
January 25, 2012
The meeting was called to order by President Jennifer Zeien at 7:30 PM. Board members in attendance were Jennifer Zeien, Mort Friedman, Landis Jones and Paul Mulligan.
A motion to approve the minutes of the October 20, 2011 General Meeting without change was approved unanimously.
The Treasurer’s report provided by Paul Derby was read by Ms. Zeien. Mr. Derby’s summary follows:
The NRCA finished 2011 with 36 people/households/organizations paying $360 in dues, and we received $40 in donations for a 2011 total income of $400. Our expenses for 2011 were $307.90, for a net profit of $92.10 for the year. This profit added to our past retained earnings brings our total equity to $822.27. As of January 25, 2012, we have received 2012 dues from 10 people and 1 organization for a total of $108.82.
The statements accompanying the report will be posted on the NRCA web site. Dues were collected from several attendees by President Zeien for transmittal to Mr. Derby.
An election was held to fill a vacancy on the NRCA Board. Terrence Brown was nominated by Ms. Zeien, the nomination was seconded, and Mr. Brown was elected by acclamation.
Ms. Zeien reported that she had been asked to serve on the Process Panel for the Rosslyn Sector Plan Update. The first meeting of the Panel will take place in mid-to-late February.
The status of the Key Boulevard Apartments redevelopment is unclear. Several people are trying to find out more; Mort Friedman has a contact in the County CPHD, whom he will approach to bring the NRCA “into the loop” regarding activities around the redevelopment, so that we can advocate for the tenants as we are mandated to do. It now appears that the buildings will not be sold. It was suggested that AHC, Inc. had been waiting for the outcome of the primary election for the new County Board member before deciding how to proceed.
Landis Jones described the Site Plan Review of the Rosslyn Gateway project. The Georgetown Vista residents’ concerns were expressed at the review, and JBG was to respond to them. Concern was also expressed regarding the effect of the planned redevelopment on the view from Central Place. It was apparent that the details of the project are not yet well formed. The NRCA Board will meet with JBG representatives at the next regular Board meeting, scheduled for 7:30 PM on February 22. It is expected that substantial community benefit will accrue from the redevelopment, including improvements to Gateway Park and improved access to the park. Concern was expressed that the project encroaches on the park and that the parcel between the Holiday Inn and eastbound Lee Highway may also be built upon in the future.
Ms. Zeien and Mr. Jones reviewed illustrative renderings of the extended stay hotel planned for the Colony House site. Terri Prell is following this matter closely. The developer’s application for the required zoning change is expected to be heard this year. Once it has been requested, representatives of the developer, B.F. Saul, will meet with the NRCA membership to keep us up-to-date. The community benefit accompanying this project has not yet been identified, and it is expected to be discussed at the Site Plan Review.
The dollar cap on the community benefits that were to be provided by Monday Properties as part of the approval of the new construction at 1812 N. Moore Street is insufficient to provide all the benefits that had been identified. It is not clear whether the final design of the building lobby will permit pedestrian passage from Ft. Myer Drive to Moore Street. The proposed benefits to be retained were reviewed. It was noted that the escalator from the Metro mezzanine to the Skywalk is to be removed and replaced by stairs. This led to a discussion of the future of the Skywalk; it was noted that only cosmetic changes are being made. Concern was expressed for pedestrian safety if the evident plan to tear the Skywalk down is realized; what will be the alternative route from residential Rosslyn west of Fort Myer Drive to the Metro? It was thought to be unlikely that there will be an opportunity to express our views regarding how the benefit money should be spent, since the changes will be fast-tracked; just the same, Ms. Zeien will prepare and send a letter to the County repeating our concerns and strong desire that the escalator to the Skywalk be retained.
Ms. Zeien reviewed the disposition of a 4400 square foot space in the lower floor of Turnberry Tower, fronting on 19th Street and Ft. Myer Drive. The space was to be used for a business in the category of “Café/Gourmet Food/Specialty Grocery Store”; this category was identified to meet an acknowledged need for improved foot and evening traffic in Rosslyn. This community benefit was agreed to by the builder in return for County approval of added height to the building, which shades much of the community to the west. The Turnberry management wants to subdivide the space and broaden its use, and several members of the NRCA Board met with them to discuss this matter. Before these discussions were concluded, the Turnberry Tower Unit Owners Association (TOA) wrote to the County Board supporting a developer request that as much as ¾ of the space be used for Consumer Business Services, none of which would have the desired positive effect on foot and evening traffic. In discussing the NRCA position on the matter, it was noted that the ragged fabric screen on the top of the building had still not been repaired after multiple notices, perhaps indicating the true attitude of the Turnberry management to its neighbors. Mort Friedman moved that we promptly write to the County Board expressing our views, particularly given the letter from the TOA. Our position is that subdivision is acceptable, but the entire space must be devoted to retail purposes that will further the original goal of increasing foot and evening traffic - that is, to establishments designated Main Street Retail in the Retail Action Plan - with the exclusion of specific Main Street Retail establishments that the Turnberry residents viewed with disfavor in their letter to the County Board. Ms. Zeien will write the letter.
Mr. Jones and Ms. Zeien reported on a presentation regarding the development of Rosslyn Plaza by Vornado. The project would occupy the entire block bounded by Wilson Boulevard, N. Kent St., Arlington Ridge Road and 19th St. (the block currently containing the Spectrum Theater). The project would be built in five phases, beginning at the south end of the block and proceeding northward, but the developer will seek approval for the entire project – at least in concept – before commencing construction. The proposed development would include two or three office buildings, a plaza surrounded by retail spaces, an outdoor amphitheater and various small parks, possibly a bridge to Roosevelt Island, an arcade linked to Kent Street, a hotel, and one or two residential towers. The Spectrum Theater may be rebuilt within one of the office towers. The developers are also proposing to dismantle the Freedom Plaza overpass and regrade Kent St. No timetable has been established for this project.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.
Morton H. Friedman, Secretary
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