August 28, 2019
Chris Dorsey, Libby Garvey, Katie Cristol, Erik Gutshall, Matt de Ferranti
Arlington County Board
RE: Dittmar Site Plan, Relocation and Encroachment Applications Notification of 8/7/2019
The Georgetown Vista Condominium Association strongly believes this application is premature. This site plan received near-unanimous negative review from the North Rosslyn Civic Association and directly affected neighbors. Many issues were raised. However the current application does not respond to any of the issues raised by residents during the SPRC process. Shouldn’t we residents receive a report on what staff thinks they heard from us ... and how this application responds to those issues?
I’m sure that the Civic Association can provide a list of the neighborhood concerns and requests, but major ones that concern Georgetown Vista residents are :
- Replanning a proposed mid-block pedestrian walkway so that its location will be useful for pedestrians.
- Loss of public greenspace
- Privatization of an historic view corridor. The name “Georgetown Vista Condominium Association” reflects that fact.
- A noise control plan that protects residents. The plan expects that the site will be subject to the current construction noise limits established for Rosslyn. Those limits may be fine for business/commercial areas in the center of Rosslyn, but they do not work for residents living at the margins of Rosslyn. County staff knows this. At a recent Arlington County board meeting, residents of The Atrium condominium complained, begged and wept about noise and dust impacts of across the street from their homes.
- The site-plan expects that Nash Street will be the sole corridor for many heavy vehicles that will service this project during and after construction. A concurrent site plan expects that Nash Street will be a major corridor servicing a redevelopment of the Marriott site. We seek a credible plan that will allow affected residents to use Nash Street.
- During the SPRC process, neighbors almost uniformly questioned the vacation of public parcels (19th Street North and Parcel Q). The latter is green space was established ‘permanently’ by the Coleman Decision* in partial compensation for the negative environmental effect of the construction of I 66 through Arlington. That decision was informed by extensive technical (Transportation and Environmental Impact) studies, and careful consideration of community discussion.
- The project involves relocation of an existing large sewage pipe. We understand that this relocation project is needed in order to allow Dittmar to build on 19th Street North and Parcel Q. We further understand that Dittmar will receive monetary credits for this work. So, in sum, Arlington will sell property that could and should be turned into a park ... and will subsidize the developer’s site-preparation costs.
Kindly continue to copy all communications on this project to GVA Board Representative Mark Antell.
Carlos Ruiz, President,
Georgetown Vista Condominum Association (GVA)
cc. John Hummel
* The Coleman Decision -- For a synopsis see the Wikipedia article "Interstate 66."
SUBJECT: Sale of Parcel Q for Holiday Inn Redevelopment
TO: Arlington County Attorney Steve MacIsaac
FROM: Mark Antell, for
The Georgetown Vista Condominium Association (GVA)
During the County Board recess meeting of 9/24/2019 you physically raised a large file which you indicated included all relevant legal documents associated with the vacation of Parcel Q in Rosslyn, per Site Plan #79.
By this letter, I request that a copy of that file be made publicly available. I represent GVA, a party that is directly affected by Site Plan #79. In that capacity I have spoken and written several times in opposition to the vacation of Parcel Q and 20th Street North. Yet, this is the first time I have heard anyone mention existence of this file.
It seems clear that every party involved with Parcel Q, including County and VDOT Staff, the County Board, and the developer are all entirely familiar with the contents of the referenced file — everyone except the public, which will permanently lose public open space granted as compensation from USDOT for environmental damages associated with the construction and operation of I-66.
During your statement to the County Board you indicated that County legal staff had decided that the Coleman Decision, through disuse, has lost relevance to the County’s use of Parcel Q. Your exact words were:
“... we were convinced that decision had long faded into any kind of effectiveness or any longer had any real control over the property that had once been acquired for I66 construction. So I think the short answer to your question is: ‘No I don’t think there’s any reason that would lead to a conclusion that the Coleman Decision has any control over the disposition of this property as proposed.’ ”
I assume that you have produced a written document laying out the basis of your analysis. I hereby request that you release a copy of that written document to the public.
Sharing this information with the public would be helpful in understanding why the Arlington County would consider handing over a scarce and valuable public asset to a private developer. Thank you for your time and assistance.