|NRCA First Vice-President|
On Monday, March 2, you can speak with Jay Fisette about the flawed WRAPS proposal that cedes County-owned public open space to a private developer. He will be at the Madison Center on Monday, March 2 from 7-9 PM for "Open Door Mondays," which is designated as an opportunity to talk with a board member about any issue.
We should get at least a few folks there on Monday. Please reply if you can make it!
|NRCA First Vice-President|
Here's the link to Open Door Mondays:
|NRCA First Vice-President|
Reminder: Open Door Monday
Jay Fisette will be at tonight's County Board Open Door Monday. This is a crucial opportunity for our neighborhood to make an impact on the WRAPS process. Jay needs to see a strong showing from us to know that we will not accept staff's proposal, which degrades our public open space by selling off our parkland. This will the final opportunity to attend an open door Monday before the Board Work Session on Wednesday, March 4. If a majority of the Board members give guidance to the staff to follow their presented recommendation, then it will be increasingly difficult to influence the outcome of the process and save Rosslyn Highlands Park.
Please plan to attend.
Where: Madison Community Center, 3829 N Stafford St
When: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Why: Tell Jay Fisette that the proposal for Western Rosslyn is the WRONG choice for Arlington's parks and open space.
Talking points are provided below:
TALKING POINTS ON RoSSLYN HIGLANDS PARK AND WESTERN ROSSLYN AREA PLANNING STUDY (WRAPS)
- Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study (WRAPS), is a County-led community planning process that will develop an Area Plan for a site that currently encompasses the Wilson School, Fire Station #10, Rosslyn Highlands Park, the 7-11, the Penzance office building and APAH site.
- The County Board work session is on Wednesday, March 4. If a majority of the County Board Members give guidance to the staff to follow their presented recommendation, then it will be increasingly difficult to influence the outcome and save Rosslyn Highlands Park.
- Irreversible decision: There is no more land in Rosslyn, particularly for open space needs of this growing community. The County Board’s decision is an irreversible decision, on that will eliminate this park land forever.
- Neighborhood’s needs: The residents of Rosslyn have consistently stated their desire for open space as their highest priority. They repeated this sentiment during public comment at the February 21 County Board meeting. In addition, the broader Arlington Community is saying save our parks. 87% of the community members who attended the November workshop wanted to maximize open space.
- Stewards of our commons: Members of the County Board have a commitment to the citizens of the County to be good stewards of our commonly owned land, including open space.
- Widening the open-space deficit: Rosslyn has enough hardscape plazas. It doesn’t need one that will be owned, programmed and controlled by the developer. Residents need parks that are accessible around the clock to Rosslyn’s growing population.
- Reducing open/active recreation space in an underserved area: Residents (and neighborhood employees) are already highly underserved. Eliminating an existing park will reinforce Rosslyn’s image as a barren and uninviting place. As individuals and families move into the Rosslyn area, including those in APAH’s Queen’s Court affordable housing, the demand for parks and open space continues to increase dramatically.
- Relying on questionable financial feasibility and planning: At the Planning Commission’s February 25 meeting of the Long-Range Planning Committee, staff reported that the approximate cost of a stand-alone fire station is $11 million, whereas it would cost $23 million to integrate it into a building. How does this make sense? Moreover, Fire Department studies have recommended consolidating fire stations #4 and #10, calling into question whether the current location of station #10 is best or another location for the consolidated facility might better serve public safety.
- Ignoring real estate market realities: Even if the county wants to sell off existing, scarce parkland (of which there is already a deficit), how can it economically justify selling during a commercial market downturn? According to the county’s own budget materials, there is a 28% office vacancy rate in Rosslyn. Moreover, analysts’ reports (see attached) document rising multifamily housing negative absorption due to an increasing oversupply of expensive units. As we’ve seen with other sites in the Ballston/Virginia Square area, once a developer controls land—particularly when the real estate market is volatile—it may be years before redevelopment occurs and the county realizes additional tax revenue or other benefits from the site.
- The County Board should consider the following alternative. This alternative would:
-- Place the H-B Woodlawn Building on the Wilson Blvd Side of the site
-- APAH develops on its parcel
-- Penzance develops on its parcel
-- Place the Pierce Street Connection at the edge of the County-owned site, adjacent to the Penance parcel. This would meet the transportation needs of the School, while maximizing open space at the site.
--- Also, many H-B students will likely utilize transit to get to school.
-- Prioritize bond funding for Fire Station #10 in the FY2016 Capital Improvement Plan and consider an off-site location. If a suitable off-site location cannot be identified, rebuild the fire station in its current location.