Rosslyn Mews Letter to County Board on Key Boulevard Apartments
Rosslyn Mews Condominium Association


Mr. Christopher Zimmerman, Chairman

Arlington County Board

2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 300

Arlington, VA 22201

Re: Proposed Redevelopment of the Key Boulevard

Apartments by AHC

Dear Mr. Zimmerman:

On behalf of the Rosslyn Mews Condominium Association and its residents, I would like to join with the North Rosslyn Community Association (NRCA), the Atrium Condominium Association, and others in Rosslyn in stating our opposition to AHC’s proposal for the Key Boulevard Apartments (KBA). Our 13 units directly adjoin KBA and we will therefore be the most negatively affected by the short and long-term impact of AHC’s proposal.

We fully share the concerns that have been raised in other letters to you on this proposal, including massing, height, and footprint of the proposed structure, traffic and parking problems related to the significant increase in occupancy density, loss of green space, lack of play area for children and other issues. In addition, there are specific concerns that are directly related to our proximity to the structure.

Access: Currently, we have easy access from a paved alleyway along the rear of our units. This unobstructed access is essential to all our residences since the air conditioning compressors are located on the rear roof section of all our units. Replacing an air conditioning compressor requires that a mobile crane be brought down this paved alleyway between us and KBA. The location of the units makes it impossible for a mobile crane to reach them from the Ode Street side of our property. From the plans of the AHC proposal, it appears there will be no paved access to the rear of our properties and the actual clearance between our rear fence (on the property line) and the proposed building is only approximately 16 feet (taking into account the width of the patios and balconies that project beyond the wall of the proposed building). Given the age of Rosslyn Mews, a number of air conditioning compressors will have to be replaced in the next few years. In addition, there is a utility pole along the alleyway next to our property line that carries Verizon and other cable services to our properties that require periodic vehicular access.

Parking Entrance: The AHC proposal does avoid adding traffic to Ode Street and 19th Street. However, the proposed entrance to underground parking from Key Boulevard is directly adjacent to our property. This will be a constant annoyance to our residences backing onto this access. It also puts the parking access close to the intersection of Ode Street and Key Boulevard, and access from the entrance to the Atrium, adding to the congestion in this area.

Construction Impact: We are extremely concerned about the very negative impact on our community of the demolition of KBA, excavation, and construction of the vast new building proposed by AHC. First, we are concerned about damage to our properties, both exterior and interior such as cracks to walls, shifting of the foundation, grit and other air-born debris damaging our air condition compressors, etc. The recent collapse of the excavation site on Clarendon Boulevard is an example of what can happen.

Second, throughout the construction period our residents will be exposed to the constant noise and disruption of a major construction project extending in all probability for well into two years. During that period, it will be impossible for any of our owners to sell their units, or even to find renters at current market rates. Use of our own ground-level patios also will be virtually impossible during the many hours of construction activity each day.

Financial Impact: The longer term impact on our owners in terms of resale value of our units is unclear. This is not because of the very modest increase in low-income units in the AHC proposal, but rather the deterioration in the quality of life in the neighborhood itself. The scale of the project on the site is significantly out of proportion to the Ode Street neighborhood. On-street parking, a challenge currently, will be impossible for visitors and commercial-trades vehicles. And of course for us, our immediate neighbor will be a 6-story wall 24 feet from our patios.

One final comment related to the cross-county transfer of density that permits AHC to quadruple the number of units on the current KBA site from 41 to 158. Unit density should be related to specific neighborhoods, not Arlington County as a whole. Permitting such a transfer from Ballston to Rosslyn simply does not seem reasonable.

The low-income families occupying KBA are good neighbors and an important part of our community and its diversity. However, the many negative factors inherent in AHC’s proposal seem to outweigh the very modest net gain in additional low-income units in Rosslyn.

We trust our voices will be heard by the Board as it considers the AHC proposal. Thank you for your consideration of these issues.


Terrence Brown

President, Rosslyn Mews Condominium Association

1816 North Ode Street

Arlington, VA 22209

cc: Arlington County Board czimmerman@arlingtonva.us

Tom Miller, Acting Planning Division Chief, Arlington County tmiller@arlingtonva.us

Peter Schulz, Planner to Arlington County Planning Division PSchulz@arlingtonva.us

Arlington County Planning Commission (Gizele Johnson, Freida Wray) FreidaWray@arlingtonva.us GizeleJohnson@arlington.va.us

Steve Cole, Chair SPRC for Key Boulevard Apartments Cole.arl@gmail.com

Norma Cozart, Acting Zoning Administrator Ncozart@arlingtonva.us

AHC, Inc. (John Welsh, Joe Weatherly) welsh@ahcinc.org

Cecilia Cassidy, Executive Director, Rosslyn Renaissance ccassidy@rosslynva.org

Lucia de Cordre, Urban Design Director, Rosslyn Renaissance ldecordre@rosslynva.org

Jennifer Zien, President, North Rosslyn Civic Association jzeien@bellatlantic.net

Stan Karson, President, Radnor, Fort Myer Civic Association dcstan@aol.com
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