MINUTES OF THE NORTH ROSSLYN CIVIC ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
February 22, 2012
The meeting was called to order by President Jennifer Zeien at 7:35 PM. All seven members of the Board were present: Jennifer Zeien, Mark Antell, Terrence Brown, Paul Derby, Mort Friedman, Landis Jones, and Paul Mulligan.
Andrew VanHorn, representing The JBG Companies, described JBG’s plans for the Rosslyn Gateway development. The project will provide one million square feet of space in three buildings. The first two buildings to be constructed will be hotel/residential and office, followed by an all-residential building at an unspecified time. The existing building on the northwest corner of the property will remain until they begin construction of the residential building. Street-level retail will be present in all three buildings. Except for the office building, parking will be above ground, in the buildings. Parking in the residential building will be managed robotically to conserve space. Provision will be made in the footprint for slugging. Regarding community benefit, Arlington will expect JBG to contribute to improvements in Gateway Park, but not to plan said improvements.
Mark Antell opposed the JBG plan. He maintained that the prior NRCA motion in reference to Rosslyn Gateway opposed any plan that ceded land north of the existing site to the builders. Mort Friedman claimed that the sense of the motion was to oppose only a cession without appropriate compensation. Mr. Antell expressed concern that the views enjoyed by residents in Georgetown Vista, where he lives, and elsewhere will be diminished by the new construction. He challenged JBG to explain how they are reimbursing the County for the true value of the land. In response, it was explained that payment for the land is based on the density to be put on it; the County will set the price on the basis of its own appraisal. Some of the payment will be in cash and some in amenities, not necessarily in Rosslyn. Concern was also expressed that the increase in density would lead to more traffic on Lee Highway, which in turn would increase traffic on the alternative route along Key Boulevard. Mr. Antell also remarked that he does not like the aesthetics of the complex.
Mr. Antell was followed by Bill Maron, who had asked to speak to the Board on this issue. Mr. Maron inquired as to the time line for the construction. JBG believes they will start in about 2 1/2 years, followed by 2 1/2 years of construction. Mr. Maron expressed concern that there will be a similar land transfer adjacent to the Holiday Inn. The JBG representatives were asked why JBG is building that far north on the property; they responded that it was consistent with the County’s desire to “remove asphalt” and improve access to Gateway Park.
Other members of the Board commented on the proposal. Mr. Derby expressed his desire for an attractive skywalk to improve access to Gateway Park by making it easier for pedestrians to cross Lee Highway. He also noted the role of the slug lane in reducing traffic into Rosslyn: several thousand slugs travel into Rosslyn each day. He also reminded the developers that HVAC equipment needs to be appropriately screened, and that neighborhood benefits must not be pre-empted by occupants of the office building, as was the case when 1801 Lynn was taken over by the State Department, resulting a complete loss of community access. Ms. Zeien emphasized the importance of ensuring that site plan conditions respecting ground-level retail commitments are honored, citing by way of example the “minor site plan amendment” proposing to alter use of the retail space at Turnberry Tower. Mr. Jones pointed out that the driver determining the footprint of the project is the “border-to-border” development goal of the County, which is good city planning. He expressed a concern that the above-ground parking, as designed, does not contribute to the vibrancy of the streetscape. Mr. Friedman suggested that the layout of the buildings could be modified and that setbacks be employed to retain as much view as possible for nearby residents while retaining the footprint of the project.
The JBG representatives and Mr. Maron then departed.
The minutes of the previous Board meeting were approved unanimously.
Elections were held for officers of the Board. Ms. Zeien and Mr. Antell were candidates for President; Ms. Zeien was re-elected by a vote of 5-2. Subsequent offices were uncontested. Without objection, Mr. Antell was re-elected as 1st Vice-President, Mr. Brown was elected as 2nd Vice-President, and Mr. Friedman was re-elected as Secretary.
The Process Panel for the Rosslyn Sector Plan Update has not met yet. The Board discussed the February 17 letter from Rosslyn Renaissance indicating that the organization would be terminated and that some of its functions (including its Urban Design Committee) would be folded into the Rosslyn BID. Mr. Landis attributed this to the failure of the County to continue its financial support for the organization. The community benefit modification requested by Turnberry Tower will be heard by the County Board on March 10; it was judged unnecessary for us to be represented at the hearing because we have made our position clear in a second letter sent by President Zeien on January 30, 2012. [N.B. This item was removed from the Consent Agenda at the March 10 Board meeting and will be discussed at the Board meeting on March 13. The County Staff recommendation alters the relevant Condition to read, in part: “The developer agrees that a minimum of 1,100 square feet of the retail space will be marketed to and occupied by Entertainment and Main Street Retail use(s) set forth in the Rosslyn-Ballston Retail Action Plan, and that the balance of the retail space will be marketed to and occupied by other Entertainment and Main Street retail and /or Consumer Business Services uses; provided, however, that the following uses shall not be permitted in the retail space: banks or other financial institutions; bird store, pet shop or taxidermist; meat or fish market; and animal hospital or veterinary clinic. The retail space will be preferentially marketed using best commercial efforts to retailers who are willing to operate during evening and weekend hours”.]
Mr. Friedman summarized his conversation with Ken Aughenbaugh, Director of the Housing Division of Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development, regarding the status of the proposed redevelopment of the Key Boulevard Apartments. The substance of that conversation was forwarded to the Board by email on February 16. Mr. Friedman still has several unresolved concerns regarding the ability of current residents to remain in the complex subsequent to its planned renovation by AHC, Inc., and will pursue them with Mr. Aughenbaugh.
Mr. Antell had no progress to report regarding the removal of the trailers from the Wilson School site; the County claims to have hit a “legal snag” that has prevented further progress. Mr. Derby will talk to James Lander regarding the situation.
Mr. Derby presented the Treasurer’s report. The NRCA has 21 paid members. Mr. Brown will ask that the Rosslyn Mews Homeowners Association Board join the Civic Association. Similarly, Mr. Antell will make certain that the corresponding organization for Georgetown Vista joins. Mr. Derby will send dues statements to the Atrium and Highgate. The Treasurer’s report will be posted on the NRCA website.
The meeting adjourned at 9:20 PM.
Morton H. Friedman
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