Civic Association Newsletter

April/May 1997 - Volume 20, No. 6


The site plan for Virginia Mews (formerly known as Ballston Station) town houses will be heard by the Planning Commission on May 5, 1997, and by the County Board on May 17, 1997.

This town house proposal on the northwest corner of the North Nelson Street and Washington Boulevard intersection has been before our Association two times, on January 29, 1997, and March 12, 1997. It has also been before the Site Plan Review Subcommittee three times, on February 18, 1997, March 5, 1997, and April 15, 1997.

The site is currently zoned "R-5." The applicant proposes to rezone the site to "R-10T" in order to permit a proposed 13-unit town house development. The General Land Use Plan designation for this site is "Low" Residential (1 to 10 units per acre). The "R-10T" zoning district would correspond to this land use designation. The proposed density is 9.87 units per acre. Site coverage is proposed to be 49%. The parking requirement under "R-10T" is 2.5 spaces per unit, or 33 spaces.

In response to the Subcommittee and staff comments, the applicant, Madison Homes, Inc., has completely revised the proposed town house project's design from the original proposal. Ten of the proposed 13 units would face North Nelson Street. The remaining three units would be located behind the Nelson Street town houses. Two units would be setback from Washington Boulevard and one unit would face Washington Boulevard. All of the proposed town houses would have detached garages in the rear of the units with patio space separating the town houses from the garages. The height of the units has been reduced so that they are more in scale with the remaining single-family properties on the block.

Also, under the revised proposal, the town homes will have two floors and an "English" basement (e.g., including a den), three bedrooms, an optional loft and dormer, 2-1/2 baths, a detached garage with one to two car design options, and brick fronts for the 13 units. In contrast, the original proposed town house project's design included three floors above ground and built-in two car garages. The redesigned proposal better fits with the remaining single-family residential houses on the block. The estimated starting price for the new town homes is $275,000.

For our members' information, the Site Plan Review Subcommittee is a subcommittee of the Planning Commission and is comprised of several members from the Planning Commission, representatives from other relevant commissions and the Arlington County Civic Federation, and several interested citizens. The Site Plan Review Subcommittee is responsible for reviewing site plan or major site plan amendment requests in detail. Also, the Subcommittee provides a forum by which interested citizens, civic associations and neighborhood conservation committees can review and comment on a particular plan, or the effects that the proposed project might have on the neighborhood.

At the Site Plan Subcommittee Meeting of April 15, 1997, Subcommittee members and staff expressed support for the revised town house project's design. Also, appreciation was expressed by many members of the Subcommittee for the site plan applicant's revised town house design. Several members commented that the project design was much improved. Some members stated that the new proposal had resolved many of their prior concerns about the units relationship/placement with respect to the street. Others believed the revised design better fit with the remaining single-family properties on the block.

Current BVSCA President Ernie Ragland and former BVSCA President Larry Blackwood participated in each of the three Subcommittee meetings. At the last Subcommittee Meeting, they both expressed strong support for the project and appreciation to the site plan applicant for the revised town house design proposal. Other BVSCA members and residents from the nearby (1) Wentworth Condominium and (2) residential single-family homes participated in these Subcommittee meetings, and expressed support for the town house proposal.

Also, it should be noted here that in our Association's January Membership Meeting, the original site plan was presented and well received by the members present. At least 13-14 members in attendance at this meeting indicated enthusiastic support for this project. At the March Membership Meeting, the site plan applicant presented a configuration substantially similar to the latest proposed town house project design. This design proposal was also highly supported by members.

The site plan for the Virginia Mews town houses will be heard by the Planning Commission on May 5, 1997, and by the County Board on May 17, 1997, at the County Board Meeting Room, Third Floor, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22201. The Association encourages interested members to attend both of these meetings and express your views.

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