Westover Neighborhood Recycling In Progress

As many of you know, Evergreene Homes demolished three historic Westover garden apartment buildings in 2013 to make way for luxury townhouses. Developers are at it again. Soon four more 8-10 unit apartment buildings will be demolished to make way for another clutch of million dollar town homes between 11th Street and 11th Road off Washington Boulevard.

To its credit, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), which owns several apartment buildings nearby, offered to purchase the properties at fair market value in a bid to stave off demolition of yet another neighborhood in the historic Westover community.

But APAH was unsuccessful. By March 31 all the tenants had been evicted and within a few weeks, the buildings will be history. In preparation for this two dozen trees in the vicinity of these buildings—including an ancient Sycamore—have been destroyed. The area looks like a war zone.

It is rumored that the eviction of one elderly tenant with severe facial disfigurement possibly stemming from leprosy, required county intervention as police cars surrounded the area when he was escorted out.

Since the development is by right, the County could not negotiate with the developer. Since it lacks a housing authority, the County could not acquire the properties by eminent domain. Thus the County itself has done nothing wrong, or more accurately it has done nothing.

Yet the neighbors are not fooled. According to one street smart Westover tenant, the County has gained at least as much as the developer in the form of future tax revenues whose present value has tripled overnight. Anyone who does not appreciate this is math challenged.

Also math challenged are those who point to the Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) as the solution to the systematic destruction of Arlington neighborhoods, since it obviously costs far less to preserve and renovate existing market rate apartments of the type just recycled in Westover than to build the new units envisioned in the plan at a minimum of $250,000 a pop.

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