Arlington Planning Commission Rubber Stamps Upzoning of North Ballston

Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting on June 17, 2017

First I want to congratulate the Ballston Towne and Victoria at Ballston Homeowners Associations for their excellent assessments of the Planning Commission’s recommendation to advertise a GLUP amendment that will double the density of an already congested Ballston neighborhood beyond that which is currently allowed. This is precisely what is lacking from the Planning Commission itself under the leadership of my Democratic opponent—Mr. Erik Gutshall.

I also want to thank Dana Gerk for launching an online petition to stop the upzoning dead in its tracks. The commentary offered by dozens of petition signers clearly shows that Ballston residents reject staff’s program to densify this County under the rubric of “Smart Growth”.

That said I think Annette Lang hit the nail on the head when she told the Planning Commission’s Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) on February 22:

Specifically, residents should not bear the burden of proving that exceptions to land use plans and modifications to zoning codes are appropriate. Rather, developers should bear the burden of establishing that unless an exception and/or modification to current plans and zoning codes is granted, development of a particular property will not occur. That is the core meaning of ‘exception’.

These remarks are poignant in view of the fact that residents of Westview Condominium are contemplating legal action should the GLUP amendment be approved.

As to the merits of the proposed upzoning of North Ballston, a year ago ARLNow reported no less than eight major Ballston based development projects with 2,000 new apartment units and 420,000 square feet of office space in the pipeline, including:

  • a 9 story building at Marymount University
  • a 7 story apartment building at Central United Methodist Church
  • a 330-unit residential tower at the Carpool site
  • more than 184,000 total square feet of office, retail and theater space at 3901 N. Fairfax
  • a 22-story mixed use tower at 4040 Wilson
  • another 22 story tower Ballston Quarter
  • 483 luxury units at 750 N. Glebe
  • 175 units at 672 Flats

The impact of these projects has not even been felt. Yet Ballston corridor is already GRIDLOCKED. Under the circumstances up-zoning North Ballston is beyond irresponsible. It’s reprehensible.

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