Town Hall Notes


From the Ground Up - March 8, 2022

From the Ground Up

A look at economic development, rezoning, and residential and commercial projects happening in Northern Virginia. 


A 14-story Arlandria apartment complex has been acquired by the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation, the latest move in an effort to preserve affordable housing in an area facing significant development pressure. AHDC recently announced that it bought the Park Vue of Alexandria apartments from Florida-based ZRS Management with support of $51.4 million from the $2 billion Amazon Housing Equity Fund, and conditionally will remain affordable for at least 99 years. 

One of the most defining architectural features of places like Old Town and Georgetown are the buildings with residential units above first and second-story shops. Now, after the city put together ordinances to more clearly regulate and refine policies for accessory dwelling units (ADU), the city is taking another look at how the units-over-retail type of development fits into the broader scope of housing regulations. At a Planning Commission meeting on March 1, Alexandria urban planner Marlo Ford laid out what city staff is looking at for that type of unit. A text amendment, Ford said, should be coming back to the city for review in May. 

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Inova Health System just took the next big step toward replacing its existing Alexandria hospital, providing more clarity around its plans for that future facility. The Falls Church-based nonprofit health system has spelled out its vision for the new Inova Alexandria Hospital campus in its first development concept plan filed Friday with the city of Alexandria.  

Arlington County 

The community is invited to review project materials and provide comments about the Block Plan M proposal related to the Crystal Plaza 5 (2250 Crystal Drive / 223 23rd St. S.) site plan application. Feedback is focused on transportation and open space, with an opportunity to provide other comments as well.  

All comments will be compiled and posted after the feedback window has closed. Share your input by March 14, 2022.  

On March 7 the Arlington Planning Commission Approved SP #435 SITE PLAN AMENDMENT to construct a new 16-story mixed use building with 231 residential dwelling units and 3,500 sq. ft. of retail gross floor area (GFA) located at 2026 and 2038 Wilson Blvd. The Planning Commission recommends that the County Board adopt the amendment on a unanimous vote. 

Those trying to lease commercial property in the Columbia Pike corridor are finding the old adage about land – “they’re not making any more of it” – certainly rings true. Arlington economic-development officials say they will assist where possible, but in many cases, small-business owners wishing to stay in the corridor will have to do the hunting on their own. “We are not a substitute for brokers . . . but we will do what we can,” Arlington Economic Development Director Telly Tucker said at the recent “State of the Pike” forum, sponsored by the Columbia Pike Partnership and held online.  

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JBG Smith Properties has kicked off construction on a pair of new outdoor retail and recreational spaces in Crystal City, including a restaurant from Seven Reasons chef Enrique Limardo that will be slated to complete around the same time as the next office piece of Inc.’s second headquarters. The Bethesda-based developer started work in late February on its redevelopment of the Water Park at 1601 Crystal Drive, according to Amy Rice, its senior vice president of retail leasing. 

Fairfax County 

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin made his first Fairfax County economic development announcement since taking office on Jan. 15. At’s headquarters in McLean, Youngkin announced that the company would invest $2.6 million to expand technology research, creating 180 jobs. 

Following a recommendation of approval by the Planning Commission on February 23, the Hollin Hills Historic Overlay District (HOD) will come before the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on March 8 at 4 p.m. Hollin Hills is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its mid-century modern character. An HOD designation will provide opportunity for the community to preserve its character. The proposal would rezone 492 parcels on approximately 291.27-acres of land within the Hollin Hills community, located generally on the east side of Fort Hunt Road, south of Paul Spring and Devonshire Roads, and north of Sherwood Hall Lane, and amend the Zoning Map to establish the boundaries of the proposed historic overlay district. 

At the March 16 public hearing, the Fairfax Planning Commission will consider a rezoning and proffer application for 5.42 acres located on Richmond Highway at the intersection with Buckman Road. The Plan states that the area fronting on the west side of Richmond Highway is planned for townhouse-style office and neighborhood-serving retail uses. The Plan further states that redevelopment would consist of a multi-family residential building and 150 to 225 townhome units with flexibility in the unit type mix. The multi-family building will contain a maximum of 280 market and workforce dwelling units in a building that is planned to be up to five stories.  The Subject Property is currently improved with eight non-conforming residential homes that will be demolished with the construction of the proposed improvements. 

Fairfax City 

Fairfax City Board of Architectural Review will be discussing a new affordable housing project at its March work session. Fairfax Presbyterian Church is seeking the city's approval to build a 10-unit townhouse development on its property at 10723 Main St.  

Falls Church City 

The One City Center is a mixed-use development project proposed by Atlantic Realty Companies. The project would include a new 10-story mixed-use building comprised of approximately 109,912 square feet of new commercial uses and 321,034 square feet of new residential uses with 246 rental apartments. On March 2, the City of Falls Church Planning Commission discussed proposed motion TR21-09, an application for “a Special Exception to allow residential uses within a business district in a mixed-use development project and a Special Exception for a height bonus have been filed by Atlantic Realty Companies Inc. (“the Applicant”) pursuant to Section 48-488 (2) in conformance with the procedure set forth in Section 48-90 of the City Code. Locations for this include 101, 191 and 2021 West Broad Streets and 150 South Washington Street, and a parcel on South Maple Avenue.”  

Staff recommended approval of said motion, finding the proposed Special Exception is generally consistent with the City’s 28 Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Small Area Plan, and substantially achieves the 29 goals of the Comprehensive Plan. Approval would enable the Planning Commission to recommend approval of TR21-09 to City Council.  

Falls Church has grown impressively in recent years and consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan, the majority of growth is concentrated along the major commercial corridors of Broad and Washington Streets, resulting in significant economic returns, creating a lively environment for businesses. Despite success, new development projects are met at their start with concerns of traffic impact. There is intuition that leads people to think more people means more cars, which in turn leads to more traffic on city streets. But is that true?  

Loudoun County 

ZMAP-2021-0001, Gum Spring Residential.

The purpose of this item is to consider a proposal to rezone a two-acre parcel in order to develop up to 12 single-family attached (SFA) residential dwelling units. The subject property is located north of Braddock Road on the east side of Gum Spring Road in the Dulles Election District. The Planning Commission (Commission) held a Public Hearing on this item on January 25, 2022. Seven members of the public spoke on this item (five in support, two in opposition), commenting about housing availability, traffic, and safety. The Commission discussed nearby open space and architectural design. The Commission recommended approval (8-0- 0-1: Kirchner abstained) to the Board of Supervisors, subject to the Proffer Statement and subject to the applicant agreeing to ensure that home buyers will have the option to include a brick masonry table on side building elevations.  

ZMAP-2020-0013, SPEX-2020-0009, ZMOD-2020-0030, ZMOD-2020-0031, & ZMOD2021-0019, Commonwealth Center Residential.

The purpose of this item is to consider a request to rezone 23.03 acres from commercial use to residential use in order to develop a maximum of 507 residential units, including 222 multifamily stacked units and 285 multifamily attached units. The applicant also requests Special Exceptions to reduce side and rear yards, a Zoning Ordinance Modification (ZMOD) to allow heights up to 60 feet without additional setbacks, a ZMOD to reduce building and parking setbacks along Commonwealth Center Drive, and a ZMOD to allow access via private roads. The site is located on the south side of Route 7, north of Russell Branch Parkway, and east of Loudoun County Parkway. The Planning Commission held a Public Hearing on October 26, 2021. There were no public speakers. The Commission discussed the applicant’s proposed transportation contribution credits, affordable housing, building height, the provision of public facilities, parking, and the project’s consistency with the criteria for the Suburban Compact Neighborhood Place Type. The Commission held a Work Session on the item on January 13, 2022. The Commission forwarded (6-3: Combs, Miller, and Salmon opposed) the application to the Board of Supervisors (Board) with a recommendation of denial.  

ZMAP-2016-0011, SPEX-2016-0037, SPEX-2020-003, ZMOD-2021-0010, ZMOD-2021- 0011, ZMOD-2021-0012, ZMOD-2021-0013, ZMOD-2021-0014, & ZMOD-2021-0048, Avonlea II.

The purpose of this item is to consider a request to rezone approximately 15.54 acres in order to develop up to 447 attached multifamily residential units. The remainder of the property, 13.27 acres, is proposed for office and retail development. The applicant is also requesting two Special Exceptions to permit: 1) a 300,000 square foot continuing care facility containing up to 220 beds, and 2) office uses which exceed 20 percent of the floor area of the PD-CC(SC) zoning district. In addition, the applicant is requesting several Zoning Modifications (ZMOD) that address setbacks, building massing and scale, access, and district size. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on October 26, 2021. There was no public comment. The Commission discussed the application’s conformance with the Suburban Mixed Use Place Type, streetscape design, parking, building massing and scale, and proffered transportation contributions. The Commission directed the applicant to provide a more detailed design framework for the proposal that aligned closer with the design policies of the Suburban Mixed Use Place Type. The Commission held a Work Session on January 13, 2022. The Commission forwarded (8-1: Kirchner opposed) the applications to the Board of Supervisors (Board) with a recommendation for approval.  

Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors is considering zoning regulation changes that would prohibit building data centers along Virginia Route 7, in the county known as the internet capital of the world.  

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission has awarded $1.8 million to four affordable housing projects in Loudoun, helping bring 332 more affordable homes to reality. Cornerstones Housing Corporation has been awarded $500,000 for Tuscarora Crossing Phase 2, with 180 units. The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing was granted $633,819 toward the 98 units at Mt. Sterling Senior Residence. Green Street Housing and Good Works were awarded $569,091 to support 52 units at Waxpool Apartments. And Loudoun Habitat for Humanity was granted $143,636 toward two homes in Round Hill and Sterling.  

The Board of Supervisors’ wide-reaching plan to address the county’s shortage of attainable housing is nearing its first test, with the presentation of a report on how far the government has come on those housing goals to the board’s Transportation and Land Use Committee. That report only shows a half-year of progress toward annual goals, but it also shows how big the job is and how far Loudoun has to go.  

The developers behind a proposed 13-acre commercial site in Round Hill presented their ideas for a mix of retail and residential development to the town council at a recent virtual work session. The vacant parcel, located at the corner of East Loudoun Street and Evening Star Drive, is surrounded by 1,300 home community, which was originally part of the Eckles family property and was developed by Lerner Enterprises.  

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A development joint venture wants to mix residential buildings and data centers on a Loudoun County site dubbed Innovation Gateway, where county supervisors had previously pooh-poohed putting a data center. 

Prince William County 

The Planning Commission will consider application to rezone ±3.44-acre from General Business to Suburban Residential, for the development of 48 multifamily units. The subject property is located at the 

northwest quadrant of the Mary’s Way and Jefferson Davis Highway intersection behind four vacant commercially zoned parcels fronting Jefferson Davis Highway. The property is designated SRH, Suburban Residential High, in the Comprehensive Plan and is within the North Woodbridge Small Area Plan and the Potomac Communities Revitalization Plan.  


Prince William County planners are trying to ease public concerns after a proposed update to the Comprehensive Plan. However, county planners say the new plan provides more potential for protection while managing the needs of population growth. The plan drew criticism that it would impact or devastate rural areas. The revisions could threaten what’s known as the “rural crescent” – roughly 117,000 acres restricted to no more than one home for every 10 acres with strict prohibitions on the expansion of public sewer lines.  

Rollins Ford Regional Park, located in western Prince William County, will soon be under construction. A new park is expected to open fall of 2023. The estimated 70-acre park is located between Rollins Ford and Glenkirk roads. The county budgeted $9.4 million for the park’s construction and has awarded a $8.3 million contract for the work to Dustin Construction, Inc. It will feature a 10,000-square-foot, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant “destination playground” suitable for all ages. It will also include a dog park consisting of three 7,500-square-foot fields for furry friends and their owners.  

Prince William County leaders aren’t talking about two sites in the county that have been identified as potential locations for the Washington Commanders’ new stadium and practice facility. Documents reviewed and first reported by WUSA9 last week and later confirmed by the Washington Post show that the team is considering vacant land off Telegraph and Summit School roads in Woodbridge near Interstate 95 and within the Potomac Shores development east of Dumfries. 



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