Town Hall Notes


From the Ground Up - June 29, 2022

From the Ground UpA look at economic development, rezoning, and residential and commercial projects happening in Northern Virginia. 


‘Missing middle’ proposal prompts intense debate, competing signs at County Board meeting

Sparks flew during the County Board meeting on Saturday (June 18), where supporters and opponents of the proposed missing middle housing framework faced off. Supporters of the proposal like YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, which supports denser housing options, filled rows of seats at the meeting. They held up signs saying “Missing middle yes,” “Arlington is for everyone” and “Won’t you be my neighbor.” Meanwhile, opponents like Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future (ASF) — an advocacy group against increased housing density — packed the other side of the room. They held up signs saying “The Arlington way has gone astray” and “Save our neighborhood. No upzoning here. No duplexes+ here.”

Realtors® Comment on Arlington Missing Middle Housing Debate

NVAR supports efforts by Arlington County to explore how new housing types could help address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices. We are concerned however that the study and the resulting draft framework will not deliver the desired outcomes. It requires a hard look at homeownership opportunities, including county programs to incentivize and encourage ownership, as well as the creation of housing types most likely to lead to ownership.

More Online Permitting Coming to Arlington June 28

Arlington County is launching the third phase of Permit Arlington, its online permitting system, on Tuesday, June 28. Several additional permits and inspections will move into the Permit Arlington system, including:

  • Residential building permit
  • Commercial building permit
  • Electrical permit
  • Elevator permit
  • Fire protection systems permit
  • Mechanical permit
  • Plumbing/gas permit
  • Land disturbing activity (LDA) permit
  • Periodic elevator inspection
  • Cross connection control report

Arlington County Planning Commission to Request Hearing on Courthouse West Study

On July 6 the Arlington Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Request to Authorize Advertisement of future public hearings by the Planning Commission and County Board to consider the following actions pertaining to the Courthouse West Special General Land Use Plan (GLUP) Study:

  • Adoption of the Courthouse West Special General Land Use Plan Study Document
  • A GLUP amendment from “Service Commercial” to “Medium” Office-Apartment-Hotel for the area located on the block bounded by Wilson Boulevard, North Cleveland Street, Clarendon Boulevard, and North Danville Street.

Arlington Groups Awarded $7M To Provide Affordable Housing Services

Two Arlington-based groups will receive a total of $7 million in federal funding to help provide affordable housing and services to low-income people, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia announced Thursday. The funds are administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund through the department’s Capital Magnet Fund. Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing Inc. will receive $5 million from the fund and Arlington-based AHC Inc. will receive $2 million.

Raytheon moving global HQ to Arlington

Raytheon Technologies Corp. announced June 7 that it will relocate its global headquarters from Massachusetts to Arlington in the third quarter of this year, a move that will make four of the top five U.S.-based aerospace and defense contractors headquartered in Virginia. Raytheon is the second-largest defense company in the world, just below Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp., and will be the commonwealth’s largest aerospace and defense contractor.


Planning Commission Advances Mixed-Use Development at Alexandria Power Plant to July 5 City Council Hearing

On June 23 the Alexandria Planning Commission heard public comment on Master Plan and Zoning Amendments related to the proposed redevelopment of the former GenOn power plant. The plans show around 2.1 million square feet of new development at the site with a mix of residential, retails, arts spaces and more. The requests contained in this application are designed to facilitate the coordinated development of the Potomac River Generating Station (PRGS) and meet the goals and objectives of the Old Town North Small Area Plan. The proposed CDD #30 Conceptual Design Plan and CDD zoning table align the proposed PRGS development with the OTNSAP and will deliver a mixed-use development including office, retail, arts and cultural uses and up to 2000 residential units on a site that will be knitted into the Old Town North urban fabric. This vision is consistent with the OTNSAP and aspires to provide a sustainable and vibrant neighborhood between the Potomac River and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The development is proposed to occur in three phases with public benefits and infrastructure provided in each phase. Each portion of the plan received near unanimous support in the Planning Commission and will move to a July 5 City Council Hearing.

Related: Tenant and worker groups voice opposition to power plant plans ahead of City Council review

City Council to Consider Expanding Auxiliary Dwelling Units in Commercial Zones

The proposed Zoning Text Amendment would allow greater flexibility as to where the units can be located in a commercial structure and how many units are permitted while maintaining commercial uses on the first floor. The recommendations proposed are based on a review of other jurisdictions practices as well as public feedback. The proposal will be considered by the City Council at the July 5 Public Hearing. The ordinance would allow auxiliary dwellings in basements; allow auxiliary dwellings on first floors if criteria are met; ensure that parking for auxiliary dwellings is consistent for all zones and allow the number of auxiliary dwellings to increase.

Related: Alexandria hopes cutting parking requirements can boost city’s auxiliary dwellings

Arlandria housing project heads back to city review after local Catholic church refuses to yield alleyway

At the June 23 meeting of the Alexandria Planning Commission, staff recommends approval of an amendment request by the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (“AHDC”) for the CDD Concept Plan and Development Special Use Permit with site plan to increase the amount of acreage associated with the development, to relocate garage and loading access on Building #1, and to make alterations to the site’s network of pedestrian and vehicular travel ways. This approval would revise the affordable housing project approved in January 2022. The previous staff report is attached to this application for reference. This development will continue to provide benefits for the City and the surrounding community, including a new, 100% committed affordable/workforce housing development, including 474 units between 40% and 80% AMI with a mix of affordable unit sizes including 1,2, and 3-bedroom units and 1 and 2-bedroom units with dens. The plan also calls for commercial space of 38,312 square feet to provide for community serving retail, daycare, office, and other uses to serve the needs of the neighborhood and publicly accessible open space in a 16,600 square-foot courtyard plaza.

Bonus Height Amendment to Create More Opportunities for Affordable Housing Draws Questions, Concerns from Residents

The Alexandria City Council has been considering an expansion of developments eligible for "bonus density." Currently, a developer can request additional density in their development in exchange for more affordable housing units or a contribution to the Alexandria Housing Trust Fund — if the building is going to be higher than 50 feet. The proposed provision of Section 7-700 of the Zoning Ordinance would allow bonus density for buildings higher than 45 feet.

Business Improvement District discussion to resurface at Alexandria City Council meeting

Five years after the City Council struck down a plan to get a Business Improvement District (BID) up and running in Old Town, a discussion of BID frameworks is coming back to the city. While the city earlier rejected the idea of a BID in Old Town, BID advocates managed to get the concept approved as part of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funding. Approval of guidelines for the creation and management of a BID is scheduled for the upcoming Tuesday, June 28 City Council meeting (item 16).

Hub for military vets coming to Virginia Tech’s new Alexandria campus

Boeing and Virginia Tech will establish a workforce development center in Alexandria to help military veterans transition to civilian life and build careers in the technology and defense industries, the two entities announced Monday. The center, which will be housed at Virginia Tech’s new graduate engineering campus in the Potomac Yard neighborhood, marks yet another example of how local officials are hoping to grow and diversify Northern Virginia’s pipeline of engineering talent as the region shapes up into a major tech hub.


Site Specific Plan Amendment Process moves to Public Hearing

On June 28, 2022, the Board of Supervisors authorized a public hearing on proposed recommendations to the Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process for Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. in the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center. The Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process involves the review of proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan called “nominations.” Proposed modifications to the process have been developed through a retrospective assessment and are detailed in a report on the SSPA website. The modifications would reduce the overall timeline of the process and expand and diversify community engagement throughout the process. The current alternating reviews of the North and South County areas would be replaced with a countywide nomination period every two years, supplemented by annual discussion with the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors on the Plan Amendment Work Program. Modifications are also proposed to the submission requirements, as well as the eligibility and justification criteria. The new process is anticipated to begin no earlier than October 2022, if Board action takes place on July 19, 2022.

Planning Commission to Consider 11600 American Dream Way Redevelopment

The Decision Only action is scheduled for the June 29 Planning Commission meeting. The application seeks to retain an option for an already approved office development, while adding an option to support the development of up to 228,000 square feet of residential development (up to 74 townhomes and 8 2-over-2 units) while retaining the existing office building on the property (total FAR of 0.48). The Applicant’s objective is to bring forth a development option that would establish a high-quality living environment that both supports and complements the existing office development and existing open space features. 11600 American Dream Way is located on the west and south sides of American Dream Way in Reston, north of Sunset Hills Road and east of Old Reston Avenue.

Fairfax County Planning Commission Public Hearing Scheduled July 13

Towns at Villa Park LLC: The Owner is proposing to rezone the Property to create a residential community that provides critical pedestrian connections to the pedestrian bridge over 1-95 and central Springfield while creating an appropriate transition to the existing community. The Property consists of two parcels containing approximately 5.81 acres (lot 19 is 4.23409 acres and lot 20 is 1.57632 acres) of land area and fronting on Wesley Road, and adjacent to Villa Park Road. Both parcels abut VDOT land to the east, the Franconia Springfield Parkway exit ramps off 1-95. The parcels have remained vacant for years and only recently been consolidated as they emerged from bankruptcy by the Owner. The Applicant proposes a community of up to 49 total units, 43 townhomes and 6 "two over two" units.

Fairfax County Approves Possible Increase in Residential Development Around Airports

backed a proposed comprehensive-plan amendment to allow residential uses in noisier areas near Washington Dulles International Airport. The Board of Supervisors originally authorized creation of a plan amendment in July 2020 to permit residential uses in the 60-to-65-decibel noise-level areas, or “contours,” around airports, along with requiring measures to protect residents and homebuyers.  About 3,000 acres in the 60-to-65-decibel noise contours would be affected by the amendment and only about 8 percent of that land – roughly 237 acres – is available for redevelopment, staff said. Site-specific plan amendments, along with noise-mitigation measures, would be needed to redevelop those properties, officials said.

Fairfax officials seek input on community center in Tysons

Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) will host a series of community-engagement forums regarding the future community center in Tysons Corner. On May 3, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Amazon, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and Virginia Housing announced the commitment of $55 million from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund to support the Dominion Square apartment community slated for development in Tysons. The development of Dominion Square also will incorporate a 30,000-square-foot community center on the site. In advance of the center’s opening, the county is engaging local residents to ensure the new facility meets their needs and interests.

Two govcons to merge, move HQ to NoVa

Colorado-based government contractor Vectrus Inc. and Mississippi-based The Vertex Co. will merge to form a company that will be based in Northern Virginia. Vectrus shareholders approved the all-stock merger, expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, on Wednesday. The combined company will be named V2X Inc. and will trade on the NYSE under the ticker VYX. Vectrus shares currently trade under the ticker VEC. At 4 p.m. Friday, Vectrus shares were trading for $31.73, a drop of about 0.94% from its cost at opening. The new company headquarters will be in what is currently a Vectrus’ office at 7901 Jones Branch Drive in Tysons.

Derivatives Exchange Company to Expand Headquarters in Fairfax County

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Nodal Exchange, a Fairfax-based derivatives exchange providing price, credit, and liquidity risk management solutions to participants in the North American commodities markets, will invest $300,000 to expand in Fairfax County. The company will increase capacity at its headquarters located at 1921 Gallows Road in Tysons Corner. The project will create 37 new jobs.


Falls Church Named Second Healthiest Community In 2022: U.S. News

Falls Church is one of the healthiest communities in the United States, according to a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report. The fifth annual report, released Wednesday in collaboration with CVS Health, highlights the healthiest 500 counties in the United States. The City of Falls Church ranked second in this year's rankings among the top 500.


Town of Herndon prepares for Metro with plan for more growth, density

The oncoming train of the Silver Line extension is spurring a major planning initiative within the Town of Herndon. With the Herndon-Monroe Metro station expected to begin service in the fall, town officials have hired consultant firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill to determine paths for redevelopment and how to ensure the area surrounding the station is more transit-oriented. Known as the Transit-related Growth (TRG) study, the project will set the parameters for redeveloping and refreshing the area with mixed projects, higher tensities, and urban design, according to Lisa Gilleran, the town’s director of community development.


Loudoun Supervisors take action June 21 on Villas at Cascades

The Loudoun Supervisors approved the request on a 7-1-1 vote. ZMAP-2020-0014, SPEX-2020-0028, ZMOD-2020-0034 & ZMOD-2021-0009, The Villas at Cascades (Algonkian) rezones 6.93 acres from commercial zoning to multifamily residential zoning to develop 173 stacked multifamily residential

units, at a density of approximately 25 dwelling units per acre. The applicant is also requesting a Special Exception (SPEX) to reduce the front yard setback from 25 feet to 10 feet, and two Zoning Modifications (ZMOD) to permit access via a private street and to modify height standards.

Loudoun Board of Supervisors will hear public testimony on Residential and Commercial Development Rezonings June 15

ZMAP-2020-0012 & SPEX-2021-0020, Mountain View Residential (Dulles) This item was deferred to the July 13, 2022, Board of Supervisors Public Hearing. It would rezone approximately 6.33 acres in order to develop 41 Single Family Attached (SFA) residential units. The applicant is also requesting a Special Exception (SPEX) to permit the modification of the minimum yard requirements. The Planning Commission (Commission) held a public hearing on February 22, 2022. There were 41 public speakers, 28 in support of the application and 13 opposed to the application. Speakers in support of the applications primarily cited the need for affordable housing in the area while those opposed to the applications cited traffic, incompatibility with the neighborhood, flooding issues, and opposition to affordable dwellings in the neighborhood. The Commission discussed the proposed density, affordability, compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods, water drainage issues, timing and provision of pedestrian infrastructure, and the provision of parking. The Commission forwarded (8-0-1: Merrithew absent) the applications to the Board of Supervisors (Board) with a recommendation of approval. The critical action date is July 19, 2022.

ZMAP-2021-0004 & SPEX-2021-0007, Colonnade (Broad Run) The Board approved forwarding this item to the July 19, 2022, Board of Supervisors Business Meeting for action. It would rezone a 4.15- acre property to permit development of up to 61 single-family attached dwelling units. The applicant also requests a Special Exception to reduce the minimum required front yard from 15 to 10 feet for rear-loaded units. The subject property is located south of Route 7 in the northeast corner of the intersection of City Center Boulevard, Stephanie Drive, and Mirage Way in the Broad Run Election District. The Planning Commission held a Public Hearing on February 22, 2022. There were no public speakers. The Commission forwarded the applications (7-1-1: Kirchner opposed; Merrithew absent) to the Board of Supervisors (Board) with a recommendation of approval. The critical action date is July 11, 2022.

ZMAP-2019-0016, JK Technology Park #3 (Blue Ridge) The Board approved forwarding this item to the July 19, 2022, Board of Supervisors Business Meeting for action. It would rezone 21.23 acres in order to develop by-right uses such as office, warehousing, and data centers. The Planning Commission (Commission) held a public hearing on April 26, 2022. There was no public comment. The Commission discussed building design standards, development phasing, impacts to natural and historic resources on site, and transportation improvements. The applicant verbally committed to proffering out additional incompatible uses and to provide enhanced architectural standards on the northeast-facing building façades. The Commission forwarded (4-3-2: Combs, Frank, and Kirchner opposed; Salmon and Miller absent) the application to the Board of Supervisors (Board) with a recommendation of approval, subject to the Proffers. The critical action date is November 28, 2022.

Loudoun County considers ordinance changes to address cluster developments, prime soils

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors took another step forward in preserving the county’s prime agricultural soils during a June 21 business meeting. In 2020, the board directed staff to prepare amendments to the county’s zoning ordinances and regulations to improve cluster developments and prime soils in the two areas of the Rural Policy Area identified as Rural North (AR-1) and Rural South (AR-2).

Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces Hanley Energy to Expand in Virginia, Creating 343 New Jobs

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Hanley Energy, Irish-owned global innovators in Critical Power and Energy Management solutions, will invest $8 million to expand its Hanley Energy Electrical division in Loudoun County. The company will open a new facility at 44381 Russell Branch Parkway in Ashburn to meet the increasing demand for installation and service of its equipment serving the growing data center market. The project will create 343 new jobs, including electricians and apprentice electricians.

Metro takes control of Silver Line extension, starting testing phase

Metro is taking control of the Silver Line extension, the transit agency announced Thursday, moving the long-delayed project a step closer to passenger service. Riders could begin boarding trains this fall if testing and safety accreditations are completed. The handover to the transit agency from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing construction of the rail extension to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, is one of the final hurdles to the project’s completion.


Prince William County planners back Jefferson Plaza redevelopment

During its June 22 meeting, the Prince William County Planning Commission recommended approval of a request to rezone the defunct Jefferson Plaza Shopping Center in Woodbridge. Potomac, Md.-based Foulger-Pratt Development LLC wants to construct 240 affordable multifamily units at the site to include 147 one-bedroom and 93 two-bedroom units.

Two data center giants invest big money in Pr. William data center land

Washington Business Journal (Subscription required for some articles)

Some of  the world's biggest data center players are making huge inroads in the growing western Prince William County market, and it's not coming cheap. From Amazon Web Services to Google to Yondr, corporations are buying up land by the bunches of acres in Gainesville, what's becoming a new “data center alley" after the better known, and more expensive, Ashburn. But the prices in western Prince William are rising to near Loudoun County levels, which frequently top $3 million an acre.

Featured Resources