Thursday, October 11, 2007

Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings!

And why you should care.

County Board:
Gutters, curbs and sidewalks. That’s what Buckingham gets, and no doubt most people reading this will consider this fantastic news. The county board is set tomorrow during its regular meeting to vote on a contract to pay A&M Concrete Corp., a certified minority-owned business in Dulles, Va., just over $750,000 for new sidewalks, curbs and gutters at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive. With contingencies and other fees figured in, the cost could run to nearly $900,000.

The county manager, Ron Carlee, has given his blessing to the project; the county board usually follows his direction.

This is just the beginning of a major project to revamp that intersection, including new lights, bus stop shelters, and entrances and exits to the parking lots. If all goes as planned (but it has never gone as planned in about seven years and counting), the project should be completed next spring.

A man waits to cross the road from the Glebe Market parking lot which has lost much of its sidewalk.

After you slog through the technical jargon and geek-speak, you learn that the county will be voting on whether to allow a loan they approved in June to be made more subordinate than it already is.

The county in June made the loan of $7 million to Buckingham M.I. Limited Partnership to facilitate construction of Buckingham Village 1’s affordable housing component.

Village 1 sits on N. Pershing Drive, west of N. George Mason Drive and runs north on George Mason to N. Henderson Road. The demolition of buildings will begin soon, as many are already encircled with fencing.

The $7 million loaned from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund was scheduled to be subordinate to the about $18 million in financing that was made by contractors, banks or other investment partners. This means, basically, that should the project default, Arlington would not start collecting until after the other $18 million was paid. The county manager is recommending that the county change that threshold to about $42 million to satisfy lenders. The county manager is OK with this and is recommending approval. More on this next week.

Site Plan Review Committee:
The SPRC is meeting Monday, and you should care, according to Buckingham gadfly Bernie Berne, because they are looking at changing the county’s General Land Use Plan in order to allow for redevelopment of the block on the northwest corner of N. Wilson Boulevard and N. Glebe Road, where the Bob Peck Chevrolet building and the Staples office supply store are.

In an email, Mr. Berne, wrote: “The developer is asking for both a change in the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) and in a rezoning that would permit the greatly increased height and density that it is proposing. Such a change in the GLUP would set a precedent for the neighborhood. There have been no changes in the GLUP for any site within the Ballston Sector Plan since the County Board approved the Sector Plan in 1980.

“The County Board usually only changes the GLUP in an area that has a Sector Plan during a comprehensive review of the Sector Plan. However, the Board has made exceptions to this policy when a developer offers something that the Board wants, especially when the County Manager and staff supports the GLUP change. In this instance, the developer is proposing to provide affordable housing on the site as an incentive for the Board to change the GLUP.

“The developer is most likely aware that the County Board approved a site plan that greatly increased densities for the site that Buckingham Village I occupies in exchange for an affordable housing component in a new project on that site. The developer of the Peck-Staples site clearly hopes that the Board will do the same thing for the Peck-Staples project.

“A change in the GLUP for the Peck-Staples site would set a precedent that will greatly increase traffic in the Buckingham neighborhood. Further, the highest height and density of the project will be at the corner of Wilson and Glebe, which is the corner of the site that is closest to the Buckingham neighborhood. Thus, the Buckingham neighborhood would experience a significant impact from this project.”

Meet-n-Greet—SUNDAY, 2:00 p.m. Arlington Oaks Community Center—with Mike McMenamin, a Republican running for county board.

Food and beverages provided.

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