Saturday, February 23, 2008

Letter: Revised GLUP Bad for Buckingham

On Saturday, the county board approved the redevelopment plan for the northwest corner of N. Glebe Road at N. Wilson Boulevard, the former Bob Peck car dealer site. Part of the redevelopment includes changing the county's General Land Use Plan to allow for more density west of N. Glebe.

To read county's press release on this, click here. To read a Sun Gazette article, click here. --ST

Steve -

I wasn't sure if you were following this development or not. The Buckingham Community Civic Association had opposed any change to the GLUP out of concern that continued development creeping along N. Glebe Road would come into our neighborhood. It's just a matter of time for the Macy's parking lot, Exxon, and Goodyear to be up for development and it's something we should be watching. (We all know plans are in the works for Glebe and Pershing and we'll be talking to the developer at the March 17 BCCA meeting).

Another interest of the BCCA is the increased traffic likely to result from approval of this development. Bluemont Civic Association was so concerned that they were able to convince the developer to put in $125,000 for traffic calming to mitigate any effects of the project. Bluemont was shrewd in earmarking these funds to be spent exclusively within the boundaries of Bluemont CA.

The BCCA requested that these funds be spent proportionally to those neighborhoods impacted by increased traffic as a result of the project. As a matter of policy, we believe that the funds should go toward those areas effected by an increase in traffic and not by an arbitrary drawing of neighborhood lines. It shouldn't matter where the project is built; only where the impact is felt. The County Board debated this point for a lengthy period but did not agree.

In fact, it was agreed that because Buckingham is so far away, we wouldn't feel any impact. What? We are only 2 blocks away! Workers and residents will be cutting through Buckingham to get to Arlington Boulevard or coming up Carlin Springs to go to and from [the development].

This feels a little like a "giveaway" to Bluemont to get their support. It's bad policy to earmark funds for one neighborhood without understanding the true implications for others. We'll be watching this matter closely...

Pat Hope

The writer is the president of the Buckingham Community Civic Association.

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You reference new development at the parking lot/Exxon/Goodyear sites like it would be a bad thing. Why?
Development is not necessarily bad; in many cases it can be a good thing. We have had many examples of good development experiences in Buckingham. It (Exxon/Goodyear) would only be a "bad thing" if you had to change the GLUP to do it (i.e., not another 10-story building).
New development at the parking lot/Exxon/Goodyear sites would likely prove profitable for the property's owners. However, these profits would inevitably come at the expense of most area residents.

At present, you can see the sky as you walk past these areas. After development occurs, you will not.

If you want to see a good example of this, walk along 9th Street in Ballston, between N. Stuart Street and N. Quincy Street. It's like touring a canyon whose walls are adorned with entrances to loading docks and underground parking garages. Trees planted in the canyon remain small because of the scarcity of sunlight and the damage to their trunks that collisions with cars and trucks create.

Some people living and working in the canyon use Metro during rush hours. They help pack the Orange Line's trains and the Ballston Metro station. They and others feel like sardines when they take the Metro. The overusage of Metro causes breakdowns and delays while Metro attempts to repair its system.

Other people living and working in the canyon use automobiles. Their automobiles create traffic congestion, air pollution, carbon dioxide, energy usage and noise.

The traffic congestion inspires people to demand the widening of I-66 and other roads and highways. Some drivers create hazards for pedestrians who wish to cross streets in nearby residential neighborhoods, such as Buckingham.

All of the people living and working in the canyon use energy and add waste, carbon dioxide and other pollutants to the environment.

Temperatures in the canyon are higher than those in surrounding less developed areas. Some of the heat escapes the canyon and helps create global warming.

Some people may believe that the Exxon station, Goodyear store and nearby parking lots are not very attractive. This may be true. However, anything with a higher density that may replace them can easily look worse and will certainly create numerous adverse environmental effects.

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