800 N Glebe - Site Plan Amendment and Open House

JBG, the Developer of the Peck/Staples site, has filed a request for a site plan amendment asking that the County Board approve conversion of space designated for ground-floor retail to use for expansion of the Virginia Tech Conference Center.  Bluemont Civic Association has been told that, if the site plan amendment were to be approved, there was no way to include limited use of the facility by the Association. 

BCA’s Neighborhood Conservation Representative Larry Smith has provided the following analysis of the request:

“I am totally against this conversion for the following reasons:
 
1. The ground floor retail at 800 N. Glebe is really the only community benefit of this large building. We have to put up with the traffic and congestion from this site and having a few restaurants or retail stores in this building would be a big plus. It was required in the site plan by the County and now they are going back on their word.
2. Why wasn’t this conference center built in the VA Tech building. VA Tech initially told us 5 years ago before any of this was built that they would have extra space in their building and probably rent it out to a third party. Why isn’t this extra space in their own building being used?
3. The space they want to convert for this conference center is almost 50% of the total retail space of the building. They have already converted over 1300 s.f. of retail space for a leasing office. This area plus the 1300 s.f. already converted will mean that over 50% of the retail space in this building will disappear. This space could be 3 to 4 new restaurants or retail stores that the BCA community could be enjoying.
4. There is absolutely no community benefit to Bluemont for the conference center - especially now that they have told us that we cannot use it. Once this space is built out as a conference center, it will probably stay that way for ten years or more, so it’s not likely to be converted back to retail anytime soon.
5. The conference center might attract large conferences that will just add to the congestion already added to that area from the large office building above it.
6. JBG has already converted a fairly large portion of ground floor retail space at 950 N. Glebe Rd. from retail to office/school space that is used by GW University. At the time this conversion was done, JBG complained that the space had been vacant for years and they were never able to lease it. The retail space in 800 N. Glebe has not been advertised for a sufficient period of time. They were able to rent out the rest of the first floor retail very quickly, I don’t think they will have any problem renting out this proposed space to retail tenants.
7. Restaurants and retail stores help to make a neighborhood a nice place to live and work. That is why all new office buildings, apartments and condos in Arlington are required to designate a large portion of their building’s ground floor space to retail. This is a condition required by the County when zoning is changed to accommodate a larger and taller building. They are breaking the County’s rules by trying to convert this space.”
 
JBG is hosting an open house on site on 4-11-2013 to pitch the site plan amendment request directly to the public. See the brochure here:
http://www.bluemontcivic.org/docs/800NGBluemontOpenHouse4_8_13.pdf

Bocce Update

Arlington County Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Paul Holland reports that on 2/26 county staff provided the commission with an update on the status of Judah dal Cais’s private Parks Enhancement Grant (PEG) application for a bocce court. Staff has now conducted a site visit and reviewed potential locations for a court in Fields Park and along the Bluemont Junction Trail. Staff also has initiated a budget analysis for constructing the bocce court.

 

The Parks and Recreation Commission was also informed that the County Manager has proposed no funding for the PEG Program in 2014. Overall, the manager proposes to cut the Parks & Recreation budget by $900,000. The manager’s budget proposes a new $10/hour rental fee for reserved use of county bocce courts. The commission will review the manager’s budget proposal and determine its position on these and other recommendations in March.

 

Documents produced by the BCA Bocce/Petanque Working Group are posted at http://boccepetanque.wordpress.com/.

 

Meanwhile, construction has begun on two new bocce courts at Glebe and Randolph Park—a new 1-acre park located at the southwest tip of the Ballston Common Mall property facing N. Glebe Rd. (across from the Goodyear site). Construction of the courts should be completed sometime this summer.

 

2010 Neighborhood Conservation Plan Online Survey

Update: Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. It is now closed, and results are being tabulated.

The Arlington Neighborhood Conservation Program is a County effort where we as residents of Bluemont produce a plan that presents our vision for our neighborhood.  Once completed and accepted by the Arlington County Board, the Bluemont Neighborhood Conservation Plan (NCP) is used to guide the County, potential developers, businesses and others to better understand what Bluemont residents believe now and in the future will make our neighborhood livable and lovable.  It also encourages their decisions to be consistent with our plan.     

This survey is an important step in revising the Bluemont NCP.  Your response will help to produce a plan that reflects Bluemont residents’ current opinions and wishes.  When complete, a proposed plan will be presented to the BCA membership and, if approved, to the Arlington County Board for its acceptance.

Bluemont Village Center Design Forum

All Bluemont residents, property owners, and business owners are invited to participate in a design forum on Sat., 2/6/10, sponsored by the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA). At the forum, we will discuss and solicit ideas from all stakeholders to create a community vision to guide the future revitalization of Bluemont’s Wilson Boulevard commercial corridor (from N. Greenbrier Street to N. George Mason Drive).     

The forum will be led by Jane S. Kim, a county design engineer and graduate student at Virginia Tech, who is working with Bluemont residents as part of her graduate project to produce a design framework for a unified Bluemont Village Center.     

The results of the design forum also will be used to update Bluemont’s Neighborhood Conservation Plan, a civic association document that records Bluemont’s development guidelines and goals for the next 10 years.     

Saturday, February 17, 2010 - 6:30 pm
Arlington Traditional School, 855 N. Edison Street.

Please Fence Us In!

Please Fence Us In!

On January 29, several BCA members met with the county’s trail manager, Kevin Stalica, and landscape architect, Aaron Wohler, to discuss replacement options for the split-rail fence removed from Bluemont Park on 8/2/08. Stalica reported that a new continuous fence would cost approximately $20,000; a noncontinuous fence would cost approximately $10,000. The new fence will be located along the trail between N. Emerson and N. Harrison Streets.     

It was noted that the cul-de-sacs on the north side of the Bluemont Junction Trail might need boulders or smaller sections of fence to prevent vehicular access to the park. Low-maintenance shrubs (4 feet or less) or small trees may be desired as part of an intermittent fence design, and there is some interest in incorporating herbs or a community garden if there are plantings. The Parks and Natural Resources Division will work with the community to select the plants once a design has been selected.     

There is no current plan to construct a sidewalk along Bluemont Drive. If BCA would like a sidewalk, then the request for a sidewalk,  curb and gutter can be made through the Neighborhood Conservation program.     

On 2/25, BCA members will vote on the type and extent of the new fence, including any plants that may be included in the design.     

Read the January 29th meeting summary.

Check out the 2 plans presented by the county:
Document 1
Document 2

View pictures of options from other neighborhoods:
Virginia Highlands rail fence
Lee Heights splitrail fence