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This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts tagged Arlington County.

On April 22, 2015, Jill Griffin of Arlington Economic Development shared with NAIOP the progress being made on the update to the Arlington County Retail Plan (the “Retail Plan”). Following the County Board work session in January, the Retail Plan has undergone some further refinements. The number one theme which emerged during the County Board work session was “flexibility,” as the Board felt it was critical that the Retail Plan be able to adapt to fast-changing trends in retail.

Taking that to heart, Ms. Griffin explained that the draft Retail Plan was reorganized in hopes of making it more user-friendly and the six broad principles of retail (as defined in the plan) remained at the core of the policy.

On March 14, 2015, the County Board of Arlington County unanimously approved a 4.1 Site Plan Special Exception, Rezoning and General Land Use Plan Amendment to allow Carr Properties to build over 195,000 square feet of office and ground floor retail space in Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood. To accomplish the project, the application also included a successful Transfer of Development Rights from the nearby Wakefield and Courthouse Manor sites to preserve those historic properties. Carr Properties’ project, represented by Jonathan C. Kinney and Matthew G. Roberts, was also unanimously approved by the Planning Commission and Transportation Commission.

With these approvals, Carr will redevelop the existing Wendy’s restaurant and Wells Fargo bank sites, enlivening Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards with ground floor retail options and a generous public plaza area along North Courthouse Road. The building’s iconic architecture and glass fin will stand out in Courthouse and were designed to meet planning goals in Arlington’s “Rosslyn to Courthouse Urban Design Study.” And while office vacancies in Arlington remain high, the building’s floor plates effectively use the site’s challenging shape to meet market trends for smaller, more personal floor plates desired by tenants like the area’s burgeoning technology industry.

BlueprintRecently, the Arlington County subcommittee for NAIOP met with Bob Duffy and members of the County staff to discuss the County’s February 9, 2015 Memo regarding policies related to GFA calculation for site plan projects in Arlington County.

The Arlington Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development recently issued a memo outlining how GFA is to be calculated in development site plan projects and what exclusions may apply. Mr. Duffy, Director of Planning, explained the purpose of the Memo was to offer the development community greater certainty and clarity regarding the County policies with respect to calculation of GFA.

Rainbow over Arlington, VirginiaThe Arlington County Board recently approved, with a few exceptions, the proposed amendments to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance. The amendments to Articles 1-18 and Appendices A and B, to incorporate a use classification system; update use tables and definitions; update use standards, including new standards for short term uses and accessory uses; allow off-site parking for day care uses; allow by-right interior repairs and alterations to nonconforming buildings and structures in R-districts; and incorporate other minor updates throughout the Ordinance to codify administrative practices, increase clarity and consistency and correct errors, were unanimously approved.

BlueprintA new memorandum issued by Arlington County’s Director of the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, Bob Brosnan, is proposing to change which areas in a building developers can expect to exclude from density calculations in a 4.1 Site Plan application.

On January 20, during a special work session open to the public, the County Board considered updates to the Arlington County Retail Action Plan (the “Retail Plan"). County Board members met with Arlington Economic Development staff, the Arlington Retail Task Force of the Economic Development Commission and members of the Planning Commission. In the audience were members of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the local Business Improvement Districts.

The discussion centered on the role of the Retail Plan going forward, including the Plan’s overall vision, principals and policy.

Arlington’s County Board is set to expand the number of properties eligible for its Technology Zone tax incentive program.  On December 13, the County Board will consider adding properties zoned Commercial/Mixed Use or Industrial to the list of qualifying properties.  Currently, only properties located within one of the County’s four Technology Zones qualify for the incentive program.  The current Technology Zones include commercially or industrially zoned properties in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, the Jefferson-Davis Corridor, Shirlington and Columbia Pike Corridor, as more fully described in Appendix A to Chapter 66 of the Arlington County Code.

The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has no shortage of airplanes flying over the region. There is also no shortage of developers and landowners who want to create the region’s landmark buildings and skyscrapers which may fall within flight paths. These developers would rightfully be concerned that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a change to its One Engine Inoperative (OEI) policy that could affect building height limits. The current proposal would allow the FAA to work with airport owners to define an OEI departure area from the runway.

Arlington Commercial Parking Working Group

It is no secret Arlington’s workforce is changing how they get to work.  In recent years, there has been a shift from single-occupancy vehicle (“SOV”) trips to other transportation modes, such as Metrorail, bicycling, and bus.  This has caused developers of commercial site plan projects in Arlington County, especially along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor and in Pentagon City, to request modifications to the parking space requirements of the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance.  These requests are frequently granted with the quid pro quo that the county receives mitigation contributions from developers, such as payments into transportation capital and operating budgets.  The result is that the county’s parking ratio standard of one parking space per 580 square feet has become merely a placeholder for county mitigation efforts. 

HammerArlington County has been widely criticized for its aggressive lawsuit over the proposed Interstate 395 HOT lanes expansion, which includes allegations that individual state and federal officials committed civil rights violations in approving the project. In a time of significant economic troubles and governmental budget challenges, the county has reportedly paid over $1 million in legal fees advancing this case.