Arlington County Manager Identifies Potential Public Land Sites for Affordable Housing, Schools

  • Addresses two of County's highest priorities
  • 678 parcels analyzed
  • Potential affordable housing sites: Rosslyn Highlands Park/Fire Station #10; Courthouse Square/Plaza; Land adjacent to Lee Gardens North; Gables North Rolfe Street
  • Potential school sites: Wilson School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Career Center/Fenwick

ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington County Manager Barbara M. Donnellan has identified and prioritized County-owned parcels that could be considered for future affordable housing and public school developments within the next several years. Donnellan provided the information to the Arlington County Board today as part of the presentation on her Proposed Capital Improvement Plan for 2015-2024.

“Affordable housing and schools are two of our County's highest priorities, and the County Board has emphasized its commitment to the concept of using Public Land for Public Good,” said Donnellan. “We need to do a lot more analysis, but this is a good start for finding ways to use public land to achieve important community goals.”

To analyze properties, County staff developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) database of land – 678 parcels — owned by both the County and Arlington Public Schools (APS). Using the database, staff analyzed the parcels using criteria for each goal – affordable housing and public schools.

Recommended sites for affordable housing

As a first step in determining site feasibility, County staff narrowed the list of potential sites to 24, based on criteria including land area; environmental constraints; distance to Metro stations or the Primary Transit Network; zoning designations; existing land use, and more. Some of the more critical factors included transit access, County ownership and land area. Of these 24 sites, the County Manager is recommending eight sites for further consideration for affordable housing within the next 10 years, in two tiers:

  • Tier 1: Rosslyn Highlands Park/Fire Station #10; Courthouse Square and Plaza; Land adjacent to Lee Gardens (North Woodbury Park); and Gables North Rolfe Street.
  • Tier 2: Fire Station #8; Edison complex; Lubber Run Park; and land adjacent to Jennie Dean Park.

All Tier 1 sites are currently in the planning process. Tier 2 sites are identified in the CIP for future studies, but the planning processes for these sites are not underway.

Recommended sites for public schools

Using the same data set of 678 properties, County staff performed a GIS analysis to identify sites that best meet APS' criteria. This high-level analysis resulted in the identification of several sites that could be considered for further study. The evaluation criteria:

  • Land area greater than 3.5 acres
  • A school site of at least 1 acre adjacent to County Board-owned property
  • Transit access
  • Centrally located within the County

Out of this analysis, three potential sites were identified in collaboration with Arlington Public Schools: Wilson School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Arlington Career Center.

For more information on the site analysis and summary reports, visit the County website.

Next steps

For the potential affordable housing sites, current planning processes underway will consider the inclusion of affordable housing on Tier 1 sites. For the Tier 2 and other potential sites, County staff will develop a timeline for a special planning study to include significant community discussion for each site under consideration. The list of sites and priorities will be evaluated as part of the annual review of the County's Planning work program.

For the potential schools sites, a detailed timeline for a special planning study and/or a special exception process involving the community will be developed for each priority site.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.