Arlington County to Begin Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study

  • Study area to include public and private land, buildings
  • Planning will consider important County goals, such as new fire station, open space, affordable housing
  • Conceptual Plan will guide future redevelopment

Arlington, VA – Arlington County will begin a planning process for the Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study area. At the Arlington County Board's Recessed Meeting yesterday, County Manager Barbara Donnellan presented, and the County Board accepted, a proposed planning process and scope for the project.

Donnellan asked the County Board to appoint a Working Group of Arlington residents, business leaders, and advocates, who will work with the County's planning division on a draft plan for the study area. The goal of the study is to develop a Conceptual Plan and related policy recommendations that will guide future development and achieve the following County goals that have been identified for the study area:

  • County park, recreation and open space that is at least 60,000 square feet in size;
  • New fire station;
  • Affordable housing;
  • Energy efficiency / sustainability; and
  • Mix of uses and compatible heights and densities.

“This is a rare opportunity to meet community goals in a dense part of the County with little available land,” said Donnellan. “I am excited about the prospects of the possibilities of future public/private development and look forward to working with the community over the next year.”

Redevelopment possibilities

The study area provides a great opportunity for a joint private/public redevelopment that creates a “place,” while achieving the aforementioned County goals. Arlington County staff have had preliminary discussions with property owners adjacent to Fire Station #10 (1559 Wilson Blvd.), including Arlington Public Schools (APS), Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), a non-profit affordable housing developer, and Penzance Group, a private developer and property owner. These informal discussions have resulted in a decision to explore redevelopment options for Western Rosslyn that would achieve the County's goals.

School Board action

At its meeting last night, the Arlington School Board voted unanimously to authorize the Superintendent to sign a non-binding letter of intent with Penzance for the sale of the School Board's Wilson Property to Penzance. Board members noted that this action is consistent with the APS goal of funding capital improvement projects to accommodate the school division's growing enrollment. Before the sale takes place, the School Board would need to hold a public hearing, obtain County Board approval of the sale, and declare the property surplus.

Next steps

The County Board-appointed Working Group will work with County staff, and through a public process, to develop the Conceptual Plan. Once the Conceptual Plan is adopted by the Arlington County Board, it will serve as guidance for any future development – public and private — within the Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study area. The Conceptual Plan will also outline how important community goals, such as affordable housing, open space, transportation improvements, and a new fire station, are to be incorporated into overall development.

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.