- Residents craft vision of more walkable neighborhood
- Plan calls for revitalizing commercial corridors
- Neighborhood wants to retain grocery store at Safeway site
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today accepted the updated Bluemont Neighborhood Conservation Plan, allowing the Bluemont Civic Association to pursue funding to transform the neighborhood to a true “urban village” with slower traffic, better sidewalks and revitalized commercial corridors.
“With this update, Bluemont residents — the people who know Bluemont best – have crafted a vision to guide development in their neighborhood for years to come,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “Neighborhood Conservation Plans are truly planning from the ground up. Time and time again, we have seen that they make our neighborhoods stronger, more walkable and more beautiful. We thank all the Bluemont residents who worked so hard to craft this excellent plan for one of Arlington's most charming neighborhoods.”
The Board voted 5 to 0 to accept the plan.
Key recommendations from the neighborhood include:
- Street conditions: Improve existing sidewalks, especially along both sides of Wilson Blvd., and install new ones where they are missing throughout the neighborhood.
- Traffic management and transportation: Install enhanced crosswalks and yield signs for pedestrian safety, calm traffic at key intersections and road arteries and improve traffic signage.
- Commercial and business areas: Upgrade the overall quality and appearance of the Wilson Boulevard business district, using elements of urban town center design and focusing on local businesses that serve the neighborhoods. Retain a grocery store at the current Safeway site.
“The updated Bluemont Conservation Plan represents the community's vision of how best to ensure that our neighborhood remains a great place to live,” said George Rovder, President of the Bluemont Civic Association. “A diverse and dedicated group of neighbors, led by David Van Wagner, volunteered countless hours of their time to bring us to this milestone. We look forward to working together with the County to implement the plan's recommendations.”
Community members drive planning process
The Bluemont Civic Association began this planning effort in the spring of 2010 by distributing a survey to more than 2,000 Bluemont residences. More than 350 residents helped identify priority improvements for the neighborhood. Based on their recommendations, the Bluemont Civic Association drafted an updated plan. The Bluemont Civic Association approved the plan March 22, 2013. The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee reviewed the plan on November 14. The Planning Commission voted unanimously December 2 to recommend that the County Board accept the plan.
The Bluemont neighborhood
At 580 acres, Bluemont is one of Arlington's largest neighborhoods. Located next to Ballston, in west central Arlington, it is a diverse community of 6,000 people, with a 22 percent minority population.
Unlike Ballston, which is a high-density, heavily mixed-use area, 90 percent of Bluemont is low-density residential and park land. Most of the housing is detached single-family homes, but there also are townhomes, garden apartments, low-rise apartment buildings, and condominiums. The main commercial area is an older, low-density, four-block stretch along Wilson Blvd.
Bluemont also features an award-winning garden, a wetland refuge and beaver pond, historic sites, the satellite campuses of two major universities, miles of bike trails and an abundance of parks.
Arlington County created the Neighborhood Conservation Program in 1964 to encourage and empower residents to come together to discuss and share ideas on what improvements are needed for their neighborhoods. Neighborhood Conservation Plans are created under the Neighborhood Conservation program.
Community members will use the updated plan to prioritize the neighborhood projects that they will submit to the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC), a committee that oversees the Neighborhood Conservation program, for review and funding. Twice a year, the committee recommends qualified projects to the County Board for approval of funding.
Funding for Neighborhood Conservation projects comes from voter-approved General Obligation Bond Referenda. Since 1996, Arlington County has spent $62.7 million on neighborhood conservation projects that have helped beautify and strengthen neighborhoods across the County, making them some of the most desirable in the nation. Through Neighborhood Conservation, every neighborhood in Arlington has received improvements that include street, gutter and sidewalk repairs and additions, beautification projects, better street lighting and more.
Learn more about Arlington County's Neighborhood Conservation Program and to view the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #XX on the Agenda for the December 17, 2013, Regular County Board Meeting.