Crystal City redevelopment approved
The Arlington County Board unanimously approved guidelines this week that will steer the redevelopment of Crystal City for the next 40 years by allowing for more density and taller buildings.
The approved framework would see a Crystal City with 60 percent more density than exists today, buildings up to 300 feet tall and an improved street grid with more links to public transportation.
County board chairman Jay Fisette called the guidelines, five years in the making, “an amazing moment and a startling success.”
Members of the Crystal City and neighboring communities were successful in lobbying for a citizen group that would monitor traffic and other development.
“Obviously we live here and like being close to Crystal City,” said Kit Whitely of the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. “We think they are making progress but there are some long-standing issues with citizen involvement and having people truly listen to what the concerns are.”
Some of those issues include encroachment of new buildings on the west side of Route 1 into the existing neighborhoods, Rev. Stephen B. Hassmen of Calvary United Methodist Church said during a Tuesday hearing. Hassmen said there was the potential to create “concrete canyons” and underestimate transportation usage.
The tallest buildings will be east of Route 1 and will gradually get lower the closer they get to existing single-family communities, said Anthony Fusarelli, an Arlington County planner. He also said that the plan will build more residential space to equalize the number of workers and residents in the area.
The plan passed by the board Tuesday night also increases the amount of affordable housing units to 2,000 -- 800 more than county staff had originally planned, Fusarelli said.
The board also approved an October public hearing for tax incremental financing, or TIF, to provide more than $200 million in infrastructure improvements that will be needed.
-- Christy Goodman
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