Views at Clarendon case dismissed
An appellate court recently ruled that Arlington County did not violate either the state or U.S. Constitution when it loaned money to build affordable housing on property owned by a church.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed an appeal by Peter Glassman, a county resident, on Dec. 23. Glassman claimed that the county had violated the separation of church and state while redeveloping property situated one block from a Metro station.
"The court has reaffirmed that the board's goal in approving the Views at Clarendon was to provide affordable housing less than one block from a Metro station in the heart of Clarendon," said Jay Fisette, county board chairman, in a statement.
At issue is the development agreement between First Baptist Church of Clarendon and the Arlington County Board. The church sold the air rights over its sanctuary but protected the steeple. A developer, with the help of some $48 million in government subsidies, planned to build a new sanctuary with eight floors of apartments on top, the majority of which would be affordable housing. Arlington contributed about $13 million in low-interest loans.
The court found that the loans were made legally to provide affordable housing and that the county's payment was not overvalued for the property.
This is the third legal challenge in six years over the property, which has been under construction for one year. Glassman has the option to appeal.
| December 27, 2010; 4:55 PM ET
Categories: Arlington County, Christy Goodman
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