BALLSTON-VIRGINIA SQUARE

Civic Association Newsletter

May/June 1996 - Volume 19, No. 9



SITE PLAN--BIRCH'S CROSS ROADS

The County Board has advertised on its own motion a proposed site plan amendment to the Birch's Crossroads mixed use development. The Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on this item on June 4, 1996.

The applicant is requesting a major site plan amendment to the building portion of a mixed use residential-commercial development located in Ballston. The site is located along the north side of Fairfax Drive between North Stuart and Taylor Streets. The Birch's Crossroads site plan, SP #284, was approved by the County Board in 1990 and included a 10-story residential building containing 159 dwelling units fronting on 11th Street North and an eight-story office building containing 234,119 square feet of gross floor area (GFA) fronting on Fairfax Drive. The residential building was constructed in 1995 and is almost fully occupied.

The applicant is requesting approval for a smaller office building consisting of 172,855 square feet of GFA and 185 parking spaces. The proposed parking ratio of one parking space per 580 square feet of GFA which would provide 298 spaces. The applicant does not support the site plan condition requiring either construction of or contributions to a new or enhanced pedestrian connection to the Ballston Metrorail Station and has requested that the condition be deleted.

The applicant has stated that the proposed building and parking supply are sized to meet the needs and requirements of a specified tenant - the Nature Conservancy, which will own and occupy the building. They noted that the Nature Conservancy's employees have a strong history of mass transit use and the majority of their employees (66 percent) commute to work in Rosslyn by non-automobile mode of travel (Metrorail (41%), bus (14%), walk or bike (11%). The applicant has agreed to implement a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program to discourage single-occupant vehicle commuting. However, a specific program has not been provided to staff for review.

The Civic Association has invited the representatives of the applicant for the Birch's Cross Roads site plan, for the site located along the north side of Fairfax Drive between North Stuart and Taylor Streets, to make a presentation at our May 29, 1996, membership meeting, at the Renaissance Arlington hotel, 2nd Floor Conference Room, above the Ballston Metro Station. We have asked that the representatives for the Birch Cross Roads, who are largely the same representatives for the Stuart Park site plan, to provide an update on the County's negotiations and bonus density contributions for the Stuart Park proposed major site plan amendment. If you have any questions about either of the site plan amendments, please plan to attend. This item is scheduled for presentation from 8:15 to 9:30 p.m.

Letter from BVSCA President Ragland to Arlington County Planning Commission

On May 20, 1996, President Ragland hand-carried the following letter to County staff, for coordination with the Arlington County Planning Commission meeting that evening. (The drafting of this Newsletter preceded the Planning Commission meeting of May 20, 1996. The Association's NCAC Representative, Nancy Iacomini, planned to represent the Association at the Planning Commission meeting on this proposed major site plan amendment. President Ragland represented the Association on this site plan amendment at the Planning Commission's Site Plan Review Sub-Committee meeting on May 15, 1996, and the Transportation Commission meeting later that evening.)

Dear Commissioners: We understand that you will consider the above application on May 20th, and that the County Board will consider this matter on their June 4, 1996 Board meeting agenda.

The Executive Committee of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association had scheduled a May 8, 1996 meeting with the applicant's representatives. Shortly before the meeting, we were advised by Mr. Martin Walsh's office (the applicant's attorney) that they would not be able to attend the May 8th meeting. They are now scheduled to appear before our full membership meeting on May 29th. The Executive Committee has reviewed the last dozen site plans considered by our Association members, including the several amendments of this plan, and the positions taken by the membership on each of those. Based on that review, we are generally supportive on the notion of reducing density in the area, and the possibility of maintaining more than a forty foot separation between the rear facade of the commercial building and the residential building on the northside of this block.

Based on our membership's positions on the reviewed site plans, and the results of our fall 1995 membership survey, we ask that the Planning Commission specifically recommend to the County Board as follows:

1) against, revised condition 71, which would modify the required R-C zoning category commercial office parking standard of 1 space per 580 square feet of commercial or office gross floor area. The zoning ordinance provides flexibility, through site-plan, to reduce residential parking from 1.125 spaces per unit to 1 space per unit. However, a comparison of the language of ordinance sections 16A. B.1.f.(1) and f.(2) reveals that there is no such flexibility provided to reduce commercial parking below 1 space per 580 square feet of GFA. We believe that one parking space per 580 square feet of GFA is the appropriate standard because there is always the potential for a change in building ownership and, as the application reveals, if a conference facility is constructed the parking demand will admittedly increase beyond the needs of the building's employees and daily visitors who would go there to transact business. Further, an examination of the modification of use regulations, of Zoning Ordinance section 36.H.5 as cited on page 11 of the May 17, 1996 staff memo, indicates no authority for the reduction of commercial parking standards. This modification would be a precedent setting modification which would be used up and down the R-B, and potentially the J-D, corridors if approved by the County Board in this case; and,

2) against any revision to original site plan condition 62 (as contained in the staff's May 17, 1990 memo, pla-2890) calling for a contribution of $250,000 in 1990 dollars for a connection to the Ballston Metro Station. As the BVSCA stated, in correspondence and during consideration by the County Board of the original site plan in June 1990, we would like to see an additional metro elevator placed on the southside of Fairfax Drive, at the corner of N. Stuart Street and Fairfax Drive. As a part of our 1990 negotiations with the original developer who received bonus density on the consolidated site plan, and applied it to the residential construction, we had sought this contribution as a needed "community benefit" under Zoning Ordinance section 36.H.5. b. through d. We had sought this contribution and placement of the improvements because during both the morning and evening rush hours the lines at the one elevator on the northside of Fairfax Drive are extremely long.

Overall, we express grave reservations that, in the name of the voguish mantra of "economic development," many of Arlington's planning principles are being brushed aside including, in this case, the rapidity with which this very drab looking building is being considered for approval on one of Ballston's signature blocks.

Thank you for considering our request for recommendation, to the County Board, against approval of the amendments sought in this application. Please forward a copy of this letter to the County Board when they consider this item.



STUART PARK SITE PLAN UPDATE

At the Arlington County Board meeting of May 13, 1996, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to defer again the the proposed major site plan amendment for Stuart Park Apartments, SP #256, to the Board meeting of June 1, 1996.

The Stuart Park Site is located in Ballston on Stuart Street, Taylor Street, and Wilson Boulevard. This item is expected to be held on June 4, 1996, at the carry over meeting of the County Board. The deferral is needed to provide additional time for the site plan applicant and the contract owner, the Paradigm Development Company, and the County to complete the negotiations involving the sale of County land (the former Kolaitus property, located at 4251, 4253, 4255, and 4257 N. Wilson Boulevard) to the site plan applicant.

At the County Board meeting of May 13, 1996, there was only one public speaker on this item. His testimony follows, followed by the Board members and County staff.

BVSCA President Ragland: "Thank you Chairman Hunter and members of the Board. We have recently spoken at the Planning Commission on this item. I'll try to be brief. The Civic Association's membership in February took a motion on this. We believe that the 437 parking spaces, one per unit is not sufficient. At the Planning Commission meeting, we introduced the 1986 Transportation Plan and the language in that plan reflected the need for sufficient parking and restricting the spillover of traffic into the residential neighborhood. Because Ballston-Virginia Square is a troubled neighborhood with respect to parking, and based on three years of neighborhood surveys in a row, parking is one of the most critical issues effecting our community.

To help you better understand our parking predicament here, I have attached or given to Ms. Jones, who I think has passed to you, Item 9B, a study that was done by the Northern Virginia Apartment Association. This study was done back in June 1994. It's a letter in response to former President, Joe Rahner of the Courtland Civic Association. He had inquired about parking and an appropriate parking ratio. If you read the third paragraph of that letter, we believe the survey provides convincing evidence that approximately a .85 parking ratio of parking spaces to bedrooms is sufficient to provide adequate parking for the occupants of high-rise residential properties located near the Metro locations.

If you apply the .85 parking ratio to the 557 total bedrooms [for the Stuart Park major site plan amendment], that's based on 39 efficiency units, 278 one bedroom units, 120 two bedroom units, totaling 557 bedrooms. Taking the total bedrooms times a factor of .85 gives you 473 equivalent parking spaces. They're purposing 437. The difference between the 473.45 if you round it to 474 minus the 437 is 37 [additionally needed parking spaces, unadjusted for the applicant's 5% vacancy factor experience].

Now in the Planning Commission Meeting, Clarke Ewart from Paradigm, mentioned that 5% of the units would not be rented or would be unoccupied from time to time. If you take 5% of the 557 [total] bedrooms, that would be equivalent to 28 parking spaces. If you subtract that 28 from the 37 [the additionally needed parking spaces, unadjusted for the applicant's 5% vacancy factor experience], we have a shortage of 9 parking spaces. And what we purpose is that the entrance to the proposed building, in that area, you could accommodate 9 visitor surface parking spaces. We would like to recommend that the 9 additional parking spaces be included. Now we have one other area of concern and that's the bonus density compensation for the enclosed balconies. We would like the County to include [consideration] of the BVSCA's survey determination. We would like to see increased support of public safety. One thing that comes to mind is the fire department.

If you look closely at the fire department and its facilities, you will see [the need for substantial improvements in the facilities provided for female firefighters and paramedics]. I think it was 20 years ago, that [Arlington was] one of the first communities in America to have a female fire department employee. [This employee was Judy Brewer. However,] it's my understanding that we don't have sufficient facilities for female fire department employees today.

[The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association has learned that Arlington currently has 15 or 16 female firefighters and paramedics in the fire department, but most of the County's fire stations do not have adequate shower facilities, or separate compartmentalized facilities for the female employees. For example, at the fire station in Rossyln no shower facilities are provided for female employees, who have to ask permission from the officer-in-charge to use the fire station showers. Also, at the fire station on South Glebe Road, which is a model station by comparison to others in the County, the three females there have to literally stand in line to use the one shower provided for female firefighters and paramedics.]

I would like the bonus density contribution applied to the fire department facilities, maybe as part of a building reserve fund, and the other portion applied to support of the arts. We fully support that. But we would not like to see additional contributions to the housing reserve fund for additional subsidized rental housing. Our survey results show that our members are very opposed to any additional subsidized rental housing; and we would like to see support for public safety, particularly the fire department. And I thank you."

[Chairman Hunter moved for a deferral at this point in the discussion to the County Board meeting of June 1, 1996. This motion was seconded and unanimously approved by the Board. Also, Chairman Hunter asked for any Board discussion on this item.]

Board Member Zimmerman: "Mr Chairman, I guess I would like staff to address some of these issues. The deferral is being requested on the basis of some property issues, is that correct? So do I understand from that, that you're not imagining any further changes in areas like the question of parking ratio, or is it possible that those would be explored?"

Staff Senior Planner Tom Miller: "No sir. We're not and the Planning Commission. I should note in their recommendation of approval, they did not identify parking as a problem with this particular site plan. I think what Mr. Ragland is suggesting that we do is remove an urban garden that's placed at the corner of Stuart and Wilson Boulevard, and replace that with surface parking-which we wouldn't support."

Board Member Zimmerman: "I think there are two parking issues here, if I understand that correctly. One has to do with the ratio and the total parking allotted for the building for the apartment units themselves. Is that right? And we just heard an argument that the calculation on that is too low and there should be additional units. Could you comment on that?" Staff Senior Planner Tom Miller: "They've provided a plan that is parked at one per unit, which is our zoning ordinance requirement. I think our experience with high-rise development in the corridor, especially in the Ballston-Court House area, has been that that parking requirement is a little high; and we've asked the applicant to provide us with some information on ownership of buildings in the Ballston area and in the Court House area. And we will be providing that in the report that shows that the parking that's being provided is only about .85 per unit."

Board Member Zimmerman: "So you're saying that you think the parking is adequate?"

Staff Senior Planner Tom Miller: "Parking is adequate."

Board Member Zimmerman: "And on the visitor parking, you don't like the proposal to increase parking at the expense of the urban park that's proposed for that corner. But, do I understand that there are 8 visitor parking spaces in the plan to this point?"

Staff Senior Planner Tom Miller: "As the plan is currently designed, there are 8 parking spaces, short term parking spaces for visitors and guests. Primarily, pizza delivery people. And the drop off area [unintelligble] share of the project. That's proven to be very successful in other high-rise developments."

Board Member Zimmerman: "Tell us again, how many units there are in this building?"

Staff Senior Planner Tom Miller: "476"

Board Member Zimmerman: "And 8, doesn't seem low to you?" Staff Senior Planner Tom Miller: "Not really. No, given the location of the metro, it's less than a block to the metro." Board Member Zimmerman: "But not everybody is going to come by metro."

Staff Senior Planner Tom Miller: "I think one of the problems you have with visitor parking in residential buildings is security and how you secure the garage and allow visitors in the garage is a big problem that we have. And building owners and tenants don't want visitors in their garage. It's a security problem and the other issue is you either lose some the urban amenities that you achieve through site plan, landscaping, streetscape to a surface parking lot which from an urban design standpoint--I don't think is something that is acceptable to the County. Or you provide or ask the developer to provide more parking. They've proven to use the amount of parking that they're purposing is adequate."

Board Member Zimmerman: "I agree that I would rather not want to have more surface parking but I do think there is a real question about whether there is enough visitor parking here and I think that the experience of other buildings bear that out. I think we have generally a problem not having enough of that kind of parking and I'm concerned that what we wind up with then are people circling the streets, looking for a place to park. And ultimately reducing the amount of parking available in other places."

County Manager Gardner: "One of the things at work here is that it is located across the street from a very large public parking garage which is there to provide spaces that are available for visitors, considerably less than [Board Member Bozman questions Gardner at this point]."

Board Member Bozman: "Is that 24 hours a day?"

County Manager Gardner: "You can get in, you can get out, you can't get in, I think late at night. But, I think you can get in and then get out late at night."

Board Member Zimmerman: "We're speaking of Ballston?" County Manager Gardner: "Right, so I think it's location in that respect is one that can take advantage of that public facility, and inexpensive parking."

Chairman Hunter: "Did you finish your line of questions, Mr. Zimmerman?"

Board Member Zimmerman: "Thank you Mr. Chairman."

Chairman Hunter: "Mr. Eisenberg."

Board Member Eisenberg: "Visitor parking in this kind of environment which if it's designed for drop-off is very necessary. If it's designed for parties, for over-night guests or a variety of things like that, there is no way you can fill the need or even approximate it and; therefore, you have a real problem in measuring what that need is. Now, I've had an occasion to drop some things off at the aah, Oh gosh, what's the name of the rental project at the Ballston Metro Station, next to the hotel?"

Board Member Bozman: "The Alta Vista."

Board Member Eisenberg: "The Alta Vista, there are 3 maybe 4 visitor parking spaces to run in and drop something off. Even when I had to go to the 8th floor and they were sufficient, but they were very necessary. But anything beyond that, how do you determine the need? And you certainly, even if you could determine it, certainly there's no way you could practically fill it or fairly fill it given the constraints on this kind of building."

Chairman Hunter:"Considering the recommendation is for deferral, have we given staff enough discussion that you can see where the Board is, where some of our thinking is anyway? We're obviously have a chance to consider this more in detail at the June 1st meeting."

Board Member Zimmerman: "I'm sorry, Mr. Chairman. If I could just raise one other question. I understand one of the issues with this property concerns how the floor area that would be included in enclosed balconies is counted for purposes of gross floor area, and how space for mechanicals is not counted. Is that correct? Obviously, we don't have this before us. So I assume we'll discuss this on June 1st if as it appears we defer this, but I would have some questions about that if we were discussing that now. And perhaps that it can be addressed then, but if there's something that you want to say about that now. I'll give you this opportunity because I'm not sure that I'm entirely clear on whether that's a good idea or not." Board Member Bozman: "Mr. Chairman, let me piggy-back on that because I won't be here for the discussion. When I learned that the enclosed balconies are counted in living gross floor area, I accept that. But, I am uncertain that's the way we ought to go. I think that's one of the issues the Planning Commission and the Board might well discuss. It's not heated, it's not cooled, it's an add on."

Board Member Eisenberg: "You can't live in it."

Board Member Bozman: "You can't live in it. It's a nice amenity. Should be call it living space? I'm not certain. Now, in this case, it has been called living space and that's the way it's coming before us and that's okay. But, I do think that it's a policy issue in which we need to spend some more time on."

Board Member Zimmerman: "Mr. Chairman, I think that part of the issue is simply are we going to treat this property the same as we've treated others, and will we be treating future ones just like this? I assume the answers to those questions are yes. But if they are, what does that mean? Perhaps, now is not the time but I will look forward to some discussion of that, because it does concern me a little bit about what the implications are doing that for future projects."

Chairman Hunter: "We'll certainly do that at the June 1st meeting which will actually be a June 4th meeting, I believe. Is there any further discussion before we vote on this motion to defer? This might be one that we might have set a record for length of discussion on a matter of deferral."

Board Member Eisenberg: "Oh no, there's been others."

Chairman Hunter: "Mr. Eisenberg assures me that his does not set a record. All in favor of the motion to defer to the June 1st meeting. Please say aye, opposed--Carries 5-0."

Planning Commission Meeting on Stuart Park

At the Arlington Planning Commission meeting of April 29, 1996, BVSCA President Ragland represented the Association and urged the Planning Commission to support the County's Master Transportation Plan and our community in requesting an additional 100 parking spaces for this project. President Ragland described the Association's formal neighborhood surveys conducted annually the past three years and our members high level of concern expressed regarding inadequate on-street parking in our Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association's community. Also, he discussed briefly some of the members' narrative comments from this past fall's neighborhood survey. For example, he recalled a troubling comment from one of our members in the Windsor Plaza Condominium, who had commented in her survey response that "We don't have any long-term guest parking, delivery service parking, and short-term parking; nor do we have zoned street parking. What are we to do?" We have received many comments from our members, especially in the high-rise residential buildings that they do not have sufficient visitor parking for their guests.

Further, President Ragland expressed concern about the inadequate on-street parking of today becoming worse in the future in our community, because of the County's inadequate parking plans for the future expansion of the George Mason University-Virginia Square campus. After the campus is fully expanded, the University has estimated that 10,000+ students will be enrolled at that campus, but only 1,100 parking spaces will be provided on site at the campus. The Association's members are very concerned about these developments in our community, and almost 50% of the 65 members responding to our Fall 1995 Neighborhood survey indicated that this item is a critical problem.

As a compromise, Planning Commissioner Rohan Samaraweera asked President Ragland if 10 or 15 more surface parking spaces in front of the building entrance would assist the neighborhood in reaching a more reasonable level for visitor parking. President Ragland responded yes, that it would help.

In marked contrast, the applicant's representative, Martin Walsh, and Clarke Ewart from the Paradigm Development Company, indicated that one space per dwelling unit is sufficient. Also, Mr. Ewart indicated that Paradigm owns four other residential rental properties near Metro Rail Stations in the Court House and Ballston areas. And their experience shows that one space per unit works out, because there are some tenants who do not keep a car on the site and 5% of the units are vacant at any time.

Also, President Ragland expressed concern over the applicant's contribution/compensation to the County in exchange for bonus density, and the process for deriving the compensation. The applicant proposes to offer a contribution to the County's arts program and affordable housing program, or subsidized rental housing program, in exchange for the bonus density.

Mr. Ragland indicated that he did not believe the process was fair to leave out the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association in negotiating the compensation for the bonus density, especially in light of our Association members' strong sentiment against funding any additional subsidized rental housing. Based on the results of our annual neighborhood surveys conducted the past three years, President Ragland suggested that the bonus density compensation go to the County's public safety programs and the arts, and not to subsidized rental housing. Additionally, President Ragland suggested that the Planning Commission members and County staff consider the City of Alexandria's Consolidated Plan from last year. The City of Alexandria has found that they need to emphasize more housing ownership and less subsidized rental housing, because of the City's reported dramatic increases in the costs of social services and schools associated with increased subsidized rental housing.

Several motions were made by the Planning Commission to amend condition #42 of the site plan to provide a total of 20 parking spaces for visitors on the site; however, the amendment failed by a vote of 2-9. Also, an amendment to the main motion to have guest parking have priority use of normally vacant parking spaces failed to carry by the vote 5-5.

[Although not discussed at the Planning Commission meeting, several of the Association members have expressed concern about the site plan applicant's compensation to the County being in the form of a contribution to the County's affordable housing program, because the developer and contract owner for the residential portion of the site plan is Paradigm Development Company. For our members recall, the Paradigm Development Company is also listed as one of the joint venturers with the non-profit Arlington Housing Corporation in the Buckingham Redevelopment Project. The Buckingham Redevelopment Project involves up to $2.5 million initially in County funds for subsidized rental housing (20% of the project) and market rent housing (80% of the project), and up to $34 million of tax-exempt revenue bonds, on a non-recourse or moral obligation basis, issued by the Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Corporation on behalf of Arlington County.

Specifically, members are concerned that the bonus density compensation to the County will in effect be a contribution from one hand to another, if Paradigm makes the contribution for the site plan amendment to Arlington's affordable housing. Also, members are concerned that the County Board will sell a large portion of the Kolaitis property that they acquired in 1990 (for the street widening of Wilson Boulevard) to Paradigm Development Company at a substantial discount to enable the contract owner to incorporate the former Kolaitis property and the associated density in the Stuart Park site plan amendment, as a reward in helping the County Board meet its affordable housing goals.

[The County's Real Estate Assessments Data Base shows that the Arlington County Board acquired 4251, 4253, 4255, and 4257 N. Wilson Boulevard, Real Property Code Numbers 14050024 and 14050026, Deed Book 2425, Page 1531, on March 28, 1990, for a total sales price of $3,010,250. The previous owner is shown as Andrew M. Kolaitis, Trustee, 4255 N. Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia, Deed Book 2418, Page 0984. At the time of sale, the County's reported total assessed value for these related properties was $1,043,000. In effect, the County Board paid $1,967,250 more than the County's aggregate assessed value of these properties, or 188.6 percent more than the County's assessed value at the time of sale.]]

Executive Committee's Position on Stuart Park

Background

In our April/May 1996 Newsletter, the Association reported that the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to defer to May 11, 1996, the proposed major site plan amendment, SP #256 Stuart Park Apartments. Also, the County Board stated their recognition of the issues identified by the Planning Commission and our neighborhood.

For our members' information, on Tuesday evening, April 23, 1996, the representatives of the site plan applicant met with the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association's Executive Committee to discuss further revisions to their proposed site plan amendment in response to the Planning Commission and our Association's prior meetings on the proposed site plan amendments. Drawings were presented at our meeting that reflected improvements to the exterior design of the proposed building, and a significant and acceptable change in the location of the garage entrance. The representatives noted that they intended to go forward with enclosing the balconies, and would count the balconies as gross floor area. Also, the representatives acknowledged that this change would result in the need for bonus density, and that they planned to pay the County for this increased density.


The Executive Committee members inquired about the value of the bonus density and how much they intended to pay the County. The representatives indicated that they were in the process of negotiating this matter with County staff and would not comment at that time. As stated previously in our April/May 1996 Newsletter on the proposed site plan amendment, we believe that any density on the residential component which is above a 3.0 Floor Area Ratio must be considered bonus density, and that a deed restriction be recorded such that the C-O-A ordinance's maximum 6.0 FAR limitation be applied to the consolidated site in such a manner that the density of the commercial component be reduced by the bonus awarded on the residential component. We are concerned about the possibility of the 6.0 FAR limitation being exceeded, and would urge the Planning Commission to carefully review this matter and recommend appropriate safeguards to protect against the maximum 6.0 FAR limitation being exceeded for the consolidated site.

Further, the applicant proposes to provide a parking ratio of one (1) space per unit (437 spaces for 437 units) plus one (1) space for each 580 square feet of retail g.f.a. (12 spaces for 5,500 square feet of retail). One space per unit is required in this District. The developer's presentation at our February 28, 1996, Membership Meeting indicated that they plan on 39 efficiency units, 278 one bedroom units, 278 one bedroom units, and 120 two bedroom units, for a total of 557 bedrooms in what is planned as a rental apartment building.

After presentation, and full and fair debate, at the February 1996 meeting, the Membership voted to adopt the following position on the proposed Major Site-Plan amendment application. That the proposed 437 parking spaces is insufficient for the needs of the 437 apartment units (557 bed rooms) and the anticipated long-term guests and short-term delivery and short-term guest needs. Therefore, the amendment would only be supported with the addition of an additional 100 parking spaces, to bring the number of on-site spaces up to 537.

In response to our inquiry about any changes in parking spaces planned, the Executive Committee was told by the representatives at our meeting of April 23, 1996, that no additional parking spaces would be provided. They indicated that (1) any additional parking spaces were considered not economically feasible; and (2) their proposed parking spaces satisfied the County's existing parking requirements.

In marked contrast, the Executive Committee believes that the applicant's position violates the County's Master Transportation Plan, Adopted in 1986, Part I. Under the Plan's Section on Key Objectives for Community Development and Preservation, it states: "Restrict the spillover of traffic and parking where it is disruptive to nearby areas, using appropriate access points, circulation routes, and traffic controls, and requiring parking for residents and visitors when new residential buildings are constructed with the object of attaining sufficiency."

Also, the Executive Committee believes that County staff is in error on the parking ratio determination for the Stuart Park site plan amendment. We disagree with Senior Planner Tom Miller's determination that parking is adequate for the proposed Stuart Park site plan amendment, and also disagree with his determination that the "parking that's being provided is only about .85 per unit" (Source: Board meeting of May 13, 1996).

The following illustrates why this percentage is not accurate. The applicant proposes to provide 437 units, consisting of 557 bedrooms. If at any point in time there is a 5% vacancy rate, based on Paradigm's stated experience, then the maximum number of occupied bedrooms is 529 (557 total bedrooms times .05 vacancy factor = 28 vacant bedrooms; 557-28=529 maximum number of bedrooms occupied).

Because each unit is entitled to only 1 parking space, then the maximum number of parking spaces occupied by residential tenants is 415 (437 units times .05 vacancy factor = 22 parking spaces; 437-22=415 maximum number of parking spaces occupied by residential tenants.

Therefore, the ratio of maximum occupied parking spaces to the maximum number of occupied bedrooms is 78.4% for the Stuart Park site plan amendment (415 max. number of occupied parking spaces/529 maximum number of bedrooms occupied).

If this site plan amendment for Stuart Park is approved by the County Board in June 1996, without any changes to the current ratio of occupied parking spaces to occupied bedrooms, the Stuart Park apartments would have the lowest ratio of any high rise apartment buildings in the Courthouse and Ballston area with one exception.

For example, based on the summary data attached to a letter from Northern Virginia Apartment Association, Inc., to Joseph Rahner, President, Courtlands Civic Association, dated June 19, 1994, the ratio of occupied parking spaces to occupied bedrooms at: (1) Courtland Park is .85, (2) Courtland Towers is .87, (3) Meridian is .84, (4) Ballston Place is .83, (5) Quincy Place is .86, and (6) Randolph Towers is .74.

This letter from Northern Virginia Apartment Association, Inc., follows, without the attached summary data (because of space limitations in the Newsletter). The letter states that it should be noted that one property which deviated significantly from a .85 parking ration was Randolph Towers with a .74 parking ratio. That actual property has a significantly different unit mix of 53% of two and three bedroom units, apparently reducing the parking ratio.

Letter from Northern Virginia Apartment Association, Inc., to Joseph Rahner

It has come to my attention from several of my members who develop apartments in Arlington, that the number of parking spaces required by the County has become an issue and potentially a hardship. We believe a parking ratio standard of one space per bedroom is somewhat high and perhaps unnecessary.

I have attached for your review the result of a parking usage survey of six, relatively new, residential high-rise properties in the Courthouse, Ballston metro area of Arlington County, Virginia. The purpose of the survey was to determine the number of garage spaces rented and used by residential occupants of each apartment property in that metro corridor.

We believe the survey provides convincing evidence that approximately a .85 parking ratio of parking spaces to bedrooms is sufficient to provide adequate parking for the occupants of high-rise residential properties located near the metro location. There is no evidence that one parking space per bedroom is necessary. Requiring one parking space per bedroom would cause considerable economic hardship on the developer. Underground parking spaces cost approximately $10,000 per parking space.

At the time of the survey all six properties offered one parking space free with the rental of one apartment (regardless of number of bedrooms). The monthly rental for an additional space ranged from $15 per month to $65 per month. The lower price is the cost for a tandem space (a parking space blocked by another space). There was no evidence that the monthly rent for an additional (non-tandem) parking space, which ranged from $45 to $65 per month, impacted the parking ratio. There is also no evidence that properties with more tandem spaces had a higher parking ratio.

An additional chart shows the total number of apartments, type of apartments and total number of parking spaces located on each property. The one property which deviated significantly from a .85 parking ratio was Randolph Towers with a .74 parking ratio. That actual property has a significantly different unit mix of 53% two and three bedroom units, apparently reducing the parking ratio.

If you have any questions or comments about the proposed Stuart Park site plan amendment, we invite you to attend the Arlington County Board hearing on June 1, 1996. Also, Chairman Hunter has indicated that he expects this hearing to be carried over to the Board meeting on June 4, 1996.

Further, the Civic Association has invited the representatives of the applicant for the Birch's Cross Roads site plan, for the site located along the north side of Fairfax Drive between North Stuart and Taylor Streets, to make a presentation at our May 29, 1996, membership meeting, at the Renaissance Arlington hotel, 2nd Floor Conference Room, above the Ballston Metro Station. We have asked that the representatives for the Birch Cross Roads, who are largely the same representatives for the Stuart Park site plan, to provide an update on the County's negotiations and bonus density contributions for the Stuart Park proposed major site plan amendment. If you have any questions about either of the site plan amendments, please plan to attend. This item is scheduled for presentation from 8:15 to 9:30 p.m.



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