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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
ArlingtonArlington Forest residents voice concerns about parking, upzoning

Arlington Forest residents voice concerns about parking, upzoning

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Residents of the Arlington Forest community fear increasing encroachment on their available parking, and want county leaders to live up to their promises in protecting single-family zoning from willy-nilly modification.

Those are among the takeaways as the community’s updated Neighborhood Conservation plan makes its way to the County Board.

The 852-home community along Arlington Boulevard in the western end of the county currently has sufficient parking for residents, but development occurring in nearby Ballston is a reason for concern, the document notes.

“If residents and patrons [of those new buildings] do not get reasonably priced on-site parking, they will almost certainly seek free parking in Arlington Forest four blocks away,” the draft document suggests.

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To address the problem, the county government should require developers in the area to provide sufficient on-site parking – at reasonable rates – for those using the new facilities.

In a 2020 survey of Arlington Forest residents said imposing four-hour parking limits on their neighborhood streets would help to solve the problem. But only 40 percent support imposition of a permit-parking system that would limit parking to residents and their designees between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The Arlington Forest community dates to the late 1930s, when housing tracts were carved out of former farmland. The zoning is R-6, which leads to relatively modest lots of about 6,000 square feet. The community was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

In the draft Neighborhood Conservation update, concerns were raised about potential zoning changes being contemplated by county officials under pressure from housing activists to expand the housing stock. Nearly 90 percent of neighborhood respondents to the 2020 survey said they wanted zoning to remain intact, and the report notes that “most residents” are concerned about higher density being shoehorned into small lots.

“Many respondents [to the survey] listed the historic value of Arlington Forest as one of the things they appreciate most about our neighborhood,” the report says.

Noting that the county government’s General Land Use Plan pledges to “preserve and enhance existing single-family and apartment neighborhoods,” the report asks local leaders to avoid the temptation to radically alter zoning policies that have stood the test of time.

“We urge the county to stand by its commitment,” the report notes.

Marymount Seeks to Convert Apartments to Hotel Use: Nearly half the units in a Ballston apartment building would be converted to hotel use on a permanent basis, under a proposal wending its way to County Board consideration.

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