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FairfaxMore units could be coming to The Ashby apartment in McLean

More units could be coming to The Ashby apartment in McLean

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A plan to convert some office space into dwelling units at a multi-family residential building in McLean received the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation Feb. 2.

WRIT LP seeks to rezone the 4.28-acre property at 1350 Beverly Road, which is home to The Ashby at McLean, a 12-story apartment building with 256 dwelling units.

The applicant wishes to convert 23,855 square feet of existing non-residential space on the building’s second floor into 18 residential units and 4,212 square feet of non-residential area.

The result would be a total of 274 dwelling units, equal to 64 units per acre, county staff said. The building’s gross floor area of 362,595 square feet and 331 parking spaces would remain unchanged.


WRIT LP is seeking a reduction in the site’s parking requirement in order to maintain the building’s current 312 residential spaces and 19 for retail uses. That arrangement includes 226 surface spaces and 105 in an underground garage.

The proposal is “very straightforward,” has “clearly positive benefits for the county” and would convert under-used second-floor office space into limited number of residential units, said Lori Greenlief, an attorney representing the applicant.

Existing retail on the first floor would remain, she said.

“This is a relatively small change from a zoning perspective, but it has a significant impact on this under-utilized, unrentable space inside the building,” she said.

The applicant already has installed “green-building” features at the site and plans to put Energy Star appliances and low-flow plumbing fixtures in the new dwelling units, county officials said.

WRIT LP also has proffered to provide supplemental landscaping within the open space area south of the site’s parking lot and west of its tennis court before county officials issue the first residential-use permit for the new units.

The applicant will remove invasive plants and existing trees that are in poor condition and improve the soil in those locations afterward; add a topsoil/compost blend to the planting area; install three 2-inch-diameter maple trees; and install tall-fescue grass seed.

WRIT LP will spend at least $1,900 per non-affordable-dwelling unit for on-site recreational amenities and contribute $894 per new resident to the Fairfax County Park Authority to offset the additional residents’ impacts on county parks.

The applicant also will give Fairfax County Public Schools $12,262 per each projected student within the additional units.

At least two of the units will be designated as workforce housing and offered to residents making up to 80 percent of area median income.

The applicant also has proffered to upgrade 192 feet of sanitary-sewer line from 8 to 15 inches in diameter to bolster sewer capacity.

Residential development produces more effluent than offices or commercial spaces, said Planning Commission member John Ulfelder (Dranesville District).

County staff have stated that the end section of a sewer line serving The Ashby, located about one-third of a mile from the property, already is at its limit and the addition of just 18 more residential units might lead to backups near the end of the line, not at the residential building, he said.

WRIT LP will sign an agreement with the county stipulating that if, in the next 20 years, after its project is complete, another applicant proposes to add more building density or residential units into the sewer system, that developer would reimburse WRIT for a proportional share of costs for upsizing the sewer pipe, Ulfelder said.

WRIT LP’s proposal is in the center zone of the new comprehensive plan for McLean’s Community Business Center, where the county has authorized the highest-density developments. Ulfelder said he hoped this project would encourage further redevelopment in that vicinity.

Four residents at The Ashby own electric vehicles and the building will retain its current total of 22 220-volt outlets to charge those autos, Greenlief said.

Ulfelder said that arrangement is satisfactory for The Ashby, but widespread upgrades to the vehicle-charging infrastructure will be needed soon.

Only about 2 percent of vehicles now sold in the United States are electric-powered, but “we’re about to see an explosion in the number of electric vehicles that are available,” he said. “I think we need to be very cognizant of what’s coming forward in terms of . . . electric vehicles.”

The Board of Supervisors will make the final decision on the proposal Feb. 8.

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