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Monday, September 20, 2021
ArlingtonStaff prep for Rouse hearing that may, may not occur

Staff prep for Rouse hearing that may, may not occur

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Even though the razing of the Rouse estate may be at hand, the Arlington County government’s historic-preservation staff is taking the steps necessary if public hearings on preservation of the site go forward in April.

“We are proceeding as if those meetings are still happening until we are told they are not,” said Cynthia Liccese-Torres, the county government’s top historic-preservation staffer, at the March 16 meeting of the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB).

County Board members in February set public-hearing dates for April before the Planning Commission and County Board to deal with the HALRB’s recommendation that a portion of the Rouse (also known as Febrey-Lothrop) estate on Wilson Boulevard be designated a local historic district.

But nearly all parties now expect that the buildings on the 9-acre site will be razed before those hearings occur.

Owners of the site “have refused to budge – they are bound and determined” to act, HALRB chairman Robert Woodruff said.

In theory, the county government could still move ahead the historic designation even with the structures having been ground into rubble, but at the March 16 meeting, Woodruff seemed to signal that could be a non-starter.

“Once the buildings are gone, assuming they are, I don’t see the board doing the [historic designation],” he said.

Even so, county-government staff continue to lay the groundwork for any possibility that might transpire in coming weeks, Liccese-Torres said.
“We have plenty to do to get ready,” she said.

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