Will planning for schools be addressed?
Staff expects to evaluate different potential land use scenarios. Part of that evaluation will include analyzing possible impacts to public facilities and schools. This could include what type and how many schools may be needed to accommodate potential population growth. Analysis will help aid discussions with community stakeholders and the County Board’s evaluation of any long-range plan and its recommendations.
How much height is recommended?
The planning process has not started, therefore, new building heights have not been recommended. Today, many commercial buildings along Lee Highway are one to two stories high, however, a predominant zoning district (C-2 Service Commercial) allows building heights up to four stories. Several suggestions for taller building heights for select commercial nodes were included in the Visioning Study. Staff plans to discuss those suggestions early in the planning process to assess community feedback, establish a vision, understand impacts, and assess how the options may help accomplish community goals.
Will the County develop land and construct new development?
No. This process is intended to develop a long-range plan to guide decisions over the next 5-, 10-, 15-, 20- years and beyond, that supports the eleven elements of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, which includes the General Land Use Plan, Master Transportation Plan, Public Spaces Master Plan, and Affordable Housing Master Plan.
Through separate processes, the County Board (or School Board) may direct staff to plan for, design, and/or construct new public facilities such as a new fire station or new school along the Lee Highway corridor. The future Lee Highway Plan, anticipated with this planning process, could be used to guide future capital facility projects such as these examples. Private land owners or developers are able to alter or redevelop their property, through separate review processes, and are guided by zoning regulations, the General Land Use Plan and other policies. Ultimately, the future Lee Highway Plan will guide these decisions as well.
Will the County rezone property to allow for new development?
The County does not commonly rezone properties as part of its long-range planning processes, nor does the County rezone private properties without a request from the property owner. The process would culminate with the County Board adopting a plan that could be used to guide future decisions on land use and zoning applications.
Will the County be displacing existing businesses?
No, those are private market decisions between business owners and their respective landlord/property owner. The County encourages existing business owners to participate in the upcoming study and contribute their ideas on the future of Lee Highway, including providing feedback on what is working well for business owners, what can be improved, and ideas for how to achieve those improvements and continue the successes of the Lee Highway corridor.
What is the VDOT I-66 project and where can I find out more information?
VDOT is planning to add an eastbound travel lane on I-66 from just east of the Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) to Fairfax Drive/Glebe Road (Exit 71). VDOT is in the planning phase right now, including preparation and review of environmental considerations. Construction of the additional lane is expected to begin in early 2018, with the lane opening to traffic in late 2020. The widening effort (approx. 4-miles) is part of a package of improvements on I-66, which also includes tolling from I-495 to Lee Highway (Route 29) in Rosslyn during peak periods in the peak direction, and other multimodal improvements, including improvements along existing bicycle routes. Tolling is expected to commence while construction of the new I-66 eastbound lane is underway. The Lee Highway Planning Study will evaluate impacts from the planned widening and toll lanes on I-66.
I see many older homes in my neighborhood being replaced with new homes. How is this permitted/regulated?
Many of the original homes built in Arlington were not built to the maximum size and placement allowed in the Zoning Ordinance and are now being replaced with larger homes. The replacement homes seen more frequently in Arlington’s neighborhoods do not require special approval by the County Board and must comply with laws and regulations including the Zoning Ordinance, Building Code, Chesapeake Bay ordinance, the Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance, and County Code provisions.
What if a developer wants to proceed with a new building before the planning process is complete?
The County encourages developers who are interested in development/redevelopment along the Lee Highway corridor to monitor and participate in the upcoming planning process and contribute feedback like other stakeholders will be asked to do. If a developer or property owner chooses to pursue development plans while the planning process is underway, the County will review the application following the appropriate type of process needed for the particular request, including any applications for by-right development. We would encourage developers to delay submitting proposals for any major land use or zoning district changes in areas of the corridor without adopted policy guidance until the planning process is further along or completed. This is suggested in order to ensure that development projects reflect the community’s future vision and that the adopted policies and potential tools are in place to facilitate a clear and efficient review process. However, if a proposal for a site plan, General Land Use Plan amendment, or rezoning is submitted during the planning process, it may take more time for review given that the planning process is underway and adopted policy is not in place.