Click the subtopic to go to that section of Q&As.
- About the Licensing Agreement
- Wilson School
- Construction & Building Related
- Costs & Timeline
- Alternative Locations & Analysis
- Fire response and Temporary Station
Why can’t the development be done in two phases? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Though the private development could be accomplished in two phases, this would add considerable time and cost to the project. In an effort to compress the construction period and provide the public amenities identified for this site by the WRAP (new fire station, new Rosslyn Highlands Park, and new road), the County Board executed the License Agreement with APS to help accelerate this construction schedule, which reduces the overall costs of the project as well.
Why do we need to do a ground lease agreement with Penzance? What benefits do the residents receive from leasing their land to Penzance? How does the 75-year ground lease to Penzance for the County-owned land where the fire station and Rosslyn Highlands Park currently stand, affect free use of the park? Does the ground lease agreement allow Penzance to make any changes to the park design? “Redevelop the property consistent with WRAP”- what are the hidden pitfalls with this statement?
As contemplated in the West Rosslyn Area Plan, the ground lease agreement gives Penzance the rights it needs to develop the garage, new street, new park, and new building on property that it does not own. A ground lease is preferable to a sale of the property, because it monetizes the land value of the public property for the benefit of the general public without forever disposing of the land. When the ground lease expires, the County continues to own the land. The staff presentation and other information on the WRAPS website provides information on the benefits of the proposed Penzance project.
Rosslyn Highlands Park will be a public park, open to community use in accordance with County park policies and practices.
The ground lease agreement with Penzance does not address design, construction and alterations of the public Rosslyn Highlands Park. The in-progress development agreement with Penzance outlines a process for design and construction of the park. In this process, the County Department of Parks and Recreation will lead the design of the park up to the schematic level. Upon completion of schematic design, Penzance will complete the final design, incorporating it into the site plan application that will be reviewed by the County Board. Penzance will then construct the park as a part of the site development. Arlington County Parks and Recreation staff will be working closely with Penzance throughout the design and construction of the new space. The County will also manage and maintain the space as a public park in accordance with the terms of a Reciprocal Easement Agreement. Penzance’s site plan will have conditions that will prohibit Penzance from making any changes to the park without prior consent by Arlington County.
How will the licensing agreement negotiated between the County and APS for the Wilson School site help realize the goals of the Western Rosslyn Area Plan?
The licensing agreement will facilitate redevelopment of the area addressed in the Western Rosslyn Area Plan. This plan, developed through an extensive community planning process with broad participation from County commissions, civic associations and other stakeholders, envisions a complex redevelopment of a key site in Rosslyn that will offer many public amenities.
This is a rare opportunity for the County and APS to maximize joint use of our community’s limited public land — the sort of joint use advocated in the Community Facilities Study — while leveraging finances to accomplish a major planning effort.
When fully developed, the site will include a new, modern fire station that will significantly improve Arlington’s public safety; a new, modern, urban-style school with a playing field; a rebuilt and improved Rosslyn Highlands Park; new mixed-use buildings, and a new 250-unit affordable multifamily residential building. These public amenities will help revitalize Western Rosslyn and serve our community for decades to come.
APS and Penzance, a private developer, are developing the site. Originally, Penzance planned to develop a residential building (with the fire station on the ground floor), then build an office/hotel/residential site where Fire Station No. 10 now stands. Changes in market conditions and a shared desire among all parties to complete construction as quickly as possible have led the developer to pursue developing the entire parcel all at once, rather than in phases. A site plan for this development will be submitted to the County Board for its consideration later this year.
Penzance’s new plan is to excavate the entire private development site (comprised of both the County- owned Fire Station No.10 and Rosslyn Highlands Park site, as well as the 1555 Wilson Boulevard site owned by Penzance). This approach would cut the period of construction adjacent to the new school from six years to three years.
This plan can only be realized by temporarily relocating the current Fire Station No. 10, which sits on the planned Penzance construction site. The proposed licensing agreement will allow the County to put a temporary fire station on the Wilson site – where the new school’s field ultimately will be built.
The project will save millions of dollars in bond debt that APS and the County will not have to assume to finance a new fire station, rebuild Rosslyn Highlands Park and build a parking garage for the new school.
Penzance will build the new fire station (and the temporary fire station), at an estimated cost of $20 million, and rebuild the park. APS will have 100 parking spaces provided at the County’s expense in the Penzance parking garage. This will save APS approximately $5 million because it will not have to build a garage for the new school. A large portion of the funds included in the Capital Improvement Program for these projects now will be available to help meet the need to provide more seats for more students.
How will this licensing agreement impact the planned school to be built on the Wilson School site?
There will be no change to the building design for the school to be built on the Wilson School site as a result of the agreement between the County and Penzance. The new school still will open in September 2019 as planned. The agreement only changes the original timeline for construction of the field and the permanent covered walkway, and plans for parking. It also temporarily changes the location of student pick up and drop off.
The County will pay to build a temporary covered walkway that will serve students until Schools can build the permanent covered walkway. The walkway will run from the northeast corner of the school property to the first floor entrance of the building to shelter students for drop off and pick up. (See answers below for more details). Under the license agreement, the County would be responsible to build the new school an on-site garage if the agreement with Penzance falls through. The County also would be responsible for providing 100 interim parking spaces while the garage is under construction.
For the short term, we made adjustments so that the school can be completed on time and the overall redevelopment can be completed more quickly than originally planned. In the long term, the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and the Stratford Program will be housed in a modern urban campus flanked by a level playing field and a park, and the redevelopment will benefit our entire community for generations to come.
How will Penzance be legally held to their legal obligations for the future? Will there be legal covenants running with the land that they will acquire from the County holding the land covenants for the future for Penzance or a subsequent owner? What protections does the County have if Penzance goes bankrupt?
Penzance would be entering into a series of legally binding contracts with the County, including the Ground Lease, the future Development Agreement, and the future Reciprocal Easement Agreement. These documents include default provisions that protect the County in the unlikely event Penzance or a subsequent owner of the buildings does not meet its requirements under the contract. The Ground Lease obligations run with the land for the term of the Ground Lease, and a Memorandum of Ground Lease will be recorded among the land records in the Circuit Court. In addition, the future special exception site plan would include ongoing obligations, including obligations that parallel the obligations in the contractual documents, on Penzance.
What benefits is the County granting the developer in return for the developer paying for the fire station, rebuilding the park and providing parking spaces in its garage for the school?
The Western Rosslyn Area Plan contemplates Penzance earning additional heights density in exchange for the benefits provided to the County.
What controls were instituted to ensure that County employees have no conflict of interest relative to Penzance?
County staff is subject to a code of ethics that would prevent a conflict of interest.
Penzance has 6 months after the County vacates the temporary fire station to tear it down. Since constructing the new field will take a year that means 18 months without a field AFTER the temporary fire station is vacated. I don’t think that time period is included in the discussion of how long the HBW and Stratford programs would be without a field at the Wilson School site.
Under the proposed agreement, it calls for “The County will pursue this razing, removal and restoration on a reasonably diligent basis.” It may therefore take more than nine months to 12 months after the temporary fire station is no longer needed for the school fields to be completed.
How will the temporary fire station impact the learning environment?
Fire stations make great neighbors. Fire Station 4 was a great neighbor for the Clarendon House program (serving adults with disabilities) for many years and many jurisdictions have fire houses located near schools. Fire stations are located next to, underneath and beside every imaginable type of institution, both private and public. Fire Departments blend into neighborhoods and adapt to the needs of the area. The temporary fire station will front either North Quinn Street or 18th Street North, so the noise generated will not directly face the school. The current fire station was built in 1960 and operated next to Wilson School from then until now.
Will there be opportunities for students to go outdoors during the day, to have outdoor physical education classes, and team practices?
The new Wilson School’s design includes outdoor areas on the roofs of the buildings for students to use. These areas are in addition to indoor recreation spaces to complement the field planned for the School. Until the field is built, an interim recreational field will be provided adjacent to the temporary fire station, and the County and Schools will shuttle students to park space within a mile of the school when weather conditions allow outdoor activities.
Could Rhodeside Green Park be used as a field for students at Wilson School since they would be able to walk to that site? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Rhodeside Green Park is a passive recreational amenity that is not subject to a County Board approved park plan. Any revisions to the layout and design of this park would presumably be accomplished through a public design review process to change the configuration of this space, which is something that cannot be achieved in a manner consistent with the construction schedule of the Wilson School site. However, if the Wilson School site is chosen as the location of the temporary fire station, once the Wilson School site is opened, and while a portion of the site is occupied by a temporary fire station, an on-site recreational field will be provided in addition to the indoor gymnasium and the option to transport students to an off-site recreational field.
Has staff analyzed the transportation impact of children being dropped off and picked up on Wilson Blvd.?
Staff has reviewed pick up and drop off operation for the school on Wilson Boulevard in front of the main entrance to the school. While this location has not been studied in as great detail as the North Quinn St. location, we have studied it at the conceptual level and found that it can be safe, with appropriate safety education for students and parents and implementation of appropriate traffic operational measures.
APS and County staff will work to develop recommendations and operational procedures to ensure safe drop off and pick up while the temporary fire station is on site. Initial recommendations will be discussed with the community and advisory commissions before the final project is approved.
How will the temporary fire station impact the planned covered pick-up and drop-off?
The school design includes a covered walkway from the corner of 18th Street N. and North Quinn St. to the ground floor entrance to the school, to shelter students arriving or leaving by bus. This covered walkway cannot be completed until the temporary fire station has been removed. The County will build a temporary covered walkway from the northeast corner of the school property to the first floor entrance of the building from the future playing field.
Is there a plan to ensure the safe drop off and pick up of students at the school while the temporary fire station is in place?
The safety of children arriving to the school and departing from the school have been a key focus of discussion throughout the public review of the school project. One goal has been to separate the parent drop off and pick up area from the school buses. The long term plan for the school is to have buses use 18th Street N. and to have parents pick up and drop off along North Quinn St.
While the temporary fire station is in operation along North Quinn St., parent pick up and drop off will be moved to occur along Wilson Blvd. This allows each of these operations to occur in their own zones with limited disruption and overlap. APS and the County will work together to ensure that parent pick up and drop off along Wilson Blvd. can occur in the safest possible manner. This will involve detailed planning and the development of operational procedures before the school opens along with ongoing reviews and enhancement of those procedures after the school opens.
In our highly urbanized environment, where pedestrians are constantly present, our emergency responders have extensive experience in maneuvering safely. Extra precautions are taken in school zones, where emergency vehicles comply with reduced speed limits to ensure safety. The current fire station operated, for many years, alongside the then-active Wilson School without incident.
Over the next few months, APS and the County will work with our advisory commissions to review and fine tune these operations before the final approval of the project.
How will parent drop off and pick up work on Wilson Boulevard, and how will it be separated from bus drop off as a practical matter? This doesn’t work now at the current building, why should it work at the new building? Will the need for emergency vehicles to weave around parked buses and double-parked cars dropping off or waiting for pick up slow response times and put citizens’ lives at risk? How will having cars queued up on Wilson Boulevard during morning and evening rush hours impact traffic throughout the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor?
The plans discussed with the public continue to separate the different modes of transportation that students will utilize during arrival to and dismissal from the school. With the temporary fire station along North Quinn St., student drop off and pick up will need to occur along Wilson Blvd. The use of Wilson Blvd. for drop off and pick up of students will be a challenge, albeit temporary. Given other alternatives, N. Quinn St. makes for a better location for student drop off and pick up along the schools frontage, and therefore Staff continue to recommend that student drop off and pick up activities should move to N. Quinn St. after the temporary fire station is removed from the school site. The risks and challenges associated with vehicular drop of students on Wilson Blvd. will be thoroughly analyzed by our traffic engineers and designers in the design process. We want to maintain the functionality of Wilson Blvd., because it supports a broad range of users as an arterial roadway. APS and County staff will work to develop recommendations and operational procedures to ensure safe drop off and pick up while the temporary fire station is on site. Initial recommendations will be discussed with the community and advisory commissions before the final project is approved.
In addition to supporting pick up and drop off along Wilson Blvd., APS and the County will create additional locations in close proximity to the school where pick up and drop off of students can safely occur. This will allow parents the ability to drop off or pick up along a route that works best for them while also reducing the amount of activity on Wilson Blvd. in front of the school. These additional locations would then continue to operate after the temporary fire station is removed.
It will be critical to work with the PAC and the broader community as operational procedures are developed and implemented by APS and the County. Through this engagement, we all can work to address the needs of students, as well as the many other users of Arlington’s streets and sidewalks in this area. The participation of parents and school staff is critical the safe and orderly arrival and dismissal of students. Similar to other school projects, it is anticipated that the Use Permit for the new school will include conditions regarding the ongoing evaluation of how the initial operation procedures are functioning, and allowing for changes to the operational procedures to ensure all modes of transportation function in the safest and most efficient manner.
How many buses will be used by the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs to deliver students to the school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon? Will these buses queue up on the same road and as the entrance to the temporary fire station?
APS is planning for 8 buses for the Stratford program and 13 buses for H-B program. The programs have staggered arrival/dismiss times, so all 21 buses will not be on the street simultaneously. Buses will be on 18th St. N. and the temporary fire station access will be on N. Quinn St.
How will the bus drop off and pick up occur on 18th Street? What plans are in place to ensure student safety as well as to ensure emergency response times, in case the fire station needs to respond to an emergency during drop off or pick up times?
The plans discussed with the public contemplate separating the different modes of transportation to and from the new school. The permanent configuration has the new fire station egress on Wilson Blvd., student pick up and drop off on N. Quinn St. (and other nearby locations), and bus pick up and drop off on 18th St. N. The temporary condition simply switches the fire station ingress and egress to N. Quinn St. and student pick up and drop off to Wilson Blvd. (with the same nearby pick up and drop off locations as the permanent configuration). The provision and operation of a temporary fire station along N. Quinn St. does not change school bus operation as currently envisioned along 18th St. N. Through the public review of the school, school bus operations on 18th St. N. has been discussed at length. This review has analyzed how to best support the needs of both the H-B students and the Stratford students. Given the unique operational requirement of the Stratford program, 18th St. N. is planned to be heavily managed during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal, for both the Stratford and H-B programs. This would limit private vehicle use of 18th St. N. on the segment of the street along the school’s frontage. APS has requested that emergency vehicles should not use this segment of 18th St. N. during morning arrival or afternoon dismissal unless the emergency to which they are responding requires direct access from that section of 18th St. N. School staff will also be present to assist the safe operation of 18th St. N.
With the temporary fire station located on N. Quinn St., the network of streets in north Rosslyn allows for multiple paths for emergency vehicles to navigate the area, reducing the need to use 18th St. N.
Staff will analyze the maintenance of traffic plans, and the traffic impact analyses of the various WRAPS project components over time, and provide appropriate traffic controls, signage, etc. to balance the competing needs of the site and the area as a whole. This analysis will be discussed in greater detail during the public review of the use permit for the new school.
Is it illegal for a car to pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading outside the school at the beginning or end of the school day? Is it illegal for an emergency vehicle to pass such a school bus? Is it considered a best practice to create a situation where emergency vehicles may regularly race past school busses loading and unloading students, including severely handicapped students?
It is illegal for a private vehicle to pass a stopped school bus with its stop paddle out as the bus is loading or unloading students. Vehicles may pass the bus when the stop paddle is out when the bus is immediately adjacent to a school if the vehicular driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus. Emergency vehicles may pass school buses with caution when they operate with their flashing lights on. Based on the separation of operations, school bus, fire and student pick up and drop off, locating the temporary fire station along N. Quinn St. will limit the frequency and number of occurrences when emergency vehicles will need to pass a school bus during the morning arrival and afternoon dismissal periods.
Families and community members attending events at the new school would have to pay for parking in nearby garages or in metered parking spaces at street level. Do families and community members have to pay for parking at other APS facilities? If not, than neither should H-B Woodlawn and Stratford families, and community members using the new school for instructional and recreational purposes, do so. This is an equity issue.
As mentioned previously, APS will explore opportunities with adjacent parking garages to provide short-term parking for visitors during the school day and for events outside of the normal school day at no cost to the school community members.
H-B Woodlawn has many events that attract large numbers of people throughout the school year. With only 100 parking spaces available, where will visitors to these events park?
There is enough parking available nearby in the Rosslyn area to accommodate school events. APS and the County will also work with adjacent development proposals to see if there is an opportunity for shared parking arrangements. There are also ample public transportation options available in this part of the County.
How much actual outdoor PE time would students have if they are bused to a field? And, which field? Exactly how will safety be insured for pick up and drop off on Wilson Boulevard? What is meant by “mitigate” loss of ability to play the only sport offered? What type of security will be in place to protect students in shared parking complex? Will there be crossing guards to and from alternative drop off sites?
The amount of actual outdoor time that students would have for PE on offsite fields cannot be determined until the location of the fields has been selected and staff has developed the master schedules for the two programs at the school. Dawson Terrace and Rocky Run Park are the two likely off-site locations.
With regards to pick up and drop off along Wilson Boulevard see the previous questions in this section.
As APS develops the formal drop off and pick up procedures for the school, prior to its opening, we look to ensure that alternate drop off and pick up locations have safe routes to the school. When necessary, students will be routed through intersections with crossing guards to get to and from the alternate drop off and pick up locations.
The proposed licensing agreement mentions transporting students to area parks for physical education classes, but does not mention field access for special events that are H-B Woodlawn program traditions (e.g., Chicken Bowl, Turkey Bowl, Junetime) and ultimate frisbee? Will the county guarantee field space for these events and provide transportation?
There will be field space available at grade while the temporary fire station is in place, and the outside terraces at each level may also be used for these events as appropriate. The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will coordinate with Arlington Public Schools (APS) to arrange for use of alternative fields for the HB Woodlawn Program special events and program traditions (e.g.: Chicken Bowl, Turkey Bowl and Junetime) and HBWL Ultimate Frisbee. Per standard APS and DPR coordination processes, APS will annually submit their requests to use County fields or parks to the DPR Facilities Scheduling Office and all efforts will be made to accommodate these events.
Is it realistic to bus kids to PE? Or to use the park space after school when there is already heavy demand on all of Arlington’s fields?
The building will have a full-size gymnasium and an auxiliary gymnasium for PE. While the temporary fire station is in place, a temporary fenced grass field, measuring approximately 110 by 110 feet, will be available on school property between the new building and 18th Street. The frequency, timing and transportation to the temporary fields provided by the County will be worked out closer to date on which the school will open and after the fields to be used have been selected.
Will any permanent changes be made to the current design of the school building as a result of this proposal such as entrances?
The design of the school, including the entrances, will remain essentially the same whether the parking structure is located beneath the field or not. (See how the grades work on the site; the red line represents the current profile of 18th St.)
How will you transport students to the public fields that are available? Consider that we are increasingly trying to include Stratford students in HB events, as well as have events of their own? Our students cannot walk a mile and our bus only holds 16 students (two wheelchairs).
The frequency, timing and transportation to the temporary fields provided by the County will be worked out closer to date on which the school will open and after the fields to be used have been selected. As noted later, the County spaces are likely to be Dawson Terrace and / or Rocky Run Park. APS and the County will work closely together to ensure sufficient and appropriate space and transportation for the Stratford students.
Where are the handicap parking spaces for the drop off/ pick up? Will they be the same area for the temporary v. permanent condition?
With more detailed planning to be done as part of the Use Permit review for the school we will identify locations for handicap drop off and pick up. APS will also develop formal procedure to help facilitate these activities prior to opening of the school.
Has APS examined the impact of staff and parents not having 24/7 access to parking both during the interim period and thereafter? Can staff continue to negotiate for such access? Why are the Penzance lease and APS license not consistent on this issue? [Penzance “not required to provide spaces within 1000 ft. (only ¼ miles); not required to provide outside of business hours; not required to provide parking in in only 3 garages]? With some Stratford children in wheelchairs, are you concerned about parents coming to pick up their children possibly walking from ¼ mile away- possibly uphill?
Staff will have access to the Penzance parking structure 24/7. It is anticipated that short-term parking spaces will be identified curbside near the entrances to the building for parent pick-up and drop-off during and after the school day during the use permit process.
How will the supposed cost savings be impacted by possible liability issues by APS and the County when a child is hurt or killed being dropped off on Wilson Boulevard?
Curbside drop-off occurs at many APS schools and has been found safe, provided students exit and enter vehicles from sidewalks.
Have other APS schools accommodated a temporary lack of field/outdoor space? If so, how did that work? Were the students transported to other sites for outdoor PE? Did this impact instruction? (I’m thinking about McKinley and Williamsburg)
Other schools, particularly McKinley & Williamsburg (during the construction of Discovery), had significant impacts to their outdoor space that was accommodated in part with more indoor time. APS has not had a situation where students were transported to other sites for PE.
Some Stratford program students are very sensitive to noise. The current location of Stratford is quiet. Will the Wilson location be quiet enough for those students, especially with the fire station closer than it is at Stratford?
The fire station in its temporary location will not be much closer to the building than in its final location. The effects of exterior noise on the occupants of the building will be considered as the design of the building proceeds from schematic design through construction documents.
How will the Stratford program be affected by the temporary fire station; what is the current plan for accessibility needs on the revised pick up and drop off zones? How much of a disruption will the temporary fire station be to the HB Woodlawn and Stratford programs?
The spaces used primarily by the Stratford Program students will be located mainly on the ground and first floors of the new building. The final design will provide a covered entrance for students arriving or leaving by bus on 18th Street from the corner of 18th and Quinn Streets to the ground floor entrance on the northwest corner of the building. During the period when the temporary fire station will be in place a temporary covered entrance will be provided from the northeast corner of the site on 18th Street to the first floor entrance on the northeast corner of the building.
Have you identified a location for Stratford student drop off/pick up? For bus unload/load? For parents dropping off and picking up? In the final schematic, the bus drop is on 18th Street North. How will the Stratford students access the school from the far side of the field?
Stratford students will access the school using an ADA accessible path along the eastern end of the site while the temporary fire station is in operation along North Quinn Street. To support the needs of Stratford students 18th Street North is planned to be close to public access during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal. For a more complete discussion of how students will arrive to the site please see the questions above.
What accommodations are being made for Stratford program students? Will there be any onsite parking at all between 2019 – 2022, or will they need to come from 1,000 feet or farther in all weather?
All students in the Stratford Program are eligible for APS bus transportation to and from school. See the question above about provisions that will be made to accommodate parents picking up or dropping off their students at other times. Please note that these provisions will be made whether or not the temporary fire station is located on the site.
Have representatives of the Stratford Program and/or the Special Education PTA been consulted with respect to the feasibility and safety of the measures included in the proposed licensing agreement?
The Stratford Program staff and SEPTA were informed simultaneous with the general public.
What factors were used to arrive at the 100 parking space figure? The H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs need nearly 150 parking spaced to accommodate staff with parking needs, in addition to daily, short-term visitors (e.g., parents meeting with staff or helping with events during the school day, part-time staff, service people and vendors). Who will manage the location and distribution of the parking? Will APS provide additional staff to assist program administrators with parking management? Will the staff without parking be expected to pay for it out of their own pockets?
The 100 parking spaces provided in the Penzance garage is based on the planned 97 space garage under the field identified in the schematic design for the school. The 100 spaces in the Penzance garage will be permanently dedicated to schools use. An additional 50 spaces will be leased by APS from nearby entities in exist parking garages. The specific location of these spaces will be determined closer to the opening date of the school. The need for additional off site spaces (50 spaces discussed above) is required under all scenarios. APS will cover costs of the remaining 50 leased parking spaces. Specific details on management and staffing of leased parking have not been developed.
Given the transit-oriented location of the project and with the provision and implementation of transportation demand management (TDM) strategies for employee the need for all of the 50 leased spaces may go down over time. By leasing the spaces it allows APS to contract only for the parking that is needed to support the project.
The prior question states, “One hundred temporary parking spaces, located in nearby garages, will be available for APS when the school opens.” Both boards should be prepared to provide the data supporting this claim, particularly in light of the Meany & Oliver Parking Study that was prepared for APS in March 2016 and concluded that APS should “not rely on the surrounding garages to satisfy its entire long-term needs for approximately 145 parking spaces.” Furthermore, will these parking spaces be in garages in close proximity to the new school? The prior question also mentions students – does this mean that some of these 100 spaces will be available to students? APS staff informed the Wilson Project BLPC that parking would not be made available to students at the new school.
Consistent with the Meany & Oliver study, APS will not be relying entirely on leased parking as a long-term solution. The 100 temporary parking spaces will exist only until the permanent spaces are complete. Student parking will not be provided.
If for some reason the athletic field is no longer available for the temporary fire station, has the County identified a fall back location? What is the fall back plan? And, if the fall back plan is adequate, why isn’t it being used as the site of the temporary fire station in the first place
Based on the above evaluation criteria, the County has not identified an alternative location.
How does a school fall under “appropriate zoning” for a fire station when “Rhodeside” is not appropriate? What is the difference in the zoning in the two places? Where does pick up /drop off occur during the day (not beginning/end of the day)? What about parking for parents who have to come in and sign kids out all through the day? Is the temporary field space also being provided after school?
See response in the previous question. Temporary field space will be provided for after school activities as needed.
When the parking lane along 18th Street North is not in use for bus operations in mornings and afternoons the parking lane will be signed for no parking allowing parent pick up and drop off during other hours.
Why aren’t road closures considered as criteria for the location? Why pave over green space when there is already a paved road? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Taking roads out of service is not advisable, as the existing network of streets is necessary to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of all modes of transportation. Eliminating segments of roads could provide severe disruptions for multiple transportation modes and routes of travel.
Couldn’t the access road to Arlington Blvd. be closed and used for a temporary fire station? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Staff evaluated the potential for this area to be used for a temporary fire station. This option was dismissed because it would take a portion of this ramp out of service, thus diverting traffic south on Rolfe Street, east on 12th Street, and north on Queen Street to avoid the temporary fire station. This would negatively impact traffic patterns and provide potential back-ups along Arlington Boulevard during peak periods of use.
How does rezoning work if Rhodeside Green Park is used for a temporary fire station? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
If the County Board selects Rhodeside Green Park as the location of the temporary fire station, this property would need to be rezoned to the S-3A zoning district. Since the property is owned by the County, it could be rezoned on the County Board’s own motion, however any such rezoning would be subject to public hearings with the Planning Commission and County Board.
Regarding the Holiday Inn site, would leaving the existing access road help meet the Virginia Fire Prevention code section 503 (fire prevention access roads for the existing Holiday Inn Building)? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
If the County Board selects the parcel adjacent to the Holiday Inn as the location for the temporary fire station, the existing access road (20th Street N.) would remain in place as it provides access to the Holiday Inn’s parking garage. However, the on-street metered parking spaces would be removed as this area would be needed to accommodate the temporary fire station at this location.
Will there be a parking structure on the school site even with the agreement by the developer to give parking spots to the school? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
The Arlington County School Board has yet to determine whether a permanent parking garage will be constructed on the Wilson School site. Regardless of this decision, the Penzance garage is being designed to provide 100 parking spaces for use by the Wilson School site.
Has a flat roof been considered for the temporary fire station so that amenities could be put on the top of the roof (such as a field)? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
The type of building being considered to accommodate the temporary fire station would be a type of Butler building that would not be able to accommodate active recreational uses on top. Changing this construction type to a more substantial building to accommodate active recreational uses would likely be excessive and cost-prohibitive considering this is intended to be a temporary use that will occupy the site for less than three years.
How is the design of the Wilson Building affected if no parking structure is built?
The design of the Wilson Building will remain virtually the same; all floor elevations and entrances will be the same. Temporary conditions at the ground level of the northwest entrance and first floor level of the northeast entrance are needed until the temporary fire station is removed and the permanent covered entrance from 18th street is completed.
If the parking garage is eliminated, how will light get into the lower level of the new school on the 18th Street side? Will there be 6 ft. – 8 ft. window wells or no light/windows for the Stratford students in their classrooms?
Removing the parking garage has no effect on light getting into the lower level of the school.
When and how will the proposed schematic design for the new school building be revised to incorporate the changes required by the elimination of the on-site parking structure and elevated field (e.g., lighting, ingress/egress, etc.)?
The use permit will be submitted with an alternate plan depicting how the site could be developed with and without the parking garage so as to allow time for the School Board to determine whether the parking garage will be constructed or not. (response updated 9/7/2016)
When will the parking spaces be available for the school? Where will staff, students and parents park until those spaces are available?
One hundred temporary parking spaces, located in nearby garages, will be available for APS when the school opens. Penzance will pay the cost of these temporary spaces. Once the permanent garage is completed, the cost for the use of that garage and its 100 spaces will be paid for through the County’s agreement with Penzance – with no impact on the APS budget.
Are Penzance, APS, and the County able to change the number of parking spaces provided to APS at a future date? Are the promised parking spaces truly permanent?
The parking spaces to be included in the Penzance project development (100 spaces) are a permanent part of the garage and will be available as long as the garage exists. As noted previously in the FAQs, the County and APS continue to work with others in the area to review the possibility of additional parking spaces for permanent arrangements.
Will the proposed schematic design for Rosslyn Highlands Park be revised to take into account the change in elevation of the field, which will no longer be contiguous with the park?
The license agreement has no effect on the elevation of the school field so no revisions to the Rosslyn Highlands Park are needed.
Now the school field will be at grade, are we sure the transition to Rosslyn Highlands Park is designed appropriately? Why not have another meeting or two to ensure both parks are designed appropriately? Where will students do active recreation? Which facility specifically? How often will students have access to this space?
Under the proposed scenario, the field and park will meet at the same or very similar elevation. Therefore, the proposal does not pose any further topographic challenge to designing an appropriate transition between the two spaces. Furthermore, the Rosslyn Highlands Park+ Coordinated Open Spaces Plan outlines a design approach to this transition zone that will provide a graceful transition between the two spaces in a variety of elevation scenarios. In the forthcoming park schematic design process, the County and APS are working collaboratively to ensure that any complexities in design coordination are appropriately addressed. There will be an opportunity for community engagement in this schematic design process.
APS and Arlington County will collaborate to ensure that students have access to off-site active recreational facilities. The proposed license agreement identifies criteria that will be utilized in selecting an “Equivalent Temporary Off-Site Playing Field.” Based on this criteria, the off-site facility could include the field at Rocky Run Park and/or Dawson Terrace Park.
Will there be any outside field space on APS property at grade while the temporary fire station is in place?
The area between the temporary fire station and the temporary covered entrance from 18th Street will be used as a grass recreation area with a fence on all four sides. The approximate size of that recreation area is 110′ by 110′, which may increase in size due to the final design of the temporary fire station if it is sited at this location. (response updated 9/6/2016)
Why is the temporary fire station not sited on Rhodeside Park-according to your matrix, the only change needed is to zoning. Can’t the County Board approve a zoning amendment? The park/field at Wilson School is more valuable to the community.
Siting a temporary fire station on Rhodeside Green Park would require a rezoning of the parcels, which, as noted, the County Board could approve. During the WRAPS process, preservation of open space both on an interim and permanent basis was noted as a key priority of the community.
Why is zoning such a problem at Rhodeside park site? Why was disruption to the community not a criterion for the new fire station? Did APS negotiate to get Penzance to contribute, all or part, to building parking lot at Wilson rather than providing leased spaces? Do County and APS recognize the lost value of not having a parking lot available both for school and community full time?
See response to the previous question regarding zoning. Disruption to the community for the temporary fire station will likely occur at any location and mitigation efforts have always been considered to be very important at any location.
With construction occurring adjacent to the school property, and a temporary fire station possibly on the new school’s athletic field, are there workplace and/or construction safety policies and/or laws that would prevent or otherwise limit the school community and general public from using the rooftop terraces?
Worker safety is regulated by Virginia Occupational Safety and Health regulations. Public safety during the construction is regulated by the State Building Code and enforced by Inspection Services Division of CPHD. Construction on adjacent property should not affect the safety of the occupants on the school site when proper protection as prescribed by the building code is provided for during the construction. Like any property owners adjacent to high-rise construction, APS and Penzance will need reciprocal agreements detailing the impact of the respective crane swings for each project. The County has negotiated a number of these types of agreements in the past, which typically restrict the crane boom from accessing, or at the very least carrying a load, over or near an existing building.
If APS is no longer building parking will the Penzance building have enough spaces to meet minimum required for the three buildings (two Penzance and HB) to meet county requirements, or is the county giving them some sort of variance?
As part of its special exception site plan application, we anticipate that Penzance will request a modification of the amount of parking under the zoning ordinance. Requests for parking modifications have become increasingly routine for special exception site plan projects in Arlington’s Metro corridors, because the multi-modal transportation network has significantly reduced demand for parking. Any modification requested by Penzance will be considered by the County Board as part of the site plan, and mitigation measures will be required to ensure that the amount of parking and transportation demand management strategies effectively serve the buildings without negatively impacting the surrounding neighborhood.
What provision will be made for the playground space and access for the local community? Access would include transportation and field and court time.
Staff have investigated opportunities for interim park and recreational spaces within the Western Rosslyn Plan Area. Due to the tight phasing and construction timelines, there is no opportunity to accommodate temporary playground space at the site. As a part of the project’s overall mitigation planning, staff can identify nearby park and recreation spaces and safe routes to these spaces.
How many wheelchairs and wheelchair attendants can fit in each elevator? Where are the four elevators located in each building? Do all four elevators go to the ground floor?
All four elevators serve both ground and first floors; three of the four elevators serve all floors. The exact size and capacity of the elevators has not yet been determined.
If the developer goes bankrupt after the projects starts, who assumes the risk? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
In the event of a default, with terms as defined in the executed Ground Lease, the Ground Lease will expire and the County will continue to own their property and any improvements, and/or entitlements, to improve their own property.
If Rhodeside Green Park were chosen for the site, when would the planning process for a restored park start? What are the timelines? Could the planning happen while the temporary station is on site? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Per the approved Ground Lease, restoration of any of the alternative sites, should one be selected, would begin within six months of the County vacating the temporary fire station. If one of the alternative sites is chosen, the community could engage in a public process to design the future use of the site once the temporary fire station is removed. This process could be performed while the site is occupied by the temporary fire station so that the restoration could occur following removal of the temporary fire station.
What is the cost of restoring Rhodeside Green Park (if it were used to house a temporary fire station)? What are the all-in costs for the Wilson School site? And cost for using the land adjacent to the Holiday Inn (preparation and restoration)? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Preparing Rhodeside Green Park to accommodate the temporary fire station would cost approximately $75,000 to clear the site, which does not include any utility relocations that would be determined at a later date. Restoring Rhodeside Green Park to its current park environment would cost approximately $550,000, though the ultimate cost would be determined by the final design of the restoration.
The costs associated with using the Wilson School site are being formulated in conjunction with APS staff; however these incremental costs include: construction of the Wilson School site parking garage if Penzance does not commence construction of their parking garage by March 1, 2019 or if the 100 permanent parking spaces are not provided for use by the Wilson School site within the Penzance parking garage by December 31, 2021; provision of 100 temporary off-site parking spaces for use by the Wilson School site once the school is completed until such time as the Penzance parking garage is finished; construction of temporary covered entrances to the Wilson School site from 18th Street and North Quinn Street, as well as the additional cost to construct the permanent covered entrance; transportation to an off-site playing field for the non-exclusive use by the Wilson School site students; preparation of a temporary rectangular recreational area on the Wilson School site; compensation for the additional geothermal costs on the Wilson School site; compensation for additional construction staging areas; and permit the temporary closure of 18th Street to allow for construction traffic only.
The costs to prepare the Holiday Inn site for construction are estimated at approximately $1,500,000, which is attributed to grading and utility relocation efforts necessary to permit the construction of a temporary fire station at this site. Any relocation of utilities at this site would require a lengthy process for design and construction. In addition extensive review, coordination and approval by VDOT would also be necessary to relocate utilities into Lee Highway. The restoration costs at the Holiday Inn site would be minimal as the site would merely need to be reseeded and the curb along 20th Street replaced.
Is the date, December 2021, the ultimate date for when the site must be vacated or is this subject to change? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Per the executed License Agreement with APS, if the temporary fire station is located on the Wilson School site, it must be removed from the site no later than December 31, 2021.
How long will the construction of the school field be delayed?
Under this proposal, parking for the new school will be provided in the garage that Penzance will build for its mixed-use building adjacent to the new school.
Current expectations are that the private developer, Penzance, will submit a site plan for County Board review shortly. Once that site plan is reviewed through a community process, if it is approved by the County Board, the project will lead to demolition of the current fire station as early as late 2017.
The license agreement the County plans to sign with APS states that the Penzance construction must start before March 1, 2019. Terms of the license agreement allow for the temporary fire station to remain on School property through the end of 2021, although we view that as the worst case scenario. If the temporary fire station remains on the field until the end of 2021, the field may not be available until late 2022 or early 2023. More likely, the temporary fire station will be removed as early as 2020, after the new fire station is completed, and the field will be completed as early as late 2021 or early 2022.
Projected savings generated by the proposed licensing agreement between Arlington County ($20 million) and Arlington Public Schools ($5 million) for the Wilson School site are cited in statements about the proposal. On July 13, staff should be prepared to show the public a detailed accounting of the costs and savings associated with the proposal – such as the costs for leasing 100 parking spaces, dedicated school buses to transport students to and from a nearby park for outdoor physical education and school-wide events such as June time and the Turkey Bowl/Chicken Bowl, measures to ensure safe drop off and pick up on Wilson Boulevard and 18th Street, and a temporary covered walkway from 18th Street to the school, and so on. What county and school system funds will be spent on temporary measures for the school and nearby Rosslyn Highlands Park, during construction on the WRAPS parcel? The public should be able to view an accounting of costs and savings to fully understand the community benefits and drawbacks of the proposal.
At this stage of project development, anticipated costs and savings are by their inherent nature programmatic. Staff will provide best available information now, and as the designs evolve estimates will be updated. Thus the “detailed accounting” requested should be taken in its proper context. In the current proposed Capital Improvement Program, the estimated value of the developer’s contribution to Rosslyn Highlands Park’s rebuilding is $3.9 million. Estimates will be updated throughout the project as additional details are available.
APS anticipates a net savings of approximately $5 million for not having to construct the parking garage on the Wilson School site as originally proposed. Although the cost for the 100 spaces in the Penzance garage will be deducted from the ground rent owed by Penzance to the County under the terms of the proposed Ground Lease, the net present value of this reduction in ground rent is approximately $6.5 million.
The Penzance development project also will realize considerable savings and additional revenue for the County. The County will save more than $20 million for the construction of a new Fire Station #10 serving the entire Rosslyn area and beyond, more than $3 million of that would be spent if the County were to design and construct a new Rosslyn Highlands Park, more than $1 million for the design and construction of a new section of North Pierce Street, and a contribution in excess of $1 million to the affordable housing investment fund. The Penzance project will generate an ongoing income stream in the form of ground rent. The net present value of this ground rent, after adjusting for the deduction for the 100 parking spaces in the Penzance parking garage for APS, is more than $18.5 million. The County also will realize approximately $9.1 million per year in additional tax revenues.
County and Schools funds needed to cover the costs of student transport to a nearby park will be identified in the relevant operating budgets adopted by the School Board and County Board beginning in FY 2020. Details of the safe drop off, pick up, and walkway will be identified as part of the use permit submission by Arlington Public Schools to the County Board in August, and during consideration by the County Board of the use permit, and associated issues during consideration of a site plan to be submitted by Penzance in the near future.
What is the true cost of the temporary fire station? Who pays for the construction and demolition of the temporary fire station? Where will the temporary open space be located?
The cost of the temporary fire station, including all site preparation work, utility connections, installation, removal, and restoration, is estimated to be $3.6M, which may increase depending on which site is selected. This estimate is derived from a temporary fire station project recently completed in an adjacent jurisdiction. The private developer, Penzance, would be obligated to perform all of this work as part of its overall construction project, with the exception of the site preparation costs that will be provided by the County. The temporary open space would be located on the eastern portion of the field site, the dimensions of which are approximately 110’ x 110’. (response updated 9/7/16)
The FAQ document states that the County will forgive $6.5 million in leasing revenue in exchange for 100 parking spaces. Why not simply cut a $5 million check/transfer to APS to cover the cost of building the parking structure on the Wilson School site, as approved by the BLPC (Building Level Planning Committee) and PFRC (Public Facilities Review Committee)?
The proposal is not simply paying $6.5M total in present dollars (paid over the life of the ground lease) in exchange for saving $5M in present capital costs. The goal is to allow the overall vision for West Rosslyn to proceed as envisioned in the West Rosslyn Area Plan. There is also an associated cost of capital for borrowing the $5M, which would be saved, and a corresponding savings in debt capacity. In addition, there would be ongoing savings for not maintaining a parking garage on the Wilson site.
How much would it cost today to bus children offsite for PE and special events? How many runs, on average, does the fire station make from 7 am to 4 pm? How will this impact the sensitive Asperger’s program population and Stratford populations — both very sensitive to noise? Why can’t Penzance build the fire station in Phase I? Will HB school day have to be extended to meet SOL time in PE class requirements?
The cost to bus students to offsite fields for PE cannot be determined until the location of the fields and the frequency of transportation have been determined. It is anticipated that transportation to offsite fields would have no greater impact on students sensitive to noise than transportation to and from school in APS school buses.
How does the process work if Wilson school isn’t chosen? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
If the County Board determines at their September 24, 2016 meeting that another site is better suited to accommodate the temporary fire station, then the County must provide the site to the Penzance Company in a pad-ready configuration so that they may construct the temporary fire station, which will occupy this temporary site until the permanent fire station is completed.
What are actual costs of Gateway Park? And who owns the Rosslyn circle? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
The total costs of constructing a temporary fire station at Gateway Park are not entirely known at this time, as the County does not have an agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia (owner of Gateway Park) to use this park for a fire station, nor is it known whether the deck that supports Gateway Park could support a fire station use. The federal government (National Park Service) is the owner of the Rosslyn Circle.
Could a temporary (and permanent) fire station be built over Interstate 66 or Gateway Park? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Constructing a fire station over Interstate 66 would require an agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as the cost to construct the deck to support the fire station. Constructing a fire station within Gateway Park also would require an agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as additional studies to determine the structural integrity of the deck over top of Interstate 66 that currently supports Gateway Park. Either of these scenarios would require a lengthy and costly endeavor, not including the construction costs, which cannot be met in the context of implementing the West Rosslyn Area Plan and the associated agreements with the Penzance Company and APS.
Did you look at Fort Myer’s back gate? Why not use the park as the temporary location for the firehouse?
The limited access across Arlington Boulevard into Rosslyn and the traffic levels on these limited access result in unacceptable response times too many portions of the Fire Station #10 coverage area. Thus, sites south of Arlington Boulevard were not considered.
Has an environmental impact study been done for Rhodeside Park? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Not at this time. However, any building or work done on the site would need to meet environmental requirements, which will be analyzed through the review of the civil engineering plans
Has a study been done to examine the impact the fire station might have on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
No studies on this subject have been done. The impact of the temporary fire station would be no different from that of the current station, which is in the same neighborhood, or the other nine fire stations operated in the County.
How are we measuring and quantifying the impact on homeowners/neighbors near a temporary fire station? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Nearly all the locations considered for a temporary fire station have homeowners and neighbors nearby. Analyzing the effect of a temporary fire station, on each homeowner or neighbor, for each location would be extremely difficult, if even possible. However, the criteria utilized in assessing each site does take into account impacts on quality of life for residents such the interim loss of green space and alterations to existing transportation routes.
What is a temporary fire station?
It is a pop-up structure for the apparatus and modular buildings for the firefighters. This type of temporary structure has been used previously in nearby jurisdictions who have to rebuild aging fire houses. The District of Columbia just finished using a similar temporary fire station. Fairfax County is using one at their Herndon station that would be almost identical to the one we propose using, and here in Arlington, we have used these structures when renovating other fire stations such as Stations No. 2 (Ballston) and 9 (Walter Reed).
Once a fully renovated Fire Station No. 10 is completed as part of the Penzance project, the temporary fire station will be removed.
Is there a difference in public safety capabilities at a permanent fire station versus a temporary station? Will a temporary fire station diminish fire safety for the area? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
A temporary fire station will provide the same capabilities as the permanent fire station. The highest priority in siting the temporary fire station is maintaining response times for fire and EMS so as not to diminish safety for the area.
Is it possible to co–locate the temporary fire station 10 with another fire station? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
This solution isn’t possible because it would remove fire and EMS resources from the service area and would adversely affect fire/medical response times.
By how much would response times change if the fire station were moved 0.1 miles away to Rhodeside Green Park? How do these response time changes compare to the response time changes proposed by the County Manager for Fire Station #8? Can’t the zoning of Rhodeside Green Park be changed the same way the zoning for the Penzance project is being changed?
Response time to the service area will not be affected and the Rhodeside site meets the Fire Department’s criteria. (See details on page 7 from the July 13 presentation.) The Rhodeside Green Park site is the furthest west that the Fire Department could relocate without adversely impacting response times. See questions in the Construction & Building Related section for zoning information. Also see this example of a temporary fire station in Herndon, VA.
Since the board decided at the last board meeting that Wilson is the approved site, why is staff looking at other sites? Why did the Board ask for another review of the Wilson School site (among others)? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
The County Board approved a License Agreement with APS at their July 16, 2016 meeting. Following their approval of this License Agreement, and the Ground Lease with Penzance, the County Board directed the County Manager to further study the feasibility of the Wilson School site, along with Rhodeside Green Park, and a parcel of land adjacent to the Rosslyn Holiday Inn, to determine which of these sites is the most feasible to accommodate the temporary fire station. The County Board directed the County Manager to provide a recommendation for the site at the September 24, 2016, County Board meeting.
Why was there no public input for this decision? It is a significant change in the plans the community has been discussing through the Public Facilities Review Commission and the Building Level Planning Committee process.
The WRAP was put together through a lengthy, exhaustive community planning effort. The County always knew that it would have to find a location for a temporary fire station in order to make the entire plan work. Discussions about the location of that temporary fire station were necessarily confidential, as are all discussions of possible land acquisition, until the Friday July 1 joint County-APS announcement of their proposed licensing agreement.
The public can continue to provide input, from now until the County Board decides where to ultimately site this temporary fire station at its September 24, 2016, meeting.
Why wasn’t the siting process for the temporary fire station conducted via a public process, as was done with the TJ elementary school? Why was the siting process kept confidential?
This siting process occurred in the context of a complex, multi-party real estate and development negotiation, which necessarily must be kept confidential so as not to jeopardize the County’s negotiating positions.
Other than looking at alternative sites, is there anything that can be done or changed with the project itself? [from 8/25/16 community meeting]
Implementation of the West Rosslyn Plan (WRAP) will be achieved through two site plans (Penzance/County and APAH sites), as well as the use permit for the Wilson School site. Each of these applications will be publicly reviewed for conformance with the adopted WRAP. Further, each project will require the approval of the County Board following public hearings with the Planning Commission. As such, there will be ample time for citizens to be involved in the review of these projects and offer their comments and suggestions for how the projects may be revised to mitigate their respective impacts.