Lamda Alpha International Recognizes Old Town North Small Area Plan
October 18, 2017, the Board of the George Washington Chapter of Lambda Alpha International recognized the City of Alexandria's Department of Planning and Zoning with the organization's 2017 Outstanding Plan Award for the Old Town North Small Area Plan and Urban Design Standards & Guidelines (OTNSAP) and the North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan, both of which were completed in 2017. The Board noted that “both plans exemplified good planning and chose to give the award to the Department for them.”
Lambda Alpha is an honorary professional society devoted to the advancement of land economics and is composed of men and women involved in the fields of real estate, real estate development, real estate management, land use, urban planning, architecture, law, government, academia, and all other professions that deal with the use, study, and economics of land. The organization was founded in 1930 and has over 20 chapters around the world.
NOTICe and its members were instrumental in the development of the OTNSAP.
New & Ongoing Development is Focus of Sept. 21, 2017 NOTICe Meeting
NOTICe will host its all member meeting September 21, 7:30 p.m. at the Best Western Old Colony Inn, 1101 North Washington Street. The theme of this meeting will be the ongoing and future of redevelopment in North Old Town. Our featured speaker will be Jeffrey Farner, deputy director of the city’s Department of Planning and Zoning.
The City, with the participation of many residents of the North Old Town Community, recently completed a revision of the Old Town North Small Area Plan. This was the first revision of that plan in 25 years. As we have reported in previous issues, one of the major themes of this plan is providing for mixed use development through systematic planning for various land uses throughout the plan area. We need more neighborhood businesses to give definition to this area and provide services that support the expected increase in both the residential and office populations. The plan, passed by City Council in June, provides the road map to accomplish that.
The plan emphasizes enhancement of walkability and pedestrian safety through streetscape and urban design standards that prioritize pedestrians. It also places a priority on retaining and enhancing the arts community and improving the area’s compliance with environmental standards. Comprehensive design standards and guidelines accompany the revised plan. Quality design is a key factor in the efficacy of future developments. While economic forces far beyond the power and control of local communities shape the purpose of new projects, it is imperative that local residents argue strongly for quality design of those projects, to ensure that new projects are compatible with existing structures and uses.
The redevelopment of a number of sizable sites is under way in North Old Town. The former Giant/ABC site is moving forward rapidly. Conversion of the building at 801 N. Fairfax to a 32-unit residential complex will go before the Planning Commission and City Council this month. Plans to change the Old Colony Inn site to 19 town houses will go before Planning Commission and Council in the spring, with a concept proposal slated to go before the Board of Architectural review this fall. Proposals to demolish and rebuild the ARHA housing project between North Old Town and Old Town are proceeding, and WMATA has reissued its RFP for the bus barn site.
Mr. Farner will be discussing these and other future changes in our community at the community meeting on the September 21. We welcome all members and community residents, and hope to see you there
City of Alexandria Completes Old Town North Small Area Plan
On June 24, 2017, after nearly two years of planning and community engagement, the Alexandria City Council approved a new Small Area Plan and associated Urban Design Standards and Guidelines for Old Town North, which will amend the 1992 Old Town North Small Area Plan Chapter of Alexandria's 1974 Master Plan. The development of the new Old Town North Small Area Plan included a series of public meetings, open houses and design charrettes facilitated by a 21-member Advisory Group and a full review by the City Planning Commission. Click here to see the final 2017 Small Area Plan.
NOTICe Letter Regarding Old Town North Small Area Plan
Click here to see a copy of the May 18, 2017 letter that NOTICe sent to Karl Moritz, the Director of the City of Alexandria's Office of Planning and Zoning, with regard to the draft Old Town North Small Area Plan.
Spring 2017 Update on Old Town North Small Area Plan
Development in Alexandria is governed by a city-wide Master Plan drafted in 1974. In 1992, the city adopted the first small area plan for Old Town North, which reinforces and elaborates upon the master plan’s emphasis on mixed-use development for the neighborhood. In the spring of 2015, the city began a two-year process to update the Old Town North Small Area Plan.
The Old Town North Small Area Plan Advisory Group held meeting #14 on March 30, 2017 at City Hall. A large group of interested residents filled the Council Workroom for a discussion of the draft Transportation and Planning, Land Use, and Design chapters.
The Transportation chapter generated the most discussion. The draft outlines a strategy to "maximize the use of transit, pedestrian, and bicycle amenities" that "encourage a shift from private autos to more sustainable modes of transportation . . . ." This draft recommends the extension of the street grid into the power plant site; expanded waterfront parks and trails with pedestrian and bike connections; conversion of the rail corridor to a linear park; street and sidewalk improvements designed to prioritize pedestrians; shared parking strategies that accommodate new technology; and improved connectivity to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, surrounding neighborhoods, and the existing Braddock Road and planned Potomac Yards Metrorail stations.
The Planning, Land Use, and Design chapter focuses on the following strategies: achieving a balanced mix of land uses to enhance the viability and walkability of the neighborhood; establish retail corridors to support a critical mass of retail; create design standards and guidelines to ensure high quality and context-sensitive redevelopment; establish incentives for art and cultural use; update zoning to achieve plan objectives; improve safety and walkability through pedestrian oriented streetscapes that activate the street in the day and evening.
The city will hold an open house public meeting on April 13, 2017 at the Salvation Army USA National Headquarters Building, located at 615 Slaters Lane, where all residents can review the entire draft plan and offer their comments and recommendations. This will begin a 45-day public input period before the plan goes before the Planning Commission and City Council. Further details about this meeting will be announced later.