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Suzanne Homeowner (user 315) - Comments by Date

Thank you for listening to comments. I think some new development for this area is welcome and while I appreciate the attempt to create in this plan a thoughtful and sustainable 'garden city' approach, I have several concerns:

1. Scale—keep previous limit. I strongly oppose allowing a 20% increase in development over the previous plan at this time, especially because the majority of the development proposed for this Plan is in the westernmost areas next to sensitive nature preserves! (Also in what is now a suburban-like landscape.) Compare this to other development areas in the works that you mention including Potomac Yard, Eisenhower East, and Landmark, which are all already industrial or otherwise cleared land and could support a much greater scale. I recognize the city wants to increase capacity for future population growth, opportunity, etc, but is acreage directly abutting one of the few nature preserves in this part of town really the place to max out capacity? Also a 130 ft. building in this western Plan area is not in keeping with your goal to ensure compatibility with existing neighborhoods. I would have a different opinion about increasing the development limit if the majority of the development was concentrated in the already more ‘urbanized’ area surrounding the Seminary/Beauregard intersection.

I would also eliminate the expensive ellipse from this Plan (and developers’ funding burden) at the same time.

2. Stronger language related to tree canopy or other strong environmental goals. In light of the developers’ comments in January that imply some resistance to the ‘recommendation’ for a 40% tree canopy for the Plan, I think the language needs to be stronger to ‘require’ 35-40% canopy in this Plan. I also agree with a previous comment that replacement trees need to be larger and more mature and native, not vulnerable sticks. There is an opportunity to make this project mutually agreeable and sustainable, but I feel that gentle ‘recommendations’ vs. ‘requirements’ may cause issues with the final product.

I also noticed that most of the canopy replacement is expected after 2026. Does that timing correspond to the finishing of each neighborhood? I think it should, vs. being an afterthought later in the project.

Here’s an idea: insert language that encourages the developers, wherever possible, to retain existing mature trees (there are hundreds at this site currently). I doubt it would be followed, but at least we could take a stand on the issue.

3. Traffic improvements just outside the Plan Area. The intersections 1-3 on Figure 51 (intersections of Beauregard/Lincolnia/Little River Turnpike/395) are currently terrible for both vehicles and pedestrians. Improvements will need to be made to these intersections to accommodate the influx of development just down the road—are any in the works?

Finally, I would like to mention that there is a lot of talk in this document about the future needs of the region in terms of more need for housing, shops, and office space to accommodate population growth. That is true. However, that kind of continued growth and urbanization throughout Alexandria and surrounding jurisdictions will also mean that fewer and fewer green spaces will remain—those that do, like the Dora Kelley and Winkler preserves will significantly increase in importance. Both for the health of our communities—as buffers and filters and funnels—and also as places for people to find solace and joy spending time in nature, they will become even more significant. These remaining places will face increased pressure to serve their role for more and more people. This re-development plan, at this time, offers the city an opportunity to also consider this aspect of its future: the conservation of its remaining natural places. This is an opportunity to enhance the size and natural function of these green spaces to help them accommodate their greater future role. I was delighted to see the greenway recommendation to link the two existing natural areas and the general increased buffer against Dora Kelley compared to earlier plans. But is it enough? I strongly recommend not allowing the 20% increase in development in this plan, and do recommend growing and enhancing these preserves for future sustainability.

Suzanne Homeowner (315) | User | May 11, 2012 - 5:35 PM | Beauregard Small Area Plan