Arlington Approves Joyce Motors Redevelopment

On  February 18, 2023, the Arlington County Board approved Orr Partners’ 4.1 site plan providing for the redevelopment of the aging 0.74-acre Joyce Motors building and property in central Clarendon. The site contains a surface parking lot and the circa 1950 Joyce Motors building, which is considered a prime example of the “Streamline Moderne” architectural style popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

Following on the heels of the County Board’s adoption of the updated Clarendon Sector Plan, the proposed redevelopment includes a mixed-use residential building containing up to 241 residential units, a maximum of 186,254 square feet of residential GFA, and a maximum of 3,825 square feet of ground floor retail GFA.

A key component of the project is the incorporation of the most historic and salvageable portions of the Joyce Motors building façade into the new building’s architecture, in accordance with the Sector Plan’s recommendations.

For more than a year prior to the submission of the site plan application, the development team worked with the County’s Historic Preservation Program staff to determine the most pragmatic preservation approach, recognizing the reality of the condition of the building and its materials.

As a result, the building’s exterior enamel panels will be removed and sent to a historic preservation lab for restoration to their original condition. They will subsequently be reinstalled at the most visually-prominent corner of the site, where the reconstructed façade will serve as the architectural focus of the new building and provide the public direct access to this resource. The project also includes a $25,000 contribution towards tan onsite interpretive commemoration of the Joyce Motors building.

Another historic preservation aspect of the project includes the permanent preservation of the circa 1939 Clarendon Barbershop Building, located at 1407 N. Garfield Street through the use of the County’s Transfer of Development Rights program. Preservation of this resource is specifically recommended under the Sector Plan, and the transfer of density to the Joyce Motors site will require the recordation of a historic preservation easement over the Barbershop Building.

The proposed building will be designed at the LEED Gold level and, while the project is subject to the previous version of the County’s Green Building Incentive Policy, Orr Partners is committed to achieving many of the baseline prerequisites of the current Green Building policy to align with the goals and objectives of the Community Energy Plan. In response to SPRC and community comments, enhanced landscaping will also be provided at the street level along N. Irving Street, as well as in a second-level courtyard and on a 10th-floor terrace.

In terms of transportation, the project will provide significant sidewalk upgrades around the site, bicycle facilities, and curb extensions for safer pedestrian crossings. It will also provide segments of two new streets contemplated under the Sector Plan’s grid network, including a portion of the planned 10th Road North. The project will additionally make a $400,000 contribution towards offsite transportation improvements, which may be allocated towards enhanced bicycle facilities along 10th Street N.

Housing affordability figured prominently into the project, and the project will provide nine onsite Committed Affordable Units as well as an affordable housing contribution. Importantly, Orr Partners recognized the County’s need for large affordable units and has subsequently agreed to provide two three-bedroom apartments as part of their none onsite affordable units. The project will also provide a $557,143 contribution towards public open spaces in the vicinity of the project.

The proposed project will honor the Joyce Motor’s building’s heritage, enhance Clarendon’s neighborhood character, and achieve the Clarendon Sector Plan’s land use, density, height, and housing diversity goals.

Walsh Colucci shareholders Andrew Painter and Nicholas Cumings assisted Orr Partners throughout the process, with Andrew providing the presentation at the County Board.

Arlington County Moves Forward With Pentagon City Planning Study

Brimming with shops, restaurants, housing, and hotels, and proximate to a heavily-used Metrorail station that bears its name, Arlington County’s Pentagon City neighborhood exists today as one of the region’s foremost examples of transit-oriented development. While much of the community was developed between the 1960s and early 2000s, Pentagon City has experienced renewed development interest in recent years, particularly following the November 2018 announcement that Amazon had selected nearby National Landing as its preferred location for its second headquarters.

Anticipating these changes, the Arlington County Board in April 2019 embarked upon a comprehensive review of the 1976 Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan (PDSP) and planning guidance for nearby properties. Following retention of a consulting team to assist staff, as well as several months of public engagement, the County released a draft of its newest Sector Plan to the public on November 24, 2021. Known as the “Pentagon City Sector Plan,” the document sets forth an updated vision for Pentagon City, as well as expectations for urban design, public spaces, and conditions under which additional density may be appropriate.

A number of important policy recommendations are included within the draft plan. For example, it calls for a general increase in density throughout the Pentagon City neighborhood and corresponding changes to the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) designations for the area. Approximately 10 million square feet of new development is anticipated under the draft plan, which is nearly double the amount of square feet contemplated by the decades-old Pentagon City PDSP.

Like other areas of the County, density above what is permitted today would be “earned” by providing community benefits which may include, but not be limited to:

  • Achievement of new publicly-accessible green pathways and plazas;
  • Multimodal improvements within the study area;
  • Contributions to on-site affordable housing. To that end, the draft Sector Plan establishes a goal of a minimum of 10 percent of new residential density be designated for on-site Committed Affordable Units; and
  • Improvements to the existing pedestrian passageway though the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

To allow increased flexibility for landowners, the draft plan places few restraints on preferred land use mixes. Instead, the draft plan generally emphasizes the importance of new residential development – somewhat similar to the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan and the 2015 Rosslyn Sector Plan. For multiple office building developments, the draft plan recommends that a minimum of one additional building with a significant residential, hotel, or weekend/evening destination uses should already exist or be proposed.

In terms of green infrastructure, the draft plan sets forth a series of new public open spaces, as well as an approximately three-mile network of pedestrian pathways throughout the planning area, which it calls “Green Ribbons.” While the plan builds in limited flexibility in the location of specific pathways, the Green Ribbons network is intended to result in approximately five acres of connected parks and plazas. Where proposed Green Ribbons traverse private property, the draft Sector Plan anticipates that private developers would grant public easements over these spaces, as well as develop and maintain them as part of their respective community benefits package with each redevelopment.

LEED Gold is anticipated as the minimum for all building sites, and exceptional green building performance could be considered as a community benefit. Additionally, new developments must satisfy a series of tree canopy coverage, planted surface area, and other vegetative requirements.

In terms of height, the draft plan recommends that the tallest buildings be located in the northern portion of the planning area, and that no building should exceed 330 feet in height. Height variation, upper floor setbacks, sculpting, other measures are recommended to mitigate the impact of additional height and density.

County staff is currently preparing a final draft of the Sector Plan for consideration by the Planning Commission and the County Board for final adoption in February. Concurrent with adoption of the new Sector Plan, the County Board will consider corresponding amendments to the GLUP, Master Transportation Plan, and Zoning Ordinance. Additional follow-on items may include studying transportation performance standards, developing a master plan for Virginia Highlands Park, and identifying potential locations for a new school and fire station within the planning area.

For questions about this article, please contact land use attorneys Andrew Painter and Nicholas Cumings.

Stonebrook Rezoning Approved in Westfields

Image Source: Stanly Martin Companies


Originally set amidst a stream-laden landscape of rolling fields, and woodlands, creating an idyllic suburban environment, the 1,100-acre Westfields office park has largely built out in accordance with its original vision. Today, the heavily-landscaped corporate center is a job hub and a major economic driver for Fairfax County. Recent years, however, have witnessed the emergence of several challenges, including newer mixed-use office locations, and a lack of mix of uses, pedestrian connections, and community identity.

Sensing the need to diversify Westfields’ land uses and attract new investment to western Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors in May 2019 adopted amendments to the comprehensive plan policies for Land Unit J of the Dulles Suburban Center. The amendments, which built upon an earlier 2016 Urban Land Institute study, permit retail and residential uses within Westfields to help keep it competitive as a jobs center relative to newer mixed-use centers and submarkets.

A major step in the furtherance of the new Land Unit J policies came on November 17, 2020, when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved Stanley Martin Companies’ Stonebrook residential rezoning. The 12-acre Stonebrook site, located at the intersection of Westfields Boulevard and Newbrook Drive, is adjacent to the recently-completed retail offerings at Commonwealth Centre.

The rezoning approved 134 residential units, including 14 townhomes and 120 two-over-two (stacked townhomes). Though largely surrounded by single-use conventional suburban office and industrial buildings, Stonebrook will introduce an urban, pedestrian-friendly, walkability framework in proximity to retail and employment uses.

Housing affordability figured prominently into Stanley Martin’s overall approach. The project’s introduction of stacked townhomes to Westfields will provide a critical “missing middle” unit type that provides entry level homeownership choices. Stonebrook will also feature five affordable dwelling units and 11 workforce dwelling units (“WDUs”) that will be dispersed throughout the neighborhood and will be for-sale units—something Fairfax County has rarely seen since the 2007 inception of the WDU policy. Stanley Martin also agreed to lower its WDU income tiers, such that half of the WDUs will be provided at the 70 percent AMI tier, and half at the 80 percent AMI tier.

Given the site’s highly-visible and prominent location, Stanley Martin placed great emphasis on the project’s overall design. In an attempt to ensure greater opportunities for visual connections to open space, for example, the layout seeks to celebrate the site’s natural and visual elements by enhancing the RPA, preserving mature canopy trees, and preserving bottomland forest species.

To foster a pedestrian-friendly environment, the project will feature new urbanist-inspired high-quality urban architecture with the rear-loaded garages that will not be visible from public streets. A series of sidewalks will be constructed to connect residents and visitors across the site and to all open space areas. Given Westfield’s historic emphasis on parks and open spaces, the new community will feature a series of multiuse amenities and open spaces for both residents and visitors. This includes a publicly-accessible terraced park adjacent to Westfields Boulevard, pocket parks, interior courtyards, a bicycle service station, a watering station for pedestrians and pets, upgrades to existing trails, and more.

Substantial vegetation and landscaping will be provided along the adjacent pond, and a series of landscaped visual corridors will be created to draw residents and visitors into the site. As a result, Stonebrook will provide more than double the amount of required urban recreational space, nearly double the amount of required open space, 48 percent more tree cover, and will exceed the County’s tree canopy and tree preservation requirements. The project will include more than 75,000 square feet of new plantings, including 50,000 square feet of RPA reforestation.

A key concern with the application was how Stanley Martin would address issues of noise associated with aircraft overflights approaching Dulles International Airport. The property is located within the Board-adopted mapped DNL 60 to 65 dBA noise contours, and Stanley Martin proffered several enforceable noise mitigation and construction commitments that exceed building code requirements, zoning regulations, and similar obligations made in other Westfields applications. This includes designing homes to address peak episodic noise associated with aircraft overflights, post-development interior noise testing, disclosure requirements to initial and subsequent purchasers, marketing materials depicting the noise contour lines, and avigation easements for all homes.

The result of these efforts is a unique project and layout that fulfills the established comprehensive plan vision for Westfields in terms of land use and density, economic development, and hosing attainability. Stonebrook will respond to the increased need for for-sale, urban style housing in the Westfields area and complement the ongoing retail and residential uses at Commonwealth Centre. It will also respond to the increasing preference for residential opportunities in the vicinity of nearby employment uses, and contribute to Westfields’ overall economic vitality.

Image Source: Land Design Consultants

Image Source: Land Design Consultants


Image Source: Stanly Martin Companies

Image Source: Stanly Martin Companies

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Approves Isaac Newton Square Redevelopment

Creating a dynamic new mixed-use neighborhood goes to the heart of quality land use planning and creating great communities.

On October 15, 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the redevelopment of a 32-acre portion of Reston’s Isaac Newton Square. The complex, which is bounded on the south by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, to the west by Hidden Creek Country Club, and to the east by Wiehle Avenue, was one of Reston’s first major office/industrial developments.

Isaac Newton Square today features several older buildings surrounding a substantial asphalt parking lot ringed with mature willow oak trees. With the arrival of Phase I of the Silver Line and the Wiehle Avenue Metrorail station, the site was included as part of the 2014 Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment and targeted for substantial redevelopment.

Over the past three years, the park’s owner, Peter Lawrence Companies, alongside their development advisor, MRP Realty, began envisioning a new future for the site. They engaged a design team which included OCULUS Planning and Urban Ltd., and solicited input from citizen groups, Restonians, and Fairfax County staff.

Based upon substantial feedback, the project team set forth a series of design drivers to guide the redevelopment approach. These included fashioning a layout centered around open space corridors and the comprehensive plan’s grid network. There was also a recognition that the “front door” of the project should be focused on the W&OD Trail. The team also considered Reston’s seven “Founding Principles,” created by the late visionary, Robert E. Simon, which embraced concepts such as multi-generational livable communities and the creation of dynamic public realms.

The result is a new community which fulfills the comprehensive plan’s vision for high quality mixed-use redevelopment. The approved plan calls for approximately 2.8 million square feet of new construction, which includes 2,100 residential units, 300 hotel rooms, 260,000 square feet of office space, and nearly 69,000 square feet of retail uses. In accordance with the comprehensive plan’s recommendations, residential uses comprise approximately 88.4 percent of the neighborhood’s total square footage.

A key focus of the proposal was to create meaningful open spaces and provide a framework around the preservation of the site’s mature willow oak trees. The open space plan also provides opportunities for each block to have direct access to nature on what is today, a paved site. An intentional focus was placed on the quality of each open space and the types of activities that are likely to take place within the spaces. They also negotiated with NOVA Parks, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, and the Fairfax County Park Authority on issues related to pedestrian access to the W&OD Trail, water lines, and design of parks.

The team worked extensively with County staff to develop a variety of streetscape activation, placemaking elements, building architectural requirements, and landscaping enhancements to guide the ways in which individual buildings and blocks may take shape.

The final design includes substantial landscaping and open space which exceeds county requirements. It is anticipated that improvements to the site will mitigate stormwater runoff, enhance the site’s habitat and aesthetic opportunities, and ultimately aid in the reduction of the existing urban “heat island” effect. A unique central east-west environmental “pedestrian livability” spine, known as the “Rain Garden Meander,” will integrate the project’s stormwater management into its open space system and include hardscape pathways, flexible lawn spaces, landscaping with native plants for habitat, shade structures, and seating areas.

A critical element of the neighborhood is the provision of a full-size athletic field at the southern end of the project adjacent to the W&OD Trail. The field will be adjacent to an urban plaza and warm-up field that will be multimodal acceible, help drive local commerce to the project’s retail uses, and transform Isaac Newton Square into a signature location for users of the trail.

The result of the team’s efforts is the creation of reason’s next great neighborhood that complies with all of the planning principles set forth in the comprehensive plan in terms of land use and density, placemaking, open space, and mobility. Andrew Painter led Peter Lawrence Companies and MRP Realty through the approval process.

Land Lawyer Andrew Painter Honored by Falls Church Chamber of Commerce

Arlington, VA – On April 2, the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce awarded Andrew Painter the 2016 Chamber Appreciation Award at its Annual Awards Gala. Andrew received the award, named for late U.S. Navy Commander Robert A. “Hap” Day, in recognition of his contribution to the Chamber’s recently published Resource Guide for Displaced Businesses.

Over the past year, Andrew has led the effort to draft and lay out the Resource Guide. The publication, which includes input from Falls Church businesses, Chamber members, and City staff, is intended to help local businesses anticipate and successfully navigate business displacement challenges due to condemnation, lease expiration and termination, eviction, rent increases, and redevelopment by owners. It also provides information on best practices between tenants and landowners, contact information for key government agencies and officials, an overview of the redevelopment process, lease negotiation tips, information on finding new space, and a list of permits required for business relocation. To download a copy of the Resource Guide for Displaced Businesses, click here, and visit The Falls Church Chamber of Commerce for additional information.

Andrew, a shareholder with the law firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, P.C., specializes in zoning, land use, and commercial development. He has written extensively about the region’s land development history, and received an award from the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association for his review of enduring rural landscapes in Fairfax County. Andrew lives in Falls Church with his wife, daughter, and twin sons.


Andrew Painter Named to the 2016 Falls Church Chamber’s Board of Directors

Andrew Painter, a shareholder in the firm’s Arlington and Loudoun offices, has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce. While on the Board, he will work to advance the Chamber’s mission to support economic and civic growth, advocate Chamber positions on critical business and land use issues, and encourage quality business ethics and community respect.

A resident of Falls Church, Andrew specializes in zoning, land use, and commercial development. He has written extensively about the region’s land development history, and received an award from the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association for his review of enduring rural landscapes in Fairfax County.

Andrew earned his J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law and a Master of Urban & Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. He lives in Falls Church with his wife, daughter, and twin sons.

2015 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Summary

Source: By Anderskev
Source: By Anderskev

With lots of lawmaking, and little drama, the legislature concluded its 46-day session one day early for the first time in 15 years. Even more surprising, the budget was balanced and adopted on time, and was signed without further amendments or vetoes, for the first time since 1998. Everyone labeled the session a success — even Governor Terry McAuliffe, who saw some of his key legislative efforts rejected.

On land use, the legislature passed bills related to affordable housing, Boards of Zoning Appeals, asbestos and new home inspections, and more. The General Assembly also permanently extended the prohibition on localities accepting cash proffers until occupancy permit, and passed legislation allowing the creation of farm distilleries. The legislature also addressed claims of lost profits in condemnation cases and mandated that Planning Commissions pass commercial subdivisions and site plans within 60 days.

On transportation, the General Assembly passed bills prioritizing congestion relief as the primary consideration in Northern Virginia road projects, rewrote funding formulas, de-politicized the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and ensured a sustainable funding source for transit.

There was no single high-profile social issue that dominated lawmakers’ debates this year; because this is an election year for all members of the General Assembly, Republicans wanted to show voters they could govern both houses of the legislature since taking over the Senate last summer. Accordingly, the majority caucuses in both houses tried to focus on “kitchen table” issues and refused to hold hearings on many of the most controversial bills (even though many were introduced). Click here to download a PDF of the Summary.

New Study Debunks Myth Concerning Cost of New Housing in Loudoun County

Leesburg, VA—Two recently published articles in The Washington Post and the Loudoun Times-Mirror call attention to a new study stating that, for each new residential unit, Loudoun County pays 42 cents less than calculated in an earlier study. Shareholder Andrew Painter is quoted in both articles, stating that the purpose of the study “is to show that the homes that are being built are positive for the county.”

All-In Loudoun, a group of Loudoun County citizens, companies, and development entities, commissioned the study to respond to the County’s assertion that new homes are a burden on its coffers, which assertion is based on a 2011 study that found every new residential unit in the County costs $1.62 for every $1.00 in taxes paid by the unit. In a press release issued by All-In Loudoun, Andrew states that the new study “shows that new homes are raising the average assessment in the county and that most of the product we’re building is helping to dilute the historic burden of housing. And that’s a good thing for taxpayers.”

Andrew Painter talks big-picture and long-term growth for Loudoun and Fairfax Counties now that the Silver Line is up and running.

Bisnow PhotoKeane Enterprises chairman Brian Cullen, with Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh’s Andrew Painter, says Loudoun has a mere eight years worth of detached single family home supply left. Brian praised the county for forging ahead with so much residential – it made up 46% of building permits issued in Virginia the last few years. But he urged leaders to plan with western areas of the county that don’t have public utilities for future growth.