Plan Langston Boulevard: Project Updates

March 21, 2022 - Key Planning Elements: Building Form

Key Planning Elements Series: Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of this newsletter series on Plan Langston Boulevard’s key planning elements. This newsletter is talking about BUILDING FORM. If you would like to take a deeper dive into all the public feedback received or read the full reports, go to the Documents webpage or click the links throughout this newsletter.

The Key Planning Elements are: 

  • Land Use  
  • Economic Vitality 
  • Housing 
  • Building Form 
  • Transportation, Connectivity, and Urban Design 
  • Public Schools, Facilities, and Spaces 
  • Historic and Cultural Resources 
  • Sustainability and Resilience 

Have you weighed in on the corridor-wide objectives or neighborhood improvements and benefits that are most important to you? There's a feedback form on the PLB webpage that will close on Friday, March 25. 

Building Form 

Goal: Transform Langston Boulevard and its neighborhoods into a walkable environment with context‐sensitive buildings 

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill 

In the past 100 years, building form has been influenced by the need to accommodate cars. Less emphasis has been placed on defining spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists, resulting in buildings and spaces that could be almost anywhere. The buildings we live and work in have an impact on our health and wellbeing. We should construct and manage them responsibly—using natural resources when possible, meeting energy goals, and contributing to effective stormwater management. 

The placement of buildings—their scale, orientation, and aesthetics; how vehicles move and park around them; and their relationship to each other—becomes an integral part of land use discussions. Establishing guidance for building form can help development fit into context, ensuring it engages with streets and creates a transition in scale, height, and character appropriate for the corridor and surrounding neighborhoods. There is a wide array of building forms in the Plan Langston Boulevard study area, often defined by their parking configurations and requirements, which makes planning more difficult. Only certain parcels along Langston Boulevard are large enough to accommodate new development with appropriate building scale to meet mixed-use formats and contemporary building design for residential development, as well as building mass transitions, parking, and landscape buffers.  

The Plan envisions transforming Langston Boulevard into a main street—bringing buildings closer to the street and moving parking to the rear of the site or underground to create welcoming spaces for people to walk and bike. The plan for Langston Boulevard will

  • Encourage diverse building types and sizes 
  • Develop guidelines for building form and design character that fit into neighborhood context 
  • Focus areas for new building height levels: 
    • at key nodes and intersections,  
    • in areas accessible to bus routes or near Metro, 
    • on parcels with sufficient depth for appropriate transitions to the lower residential edges, and  
    • in places where other infrastructure, topography, or natural environment allow  
  • Define maximum building heights, minimum building setbacks, pervious area requirements, and areas where step downs in height or other transitions are needed  
  • Encourage ground floor uses that support the community with welcoming streets, pedestrian pathways, and trails 
  • Designate desired locations for parking access and loading/service bays 

Incentivizing Community Improvements, High Performance Buildings, and Quality Architecture 

Community benefits and improvements cannot be provided by the public sector alone. It will take collaboration between landowners and the County to share responsibilities and establish a mutually beneficial outcome. 

Existing by-right development has not always been embraced by the community and has done little to meet Plan Langston Boulevard’s goals. Many parcels along the corridor are small, constrained, and frequently under individual ownership, making consolidation a challenge in the absence of development incentives. The County’s special exception process could achieve some improvements and benefits but has additional costs and an extensive public review process that can make it infeasible. In addition, smaller parcels mean some amenities and infrastructure improvements remain out of reach, which could result in less cohesive improvements from block to block.  

We are working to guide and achieve predictable development along Langston Boulevard. Changes will allow additional building height if landowners provide greater community benefits and improvements than would be provided through by-right development. Height and density above by-right zoning levels can incentivize property owners to assemble parcels where needed and invest in high-performance development that benefits the community and meets Plan Langston Boulevard’s goals. Consolidation of properties fronting the corridor can, for example, establish a cohesive streetscape with underground utilities, separated pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and additional open space. It can also deliver committed affordable units (CAFs), enhanced stormwater management, higher architectural quality, and energy efficient buildings.  

Results of By‐Right Development along Langston Boulevard 
PLB - EFC

In East FallsChurch

  • No street trees
  • Narrow sidewalks
  • Buildings don’t relate to Langston Blvd. (i.e., parking is in front)
  • Ground floor uses don’t encourage pedestrian activity
  • Heavily auto oriented and many curb cuts along Langston Boulevard
  • High percentage of impervious surfaces
PLB - Waverly Hills at Glebe

Waverly Hills 20thRd. & Glebe Rd.

  • Above ground parking
  • No accessible public open space
  • Limited tree canopy along street
  • Buildings front commercial service areas (trash and loading)
  • Buildings along streets ‐ partially below grade to fit within the 40-foot height limit
  • Buildings along single family areas are 5 stories and set back approximately 40 feet
  • Very large block with limited walkability, connectivity, and vehicular circulation
2016 Visioning Study Report + Building Form

According to the 2016 Visioning Study Report, the plan for Langston Boulevard will strengthen neighborhoods by emphasizing unique architectural character, public space activities, and sensitive transitions.

The building form recommendations in the report include:

  • Encouraging high level activity and visual appeal at the ground level
  • Defining levels of intensity and specific building height parameters along corridor
  • Smoothing height transitions between commercial and residential uses
  • Promoting distinct neighborhood character through architectural design
  • Maintaining existing residential character in residential sections along corridor, as well as areas adjacent to residential neighborhoods
  • Creating ample sidewalks, high-quality landscaping, and intuitive wayfinding
  • Considering alternative parking solutions (e.g., on-street, rear, shared, public, structured)
Existing Conditions Analysis Report + Building Form

The Existing Conditions Analysis Report  evaluated building frontages along Langston Boulevard and other commercial corridors to understand how buildings interface with the street to create active use on the ground floor. It also analyzed the typical building types and design to understand the character and identity they create, as well as building heights and issues of transition created by height and mass, and activity or use.

The ECA showed that in the Langston Boulevard planning area:

  • Cherrydale and East Falls Church buildings have more ground floor uses and windows that activate the street with parking behind or under buildings.
  • Most commercial buildings along Langston Boulevard have fewer windows, less inviting doorways, large blank walls and parking lots in the front.
  • Service and loading areas along the rear of commercial buildings are often adjacent to single-family homes.
  • The Lee Harrison shopping center uses topography to reduce impacts of service areas to the adjoining neighborhood.
  • There are many types of residential development in the planning area that range in size (1/4 to 7+ acres) and height (2 to 9+ stories).
  • Single-family and townhouses are the most prominent residential typologies in the edge areas.
  • High-rise buildings are only in a few locations, including Waverly Hills and North Highlands, and there are abrupt transitions between buildings of different scales (9 stories vs. 2 stories).
  • In East Falls Church, recent mixed-use infill development relates well to adjacent neighborhoods by placing buildings of greater mass and height away from existing single-family homes. Townhomes are also used as a transitional building type.
  • Nearly all buildings fronting Langston Boulevard are 4 stories or less.
  • Most taller buildings are set back significantly from the street.
  • Roughly half of the parcels along Langston Boulevard are less than 90-feet deep, which complicates redevelopment and makes achieving transitions in height more challenging.
Neighborhood Inspiration Report + Building Form

As reported in the Neighborhood Inspiration Report (see also the NIR Appendix), designing ground floor uses to make the street a welcoming environment was the most important design issue to address, while appropriate building height and mass transitions was the second most important across all neighborhoods. In 2050, the building forms in our neighborhoods will: 

Area 1: Arlington East Falls Church 

  • Embrace and demonstrate diversity, from people to building types, and experiences
  • Be more urban and vibrant

Area 2: John M. Langston, Yorktown, Tara Leeway Heights, Leeway Overlee 

  • Have buildings along Langston Boulevard that front the street with parking under, or at rear, with wider sidewalks and street trees
  • Feel like a neighborhood, human scale and not like any other part of Arlington under redevelopment with tall mixed-use buildings that have no character
  • Allow for some missing middle housing types, outside of Lee-Harrison intersection and Langston Boulevard, integrated into existing fabric that have a similar appearance, size, and height as existing 1930s homes with trees and green spaces
  • Be inviting and feel charming
  • Retain the look and feel of a small-scale community neighborhood—changes should blend in with surrounding single-family homes rather than stand out and should not replicate the Metro corridor
  • Have a mix of height, scales, and architectural styles, like in Cleveland Park in DC (along Connecticut Avenue)
  • Have buildings along Langston Boulevard that are built to the edge of the sidewalk and parking will be secondary
  • Have buildings with front yards and setbacks
  • Have strong connections to nature and integration of greenery and open space to create a feeling of openness between buildings and in the public realm
  • Retain historic features, such as the architecture, built form, Sears Houses
  • Incorporate new buildings designed to be compatible with historic homes and buildings in the neighborhood, with biophilic designs, and adhering to highest standards for energy efficiency and sustainability (solar panels and storage for resiliency)

Area 5: North Highlands + Lyon Village 

  • Have diversity of people and housing types
  • Easily be able to walk or bike to commercial areas and neighborhood retail
  • Be sustainable, dense, and have mixed-use
  • Retain the quiet, low-density neighborhood in Lyon Village that is a convenient and enjoyable living space
Land Use Scenario Analysis + Building Form

Through several public feedback engagements with the Land Use Scenario Analysis, the community shared that they would only support additional height in some areas if it provided a combination of:

  • Committed affordable units
  • Decreased building footprint/paved surface
  • Increased pervious areas and tree canopy

The key areas of concern regarding increased height are:

  • Impact on schools and traffic
  • Additional height not resulting in affordable housing and instead offering luxury units
  • Confirming maximum height (i.e., that max heights in the Langston Boulevard plan will prevail over the Zoning Ordinance bonus height regulations)

The height preferences by area are:

  • Area 1: specific heights not discussed
  • Area 2: no greater than 2 or 3 stories
  • Area 3: no greater than 7 stories (up to 8 in limited areas)
  • Area 4: no greater than 7 stories
  • Area 5: up to 4 to more than 15 stories

March 11, 2022 - Key Planning Elements: Housing

Key Planning Elements Series: Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of this newsletter series on Plan Langston Boulevard’s key planning elements. This week, our newsletter is talking about HOUSING.In this newsletter, we outline the planning element goal and provide a brief summary of what has been shared previously. If you would like to take a deeper dive into all the public feedback received or read the full reports, go to theDocuments webpageor click the links throughout this newsletter.

The Key Planning Elements are:

  • Land Use
  • Economic Vitality
  • Housing
  • Building Form
  • Transportation, Connectivity, and Urban Design
  • Public Schools, Facilities, and Spaces
  • Historic and Cultural Resources
  • Sustainability and Resilience

Housing

Goal: Welcome residents who want to age in place, families, young professionals, middle‐income households, and households at 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI)

Housing is an integral pillar of equity and economic development.

Arlington County, like many neighboring jurisdictions, has a shortage of housing—apartments, condos, detached homes, townhouses, and duplexes—for low- and middle-income community members due to high land values and construction costs. Under the current zoning, there is a limit on the housing types permitted along Langston Boulevard. In addition, did you know that rowhouses, such as those found in historic Glebewood and several other locations beyond Langston Boulevard, were banned for 30 years after the County amended the Zoning Ordinance in 1938 and found that rowhouses “detracted” from the single-family character of the County? That is one reason why this housing is less prevalent in the County today.

Expanding housing options enables equitable access for people of all races, ages, and income levels, including housing for residents who want to age in place, young families, and people with disabilities. New housing will provide better access to services for all populations, helping to reduce disparities and enhancing individual opportunity and wellbeing.

Separate from Plan Langston Boulevard, Arlington County is conducting theMissing Middle Housing Studyto explore how new housing types could help address the County’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices.

Embracing land use changes and new development increases housing supply, creates more housing choices, and improves affordability.More homes along the corridorwill also provide the ridership needed to support investments in more frequent transit service, enhanced amenities, pedestrian improvements, and dedicated bicycle infrastructure.

Aging in Place

Many seniors indicate that they would prefer to age in place. The physical environment within the study area—including existing conditions that separate residential and commercial areas, the absence of adequate transportation services, and limited accessible housing—presents barriers to elder health and wellbeing. Paratransit service is key for older adults to stay autonomous and engaged in their community.

Market-rate Affordable Housing Units (MARKs) and Committed Affordable Units (CAFs)

The Affordable Housing Master Plan’s (AHMP) goal for Langston Boulevard is to achieve 2,500 affordable units (MARKs and CAFs with rents at or below 60% AMI) by 2040. MARKs are market-rate affordable housing units that have “naturally occurring” rents that are affordable to low- and moderate-income households by virtue of the age, location, condition, or amenities of the properties. There is no guarantee that these homes will remain affordable to lower-income households. As of FY 2021, there were 538 MARKs (at or below 60% AMI) along the corridor. COVID-19 caused an increase in MARKs due to rent rates decreasing. Rents are rebounding quickly, though, so it is likely that the number of MARKs will fall again this year. Some neighborhoods in the study area feature smaller homes, however, many have been torn down, renovated, and re-built with expensive large houses. In addition, some garden apartments have been torn down and replaced with new apartments—using existing by-right zoning standards—without community review or the inclusion of County- and community-desired features that could have been achieved had the projects gone through public review like we envision in the future, according to the Plan for Langston Boulevard.

A few nonprofit affordable housing providers own properties along Langston Boulevard and have worked with the County to provide committed affordable units, or CAFs. CAFs are guaranteed to remain affordable for an extended period of time subject to both rent restrictions and income restrictions for tenants. CAFs can also be incorporated into market-rate developments creating a mixed-income living environment. As of FY 2021, there were 266 CAFs along the corridor. Senior housing at Hunter’s Part Apartments in Cherrydale accounts for 74 of these CAFs. Most of the other 188 CAFs are in garden apartment buildings that could be redeveloped, following new PLB guidance, to create even more affordable units in the corridor.

In total, as of FY 2021, there were approximately 800 affordable units, including both MARKs and CAFs, along the corridor—nearly 30 percent of the County’s AHMP goal. Bridging the gap of approximately 1,700 affordable units to meet the goal is a big endeavor.

The plan for Langston Boulevard willguide public and private investments, including the development of new residential, mixed-use, and infill residential development with the aim of addressing housing demand and diversifying housing opportunities for all ages and incomes. Specifically, the plan will:

  • Identify planning and zoning changes needed to create opportunities for a range of housing types and affordability
  • Establish a minimum percentage of required CAFs for all site plan developments
  • Designate areas at key nodes and in areas near transit for more density and building height to attain more committed affordable units and other community improvements
  • Guide increases in density and building height on existing CAF sites
  • Provide incentives to owners to help preserve existing MARKs and/or convert MARKs to CAFs

Have you weighed in on the corridor-wide objectives or neighborhood improvements and benefits that are most important to you? There'sa feedback form on the PLB webpage.

2016 Visioning Study Report + Housing

According to the2016 Visioning Study Report, the plan for Langston Boulevard will encourage a range of housing choices to meet the needs of families, students, and older adults who wish to stay in place, as well as support living closer to transit, jobs, shopping, services, and universities.

The housing recommendations in the report include:

  • Increasing residential variety to include multi-family apartment homes and other housing types, including duplexes, townhouses, and accessory units.
  • Enabling development of housing for the elderly.
  • Promoting development of housing types that allow people to stay in their neighborhood or “age in place.”
  • Evaluating the potential for increased density to enhance development feasibility.
  • Evaluating the potential affordability requirement on all new developments.

Existing Conditions Analysis Report + Housing

TheExisting Conditions AnalysisReportshared that in the Langston Boulevard planning area:

  • 43% of housing units are single-family detached, 46% are multifamily, and 11% are other (townhomes and two-family). Single-family detached zoning districts comprise approximately 70% of the total land area, whereas, multi-family zoning districts comprise only approximately 11% of the total land area.
  • Only 15% of housing units are considered affordable housing (CAFs and MARKs up to 80% AMI).
  • The current housing mix provides limited opportunities for housing affordability and additional housing types beyond single-family homes.
  • Existing development standards in the Zoning Ordinance, including minimum parking requirements and minimum lot size requirements, impede development of diverse housing types.
  • External factors, including high land acquisition and construction costs, also constrain design and construction of diverse and affordable housing.
  • The work to date on the Housing Conservation District (HCD) areas on Langston Boulevard will be brought into the land use scenarios.
  • The work to develop draft Zoning Ordinance amendments to implement the HCD will occur concurrently with the planning process, and HCD recommendations will be coordinated with ideas and materials emerging from PLB.
  • No amendments for HCD would be adopted for the PLB areas until further reconciliation occurs, with input from the County Board.

Neighborhood Inspiration Report+ Housing

The community identified the following housing-related priority actions in theNeighborhood Inspiration Report:(see also the NIRAppendix)

Area 1: Arlington East Falls Church

  • Increase density along transportation corridors with good design and beautification
  • Add garden-style apartments just outside of EFC Plan along Langston Boulevard, Sycamore Street, and Washington Boulevard
  • Add townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and accessory dwellings in single-family areas

Area 2: John M. Langston, Yorktown, Tara Leeway Heights, Leeway Overlee

  • Explore potential for historic district designation (State not local) of neighborhoods to obtain financial incentives for preservation
  • Consider zoning of single-family areas to include a range of housing types
  • Plan for multi-family as part of activity node development

Area 3: Waverly Hills, Donaldson Run, Old Dominion, Glebewood, Waycroft Woodlawn

  • Encourage and promote diverse housing types
  • Encourage innovative building techniques
  • Promote workforce housing
  • Protect affordable housing goals
  • Address racial and economic segregation by encouraging diversity and integrating affordable housing
  • Connect housing with transit - plan for density in line with MWCOG housing goals for region and higher provision of transit services

Area 4: Cherrydale + Maywood

  • Financial assistance to County employees
  • Tools to increase affordable units, as part of development process, such as allowing for greater density

Area 5: North Highlands + Lyon Village

  • Remove regulatory barriers that prohibit density and new forms
  • Allow non-conforming missing middle to conform and continue to be built

Land Use Scenario Analysis + Housing

Through several public feedback engagements with theLand Use Scenario Analysis, the community shared concern about the loss of existing MARKs and the consolidation of single-family residential edges with commercial development. Participants expressed support for the following aspirations.

  • Incorporating more diverse housing options, including affordable housing in some areas
  • Preserving and enhancing existing affordability
  • Integrating housing types that transition well to lower density residential areas
  • Providing housing for essential workers near EFC Metro
  • Creating opportunities for independent senior living
  • Incentivizing production of affordable units in exchange for density in some areas

A mailer was sent to approximately 14,875 mailing addresses within the civic associations that intersect with the PLB study area. Click on the image below to view the full mailer.

 

March 3, 2022 - Key Planning Elements: Economic Vitality

Key Planning Elements Series: Part 2

Welcome back! This week, we are continuing to catch everyone up on what you may have missed earlier in this planning study with our next newsletter on one of the study’s key planning elements. This week, our newsletter is talking about ECONOMIC VITALITY.

In this newsletter, we outline the planning element goal and provide a brief summary of what has been shared previously. If you would like to take a deeper dive into all the public feedback received or read the full reports, go to the Documents webpage or click the links throughout this newsletter.

The Key Planning Elements are:

  • Land Use
  • Economic Vitality
  • Housing
  • Building Form
  • Transportation, Connectivity, and Urban Design
  • Public Schools, Facilities, and Spaces
  • Historic and Cultural Resources
  • Sustainability and Resilience

Economic Vitality

Goal: Strengthen the diverse commercial base

Economic vitality means healthy businesses, vibrant retail, more services, jobs, and a larger tax base to benefit the County budget and all taxpayers.

There has been a dramatic shift in the way people shop as the face of retail changes from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping. National and local trends point to the need for integrated experiences where food, culture, shopping, education, and wellness are blended and housed in flexible spaces that can adapt to a variety of commercial uses over time. With significant regional competition, future businesses along the corridor must offer a unique experience and distinguished goods and services. Integrating businesses into walkable mixed-used areas is key to creating destinations that align with many customers’ desired experiences.

A Plan for Langston Boulevard Strengthens Local Economy

Today, sit-down restaurant, clothing and apparel, fitness, health care, and entertainment uses are less prevalent along Langston Boulevard and a significant share of current retail is small spaces with little room to add new concepts, such as maker spaces for brewing, 3D printing, fashion, food preparation, and tech, that can support and enhance the desired green main street. There is also insufficient residential density to support new businesses.

Changing the zoning and land use along Langston Boulevard to allow mixed-use development, increased housing density, and additional types of commercial uses will support new businesses. For small businesses, removing zoning barriers to enter the corridor and achieving a variety of spaces (both in size and location) to help deliver options for rent and scale is vital.

Diverse new development will enhance the already economically healthy corridor. Businesses will be better positioned for the future and an increase in the tax base will benefit the County budget—bringing in more resources to realize important community amenities and improvements, such as better transit service and protection against flooding.

How a Plan for Langston Boulevard will Benefit Businesses

  • Establishing mixed-use activity nodes with open spaces and community facilities to create “social hubs” of different services and activities that attract a broad spectrum of people, promote social activity, and strengthen neighborhood businesses.
  • Giving special attention to providing flexible ground floor space that can readily adapt over time to a variety of new businesses, providing new jobs and opportunities near housing. These include start-ups, incubators, and co-working spaces, small-to-midscale hospitality, childcare services, and businesses in the fitness, gym, and lifestyle market.
  • Adding new housing and residents within walking distance will strengthen local businesses. Growing work from home trends can strengthen corridor businesses as well.
  • Creating an environment through new biophilic conditions, enhanced tree canopy, and open space where residents can comfortably gather, connect, and recreate.
  • Creating ample protected space for pedestrians and cyclists along with enhanced transit service to improve access to businesses along the corridor.
  • Establishing convenient, consolidated, shared parking will support businesses while decreasing the need for vehicle use between commercial properties.

Have you weighed in on the corridor-wide objectives or neighborhood improvements and benefits that are most important to you? There's currently a live feedback form on the PLB webpage.

2016 Visioning Study Report + Economic Vitality

According to the 2016 Visioning Study Report, the Langston Boulevard corridor will maintain economic vitality by encouraging a diverse mix of services and destinations, and by using innovative economic development strategies.

The economic vitality recommendations in the report include:

  • Defining the economic role of the corridor within the County and the region
  • Pursuing infrastructure investments, such as parking and public open space, to support mixed-use development in walkable nodes
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship and more jobs along the corridor
  • Streamlining the development approval process to address the needs of small property owners
  • Exploring the need for direct business assistance for façade improvements
  • Evaluating alternative financing and other incentives
  • Exploring the creation of a public-private partnership (i.e., Business Improvement District) to implement the vision
  • Participating in County-wide initiatives to diversify the local economy and reduce barriers to redevelopment 

Existing Conditions Analysis Report + Economic Vitality

Promoting and strengthening a diverse commercial base requires understanding the existing market and exploring ways to encourage more businesses that are well suited to the area. The planning process is identifying macro-economic trends, evaluating how much and what type of development is needed, and identifying additional opportunities for diversification.

The Existing Conditions Analysis Report shared that:

  • The Langston Boulevard economy is diverse, with a wide range of neighborhood-serving business types.
  • Roughly 25% of ground floor businesses offer a dining or food and beverage experience.
  • Langston Boulevard has low vacancy and low turnover thanks to:
    • high traffic that exposes businesses to thousands of customers daily,
    • a mix of local-serving businesses and services, and
    • moderate rents.
  • Because of high occupancy and lack of available space, there is little room to add new retail concepts in the short term. There is a need to create more space (through parcel assemblage, owner cooperation, etc.), particularly for destination centers.
  • Residents along the corridor have a higher household median income, a higher share of owner-occupied housing, and a larger household size (compared to broader Arlington County).
  • National and local trends that could influence the business mix and new opportunities along the corridor include:
    • advances in computers, automation, and artificial intelligence;
    • an increase in freelance workers;
    • the need for flexible spaces that can adapt to a variety of commercial needs;
    • a decline in retail jobs; and
    • a need for integrating shopping with other consumer experiences where food, culture, education and wellness are blended.
  • Establishing creditworthiness for new businesses and proving new business models in a changing marketplace can create risk for building owners.
  • Redevelopment along the corridor may create difficult conditions for existing smaller businesses. 

Neighborhood Inspiration Report + Economic Vitality

The community identified the following economic vitality-related priority actions in the Neighborhood Inspiration Report: (also see the NIR Appendix)

Area 1: Arlington East Falls Church

  • Support local businesses through incentives to keep the area affordable
  • Increase the number of places to eat
  • Encourage new forms of commercial uses, such as WeWork

Area 2: John M. Langston, Yorktown, Tara Leeway Heights, Leeway Overlee

  • Façade improvements and general beautification along the corridor
  • Easier access to businesses and more parking
  • Fewer chain stores
  • More quality businesses
  • Identifying a program to assist small businesses
  • Maintaining affordability so local businesses stay

Area 3: Waverly Hills, Donaldson Run, Old Dominion, Glebewood, Waycroft Woodlawn

  • Provide support to existing local businesses
  • Invest in infrastructure and schools
  • Allow ground floors to be versatile and adaptable to a variety of uses
  • Adopt flexible parking requirements and strategies that encourage shared parking solutions
  • Promote outdoor dining options
  • Promote uses that support community and healthy living

Area 4: Cherrydale + Maywood

  • Reconsider height and density restrictions along Langston Boulevard to allow mid-rise mixed-use development

Area 5: North Highlands + Lyon Village

  • Allow for commercial flexibility so that current uses may be adapted to future uses
  • Change zoning to accommodate new businesses (e.g., light manufacturing that is consumer facing, doggie day cares, kids facilities) and expand areas where medical offices are allowed
  • Explore tools available for small business owners 

Land Use Scenario Analysis + Economic Vitality

Through several public feedback engagements on the Land Use Scenario Analysis, the community shared concerns about the potential for loss of small businesses and expressed support for the following:

  • More businesses and mixed-use:
    • at the EFC Metro station site
    • along the four corners of Langston Boulevard and N. Harrison Street
    • in the Garden City shops and N. George Mason Drive
    • along both sides of Langston Boulevard between N. Glebe Road and N. Woodstock Street/Lorcom Lane
    • in the northwest and southwest corners of Spout Run Parkway and Langston Boulevard
    • at the Airforce Association site in North Highlands east
  • Implementation of the Cherrydale Revitalization Plan and some support for additional mixed-use development in areas outside Cherrydale Revitalization District
  • A grocery store in EFC
  • Flexible ground floor spaces to encourage food production/maker space uses
  • Job creation through appropriate land uses
  • Urban agriculture on rooftops and within buildings (e.g., community gardens, hydroponics, floriculture)
  • Improving aesthetics and function of the strip commercial highway frontage
  • More public parking off-street, and on-street, to support existing and new businesses
  • Increasing residential density and expanding commercial zoning areas to support new local businesses in some locations

February 23, 2022 - Key Planning Elements: Land Use

PLB Timeline in Blue
What's to Come and What You Missed

Welcome to the many new subscribers that have joined us since the new year! We're glad you're here! If you know someone who would like to learn about this study, please forward them this email and encourage them to subscribe.

Arlington’s planning team is developing a Preliminary Concept Plan (PCP) for the Langston Boulevard corridor. The PCP will describe planning goals, policies, and recommendations for private and public investment within the study area for review by the community and the County.

The PCP will be based on previously shared planning ideas and input from the community. There will be opportunities for additional public feedback, and the plan will be updated again before review and adoption.

This week, we are kicking off a newsletter series about each of the study’s key planning elements. In each newsletter, we will outline one key planning element goal and what has been shared previously on that topic.

The Key Planning Elements are:

  • Land Use
  • Economic Vitality
  • Housing
  • Building Form
  • Transportation, Connectivity, and Urban Design
  • Public Schools, Facilities, and Spaces
  • Historic and Cultural Resources
  • Sustainability and Resilience

 

This week, our newsletter is talking about LAND USE.

 

Land Use
Goal: Transform Langston Boulevard into a main street corridor.
Benefits of Land Use Changes

A top priority in the community is to transform Langston Boulevard into a Green Main Street. To become a Green Main Street, a more mixed-use land use pattern with higher density development and more residents in walkable destinations is needed. New density makes the transformation economically viable for the private sector and has several co-benefits that improve quality of life along Langston Boulevard and adjoining neighborhoods.  

Land use changes will provide more housing choice and affordability, walk-in customers, open space, streetscape and safety improvements, increased bicycle and transit ridership, an enhanced built environment, awareness of history and culture through public art, reduced energy usage and emissions, and reduced flooding and improved water quality. These changes will likely take decades, but the plan for Langston Boulevard will provide guidance when property owners are ready to take action. 

Have you weighed in on the corridor-wide objectives or neighborhood improvements and benefits that are most important to you?  

There's currently a live feedback form on the PLB webpage asking for this input. 

2016 Visioning Study Report + Land Use

Building on the initial grassroots community engagement, the County conducted a community visioning process in 2015. This process helped determine the long-term vision for Langston Boulevard that calls for it to become a walkable main street with neighborhood activity centers between Rosslyn and East Falls Church. The 2016 visioning report served as a starting point for aspirational goals and more focused community discussions around the key planning elements.

The land use recommendations in the report include:

  • Establishing the location and boundary of multiple mixed-use centers or hubs of activity;
  • Identifying where mixed-use is desired or required;
  • Defining centers, edges, and sensitive transition areas in each node;
  • Establishing great destinations to enhance walkability;
  • Creating opportunities for increased residential, office, and commercial uses; and
  • Identifying potential redevelopment sites.

 

Existing Conditions Analysis Report + Land Use

The Existing Conditions Analysis Report built on community conversations, open house events, focus groups, and a walking tour. The report examines the existing land uses in the study area and identifies potential opportunities and constraints for supporting the goal of transforming the corridor into a Green Main Street. This report determined potential areas for change, potential types of change, and where transitions in use will be most important.

The report showed that the core study area is:

  • primarily auto-dominated and characterized by low-rise commercial uses with pockets of residential
  • missing mixed-use development that supports a walkable, “main street” environment
  • limited by the current land use vision and zoning framework

The report also shared that the planning process would be testing the potential for different types of development, appropriate levels of density/building height, and the locations of uses, while also identifying any land use and zoning changes that will be needed. 

Neighborhood Inspiration Report + Land Use

The Neighborhood Inspiration Report highlights what we have and appreciate in our neighborhoods today and community aspirations for what they can become. This analysis established a strong foundation for the land use scenarios that were shared with the community in April 2021. The community identified the following priority actions:

Area 1: Arlington East Falls Church

  • Revise zoning to:
    • allow for greater variety of housing types and
    • promote sustainability while retaining green spaces and adding full canopy trees.
  • Increase density in the East Falls Church (EFC) Area Plan
  • Redevelop the Metro parking lot according to EFC Area Plan with west entrance to station

Area 2: John M. Langston, Yorktown, Tara Leeway Heights, Leeway Overlee

  • Reexamine lot coverage
  • Prioritize mixed-use development instead of townhouses to preserve strong commercial core
  • Develop the four corners of the Langston Boulevard and Harrison Street intersection
  • Reduce gas stations and banks
  • Focus on walkability and transit
  • Revise zoning to increase density and allow for greater diversity of housing
  • Preserve green space and parks and find new park space

Area 3: Waverly Hills, Donaldson Run, Old Dominion, Glebewood, Waycroft Woodlawn

  • Increase flexibility in design and zoning regulations (including parking) and streamline review process to make it easier to build
  • Integrate stormwater management into all future plans and designs
  • Consolidate parcels for walkability

Area 4: Cherrydale + Maywood

  • Identify and preserve locations for schools to accommodate the potential for increased population

Area 5: North Highlands + Lyon Village

  • Conduct analysis for potential zoning changes
  • Consider rezoning
  • Review public facility needs and co-location of uses 
Land Use Scenario Analysis

In April 2021, the Land Use Scenario Analysis, which included preliminary ideas for land use mixes and intensities, was shared with the community. Through several public feedback engagements, the community expressed support for the following ideas:

  • More residential development if committed affordable units are required as part of redevelopment (except in Area 2, where there is concern with adding density)
  • Mixed-use development
  • Flexibility in ground floor uses

The community also reported several concerns, including commercial or mixed-use development that encroaches on existing low-density residential areas; consolidating Langston Blvd frontage properties with adjacent residential properties to achieve mixed-use development; planning for missing middle housing forms with greater density than one-family at the edges of the corridor; loss of existing Market-Rate Affordable Units due to redevelopment; addition of affordable housing in certain neighborhoods; changes in property values; changes in character; and loss of small businesses.

Based on community feedback, the planning team will:

  • Focus proposed redevelopment at key nodes and intersections
  • Revisit proposed building heights to strike a balance between feasible development & community input
  • Re-consider which residential edges immediately adjacent to commercial areas may be needed to facilitate mixed-use, affordable housing and/or other improvements along Langston Blvd frontage
  • Analyze missing middle types and forms through the Missing Middle Housing Study
    • This is no longer a specific component of PLB.
  • Refine the land use scenarios to develop a Preliminary Concept Plan for further review and community discussion

February 11, 2022 - PLB Mailer

A mailer was sent on Friday, February 11 to approximately 14,875 mailing addresses within the civic associations that intersect with the PLB study area.

 

December 17, 2021 - Follow Up on the December 13 Community Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended the Monday, December 13 community meeting to provide feedback and learn more about Plan Langston Boulevard. More than 300 people tuned in over the two and a half hour meeting. 

We appreciate your eagerness to engage in meaningful discussions to help guide us in making informed decisions. The planning team continues to refine the ideas presented in the spring and is developing a Preliminary Concept Plan (PCP) for the Langston Boulevard corridor to be shared in early 2022.

With prior feedback, including from this week, we have a better understanding of the priorities to be addressed in each area. We also understand the very strong concerns that many community members have expressed to one or more ideas that have been presented in the planning process. Updates to the planning ideas, based on community feedback, will be reflected in the PCP. The PCP will also identify the potential system-wide and/or site changes that may be needed to the transportation network, public parks, schools, and other public facilities to support a future growth scenario.

We have posted a video recording of the community meeting along with a transcript of the chat that took place during the meeting. Both can be found on the study's Documents page. 

Please note, two items have been redacted in the public record of the chat. One comment was profanity, and the other included personal contact information from one of the meeting participants. 

There were a number of questions and comments shared in the chat that the planning team was not able to address during the meeting. Questions and comments will be grouped by theme and addressed in 2022. 

We look forward to keeping an open line of communication with the community and continuing to hear your feedback during future public engagement opportunities.

November 29, 2021 - Join Us December 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Plan Langston Boulevard staff invite you to participate in a meeting on Monday, December 13, 2021, to discuss topics of interest and concern to the communities living and working along Langston Boulevard. 

Topics will include:

  • A review of the Land Use Scenario Feedback Summary
    • Priorities
    • Concerns
    • Key considerations for the Preliminary Concept Plan 
  • Proactively managing change along Langston Boulevard
    • Benefits of planning with the community
    • Achieving desired goals and managing impacts, such as:
      • Walkability
      • School capacity
      • Flood resiliency
      • Shared mobility (cars, bikes, pedestrians, and buses)

September 30, 2021 - Release of Feedback on Plan Langston Boulevard Land Use Scenario Analysis

Thank you again to everyone who has provided feedback on Plan Langston Boulevard. Community input is an invaluable guide to the planning process. One of the Planning Team’s goals is to open the door to meaningful discussions with the community, and to make informed decisions. We have been busy reading through your feedback and now have a better understanding of the concerns and priorities to be addressed in each area.

We have prepared a Summary of the Feedback received for the entire corridor, organized by topic. This document also includes a summary of the feedback received by neighborhood area.

We invite you to view the study’s Documents page to dig into the raw data collected for the entire corridor and each neighborhood area as we work to develop a Preliminary Concept Plan.

July 28, 2021 - Your Feedback: Plan Langston Boulevard Land Use Scenario Analysis

Thank you to everyone who attended Neighborhood Area Meetings (April-June 2021) and provided feedback on the recent preliminary ideas included in the Land Use Scenario Analysis for the five neighborhood areas along the corridor. The Planning Team’s goal with the land use scenarios was to open the door to meaningful discussions with the community, and to make informed decisions. We have heard from so many of you–in the form of survey responses, meeting comments, and direct email outreach–and appreciate your eagerness to engage on this important study. The Planning Team now has a better understanding of the concerns and challenges to be addressed in each area.

At this time, we are still in Phase 2 of a four-phase process to develop a long-range plan for the corridor which will help guide decisions for the next 30 years or more, although future updates to the Plan could occur. The Planning Team is continuing to read through your feedback, comments, and ideas. If you have any final comments to share, please submit them by email to planlangstonblvd@arlingtonva.us by Tuesday, August 3, 2021. In August, we will be posting the feedback we’ve received by that date.

The Planning Team will utilize that information to review the aspirational goals, refine the ideas, and develop a Preferred Concept Plan (PCP). We aim to share a PCP later this year, at which point there will be another opportunity to provide input. Based on that community input, the PCP will then be refined again (Phase 3) before it goes to the various commissions and County Board for review and ultimately approval (Phase 4). Please check the project website periodically for schedule updates.

Please visit the study’s Documents page to review presentation materials, including the land use scenario analysis. The Neighborhood Inspiration Report and Appendix provide a detailed summary of the community feedback received during previous workshops for all of the neighborhood areas.

We also recently updated the FAQs that are posted on our webpage. These may help provide answers to some common concerns and questions, including eminent domain and rezoning.

Renaming U.S. Route 29

On Saturday, July 17, the County Board voted unanimously to officially rename U.S. Route 29 to Langston Boulevard within the boundaries of Arlington County between North Lynn Street to the western border of Arlington County with the City of Falls Church.

Soon, we will be updating our webpages, newsletters, and other presentation materials to reflect the name change.

April 13, 2021 | Updated April 29, 2021 - Review the Land Use Scenario Analysis: Neighborhood Area Meetings & Online Feedback Opportunity

What are the best ideas to guide future development of Lee Highway? Help us learn more about your preferences as you review preliminary, conceptual ideas. The Plan Lee Highway team has developed different land use scenarios for five neighborhood areas based on previous community input and study area analysis. The scenarios will be reviewed with the community through a series of neighborhood area meetings and an online feedback opportunity.

Land Use Scenario Analysis Purpose and Introduction

Additional presentations about each neighborhood area will be shared at the community meetings below and posted to the project website.

Neighborhood Areas

To learn which neighborhood area you are located in, view the study map:

 Neighborhood Area Meeting Date & Time 

Area 2: Presentation & Panel Discussion | Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m.

Area 2: Community Meeting | Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m.

Areas 3 & 4: Presentation & Panel Discussion | Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m.

Areas 3 & 4: Community Meeting | Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

Areas 1 & 5: Presentation & Panel Discussion | Thursday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

Areas 1 & 5: Community Meeting | Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m.

*Unable to attend? Recordings of each meeting will be posted to the Study Documents page.

Online Feedback Opportunity 

  • Feedback opportunities for each neighborhood area will be posted as each community meeting concludes.
  • Your input will help the team develop a preferred Concept Plan, to be reviewed with the community in Fall 2021. 

November 1, 2020 - Phase 2 Underway: Developing Ideas

Phase II: Developing Ideas is now underway for the Plan Lee Highway process. Over the next several months, the team will be conducting interviews with property owners along the corridor to understand their short and long-term plans, while working to develop land use scenarios that will help visualize different options for the corridor and neighborhood areas.

Each of these scenarios will help evaluate various land uses mixes and intensities within the redevelopment areas in the Core Study Area and residential edges, along with showing strategic combinations of open spaces and street/transit access improvements.

Gathering community input is a critical part of determining which land use scenarios are most viable. Beginning in January, a series of neighborhood focus group meetings will be held to share the preliminary ideas. Feedback on the preliminary ideas will be used to help develop a Preliminary Concept Plan.

A second series of neighborhood focus group meetings will be held to present the Preliminary Concept Plan and gather additional community feedback. This will conclude Phase 2 and initiate Phase 3: Drafting the Plan, in mid-2021.

August 26, 2020 - Digging Into Life on Langston Boulevard with Two New Reports

Since we were last able to gather in person, during the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 PLB Community Workshop, the team has been hard at work on two reports that shed further light on both the background and current life of Langston Boulevard neighborhoods:

We invite you to read through these reports, the final two deliverables of Phase I: Gathering Information of the PLB initiative. These reports, along with all the community feedback and other information gathered during Phase I, set us up for Phase II: Developing Ideas. Phase II builds on the work to develop land use scenarios that will help visualize different options for the corridor and neighborhood areas. Each of these scenarios – there will be several – will help evaluate various land uses mixes and intensities within the redevelopment areas in the Core Study Area, along with showing strategic combinations of open spaces and street/transit access improvements.

Gathering community input is a critical part of determining which land use scenarios are most viable. The team is still working on an engagement plan – stay tuned for details and a schedule!

Once we have gathered community feedback, the team will develop a Preliminary Concept Plan that will wrap up Phase 2 and launch us into Phase 3: Drafting the Plan.

March 23, 2020 - What We Heard: PLB Community Workshop

We saw so many of you at the PLB Community Workshop Jan. 31-Feb. 1., or heard from you online, and we want to thank you for attending and participating in a lively, engaging conversation about how you imagine living, working and doing business on Langston Boulevard in 2050. If you missed either the Friday symposium or the Saturday workshop, catch the presentation videos and documents here.

What We Heard
Since the in-person and digital workshops ended, we have been busy reading through your feedback, comments and ideas. While we work on distilling neighborhood-by-neighborhood highlights, we invite you to dig into the raw data from workshop:

Feedback by Neighborhood

East Falls Church

John M. Langston, Yorktown, Tara Leeway Heights, Leeway Overlee

Waverly Hills, Donaldson Run, Old Dominion, Glebewood, Waycroft-Woodlawn

Cherrydale and Maywood

North Highlands and Lyon Village

How We’re Using the Feedback
The team is currently working on a character area analysis report, fueled by the community input collected during the workshops. This report will highlight community preferences and priorities, as well as, the high-level challenges and opportunities in addressing those preferences and priorities for each neighborhood area. It will also highlight the concepts the planning team intends to study, through the development of the much-anticipated Land Use Scenarios for each neighborhood area, which will begin later this spring. The scenarios will evaluate different land use mixes and intensities within the redevelopment areas, along with possible combinations for public open spaces or other amenities and street and transit access improvements. The character area analysis will be ready in the spring. Stay tuned!

What’s Next
After more than a year of work, the team is wrapping up Phase 1: Gathering Information and will move into Phase 2: Developing Ideas this summer. What can you expect as we move into Phase 2? The team will continue to develop and evaluate – with your feedback and insight – land use scenarios and refine goals for the project.

  • Character area analysis report and engagement: spring
  • Beginning of Phase 2: development of land use scenarios and engagement

February 13, 2020 - PLB Digital Community Workshop: Chime in Now Through Feb. 24

The workshop is over but the conversation continues online! Did you miss the in-person workshop and lively conversation Jan. 31-Feb. 1? See workshop presentation videos and documents here, and chime in online anytime between now and Feb. 24 with our PLB Digital Community Workshop. We had about 100 attendees for Friday’s symposium and 125 at Saturday’s all-day workshop, and even more people are participating online and sharing their feedback. Visit a digital workshop station, grouped by neighborhood, and share your feedback on land use, neighborhood identity & building form, and public spaces, transportation & urban design.

We’re hoping to reach as broad and diverse an audience as we can with the Digital Workshop. Know anyone with an opinion or insight to share – a friend, neighbor or colleague? Forward them the link to the Digital Workshop and encourage them to share their voice. More people working on the future of Langston Boulevard means a better, stronger plan for all of us.

February 1, 2020 - PLB Community Workshop: What We’re Hearing

Residents from all over Langston Boulevard are at W-L Highschool sharing their neighborhood-specific perspectives on what life – and work and business – on Langston Boulevard will look like in 2050. Participants have broken into tables based on neighborhoods and are working through a series of topics, coming to consensus when they can and offering different perspectives at other times. Want to share your voice? Join us in person or online with our Digital Community Workshop through February 24. See presentations from the weekend’s workshop here.

Here’s what we’re hearing so far for possibilities for the future:

  • greater variety and diversity of housing types, without forgetting about affordability
  • creating greater density around transportation corridors
  • location-specific opportunities for increased height and density
  • cohesive, connected neighborhoods
  • thoughtfulness about schools
  • supporting successful local businesses while welcome new ones
  • lowering the speed limit to 25
  • high emphasis on safety in regards to any kind of transportation
  • increased walkability to shared community facilities and attractions

January 31, 2020 - PLB Community Workshop: We Get Started TONIGHT

We’re ready for the community workshop on that begins tonight, Jan. 31 and runs through tomorrow, Feb. 1, 2020. How do you imagine living, working and doing business on Langston Boulevard in 2050? Join us in person or – if you can’t make it this weekend – online with our Digital Community Workshop.

Participate online anytime between now and February 24, and be sure to share the link with any neighbors, friends or colleagues who has feedback to share. The digital workshop mimics the same neighborhood-based stations and topics as the in-person workshop.

Stay tuned to this space all weekend for updates and highlights from the workshop.

January 16, 2020 - Getting Ready for Community Workshop: Economic Vitality Existing Conditions

As we get ready for the community workshop on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020, we’ll be taking a closer look at topic areas in  the Existing Conditions Analysis, a report that provides the team’s initial observations and analysis of how various conditions affect the Langston Boulevard study area. The analysis is based on the County’s preliminary aspirational goals for the 9 key planning elements of the Langston Boulevard process.

This week, we’re looking at highlights from the analysis of the Economic Vitality element:

  • The Langston Boulevard economy is diverse, with a wide range of neighborhood-serving business types that relate to the street and community in different ways.
  • Roughly ¼ of ground floor businesses are some kind of dining or food and beverage experience.
  • Langston Boulevard has low vacancy and low turnover, thanks to high traffic that exposes businesses to thousands of customers daily; a mix of local-serving businesses and services; and moderate rents.
  • In general, the Langston Boulevard market has (compared to Arlington County as a whole): a higher household median income and home value; a higher share of owner-occupied housing; and a larger household size.
  • Langston Boulevard has a competitive advantage for neighborhood-serving businesses, however, there is significant competition for regional businesses from established destinations. Any regionally focused business will have to offer unique experiences and differentiating goods/services.

Learn more with this complete overview of the report, and this Nov. 2 presentation to the Community Forum.

See these findings in action and help develop next steps for the Plan Lee Highway process at the community workshop.

January 9, 2020 - Getting Ready for Community Workshop: Historic and Cultural Resources Existing Conditions

As we get ready for the community workshop on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020, we’ll be taking a closer look at topic areas in  the Existing Conditions Analysis, a report that provides the team’s initial observations and analysis of how various conditions affect the Langston Boulevard study area. The analysis is based on the County’s preliminary aspirational goals for the 9 key planning elements of the Langston Boulevard process.

This week, we’re looking at highlights from the analysis of the Historic and Cultural Resources element:

  • There are 12 historic resources (four individual properties and eight historic districts) listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR) that are wholly or partially in the study Among these are the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department, Highland Park-Overlee Knolls Historic District, Stratford Junior High School and Waverly Hills Historic District.
  • There are 7 County local historic districts (6 individual properties and 1 district) that are wholly or partially in the study area. Among these are Calloway Church, Dawson-Bailey House and Eastman-Fenwick House.
  • A Cultural Resources Survey is currently underway. A total of 120 resources will be surveyed. It will research significant non-traditional resources such as places, people, events and stories in addition to buildings.
  • The resources in the Langston Boulevard survey area that will be prioritized for research, surveying and documentation, have been selected from the sources and/or priorities listed below:
    • Historic Resource Inventory (HRI)
    • Legacy Businesses
    • African-American Resources
    • Civil War Forts
    • Parks, Recreation, Public Spaces, and Community Facilities
    • Properties with frontage on Lee Highway
    • Modern Architecture
  • The survey will be analyzed by staff to provide future recommendations that are consistent with the policies of the Historic Preservation Master Plan and Historic Resources Index, regarding appropriate levels of preservation.

Learn more with this complete overview of the report, and this Nov. 2 presentation to the Community Forum.

See these findings in action and help develop next steps for the PLB process at the community workshop.

January 2, 2020 - Getting Ready for Community Workshop: Public Schools, Facilities and Spaces Existing Conditions

As we get ready for the community workshop on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020, we’ll be taking a closer look at topic areas in  the Existing Conditions Analysis, a report that provides the team’s initial observations and analysis of how various conditions affect the Langston Boulevard study area. The analysis is based on the County’s preliminary aspirational goals for the 9 key planning elements of the Langston Boulevard process.

This week, we’re looking at highlights from the analysis of the Public Schools, Facilities and Spaces element:

  • Public schools are close to or exceeding capacity and will continue to experience increases in enrollment as growth occurs both in and outside the Study Area.
  • Public facilities are interspersed along the corridor providing for cultural, recreational and public safety. They are in various conditions and there is no flex space currently available for other County operational needs to support County residents, such as storage and equipment of materials.
  • Public spaces are also dispersed throughout the corridor and complemented by other publicly accessible (privately-owned) open spaces that form a network of places, of limited connectivity, where people can meet for organized activities and casual use.
  • Public schools, facilities and spaces are interconnected, however, there are physical barriers hindering access to some public schools, facilities and spaces including challenging street crossings, steep grade transitions, lack of sidewalks and bike lanes, poor wayfinding, and dead-end streets. Langston Boulevard is the most significant barrier separating neighborhoods from nearby public schools, facilities and spaces. This planning process will identify opportunities for connectivity improvements within existing ROW, through acquisition of new ROW and/or a public space access easement.
  • This planning process will test impact on student enrollment (and other public facility needs) for new residential development arising from the land use scenarios developed for Langston Boulevard. It will further evaluate the County’s existing inventory of educational, recreational and cultural assets (land and buildings) to explore opportunities for acquisition, expansion, renovation, redevelopment, consolidation, and co-location of uses.

Learn more with this complete overview of the report, and this Nov. 2 presentation to the Community Forum.

See these findings in action and help develop next steps for the PLB process at the community workshop.

December 27, 2019 - Getting Ready for Community Workshop: Urban Design and Building Form Existing Conditions

As we get ready for the community workshop on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020, we’ll be taking a closer look at topic areas in  the Existing Conditions Analysis, a report that provides the team’s initial observations and analysis of how various conditions affect the Langston Boulevard study area. The analysis is based on the County’s preliminary aspirational goals for the 9 key planning elements of the Langston Boulevard process.

This week, we’re looking at highlights from the analysis of the Urban Design and Building Form element:

  • The commercial corridor is generally characterized by minimal tree cover, large surface parking lots, narrow sidewalks and wide right-of-way.
  • Residential streets are generally pleasant, lushly landscaped and include street trees and adequate sidewalks where needed, although some neighborhoods lack pedestrian connectivity.
  • While Cherrydale and East Falls Church buildings have more ground floor uses and windows that activate the street with parking behind or under buildings, most commercial buildings along Lee Highway and other commercial corridors have fewer windows, less inviting doorways, big blank walls and parking in the front. Service and loading areas along the rear of commercial buildings are often adjacent to single family.
  • There are many types of residential development in the planning area that range in size (1/4 acre to over 7 acres) and height (2 to 9+ stories). Residential building typologies between two-family and multi-family (i.e. tri-plex, four-plex, six-plex etc.) do not exist in the study area. Transition challenges exist where 9+ story buildings adjoin single family homes. Roughly half of the parcels along Langston Boulevard are less than 90 feet deep, which complicates redevelopment and makes achieving transitions in height more challenging.
  • This planning process will identify areas that will be impacted by change, necessary improvements to the streets, and appropriate development and building form that enhance the overall character of the neighborhoods and address transitions sensitively. It will also identify opportunities for additional height and density to realize desired community improvements – public spaces, affordability, and increased commercial and transit options.

Learn more with this complete overview of the report, and this Nov. 2 presentation to the Community Forum.

See these findings in action and help develop next steps for the PLB process at the community workshop

December 19, 2019 - Getting Ready for Community Workshop: Transportation and Connectivity Existing Conditions

As we get ready for the community workshop on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020, we’ll be taking a closer look at topic areas in  the Existing Conditions Analysis, a report that provides the team’s initial observations and analysis of how various conditions affect the Langston Boulevard study area. The analysis is based on the County’s preliminary aspirational goals for the 9 key planning elements of the Langston Boulevard process.

This week, we’re looking at highlights from the analysis of the Transportation and Connectivity element:

  • The character and function of Langston Boulevard changes dramatically along the corridor.
  • Generally, conditions aren’t desirable for biking along or across Langston Boulevard. Additionally, the eastern part of the study area lacks alternate parallel routes for biking. Parts of the corridor have limited right-of-way and shallow lots, making it difficult to accommodate bicycle facilities.
  • Langston Boulevard does not adequately accommodate multiple modes of mobility (i.e. pedestrian, bicycle and transit) and is auto-centric. This planning process will identify the roadway standards that need additional flexibility and strategies to achieve a multimodal corridor.
  • All of the planning study area is within a 10-minute walk from a park. Generally, the population along the corridor is within a 2-minute walk from a transit stop, whereas, the population along the edges of the study area are within a 10-minute walk (although the walk may not be particularly pleasant).
  • This planning process will identify ways to improve overall pedestrian and bicycle connectivity (including safer routes to schools), parking, and access to transit and public spaces throughout the study area.

Learn more with this complete overview of the report, and this Nov. 2 presentation to the Community Forum.

See these findings in action and help develop next steps for the PLB process at the community workshop.

December 12, 2019 - Getting Ready for Community Workshop: Land Use Existing Conditions

As we get ready for the community workshop on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020, we’ll be taking a closer look at topic areas in  the Existing Conditions Analysis, a report that provides the team’s initial observations and analysis of how various conditions affect the Langston Boulevard study area. The analysis is based on the County’s preliminary aspirational goals for the 9 key planning elements of the Langston Boulevard process.

This week, we’re looking at highlights from the analysis of the Land Use element:

  • The Core Study Area is primarily characterized by low-rise commercial land uses with pockets of multi-family residential communities.
  • Because these land uses aren’t integrated with each other, the area is missing the kind of mixed-use development that supports a walkable, “main street” environment.
  • The current land use vision and zoning framework for the corridor limits opportunities for change, that could serve to meet the preliminary aspirational goals including walkability.
  • With community input, the planning process will identify areas of change, the types of change appropriate for those areas, and where transitions in use will be most sensitive. It will test market potential for different types of development and uses, appropriate levels and location of uses including retail, parking, and amenities.
  • This planning process will identify land use and zoning changes that will be needed, but those changes would be considered through a separate implementation process after the Langston Boulevard plan is adopted.
  • Zoning tools developed for the Housing Conservation District in coordination with the PLB process will inform opportunities for preservation and change on Langston Boulevard.

Learn more with this complete overview of the report, and this Nov. 2 presentation to the Community Forum.

See these findings in action and help develop next steps for the PLB process at the community workshop.

December 5, 2019 - The Lay of the Land: Breaking Down the PLH Existing Conditions Analysis

After months of study and data compilation, the PLB team released the Existing Conditions Analysis, a report that provides the team’s initial observations and analysis of how various conditions affect the Langston Boulevard study area.

The report itself, available in its entirety here, serves several purposes. What existing conditions help the community achieve its goals? What stands in its way? As the process moves forward, the analysis provides both a framework for future decision-making and a baseline snapshot that can be used later to measure progress. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Conditions and community priorities may differ along the corridor, which may lead to location dependent strategies and recommendations.
  • Redevelopment is a critical component of meeting community goals, but it can impact the way current businesses operate.
  • Public infrastructure improvements (like stormwater facilities and streetscapes) may require enhanced coordination between the private and public sectors as well as public investment.
  • Economic feasibility will shape what types and levels of redevelopment can occur.

Learn more with this complete overview of the report, and this Nov. 2 presentation to the Community Forum.

And want to see these findings in action and help develop next steps for the PLB process? Save the date for a community workshop on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020. Details coming soon!

November 1, 2019 - Now Posted: Existing Conditions Analysis and Online Survey

Plan Langston Boulevard has a new Existing Conditions Analysis (ECA) now available online, the first in a series of reports supporting this multi-phase PLB process. The report documents physical characteristics, demographics, regulatory framework, history and conditions of the corridor and will help guide further community conversations and goals.

The ECA is meant to call out opportunities and constraints for achieving the process’s preliminary aspirational goals, as well as provide a framework for to help the community refine thosegoals, the areas of change along the corridor, the types of change appropriate for those areas, and ultimately the comprehensive vision for the corridor. 

Read the report here

Take – and Share! – This Online Survey on PLB Priorities and Challenges

While the ECA provides a wealth of information on the study area, help us learn even more about your top priorities and concerns for Langston Boulevard.

  • Help us spread the word! Forward this notice – and the survey link – to your community contacts:  neighbors, fellow group or organization members, parents at your neighborhood school, your favorite local businesses and more. We want to hear from as many people as possible!

October 18, 2019 - October 2019 Newsletter

This newsletter provides an update on the Existing Conditions Analysis Report due at the end of this month. The newsletter also includes a message from the Chair and Vice Chair of the Working Group and information about upcoming community engagement activities this fall and winter, including a Community Forum meeting on Nov. 2.

August 29, 2019 - August 2019 Newsletter

This newsletter provides an update on the development of the Existing Conditions Analysis Report, meetings with the Working Group, and other activities that have occurred over the summer. The newsletter also includes a message from the Chair and Vice Chair of the Working Group and information about upcoming community engagement activities this fall.

June 4, 2019 - June 2019 Newsletter

April 9, 2019 - April 2019 Newsletter

Help spread the word: share content from the newsletter with your community groups and connections. Post on Next Door, copy updates to civic association and condo newsletters, post to local PTA, preschool and church listservs and more.

March 15, 2019 - Community Kick-off Sparks Excitement and Ideas for Langston Boulevard’s Future

Over 200 community members joined staff, the planning team, the Working Group and Community Forum to kick-off the PLB process. The event, held February 12 at W-L High School, was structured to foster discussions and collect ideas in various ways.

County Manager Mark Schwartz welcomed the crowd and emphasized the importance of working together throughout this effort. Participants heard an overview of the process, goals, timeline and community engagement framework.

MORE: View the presentation

During the self-guided portion of the event, attendees moved through stations that reviewed principles from 2016 Visioning Study and preliminary goals for the PLB process. They recorded their ideas on poster boards in response to questions such as, what part of the vision principle do you like most? What part would you change and why? Which of the following goals are most important to you? Dozens of great ideas were recorded at each station with topics ranging from land use and public spaces, to housing, transportation, and economic vitality.

MORE: 

Next, staff will be collaborating with the Working Group to outline the next six months of tasks, meetings and community engagement opportunities. An updated schedule will be posted to the Process, Scope and Timeline page.

January 17, 2019 - Highly Anticipated Kick-off Scheduled for Feb.2019

The highly anticipated community kick-off of the PLB process has been scheduled for February 2019. All residents, businesses, community groups and stakeholders that live, work and play along Langston Boulevard are encouraged to participate. Agenda, presentations, handouts and summaries of this meeting will be shared on the study’s documents webpage.

PLB Community Kick-off
February 12, 2019
7 – 9:45 p.m.
W-L High School
1301 N Stafford Street
View details
Please arrive a few minutes early to sign-in so this meeting may start on time.

Download an event flyer to share with your neighbors.

Prior to the community kick-off, appointed members of the Community Forum and Working Group will hold their first meeting, scheduled for Jan. 30.

November 1, 2018 - County Manager appoints Community Forum Chair and Vice-Chair

The County Manager today appointed Paul Holland and Sandi Chesrown to serve in key roles as the Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the Plan Langston Boulevard Community Forum. They are charged with championing the planning process and facilitating Working Group and Community Forum meetings to ensure there is participation from all members, constructive and open dialogue, collaboration, and a fair decision-making process. Paul and Sandi are both long-time community leaders in Arlington. Their partnership combines a deep experience in County planning processes with strong Langston Boulevard Alliance leadership. We thank them for their support and dedication to this study.

September 25, 2018 - County seeks applicants for Community Forum

  • Update: the application window for the Community Forum at-large positions closed on October 31.

The County is accepting applications from interested candidates to serve as at-large representatives on the Plan Langston Boulevard Community Forum. The Community Forum will be a team of 40-50 community members that includes at-large members, as well as representatives from the Lee Highway Alliance, the 14 civic associations adjacent to the Langston Boulevard corridor, County commission, property and business owners, and condo and renters associations. The at-large positions are intended to bring community perspectives not already provided by the other groups represented.

September 25, 2018 County Manager announces scope and charge

The County Manager shared with the County Board today, the final scope and charge for the Plan Langston Boulevard process, which is anticipated to kick-off in late 2018 or early 2019. The purpose of the upcoming study is to develop a comprehensive vision and policy framework for the future of this important corridor and its surrounding areas.

Given the character of Langston Boulevard and limited planning to date, there is a mounting desire within the community to improve the corridor and consider how future development can transform the character in a positive, rather than reactive, manner.

The County has designed a multi-layered engagement approach that will include broad participation and many opportunities for input from residents, businesses, community groups and stakeholders.

Visioning Study page

Project updates from 2013-2016 are summarized on the Langston Boulevard Visioning Study page.