The Planning Commission pushed through many questions they had about the Rosslyn Gateway development that is scheduled to go before the county board for a final vote next week, but they just could not finish and took a vote to recess their meeting until Wednesday. They will pick the matter up again then as the first task on the agenda.
They have planned 90 minutes to finish up, then will begin the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan. Speakers who plan to talk about this issue do not need to arrive before 8:30 p.m. since public comment will not be taken before then. Discussion of Rosslyn may move much past the 8:30 mark.
Generally the commissioners seemed to like what they saw in the plans for the Rosslyn block bordered by Lee Highway to the north and 19th Street to the south, with Ft. Myer Drive and N. Moore Street on either side. If approved, three large buildings, a total of nearly one million square feet, will replace two buildings.
Some of the questions commissioners had dealt with how much public benefit the county is getting for the amount of public property the county is giving up. A portion of the block is currently a looping road that accesses the block's interior. That would be lost. The county would also lose pedestrian bridges over N. Ft. Myer Drive and Lee Highway.
“As much as I love this project, I don’t believe that applications like this should be accepted” if they do not address the public realm more, said Commissioner Steve Cole.
Commissioners were concerned with terraces that are green space, but that the public would never see. They were concerned with sidewalks that are wide, but never expand into a plaza to offer some open space on the block. They were also worried that a building on the northwest corner of the property might never get developed.