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BCA Position on the Redevelopment of Bluemont’s Safeway
Adopted at the BCA Membership Meeting of April 24,2013
The Bluemont neighborhood is overwhelmingly comprised of single-family and other low-density housing. The residents of Bluemont highly value this community characteristic and the lifestyle associated with it.
The residents of Bluemont have enjoyed and benefited from the location of the Safeway grocery store on Wilson Boulevard and strongly support the modernization of that store and the possible addition of additional retail and services to the location. We recognize that a redevelopment of the Safeway property could bring with it additional community benefits such as a coffee shop, new green space or gathering locations, wider and more convenient sidewalks, undergrounded utilities, street trees and/or additional parking.
Further, the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA) supports the concept of a Westover-like “village center” that is small scale, pedestrian friendly and has a variety of local businesses and restaurants, and for which a re-developed Safeway could be a centerpiece. In this regard, the BCA also supports its existing local businesses.
With the exception of the edge development along Glebe Road in Ballston, there are currently no commercial buildings above two stories in the Bluemont neighborhood. We believe that a tall commercial building would be out of character in Bluemont, particularly when it is immediately adjacent to single-family residential homes. This point has been emphasized on two recent surveys of Bluemont residents.
Absent very careful planning, limits and safeguards, a redeveloped Safeway property would bring with it increased density, traffic, parking issues in adjacent residential streets, noise, large trucks on adjoining streets accessing the loading dock and potentially serious traffic and safety concerns with the Arlington Traditional School. These impacts would negatively impact the quality of life in the Bluemont neighborhood.
Therefore, the BCA objects to redevelopment beyond the existing C-1 zoning classification.
The BCA and Bluemont residents look forward to addressing these important issues with Safeway and its chosen developer throughout the redevelopment process.