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Pentagon City Planning Study Methodology Questioned by ARCA

[ 0 ] November 16, 2020 |




Shortly after Amazon announced its plan to locate its HQ2 that will house 25,000 employees in Pentagon City, the County Board finally recognized the need for an independent think-tank study of the ability of 22202’s infrastructure to accommodate all of the new development and population growth coming to the area in the coming years. Indeed, ARCA had been seeking such a study for many years given that 22202’s land mass is located within a geographic bubble that is accessible via only a scant few roadways that might eventually become unduly, or even dangerously congested.

However, County staff elected instead to focus the study on just Pentagon City even though most of the already authorized growth in 22202 is to be located in Crystal City where the number of residential units is scheduled to double and the commercial square footage to grow by 60 percent. Thus, staff arranged for one study to examine the capacity of just the multi-modal transportation infrastructure lying within and immediately adjacent to Pentagon City. And they arranged for a second study to determine whether the current ceiling on density in Pentagon City could be lifted, and if so, by how much. And while we are informed that the first study has not yet been completed, the second study was recently launched, and it seems to be engineered to secure public approval for additional development in Pentagon City. Thus, staff and the contractor scheduled a large public meeting at which they seemed to be attempting to manipulate the study’s eventual outcome by whipping up public enthusiasm for density growth by seeking residents’ advice on where to locate, and how to design large, new buildings for construction in Pentagon City.

There is just one problem. No determination has yet been made that any additional density beyond HQ2 and that which has already been approved for development, can be located anywhere in 22202, much less in Pentagon City. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!

It may come as no surprise that the density study is being funded by Pentagon City’s commercial property owners and orchestrated by the County, all of whom would stand to benefit financially by the addition of more density via greater rental income and tax revenue. It’s 22202’s residential population that could see the livability of its neighborhood undermined were it to become unduly congested. Be assured, ARCA is doing its best to ensure that these studies are eventually completed objectively only after holistically analyzing all of 22202’s infrastructure and the overall population density it will be able to accommodate within the entirety of 22202’s land mass in the coming years.


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