Based on documents a Fairlington resident pried out of Arlington County Government via a contentious Virginia Freedom of Information Act request, it's apparent that County Planning Staff has secretly worked with Fairlington's 'Community Leaders' for months to permanently remove minority residents from the redeveloped Park Shirlington apartments on South 31st Street.
According to the final submitted site plan, the redeveloped Park Shirlington Apartments will greatly increase in size from 294 to 750 units and the number of parking spaces will triple to 904. The site plans request a rezoning from a maximum of 380 townhouse units. One hundred of the new apartment units would be 'affordable'. The applicant, Home Properties, Inc, has owned the current site for years. The site plans depict an apartment complex that would attract high income yupster tenants, like those who live in Shirlington Village and Clarendon.
However, a number of Fairlington's Community Leaders have a longstanding antipathy towards the largely-Latino minority residents of Park Shirlington, and want them all removed. A number of increasingly upscale Abingdon School parents believe the presence of Latino children, who live with their families in Park Shirlington, degrades the performance of all Abingdon School students.
Consequently a 'Park Shirlington Redevelopment Advisory Committee' was formed by the Fairlington civic association and a number of the aforementioned Community Leaders have been meeting secretly for more than six months. Attendance is by invitation only. If you're not invited you may be arrested if you try to attend. To its credit, Parks and Rec won't allow them to meet in the South Fairlington Community Center so they meet in North Fairlington.
Officially, the Planning Commission's Site Plan Review Committee met for the first time last month and did a walk through and review of the site plans for Park Shirlington and was uniformly negative.
So, the Community Leaders and their secret committee and County Planning Staff will meet tonight, June 24th, in North Fairlington and reveal the secret deal or deals they've been concocting.
Sorry it took so long to get this news out but it was a struggle to obtain FOIA information from the County Manager's office.