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The Ashby Proposes High Density Renovation in Downtown McLean

The developer envisions four new buildings on the same site where the apartment building is currently located on Beverly Drive.

The owner of The Ashby apartment complex in downtown McLean has proposed adding four new buildings on the site and doubling the occupancy of the existing apartment building.

And the McLean Citizens Association's Planning and Zoning committee is having none of it.

Mark Zetts, chairman of the planning and zoning committee, called the proposal to double the number of apartments "insane," telling the developer at a committee meeting on Wednesday evening that the vision won't work in this part of the community.

"(The proposed density) is insane," Zetts said. "That’s what you get in Tysons. What is the public benefit? There is none."

The Ashby apartment complex is located on Beverly Road in McLean near the intersection of Dolley Madison Boulevard. The building currently consists of 256 apartment units. Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (WRIT Residential), which owns the property, has proposed changing the site's current zoning to accommodate an additional 253 apartment units.

The developer has also proposed building an underground parking garage, eliminating all surface parking, which currently exists on site today.

One Planning and Zoning committee member called the proposal "too intense."

Sally Horn, president of the McLean Citizens Association, said the developer "needs to go back and rethink your project in its entirety."

"We don’t like it," Horn said. "We’re saying that’s not the vision for McLean."

B December 20, 2012 at 02:43 PM
What is the vision of McLean then, more gas stations and dry cleaners? Its only 253 more units, thats not a lot. We really need more restaurants in McLean that serve American cuisine..
betsy johnson December 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I agree completely! McLean is definitely in need of restaurants and stores which appeal to a younger generation. McLean needs a walkable downtown area. I moved to McLean about a year ago and was told that it was a desirable, family friendly place to live. I must be missing something?
anne gruner December 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I agree with mark zetts! This is insane! It's bad enough we have a giant storage warehouse in down town McLean. Stop the insanity!
Mozart December 20, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I'd like to see local leadership (starting with John Foust and the MCA) hash out (1) how McLean residents can take advantage of the new Tysons Metro stations; and (2) what types of rojects they would support that would make downtown McLean more attractive. Until there's consensus on this issues, I think any developer with a high-density proposal is bound to meet opposition. The main thing that central McLean has going for it right now is that it's not as congested like Arlington or downtown Vienna, so people naturally worry about proposals that will increase density when they cannot readily discern the benefits. Sadly, Mr. Foust has not shown any leadership on this issue. He appears completely content to allow developers to acquire and sit on much of downtown McLean. At the same time, the MCA has the reputation of opposing any develoment proposal on principle, without pausing to consider the potential merits. While I wouldn't be as harsh as Betsy (the schools, residential neighborhoods and proximity of McLean to everything still make it a very desirable place to live), it's not a coincidence that FCPS is now projecting that schools in the Langley pyramid (western McLean/Great Falls) will be seriously under-enrolled in a few years. People are expressing their preferences for areas that are more walkable and closer to Metro stations.
om December 20, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Well we are in a democracy Why not have a vote on it.
Rob Jackson December 20, 2012 at 09:37 PM
The Comprehensive Plan for McLean contemplates a FAR (Floor Area Ratio) for the area where the Ashby is located to be .35, which could double under certain conditions. The proposal is more than 3.0. So the developer's plans are not consistent with the County's approved plan for McLean. Moreover, one of the goals for the Tysons re-planning was to protect nearby communities from higher density development. In other words, the County will approve high density at or near the rail stations, but not in nearby areas, such as McLean, Vienna and Falls Church. The proposed development is totally inconsistent the County's plans and promises to the people of Greater McLean. Fairfax County DOT is revising its traffic studies for Tysons to include the impacts of the added density approved for Tysons in 2010. The approved density is about 30% higher than what FC DOT studied and submitted to VDOT. The additional traffic from Tysons passing through McLean will be significant and, as a result, will dampen the amount of development that can occur in downtown McLean. Finally. Fairfax County is planning to run bus service from McLean (down Churchill Road and Chain Bridge Road) to the Tysons McLean station. The County is also requesting proposals for interim commuter parking at some of the Tysons rail stations similar to what occurred in Arlington earlier.
Dr. Marks December 30, 2012 at 08:54 AM
Ask the current residents of the Ashby Apartments about their recent experiences with the WRIT management team and you will find that you do not want that group of incompetent clowns affecting the living experiences of more current or future McLean residents.
We Jab March 26, 2014 at 01:17 PM
This is great. We need more apartments in McLean where us younger residents can live. There are way too many old people in McLean. This will make McLean look and feel like Arlington. Two Thumbs up for change!!!!!!!

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