Tag Archive for: construction

Chestnut Hills Park on North Harrison Street is about to undergo a major expansion and improvement, thanks to the just-completed demolition of two adjacent homes acquired by the County during the past 15 months. The parkland expansion will soon be complemented by a frontage improvement project that was sponsored by the Yorktown Civic Association and funded through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program to install new entrances, fencing and pathways.

The park expansion has been made possible through the use of funds from the County’s Park Land Acquisition program. The County acquired the first property in September 2015 for $728,000, and the second in March 2016 for $820,000. The County Board approved an additional $50,000 per property for deconstruction and site restoration. The addresses for the homes where 2827 and 2833 N. Harrison Street, respectively. The first of the homes was owned by long-time Civic Association Treasurer Bob Littell and his family. The combined size of the two lots is about one-half acre, but the removal of the homes opens up access to land behind those properties which was already owned by the County. Due to the recent loss of other open space in the County, the current intention is to simply maintain the additional property as open space parkland. For example, this expansion helps to offset the significant loss of green space on the Williamsburg school site with the construction of the new Discovery Elementary School.

The frontage improvement project was actually funded back in December 2012, but implementation has been delayed twice – which has actually been a good thing! First, those improvements were postponed due to the 2014 playground renovations. Then, those improvements were delayed again when the first of the two homes was acquired in 2015. Those improvements have finally gone out to bid, and assuming that process goes well, a contract will go to the County Board for approval at its February 2017 meeting. The park improvements will include a new solid steel fence recessed 1’ behind the existing sidewalk; four recessed gates to provide stroller passing zones; a new enclosure and location for the portable restroom; pervious circulation pathways; and new benches and trash cans flanking the new walkways. The delay in this project ensures that the planned fencing and entrances will now include the recently acquired adjacent properties. The improvements are expected to take up to four months, and work is expected to begin fairly quickly after contract approval by the Board. It is expected that the Park will stay open during the work, although disruptions in access could be expected.

The County has a dedicated web page for the improvement project at: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/chestnut-hills-frontage/.

This past summer I was fortunate to be able to provide a tour of Yorktown Civic Association to Harriet Edlesom, a Washington Post reporter. The goal of Harriet’s article was to learn about the different types of architecture that can be found within our association’s boundaries, see the mix of new homes and old, and to ascertain what characteristics draw families to our neighborhood?

Don Purka, who along with his wife Christine, and two sons, moved here this past summer tells me that one of the reasons they choose to live within the boundaries of Yorktown Association was the feeling of a strong family and community feeling- almost like a throwback to the times when kids were able to run/bike to their friends’ homes without any parental worry. Don goes on to tell me that they could have chosen a large home, in a different Arlington neighborhood, but they put a priority on a neighborhood that they felt would be welcoming to their two boys- and after meeting with neighbors during their home buying process and confiding with other friends- felt Yorktown fit their needs perfectly. In addition, Don is able to walk to local bus stops to take public transportation to his job in the District.

In addition to bus stops, conveniently located throughout our neighborhood, which bring passengers to Ballston and/or Rosslyn Metro’s, most of Yorktown’s more trafficked streets have bike lanes, providing its residents a safe option to driving to work or taking public transportation. Arlington County has over 100 miles of trails, onstreet bike lanes and designated bike routes. Unlike parts of Fairfax County, our residents don’t have to worry about “slugging” to work! During my time with Harriet, it became apparent that she was also intrigued by the prevalence of “raze-rebuilds” going on throughout North Arlington and how this growing trend may be affecting the Yorktown area. More to the point, is the increased prevalence of construction having an adverse effect on the aforementioned “community feeling?”

New construction can bring with it a myriad of problems to the neighborhood, most notably, road damage, parking issues, environmental concerns and added stress to our overcrowded schools. But these new homes also bring newer/higher quality homes and increase existing property values. The pros and cons of the razerebuild trend will continue to be debated in our neighborhood, but I feel the trend is, overall, a net positive. Finally, Don Purka’s sentiment resounds perfectly with me when he said that they chose Yorktown because they felt it was a community that was welcoming- a testament to each of you, its residents!

By Craig Mastrangelo
for Civic Pride Newsletter
Winter 2017

In December 2012, funding was approved for frontage, safety and beautification improvements to Chestnut Hills Park through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program. That funding was in addition to maintenance funding that resulted in the rebuilding of the park’s “tot lot” playground area. That work was completed in late 2014. The Parks department determined it was best to complete that work prior to performing the improvements funded through the Neighborhood Conservation program.

Information on the now-completed tot lot playground improvements can be found at: Chestnut Hills Park Preschool (2-5) Playground Redesign

A meeting was held on Thursday, August 13, 2015, to review the plans for the additional improvements.

Updated plans May, 2016

As approved by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, the scope for the additional improvements is as follows:

Implement frontage and beautification improvements along the existing Chestnut Hills Park to promote pedestrian safety, increase curb appeal and unify the entire park. Improvements to the frontage of the site include: a new, set-back fence encompassing the lots on either end of the park with gated entrances as well as improved ADA accessibility to the site.

Pedestrian improvements could potentially include crosswalks with nubs for traffic calming, 3-5 Carlyle lights between the fence and the sidewalk and pervious paving along the edge of the sidewalk in certain areas to provide a wider surface.

Interior improvements include: new bences, an accessible pathway for the portable toilet, a new enclosure for the portable toilet and walkways connecting the lots on either end of the park with the central playgrounds.

The civic association has been notified by Arlington County that both the football field and track at Greenbrier Park/Yorktown High School will be closed from June 13 through August 1, 2016, for replacement of the synthetic turf and other improvements.

The $1.6 million improvement project was approved by the County Board on April 16, with the cost being split between FY 2016 Pay-As-You-Go Parks maintenance capital funds and funding from Arlington Public Schools. $674,000 of the total was awarded to Fieldturf USA Inc for installation of an EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and silica sand replacement field, which is expected to be “softer than crumb rubber and is less abrasive on turf fibers than rubber,” according to a press release from Arlington County.

In addition to installation of new turf, the project includes the addition of new inlaid game field markings (including mid-field logo and end zone lettering), replacement of corner flags, combination football/soccer goals, and discus cage, as well as necessary repairs to the field base. The total approved by the Board also includes expenses related to design, survey, construction and project management.

On July 9, 2007, the Arlington County Board approved plans to allow construction by Marymount University of a classroom building, dormitory and underground parking garage on the block currently used for surface-level parking at the corner of 26th Street North and Old Dominion Drive. The approval came after months of meetings on the project, and ultimately a modification that eliminated one of the project’s major components, a proposed auditorium, along with wider building setbacks. Project construction is expected to begin by mid-2008.

A very detailed discussion of the project can be found on the county’s website at:

Marymount University Use Permit Updates

For additional information on the project, see:

Video of July 9, 2007, County Board hearing

Staff Report to County Board

After a discussion on the final project plans at the May 2007 civic association meeting, the executive committee voted to support the revised project design.

The project was first proposed in early 2006. On June 8, 2006, Marymount released the details of an amendment to the use permit application that would increase sidewalk widths and building setbacks, as well as reduce building sizes somewhat. However, the building height was not changed — the roofline of the new structures would match that of the adjacent St. Mary’s church. At the civic association’s October, 2006, meeting, the membership voted to oppose that version of the project.

YCA Oct. 2006 resolution on Marymount project

Under that proposal, the new building setbacks would be about 40 feet from the existing curb line. The dormitory would include 60 – 4 person suites. The underground parking structure would provide for a net increase of 210 spaces over the number provided by the current surface lot. The auditorium is expected to accomodate seating for 300.

The original use permit amendment application described the layout of the project as follows: “The classrooms and student housing surround a 350-seat theater/auditorium and are separated from it by internal passages reminiscent of narrow European streets. A campanile [freestanding bell tower] at the 26th Street North and Old Dominion Drive intersection creates an identity for the University while also serving as a community gathering landmark. A landscaped plaza at Old Dominion Drive provides a gathering space for students, and a pedestrian bridge over Yorktown Boulevard allows direct, safe access to the Main Campus.”

The entrance to the new underground parking ramp would be located on Yorktown Boulevard, directly across from the entrance to the existing Marymount parking structure. A service entrance and loading docks would also included on the Yorktown Blvd. side of the project.

To read the complete Traffic Impact Analysis on the project, follow this link (NOTE: the PDF file is very large — 20 MB — and may take several minutes to open depending on your connection speed): Marymount TIA [PDF],



Construction began at the beginning of 2006 with the initial focus on the football field and bleachers. The project is to be completed by June 2007.

Greenbrier Park is owned and maintained by the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources even though it is the home of the Yorktown High School athletic fields and the school is the park’s biggest user.

Three public forums were held in late 2004 on the renovation plans – on September 21, November 18 and December 14 – and a final meeting was held on February 17 2005 at Yorktown High School. The focus of the final meeting was on operational issues. To guard against excessive increases in traffic and noise, especially late at night, the Civic Association has asked the County to close the park at 10:30 p.m. with no late night adult league games and to put clear limits on hours of sound system usage. Area residents have also expressed concerns about access to the track during sporting events and reductions in off-street parking.

Some of the major changes that will be made during the renovation include:

  • Splitting the park into 3 tiers at different elevations.
  • Moving the baseball diamond off of the football field.
  • Placing the track around the football field.
  • Constructing two new softball diamonds.
  • Constructing new bleachers, restrooms and concession stands.
  • Provision of new and additional landscaping and fencing.
  • Installation of new “dark sky” lighting and new sound systems.
  • Installation of synthetic turf on the football field.
  • Replacement of storm drains and underground drainage systems.

The design also re-configures and reduces the amount of parking, but the parking lot size will be reduced even more after Phase II of Yorktown High renovations are completed in a few years. Those plans call for an increase in parking spaces south of the school building. In the meantime, installation of the outdoor basketball court will be delayed at Greenbrier Park under the latest design.

As its design consultant for the renovation of Greenbrier Park, the County is using Lewis Scully Gionet, Inc., with assistance from Bowie Gridley Architects, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. and Straughan Environmental Services, Inc.

The County planner leading the design effort is Robert Capper. Robert can be reached at (703) 228-3337 or be email at rcapper@arlingtonva.us.

History of Planning Process

In October, 2000, Arlington County began a master planning process for Greenbrier and Chestnut Hills Parks. The Chestnut Hills process was later suspended, but the master planning process for Greenbrier continued, and in November, 2002, Arlington County voters approved a bond issue which contained funding for formal planning for field upgrades and other improvements at the park.

On June 26, 2004, the Arlington County Board approved a contract authorizing the expenditure of up to $775,000 for the detailed design of Greenbrier Park improvements and voted to include $8.6-million in the fall 2004 bond vote for Greenbrier Park improvements. These actions clear the way for construction of park improvements to begin in 2005. The County selected the firm of Lewis Scully Gionet of Vienna, VA, to provide design services.

The Parks Dept. held the first of the public meetings regarding the development of the detailed park improvement design on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004, at the Yorktown High School cafeteria. All residents within the Yorktown neighborhood were notified of this meeting by the Arlington County Parks Department. The Yorktown Civic Association’s Greenbrier Park committee has also closely monitoring the design process (see: Neigbhorhood Priorities). Check the website regularly for updates on the design process.

Yorktown Civic Association Plan

The master plan for Greenbrier Park, as adopted by the county, contains several differences from a plan adopted by the Civic Association during the master planning process in late 2001/early 2002.


Construction Planned from January 2006 through June 2007

At its meeting on November 16, 2005, the County Board voted 5-0 to award the $10.4 million contract for renovating Greenbrier Park to Corinthian Contractors, Inc., of Arlington. The contract includes $9.5 million for construction, plus a $900,000 contingency for possible change orders. Funding of $8.6 million for the project was included in the county’s $75 million 2004 Parks and Recreation Bond. Corinthian was the only construction firm to bid on the project.

In February 2003, the Yorktown Civic Association was notified of plans by developer JCE, Inc. of Alexandria, VA, for a new residential development to replace the four existing homes on the Buchanan Street cul de sac at the 4800 block of Yorktown Blvd.

The builder has filed for a use permit that would allow the construction of five large homes on the four existing lots at 2700, 2704, 2708, and 2712 Buchanan Street.

Based in part on initial concerns from the YCA Executive Committee, however, the developer has asked for a delay in the county hearing on the proposal. Additional information on this project will be posted when it becomes available.

The use permit approach provides a mechanism for builders to bypass existing zoning requirements when designing new developments. These properties are currently zoned R-10, requiring 10,000 sq. feet per property. The existing setback requirements are:
front yard – 25 feet (or 50 feet from street centerline)
rear yard – minimum 25 feet
side yards – 8 feet on one side and 16 feet on the other side.

The original proposal by JCE, which would replace the cul de sac with a shared driveway and “pipestemmed” lots, uses smaller setbacks. Two of the five lots would also be well below the 10000 foot required size. To view the proposed lot plan click here.

The Unified Residential Development (URD) use permit allows such deviations to “promote compatibility of one-family developments with surrounding neighborhoods.” Civic Associations and neighbors are to be consulted as part of the use permit approval process in determining whether this standard is met.