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Arlandria housing project heads back to city review after local Catholic church refuses to yield alleyway

Rendering for Mount Vernon and Glebe, via AHDC

A few months after its initial approval, a new 474-unit affordable housing development in Arlandria is headed back for city review with a few amendments spurred on in part by Saint Rita Catholic Church holding onto an alleyway central to the housing developer’s plans.

The  Alexandria Housing Development Corporation‘s (AHDC) Mount Vernon and Glebe project — which presumably will get another name before the development is finalized — is headed to review at the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 23 and to the City Council on Tuesday, July 5.

The project at 221 West Glebe and a half-dozen nearby addresses will be comprised of 474 units that will all be classified as affordable or workforce housing. The project will also include 38,312 square feet of commercial retail and two levels of underground parking.

The project received development special use permit approval in January, and a staff report noted that there are a series of changes to the site plan that requires new city approval.

The original permit included plans for a north-south street. The staff report says that plan was contingent on St. Rita’s Church being willing to participate in a land-swap with AHDC, which the report says turns out to have been a bit premature.

“The roadway and sanitary and stormwater utilities in their approved configuration were contingent upon a land swap with St. Rita’s Church as a small portion of their property was needed to construct the road,” the report said. “St. Rita’s has expressed that they will not participate in a land-swap, therefore the Applicant must make the changes to the approved site plan related to design and access.”

Not having access to that land has had a ripple effect, requiring a handful of other changes to the layout of the site like shifting parking entrances and realigning infrastructure.

The staff permit also says this spring, AHDC purchased an adjacent parcel at 3608 Mount Vernon Avenue. The parcel was not included in the original DSUP and must be incorporated into the site to accommodate design changes.

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