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FAA Report Jeopardizes Rosslyn Project

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an initial report that a proposed 390-foot building in Rosslyn may be a "hazard" to planes flying into and out of Reagan National Airport, potentially jeopardizing the project.

On Nov. 24, the FAA released a preliminary study that found the JBG Companies’ plan for its Central Place project next to the Rosslyn Metro "exceeds obstruction standards." The FAA concluded that it could not authorize the construction of the building at its current proposed height because it might impact the flight path of planes.

"The whole thing here is talking about the impact on how pilots navigate to and from the airport and how it may be an issue for them," said Donna O’Neill, who authored the FAA report.

The FAA needs to do a further study before its comes to a final decision on the building. "We’re still working on what would be agreeable to the FAA," O’Neill said.

The JBG Companies is proposing to build a 31-story office building and 29-story residential tower on the block across the street from the Metro — between Lynn and Moore Streets and Wilson Boulveard and 19th Street.

For the project to go forward the County Board would have to amend Arlington’s zoning ordinance, which bars buildings from being taller than 300 feet. Officials from JBG did not return phone calls before the Connection went to press.

After the FAA issues its final report, JBG will be able to petition for a taller building. At that time residents would be able to submit written testimony to FAA administrators as part of the appeal process.

Community leaders expressed alarm that the County Board might approve a project that was not cleared by the FAA.

"To me it seems outrageous that they could be considering such a height without a confirmative declaration from the FAA that this is safe," said Stan Karson, president of the Radnor/Ft. Myers Heights Civic Association.

Last week the Arlington Civic Federation passed a resolution urging board members "to ensure there will be a very public discussion of the issues raised by the FAA report."

The Central Place project was supposed to come before the board during its Dec. 9 meeting, but was deferred until the February meeting.