Opinion: Letter to the Editor: ‘Terrible’ Proposal for Belle View

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: ‘Terrible’ Proposal for Belle View

The concept of a high density, mixed use center in Belle View is terrible. It is flawed on numerous counts. South Alexandria is NOTa high density area. We are not Arlington. There are no inherent job opportunities to handle a thousand housing units. Few, if any, people will be walking to work, shop and live. There is no mass transit to handle such a huge influx of people. No one will be walking to Huntington Station.

Second, the road grid in South Alexandria is already overcrowded. GW Parkway, has for years been identified as overused and at times dangerous as more and more people use it as a commuter route to the expanded Ft. Belvoir. Ft. Hunt Road is a single lane road with long backups at every traffic light between Rt. 1 and Collingwood Road for every rush hour and on weekends. Belle View Blvd/Beacon Hill Road are also one lane roads that are equally backed up during rush hour and weekends.

Third, the impact on local schools such as Belle View Elementary and West Potomac cannot be understated. Schools are near capacity and adding 1,000 housing units will obviously add dozens if not a hundred or more kids to an already crowded school system. This must be taken into context with the ongoing development of mixed use housing and retail on Richmond Highway which is causing the same stress on roads and schools. It would be like adding an entire neighborhood the size of Hollin Hall (approximately 700 homes)... plus 300 more!

Fourth, the area is a flood zone. The property has been flooded numerous times. The idea of a multi-level underground parking facility is silly.

I would agree that owners of the property should have fair latitude to redevelop their land and that the Center may be dated to some. But to those who live here, that is what draws us to the area ... a great small town atmosphere. The enormous growth in western Fairfax County has driven many of my friends out of the area because they don’t want to live in a high density mixed use area. Some folks love that ... for them, it is wonderful and there are many opportunities to live in such areas in Tyson’s Corner, Falls Church, Arlington, and parts of Alexandria. But it is also important to preserve the small town feel of our area. Rehabbing the Center, but keeping the overall general size, look and feel of the Center ought to be the priority. I hope local representatives hear loud and clear from South Alexandria residents about this plan.

Dave Grant