Testimony to Alexandria Planning Commission on Beauregard Small Area Plan


May 3, 2012

Master Plan Amendment #2012-0003, Beauregard Small Area Plan
Good evening, I am Alex Posorske from the Coalition for Smarter Growth and I will be presenting the testimony of our Executive Director, Stewart Schwartz. Unfortunately Stewart could not be here tonight due to an out-of-town funeral.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth has tracked the Beauregard Small Area Plan throughout its development and attended a number of the community meetings. We strongly support the plan and urge your approval.

The plan has benefitted from very extensive community involvement and input, particularly regarding the need to preserve and add affordable housing. We commend the community, and our affordable housing partners in particular, for helping to shape this plan and increase the number of committed affordable units. The plan has also benefited from the developer’s early inclusion of the nation’s top new urbanist architecture, town planning and transportation experts.

We also commend the city staff for their professionalism, dedication and attention to detail in this very complex plan. We believe that they have developed and negotiated a solid plan with extensive community benefits and an effective financial strategy. The staff report effectively makes the case for the plan and why we should approve it now. So we will just summarize a few key points about the wide range of community benefits including:

 A minimum of 800 committed affordable units targeted to incomes between 40 percent and 75 percent of area median income

 Right of way and funding for 1.4 miles of the Corridor C Transitway

 45 acres of new and connected open space and parks and restored stream corridors

 A new fire station

 An effective and lower-impact solution for the Seminary/Beauregard Intersection

 A pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, new urbanist design for the long term redevelopment of the area

 $210 million in funding for infrastructure and community benefits of which $56 million would come from tax increment financing

We agree with our affordable housing partners that the city should continue to work with the developers over the life of this plan on creative deals to further expand the number of affordable housing units, including a potential mixed-use project on top of the fire station, like that in Potomac Yard, as well as land deals that allow for non-profit housing developers to put together effectively financed projects. But we also believe that the current plan and housing provisions should be approved now, because without the plan we could continue to lose affordable housing for the reasons noted by the staff.

The staff report makes the case for this plan and the Coalition for Smarter Growth strongly recommends approval.

Thank you.
Stewart Schwartz
Executive Director

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