As Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Eisenhower Civic Association (ECA), it is indeed an honor and a privilege to stand before you today.
The ECA represents the citizens of Alexandria who live and operate businesses within the Eisenhower Corridor. ECA was activated by residents of the Carlyle Towers Condominium (CTC), a luxury complex of 525 homes at the Carlyle Development in Old Town Alexandria. These homes will be adversely affected by the proposed relocation of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Of lice (PTO) to the Carlyle Development. We have serious concerns about the PTO proposal with respect to both the Carlyle Community and Old Town Alexandria.
1. The 1992 Alexandria Master Plan
The 1992 Alexandria Master Plan, which culminated an agreement between many civic associations and the City of Alexandria, envisioned for Carlyle a tastefully mixed residential, cultural, and urban development in an environment consistent with that of Old Town. Prior to 1992, Norfolk Southern Railroad, the owner of the 76.0-acre Carlyle property, prepared the 1990 Carr/Norfolk Southern Concept Development Plan (Carlyle Plan). The ECA finds both the Master Plan and the Carlyle Plan to be complementary and consistent with each other. Both plans emphasized vibrant mixed use development and an integration of business with community life. This encompassed theaters, gardens, multiple residential developments, and commercial offices, with a design concept, which emphasized a high quality of life enticing to potential buyers.
Carlyle residents relied upon the 1992 Master Plan and the 1990 Carlyle Plan when selecting Alexandria for their home. Many of Carlyle's residents are senior citizens who chose to make the Carlyle community their retirement home because they believed that it would be a lovely mixed-use development. The beautiful mixed-use concept for Carlyle is now jeopardized by the proposal to replace it with the PTO.
If the PTO comes to Carlyle, the community will be transformed into another Crystal City or Rosslyn. The PTO, as designed for the Carlyle Development, will consist of five huge office buildings covering six city blocks, two massive eight-story open-air garages, and, as its center structure, a skyscraper of 288 feet. There will be 7,000 plus PTO employees, parking spaces for 3,500 PTO cars, approximately 1,000 PTO visitors per day, a substantial number of PTO support contractor employees, and innumerable daily couriers.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) states that LCOR's PTO design is incompatible with the Carlyle Development Plan. The DEIS states that the only possible mitigating factors are (l) change the PTO design or (2) change the Carlyle Development Plan. ECA does not want the 1990 Carlyle Development Plan changed to accommodate the PTO design.
We do not believe the DEIS or LCOR's proposal adequately address the obvious problem of traffic. For example, to access the Carlyle site, many employees and those individuals doing business with the PTO would need to travel through Duke Street, a principal thoroughfare in Old Town, as well as other parts of Alexandria. Duke Street currently experiences substantial backups during rush hour. Although a number of transportation improvements have been completed to allow the Carlyle Development to attain the densities envisioned by Norfolk Southern and the City Council of Alexandria, if the Carlyle site is selected, this traffic backup will increase significantly. It will cause distraught motorists to spill over into other Old Town streets and potentially create gridlock throughout Old Town. LCOR Incorporated, the developer offering the Carlyle site in the General Services Administration's (GSA) PTO competition, advised that the traffic study conducted in support of its proposal is based upon convention. Does the convention utilized by LCOR take into consideration historic narrow two-lane streets?
Our advisors indicate that, without additional substantial transportation improvements, the PTO at Carlyle would have a major negative impact upon 17 intersections along Duke and King Streets in Old Town, only seven of which were addressed by the Draft EIS. Of those seven, all will fail without improvement. GSA assumes that there will be funds available to improve those seven, but no funding has been identified and no traffic improvement planning has been done. Even if the required funds are authorized and appropriated, GSA recognizes that four of the seven improved intersections will fail.
The DEIS also does not consider the impact of the proposed decade of construction for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which the PTO will use to provide access to an unknown but substantial number of vehicles bringing employees and visitors over the bridge's exit ramps to the PTO. Additionally, the DEIS does not address the I-495195/395 Springfield interchange for which construction is also expected to take ten years.
I am not a traffic expert. However, it does not take an expert to know that more than five minutes is too long to cross Duke Street by foot during rush hour. What will it be like with 7,000 PTO employees, 3,500 PTO cars, and 1,000 PTO visitors?
3. No Public Hearings
LCOR has had ample time to submit its proposed zoning changes and PTO application to the Alexandria City Planning Commission and Alexandria City Council for public comment and due process. LCOR has deferred public hearings by the City since submission of its initial application in February 1998. We have heard that LCOR plans to continue deferral until after GSA makes contractor selection. We ask the City of Alexandria to adhere to established procedures for notification and public hearings before GSA makes its decision. Bypassing these specified events would be an injustice to concerned citizens and should not be allowed.
The GSA Solicitation for Offers does not require that LCOR's PTO design have Alexandria City Planning Commission and Alexandria City Council approval before contractor selection occurs. If contractor selection takes place in advance of those hearings, the Federal Government, with full knowledge of the Alexandria City Government, will have aided LCOR in obstructing the voice of the local community. It is imperative that the citizens of Alexandria be allowed to have adequate public comment and debate on such a contentious issue, which will have a dramatic and negative effect on the Alexandria Master Plan and the city of Alexandria.
4. The Voices of Alexandria
I am attaching a copy of a collective letter signed by the presidents of nine Alexandria civic associations and two pillars of the Alexandria community --Ellen Pickering and Lillea Finklea. These civic associations represent literally thousands of Alexandria citizens.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, and Fellow Americans, ECA does not want the PTO to be built at the Carlyle Development.
Thank you for your time and consideration on this important issue.
Kirk S. Lippold
Chairman, Executive Committee
Eisenhower Civic Association
EISENHOWER CIVIC ASSOCIATION
2121 Jamieson Avenue, Suite 1801
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
September 22, 1998
Mr. William Hurd, Chairman
City of Alexandria Planning Commission
301 King Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The Eisenhower Civic Association (ECA) represents the citizens of Alexandria who live and operate businesses within the Eisenhower Corridor. We have joined with other civic associations of Alexandria to express collectively several very serious concerns which we share with respect to the community of Carlyle.
1. U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)
The 1992 Master Plan, which culminated in an agreement between our civic associations and the City of Alexandria, envisioned for Carlyle a tastefully mixed residential, cultural, and urban development in an environment consistent with that of Old Town. Prior to 1992, Norfolk Southern Railroad, owner ofthe 76.0-acre Carlyle property, prepared the 1990 Carr/Norfolk Southern Concept Development Plan. (CNS Plan). The Eisenhower Civic Association finds both plans to be wholly consistent. Both plans emphasized mixed use and integration of business with community life.
Norfolk Southern has contracted with a second developer, LCOR, to build the PTO at Carlyle. LCOR's design contains features dramatically different from the original concept which we believe are to the detriment of Old Town and Alexandria's citizens. These variances include (1) building heights substantially exceeding those set forth in the 1992 Master Plan, including a 288 foot skyscraper and (2) drastic reduction in the proportion of residential space with a concomitant increase in office space, including two huge eight-story buildings with open air garages for 3,500 cars. In order to accommodate the PTO at Carlyle, a substantial amount of space originally reserved for residential use would be moved to less desirable areas of Carlyle or eliminated altogether. The PTO complex would erase major portions of several planned streets from Carlyle's map and literally destroy the previously planned aesthetic integration of business with community life.
The Federal Courthouse was the first building to be constructed at Carlyle. Shortly thereafter came Carlyle Towers, a three-tower condominium complex. When sales of Carlyle Towers began, both thel992 Master Plan and CNS Plan provided for a vibrant mixed use community. This encompassed theaters, gardens, multiple residential developments, and a design concept with a quality of life enticing to potential buyers. Since then, the erosion of plans for retail, cultural, and recreational facilities, combined with the proposed substantial decrease in residential space and migration of that remaining to the margins of Carlyle, leaves in substantial question any semblance of cohesive plans for development in accordance with the original concept.
The 1992 Master Plan brings to Carlyle the vitality of Old Town's tourism and night life, while preserving, for Carlyle, Old Town's history and culture. Rather than incorporate Carlyle within Old Town, LCOR proposes to incorporate Rosslyn and Crystal City within Old Town, together with its traffic jams, parking problems, and after-hours ghost town atmosphere.
2. 1992 Master Plan No Longer Valid
Should the Planning Commission and City Council approve the pending Norfolk Southern/ LCOR Special Use Permit (SUP) application, the City of Alexandria will have broken the promises it made to its citizens when ordaining the 1992 Master Plan for Carlyle. The residents of the City of Alexandria must be able to rely upon accurate city plans to assist in planning their lives and personal futures. Carlyle residents relied upon the 1992 Master Plan when selecting Alexandria for their home. Many of Carlyle Towers' residents are senior citizens who chose to make the Carlyle community their retirement home because they believed that it would be a lovely mixed use develop~ ment. What appears to be a drastic reversal of the initial mixed use concept for Carlyle should be redefined in terms of currently employed design guidelines. This must be done and additional public comment must be required, if the PTO Carlyle site is endorsed by City officials and selected by GSA, because the original guidelines clearly will no longer be valid due to innumerable piecemeal revisions.
3. Exclusion of Carlyle Citizens from the Development Process
(a) We have learned that LCOR may submit changes to its PTO proposal (contained in the Norfolk Southern/LCOR SUP application) now on file at the Commission. To ensure that citizens residing within Carlyle and others interested throughout the city have an opportunity to review those changes as well as your staff analysis and report of the LCOR proposal, whether or not changed, we request that the Commission provide us with a copy of your analysis thereof 30 days prior to its formal consideration by the Planning Commission.
(b) Section 1 of Ordinance No. 3974, approved January 24, 1998, amends Section 12-600 of the Zoning Code to provide that an applicant for an amendment to a CO planned residential/commercial development obtain the consent of the SUP permitted if such SUP permittee is in control of the development. In the case of Carlyle, the SUP permittee is the Carlyle Development Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norfolk Southern. The Carlyle Development Corporation shares such proposed amendments with Carlyle's commercial landowners but not with Carlyle's resident landowners. To ensure that the citizens of Carlyle are apprised of future developments, we request that the Eisenhower Civic Association be provided a copy of proposed amendments to the current Carlyle SUP or of any proposed new SUP affecting Carlyle, together with your staff analysts, at least two weeks before any hearing by the Commission.
(c) The analysis supporting this Ordinance provides that the Planning Staff has clear authority to approve minor amendments. We are concerned that this precept is not specifically stated in the Ordinance and note that the term "minor amendment" has not been fully defined. Therefore, we request that the Eisenhower Civic Association be provided advance notification of all changes. We further request that such notification, together with supporting analyses, be furnished so as to be received at least two weeks prior to action.
Please address any questions or written correspondence concerning our requests to Kirk Lippold, Chairperson of the Eisenhower Civic Association Executive Committee, or to Pat Rudd, his special assistant.
On behalf of the following civic associations, we thank you for your kind consideration.
Kirk Lippold, Chairperson
Eisenhower Civic Ass,ociation
Poul Hertel, President Northeast Civic Association
Judy McVay, President
Old Town Civic Association
Ron Ullrich, President
Inner City Civic Association
Lillie Finklea, Vice President
South West Quadrant Civic Association
Maitland Bottoms, President
Taylor Run Civic Association
Judy Miller, President
Rosemont Civic Association
Ashley Spencer, President
Upper King Street Neighborhood Association
McInnis Lyles, President
South West Quadrant Civic Association
Joseph V. Fischer, President
Seminary Hills Civic Association
Ellen Pickering , Taylor Run Civic Association Association
SEMINARY ASSOCIATION, INC.
September 16, 1998
To: Mr. William B. Hurd
The Planning Commmason
City Hail, Alexandria, VA 22313
Subject: The Seminary Hill Association's position on the Eisenhower Civic Association's Position Paper on the Patent & Trade Office In The Carlyle Community
At our regular monthly meeting last week, September 10th, the Seminary Hill Association (SHA), Inc. listened to an excellent presentation made by the Eisenhower Civic Association (ECA) regarding their association's position to oppose the placement of the Patent & Trade Office (PTO) in the 76 acre Carlyle Community. The arguments they made were well constructed and had significant appeal to many of the members of our association. As you know, SHA has many members that have had a long history in assisting your Office and City Council in protecting the livability index of Alexandra that we cherish as our own community.
In our discussion that evening, we heard from some of those that fought in 1992 against the development that was finally approved for the Eisenhower Valley. The question was succinctly put that the development that was finally approved that SHA was unsuccessful in defeating then was bad then and still is . But that war was lost and there was no sense now in fighting that battle again. We could understand some of the concerns that were expressed by the residences of the Carlyle Towers community and we empathized with their position that if they had known when they bought their homes what Hey know today, they would have possibly reconsidered selecting Carlyle as their home.
We also recognize the importance that the City Council has placed in securing an agency of the PTO stature for Alexandria. We are sensible to how this will have a positive affect on He tax base and employment situation in Alexandria and at the same time recognize the concomitant possible traffic issues, etc. that may come to the city.
After further discussion and comments, and since we could not agree on everything expressed in the ECA positan paper, the Board requested that I write to you and ad˙7Ense that we had the unanimously agreed on the following:
1. SHA requests that the City considers the Hoffman property as the primary "home" for the PTO. We believe the access to the Metro and existing and proposed development at the Hoffman site will better serve the development of the PTO and appears to be more buildable wig minimal impact on existing residences and services.
2. SHA is opposed to any structure exceeding those set forth in the 1992 Master Plan.
3. The SHA is opposed to vacation of Dulany Street and Emerson Avenue in the Carlyle Community.
Thank you for your consideration of this reader.
Joseph V. Fischer, President