Friday, October 06, 2006
After two years of back-and forth waiting, it appears that The Views at Clarendon project is no longer a viable option, as the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that Arlington County violated its own zoning regulations when it approved plans two years ago to let the First Baptist Church of Clarendon build a mixed-use church and residential development at its current location at 1201 N. Highland Street. The project would have kept the church's 107-foot steeple, while rebuilding the church (a smaller version) within a 10-story, 116 rental-unit structure (with 70 units reserved for moderately priced housing) that would have helped defray the church’s operating expenses. After the church received zoning-change approval from the County, neighbors immediately objected to the tall tower (heaven forbid Clarendon allow construction of a high-density, boxy building within spitting distance of its new Market Common mall monstrosity), and filed a lawsuit in November 2004 to reverse the decision. While the County Circuit Court judge ruled last year against the neighbors, this September the Virginia Supreme Court reversed the Circuit Court and sided with the neighbors, stating that the County violated its own Zoning Ordinance 27A by not complying with its eligibility requirements. The Circuit Court confirmed the remanded ruling this week (got all that?). Both the church and Arlington County are now mulling over their next steps and options.