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Update on Land Swap with Virginia Hospital Center

About 75 to 100 Arlington County residents attended a "community meeting" Wednesday evening, September 9, "on the proposed Virginia Hospital Center expansion," according to the Arlington County website, adding that "Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz and senior County staff gave a presentation about VHC’s proposed expansion and the public process, then answered questions."

Schwartz said the "meeting is the first step in a lengthy process, which will have ample opportunity for public input."  He also outlined the process and provided "details of the proposed real estate transaction."

The Arlington Sun Gazette's Scott McCaffrey posted a lengthy report at the weekly newspaper's website this morning. Here's the beginning of the report:

"Shovels likely won’t be in the ground for at least two or three years, but Virginia Hospital Center continues laying the groundwork for its first major expansion in more than a decade.

"Hospital officials and the Arlington County government aim to have a draft, non-binding letter of intent ready by Sept. 24, the next step toward a potential land swap that would give the hospital 5.5 acres of land just north of its North George Mason Drive campus.

"Pointing to a rise in patient counts at the hospital in recent years, “we’re going to need this space a whole lot sooner than we thought we would,” said Adrian Stanton, a hospital vice president, during a Sept. 9 briefing that drew about 100 community members.

"Hospital officials in May formally asked County Board members to consider giving them government-owned land along North Edison Street, which has housed health-related government facilities that are being relocated elsewhere in Arlington. In exchange, the hospital says it is willing to offer cash or property it owns elsewhere in the county.

"The letter of intent, if adopted by the County Board, would be just the first formal step in what could be extensive negotiations.

"“This is going to be a long process,” predicted Mike Halewski, an assistant to the director of the county government’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. “There’s a lot of work that’s involved.”

"At the Sept. 9 meeting, county officials tried to keep the horse in the barn – suggesting to residents that it may be too early to start throwing out ideas for future use of parcels that might be part of a land swap. Those parcels include a number along Lee Highway at North George Mason, along with one at South Carlin Springs Road.

"Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz said he already is receiving suggestions for use of swapped land, and expects a deluge of such ideas as the process moves forward."

Scott McCaffrey also reported, "Civic associations representing the Waycroft-Woodlawn, Tara-Leeway and John M. Langston neighborhoods – which are closest to the hospital – have banded together to establish a task force as the planning process ramps up."

You can view the Acting County Manager's 12-page slide presentation here.

We growled last month on August 5 when the possibility of a land swap was first announced in the Washington Business Journal.

Growls readers who are Arlington County taxpayers who were unable to attend last night's community meeting, and wish to communicate your concerns about the proposed land swap with Virginia Hospital Center are urged to write or call the Arlington County Board. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130.

And tell them ACTA sent you!


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