But while we're reveling in Mr. Rich's mea culpa, a more astonishing quote from a City officials needs to be dissected.
A commenter yesterday provided us with a story from the Alexandria Times citing Planning & Zoning Director Faroll Hamer:
"There are warehouses around the Braddock Road Metro station that are perhaps not the best plan for uses around a Metro station,” Hamer said. “We need to maximize the advantages that come with our Metro stations and are certainly looking at more density where that is appropriate."
Land Bay L, for example, in Potomac Yard, was approved with that in mind. "If you take away the roads, it is one of the densest areas in the City," Hamer said. "People don’t realize that because the FAR was calculated with the roads included."
Whoa, is there a problem with the quote or with Ms. Hamer's math?
Click here to view the City's own PowerPoint presentation on Potomac Yard and go to page 21 to see the map breaking down the proposed development of Potomac Yard landbay by landbay. Alternatively, you can click here to view the map the Growler published some months ago comparing the development in southern Potomac Yard with that proposed for Braddock Road.
Measured in terms of dwelling unit per acre or d.u., the projected residential density of Landbay L is about 21 units per acre (358 residential units on 17 acres of land).
By contrast, in our neighborhood alone the Prescott is 63.9 d.u. (64 units on roughly an acre), Colecroft Station is 71.71 d.u. (156 units on approximately 2.17 acres), the Monarch is 83.95 d.u. (169 units on about two acres), and the Potomac Club II high rise rental apartments is a whopping 191.10 d.u. (297 units on 1.5 acres).
And these are Planning & Zonings own numbers from its March 2006 Housing Inventory (click on a number to see the details for each project around the City).
So Growler, you ask, what about the office space and retail that are planned for Landbay L? Won't they bulk the site up?
OK, let's do the math. For comparison purposes, Braddock Place with four buildings and 386,927 sf of office space occupies 3.5 acres. So let's assume the office and retail space proposed for Landbay L will occupy some 4 acres. And let's not forget that Landbay L also has half an acre set aside as open space.
Subtract 4.5 acres from 17 acres — the size of the Landbay L parcel — and you are left with 12.5 acres that will be purely residential. Even in this more conservative scenario, the recalculation of dwelling units per acre is 28.8. That's nothing compared to what we already have on the eastern side of the railroad tracks and certainly much less than what we will be getting.
Why is this density so low? The Growler understands that these dwellings will be townhouses. By contrast, we are getting stacked condos.
Landbay L is flanked by Landbays K and M, which are to be preserved as parks. That's a nice mitigation of density.
Bad quote or bad math? It's your call, readers.