Your Views: Kudos to Alexandria’s BAR

Your Views: Kudos to Alexandria’s BAR
The Heritage is currently composed of several three-story housing units, like the one pictured above, and one six-story apartment building. (Photo/Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

The Board of Architectural Review met on Sept. 2 for a concept review of the Heritage Project proposal, which was to include replacement buildings up to seven stories high, designed in an anonymous style that, as BAR members recognized, would be at home in Ballston or Rockville but had absolutely nothing to do with Old Town Alexandria.

The proposed redevelopment would also have more than tripled the population density of the existing Heritage community, to 777 units. Neighbors of the proposed project became deeply concerned, and sent a large number of comments to BAR, based in many instances on extensive research and analysis, rather than some reflexive “not in my back yard” reaction.

Though we played only a minor role in this effort, we feel compelled to express our deep gratitude for BAR members’ careful consideration of the design concept, and unwillingness to be snowed by the association of the project with a slight increase in modestly affordable housing.

BAR members repeatedly expressed their recognition of both the grossly disproportionate size of the proposed buildings, and their strikingly inappropriate designs for the sites involved. As residents of Old Town for close to 50 years, we have once again been impressed by the quality of our town’s citizen involvement, both on the part of those who expressed their views to BAR and, more importantly, on the part of BAR’s members themselves.

-William and Carolyn Doying, Alexandria