In June 2014 a total of 44 demolition permits were applied for in Arlington County, and all but two were for single-family homes. One commercial permit was for a church and the other was for the Shreve Fuel Oil building on Lee Highway — a property that Preservation Arlington had identified as being at risk both as one of our disappearing small-scale commercial properties but also as a last vestige of the commercial core of the East Falls Church area.
North Arlington accounted for 38 of the permits and South Arlington for the remaining 4. Eight (20%) of the homes are in National Register Historic Districts. This includes three in Lyon Village (1512 North Garfield Street, 1601 North Johnson Street, and 1405 North Herndon Street), two in Ashton Heights (3700 6th Road North and 813 North Lincoln Street), two in Lyon Park (26 North Fenwick and 305 North Edgewood) and one in Cherrydale (1516 North Randolph Street). At a minimum, 24 of the 42 permits are for speculative developments and are owned by developers. Seven of the homes sit on properties that can accommodate additional development through a by-right subdivision.
Cumulative demolition total for 2014:
– 21 are located in National Register Historic Districts
– 69 are speculative developments
Commercial buildings: 7
In June 2013, there were a total of 14 demolition permits. The half-year cumulative total was 92 properties. So while June 2014 was substantially larger than June 2013, the cumulative total is only 20% ahead of last year.
The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy, and materials. Many had the potential for renovation and additions or, at a bare minimum, reclamation/reuse of building materials. These buildings are often replaced with new construction that is out of scale and proportion to the community. Preservation Arlington urges citizens to adopt Local Historic District designations for their communities, with standards for design, height, and placement that could be customized to reflect community needs while still allowing reinvestment to occur.
Similarly, if you are a property owner and are contemplating a change to your property, Preservation Arlington encourages you to work with your architect or builder to consider how some or all of your house or building could be incorporated into a renovation, or the materials reused.