Green Valley Civic Association pitches ideas for historic pharmacy preservation | news/arlington
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The Green Valley Civic Association has set out the terms under which it would support the transformation of the historic but closed property of the Green Valley Pharmacy into a restaurant.
In a Jan. 12 letter to county government officials, association president Portia Clark and first vice president Robin Stombler expressed a host of concerns about the proposal — including several changes that have already been brought.
The county government’s Historic Landmarks and Landmarks Review Board (HALRB) was due to consider the proposal at its December meeting, but the civic association was never notified. When the leaders of this group found out (thanks to Sun Gazette coverage), they requested and were granted a postponement of the proposal.
Civic association leaders are still up in the air, in part because this isn’t the only time Green Valley leaders have felt neglected by the county government on issues important to the community.
“Not asking for our advice on this item in the first place, and not informing us of the business, was negligent and disrespectful,” Clark and Strombler wrote. “This is not the first time our community has faced this behavior – unfortunately it is frequent and abhorrent. It needs to stop.”
The HALRB now plans to consider the development proposal at its January 19 meeting, a step on the way to a final decision on the matter by county council members.
As for the details of the proposal, the civic association raised a number of concerns and made a number of proposals:
• The organization would like the name “Green Valley Pharmacy” to be returned to the building with its original lettering, to maintain a connection to the past as things move into the future.
• The organization opposes the removal of the only tree on the plot, a mature American elm in good condition.
“We are mindful that the plaintiff wishes to cut down the tree to make way for a dumpster,” civic association leaders said.
• Association leaders want a chimney stack at the back of the building to be retained rather than removed, as it is part of the building’s historic provenance, they say.
• The association asks the county government to coordinate with the owner (and those who live in nearby townhouses) to provide parking and/or green space on a nearby government-owned parcel.
• The association would like clarification on the relationship between the Green Valley Pharmacy building and an adjacent office building, which is also leased by the same entity, and how parking will be allocated.
• The association thinks a proposal to add an outdoor dining feature to the restaurant would add some life (and, thanks to the plantings, beauty) to the plot, but wonder if there would be enough parking for that.
The building, built in 1942 and originally serving as a grocery store, was operated by Leonard “Doc” Muse as the Green Valley Pharmacy from the early 1950s until his death in 2017. Subsequent efforts for the make it work failed, and a developer is now looking to turn it into a restaurant under lease from Muse’s daughter.
The Arlington County government declared the plot a local historic district in 2013, giving HALRB members a say whenever exterior changes are proposed.