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Arlington Delays Vote On $250M Virginia Hospital Center Expansion

A rendering of the proposed $250M Virginia Hospital Center expansion

Virginia Hospital Center officials hoped to receive approval this weekend for their planned $250M expansion, but the Arlington County Board voted to delay the decision another three months. 

The board unanimously voted Saturday to defer the the final vote on the expansion to its December meeting following a surge of community opposition that led the Planning Commission to recommend VHC alter the proposal. 

The hospital submitted a site-plan application in September 2017 to build a seven-story outpatient facility and a six-story parking garage next to the VHC campus at 1701 North George Mason Drive. The lone hospital in Arlington County, VHC said the expansion is necessary to meet growing demand. The expansion has the support of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, which wrote a letter to the county in July expressing disappointment after it delayed its hearing on the project to September.

Dozens of residents spoke at the hearing in support and opposition to the expansion. Those against the project worry about the height of the building compared to nearby residential areas and about the effect the new parking garage could have on traffic patterns, encouraging hospital employees to drive rather than take public transit. The board said it decided to delay the final vote to give VHC more time to address community concerns. 

“We view the continued success of this major health center as important to everyone in Arlington, both for the high-quality medical care it provides, and the economic benefits it brings to the community," Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a release. "But it is also important that the expansion is designed in a way that respects the basics of good planning and design that have allowed Arlington to grow while still maintaining high quality of life for residents."