I used to work in Tysons Corner, Virginia. It is a fascinating place for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the area supports 105,000 jobs but only 17,000 residents. One of the consequences of this job-to-resident ratio is a daily traffic jam as workers leave for the day.

Government officials want to remake Tysons Corner into a more sustainable community by increasing density and residential options. As you can probably imagine, there are many competing proposals put forward by varying interest groups. One of the proposals involves permitting density bonuses to developers if a building seeks LEED certification:

"As far as density bonuses, a 10 percent bonus is proposed in return for LEED platinum certification, and bonuses are to be compoundable. For example, if a developer obtained a 20 percent density bonus for offering 20 percent affordable housing, the additional bonus for LEED certification would be for 10 percent of the resulting density cap, for a total bonus of 32 percent."

The proposed density bonus program is similar to the Arlington bonus density program. Not everyone supports the Tysons Corner bonus density program though:

  • “Representing the Town of Vienna, Town Council member Laurie Cole said the ‘implementation entity’ that is to oversee the fulfillment of the plan should include residents of the surrounding communities. ‘The future of Tysons Corner affects us directly and deeply,’ she told the commission. Cole advised against density bonuses for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, as well as the compounding of density bonuses, saying that such policy was ‘testing the surface tension of what Tysons Corner can contain.’”
  • “[Jonathan Cox of AvalonBay Communities] also said recommendations for LEED certification would be punitive to residential redevelopment, as LEED standards were developed for office and commercial buildings and not for residential developments.”

What do you think of these criticisms of the proposed Tysons Corner bonus density program?

  Related Links   Public Supports, Questions Tysons Redevelopment (Vienna Connection)

Arlington County Revises Green Building Density Program (GBLU)

Photo:  Shanghai Steve