On Saturday, the Arlington County Board will decide whether a public hearing is needed in regard to a petition to designate a portion of the Robert Ball Sr. Burial Ground in Ballston as a Local Historic District.
A map of the site; the proposed historic district is outlined in blue
While there are several headstones scattered throughout the site in question, which also houses the Central United Methodist Church at 4201 Fairfax Drive (map), at issue is roughly 325 square feet of the square. Ostensibly, six members of the Ball family — that’s “Ball” as in “Ballston”, as in members of the family that is the namesake of the city where the site is located — are buried there.
The property owner is opposed to the designation, which would interrupt plans by the Ballston Station Housing Corporation to redevelop the church into an 8-story project with 132 residential units. The redevelopment would also deliver affordable housing, a new church, a daycare and preschool, and non-profit space.
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment
The County Board staff is recommending that the Board proceed with opening the matter for next month’s public hearing to solicit feedback on the proposal. It is unclear whether there are actually any remains on the site, which would require a separate process to approve any exploratory excavation; a representative for the developer surmises that the construction of the Ballston Metro station would have uncovered anything.
Thus far, members of the public have been both supportive and in opposition to the proposal; the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association has voted to support the request.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ballston_burial_ground/11847.
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