The Melwood Horticultural Training Center, Inc. has requested an amendment to the County’s General Land Use Plan (GLUP) to change the land use designation of the property located at 750 23rd Street South from “Public” (Parks [local, regional, and federal]. Schools [public]. Parkways, major unpaved rights-of-way. Libraries and cultural facilities.) to “Low-Medium” Residential (16-36 units/acre).

The site is comprised of two parcels. The first parcel is occupied by the Melwood Horticultural Training Center (RPC #36-039-015), which took over the former school building on the parcel, and the second parcel is a portion of Nelly Custis Park (RPC #36-039-016) with a public access easement. In addition to the requested GLUP amendment, the applicant is requesting an associated rezoning to RA8-18.

The applicant wants to redevelop the former school building and construct a new, primarily residential building of approximately five stories. The new building would house the Melwood operations on the lower floors and provide affordable housing on the upper floors, with some units reserved for residents with disabilities.

Staff is conducting a Special GLUP Study to evaluate the appropriateness of this request and to determine whether or not a GLUP amendment to “Low-Medium” Residential and a rezoning to RA8-18 is an alternative and/or more appropriate use for this area. Staff will evaluate the potential future land use vision for the first parcel. The second parcel will remain a part of Nelly Custis Park and will continue to be designated “Public” to signal the long-range planning vision for that area as a public park.

The County Board has the authority to amend the GLUP and is advised by the Planning Commission on land use decisions. Staff is asking for community input to inform recommendations to the Planning Commission and County Board on the future land use vision for this site.