By an overwhelming majority, the residents of the North Fairlington condominiums in South Arlington have rejected a proposal to purchase a neighborhood lot to preserve it from development.
Development and traffic have become a concern in the neighborhood as building projects go up in adjacent Shirlington and Alexandria.
The 1,703 homeowners, many of whom met in January to discuss the proposal, were sent ballots on the purchase last month. The results were tallied last week and by a 625-to-159 vote, the residents rejected the idea of buying the lot at South 31st and South Abingdon streets.
The owner of the land said he will develop the property and intends to file site plans with the county for a building that will be used either as a bank or as offices.
Jerry G. Harbin, president of the board of directors of the North Fairlington Unit Owners Association, said many residents thought the $450,000 price of the lot was too high.
"It's a little, tiny piece of green land," said Harbin, who opposed the purchase. An appraisal commissioned by the residents valued the lot at $300,000, Harbin said.
Edwin S. Clarke, president of Fairlington Properties, which owns the lot, said the appraisal was faulty and that the asking price had been lowered especially for the condominium residents. "There's not another person who could buy from us for a dime less than $500,000," Clarke said. "It is a perfectly developable piece of property. We're rather pleased they didn't buy it."