An office, hotel and residential project in the southern end of Crystal City was approved this week by the Arlington Planning Commission.

One resident who lives near the proposed project objected to the developer's plan to cut through a grassy median strip to provide access to the project from the southbound part of Rte. 1 that is Jefferson Davis Highway.

Improvements such as the median represent hard-won concessions gained by neighborhood groups, said Nancy Swain, a longtime civic activist.

In the 1970s, the Arlington Ridge Civic Association and Aurora Highlands Civic Association went to court and successfully fought against the building of what was to have been I-595. Its successor is Rte. 1 and improvements such as the median were lobbied for by neighborhood groups and were designed to give the thoroughfare a "boulevard effect," said Swain in an interview.

"A lot of people worked very hard together to put forth a beautiful, urban highway," she said.

Another resident said that without the median cut, traffic might end up on neighborhood streets. Approval rests with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The proposed development by Old Dominion Properties calls for an 11-story office building, an 18-story, 332-unit residential building and a 14-story, 272-room hotel on Jefferson Davis Highway near what is proposed to be S. 27th Street. The plan replaces a previous development proposal called Crystal Station.

The project was unanimously approved by the commission, whose actions are advisory. The development is expected to come to the County Board Sept. 12.

In other action, the commission deferred consideration of a request by the Exxon Company to allow gas prices to be posted on the identification sign of a station at 2300 Jefferson Davis Hwy. County policy, designed to reduce the clutter caused by various signs at gas stations, allows a price sign of about 12 square feet on each pump island.

County planners have recommended that an exception be made in this case.

The commission also voted to recommend that the County Board take no action on a proposal by developers Preston C. Carruthers and Goodwin H. Taylor to rezone a parcel of land in the Virginia Square Area to commercial. The request is not consistent with the county's general land use plan, a planning report said.