WE TAKE YOU once more to riverside in Georgetown, long the home port of countless fervent and deeply moored opinions about exactly what should grace the grounds of the strip running from Key Bridge to Rock Creek. When we last looked in, the decor there was your basic rubble-and-ruin design, embroidered with parking lots and topped with a well-aged cement plant. Proposed was something a bit different: a commercial-residential complex with two curved buildings embaracing an elliptical yacht basin, with attractive park space in and around it.

It looked fine -- from the water or from Virginia. But from Georgetown, the design did seem a trifle more momumental than necessary. With that in mind, the Fine Arts Commission sent architect Arthur Cotton Moore back to the drawing board last month to do some shrinking. He did -- knocking the height of the rear buildings by nearly 20 feet and scaling them down. Now, in a burst of reason and realism, the Fine Arts Commission has approved the compromise design. Though final approval awaits details of the project, such as building materials, the commission's go-ahead it an important step in converting this valuable land into a functionally and financially attractive area.

The decision is a blow to the dreams of many Georgetowners who would prefer nothing but park land on the site. But it does not mean wall-to-wall cement, either, for there will be green spaces. Besides, the Georgetown area isn't exactly park-less, as anyone who wanders toward the C&O Canal will discover. Rather than continuing to hold out for a huge empty park that the government is in no position to pay for, the residents should direct their attention now to ways to mesh a potentially attractive project as smoothly as possible with its surroundings.