From Arlington Alert:
FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FOR DC AREA FROM MIDNIGHT WED TO THUR UP TO 11PM. MONITOR FORECASTS. BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. POSSIBLE 1-2 INCHES OF RAINFALL EACH DAY/NIGHT.
The company’s drivers will watch over restricted parking spaces and wait for some unfortunate schmo to park there and walk off the owner’s property, at which point they snatch the car and drive off. They do this at the Four Mile Run branch of the Virginia DMV, at the Westmont Shopping Center on Columbia Pike, and elsewhere around Arlington. Needless to say, it has not won them many friends.
They have earned themselves a steady stream of hate on Yelp. They have been the subject of a not-safe-for-work screed by a prominent local blogger. And they’re often involved in disputes that have to be settled by police.
The dispute that led to the photo above happened last week when a driver thought his car was damaged by an Advanced tow truck. Police concluded that it was preexisting damage.
One day later, a man contacted TBD and ARLnow.com after his car was towed from the same private lot adjacent to the DMV. He accused Advanced of using a “decoy” to attract people to the spaces, then threatening him when he tried to warn others. “Aggressive towing, intimidation at Arlington DMV parking lot,” TBD’s headline read.
This all brings up the inevitable question: Is Advanced unethical? Are they preying on unsuspecting drivers without regard to circumstance? Or are they delivering justice to people who ignore no parking signs?
(Updated on 9/30) Citing “serious” violations of occupational safety laws, Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry has slapped Massachusetts-based College Pro Painters with a $14,875 fine for a near-fatal electrical accident in Ashton Heights on June 16.
A painter in his mid-20′s nearly died after the ladder he was using touched 19,900 volt power lines at a home on North Highland Street. The employee was burned and knocked back nearly 9 feet by the electrical shock. He was without a pulse when paramedics arrived on the scene, but was resuscitated and eventually transported to the MedStar burn unit in DC.
At the time, College Pro Painters president Rodney Larmand told ARLnow.com that the company was “deeply concerned” and was “investigating the circumstances” that led to the accident.
According to a citation obtained by ARLnow.com under the Freedom of Information Act, state safety inspectors determined that the company “failed to ensure employees did not perform any work” that would cause ladders or other equipment “to be placed within 10 feet of any overhead high voltage line.”
The company also failed to work with the power company to make temporary safety arrangements before the work was performed, and “did not ensure first aid supplies were easily accessible,” according to state inspectors.
The company has the right to contest the citation, which was issued earlier this month. Larmand declined to comment on the fine, citing a scheduled meeting with state occupational safety officials on Wednesday.
He did, however, point out that College Pro Painters has a safety record that is “significantly better than industry standard.
“Our safety program is excellent and we plan to continue our current program with improvements and updates for 2011 that will take into consideration our learning from this unfortunate incident,” Larmand said.
Arlington’s unemployment rate dipped 0.1 percent to 4.1 percent in August, easily maintaining the county’s distinction of having the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia.
By contrast, the unemployment rate statewide remained steady at 7.0 percent, Alexandria increased slightly from 4.9 to 5.0 percent, and Fairfax County decreased slightly from 5.0 to 4.9 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate dipped 0.2 percent to 9.5 percent.
The local data was released this morning by the Virginia Employment Commission.
It was a long night for the county board, which didn’t adjourn its recessed meeting until a few minutes after midnight. In addition to a controversial resolution regarding the Secure Communities program, a briefing on next year’s budget projections and the passage of the Crystal City Sector Plan, the board took a number of other significant actions.
The board heard a presentation by County Manager Michael Brown regarding staff research into the proposed development plan for East Falls Church. Details are available on the county’s web site.
Funds for the design of a better Ballston beaver pond were approved unanimously. The $471,842 contract calls for a new design that will allow the pond to do a better job of treating stormwater while still providing a habitat for wildlife.
A plan to renovate 162 apartments in Colonial Village was approved unanimously. The board looked into concerns about parking and trash expressed by neighboring residents, but otherwise made no alterations.
After another somewhat lengthy discussion about outdoor patios, the board voted unanimously to renew Hard Times Cafe’s outdoor seating permit. The board specified an allowance of four tables and eight chairs on the North Highland Street sidewalk during dinner time.
The board voted 4-1 to advertise a steep fee increase for restaurant and food vendor licenses. The board was careful to emphasize that the fee hike, from $100 to $285, was mandated by the state and already in place in neighboring jurisdictions. The fee would apply evenly to brick and mortar restaurants and mobile food vendors.
At the very end, the board approved some sort of settlement with the owner of the long-delayed Bromptons development in Cherrydale. Update at 11:15 a.m. — The settlement deals with a dispute between the owner and the county over utility undergrounding. Under terms of the settlement, Bromptons owner R15, LLC will pay $255,000 to a utility fund.
Just before the unanimous vote that would approve a sweeping plan to redevelop Crystal City, county board chairman Jay Fisette paused for reflection. Looking back at the four and a half year process of crafting the plan, Fisette remarked that it “an amazing moment and a startling success.”
Then, with five “ayes,” the board set in motion a 40-year development process that will transform the dated, hodgepodge apartments and office buildings in Crystal City into a gleaming, high-density, pedestrian-friendly urban district.
Initially conceived as a response to Crystal City’s impending loss of thousands of jobs as a result of BRAC, the Crystal City Sector Plan is meant to ensure a bright future for the oft-maligned but economically-crucial neighborhood. On numerous occasions last night, speakers pointed out that Crystal City currently produces the lion’s share of commercial tax revenues for Arlington County.
Although some speakers compared last night’s vote to the 1970s-era growth plan that laid the groundwork for the now-vibrant Rosslyn-Ballston Metro corridor, others spoke of the hardships the Crystal City plan might inflict on surrounding neighborhoods.
Too much density, not enough open space and an increase in traffic through neighborhood streets were the most-repeated charges. Others complained that the plan did not provide enough of a transition from high-rise development to the single-family neighborhood.
Largely, those complaints were addressed by the final version of the plan, which included a traffic monitoring mechanism, a citizen advisory board, and a mandate to study ways to smooth the transition at the edge of development. The Aurora Highlands Civic Association unsuccessfully argued for a delay in the vote so those last-minute changes could be further reviewed by residents.
More on Southwest at Reagan National – Southwest Airlines’ deal to acquire AirTran Airways will likely result in Southwest taking over AirTran’s slots at Reagan National Airport. But Greater Greater Washington’s Rob Pitingolo argues that the long-awaited arrival of Southwest at DCA — should the deal go through — won’t have much of effect on fare prices, as some might hope.
Arlington’s Highways Clogged During Evening Commute – Dr. Gridlock reports that the Arlington stretches of I-395 and I-66 were each backed up 3-4 miles during last night’s commute.
Sen. Ted Stevens Buried At Arlington National Cemetery – Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, a military pilot during World War II, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday afternoon. Four F-22 fighter jets roared overhead as a bugler played taps at the private burial. Stevens, who served in the Senate for 40 years, was killed in a plane crash last month. More from McClatchy Newspapers.