What happens when a parochial high school, which has owned its 20-acre tract of land in North Arlington since 1949, plans to upgrade its athletic facilities with the help of a local university? A full-blown neighborhood controversy, of course.
Bishop O’Connell High School wants to spend $6 million renovating its football and baseball fields. The renovations would add new artificial turf to the football field, making it doubly usable as a regulation soccer field.
The renovations would also add lights to both fields, so they can be used after the sun goes down. The school has agreed to limit hours of use, however.
Nearby Marymount University will help pay for the renovations, in exchange for use of the fields.
Enter the neighbors, who are worried about increased traffic and “commotion” in the area, especially at night.
“Realtors expect decline in home values,” blares a headline from a blog set up for the sole purpose of opposing the renovations.
“Petition drive shows strong opposition to O’Connell plan,” reads another, announcing that more than 250 people signed a petition opposing the plan.
The petition was signed by many people who don’t even live next to the school.
“[Signature gatherers] have found a large percentage of residents opposed to the proposal, including many who live outside the immediate streets around O’Connell,” the blog stated.
In an interview with TBD, one vocal neighbor and Williamsburg Civic Association member said he moved to the neighborhood under the assumption that the high school — and Tuckahoe Elementary School, across the street — would remain quiet after school hours.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood 25 years now, and when I moved in, I was concerned about the high school,” the resident said. “But I talked to the neighbors, and they said it wasn’t hard to come to grips with the commotion during the day. It was a factor in my moving here.”
The county board is expected to consider the school’s renovation proposal at its Jan. 22 meeting.
Unanswered question: At what point is the desire of homeowners to maintain the neighborhood status quo outweighed by the desire of a long-time landowner to upgrade their facilities?
Police say a dark-colored sedan hit the woman in the 4200 block of Fairfax Drive around 12:20 a.m. The car did not stop and police are investigating the accident as a hit-and-run.
The young woman is in serious condition at a local hospital, according to police.
Anyone who witnessed the accident or has information about the accident is asked to call Det. Robert Wright at (703) 228-4618. Police say the striking vehicle should have noticeable front-end damage.
Update on 12/31/10 — Police have released additional information about the striking vehicle.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a hit and run accident that occurred yesterday morning in the 4200 block of Fairfax Drive. At approximately 12:20 a.m. on Thursday, December 30, 2010, police responded for a pedestrian stuck by a vehicle.
A woman was crossing Fairfax Drive in a crosswalk when she was struck by a vehicle. The striking vehicle did not stop at the scene. She was transported to a local hospital in serious condition.
The striking vehicle has been identified as a dark colored 2003-2005 Dodge or Plymouth Neon. The vehicle would have noticeable damage to the front passenger side and passenger side mirror.
Police ask that anyone who witnessed the accident, or has information relating to this incident or the striking vehicle, contact Detective Robert Wright at (703) 228-4618.
Earlier this week we reported that some residents were upset with loophole in Arlington’s parking code that allows commercial trucks to park for extended periods of time in front of schools, libraries and other county properties.
But trucks aren’t the only hulking masses taking up space on the side of local roads. Here’s what one peeved resident wrote us this morning:
Storage pods are very popular nowadays with all the moving that goes on in Arlington, but usually they are picked up in a few days and require a county permit. This pod has been on 1st Road South in front of Butler Holmes Park for over three months. We have called the Boxcart company, and were told they would pick it up. They didn’t, and why would they – they are getting free storage of the pod courtesy of Arlington. We have called the county twice. They said they would look into it because they should be charging a fee to Boxcart – much more interested in revenue generation than getting this storage unit off our street. They didn’t even do that, as the storage unit is still sitting there with no permit.
What Diener was not was a likely crime victim. After all, he lived within the safe confines of Lyon Village and, if worse came to worse, he was one of the fastest runners of all his sporty friends.
Nonetheless, early in the morning on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009, Diener was beaten and stabbed to death near the intersection of 13th and Irving Streets in Arlington. The shocking crime has remained Arlington’s only unsolved murder since 2006.
Last night, about two dozen friends of Diener showed up at the intersection for a candlelight vigil. Many of those in attendance said they counted Carl as a close friend, speaking to his instantly likable, outgoing personality.
“He was a guy who loved his friends and enjoyed life,” said Ed Hall, who knew Diener through his gym (Carl was a constant fixture at Arlington Sport & Health Club). “A lot of times when you hear about a murder on TV, people always say, ‘Oh he was a nice person.’ Carl really was.”
Diener, 57, lived alone in an apartment he first moved into 20 years prior. He had recently retired from a government job, and was on his way to his other job — opening Arlington Sport & Health in the pre-dawn hours — when he was attacked. Police say it was a random act of violence.
“He was a random victim, there’s no doubt,” said Det. Rosa Ortiz, the lead investigator in the case.
Friends say there must have been multiple assailants to overpower a man as in-shape as Diener.
“It was probably more than one, because Carl was a big guy,” said Michael Byrnes, who said he had played racquetball with Diener four time per week for the last 30 years. “It was a senseless, brutal act… in what we consider a safe neighborhood.”
Hall said Arlington’s relatively low homicide rate — there were two murders last year, and only one so far this year — is little consolation.
“They talk about, ‘Oh there were only two murders in Arlington County last year,” said Hall, his voice cracking with emotion. “Well, when it’s your friend, two is too many.”
O’Leary, who first took office in 1984, touts his efforts to bring down the tax delinquency rate in Arlington County. The rate was nine percent shortly before he took office, and is just over one half of one percent now.
Republicans are currently looking for qualified candidates to run against O’Leary and other Democrats who are up for re-election this year.
After the jump is O’Leary’s letter to supporters announcing his re-election bid.
Artisphere Gets Latin Flavor — Arlington’s Guajillo restaurant and the District’s Casa Oaxaca restaurant have been chosen to jointly run a full-service restaurant and bar in Artisphere, the county’s new cultural center. The county board is expected to formally approve a lease at its Jan. 22 meeting. More from TBD.
Le Village Marche Merging with Verbena — Two Shirlington Village stores are becoming one. Le Village Marche, a French housewares store, is moving into the larger retail space of Verbena, a stationary store under the same ownership. The mew store, which will inherit the Le Village Marche name, will continue to offer many of the same products and services as Verbena. More from Shirlington Village Blog.
Bowen McCauley Dance Gets Creative With Funding — Bowen McCauley Dance, an Arlington non-profit, was profiled on the PBS Nightly Business Report last night. Faced with a major financial shortfall after Virginia pulled a third of its funding, the dance company doubled down, increasing the scope of its programs by drawing on cash reserves. More from PBS. (Scroll down to the final few paragraphs.)
Readers Help Raise Money for Charity — Thank you to everybody who bought raffle tickets to support Doorways for Women and Families over the past 36 hours. The raffle is now over, and thanks to ticket purchases from the readers of this and three other local web sites, our friends at What’s the Deal raised a total of $2,615 for four very worthy causes. (Update at 11:35 a.m. — The total raised for Doorways is $487.50. We’ll pitch in the additional bucks needed to bring it to a nice, even $500.00.)
Flickr pool photo by Christaki