73°Scattered Clouds

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — March 15, 2011 at 8:24 am 1,375 86 Comments

Sign Goes Up at Penrose Square Giant — The Giant supermarket that will be opening at the corner of Columbia Pike and South Adams Street this summer is teasing residents with a new sign. The sign went up recently on the side of the new Penrose Square apartment complex, in which the 60,000 square foot store will be located.

Fitness Center Coming to the Pike This Summer — Just up the street from the aforementioned Giant, a new 12,000 square foot Xsport Fitness Center is planning on opening on the ground floor of the Siena Park apartment building this summer. Xsports plans to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. [Pike Wire]

East Falls Church Hearing Scheduled — The County Board has voted to advertise an April 16 public hearing on its controversial East Falls Church development plan. If the vocal opposition to the plan at Saturday’s board meeting was any indication, April’s hearing ought to be interesting. [Sun Gazette]

Courtesy photo

  • RJ

    Giant is sooo boring. MORE HARRIS TEETER

    • CrystalMikey

      While I like HT as well, I’m excited to see a nice/new Giant in the area. Wonder what the parking is going to be like?

      • PikeHoo

        I always feel like I’m paying significantly more for less at HT than Giant. This is probably the best addition to the Pike so far.

        • arglebargle

          For what its worth, Washington Consumer Checkbook did a ‘price survey’ at a bunch of stores in the DC area, and found HT/Safeway tied at slightly cheaper than Giant. I’d put a link here but I think you have to be a subscriber to see it.

          • PikeHoo

            That would be an interesting link. If I had to rank them from cheapest to most expensive (at least my perception), it would be Safeway, Giant, Harris Teeter.

          • Agent Michael Scarn

            The Hill is Home blog did an interesting test last year to see whether Safeway or Harris Teeter was more expensive. They compiled a list of “normal” items, didn’t use Club cards, bought name-brand items, went the same day, etc. The blog owner even linked to a google spreadsheet so you can directly compare. It turned out that Safeway was slightly more expensive. See the full (great) article here: http://www.thehillishome.com/2010/03/harris-teeter-vs-safeway/

          • Agent Michael Scarn

            Just to add one more thing: I think there is a perception that Harris Teeter is more expensive because all of the ones around here are new and thus are more updated than the average Safeways and Giants (although Safeway is doing a great job revamping their stores– probably because HT is drawing away their former customers). And the Hill is Home blogger (that I linked to directly above) mentioned that HT tends to carry more high-end items, so yes, you spend more when you go there (if you’re enticed by their high-end items).

          • Arlington, Northside

            I can tell you, using the cards DOES make Giant significantly cheaper than H-T. Safeway on the other hand is doing something wrong.

          • arglebargle

            The results in Consumer Checkbook were close enough for me, that it meant other factors are more important than price in choosing where to shop. Location, selection, how run down is the store, grumpy employees etc.

        • BoredHouseWife

          The Barcroft plaza HT usually has pretty good deals.

    • FrenchyB

      I’m just happy to have a grocery store within walking distance.

    • Bringmetheyuppies

      Harris Teeter home of the 5$ PB&J. Love my giant.

  • Easton

    From what I’ve seen, the East Falls Church Plan looks as if it was written by developers, rather than a County staff who I always assumed would, first and foremost, respect the community’s wishes regarding the future of our own neighborhoods. Public input has been nothing more than superficial.

    If I wanted to live in the shadow of high-rises, I would have moved to Ballston or Rosslyn to begin with.

    • Burger

      Have you even seen the plan? Most of it is not hi-rises.

      But let’s play a game.
      How far is EFC from the border of DC?
      What does EFC have that other locales of Arlington don’t have?
      Do you want 66 widened?
      Do believe in Smart Growth?

      If you answered “no” to the third question and “yes” to the four question then you are being inconsistent.

      I don’t entirely like the plan but it is only a plan and changes occur but the next most logical spot for development in the County is at EFC. It will be inherently cheaper for everyone than building a massive trolley line that will only be a giant money pit.

      If you don’t like it, your property values will go up and you can sell and move somewhere else that more suits your believe that EFC is somewhere in the backwoods of southwest Virginia.

    • Josh S

      “Public input has been superficial.” What does that mean? And if it means there hasn’t been much public input, then how would you know what the neighbors want? Perhaps what you are really doing is speaking for yourself and pretending that you are speaking for the entire neighborhood?

      • Easton

        “Superficial” means that the County did a very poor job of getting word out to nearby residents. There was some “committee” made up of a handful of residents, but very little beyond that – until, that is, word got out and people were really ticked off. I’ve heard much about the “Arlington Way,” but clearly this was a farce.

        And for your information, most of my neighbors like our neighborhood, which happens to be why we moved here. To have the County come in and fundamentally change our neighborhood is downright insulting.

        And to reply to Burger, I’ve increased come to believe that all the ballyhoo about Smart Growth has become phony – it seems to be just to be a euphemism for high density. And, no, I don’t “believe in it.”

        • Josh S

          I’m happy for your and your neighbors that “most of them” like the neighborhood. How does this necessarily translate into being opposed to development at EFC? And why would having the neighborhood change mean that the Council is insulting you? Where is it in their job description that they have to concern themselves with the feelings of Easton? Are you some sort of local poobah? Perhaps a minor EFC deity? Neighborhoods change. If residents are “insulted” by this, I think this speaks to the unrealistic and perhaps slightly entitled expectations of those residents.
          Also – kudos on making the link between Smart Growth and density. That’s exactly what it means. Since Arlington is at the center (more or less) of a multi-million soul metropolitan area, it should be dense. This would be one of the central points of Smart Growth.

          • Easton

            Oh, Gee, I’m sorry… I thought it was the responsibility of elected officials to represent their constituents’ interests.

            And no, just because I don’t want high-rises in my neighborhood doesn’t mean that I’m entitled, or a poohbah (but congratulations on using amusing vocabulary). I used to live in a high-rise in Ballston; I liked it for a while when I was in my 20s, but I don’t want that any more. Neither do my neighbors, whose views you clearly deplore since they differ from your own. In my opinion our views should be respected. Clearly you disagree.

            We all know about the city-planning theories of smart growth, high density, etc., so we don’t need preaching to about that. And that lifestyle might be fine for you, but it’s not for everyone. Please learn to respect other people’s viewpoints even if you disagree with them.

          • Josh S

            It’s not just me. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people who want to move into Arlington every year. Others arrive more, shall we say, organically. Developers of all sizes are salivating at the opportunity to serve those people. Growth is basically inevitable. For the existing residents, no matter how worthy, of a centrally located, well-connected neighborhood to put their collective feet down and say no, that development must go elsewhere, is, I believe – selfish. Especially in this case where there is no threat that anyone’s existing SFH is going to be torn down. You don’t like the hi-rise lifestyle. Fine. You can live in your home with backyard, etc. I have no resentment against that at all. I’ve lived in EFC in the home with the backyard. It’s great. A very comfortable life, no doubt. But, how, exactly, is your life going to be significantly altered by the addition of condos / apartments at EFC? Those people ARE going to move to the area. They WILL fill up car lanes and metro trains. Somehow. Might as well locate them closer to the regional job hub and on a spot of land that is already developed so that their negative impacts on society are minimized.

          • Josh S

            Oh, and on the point of representing constituents interests. Yes, you are 100% right, they are supposed to represent our collective interests. Not yours, in particular, or even those of the fifteen neighbors you know. The fact that Arlington has been promoting Smart Growth is no secret. It’s been policy basically since the Orange line was built, although it certainly wasn’t called that back then. Since Arlington continues to be extra-ordinarily prosperous, very rich, has very low unemployment and very high property values – all while re-electing the county board at a very high rate —- I’d say they are representing our collective interests quite well.

          • Easton

            That you used the term “collective” three times in your last two posts, called people with opposing viewpoints “selfish,” whined about how you think I speak for fifteen people and that you speak for thousands, and noted how the County leadership is re-elected with with huge majorities (conveniently ignoring the lack of meaningful competition), I suggest that you move to China. You can have all the high density apartments and non-representative leaders you like there.

          • RosRes

            Metro proximity = neighborhood growth, added density and change. This is a fundamental element of the County’s entire smart growth philosophy. The whole reason Arlington fought to have the metro moved off the 66 median and placed undergorund in the neighborhoods was to encourge density in those metro neighborhoods. Neighborhood’s not proximate to metro (Cherrydale is one) will stay relatively unchanged.

          • Lou

            See, I don’t think you are from around here, and here’s why. You’ve misunderstood the history of metro vis a vis development in the R-B corridor. The R-B corridor was a commercial development zone long before Metro. Metro did not fundamentally change the nature of Wilson Blvd and it did not create a commercial district along there, it merely enhanced what was alread there. Development around EFC would fundamentally change the character of the neighborhood, and this is not what the planners had in mind when they put Metro down Wilson Blvd.

          • local

            I’ve been here quite a while, and I’d say it’s quite fair to say that Metro caused a “fundamental change” to the corridor.

          • Lou

            It’s still a commercial corridor. It was before Metro, and it is now. That’s not a fundamental change in use.

          • Josh S

            Um, no. It’s now decidedly mixed use with lots and lots of condos. And some office towers thrown in. Also, it’s exponentially busier. These, I think, qualify as fundamental changes.

          • Lou

            You’re mistaking “more of the same” for change in use. There have always been residents along that corridor, some of the older housing units still exist now and you can drive down the R-B corridor and see them. Many have been replaced, as have most of the commercial structures. But not all. That is not changing the use of the area. That is growth.

            The area around EFC, on the other hand, is residential and has been since before Metro went in. The idea was to run Metro down 66 so as not to disturb the existing residential areas in the west part of the county, than to divert it to the Wilson Blvd corridor where the commercial core started. That’s why the argument that EFC should be developed just like all the others falls apart. Look at the county’s land use plan, it shows the intended use around that station. Residential.

          • Overgrown Bush

            The bottom line is the advent of Metro on the RBC did not “just” improve access for the residents and businesses already there. It has engulfed them in a sea of high rises and people. So, it wasn’t meant to serve the existing population, it was meant to grow it.

    • Larchmont

      “If I wanted to live in the shadow of high-rises, I would have moved to Ballston or Rosslyn to begin with.”…

      I’m sure someone said something similar not long ago when they moved to Ballston or Rosslyn.

      I feel your pain but assuming you’ll be living with the “9 story high-rises that will be centered around the station” in your back yard I can’t help but think that most of the neighborhood will be delighted in the closeness of retail, grocery, restaurants, jobs, parks, increased property values, etc… Hopefully you’ll only be in the shadow of townhomes…really expensive townhomes. I wonder how I can get the affordable housing around Westover to relocate to there?

      Several of us in Larchmont are concerned about losing the parking lot we use occasionally for outings on the metro. Maybe I can use your address for a street parking permit. ; ) Oh wait, that lot won’t go away until VDOT widens 66 so we’re safe.

  • DT

    Its EFC’s turn to live around the developers who own the Politboro. I hope you enjoy not being able to park in front of your home as much as we people over by the new Buckingham buildings do. If the builders promises to satisfy the Board’s bleeding hearts by having a certain number of low income units, they apparently can skirt the reasonable number of parking spaces.

    • Burger

      I don’t mind development in the least. It raises property value and brings in more commerical establishments.

      Saying that I think some of the development is inherently dumb like putting in a grocer in the spot near EFC and then charging for parking because the competition less than a mile away in each direction won’t do that.

      But much of the plan is contignent on VDOT and WMATA (though they are usually more accomodating) giving up their land rights along 66 and the EFC parking lot…yeah, good luck with that one.

    • South Arlington

      I think it’s funny that despite your use of “politburo” to describe the County government, you are the one in favor of anti-business, anti-free market, regulated development and construction.

      Instead of pushing your socialist agenda, realize that you chose to live nearby the EFC Metro stop which has boosted your property values and created personal wealth. Of course development was coming to that area. You’d have to be blind or daft to not have been able to predict it. Now sit back and enjoy your property values climbing, this should really boost your property’s Walkscore.

      • Josh S

        Dude, just because “socialist” is the trendy epithet of the day doesn’t mean you should throw it around like, I don’t know, “like.”
        But apparently labeling is your thing – “anti-business,” “anti-free market.” What do those mean? It would be especially nice if you could compare your examples to examples of “pro-business” and “pro-free market.”

        • South Arlington

          Endless complaining and attempts to subvert development in areas near mass transit is an example of “anti-business” attitudes. Contrary to the curmudgeons beliefs, the REITs and developers and construction contractors are all businesses that provide jobs.

          Mainly my use of “socialist”, “anti-business” and “anti-free market” were attempts to highlight the hypocricy of the endless complaining on this site about the County Board. I don’t even find them to be that left wing in that they actually support development and big business.

      • DT

        You clearly have a reading comprehension issue. Tell me what I wrote that would indicate I am anti-business or anti-free market?

        • Thes

          You don’t believe the government should allow those who own private property next to a Metro station to develop it or use it to its greatest economic potential, or possibly, at all.

          • DT

            Considering I never wrote anything resembling that thought, fail for you.

    • Barbin

      Just think of residents who live near high schools. The School Board has the idea that teenagers should get to school on the schoolbus. I thought the School Board had some idea about the proclivities of teenagers. Teenagers will drive, any old set of wheels, to avoid taking the school bus. And where do these teens park? In front of my house, down the street and across the street. I can’t have workmen come except before 8:15 in the a.m. and after 3:30 p.m., I can’t keep the curb and gutter clean, the infrequent street sweeping from the County goes around the cars and my gutter remains dirty, it’s hard to get out of the driveway because the teenagers park so close to it I can’t see to get out, and so on. I’d like to get the trees that overhang the street trimmed, but I can’t because the teenagers have their cars there. I’m not blaming the teenagers, they’re doing what teenagers do. Who I do blame is the School Board for not having student parking at schools–as is done most everywhere I’ve been. Those school boards seem to know something about teenage mentality and our school board does’t.

      • Overgrown Bush

        Got any spray paint on the street?

  • Burger

    Also, there is no low income or affordable housing currently in the area so that should be firmly fought by the groups whereas there was “affordable” housing in the Ballston area especially at Buckingham so it was merely replacing existing stock.

    • Josh S

      How does this make any sense? Because something isn’t there, it should be fought? Why would its current existence or lack thereof be a relevant argument to deciding whether it should be added?

  • DT

    So some of us should have to live near affordable housing because it was already there? I think there should be affordable housing next door to each county board member. I bet not one of them lives remotely close to any.

    • South Arlington

      I’m willing to bet the Zimster does down in Douglas Park. The Lyon Villagers have affordable housing in Clarendon and in upcoming developments. But DT certainly shouldn’t be forced to live near it. Heaven forbid.

      • PikeHoo

        If you live in Douglas Park, then you live in a neighborhood with affordable housing. See the Oakland Apartments for one example. An eyesore? Absolutely. Are there a lot of immigrants and working class people living there with their families? Yes. Should you be scared? No.

      • DT

        Reading comprehension fail again. I already live near it. The comment above mine was making the claim that since its already there, more of it should go there too.

    • Josh S

      When did “affordable housing” become a euphemism for “steaming pile of pig sh*t?” Or “leprosy?” These are things where I could see a reasonable human being with normal levels of empathy and civility making (quasi)public statements of dislike about living near. Talking about living near affordable housing like it’s some terrible disease smacks of racism, classism, and basic incivility.
      Also, since any affordable housing at EFC would only be as a small percentage of the overall units, I’d challenge anyone living in the EFC neighborhood or using the EFC Metro station to note any difference in the mix of people they normally encounter before and after said housing was built.

  • shirley

    why do people always blame developers? actually it is the civic association leadership that has been in charge of this deal which is why NO ONE is happy.
    developers cannot invest in east falls church because there is not enough density in the proposed plan. it isn’t worth it.
    citizens on the other hand feel threatened.

    but the real issue is that THIS AREA IS GOING TO BE A MAJOR TRANSPORTATION NODE with the coming METRO TRANSFER station for Orange/Silver AND one of the ONLY places in ARLINGTON that has a FULL SERVICE interchange with I-66.

    No one has any idea what this means, but it WILL NOT be business as usual.

    • Arlwhenever

      So let’s hasten the overloading with more density — that’s why “Smart Growth” is insane. The Arlington elites have lost sight of the fact that MetroRail was conceived and executed to serve everyone in the region, not just SINKs and DINKs in condo bunkers.

      • Easton

        +1. Well-said.

      • Overgrown Bush

        The added tax revenue is too difficult to pass up. Overload with high density to raise the tax revenue, to pay the lawyers, to fight improving the transportation infrastructure. “Smart” growth my a**.

      • local

        Jeez, you still don’t get it?

        The overloading is coming one way or the other. Smart growth relieves it. Density means the ability to use more modes of transportation, or just walk, and shortens trips.

        • Overgrown Bush

          When they start building high rise complexes without parking garages, I’ll agree with you. Until then, it is only a tax revenue ploy.

          • South Arlington

            Right, it’s about creating choices. The existence of parking garages doesn’t defeat the idea that smart growth allows for multiple modes of transport. You aren’t forced to drive. You aren’t forced to take transit. You can walk or bike if you want. Smart growth increasing density around transit hubs also brings in companys, jobs, and offices closer to the newfound density. Bash Ballston all you want (and I do) for being soulless and boring, but it succeeded in bringing density, new offices and jobs close together.

          • Overgrown Bush

            And people, especially on the Pike, still choose to drive. Maybe when that trolley comes in. Oh, wait, it only goes to the Pentagon. I guess if you work anywhere else you will still have to drive.

          • South Arlington

            The Pike has no real commercial office space yet. It doesn’t even have a grocery store yet in the town center. The Pike is in the infancy of it’s smart growth phase. I see plenty of people walking to either transit or to work in Ballston, Rosslyn and Clarendon. Of course some people choose to drive, but clearly others are choosing walking, biking, or transit. I don’t work at the Pentagon, but will use the trolley to get to my job in downtown.

            I’m not clear on what your unclear and jumbled line of argumentation is trying to get at.

          • Overgrown Bush

            My point is that lots of people call “Smart Growth” about density. I know the points there. You stated it is about creating choices. I don’t agree with that. You see, people who live in less dense areas have choices also. For example, in Fairfax, you can take a bus or carpool. You can get on metrorail. You can even take VRE. Same is true in Prince William. I’m not quite as familiar with Loudoun, but I suspect they have choices as well. If it is all about choice, then why bash those making choices in less dense areas? It isn’t all about choice for those who are real flag wavers of “Smart Growth”. I don’t disagree with dense development and tend to agree mostly with how things are proceeding. I don’t agree with how the transportation infrastructure is going however. But, I do disagree with those who think dense development is the ONLY choice. That’s just BS. Choice is choice. If you want choice, then accept other’s decisions.

          • local

            “But, I do disagree with those who think dense development is the ONLY choice.”

            Nobody’s saying that. I don’t think anyone would say that the entire country, or metropolitan Washington area, should be composed of highrises.

          • local

            People on the Pike don’t have those alternatives yet.

            Where people do, like the Metro corridor, plenty of people choose not to drive. Traffic isn’t too bad there.

          • Clarendude

            Smart growth is more about proximity than density, but they are correlated.

          • Overgrown Bush

            The fact is, there are tons of jobs outside of mass transit access in Northern VA. Not everyone can live in a dense development near a rail line that takes them right to work. That’s just the way it is, and it isn’t a “choice” for many of us, including many of us that live in Arlington.

          • local

            Of course most people aren’t going to live near Metro. But because some do, the rest enjoy highways that are less crowded.

          • Overgrown Bush

            I would hardly say we “enjoy” the highways, because they are PART of the transportation infrastructure that is not being updated as the population increases.

          • local

            Garages still limit car use vs. low-density development.

      • Agent Michael Scarn

        The “smart growth” that you deride is exactly what kept the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor from looking like the cluster-f that is Tysons and Seven Corners.

        It’s more than high-rises, folks. It’s about careful mixed-use development that allows cars, trains, buses, bikes, and walkers to all work in symbiosis.

        • Overgrown Bush

          How could you possibly compare Wilson Blvd in Arlington to Wilson Blvd. at 7 Corners? They don’t call it “7 Corners” for nothing! It was a cluster-f back in the 1970s already, even when the population was low. Density or population has nothing to do with that.

          • local

            But Ballston would look just like it today if it weren’t for smart growth.

          • CW

            Actually, if you want to compare apples to apples, it’s more likely that Ballston would look like the Pike…

          • Overgrown Bush

            Exactly.

          • local

            Um, okay, the Pike.

            Can’t wait for that trolley.

      • RosRes

        SINKS and DINKS in condobunkers… nice. Too bad it pretty well turned me off to whatever was said around that statement. The COunty has had a longstanding philosohpy of adding density around metro stops for about 40 years. I find it amusing when everyone is suddenly surprised when the county (wait for it) adds density around metro stops. How shocking! How inconceivable! Or, not so surprising. You choose.

        • South Arlington

          At the same time, they love that their properties have appreciated so much and so rapidly due to Metro proximity. And then act surprised that due to the now very expensive real estate and proximity to mass transit, someone would want to create density around the Metro stop. Anyone could have predicted that eventually development would come to this area. If you wanted to ensure you’d never have the horror of mixed use development near your home, there are plenty of neighborhoods in Arlington that are far away from mass transit.

          • Lou

            I’d encourage you to go to the County’s website and view the current version of the GLUP. It’s very clear what the county wants to do with density along the contiguous R-B corridor, and it’s also very clear in their GLUP that EFC is far from the commercial core of Arlington and sits in a homogeneous area of low density planned uses. If you were to overlay the uses the the current EFC plan anticipates, you’d see it is against the intention of the GLUP.

          • Suburban Not Urban

            I could care less about how much my house has appreciated, I just want a nice quiet place to live – I had one till all the busy bodies decided what would be best for me and my neighborhood. You’ve already got RBC, go live there if you want to live that life style. I guess I was a fool for believing what the county promised -that Metro density would stop at Ballston. Just like I no longer believe the promises of community benifits, at least not in my lifetime.

  • Tabby

    When is XSport opening? They’d better offer decent start up deals to neighbors. Can’t wait to tell Gold’s to bite me.

    • South Arlington

      They’d better if they want to compete with the new World Gym down the street. I’m not sure the $15.95 a month deal they gave me can be beat.

      • Tabby

        Personally I need me some classes.

        • DT

          Are you saying you have no class? :D

          • Tabby

            Also, I want my own TV if I have to do elliptical and treadmill. I just can’t stare some shite that someone else has put on…like sports. Ugh.

      • Bringmetheyuppies

        new gym is crap.. maybe the other new one will be better.

  • Arlingtonian

    I can’t wait for the Giant to finally re-open … missing it ever since they knocked down the little Pike Giant in same spot. Now it sounds like I’ll be able to knock out gym, groceries, and my weekly City Paper in one quick walk.

    • Josh S

      Unlike those poor slobs up in EFC who will still have to get in the car as long as they oppose development at the metro station, for example…..

      • Lou

        They can walk to Metro and go to any number of grocers, gyms, etc.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Yea, and will be relishing the last few years of peace and quiet, lack of crime, not fighting for parking in front of my house and having some idea who my neighborors are.

        • Overgrown Bush

          You can always move to Fairfax and work in Tysons or Reston. Eventually, that may be the best peace and quiet option.

        • Josh S

          Huh? All of that from one lousy apartment / condo building? Have you any idea how much those apartments / condos will cost? The crime rate will not change one bit. And peace and quiet? Um, it’s a freeway and a Metro station. Not exactly crickets and birds tweeting now.
          As far as knowing your neighbors – life’s what you make it.

  • PT

    More density in this area will not help the overcrowding issue with the schools. I looked but could not find the new school to assist Tuckahoe’s and Nottingham’s lack of space for additional learning pods.

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