Update at 2:10 p.m. on 5/14/11 — The County Board has put off final action on the Westover Beer Garden until Tuesday. It appears that the board is leaning toward approving some sort of live entertainment permit with additional restrictions.
Below are letters from the presidents of four civic associations in favor of a compromise that would allow the Westover Market’s popular beer garden to host live entertainment three days per week. The proposal is up for a vote by the County Board on Saturday.
County staffers are recommending against granting a live entertainment permit for the beer garden.
Dear Members of the County Board,
I am writing to you as the president of the Westover Village Civic Association. In the past few months, we have had several community meetings to discuss the Westover Beer Garden, allowing residents to voice their opinions about the garden and to seek common ground in addressing issues associated with it. During the last week of April, the civic association conducted a vote to determine community feelings. The residents of our civic association overwhelmingly voted to support the beer garden and its live music permit on the condition that it make a good faith effort to minimize noise disturbances to the immediate neighbors.
For most people in Westover and the neighboring civic associations, the Beer Garden is a treasured part of Westover life. It is an anchor for the community where neighbors young and old frequently gather on warm evenings to share a meal and listen to live music. Along with the new Westover Branch Library and Reed School, the beer garden has helped to strengthen a sense of community belonging and spur civic spirit. The garden has also revived the fortunes of the Westover Market, which faces stiff competition from the nearby Safeway and Harris Teeter without the niche advantage that the beer garden provides. The owners of the garden argue that live music brings in many customers and helps keep the business going.
The main problem with the garden is the noise that it has created in the past, disturbing the immediate neighbors who live directly behind it. These neighbors raise valid concerns that deserve to be addressed. Accordingly, it would be sensible to put a series of conditions on the beer garden live music permit. Based on the civic association vote, the majority of residents support limiting live music to 6 to 8 pm on Wednesdays and 6-10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights as a reasonable compromise. The sound levels should stay within existing county requirements. In order to enforce these conditions, the Beer Garden owners have committed themselves to investigate technical means to measure the sound at the fence of the nearest neighbor and record these measurements over time with data possibly posted to the Internet as a way of ensuring that the Beer Garden operates within legal limits.
Out of 109 valid votes from residents in the Westover Village Civic Association area, 90 voted to support the above recommendations; 13 supported fewer hours of operation for the live music; and 6 were opposed to granting this permit. I hope that you will take this input into account as you prepare to vote on the live music permit at your May 14 meeting.
Westover Village Civic Association President
More letters, after the jump.
A top manager in charge of the project to upgrade Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant embezzled nearly $5 million from the project’s contractor, according to a lawsuit filed in St. Louis two weeks ago.
Alberici Contractors Inc. says it did not over-charge Arlington County for its work on the $568 million project as a result of the embezzlement. Instead, the company says that the embezzlement cut into its own profits on the project.
The St. Louis Business Journal reported today that Jeff Oliver, the company’s project director for the sewage plant upgrade and expansion, is being sued for $4.8 million. Alberici says Oliver conspired with two subcontractors to over-bill the company.
Alberici’s internal investigation reportedly found that no county employees were involved. In a statement, Arlington County said that it is launching an investigation to verify that the embezzlement did not cost taxpayer dollars and did not involve any county employees.
“We have a special fiduciary responsibility for public funds,” Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in the statement. “We will do everything we can to make sure that the project and Arlington taxpayers were not hurt by these perpetrators.”
The project is nearly complete and Oliver “is no longer associated with the project,” the county said.
The Base Realignment and Closing Act (BRAC) mandates that the moves take place by September 15, 2011. But Moran is asking Gates to include the Mark Center move among seven BRAC recommendations that the Secretary of Defense will have the authority to delay for up to a year, under a defense funding bill currently making its way through congress.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is also asking for a delay. Earlier this month McDonnell sent a letter to Gates asking for the moves to be delayed while major infrastructure improvements are made to the Seminary Road exit off I-395, which is expected to handle the traffic from thousands of new Mark Center workers.
An opening date has been set for the new Giant supermarket in the Penrose Square development.
The 60,000 square foot store, located at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Adams Street, is planning to hold its public grand opening on Friday, June 24.
“The return of the Giant grocery store to the now significantly and visibly more attractive, inviting and walkable Pike Town Center is a momentous step ahead in the Pike’s revitalization,” said Takis Karantonis, Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization.
Pike Wire reports that would-be chicken owners are organizing to try to convince the county to allow “small-scale backyard chicken-keeping in Arlington.”
Proponents say urban chicken ownership promotes sustainable, chemical-free egg production on a local level. Should Arlington follow the lead of Baltimore, Portland and Los Angeles in allowing homeowners to keep chickens in their backyards?
Smoke at Crystal City Metro Station — Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fort Myer responded to a report of smoke on the mezzanine level of the Crystal City Metro station around 3:30 p.m. yesterday. The smoke, it turns out, came from a faulty elevator belt, not from a fire. Just as quickly as they arrived, firefighters packed up their gear and headed back to their stations.
More Costs for Arlington Energy Plan — It will cost almost $500,000 in consultant fees and staff salaries to implement Arlington’s ambitious Community Energy Plan over the next year. The plan, which is designed to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions, is up for adoption by the County Board on Tuesday. [Sun Gazette]
Alexandria Mulls Bikeshare Plan — Alexandria is thinking about spending $400,000 to place six Capital Bikeshare stations and 54 bicycles in Old Town and the Carlyle neighborhood. The plan has the potential of allowing CaBi trips between Crystal City and Old Town, but critics are questioning whether the plan is “a waste of money.” [Alexandria Gazette Packet]
Arlington Remodeler Honored — Rocker-turned-remodeler Michael Sauri has been named one of the “big 50″ remodelers nationwide by Remodeling Magazine. Sauri, an Arlington resident, is the owner of Clarendon-based remodeling firm Tri-Vista USA. [PR Web]
A power outage affected about 1,350 Dominion customers along Lee Highway this morning.
The outage created some dangerous conditions where traffic lights were dark or malfunctioning along Lee Highway. Police had to direct traffic at the intersection of Lee Highway and Spout Run.
The power just came back on for most Dominion customers, but police are reporting at least one remaining problem. The green arrow at the intersection of westbound Lee Highway and I-66 is said to be not cycling, backing up traffic all the way to Kirkwood Road.