Tonight county representatives will present the results of a week-long public planning and design process intended to help plan the future of Columbia Pike.
The “Work in Progress Presentation” will be held from 7:00 to 9:00 tonight at the Sheraton National Hotel (900 S. Orme Street). Planners will reveal the work that has been completed through a neighborhood planning day — or “charrette” — last weekend and a series of “open design studios” during the week.
The process was designed to allow residents to participate in the planning of the on-going Columbia Pike corridor revitalization.
Earlier this month, a panel organized by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization gave a preview of what the future of Columbia Pike’s development might look like.
Panelists suggested that real estate investors are currently most interested in buying older, fully-leased apartment complexes on the Pike, renovating them and re-leasing for considerably higher rents. If there is new construction on the Pike in the current real estate climate, it will likely be limited to townhouses and 4-5 story wood frame apartment/condo buildings, they said.
Consultants who are advising Arlington County on ways to preserve affordable housing on Columbia Pike said that the county should eliminate the zoning that currently allows developers to convert garden-style apartments on the Pike to condos without County Board approval. They said that much higher density — 70-80 units per acre, compared to the current 25 unit per acre average — is required to support affordable housing.
An Areizaga-Soto campaign mailer sent to local homes this week accuses Favola of “[selling] her vote to real-estate developers.”
“Barbara Favola thinks it’s OK to get paid for her votes,” the mailer says. “Favola took $25,000 from developer John Shooshan after she voted to allow construction on his multi-million dollar project.”
“Favola takes campaign cash wherever she can get it,” the mailer added. “One of [her] developer contributors also gave thousands of dollars to right-wing Republicans like Ken Cuccinelli and Bob McDonnell. Preston Caruthers is a real-estate developer who has given over $175,000 to Virginia Republican campaigns and committees. Barbara Favola has also taken thousands of dollars from Caruthers while serving on the Arlington County Board, where he does business.”
The Favola campaign, in turn, is firing back at what they call a “negative attack.”
My opponent has decided that the only way he can win is to peddle untruths, distort the facts and use personal attacks. In a recent mailer, Jaime Areizaga-Soto makes the inaccurate claim that my votes are for sale. That’s just not true. Here’s the truth.
I have always been transparent on where I stand on the issues and I have always been loyal to my values. I have never sold my vote to anyone, ever.
Since I am not independently wealthy, I need donations from members of the community to fund this campaign and am humbled that so many individuals, from all walks of life, are supporting me. I have always declined contributions from developers who would appear before the County Board and have done so in this Senate Campaign. However, I’ve learned that when you fight for children and families, safe communities, progressive environmental policies and good paying jobs you need every sector of the community with you.
I think this Democratic Primary should be about our real records, hopes and visions for the future.
The mailer features an ARLnow.com photograph of Favola. The Areizaga-Soto campaign did not ask for nor receive our permission to use the photo.
In a letter to colleagues, Chief Judge Brian O’Leary said Adele Lapinell, 74, will be remembered for her “patience and understanding.”
I am saddened to announce that Ms. Adele Lapinell, a staff interpreter with the Arlington Immigration Court, passed away today in a single car accident in the parking facility at the court.
Ms. Lapinell first joined the Department of Justice/EOIR in January 1988. Throughout her years as a staff interpreter at the Arlington Immigration Court, Ms. Lapinell assisted thousands of limited English proficient individuals in better understanding their immigration court proceedings, and helped each of the immigration judges communicate with those who appear before them. The agency greatly depends on staff interpreters like Ms. Lapinell to provide a communicative bridge between the immigration court staff and the aliens who appear in proceedings. Her colleagues and friends at the Arlington Immigration Court will greatly miss her. She will be especially remembered for her patience and understanding.
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) A fire broke out this morning in the Clarendon building that houses Hard Times Cafe and Delhi Club.
Smoke could be seen rising from the roof and billowing out of the entrance to Hard Times as firefighters attacked the blaze. Workers on their lunch break gathered to watch as fire trucks surrounded the building.
The fire broke out in the kitchen of Delhli Club and spread into the duct work, according to fire department spokesperson Lt. Ed Hughes. Only smoke — not fire — spread to Hard Times, he said. No injuries were reported.
The original report of fire was called in by an assistant fire marshal who happened to be driving in the area, Hughes noted.
Roads were closed in the area of Clarendon Metro as emergency responders and county health department inspectors remained on the scene. Dehli Club manager Mir Hussain said the damage is “not too bad.” He hopes to clean up the mess and get health department approval to reopen in a week or so.
Hard Times Cafe owner Doug Welsh said there was some smoke damage inside the restaurant, but no structural damage. He expects the restaurant to reopen at 5:00 tonight.
But if you don’t mind the long odds and want to audition anyway, a casting call is being held at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall next weekend. Fill out this application and bring it along with a driver’s license or identification card between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 9.
In addition to seeking Top Model contestants, WDCW-TV (DC 50) is also looking for a models for a Macy’s Fashion show that evening and for a “Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Expo” in September. Even if you don’t get picked, there will be prizes, giveaways and — of course — free psychic readings and massages.
Contestants must be between 18 and 27 years old.
Photo via dc50tv.com
Rep. Jim Moran isn’t the only member of the Moran family who’s courting your vote. Keira Moran, the congressman’s granddaughter, needs your help to win an national songwriting contest.
Keira’s song “When I’m With You” is one of two finalists in an online competition on SmashTune.com. The 16-year-old T.C. Williams (Alexandria) High School student is neck-and-neck against her fellow finalist, 22-year-old Californian Lucia Sosa. Voting closes today at 2:00 p.m.
Rep. Moran has been campaigning for Keira and posting words of encouragement on the contest page.
“You’re an amazing talent Keira,” he wrote, via Facebook. “I’m so proud of you – not just because of your songwriting and other artistic gifts, but even more so because of what a truly good and kind person you are. I’m one lucky Grandpa!”
In addition to playing the piano, Keira is also the first chair cello in the T.C. Williams orchestra. See her perform other self-written songs here.
We’re turning off the comments to prevent the inevitable creep of politics into a basically non-political story.
How many people does it take to steal a cell phone and some cash in Ballston? Four, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.
ROBBERY-ARREST, 06/23/11, 1100 block of N. Stafford Street. On June 22 at 11 pm, four men confronted and assaulted a man walking down the street. They stole his phone and some currency. Police located the suspects. Taha Bencherki, 20, of Washington D.C., Garland Mines, 25, of no fixed address, D’Lonte Fuller, 21, of Arlington, and Lamont Russ, 21 of Arlington, we all charged with Robbery. They were held without bond.
As always, suspects mentioned in the police department’s crime report are innocent until proven guilty. The rest of this week’s report, after the jump.
Groundbreaking for Lee Highway Condos — The Christopher Companies has broken ground on Dominion Heights, a 66-unit condo building at 3565 Lee Highway. Construction is expected to last 14-18 months. [Marketwire]
Suggestions for Field Near Ballston Mall — One writer has a suggestion for a barren quarter-acre field next to the Ballston Common Mall parking garage at the corner of Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street. The field should be turned into a public plaza, complete with specimen trees and a lunch kiosk, GGW’s Joey Katzen writes. [Greater Greater Washington]
It’s Accordion Awareness Month — One Arlington resident and hardcore accordion enthusiast describes how she’s celebrating National Accordion Awareness Month. [Patch]
Route 110 will be closed near the Pentagon tomorrow morning due to an “Armed Forces Farewell Tribute” to retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
President Obama will be among the dignitaries in attendance at the ceremony, which is expected to get underway at the Pentagon around 9:45 a.m. A military spokesman was unable to release any other details about the event.
Route 110 will be closed tomorrow from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Northbound traffic will be diverted to I-395 and southbound traffic will be diverted to Washington Boulevard, according to Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management.
“Melody Tavern” will serve healthy, modern American fare and will host live music and comedy acts, according to owner Michel Daley. It will target the more mature “professional set,” he said.
Daley, formerly the co-owner of D.C. waterfront hotspot Zanzibar, says the restaurant will be opening in the large, 7,000 square foot space once occupied by the now-shuttered McGinty’s Pub. He anticipates a September or October opening date.
The restaurant will have fewer flat screen TVs than McGinty’s, Daley said, but will still show sports and other programming during times when no live entertainment is booked. There will be a weekly, live jazz brunch on Sundays as well as occasional live jazz and blues performance at night.
Daley said he’s confident Melody Tavern will be a “destination” that will attract customers to the relatively new retail square, which he admitted is somewhat “off the beaten path.” He said two other new restaurants in the square — the Asian fusion eatery Heebeen and pizza-and-pasta joint Paisano’s — will be opening soon and will also help to add vitality to the area.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Daley said. “I couldn’t have found a better spot.”
At first, the restaurant will only be open at night on weekdays. It will eventually open for lunch during the week when tenants start moving into a new office building across the street, Daley said. Like McGinty’s, Melody Tavern is expected to seat more than 150 people inside the restaurant and outside on its 1,000 square foot outdoor patio.
Last year, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy set June 30, 2011 as the date by which planetarium supporters had to raise $402,800 to pay for necessary upgrades to the 40-year-old facility. If the deadline was not met, the school system would close the planetarium and use it as classroom space — as Dr. Murphy originally proposed before supporters successfully lobbied the School Board to find a way to save the planetarium.
A non-profit entity called the Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium was formed to raise the money for the upgrades. As of last night, they had collected some $371,000 in donations. ‘Friends’ President Alice Monet says she expects donors big and small to come through over the next day and a half.
“The community really wants to see this planetarium stick around,” she said. “We anticipate donations continuing to flow in… At the end of the day we will have full amount in hand.”
Monet admitted, however, that it’s unlikely the school system would shutter the planetarium at this point, even if the group misses its fundraising goal.
“Honestly, the point has been made already that Arlington supports the planetarium,” she said. “If we don’t make it, we’ll keep working until we do.”
Once the capital campaign is complete, Monet said, the Friends organization will shift from a fundraising role to an advisory role regarding the planetarium’s upgrades and on-going operations.
Construction blocked the sole northbound lane of N. Randolph Street at the Glebe Road intersection around lunchtime today.
A dump truck and a backhoe made travel on both northbound Randolph Street and northbound Glebe Road a bit tricky for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. A lone worker with a florescent vest tried to get southbound traffic on Randolph to stay out of the turn lane so northbound traffic could get around the construction. Meanwhile, a lane was also blocked on northbound Glebe Road.
Crews appeared to be doing some sort of work on the sidewalk.
A car somehow ended up on its roof in a parking lot near Columbia Pike this morning.
The car flipped over in the parking lot of the BB&T Bank at 1100 Walter Reed Drive around 11:30 a.m. It’s not clear how the accident happened, but no other vehicles in the parking lot appeared to have any accident-related damage.
A woman was evaluated by paramedics at the scene. She was not transported to the hospital. The woman appeared to be shaken up but otherwise uninjured.
A week ago Comcast rolled out a new on-screen guide for digital cable customers in Arlington.
The new guide was touted in mailings as faster and easier to use with a few new features that had been requested by customers. Many local customers, however, have taken to our comments section to blast the new guide, which eliminated the sleep timer and picture-in-a-picture functions that were available with the old guide.
Now that you’ve had a week to try it out, how do you feel about the “upgrade?”
Screen capture via Comcast
(Update at 2:35 p.m.) An elderly woman is dead following a car fire in the parking garage below the Ballston Hilton (950 N. Stafford Street).
Homicide detectives were called to investigate the woman’s death, but according to police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal the death is now being investigated as a probable accident.
Police believe the woman, 74-year-old Adele Lapinell of Annandale, suffered some sort of medical emergency that caused her to crash her vehicle on the G-1 level of the garage. The crash caused the fire, Nosal said — likely the result of a gas line that was damaged by the collision. The first and second floors of the hotel were evacuated during the fire as a precaution.
Lapinell’s body was found as firefighters extinguished the blaze. Nosal said she was identified as a “registered parker” in the garage. She was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the collision.
Police shut down Stafford Street between Fairfax Drive and 9th Street N. while emergency responders were on the scene. The road has since reopened. Washington Gas crews are on the scene to help repair the gas line.