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County Board Set to Vote on 3.5 Cent Tax Hike

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm | 1,958 views | No Comments

Arlington County Board members on Dec. 8, 2012The Arlington County Board is set to vote on modified version of County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s recommended budget that includes a 3.5 cent tax hike while eliminating proposed cuts to the police and fire departments.

Donnellan had proposed a 3.2 cent real estate tax increase. The Board gave itself extra budget wiggle room by advertising a 5 cent increase in February. At a Fiscal Year 2014 budget markup work session Tuesday afternoon, the Board tentatively settled on a tax rate in-between the two, but closer to that proposed by Donnellan. The extra 0.3 cents will bring nearly $1 million in additional tax revenue.

The Board will vote on a final budget and tax rate at its meeting on Saturday.

The marked-up budget removes Donnellan’s proposal to slash community policing and reduce fire department fill-in staffing. As promised by County Board Chair Walter Tejada, it also restores funding for the county’s child care office.

Other additions to the budget, as reported to ARLnow.com, include $400,000 for permanent supportive housing, $660,000 for human services case managers and community nursing.

The Board also made some preliminary decisions about what to do with $11 million in “close out” funds left over from the FY 2013 budget. Among other measures, the Board will consider directing $3 million to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund and $2 million to a land acquisition fund for the parks department, along with additional funding for numerous community non-profit organizations.

Courthouse Farmers Market Begins ‘Prime Season’ Saturday

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm | 2,069 views | No Comments

Produce at a farmers market (file photo)The Arlington Farmers Market, in Courthouse, will begin its “prime season” on Saturday, April 20.

The prime season hours run from 8:00 p.m. to noon. The expanded hours will be in effect at the market, which is run by Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, through December.

“The market showcases 30 vendors with a good balance of seasonally available, locally produced, top quality products,” the parks department said in a press release. “Fruit, jams, sauces, veggies, soups, eggs, beef, lamb, bison, pasta, seafood, honey, milk, cheese, yogurt, mushrooms, bread, pastries, plants, flowers  — it is hard to think of a locavore item we don’t offer!”

There are some new vendors at the market this year, the press release said, including Shells Yes! Crab Cake Company, Number 1 Sons’ pickles and kimchi, Goin’ Good Eats’ sweet bakery items, and Upper Crust Bakery’s artisanal breads.

The farmers market, billed as “the oldest market in the County and one of the oldest in the region,” was founded in 1980.

“The market was established in response to residents’ requests for a weekly local market, since at that time only Bethesda and D.C. hosted weekly markets,” the parks department said. “From then to now, it has supported local farmers and producers by selecting vendors within a 125 mile radius, cutting down on ‘food miles’ traveled to reach Arlington.”

File photo

Arlington Agenda (April 15-21)

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm | 358 views | No Comments

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County.

If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form. Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Wednesday

wednesday-131st Annual Valor Awards
Fort Myer Officers’ Club (214 Jackson Avenue)
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The ceremony honors members of Arlington County’s Police, Fire, and Sheriff Departments who have displayed incredible bravery during the past year.

C&T Produce returns to the Clarendon Farmers MarketClarendon Farmers Market*
Clarendon Central Park (next to the Metro entrance)
Time: 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The Clarendon Farmers Market is now entering its 15th season, featuring locally grown produce, locally baked goods, and locally raised proteins.

Thursday

Rocklands BBQ (photo by Katie Pyzyk)Pig and Oyster Roast to Benefit Doorways
Rocklands BBQ (3471 Washington Blvd)
Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Rocklands will kick off patio season with a special evening of food and drink to benefit Doorways for Women and Families. The entire $25 ticket price goes directly to support Doorways.

rotary-wheel-6Arlington Rotary Education Fundraiser Banquet*
China Garden Restaurant (1100 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Join us in a fundraiser banquet to benefit the Arlington Rotary Educational Foundation (AREF). The cost is $50 per person (or reduced price of $95 per couple).

Friday

Dave Coulier (promo photo)Dave Coulier Live Stand-Up
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Comedian, impressionist and former Full House star Dave Coulier will be returns to Arlington for one of several comedy shows.

Saturday

9to5_Logo9 to 5: The Musical*
Thomas Jefferson Community Center (125 S. Old Glebe Road)
Time: 8:00 – 10:45 p.m.

The closing show of the production. Based on the hit 1980 movie and featuring the popular title song by Dolly Parton, 9 to 5: The Musical features a score written by Parton herself.

Burnt Sienna (photo via Facebook)Live Music: Burnt Sienna
Location (Address)
Time: 10:00 p.m.

The five-piece cover rock band performs. In a Facebook post, the band writes: “Come party with us this Saturday at the Clarendon Grill. After all, it’s technically a holiday.” 

Sunday

sundayGreen Living Expo and Earth Week Community Fair
GMU Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 12:00 – 4:30 p.m.

The expo lets you “learn about practical ways to green your lifestyle.” The event will also feature a cupcake baking contest.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

Ask Adam: Dissecting the Arlington Real Estate Market

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | 1,735 views | No Comments

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: I’ve heard that the Arlington real estate market it is in full rebound.  Is that the case for the entire Arlington market or just certain price ranges or types of homes? 

Personally, I’ve been experiencing a high amount of activity in every segment of the Arlington real estate market since the start of 2013.  In order to answer your question I am going to dissect the actual sales data from the local MLS for the first quarter of 2013.

First I am going to break down the various price points by the number of sales that occurred, average days on market (DOM) and the average list price to sales price ratio.

Ask Adam DOM Chart Ask Adam Ratio Chart

Some observations based on this data:

  • The heaviest concentration of sales lie below $700,000. This is not a surprise.  This is the portion of the market that is affordable to the greatest number of home buyers in Arlington.
  • The price ranges with the fewest average days on market are $300,000-$400,000 and $600,000-$700,000.  These two price ranges are the “sweet spots” for newer 1 and 2 bedroom condos along the Orange Line.  It’s a portion of the market that is on fire right now.
  • It’s amazing to me that the average sales price to list price ratio is above 99% for homes between $300,000 and $800,000.  If you are entering the market as a buyer, set your expectations accordingly.

A common misconception among people new to Arlington real estate is that 1 bedroom condos are going to be a lot harder to sell than 2 bedroom condos.  This simply is not the case. It’s true that more people would prefer 2 bedrooms, but fewer people can afford them.  The result is that they both do pretty well.

Ask Adam Condo Chart

  • You can see that 1 bedrooms just barely edge out 2 bedrooms on the number of sales.  I think this delta could be larger, but there are simply not enough 1 bedroom condos on the market to satisfy demand right now.
  • 1 Bedroom condos are selling a little quicker on average, but the sales price to list price ratios are almost identical.

(more…)

Clement Again Running for County Board

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm | 303 views | No Comments

Audrey Clement at Radnor/Fort Myer Heights candidates night debateAudrey Clement is running for Arlington County Board under the Arlington Green Party banner, for the fourth time since 2011.

Clement, a long-time Arlington resident and IT consultant, will face off against incumbent Democrat Jay Fisette in November. The Arlington Green Party is urging a vote for Clement to “end one-party rule in Arlington.”

“Arlington needs new leadership,” the party said in a press release. “Jay Fisette says he is for sustainability, but the tax hikes County Board plans to impose on county residents to fund boondoggles like the Pike trolley and heated bus stops are unsustainable.”

Clement was nominated at the Greens’ April 3 meeting. She is running on a platform that includes:

  • Adopt a referendum sponsored by the Arlington Green Party to create a Housing Authority to provide more affordable housing at less cost.
  • No more tax rate increases. Repave streets. Fund schools and libraries, not wasteful projects, like million dollar bus stops on Columbia Pike.
  • Use commercial real estate tax to fund ART buses not the $250 million Pike trolley.
  • Fund school construction to ease overcrowding.
  • Open Arlington public libraries 7 days a week.
  • Retrofit public buildings with renewable energy.
  • Reduce waste. Increase recycling in apartments and businesses.
  • Ban single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam in retail stores and food outlets to reduce litter.
  • Provide free residential energy audits.

Clement received 12.9 percent of the vote in November 2012. Green Party candidate John Reeder received 32 percent of the vote when he ran against Fisette in 2009.

The Arlington County Republican Committee has set May 12 as the filing deadline for potential County Board candidates.

BREAKING: Two Hurt, One Rescued in N. Arlington House Fire

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 10:32 am | 3,742 views | No Comments

(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) Police and firefighters responded to a two-alarm house fire this morning on the 2300 block of N. Dinwiddie Street, near the intersection of Lee Highway.

The two-story house was fully engulfed in flames when rescuers arrived.

At least two people are reported to be hurt, and were transported via ambulance to a local burn center. Drew Lofton, a witness, says one woman jumped to safety from a second story window, at the encouragement of neighbors who rushed to the house after spotting the smoke and flames. A third resident was rescued from the basement.

Samantha Pozo tells ARLnow.com that she was in the basement of the house and was rescued, along with her two pet ferrets, by a firefighter. The basement was filling with smoke and she was still on the phone with a 911 operator when a firefighter found her and escorted her to safety.

“He came to me and he said to go,” Pozo said. “He took my ferrets and we just got out of there.”

Pozo, who was uninjured, says the fire started suddenly.

“I heard an explosion from the kitchen, I believe,” she said. “Then I saw fire and smoke outside my door.”

According to Pozo, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, six women live in the house. Her roommate downstairs was at school at the time of the fire.

Police shut down westbound Lee Highway at Glebe Road and several neighborhood street for more than two hours due to the large fire response.

Heat from the fire melted the siding on an adjacent house, and caused damage to the side of another adjacent house.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 16, 2013 at 9:35 am | 1,375 views | No Comments

Tree buds at night

Parents of Gymnasts Want New Facilities — Despite a tight county budget, parents of Arlington gymnasts are calling on the County Board to fund new gymnastics facilities. Heather Cocozza, a representative of the Arlington Tigers competitive boys gymnastics team, claims that a new gymnastics facility can actually make a profit for the county. [Arlington Mercury]

APS Ranks Among Top High Schools — Arlington’s public high schools have ranked in the top 2 percent of all high schools in the country, according to the Washington Post’s “Challenge Index.” In the Washington region, H-B Woodlawn ranked #4, Washington-Lee #10, Yorktown #14 and Wakefield #62. [Arlington Public Schools]

Vacant Retail Space May Become Conference Facility — A vacant 13,000 square foot retail space on the ground floor of the new 800 N. Glebe Road office building in Ballston would become a conference facility, under a proposal that’s under consideration by the Arlington County Board. The nearby Bluemont Civic Association has expressed concerns about the change. [Sun Gazette]

More Yarn in Rossyn — The Guerrilla Stitch Brigade has struck again and provided colorful, whimsical decorations for the Cupid’s Garden sculpture in Rosslyn. [Ode Street Tribune]

Va. Tech Shooting Anniversary — Today is the 6th anniversary of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. A moment of silence will be observed across the state at 9:43 a.m. [Twitter, Wikipedia]

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