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by ARLnow.com — February 26, 2015 at 4:30 pm 1,326 0

Produce at a farmers market (file photo)A group of residents is working to establish a farmers market at Marymount University, near the northernmost part of Arlington County.

According to an email forwarded to ARLnow.com, Marymount has agreed to support the idea of a Saturday morning farmers market at the university. The organizing committee is planning a community meeting to discuss the plan next month.

Organizers will have to go through a county permitting process and a number of other steps before they’re able to turn their vision into reality, however. No word yet on a potential launch date.

The following was sent to a number of residents earlier this week.

As you know, Lee Highway Alliance organized a North Arlington Farmers Market committee last spring, which included representatives from a number of neighborhoods and civic associations.

Through a lot of effort, we worked with a potential manager – Smart Markets of Reston – to identify a site for the Saturday morning market at Marymount. Last week the University agreed to support the idea, so now that we have a potential site, we would like you and your members/friends to meet with us to express either your questions, support or concerns.

We have organized a community meeting to discuss it on March 19, 7:30 pm, Marymount Library. Information on the many aspects of a farmers market will be presented, including information on producers (selection and local linkages), transportation (access, parking, impacts), trash, walkability/health, noise, marketing, insurance, County permitting process, scheduling, etc.

If you can not voice your concerns or support in person, please send me your questions or comments in advance, and we will research the answers to be sure that we can respond to you directly.

On behalf of our NoArl Farmers Market Committee, we hope to see you on March 19 at Marymount.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — February 26, 2015 at 3:30 pm 462 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a new column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

We all know the feeling — you get the annual reminder card from your veterinarian telling you Spot is due for vaccinations, many of them a bunch of weird names that say nothing to describe the diseases they protect against. To help you understand what’s being reminded for, here’s a brief run-down of the common canine vaccinations:

Rabies – an incurable and nearly always fatal viral disease of mammals, Rabies is transmitted through saliva and targets the central nervous system. Because it is spread from animals to people, the public health implications have led to a legal requirement for all cats and dogs in nearly every state.

DAPP/DHPP – Distemper/Adenovirus/Parainfluenza/Parvovirus – This combination of vaccines is considered a “core” vaccine by the American Animal Hospital Association and is highly recommend for all dogs.

  • Distemper virus (in the same class as measles) is highly infectious and spread by respiratory droplets. It targets the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and even the brain in some cases.
  • Canine Adenovirus/Infectious Canine Hepatitis is transmitted through bodily secretions and causes respiratory symptoms followed by liver damage and/or ocular damage.
  • Canine Parvovirus is an extremely contagious and very serious virus that causes gastrointestinal signs, sometimes severe and even fatal. Spread by feces and very hardy — it is ubiquitous in the environment. Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are extremely susceptible.
  • Parainfluenza is a respiratory virus transmitted via respiratory secretions. It is one of the causes of “kennel cough.”

Lyme – this bacterial organism is spread by the deer tick. In dogs, it is most often associated with severe joint pain and fever; rarely a severe, often fatal type of kidney disease or  neurologic symptoms can result. We do not know if dogs can suffer the same chronic effects of Lyme infection as people may.

Leptospirosis — this bacterial infection affects the kidneys and/or liver and is transmitted through the urine (rodents, raccoons and opossums are major carriers in this area). Dogs that swim, play in water or live in cities are at highest risk; humans are also susceptible and suffer similar symptoms.

Canine Tracheobronchitis/Bordetella — another cause of “kennel cough,” Bordetella bronchiseptia is a highly contagious bacterium transmitted through respiratory secretions. It causes inflammation of large airways, causing a honking cough; in the young or immune compromised it can become pneumonia. Typically required by boarding/grooming/training facilities.

Canine Influenza – This virus is transmitted similarly to the human flu virus (direct contact, respiratory secretions, or contaminated surfaces). Most cases of this relatively new disease have been reported at shelters, dog tracks, or areas where many dogs are housed together. Some boarding facilities may require this vaccine.

Most veterinarians aim to customize vaccine protocols based on each pet’s geographical location, age and sex, and individual lifestyle. Which lifestyle category does your pet fall in?

  • “free spirit” — spending time hunting, camping, hiking, swimming, potentially likely to eat or drink from unknown sources?
  • “urban socialite”– frequent visitors to dog parks or doggie daycare? Exposure to rodents (common in urban environments)?
  • “pampered pooch” — frequent trips to the groomer, often travels along to public places?
  • “homebody” — little or no exposure to other dogs, short leash walks only, no access to unknown dogs, food, or water?

By taking all these factors into consideration, your veterinarian can work with you to develop the best individualized vaccine protocol for your dog.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

 

by Peter Rousselot — February 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm 634 0

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter RousselotThe county manager and the Arlington Public Schools superintendent have released their proposed budgets. The County Board also advertised a proposed tax rate for calendar year 2015 that could be as much as 1.5 cents higher than the current rate.

Some of the major issues impacting the ability of citizens to participate effectively in public discussions about these budgets are the county’s funding level of APS and the real estate tax rate.

County Funding of APS

Under the “revenue sharing principles” adopted by both Boards in January:

The amount of the transfer to APS will initially be based upon the same percent of local tax revenue transferred to APS in the County’s last adopted budget. As budget deliberations continue, additional ongoing funding for critical needs identified by APS, including enrollment growth, will be a top funding priority.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s proposed budget identifies what the superintendent says are critical needs, which would cost $13.6 million more than the amount of shared revenue to which the county manager’s proposed budget commits. In addition, the superintendent’s budget identifies a set of specific APS budget cuts that are the ones the superintendent recommends if the County fails to provide APS with any additional revenue.

Citizens should participate in a constructive debate about whether the particular set of proposed cuts the Superintendent recommends are the best way in which to make up the identified $13.6 million shortfall. But, the Superintendent should be commended for proposing:

  • a specific set of cuts with dollars attached, and
  • a budget that reverses the growth trend in per-pupil expenditures

As I have written previously, the “percent of local tax revenue transferred to APS in the County’s last adopted budget” was too low. For that reason, combined with APS’s projected explosive enrollment growth, the county should provide the entire additional $13.6 million to APS.

The County Manager’s proposed budget fails to identify, specifically, the dollar savings that could be achieved by cutting particular programs or services.

The County Board should direct the county manager to identify for the Board’s and the public’s consideration at least one — and preferably more than one — set of cuts in county programs and services that could be made in order to make up the $13.6 million APS shortfall.

Real Estate Tax Rate

Property tax bills will rise in CY 2015 even if the County Board adopts the same property tax rate as last year’s.

The County Board should direct the County Manager to identify for the Board’s and the public’s consideration at least one — and preferably more than one — set of cuts in County programs and services that could be made if the Board votes to cut the real estate tax rate by 1.5 cents.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

by Mark Kelly — February 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm 828 0

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark KellyAfter campaigning last fall on his work to cut the tax rate by 1 cent, John Vihstadt voted to advertise a rate for 2015 that is 1.5 cents higher than last year. The voters could have rightly anticipated a 4-1 vote with Vihstadt voting no.

With the increase in assessments, the average homeowner is slated to see a tax increase of $266 on the real estate rate without a rate increase. If the Board adopts the rate increase, it would tack on an additional $87.

Some may ask, is 97 cents a day more too much to pay for everything we have in Arlington? A fair argument if we had not wasted so much money on boondoggle projects.

And, it ignores the fact that the average homeowner saw a $256 increase in 2010, $66 increase in 2011, $155 increase in 2012, $234 in 2013 and $223 in 2014. That would total $1,287 in annual tax increases in six years.

Think of it another way: cumulatively, the average homeowner will have paid an additional $3,987 from the six years of increases over 2009 tax levels if a rate increase goes into effect in April.

Sure, the Board does not have to implement a higher tax rate, but they have made no case that they need the extra money.

This leads to the second point. The County Board gave guidance to the County Manager to present a balanced budget that did not raise the tax rate. Something Ms. Donnellan managed to do with relative ease.

Yet, by advertising a higher rate, the Board has once again ignored its own guidance. Board Chair Hynes acknowledged this fact, but said the Board unanimously wanted more flexibility. That is code for, if we think you will allow us to take more of your money, we would be happy to spend it.

While the case can easily be made for another tax rate cut, the likely outcome is that the Board will reshuffle some priorities and leave the rate unchanged. They can claim they made some “tough choices” and in the end “saved” the taxpayers some money by not raising the rate.

But, none of the current Board members will face the voters again until 2016. Hynes and Tejada will not face them again at all. After the unanimous vote to advertise the higher rate, you just never know.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

by Larry Roberts — February 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm 577 0

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Larry RobertsThis week marks the second meeting of the Arlington Facilities Working Group, a diverse group of 24 Arlingtonians putting together the “Arlington Community Facilities Study — A Plan for the Future.”

The group and its charge were developed jointly by the County Board and School Board. The County (Mary Hynes/John Vihstadt) and School (James Lander/Nancy Van Doren) Boards designated members to interact with the group throughout 2015.

In addition, the group has a resident forum to promote monthly two-way communication between the group and Arlington organizations that designate forum members and alternates.

This collaboration by the two boards, while maintaining their respective and traditional roles, provides common ground to help solve classroom capacity needs and is an important step forward for Arlington. Addressing the high priorities of school capacity and instruction will require resources that neither board has on its own.

The School Board is facing a lack of land, limited debt capacity, and no independent access to tax revenues. The County has some available land, some ability to address debt capacity, and must determine how to balance the revenue needs of the Arlington Public Schools with the needs of those who rely on county government services in a time of increasing demand and limited support for additional taxes.

Arlington faced somewhat similar challenges in the 1970s and 1990s and in each instance the county came together to develop solutions that have moved Arlington forward.

In light of the continuing work of the 2015 working group and the upcoming formulation by County Board candidates of their platforms and priorities, we return to our interview with Joe Wholey, who chaired the mid-1970s initiative known as the Long Range County Improvement Program (“LRCIP”). Through that initiative, a divided County achieved a consensus that guided Arlington’s revitalization, growth and development through successive periods of Democratic-endorsed, Republican, and Democratic County Boards.

Progressive Voice: Did the LRCIP adopt a formal report?

Joe WholeyJoe Wholey: The committee on the Long Range County Improvement Program put forth recommendations, but it was the County Board that adopted the Long Range County Improvement Program. Board hearings about our work resulted in changes to the committee’s recommendations. I remember that Lyon Village residents were upset about tall buildings that would block the sunlight in the area. The County Board did not adopt what we recommended in the Clarendon area, but opted instead for less intense — and what turned out to be slower — development.

Clarendon would have been more like Ballston. The process showed that the committee did not have all wisdom. Citizen input led to the great restaurants and nice shopping that we have in Clarendon with a lot of pedestrian traffic at all hours. Results like that showed that the blend of analytical work and citizen input were both quite important to what the Board finally adopted.

Our work, and the Board report with regard to land use, led to sector planning. It became the foundation for what later came to be called Arlington’s “smart growth policy.” But also, we had never had a long-term capital budget before it was recommended by LRCIP. We also never before had a historic preservation ordinance.

The Board began implementing the report in 1976-78. After a new county manager took office and even after changes in control of the Board through elections, the plan remained in effect. New boards kept on implementing the plan over the years and decades. The County Board’s report based on LRCIP’s work and citizen input had staying power as a community consensus. (more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — February 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm 498 0

Drew Community Center (photo via Arlington County)Arlington’s 23rd annual “Feel the Heritage Festival,” celebrating Black History Month, returns on Saturday to the Charles Drew Community Center in Nauck.

From 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at 3500 23rd Street S., attendees can come to the free event to enjoy live music and dancing, a display of Arlington’s black history with photos and artifacts and food from Buck’s BBQ and Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Performing throughout the festival will be an assortment of musical acts: N2N Band, an eight-member R&B and Motown cover group; Anansegromma of Ghana, performing traditional West African drumming, storytelling and dance; and the Ebony Day Dance Company.

There will be children’s activities like face painting, balloon animals and hands-on craft-making for kids to make their own souvenirs. The community will host a bake sale and there will be dozens artisan and nonprofit vendor booths.

For history buffs, the highlight will be the “Hall of History,” with artifacts from nine different black churches and organization, including relics from the Civil War and segregation.

Photo via Arlington County

by Ethan Rothstein — February 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm 4,050 0

Record low temperatures and several snowstorms have some in Arlington feeling like they live in the Arctic, but one local family is taking it to the next level.

Graeme Lee, his wife and two children built an igloo on the front yard of their home on the 3500 block of 14th Street N., near Virginia Square. The structure with room for two adults serves as a play space for the family’s children, and Lee even drank a beer there with a neighbor.

Anyone passing through the igloo’s small entrance — which is key for keeping out the cold and wind — has to drag themselves through the snow, belly down. Inside, Lee’s family keeps a flashlight and a small Frisbee they use to rearrange the snow.

“Once you get in there, it’s remarkably warm and quiet,” he said.

The Lees built the igloo — which is topped with a nutcracker ornament with continually swinging arms — after the year’s first snow. First, they heaped snow into a mound to build a snowman. Noticing the mound looked like a dome, they opted to make an igloo.

“My wife took a snow-survival course, and learned how to make an emergency snow shelter,” Lee told ARLnow.com this morning as more snow fell. “I thought ‘Maybe we could do that in our yard.’”

The Australian natives, who both work for the federal government, let the snow settle on the dome for four days. Then, they spent an hour shaping its outside and its entrance, and another hour to carve out the inside with shovels.

The igloo survived rain and warmer weather on Saturday, which melted plenty of snow in the area. The igloo will remain on the Lees’ front yard until it melts.

by ARLnow.com — February 26, 2015 at 11:15 am 2,462 0

"Grilling canceled today" (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Peter Chang Fast Casual Restaurant in Arlington — Chef Peter Chang, who has a large following in Northern Virginia, is in lease negotiations for the Oriental Gourmet space at 2503 N. Harrison Street. Chang hopes to open Peter Chang Wok, envisioned as a fast casual Chinese restaurant. Chang only plans to make “a few cosmetic changes” to Oriental Gourmet, which is still open, after taking over the lease. [Washington Post]

Cherrydale Plan Passes — Cherrydale has a new Neighborhood Conservation plan. The plan, approved by the County Board on Tuesday, calls for protecting trees, ensuring sidewalks are wide enough for strollers and those with disabilities, timely utility maintenance, more daycare opportunities and infrastructure for residents to age in place. [Arlington County]

Top County Staff Gets Raise — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday voted to give a 3.4 percent raise to the three county employees it’s permitted by law to hire directly: County Manager Barbara Donnellan, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac and Clerk to the County Board Hope Halleck. The annual salary for Donnellan — who’s in charge of the county government and its more than 3,800 employees — will increase to $269,742. [InsideNova]

Abundance of Busted Pipes – This week Arlington County firefighters have responded to a steady stream of calls for busted water pipes in buildings around the county. “Please make sure you know where your water shut off is in case it happens to you,” the fire department tweeted. [Twitter]

Abingdon Street House Fire — Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement of a home on the 100 block of N. Abingdon Street on Wednesday morning. One person had to flee the home, reportedly while only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but no injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Court Ruling May Cost Arlington Millions — A ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court on a tax dispute in Arlington County may cost Arlington and other Virginia localities millions of dollars in lost business license tax revenue. The court ruled that companies with offices in multiple states may deduct certain out-of-state earnings from their license tax. [Washington Post]

GW Baseball Blanks Georgetown — In a chilly game at Arlington’s Barcroft Park that we previewed Wednesday, the George Washington University baseball team defeated Georgetown in a 3-0 shutout. [GW Sports]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — February 26, 2015 at 10:05 am 26,250 0

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Arlington County medics, firefighters and the hazmat team are on the scene of a Clarendon apartment building for a potential case of Ebola.

The call came in just after 9:30 this morning, for a possible Ebola patient in the new Beacon at Clarendon apartment building at 1128 N. Irving Street. According to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, the department dispatches an Ebola response out of an abundance of caution when a sick person has a travel history and symptoms consistent with a case of the deadly virus.

“While it’s unlikely it’s Ebola, the fire department and the responding hospital are taking all appropriate precautions,” Marchegiani told ARLnow.com.

As of 10:30 a.m., the patient had been transported to Virginia Hospital Center. No definitive diagnosis has been made at this point. Building management declined to comment.

N. Irving Street is blocked between Washington Blvd and 13th Street, according to scanner traffic, but as of 10:30 fire department units were starting to clear the scene.

The last and only other reported instance of a suspected Ebola case in Arlington happened at the Pentagon on Oct. 17. In that case, the patient was found to have made false statements about her travel history — she did not have Ebola.

Update at 5:40 p.m. — In a press release, Arlington County says that the patient most likely does not have Ebola.

Arlington County Fire Department this morning transported a person with fever and a history of recent travel from an Ebola-affected area to the Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) for evaluation. The person had no known exposure to any Ebola cases, and medical findings are not consistent with a diagnosis of Ebola. The person was being monitored by Arlington County Public Health Department (ACPHD) officials under the statewide Virginia Department of Health Arriving Passenger Monitoring Program.

ACPHD will continue to monitor this person, as well as other travelers in the monitoring program, through their entire possible incubation period (21 days). People in the travel monitoring program will continue to be instructed to call 9-1-1 if they are medically unstable or if they do not have private transport.  If EMS staff respond, they will wear appropriate personal protective equipment before transporting the person with symptoms.

Arlington County Public Health and Virginia Hospital Center are working together — in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health — and followed the recommended course of action for such cases. There is no cause for public concern.

Hospital staff and first responders are highly trained to take appropriate precautions for all high-risk patients, routinely drilling and preparing for just such situations. The health and well-being of the community are a primary concern for both the County and VHC, and we want to reassure everyone that the hospital environment is safe for all patients.

To  learn more about the Ebola virus, visit the County website, where you can also get answers to frequently asked questions about Ebola. You can also call the Virginia Department of Health’s Ebola Call Center at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).

by ARLnow.com — February 26, 2015 at 9:25 am 908 0

Snowy commute on Route 110 at Memorial DriveThis morning’s snowfall is beginning to taper off, but not before causing some problems on the roads.

Many main roads were treated before the snow fell, making for an easy commute earlier this morning. The Arlington Public Schools cancellation and the federal government’s two hour delay resulted in much lighter traffic than usual.

As the snow has continued to fall throughout the morning commute, some neighborhood streets are now reported to be slick.

A hilly portion of S. Edgewood Street, near Columbia Pike, is being monitored by police due to cars getting stuck. Meanwhile, the following accident was photographed in Fairlington.

Arlington County government and county facilities are open, and trash and recycling collection is proceeding as usual.

Update at 9:55 a.m. — An Arlington County employee says that a lack of communication from the county, and at least one conflicting Facebook message, produced confusion among the county’s workforce this morning.

This morning the Arlington Employee Email alert system sent no message (at least to my phone) about County offices being open. This is in contrast to January 14, 26 and 27 (and most times when there are any weather questions in the past.) Moreover, for a period of time the County’s official Facebook page indicated that offices would be open two hours late. There was considerable confusion among County employees.

(I was momentarily confused by the Facebook message myself but chose to come to work anyway since there was no other notification one way or another.)

Not sure why communications broke down but of all days this is one where County employees could have used some accurate and timely guidance.

​Here is the message from January 27:

Arlington County government offices, courts, and facilities are open today, Tuesday, January 27, 2015. Unscheduled leave and telework options are available to County employees, with supervisor’s approval. GAS/ OEM​

No such message today. Nada.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — February 26, 2015 at 8:10 am 0

Home buyer seminar

Are you considering buying a home in Arlington or the DC area in 2015?

If so, attend this Arlington home buyer seminar in Ballston next Wednesday, March 4th.

Three industry experts – Joe Zamoiski of 1st Portfolio Lending, George Papakostas of Long & Foster, and George Glekas of GPN Title – will give an informative talk about the process of buying a home in Arlington. Joe, George, and George have years of experience between them in the Arlington market, not to mention hundreds of successful transactions.

They’ll cover the home-buying process in detail, including:

  • Identifying a home.
  • The offer, negotiation, and closing process.
  • Financing, including loan approval and figuring out what you can afford.
  • State of the Arlington market.

In addition to the above, the purpose of the seminar is to answer your questions. Attendance is kept low to allow ample attention for all attendees. You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions during the Q&A or afterwards if you’d prefer to ask a question privately.

Click here to register

The speakers will present for 45 minutes or so, after which there will be Q&A for 30 minutes, when the seminar officially ends. But Joe, George, and George will stick around as long as necessary to answer all questions.

More details:

  • Location: In Ballston at the Residence Inn Ballston, 650 N Quincy St, Arlington, VA 22203 (map).
  • Parking: Free, on site.
  • Metro-accessible: A few blocks from both the Ballston and Virginia Square stations.
  • Cost: $15 per person here, $20 at the door.
  • Food: Snacks and drinks will be provided.
  • Questions: Email seminars2015@urbanturf.com or call 703-842-1391.

Click here to register

The preceding post was written and sponsored by Urban Turf.

by ARLnow.com — February 26, 2015 at 6:45 am 1,340 0

(Updated at 8:35 a.m.) Arlington Public Schools are closed Thursday.

APS made the call at 6:00 this morning, joining Alexandria, Fairfax County and numerous other local school systems that decided to close due to snow and poor road conditions.

Based on further review of the road conditions throughout the County, all APS Schools will be closed today and Offices will open two hours late. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.

Today’s 9:15 a.m. elementary school information sessions have been canceled and will be rescheduled.

The federal government, meanwhile, is open on a two hour delay today.

Forecasters have upped their predicted snow totals. From the National Weather Service:

… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EST TODAY…

* LOCATIONS… WASHINGTON DC AND MOST MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA SUBURBS… ALONG WITH THE CENTRAL SHENANDOAH VALLEY AND NORTH- CENTRAL VIRGINIA.
* HAZARD TYPES… SNOW.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS… 2 TO 4 INCHES.
* TIMING… THROUGH THE MORNING. THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL FALL DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE.
* IMPACTS… ROADS WILL BE SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY… PARTICULARLY FOR SOUTHEASTERN SUBURBS.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… NEAR 30 DEGREES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm 2,563 0

The County Board room during discussion of the Columbia Hills development (photo via @ArlingtonVA)The first two residential developments designed with the Columbia Pike neighborhoods form-based code were approved last night, bringing hundreds of new residences into the Pike’s development pipeline.

The Arlington County Board approved a 229-unit, eight-story affordable housing complex on the western end of Columbia Pike and 50 new townhouses to replace the historic George Washington Carver homes in Arlington View.

The Carver Homes were built in the 1940s for residents displaced by the construction of the Pentagon, and many of the families who lived there when it was built now own residences in the co-operative. While preservationists lament the loss of a piece of the county’s history, the residents urged the County Board to approve the development.

“I know first hand that our co-op has been deteriorating for many years,” Velma Henderson, a Carver Homes owner who has lived in the co-op for 68 of its 70 years in existence, told the Board. “Busted and frozen pipes, leaky roofs and crumbling foundations, to name a few… We have a long and proud history in Arlington, so it was important for Carver Homes to select a developer who had the vision and resources to create a high-quality development. This plan considers Carver Homes’ needs.”

The 44 units will be bulldozed and replaced with 50 townhouses, 23 of which will be duplexes. Six of the duplex units will be committed affordable units, and the developer, Craftmark Homes, also has agreed to build a public park on the property and extend S. Quinn Street through the parcel at the corner of S. Rolfe and 13th Streets.

The George Washington Carver Homes in Arlington HeightsAs part of the redevelopment, the developer will place two historic markers on the property signifying its history. Arlington is also beginning to compile an oral history of the property, which will be available at Arlington Central Library when completed.

“My mother’s dream was that we would benefit from the sale of the property,” said James Dill, a co-op owner whose mother was displaced by the Pentagon construction. “We’ve been banking on it for 50 or 60 years that, at some point in time, Arlington County would grant us our piece of the American dream, and we’ve been holding firm on that.”

The County Board unanimously approved the redevelopment. County Board Chair Mary Hynes thanked the owners — who have been working to sell the property for most of the past decade — and the community for their patience. Board member Libby Garvey remarked that many of the residents were forced out of their homes in the 1940s for the Pentagon to be built, and the Board could, in a very small way, “right that wrong.”

“I think we’re really touching history,” Garvey said. “This was temporary housing 70 years ago. How much temporary housing lasts 70 years? So it’s time.”

The conversation surrounding the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing‘s proposal for its new affordable housing buildings next to its expansive Columbia Grove community on S. Frederick Street was quite different.

Columbia Hills apartments rendering (image via APAH)Dozens of speakers came out to speak on both sides of the issue, and public comment and Board deliberations lasted after midnight. Opponents, many of whom live close to the site, said there is too much concentration of affordable housing on the western end of Columbia Pike.

“Presently our community is home to about 18 affordable housing communities in the immediate area,” Erin Long, a homeowner in the Frederick Courts Condominiums across the street. “What’s become known as the western gateway node of Columbia Pike cannot sustain the affordable housing development as it’s planned.

“It’s clear that plan is for those units lost at the east end of the pike to be relocated to the west end,” she continued. “It’s absolutely inappropriate for every lost unit to be relocated to us. We deserve to benefit from the redevelopment of Columbia Pike, not serve as the repository for those displaced from other nodes.” (more…)

by ARLnow.com — February 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm 885 0

Firefighters respond to the Rosslyn Metro stationUpdate at 4:45 p.m. — No signs of smoke have been found. Firefighters on the scene say that the smoke is believed to be from a train that has since traveled into the District.

For the third time in a week, Arlington County firefighters are responding to the Rosslyn Metro station for a report of smoke in the tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom.

D.C. firefighters are also responding to the Foggy Bottom station.

Twice this past weekend, firefighters responded to the station but found no sign of smoke.

by ARLnow.com — February 25, 2015 at 3:35 pm 2,021 0

Westbound I-66 at Westmoreland/Washington Blvd (file photo)Widening I-66 from Fairfax Drive in Arlington to the Beltway is a future possibility, but not a certainty, under a long-range plan being considered by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.

The body voted last week to include a series of proposals concerning I-66 in an air quality analysis. The planning board will take a final vote on the plan this fall.

The TPB gave a preliminary thumbs up to a VDOT proposal to convert I-66 inside the Beltway to High Occupancy Toll lanes during peak hours, accessible only to buses, cars with three or more occupants, and those willing to pay a toll. The state would continue to own the lanes and would collect the tolls, unlike a proposal for privately-built HOT lanes on I-395 that Arlington County vehemently opposed. The total cost of the project: $350 million.

In the air quality analysis, the TPB also included a proposal to widen I-66 from Fairfax Drive to the Beltway. The widening would potentially take place sometime between 2025 and 2040, but not sooner.

Under an amendment proposed by Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, the county’s representative on the regional board, VDOT would be required to report on the effectiveness of tolling and other multi-modal improvements before VDOT makes a determination of whether widening — which Arlington has generally opposed — is necessary.

So far, widening I-66 between Fairfax Drive and the Roosevelt Bridge is not under consideration.

Fisette said it’s encouraging that VDOT is considering earmarking toll revenue for various multi-modal improvements along the I-66 corridor — including transit services, bike and pedestrian infrastructure and park-and-ride lots, plus improvements to parallel routes like Route 50 and Lee Highway.

“That is a very significant difference between this HOT lane project and any other one that they have built or proposed,” Fisette said. “That has given our staff some level of comfort that this isn’t just about the road, that it’s about moving people through the corridor. It is our goal to move more people than vehicles.”

Despite the fact that Fisette’s amendment was accepted, he said he abstained from the day’s final vote. He said he will be watching closely as details about the proposed multi-modal improvements are “fleshed out” in the coming months, before deciding how to vote in the fall.

The press release regarding the TPB’s Feb. 18 vote, after the jump.

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