With the stated goal of “a more economically vibrant, walkable, attractive Lee Highway corridor — one that benefits neighborhoods and the business community,” representatives from the civic associations have already met with the Arlington County Planning Commission for guidance, according to representatives of the Waverly Hills Civic Association.
Along with Waverly Hills, East Falls Church, John M. Langston, Glebewood, Yorktown, Leeway Overlee, Old Dominion, Donaldson Run, Cherrydale, Maywood, and Lyon Village have also joined what the group is calling the “Lee Highway Grassroots Re-visioning.”
Waverly Hills Civic Association President Ginger Brown says the group hasn’t discussed specifics on what the future Lee Highway should look like, calling these first months since the group formed in February “the educational phase,” which includes meetings with the county’s planning staff.
Among the issues the group will be examining and presenting to staff and, they hope, the County Board, will be land use planning and zoning, housing, transportation and parking, demographic trends, tax increment financing and transferable development rights.
“It is anticipated that the new vision will be sent — in early 2015 — to the Arlington County Manager’s office with a request that the County Board appoint and fund a Task Force,” Brown wrote in an email. “Its purpose would be to formally develop a Lee Highway Sector Plan that guides future rezoning and development applications.”
Restoration Anglican Church in Cherrydale began demolition on its 150-seat church this morning, clearing the way for a new church building in the same spot.
Rubble already covers the church’s grounds at 1815 N. Quincy Street, as construction crews quickly tore down the small, brick building. Temporary church services will now be held at 5:00 p.m. on Sundays at Little Falls Presbyterian Church at 6025 N. Little Falls Road.
When Restoration Anglican Church congregation formed in January 2009, with less than 100 members of its congregation, it rented space for services from Trinity Baptist Church at the Quincy Street location. When Trinity disbanded in 2010, Restoration bought the building and has called it home ever since.
The building permit for Restoration’s new church was issued Aug. 12, and construction crews wasted no time in getting started. The congregation raised more than $2.4 million toward the design and construction of the building, according to Restoration’s website.
The new building will house a 375-person sanctuary, classrooms and will have a front porch for post-service gatherings. Whereas the old church was “quaint” and centered on the property with grass surrounding it, Parish Administrator Kat Vinson said the new one will be almost to the limits of the property.
“It was exciting to watch [the demolition begin] this morning,” Vinson said.
The construction of the new church is projected to take 8-12 months, Vinson said. Restoration hopes this building will last its congregation, which is about 500 strong, for years to come.
Two Arlington Dunkin’ Donuts stores were broken into overnight.
The Courthouse and Cherrydale Dunkin’ Donuts locations, on the 2200 block of Wilson Blvd and the 3500 block of Lee Highway, were closed this morning while police investigated the crime.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, two suspects forced entry to the restaurants via the front door, then broke into the cash register and took cash. The store safe was tampered with, but was not opened, Sternbeck said.
Police are currently reviewing surveillance footage as part of the investigation.
Hat tip to Bill Everingham
An SUV overturned as a result of a collision at the intersection of N. Randolph and 21st Streets Wednesday morning.
Neither the driver of the SUV nor the driver of the white sedan with which it collided were injured in the crash, which occurred around 9:00 a.m. The SUV ended up on its roof on N. Randolph Street, but traffic on the small, residential street was able to drive around the damaged cars.
The driver of the SUV — which was heading uphill at the time of the wreck — said he didn’t see the stop sign at the intersection, which is partly obscured by a power line pole.
“The next thing I knew it was airborne,” he told ARLnow.com. “I have no idea how it flipped.”
The driver was able to exit the overturned vehicle via the passenger-side door.
Residents of the Cherrydale neighborhood came to the scene after the wreck, and one witness who saw the crash said she had sent complaints to the county about the stop sign before. A similar accident happened in the same place nine months ago, the woman, who asked not to be identified, said.
“They’ve got to fix the stop sign,” she said. “This is not a safe corner.”
A wild animal, believed by some to be a coyote, is causing increasing concern among Cherrydale residents.
The concern stems from Cherrydale resident Jay Stapf’s sighting of what he says were three decapitated fox heads on his back lawn this May. When Stapf went to retrieve his puppy, Stella, from the backyard, he was greeted by the sight of the severed heads.
“It was creepy, almost like when you bury someone in sand at the beach,” Stapf wrote in a report of the incident.
For the second time that month, Stapf called the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, who showed up to assist.
AWLA determined that a human didn’t sever the fox heads. They also suggested that Stapf install a motion sensor camera in his backyard in order to get further clues about the incident. However, Stapf says AWLA never followed up to confirm that a coyote was involved.
“We don’t know for certain [what they were] because they never came out and trapped them,” said Stapf.
AWLA Chief of Animal Control Alice Burton said that most of the time when people report coyote sightings to her, they turn out to be foxes, but this was a case that had her puzzled.
“It’s funny because I’ve reached out to professional naturalists on this and no one has a clue,” said Burton.
“Usually when we find decapitated animals, it’s kind of unusual. Heads are actually the first thing that animals eat,” said Alonso Abugattas, The Department of Parks and Recreations’s natural resources manager and one of the people Burton consulted with.
Sheila Dougherty, who walks Stella, had another neighbor who also reported a coyote sighting, so she decided to check with other residents on the Cherrydale email listserv.
“I think it’s good for everyone to know that there are coyotes in Arlington so that they can make informed decisions about whether to leave their dogs and cats out at night,” Dougherty said.
Eleven other members in the community wrote in with evidence of coyote sightings, with three others seeing a coyote as recently as this past spring.
Some of the sightings were indirect like Stapf’s. One neighbor reported seeing half a bunny in her backyard and the other indirectly reported a pet cat found dead through violent means.
Street Lighting Complaints Continue — At its meeting on Saturday, the County Board addressed the complaints it continues to receive over the new LED streetlights being installed throughout the county. The Board has heard a number of types of complaints, including the lights casting a harsh glow and being too bright. County Manager Barbara Donnellan acknowledged the complaints but didn’t have any immediate solutions. She said the new lights save a lot of money. [Sun Gazette]
Red Truck Bakery Profile — Earlier this month, web magazine Slate — a division of the Washington Post Company — profiled Arlington resident Brian Noyes, the founder of Red Truck Bakery. Noyes restored a Cherrydale farmhouse and began his bakery business there while still working for Smithsonian magazine. He began in 2009 by selling goods out of the back of a 1954 Ford pickup truck and eventually found a brick and mortar location to work in Warrenton. Noyes, who has baked treats for the likes of President Obama, plans to open a new location in The Plains soon. [Slate]
NORAD Exercise Tonight — Arlington residents may hear unusual noises tonight as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducts training exercises. The training flights are designed to hone NORAD operations and to test its systems and personnel. The flights are scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. and run through 5:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday). [U.S. Department of Defense]
Flickr pool photo by J Sonder
Whether outdoors or inside, there are numerous events taking place around Arlington this weekend where you can spend some quality time with dad. Here are a few to consider:
Columbia Pike Blues Fest — The free event features food, music and children’s activities. Festivities run from 1:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, on S. Walter Reed Drive at Columbia Pike. This year’s headliner is guitarist G.E. Smith, who gained widespread fame through his time as the musical director on Saturday Night Live, following his stint as the lead guitarist for the band Hall & Oates. More information, including a full music schedule, can be found online.
Donuts with Dad — The Cherrydale Branch Library (2190 N. Military Road) still has a few spots open for dads and kids who want to stop by on Saturday for some sweet treats. From 10:30-11:30 a.m., the library will provide donuts and a craft activity for children. The event is free, but advance sign up is required by calling 703-228-6330 or visiting by the library.
Crystal Car Auto Festival — Crystal City is hosting its first annual Father’s Day Auto Festival. Visitors can check out a variety of autos, including innovative electric vehicles and classic muscle cars. The event runs from 2:00-6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free and a cash beer garden offers beer and wine. More information about exact locations for the auto festival can be found online.
Dash 4 Dad Race — Pacers has again partnered with ZERO — The Project to End Prostate Cancer for the four mile Dash for Dad race on Sunday. The 8:30 a.m. race begins at Pentagon Row close to the Pacers store (1101 S. Joyce Street). Registration and road closures for the race can be found online.
Go Fishing — Although the county no longer stocks trout in Four Mile Run due to budget cuts, residents are still allowed to fish in local waterways. Anglers over the age of 16 need a license to fish. The Department of Parks and Recreation website uses a fish logo to indicate parks — such as Alcova Heights, Glencarlyn and Upper Pimmit Run — where visitors may be successful in pulling in a catch.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID and Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization are ARLnow.com advertisers
(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) A large oak tree fell on the historic, county-owned Fraber House after yesterday’s storms, damaging the home just as the county prepares to sell it.
The early 20th century structure, at 1612 N. Quincy Street in Cherrydale, is set to receive a local historic designation from the Arlington County Board this weekend. The county then plans to sell the home, in “as is” condition, to the highest bidder. The buyer would be expected to fix up and maintain the house, while preserving its historic characteristics.
Thanks to the fallen tree, the home may be a bit more of a “fixer-upper” than the county planned. Visible damage includes a buckled portion of roof, a bent gutter, and a broken lower window.
The tree will be removed tomorrow (Wednesday) according to Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, and the county will repair the damage.
“Removal of the tree will require use of a large crane,” she wrote. “The property will covered by a tarp to protect it from the weather.”
“After the tree has been removed, we can do a complete assessment of the damage,” Kalish said. “From the damage that we can observe now it appears that exterior repairs will only take about a week to repair — if the weather cooperates. Repairs will be made that are in keeping with the historic nature of the home.”
Kalish said the damage will most likely not impact the Board’s scheduled vote on Saturday.
A man entered the SunTrust bank at 3713 Lee Highway around 11:10 a.m. and passed a note to a teller demanding money. A weapon was implied but not seen, and the man reportedly fled before receiving any cash.
The bank is located within a Safeway supermarket in the Cherrydale neighborhood.
The suspect is described as a black male wearing a red Nationals hat, a navy blue raincoat, jeans and New Balance sneakers. The man was between 5′ 9″ and 5′ 10″, in his late 40s or early 50s, with a black and gray beard.
The suspect passed a note demanding money and implying a weapon, but appeared nervous and again fled before receiving cash. The suspect description is similar to that of the first attempted robbery, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
From a police press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit, along with the FBI’s Washington Field Office, is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a bank robbery suspect captured in surveillance footage at separate locations.
The initial robbery attempt occurred at 11:08 a.m. on June 10, 2013 in the 3700 block of Lee Highway at the Suntrust Bank inside of Safeway. Twenty minutes later, the suspect attempted to rob the PNC Bank located inside the Giant Food Store in the 2900 block of S. Glebe Road. On both occasions, the subject entered the bank and approached a teller with a handwritten note demanding money and implying he had a weapon. The suspect fled the scene on foot each time without receiving money.
He is described as black male in his late forties or early fifties with a medium build. He was wearing a striped polo shirt underneath a dark-colored jacket, with blue jeans and a Washington Nationals baseball hat.
Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of this individual is asked to contact Detective Gary Skeens at 703.228.4166 or Detective Richard Conigliaro at 703.228.4193 with the Arlington County Police Department or firstname.lastname@example.org. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
As the county continues to move forward with its Cherrydale Lee Highway Revitalization Program, the Cherrydale Citizens Association (CCA) is voicing strong disapproval with changes to traffic patterns at the “Five Points Intersection.”
The Cherrydale Lee Highway Revitalization Program is part of the county’s overall plan to foster a safer, more aesthetically-pleasing, and pedestrian-friendly Arlington. In its efforts to enhance the Five Points Intersection — where westbound Lee Highway splits into Old Dominion Drive and Old Lee Highway as it crosses N. Quincy Street and Military Road — the county has made a number of changes which Cherrydale residents say have made the intersection worse.
The CCA formed a Five Points Intersection Committee (FPIC) in the fall of 2011 and, according to CCA President Maureen Ross, the committee has been unanimous in their opposition to the proposed changes.
“Citizens who had never met each other all voiced the same conclusions when we met with Betty [Diggs, Arlington County Representative] and those conclusions were that every change we’ve made in the past two years have made the travel problems worse,” said in a PowerPoint presentation posted online in September 2012.
County engineers added a nub at the corner where Lee Highway intersects North Quincy Street. Though it was intended to help pedestrians, the FPIC alleges that it has resulted in restricting right-turn traffic from N. Quincy Street onto Lee Highway.
Additionally, the creation of a left-turn-only lane on northbound Quincy Street has forced cars into a single restricted right lane causing motorists to cut across 20th Street N. and into residential neighborhoods to avoid the bottleneck.
“They have narrowed how far you have to cross which makes it a better pedestrian experience but it’s still a miserable vehicular experience and it forces cars down pedestrian streets which isn’t good for anyone,” said Ross.
The restaurant began serving food over the weekend for both its soft opening and grand opening. Owner Homayon Karimy is originally from Afghanistan and has lived in Pakistan, but Arlington is where is heart is.
“This is home, Arlington is home,” he said. “We’re very happy to be here. Every foreigner says America is the land of opportunity and we want to have that opportunity.”
Prior to opening his own restaurant, Karimy worked at the Lebanese Taverna Market (4400 Old Dominion Drive). His years of experience there helped prepare him for his new venture. Plus, he grew particularly fond of the Cherrydale area.
“I’ve worked in this area only a quarter mile away so I know everyone here. I know people at the Cherrydale Hardware store, I know people at the bank, at the Safeway. I know a lot of people here and Arlington is very close to me,” Harimy said. “Cherrydale in particular because I notice that there is a very neighborhood type of feel. People care about each other, it’s a great community.”
Kite Runner Cafe mainly focuses on Afghan food but also has some Lebanese and Indian dishes. The menu is still being tweaked while employees figure out which dishes will and will not work well in the given kitchen space, which Karimy originally anticipated would be larger.
“The first month is always crazy. In the beginning when you open, there’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong. The other day our A.C. unit started leaking, the day of the grand opening, so I’m like, great. Today the soda machine stopped working,” he said. “Everyday there’s something new, but these are the challenges that come with a business. But we’re very positive.”
Another challenge is that immediately upon opening the doors, Kite Runner Cafe was packed. That, Karimy says, is a welcome problem.
Karimy notes that the restaurant is a family based business. A number of his family members help out there including his parents, sister and cousin.
“It’s a family effort, it’s a family business that we all want to share with the rest. We come from a different country with a different culture but we want to bring that to the people,” he said. “Afghanistan has great food. We don’t just want to hold onto that, we want to share it.”
Eventually, plans for Kite Runner Cafe include delivery service and catering. Until then, employees will focus on providing delicious food and friendly service.
“Come and give us a try. We’re very open to feedback,” said Karimy. “We’re here to serve, we’re here to delight people.”
Tonight the restaurant will team up with its neighbors in the 3800 Lofts building, Subway and House of Steep, for a mixer event from 7:00-8:00 p.m. There will be food samples paired with House of Steep’s tea and snacks from Subway.
Arlington County is planning to designate the Fraber House at 1612 N. Quincy Street in Cherrydale a “local historic district,” then sell it to the highest bidder.
The house and surrounding grounds were purchased by the county from the Fraber family in 2002, for $537,000, with the intention of demolishing the yellow Bungalow-style home and using the land to expand adjacent Oakgrove Park.
The latter part of that plan was foiled when the Cherrydale neighborhood included the house and its detached garage in its designation to the National Register of Historic Places.
The home was deemed historically significant as “a classic example of the early-20th century Bungalow form… built and lived in by the types of middle and working class people who first established Arlington as a commuter suburb.”
“This presented a dilemma for the County’s land acquisition and historic preservation programs,” county staff wrote in a report this month. “For the last eleven years, the County has considered a variety of options to balance preserving the open space for Oakgrove Park and preserving the historic buildings on the site.”
That eleven years of contemplation has led to a plan to protect the home with a local historic designation, then try to sell it to someone who would presumably want to fix it up and live in it. The plan calls for the home to be offered for sale by a real estate agent starting this summer. It will be sold in “as is” condition — given that it “still retains its original building footprint, windows and doors, and nearly all of its exterior and interior materials and details.”
The parcels of land around the home will be retained by the county and used to expand Oakgrove Park, which consists of a youth soccer field, a playground and picnic equipment. The county says it will use proceeds of the sale to fund future park land acquisition.
In March, the county’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board recommended that the historic designation be extended to the home’s detached garage. Earlier this month, the Arlington Planning Commission voted unanimously to also favor historic status for the garage.
County staff, however, is recommending that the garage, which sits on land the county wants to use for the park, not receive historic status. Instead, the county will encourage the buyer of the home to move the garage closer to the home, on privately-owned land. Or, if that fails, the county will “make the garage available to an interested part for relocation… at the expense of the interested party.”
“This would allow the County to retain the remaining parkland for open space (as was the original intent) and for future park amenities,” staff wrote.
The County Board is scheduled to consider the Request to Advertise the historic designation at its Saturday meeting.
Photos via Arlington County
If you can’t manage to travel to Paris anytime soon, walking into a new shop in Cherrydale may be enough to give you a French fix. The recent addition of La Maison at 3510 Lee Highway should please local Francophiles.
“This is a dream come true,” said owner Jeeun Friel. “I just love decorating and I’m a collector of beautiful things.”
The store quietly opened on Saturday (March 16) and has seen a steady stream of curious customers come through the doors.
“It’s been a lot of positive feedback. They’ve been very welcoming here,” said Friel.
The shop carries a variety of French and French-inspired products ranging from jewelry to candles and soaps to antique furniture pieces. Friel said she makes every effort to buy true antiques and not reproductions. She also sells art and new furniture pieces made by local artists, and as evidenced by the various bright items throughout the store, Friel reports a passion for “having fun with color.”
“La Maison means ‘the house’ in French. I want everybody to feel like this is someone’s home,” Friel said. “It’s kind of like a Parisian market with all different kinds of things.”
She originally worked as a private chef, but about 10 years ago Friel and a partner went in together on their first business, a hair salon, which they sold a few years later. Since then, she had been interested in opening a small store highlighting her enjoyment of decorating.
The space was previously occupied by a palm reading business, and prior to that it was Cherrydale Clockworks, which closed suddenly in August 2010.
“I’ve always adored this neighborhood, and I know it’s certainly up and coming,” said Friel. “I’ve seen it change the last seven years. I just love Cherrydale.”
Although no firm date has been set, Friel plans to hold a grand opening celebration next month. Until then, she’s working to get a website up and running and on spreading the word about the store’s soft opening.
“Come and say hello,” Friel said. “I welcome anyone and everyone and just want them to feel like this is a special place with lots of different, eclectic, unique little finds. It’s like a treasure hunt.”
More Car Window Shooting Arrests — Fairfax County Police arrested two suspects accused of shooting out car windows with BB guns. Both suspects — 19-year-old Alexander Chase and 18-year-old Herbert Reyes-Cartagena — are from Arlington. Chase was arrested last month by the Arlington County Police Department and charged with similar crimes. The suspects are accused of more than 30 window shooting incidents in Fairfax County, and Chase is accused of involvement in 250 cases throughout Northern Virginia. [Washington Post]
Summer Camp Registration Begins — Registration began this morning for the summer camps offered through Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Registration can be done via mail, online or by faxing an application to 703-228-4765. Registration by phone or walk-in will begin on February 27.
Lee Highway Art Celebration — The Cherrydale and Maywood neighborhoods held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday to celebrate new art on a median at the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Monroe Street (photo above). Local mural artist Jarrett Ferrier submitted the winning proposal for the Lee Highway Art Project. His design consists of panels depicting scenes from around the neighborhoods, such as the Cherrydale Fire Department, Cherrydale Branch Library and a railroad line that used to run along Lee Highway.
Agape Bears Closes in Ballston Mall – Agape Bears, a shop in Ballston Common Mall featuring handmade teddy bears, closed over the weekend after more than 15 years in business. Owners Elizabeth and Bill Taylor are well known not just for the store, but also for donating bears to police and fire stations, as well to victims of disasters. The Taylors plan to still sell the specialty bears online. [WTOP]
A Safeway representative attended the Cherrydale Civic Association (CCA) meeting earlier this month to discuss the remodeling plan with residents. According to information presented at the meeting, the building footprint would remain the same and the remodeling would occur within the store.
“We’ve asked them for a better deli, fresh produce, a bakery. A lot of food was too close to expiration,” said CCA President Maureen Ross. “It’s just in need of renovations.”
Ross noted that Safeway has thus far been receptive to the idea of adding a Capital Bikeshare station on the grounds.
”We’re very excited and we’re praising them,” Ross said. “We’ve also asked them to see if they’d be willing to adopt the street trees because Arlington County has not been able to maintain the trees and they look terrible.”
There’s the possibility that the final plan will involve changes to the store facade and landscaping, but that will not be determined until Safeway gives final approval and the design is revealed. Final approval is also necessary in order to name an official start date for the makeover, although the CAA hopes it can begin in March. We’re told the renovation should take around 90 days to complete.