The tree supposedly came down this past Sunday, according to parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish, but the resident who first emailed ARLnow.com to ask about the safety hazard said it actually came down Tuesday, during Superstorm Sandy. Regardless of when it fell, the tree remains have been blocking the sidewalk ever since, forcing pedestrians to either walk up a small hill or into the street to get around it. It also blocked a bus stop and a bike lane, forcing bicyclists out into a vehicle travel lane.
The tree was on private property — near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Troy Street, just down the street from the Courthouse area — and Kalish said the county was not notified that it was blocking a sidewalk until ARLnow.com asked about it yesterday.
“According to a property manager at Colonial Village the tree fell Sunday night. They did not have an opportunity to remove it or contact us regarding it until we checked into it for [ARLnow.com],” she said. “The Parks team will clear the sidewalk today.”
It was a long night for the county board, which didn’t adjourn its recessed meeting until a few minutes after midnight. In addition to a controversial resolution regarding the Secure Communities program, a briefing on next year’s budget projections and the passage of the Crystal City Sector Plan, the board took a number of other significant actions.
The board heard a presentation by County Manager Michael Brown regarding staff research into the proposed development plan for East Falls Church. Details are available on the county’s web site.
Funds for the design of a better Ballston beaver pond were approved unanimously. The $471,842 contract calls for a new design that will allow the pond to do a better job of treating stormwater while still providing a habitat for wildlife.
A plan to renovate 162 apartments in Colonial Village was approved unanimously. The board looked into concerns about parking and trash expressed by neighboring residents, but otherwise made no alterations.
After another somewhat lengthy discussion about outdoor patios, the board voted unanimously to renew Hard Times Cafe’s outdoor seating permit. The board specified an allowance of four tables and eight chairs on the North Highland Street sidewalk during dinner time.
The board voted 4-1 to advertise a steep fee increase for restaurant and food vendor licenses. The board was careful to emphasize that the fee hike, from $100 to $285, was mandated by the state and already in place in neighboring jurisdictions. The fee would apply evenly to brick and mortar restaurants and mobile food vendors.
At the very end, the board approved some sort of settlement with the owner of the long-delayed Bromptons development in Cherrydale. Update at 11:15 a.m. — The settlement deals with a dispute between the owner and the county over utility undergrounding. Under terms of the settlement, Bromptons owner R15, LLC will pay $255,000 to a utility fund.
The historic Colonial Village apartments (the portion owned by Wesley Housing Development Corporation) will be renovated and most of the units converted to low income housing, under a plan that’s up for discussion at a county hearing next week.
The proposal calls for renovations to begin around March of next year, according to a leasing agent. Renovations would proceed several at a time. Tenants will be “relocated” during the renovation process.
The details about the low income housing conversion are a bit sketchy at this point, but initial reports suggest all but two dozen or so apartments will be designated low income housing under the plan, which could force some existing tenants out.
Colonial Village was among the first garden-style apartment complexes in the U.S. when it was built in the 1930s. Wesley owns 162 apartment units, which are home to about 400 residents.
A county housing counselor told ARLnow.com that more details will be revealed on Wed., Sept. 8, during an Arlington Tenant-Landlord Commission hearing. The hearing will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Azalea Room (lobby level) of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard.
One Colonial Village resident we heard from was upset that there have only been two “resident meetings” about the plan leading up to next week’s hearing.
Today’s renovation news follows our report earlier this week about major renovations at the 1020 North Quincy Street apartments in Ballston.
Multiple calls to Wesley Housing Development Corporation’s main office in Alexandria went unanswered throughout the afternoon.