The Board discussed the matter in a closed session before unanimously approving it. According to County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac, it is standard procedure for the Board to discuss a grant behind closed doors. The grant agreement will be made public once the county attorney finalizes it.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan said the grant will help bring the theater current with real estate taxes owed to the county. Funding for the grant was provided from budget savings identified at the end of Fiscal Year 2012.
The Arlington County Department of Management and Finance indicates the grant includes around $85,000 for past due real estate and business tangible taxes, $99,000 for the next two payments of real estate taxes and around $30,000 for the next business tangible tax payment. The remaining $35,000 will either help fund a financial consultant study or go to future tax payments.
Signature Theatre has sole access rights and branding capability in its current space within a county owned building. It is responsible for the full costs of operating that facility, including real estate and business tangible taxes. Other county supported arts groups performing in county subsidized spaces are not required to pay taxes.
“Signature is thriving, and has a great future ahead of it,” Donnellan said. “This grant addresses an immediate, short-term need by providing temporary relief from a tax burden that is not shared by other supported arts groups.”
The county emphasizes that the theater is a cultural anchor for Shirlington and provides financial benefits to the community. It estimates that more than $150,000 in annual sales and meals taxes can be directly attributed to Signature’s presence in Shirlington.
Signature faced several debt-related lawsuits in Arlington General District Court last year, including claims from Waste Management, Conde Nast Publications and the Delancey at Shirlington Village apartment building. The Waste Management and Conde Nast claims were eventually dismissed. The court ruled in favor of Delancey at Shirlington Village.
County Treasurer Frank O’Leary told the Sun Gazette that Signature was delinquent on its real estate and business taxes.
Ground Floor Retail Exemption Granted — At its meeting yesterday (May 21), the County Board granted an exemption to the policy of requiring ground floor retail space, for the office building at 3701 N. Fairfax Drive. The building formerly housed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which had received a retail exemption due to security concerns. The Board granted the exemption this time due to the space’s lack of access and visibility from the street. [Sun Gazette]
AIRE Goal Exceeded — Arlington County has exceeded its 2007 Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) goal of a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from government operations by 2012. The county has reduced its emissions by 11.7 percent since 2000. “This is an important milestone in Arlington’s efforts to build a more sustainable future for all our residents and businesses,” said Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. “The County has made great strides in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and of our fleet and services, and we will continue to look for ways to reduce emissions and reduce spending on energy.” [Arlington County]
Sales Tax Holiday Begins Saturday — Virginia’s annual Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins on Saturday, May 25, and runs through Friday, May 31. The tax holiday allows residents to prepare for hurricane season, which begins on June 1, by eliminating sales tax on purchases of emergency supplies. Items such as batteries, generators, bottled water, duct tape, cell phone chargers and radios are included. [Virginia Emergency Management]
The work will take place throughout Arlington, and is intended to extend the life of the county’s water infrastructure while forgoing the expense of a complete replacement.
From a county press release:
The Arlington County Board today authorized $1.8 million for the rehabilitation of water mains, many of which have been in service for more than 60 years. The work will take place in neighborhoods across the County and includes the cleaning and relining of aging distribution pipes using a process called Mechanical Cleaning and Cement-Mortar Lining.
“These rehabilitation projects help the County extend the life of water mains and lines, stretch tax dollars, and prevent expensive and disruptive main breaks,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada.
Rehabilitation at fraction of replacement cost
Instead of replacing an aging water main, it is possible to rehabilitate the pipe if it is still in good enough condition. Every year, the County selects water mains based on age, frequency of main breaks, and reduction in flow capacity for rehabilitation at a fraction of the cost of new construction and with minimal disruption to the community.
Trenchless rehabilitation means less disruption
Corrosion deposits, known as tubercles, build up naturally over time in older unlined, water main pipes made of iron. The build-up does not normally affect the quality of the water, but it does decrease the capacity of the pipes and can affect water pressure. The trenchless pipe rehabilitation method that Arlington uses involves opening the road at the ends of the pipe segment, instead of cutting the road open along the entire length of the water main, making it less disruptive to traffic near the work area.
Arlington County runs many maintenance programs, such as the water main lining project, to prolong the life and productivity of our infrastructure and facilities. Some other maintenance programs include a distribution valve maintenance program, large valve maintenance program, fire hydrant maintenance program, fire hydrant painting, and annual water main flushing.
The project the Board acted on is part of the Water Main Rehabilitation and Replacement program, which is included in Utilities portion of the FY 2013 – FY 2022 CIP, (Capital Investment Program). D.H.C. Corporation has been selected for the cleaning and cement-mortar lining of Arlington water mains.
When crews work in your neighborhood, you will receive a notice in advance of the project. Temporary service lines are put in service during the work, and flushing is performed to make sure that all water lines are free from any debris that may have entered the system. If you have any questions about your water service in general or as related to one of our maintenance programs, please call 703-228-6555.
The Ashlawn addition proved controversial thanks to opposition to a plan to create a loop road for student drop-off. In the end, the Board approved the addition with the loop road plan, but not before considerable debate and abstentions from Board members Chris Zimmerman and Mary Hynes, according to the Sun Gazette.
Separately, the Board also approved a technical update to reorganize the county’s Zoning Ordinance, as well as an amendment to the ordinance to allow outdoor cafes on private property to operate year-round.
Norovirus Outbreak at Nottingham Elementary — Dozens of students at Nottingham Elementary School have been sickened in what is believed to be an outbreak of norovirus. The contagious stomach illness causes serious nausea and vomiting. So far, Arlington Public Schools officials have not responded to a request for more information from ARLnow.com. [WJLA]
County Board Not Interested in Meals Tax Changes — In response to a speaker at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting who was critical of the county’s 4 percent meals tax, County Board members said they’re not inclined to make any changes to the tax. The meals tax is levied on restaurant bills and on the purchase of prepared meals from grocery stores, on top of the state’s 5 percent sales tax. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Org Targeted By IRS — The Clarendon-based Leadership Institute, a conservative training organization, says it was among the conservative groups targeted for audits and extra scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service. [Washington Free Beacon]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) The Arlington School Board approved new elementary school boundaries Thursday night, wrapping up an eight month community process.
The School Board unanimously adopted “Variation B” of Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s recommended boundaries (left). The new boundaries will help distribute students to a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus (see below) as well as to additions at Ashlawn and McKinley elementary schools.
The new schools and additions (there will also be a new choice elementary school near Kenmore Middle School and an addition to Arlington Traditional School) are being undertaken to provide an additional 1,875 seats of capacity by 2017 for Arlington burgeoning student population.
“Variation B” will shift elementary school boundaries and result in the reassignment of 900 students. The changes will take effect for the 2015-2016 school year.
- Reassign 67 students from McKinley to Ashlawn
- Reassign 56 students from Glebe to McKinley
- Reassign 164 students from Jamestown to the new school at Williamsburg
- Reassign 71 students from Taylor to Jamestown
- Reassign 347 students from Nottigham to the new school at Williamsburg
- Reassign 146 students from Tuckahoe to Nottingham
- Reassign 49 students from Taylor to the new school at Williamsburg
The School Board also approved the following grandfathering provisions:
- “Rising 5th graders and concurrently enrolled younger siblings (grades K-4 as of June 2015) may choose to remain at their current school for the 2015-16 school year only. Transportation will be provided for these students who remain at their school and who are eligible for bus transportation as of September 2015.”
- “Because the effective date of students moving to McKinley is September 2016, grandfathering for rising 5th graders and concurrently enrolled younger siblings (grades K-4 as of June 2016) will be in effect for the 2016-17 school year and will follow the procedures in paragraph a.”
- “A student currently attending Claremont or Key Immersion School, in grades K-4 as of June 2015, who resides in a planning unit being moved from one Immersion School group to another Immersion School group, may remain at his or her current Immersion School through 5th grade with transportation provided by APS.”
- “A student currently attending Arlington Science Focus in grades K-4 as of June 2015, who resides in a planning unit being moved to the New Elementary School #1, may remain at ASFS through 5th grade with transportation provided by APS.”
The School Board also directed Dr. Murphy “to recommend whether rising K-4 students residing in planning units reassigned to existing schools will be eligible to enroll in their newly assigned elementary school prior to School Year 2015 if seating space is available.”
On Saturday, the County Board will consider a use permit for a 26,160 square foot addition to Ashlawn Elementary School.
Construction on the addition is expected to begin this summer and wrap up by the summer of 2014. It will add 12 rooms, including 9 classrooms, at a cost of about $12 million, according to a project web page.
Meanwhile, at its Thursday meeting, the School Board unanimously approved a schematic design for the new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus.
The new school will cost just over $43 million, according to an APS press release, with construction slated to start in January 2014 and wrap up in time for the start of the school year in the summer of 2015.
Owners Hans Hess and Cord Thomas, Hess’ nephew, are planning to sell the 50-cab fleet to Veolia Transportation, which operates more than 2,400 taxicabs around the country. Among Veolia’s local holdings are the SuperShuttle airport transportation service and a third of the Washington Flyer cab fleet. Hess also owns the Ballston-based Elevation Burger restaurant chain.
The Arlington County Board must first approve the ownership transfer, per a condition of Envirocab’s taxi licenses. County staff is recommending that the Board approve the sale at its meeting on Tuesday.
The sale has been in the works since at least February. In March, Veolia’s SuperTaxi subsidiary, which will operate Envirocab, told county staff that it plans to offer the following benefits for Envirocab employees and the cab-riding public:
- “SuperTaxi will maintain operations and key personnel as well as stand dues at current levels.”
- “SuperTaxi will provide consumers with new smartphone apps to reserve a taxicab along with a 24 hour, 7 days per week call center with customer-service trained staff.”
- “SuperTaxi will hold regular meetings with drivers to improve service and safety and provide driver award programs.”
- “SuperTaxi will use incentives to provide service during peak demand periods.”
- “SuperTaxi will add at least one wheelchair-accessible taxicab to the fleet (while still keeping its fleet size at 50 taxicabs as authorized under the existing certificate issued to Envirocab).”
Earlier this month the Arlington Transportation Commission unanimously voted to support the ownership transfer. In a report, county staff concluded that the sale “will not adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of the traveling public nor will it adversely affect the Arlington County taxicab industry.”
The Arlington County Board is considering an amendment to its zoning ordinance to allow outdoor cafes on private property to stay open year-round. The county was previously enforcing an uncodified interpretation of the ordinance that requires all outdoor cafes to be seasonal in nature — typically only open from April to November.
Sidewalk cafes located on public property will still be regulated under the seasonality requirement, but will only be required to close for three months of the year.
The amendment proposal comes just over a year after the Westover Beer Garden, which is on private property, defied the county’s seasonality requirement, calling it an “imaginary rule.”
The zoning amendment provides other policy tweaks and clarifications for outdoor cafes on private property. Among them:
- Use of televisions, radios and other electronic media will be permitted at outdoor cafes from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The outdoor use of electronic media will still be regulated by the county’s noise ordinance.
- Outdoor cafes “in side or rear yards adjacent to or across an alley from an ‘R’ or ‘RA’ [residential] District” must be closed between 11:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.
- Outdoor cafes must have fewer seats than the main restaurant, and cannot be used when the main restaurant is closed.
- All outdoor fixtures must be removable.
- Only restaurants may have outdoor cafes
The amendment also carries a new legal definition for outdoor cafes. It’s described as “An area that contains portable seating and tables, intended solely for the consumption of food and beverages that are also included in the standard menu of the restaurant, outside the exterior walls of a restaurant (excluding rooftops).”
The Board is scheduled to vote on the measure on Saturday.
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
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has offered Arlington County the use of prime land in the Courthouse area at no cost. The County Board is scheduled to vote on the lease agreement at its meeting this Saturday, May 18.
The two parcels of vacant land run along Clarendon Blvd, between N. Adams Street and N. Barton Street. The ROK Arlington Embassy Annex building lies adjacent to the land, but faces Wilson Blvd. The land parcels up for grabs currently house nothing but fenced asphalt and gravel lots.
The embassy reports that the space is only used a few times each year during large meetings. It decided to offer the land to the county as a goodwill gesture.
Terms of the lease would allow the county to use the land free of rent as long as it maintains the parcels. The county may use the property for any legal use, provided it notifies the embassy prior to changing the land use. Any permanent improvements on the land would first require consent from the embassy.
The lease agreement would be in effect for a minimum of two years and would continue until terminated by one of the parties. The county staff report indicates maintenance costs associated with the lease would be minimal and no significant fiscal impact is expected.
Although the county staff report recommends the Board approves the deal, so far no firm plan has been developed for the future of the land. The county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) performed a preliminary land analysis and came up with some potential uses and improvements to the property. CPHD is prepared to solicit public input on possible uses for the site.
The Arlington County Board is expected to vote this weekend to hold public hearings on the county’s proposed Community Energy Plan.
A draft of the ambitious plan calls for Arlington to significantly decrease energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a series of six goals and 14 policies. The goals include:
- “Buildings will be up to 60 percent more energy efficient, saving residents, tenants, and business owners on their energy bills.”
- “District energy systems will provide less expensive, more efficient cooling, heating and power to Arlingtonians in the highest-density development corridors.”
- “Arlington will be a ‘solar leader’ by deploying 160 megawatts of solar photovoltaics, which will supply enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.”
- “Arlington’s transportation infrastructure will be refined and expanded, providing residents and workers with more travel choices.”
- “Arlington County Government will lead by example, reducing energy costs by improving fleet and building efficiencies.”
- “Arlingtonians will rethink their energy use, taking advantage of new technologies to reduce personal energy consumption.”
Among the individual policies are:
- Enforcing higher energy efficiency standards in the building code (requires state legislative approval)
- Facilitating the creation and use of a district energy system with more than 100 megawatts of combined heat and power generation
- Reducing County government CO2 emissions by 76% by 2050 through various strategies
- Reducing automobile pollution by buying more efficient vehicles for the county fleet and requiring more efficient taxis
- Deploying modern traffic control technologies to reduce vehicle idling times
- Providing public recognition of people and organizations that help Arlington reach its energy goals.
The plan, county officials say, would improve Arlington’s business competitiveness, provide energy security, and help the environment.
The County Board is expected to vote this weekend to advertise a series of two public hearings which will be held in advance of Board consideration of the plan itself. The Board’s agenda item calls for the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing on June 3, and for the County Board to hold a hearing on June 15.
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.
In a Morning Notes story this week, ARLnow linked to a letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette. The writer of the letter suggested enacting mandatory term limits for Arlington County Board members via a term limit ballot proposal.
Although the letter writer did not say so, his proposal would have to be authorized by a new Virginia law. Current Virginia law does not authorize such ballot proposals, although current law does authorize a petition process that could lead to the recall of an individual County Board member by Arlington’s voters.
The ARLnow story generated a huge outpouring of passionate commentary about the pros and cons of mandatory term limits. Many argued vehemently that term limits were the only way to change bad public policies. They attributed those bad policies to the dominance of Arlington’s local government by long-time Democratic incumbents.
Others argued just as passionately that in a democracy, it’s up to the voters to make these decisions. If the majority of Arlington’s voters keep electing Democratic incumbents, then the majority has spoken. For this group, that’s all there is to it.
Most people who participated in this ARLnow debate were convinced they were right, the other side was wrong, and they were not going to change their own opinions.
Regardless of the passion that mandatory term limit supporters are likely to retain, it just ain’t gonna happen. The Virginia legislature — composed entirely of incumbent elected officials — would have to change the law. Don’t invest your emotional energy counting on this possibility.
But, those who cavalierly dismiss complaints about Arlington’s public policy shortcomings, saying voters who want change can just vote out those long-time Democratic incumbents, are underestimating how hard that is to do.
So, what’s the solution?
The solution lies primarily in the hands of my party — the Arlington Democratic Party. There are two parts to it. The first is to make primary challenges more acceptable and more common. The second is to encourage more of our Democratic elected officials to limit voluntarily how long they remain in the same office.
We have a very talented and deep bench among Arlington’s Democrats. These men and women can hit major league pitching. They just need their turn at bat.
Peter Rousselot is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
Central Library Renovations — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — A number of renovations are in progress at Arlington Central Library. The changes include new carpeting, structural maintenance and a new Digital Projects Lab. The library will remain open during the renovations, but certain parts will be closed, including the parking garage, which is expected to be closed from May 6-10. [Arlington Public Library]
Term Limits for County Board? — In a letter to the editor, one resident argues that term limits for Arlington County Board members may “change Arlington’s oligarchy for the better.” The resident suggests implementing term limits via referendum. [Sun Gazette]
Rosslyn Crane Operator Profiled — It takes 45-60 minutes for the crane operator on the 1812 N. Moore Street skyscraper project in Rosslyn to climb up to the crane’s cab. The operator, 66-year-old Mike Teague of Thurmont, Md., arrives at the job site at 4:30 a.m. and doesn’t leave until 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. [Rosslyn Magazine, Ode Street Tribune]
New Play, Venue for Theater Company — Recently booted from the Artisphere, Arlington-based theater company WSC Avant Bard is performing the play “No Man’s Land” at Theatre on the Run (3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive). The performance runs through May 25. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by @ddimick
Arlington County officials are pressing forward with plans for a Columbia Pike streetcar system, despite the federal government’s initial rejection of the county’s funding request due to projected cost overruns.
Officials explained last night, at a County Board meeting, that the Federal Transit Administration rejected its request for $75 million in grant funding because the total project cost was estimated to exceed the $250 million — the cap for projects to receive funding under the FTA’s Small Starts program.
Though pegged by the county at $245.9 million, a contractor hired by the FTA estimated the project cost to instead be between $255.9 and $402.4 million, including contingencies, and thus ineligible for a Small Starts grant. The contractor said $310.1 million was “a most likely cost.”
County officials said the contractor’s report and a subsequent in-person meeting with senior FTA staff lead them to believe the project is still likely to receive federal funding.
“They made it very clear that their action wasn’t based on the merits of the project,” Arlington County Transportation Director Dennis Leach told the Board. “It was really that technical factor that they felt our cost estimate was likely to be somewhat higher.”
Arlington will actually be eligible to receive more than the initially-requested $75 million in federal funding if it applies under the FTA’s New Starts program. Unlike Small Starts, New Starts doesn’t have a cap on total project cost.
“If the county were to choose to reapply as a New Start, the project could qualify for more federal funding,” said Stephen Del Giudice, Arlington County Transit Bureau Chief. ”We have a high likelihood of success in addressing the goals of the project.”
“What’s clear at this point is that changes to the evaluation criteria will most likely have a positive impact on FTA’s future rating of our project,” echoed Brian Stout, the county’s federal liaison. ”We’ll continue… to work with our partners at FTA to identify federal opportunities for them to support the Columbia Pike streetcar project.”
Even before the report on the FTA’s rationale for its decision, County Board Chair Walter Tejada said the county was not abandoning plans for the streetcar.
“Moving forward with a modern streetcar is our stated policy, and that’s what we’re committed to doing,” Tejada said. “We can repeat it many times, but nothing’s going to change.”
Tejada’s vote of confidence for the project came after Libby Garvey, the lone streetcar critic on the five-member County Board, gave a PowerPoint highlighting problems with other streetcar systems around the country. News reports cited by Garvey include:
- Walking is often faster than riding streetcar in Portland (The Oregonian)
- Portland streetcar fare revenue nearly 50 percent below projections (The Oregonian)
- Tampa streetcars could require city subsidy (Tampa Tribune)
- Cincinnati streetcar facing $26 million cost overrun (Cincinnati Herald)
- Tucson streetcar operating costs 4 times initial estimate (Arizona Daily Star)
“I have not made up the articles, I have not made up the facts,” Garvey said. “These facts are facts. They’re inconvenient, but true.”
The Arlington County Board last night voted to extend the one-hour parking limit for food trucks by another hour.
Food trucks will now be able to serve customers on local streets for up to two hours. They will not, however, be able to stay longer than the time allocated by the meter zone they’re parked in.
The previous one-hour limit had led to complaints and even legal challenges from food truck owners who argued that an hour doesn’t give them enough time to serve hungry customers in busy parts of the county where parking is at a premium.
“The extension of the vending time better reflects typical lunch hours and more closely aligns with the metered parking zones in Arlington,” the county said in a press release. “More than 90 percent of metered parking spaces within Arlington’s metro station areas are regulated for two or more hours.”
In voting unanimously for the change, Board members said food trucks are increasingly integral part of the community.
“Street vending has become a growing part of the retail scene in Arlington,” said County Board Chair Walter Tejada. “These changes, by giving vendors flexibility and ensuring consistent enforcement, provide balance and clarity for all of Arlington’s businesses that serve customers.”
Doug Maheu, Arlington County Director of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington and owner of the Doug Food Dude food truck, said in a statement that food truck owners are largely pleased with the change, but would have liked even more time to vend.
Although the members of Metropolitan Washington Food Truck Association would not consider these amendments perfect, we do understand that they are a work in progress. We look forward to participating in future conversations with Arlington County as well as other stake holders on crafting equitable vending regulations. We applaud the Arlington County Board for moving forward to make Arlington a thriving diverse business community.
Maheu said food truck owners will continue to ask for four hour “block permits” that would allow even more vending time. As for the possibility of an influx of food trucks from D.C. to Arlington, should the District enact strict food truck regulations that have been proposed by Mayor Vincent Gray, Maheu said he’s not overly concerned.
“I believe that the market will take care of competition as it always done,” he said.
Maheu said he’s aware of 3 or 4 D.C. food trucks that have applied for permits to serve customers in Arlington, but added that he didn’t believe those applications were made in response to D.C.’s proposed regulations.
The Board unanimously approved the plan, which updates a previous plan that was passed in 1987. The new plan seeks to protect the communities from traffic impacts, maintain public infrastructure and foster a sense of community. It was created over the course of eight years with the help of community input.
“The program reflects the County’s belief that no one understands what a neighborhood needs better than the people who live there,” County Board Chair Walter Tejada said in a statement. “The County Board thanks the residents of Fairlington-Shirlington for working for eight years to produce this thoughtful, realistic plan to help ensure this area of the County will remain a great place to live for decades to come.”
Fairlington, with a population of 8,000 residents, is southwest of Shirlington, population 1,500, and bisected by I-395.
Fairlington was created as a publicly-financed housing complex for defense workers during World War II. Shirlington was a swampland before becoming a shopping center in the 1940s. The current Shirlington began to take shape, with high rise housing and and an “urban village” of retailers, after being purchased by Federal Realty Investment Trust in 1995.
The new Neighborhood Conservation Plan contains 35 service and infrastructure recommendations. The full list, which can be found below (after the jump), includes recommendations ranging from increased speed enforcement to new bus shelters to efforts to curb helicopter noise.
“In the coming year, County staff will be working with the association and residents to help identify priority improvement projects for funding,” the county said in a press release.
Photo courtesy Arlington County