The Arlington County Board is expected to approve easement acquisitions to the northwest and southwest corners of the intersection at its meeting Saturday, which will allow the county to widen sidewalks and install bus shelters at the intersection.
The easement acquisition is the first step of wide-scale improvements coming to the intersection. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2014, but there is no timeline yet, according to county Department of Environment Services spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman.
Among the changes coming to the intersection will be the installation of left-turn lanes on N. Glebe Road, four new bus shelters, and a new commercial entrance into the Rite Aid shopping center between Glebe Road and N. Albemarle Street. There will also be new streetlights, crosswalk markings and traffic signals installed.
The project is 50 percent designed and funded in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Photo via Google Maps
The Latitude Apartments project has received a thumbs up from county staff members, fresh off of last week’s Arlington Planning Commission recommendation to defer consideration of the proposal. County staff recommends the County Board approves the plan during its meeting on Saturday, November 16.
Both the Planning Commission and the County Board deferred the issue during their July meetings in order to examine more information regarding complaints about the plan. The largest concern has been about changing the site’s status from commercial, as designated in the Virginia Square Sector Plan, to mixed-use residential.
In addition to rezoning the site, the proposal includes demolishing the existing one- and two-story buildings on the property to construct a 12-story, 265 unit residential building, with 14 affordable units. The building would have more than 3,100 square feet of ground floor retail space and around 2,800 square feet of ground floor space dedicated to cultural and educational uses. The plan includes a 12,000 square foot public plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Monroe Street, which would have a pedestrian connection to Quincy Park.
County staff members note that the immediate area has changed since the sector plan was created, and recent expansion there makes it unnecessary to preserve additional commercial space at this time. The staff report reads, in part:
“Office uses, which were encouraged to increase the daytime population, maintain the existing medical office presence, and facilitate shared parking, have increased by over 700,000 square feet since the plan was adopted, albeit not at the same pace as residential development. However, institutional growth has significantly increased in Virginia Square, including George Mason University, which also contributes to the desired daytime activity in this area. Further, GLUP-based estimates of additional development capacity within Virginia Square indicate there is remaining development potential on blocks slated for either office or mixed land uses, which would help further sector plan goals for additional office growth… Staff finds that the proposed site plan, while not meeting all of the indicated uses of the sector plan, is generally consistent with Virginia Square Sector Plan guidance for the site and the GLUP… Therefore, staff recommends that the County Board adopt the attached resolution to rezone the subject property from ‘C-2′ to ‘C-O’. Staff further recommends that the County Board adopt the attached ordinance to approve the subject site plan, subject to the conditions of the ordinance.”
Two other issues that arose regarding the project are that the building height would exceed the sector plan’s recommendation by three feet and that the parking ratio would be 0.9 spaces per residential unit instead of the standard 1.0 space per unit. County staff did not consider either of these substantial enough to recommend against approving the proposal.
At a work session with the Board last night (Tuesday), Donnellan and county staff presented their work thus far on the recommendations of Arlington’s Urban Agriculture Task Force.
While the task force made a total of 27 recommendations on various urban agriculture issues, the issue of whether to allow residents of single family homes to keep egg-laying hens in their backyards has garnered the most public attention. Donnellan told the Board that there are too many “unanswered questions” about hen raising in Arlington County and enforcement of new hen-related ordinances could prove to be a “drain on county resources.”
She recommended that the current county code on poultry — which requires that the poultry owner keep the animals so far from neighboring property lines that only 15 properties qualify countywide — be maintained. Should the Board decide to move forward with a more permissive ordinance, Donnellan recommended moving slowly — spending up to a year on a public process to try to achieve community consensus.
In a presentation, county staff expressed concern over a number of issues requiring, in their words, further “eggsploration.” Those included:
- How to dispose of dead or dying hens
- What to do with abandoned hens
- How to best enforce hen-related laws and how to find the funding for that enforcement
- The potential of overstressing the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and its animal control officers
- Health and pest concerns
- Virginia laws authorizing hen owners to kill dogs that chase or kill their poultry
Donnellan said a pilot program for urban hens is not possible under the current zoning ordinance. She cautioned that pushing through the hen issue now would require additional county resources at a time when Arlington is facing a $10 million budget gap for Fiscal Year 2015.
In response to Donnellan’s recommendation, the two chicken-related advocacy organizations in Arlington weighed in with dueling statements. Backyards Not Barnyards, which opposes hen-raising in Arlington, wrote the following.
Obviously, we are hugely in agreement with the County Manager… We agree that there are higher priorities for this county than figuring out how make hens to “lay an egg” or two. The benefits don’t come close to the setup and enforcement costs, environmental impacts, health issues and likely neighbor vs. neighbor conflicts. Let’s hope the County Board has the same priorities.
The Arlington Egg Project, which has been promoting the idea of backyard hens for nearly 3 years, said it is confident that the Board will overrule Donnellan’s recommendation.
Thankfully, the County Manager works for the County Board, not the other way around. Chairman Tejada has been clear and persuasive in calling for new efforts on urban agriculture, including those related to restoring our freedom to keep small numbers of backyard hens. We are looking forward to moving ahead under the leadership of Chairman Tejada and his colleagues.
We know that writing clear and enforceable regulations on backyard hens is achievable because hundreds of urban communities have done so — including some that started and completed that process since the Urban Agriculture Task Force was commissioned.
Three County Board members — Jay Fisette, Walter Tejada and Chris Zimmerman — expressed support for allowing urban hen-raising during the work session. Libby Garvey and Mary Hynes said they would rather put the issue aside indefinitely and focus on other priorities.
The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Yesterday, Chris Zimmerman announced he was resigning from the County Board before his term ends next year. Zimmerman will take on a full-time job with Smart Growth America.
Unapologetically liberal, Zimmerman believes in steadily raising taxes in order to grow government. Zimmerman has never pulled punches when it comes to partisan politics either. He took regular swings at Republicans in Richmond and Washington.
In his retirement announcement, Zimmerman gave a predictably upbeat assessment of his 18-year tenure on the County Board. No one can blame him for leaving out less successful initiatives like the Artisphere, or empty ground floor retail space, or the decline of Metro while he served on the WMATA Board.
With Metro in mind, it can be noted Zimmerman has served on every transportation commission in the region — fashioning himself into a go-to guy for Democrats on the issue. Zimmerman’s most famous pet transportation project is, of course, the proposed Columbia Pike trolley. What Arlingtonians can ask today is, does Zimmerman’s retirement provide a glimmer of hope that the project could still be stopped?
It is no doubt other Board members do not share Zimmerman’s passion for it. A win by a trolley opponent in the special election would mean Libby Garvey would gain an ally and a second vote against the trolley’s construction. It will be interesting to watch what promises to be a crowded Democratic field take positions, or bend themselves in rhetorical knots not to take a position, on the trolley.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to run against Mr. Zimmerman in what looks like it may be his last campaign for public office. It goes without saying that we agree on very little politically. However, he was always friendly and considerate at our various joint appearances and other community events where our paths crossed on the campaign trail, regardless of whether voters were watching.
In particular, I recall a specific event at Thomas Jefferson Middle School where he went out of his way to be gracious to my two young daughters who were campaigning with me. While I may be cheering for Mr. Zimmerman’s signature project to come to an unceremonious end, and soon, I wish him all the best as he moves on from elected office.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Chris Zimmerman is retiring from the Arlington County Board to accept a position with the group Smart Growth America.
Zimmerman is expected to step down from the Board at the end of January. A special election will be held in the spring to fill his open seat.
A resident of the Douglas Park neighborhood off Columbia Pike, Zimmerman was first elected to the County Board in 1996. He is leaving the Board to join Smart Growth America as its Vice President of Economic Development.
After being reelected in 2010, Zimmerman said he initially intended to serve out his four-year term, but those plans since changed.
“Today I am giving my three months notice,” he said at an announcement in the County Board Room in Courthouse this afternoon. “I never planned to be a County Board member indefinitely… but the kind of position that I had hoped to find has come my way a bit sooner than I would have expected.”
“I will be pleased to return to the life of a regular citizen in Arlington,” Zimmerman said. “I cannot possibly express the gratitude I feel for the tremendous honor and opportunity I have been given to serve this amazing community. It is not an easy job, but it is as energizing and rewarding as any I can imagine having spent the past couple of decades doing.”
Zimmerman’s last day on the board will be sometime in January, he said, and there will be a special election in either late March or early April. In between, the County Board will conduct business with only four members.
Zimmerman touted Arlington County’s track record of promoting smart growth, in places like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and along Columbia Pike. He said he looks forward to sharing lessons from Arlington’s economic development success with other communities.
“Today I feel great satisfaction for what we have achieved,” he said. “Arlington is looked upon with admiration in our region and beyond.”
Zimmerman’s colleague, County Board Chair Walter Tejada, stood beside him during the announcement and said afterward that Zimmerman will be missed on the Board.
“On behalf of the citizens of Arlington County, I want to thank you for your extraordinary service to our community,” Tejada said. “Our community is better and our quality of life is better since you came into office.”
During the announcement, Zimmerman noted that he had been doing some part-time work for Smart Growth America before he was asked to join full-time. Zimmerman survived a minor political controversy last year when it was revealed that he had done some consulting work for AECOM, a conglomerate that has had various contracts with Arlington County over the past few years, including some planning-related work for the streetcar project.
Audrey Clement, running for the County Board for the fourth straight election, lost to incumbent Democrat Jay Fisette, 66 to 31 percent. She was actually encouraged by the results, but said the 30 percent range appears to be a Green Party candidate’s best possible result.
“In our best races we seem to be hitting up against a glass ceiling of 30 percent,” she said at the Green Party’s election gathering at Westover Beer Garden. “It seems we can’t break that ceiling. I think we will when the county breaks the budget.”
Clement said she was more disappointed with the result of the redevelopment and housing authority vote than she was with her own defeat in the election, because she believes the current housing situation could lead to more homelessness. The referendum was struck down with 69 percent of the voters choosing “no.”
“A lot of people in this expensive apartments are living from paycheck to paycheck, and eventually they’re going to be displaced,” she said. “When that happens, that’s when they will change their vote.”
Clement said she felt if voters understood the issue better, then they would have voted “yes.” The sample ballot she distributed at the polls explaining the issue, however, was long and difficult to read.”
“Next time around, we have to do a better job with our literature,” she said.
Asked whether she would run again, Clement said “it remains to be seen.” She lost her job as an independent contractor in July, and although she has since secured another position, she said it’s only temporary. Since her races are largely self-funded — she spent $3,855 on her campaign this year, according to the Virginia Public Access Project – the status of her next campaign is up in the air.
Despite the defeat, Clement and her Green Party compatriots were not discouraged. Party Chairman Steve Davis said “30 percent is really good for the Green Party in an election.”
“My campaign was a success,” Clement said. “It’s not quite winning, but it’s not bad to get a respectable vote. I feel worse about the housing authority because people are going to be suffering as a result of their lack of interest in the issue.”
Bracket Room (1210 N. Garfield Street) in Clarendon had wanted to offer its patrons live music, but an outcry from neighbors prompted a change of plans.
Bracket Room’s owners had applied for a live entertainment permit, but decided within the past couple of weeks to withdraw the application. They made the decision based on noise complaints from neighbors living in Lyon Place apartments — located directly above the sports bar — who say the existing music is too loud.
“We’ve had a lot of issues with the tenants in the building from the beginning,” said Co-owner Jeff Greenberg. “The residents were calling the police when we first opened, which I hear really happens to everybody. But we don’t want to upset the people in the building or the landlord.”
One month after the sports bar’s early September opening, police said they had received around three dozen complaints related to Bracket Room. County Zoning and Code Enforcement staff had also received more than 15 complaints. Last month, County Planner Sophia Fisher said county employees were looking into the issues. Staff members familiar with each permit request typically make a recommendation to the County Board about whether to grant or deny the permit.
“Zoning and Code Enforcement staff are both currently monitoring the use due to concerns raised by citizens related to noise,” Fisher said in October. “Because live entertainment has the potential to increase the impacts of a venue on the surrounding community, citizen concerns related to noise are taken very seriously by staff.”
Today, Fisher confirmed that the Bracket Room owners have withdrawn their application for the live entertainment permit.
Bracket Room customers might notice some changes implemented during the past two weeks to appease neighbors. First, owners decided to lower the music level to 85 decibels.
“They’re trying to keep [the music] as low as they can so people inside are having fun but other people aren’t disturbed by the noise,” said Greenberg. “When the people in the building are mad at you, what are you going to do?”
The owners also examined the sports bar’s closing time and decided to shut the doors earlier.
“The 1:00-2:00 a.m. crowd is usually smaller than at other hours of the day, but it’s rowdier,” Greenberg said. “We’re cutting our hours back and we’re not staying open until 2:00 a.m.”
Since implementing the changes about two weeks ago, the owners have not been notified of as many noise complaints.
Other ideas the owners continue to throw around include adding additional security, working with an architect to find some other form of noise insulation, and possibly turning down the music’s bass if necessary.
“We’re going to contain the noise, but we’re going to try to keep our restaurant full every night,” said Greenberg. “We’re going to try the best we can. We want to get along, we want to be loved.”
Democratic incumbents have cruised to reelection in all local races. Meanwhile, Democratic voters in Arlington and Northern Virginia have helped push two statewide candidates to victory.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has been elected the next governor of Virginia, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Democrat Ralph Northam, meanwhile, has defeated Republican E.W. Jackson in the race for lieutenant governor.
Voting in Virginia ended at 7:00 p.m., on an election day when the gubernatorial race was garnering the lion’s share of headlines and voter interest. In Arlington, without a Republican candidate in any local race, third party candidates like Audrey Clement, Green Party candidate for Arlington County Board, were left to provide the opposition to the Democrats on the ballot.
With all votes counted, here are the final numbers:
- County Board – Jay Fisette (D): 66%; Audrey Clement (G): 31%
- House of Delegates, 45th District – Rob Krupicka (D): 74%; Jeffrey Engle (I): 25%
- House of Delegates, 47th District – Patrick Hope (D): 77%; Laura Delhomme (L): 22%
- House of Delegates, 49th District — Alfonso Lopez (D): 78%; Terrence Modglin (IG): 21%
The races for Arlington School Board and the 48th House of Delegates District, featuring incumbents James Lander and Del. Bob Brink, were uncontested.
On the referendum question of whether Arlington should establish a redevelopment and housing authority, the “no” position — endorsed by both the local Republican and Democratic parties — is well ahead.
- Housing Authority Referendum – Yes: 31%; No: 69%
“It’s a great night in Arlington,” said Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Lieberman. “Our goal in Arlington is to do our part to turn out every Democrat in a Democratic area, to try to run up the score to make sure we can offset some of the more conservative areas in the state. Based on the numbers we saw here today, we did that.”
“I think Arlingtonians reacted really well to McAuliffe’s centrist message, his good government message, his jobs message, and I think quite frankly Cuccinelli and his ticket didn’t offer much for Arlington,” Lieberman continued. “The strength of Democrats is a validation of the community we have here.”
Reelected Delegate Alfonso Lopez said night’s Democratic victories were a rejection of Tea Party politics.
“Tea Party hypocrisy and Tea Party policies are not the way to govern the Commonwealth,” he said.
County Board member Jay Fisette, who will take over the chairmanship of the Board in January 2014, called his reelection “gratifying” and thanked Democratic volunteers for their get-out-the-vote efforts.
“This is a great county and I really appreciate the support you’ve given me,” he said. Fisette also thanked his husband, Bob Rosen, though he had to correct himself when he initially called Rosen his “partner.” The two were wed in the District in September.
“I’m not used to saying that word [husband],” Fisette said.
As chairman, Fisette will likely preside over the hot-button vote on whether to allow urban hen-raising in Arlington. But he said he’s particularly focused on three major challenges facing the county: economic development and the high commercial office vacancy rate; affordable housing; and burgeoning school enrollments.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges… I’m really ready to hit the ground and continue working on them,” he said.
A group of activists sued Arlington County on Friday over its fact sheet about the housing authority referendum on the ballot tomorrow, but a judge quickly dismissed the lawsuit.
As it has in previous years, the county distributed a “frequently asked questions” fact sheet with the stated goal of informing residents before voting on the measure. Members of the Arlington Committee to Save Affordable Housing, which supports the creation of a housing authority in Arlington, filed the lawsuit on Friday to protest the page, with treasurer John Reeder — who filed the suit on behalf of the committee — calling it “a biased fact sheet with bogus data slanted against the housing authority, and misleading voters.”
Judge William Newman dismissed the suit without opinion the same day, prompting Reeder to send out a press release denouncing his decision. Newman is a former member of the Arlington County Board, whose members oppose the formation of a housing authority.
“Virginia Code section 24.2-687 requires that any statement on the referendum issued by Arlington County be no longer than 500 words, be neutral, and not use arguments either for or against the referendum,” the press release said. “The county FAQ statement of over 1,100 words made factual errors about the availability of Federal housing funds and other revenues… [and] included arguments and bogus claims cited by opponents including the Arlington Democratic Party.”
“Judge Newman dismissed the legal petition with no legal opinion issued late on November 1, and refused to grant even a public hearing on whether the state law on elections and referenda had been violated,” the press release continued.
The last time the referendum was on the ballot in 2008, the county distributed a similar flyer which also drew criticism, notably from the Arlington Green Party, of which Reeder is a member. The county has stood by that flyer and stands by this year’s version.
“Judge Newman’s action speaks for itself regarding the merits of the lawsuit on the housing referendum,” County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac said in an email. “It is within Judge Newman’s discretion to take the action that he took … The County put out a factual set of questions and answers, with neutral information about the referendum.”
The referendum, if passed, would create an independent housing authority, appointed by the County Board, focused on eliminating and redeveloping “blighted areas,” and promoting the availability of affordable housing.
Currently, the county handles affordable housing through its Housing Commission and through cooperation with local affordable housing nonprofits. The county draws funds from local taxes, developer contributions, federal and state grants and other affordable housing programs. The county says in its fact sheet that a new housing authority would have access to the same or similar funding sources.
Here is the unedited response from Audrey Clement (G):
I’m nine year resident of Arlington County with a doctorate in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. As a long time Green Party leader and civic activist, I’ve worked hard to promote a better quality of life for Arlington residents. As treasurer of the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation (ACST), I filed suit in 2009 to compel VDOT to assess alternatives to piecemeal widening of I-66 westbound.
In 2008 and 2013 I petitioned to place a referendum on the ballot to consolidate Arlington’s housing programs in one agency to leverage more money for affordable housing. I’ve also lobbied for a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets and chain drug stores and Styrofoam in food retail outlets. A ban bag is needed because all the bag tax bills introduced in the General Assembly to date have been defeated. Unlike a bag tax, which requires legislative approval, a bag ban is legal in Virginia right now, because the Virginia Waste Management Review Board calls the shots on waste reduction measures, not the legislature.
I think Arlington needs a change in leadership because County Board doesn’t understand that sustainable growth and so-called “Smart Growth” aren’t the same. As new office towers go up overnight, employers move into the county, spurring demand for housing that drives up rents and real estate assessments and promotes excessive infill development. Nevertheless County Board continues to award developers with more density—50% more in Crystal City and Pentagon City alone. As a result, the supply of affordable housing in this county has been cut by two-thirds in one decade. This isn’t sustainable.
To be sustainable, basic public infrastructure must keep pace with new residential and commercial construction. Sustainability also requires the County Board to create a housing authority to leverage more money for affordable housing, just like all the other jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. Otherwise those who move into the County are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tax and rent increases as others are recycled out. To be sustainable, we need to do more than accumulate LEED points. We need truly energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy. To be sustainable, we must appreciate the difference between needs and wants.
- We don’t need an $80 million aquatic center, when Northern Va. is already drowning in public pools.
- We don’t need a $310 million trolley when bus service can be upgraded at a fraction of the cost.
- We may want a cultural center and a black box theater. But we must get the private sector to finance them, not the taxpayers.
- We may like the already over capacity Taj Mahal high schools recently constructed in this county. But what we need is to expand classroom space at a reasonable cost even if that means building up or renovating rather than building new.
If elected to the County Board, I will promote fiscal responsibility without sacrificing the health and welfare of its residents.
I pledge to make developers pay their fair share of infrastructure costs. I also plan to fully fund libraries, schools, and programs for youth, seniors, and the disabled, emphasize recycling and renewable energy; and hire an Inspector General to audit the County’s budget. You can find out more about my Campaign for a Greener Arlington by visiting AudreyClement.com. Vote Clement for County Board on November 5th.
Here is the unedited response from Jay Fisette (D):
Dear Fellow Arlingtonians –
Arlington has evolved into a vibrant urban community that has retained our traditional sense of caring and connectedness. We boast top-notch services, outstanding public schools, a robust transportation system, low crime and the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia.
Many thoughtful people are responsible for today’s Arlington, and I am excited to continue to do my part to move our community forward. I am especially proud of my past efforts to maintain sound fiscal policies and support our public schools, and my leadership in developing our Community Energy Plan, Capital Bikeshare program, pedestrian safety improvements, affordable housing programs and e-government enhancements.
We face several challenges, including housing affordability, growing student enrollments, and the job losses resulting from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and from dysfunction in Congress. With the first two of these, we are victims of our own success – as Arlington is a desirable community to many, including more families with young children. I am prepared to tackle these issues and find creative, smart solutions that build on our assets. I am committed to thoughtful long-term planning and collaborative problem solving.
Protecting our Triple AAA bond rating and fiscal integrity is a priority. As a former auditor with the Government Accountability Office, I hate waste and will seek value for every dollar spent. I will balance the short-term budget decisions with the long-term capital infrastructure investments that will ensure our vitality and competitiveness in the future.
I am driven to create a sustainable community on all fronts, thus will work to implement Arlington’s energy reduction strategy. In 2010, I established a Community Energy & Sustainability Task Force, to take up the challenge of developing goals and concrete targets for reducing our energy use. Arlington now has an aggressive and achievable energy reduction strategy that will advance our economic competitiveness, enhance energy reliability and protect our environment. We will save residents and businesses money while enhancing our community’s sustainability.
The next step in the county’s process toward establishing new urban agriculture policies — most notably the possibility of allowing backyard hen raising – will come next month.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan will present the county staff’s response to the Urban Agriculture Task Force’s recommendations during a work session Nov. 12.
The task force’s recommendations were presented to the County Board in June, and included these suggestions for backyard chickens:
- Maximum of 4 hens
- No roosters
- Set back at least 20 feet from property lines
- Must file plans for coop and its placement
- Majority of adjacent property holders (within 50 feet of the coop) must consent
- Coop inspection required before occupancy
UATF staff liaison Kimberly Haun said she is unsure when the County Board may take action on the Food Action Plan. Residents are encouraged to attend the public work session but will not be able to participate. Haun said additional specifics about the staff response would not be made available before the meeting.
The task force also made several other, less controversial recommendations:
- Appoint a standing Commission on Urban Agriculture
- Integrate urban agriculture into county planning documents
- Create new community gardens and urban farms, utilizing rooftops and fallow land awaiting development if possible
- Permitting federal SNAP benefits (food stamps) at all Arlington famers markets (currently only a couple accept SNAP)
- Encourage the establishment of a “local food hub” to match up residential food producers with distributors and consumers
- Encourage the creation of additional Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs
- Support additional healthy eating and urban agriculture education in schools and libraries
- Repurpose the historic Reeves farmhouse as a center for urban agriculture education for Arlington school students
- Establish a municipal composting system
The Board voted unanimously to adopt changes to the Arlington County Code which went into effect immediately on Saturday. Previously, the Animals and Fowl ordinance did not specifically address dog tethering.
Under the new regulations, dog owners cannot leave their pet tethered unattended for more than three hours in a 24 hour time period. Dogs tied to running cables or trolley systems with access to water and shelter can be tethered for up to 12 hours in a 24 hour period. As previously reported, the rules only apply to dogs that are not within physical reach of their owners.
Regarding the running cables or trolley systems, the regulations state:
“A running cable line or trolley system is defined as one that is at least 20 feet in length and is mounted at least four (4) feet, but no more than seven (7) feet, above the ground. Under no circumstances shall a dog be attached to a running cable line or trolley system unless the tether attaching it to the running cable line or trolley system is at least ten (10) feet in length or three (3) times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, whichever is longer.”
The county staff report on the issue states that the regulations were suggested because tethering an animal for extended periods of time can put the animal’s life at risk.
“The Board’s action today is meant to protect dogs from abuse,” said Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. “Tethering can put dogs at risk if the tethered animal is unable to get to food, water or shelter. Dogs can also become aggressive if tethered too long. Animal control officers have long made it a practice to respond to reports of dogs being tethered for hours on end. The new rules help responsible dog owners by providing clarity on what’s acceptable and what isn’t.”
The ordinance amendment reads, in part:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to tether a dog to a chain, rope or line of any kind that is too short to enable the dog easily to stand, sit, lie down, turn about, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable, normal position for the animal, and reach shade as necessary… When the same dog is observed to be tethered in the same location that it was in after an initial observation of the dog in that location, then there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the dog has been continuously tethered in that location since the initial observation.”
The staff report indicates the Animal Welfare League of Arlington supports the new rules. Animal control officers have already responded to resident complaints of dogs being tethered for too long, according to the report.
Violations are considered a misdemeanor and come with a fine of up to $100. Residents who wish to report a violation of the dog tethering rules are asked to call the Animal Welfare League of Arlington at 703-931-9241.
Board Accepts Arlington Ridge Neighborhood Conservation Plan — At its meeting on Saturday (October 19), the County Board voted unanimously to accept the first revision in 40 years to the Arlington Ridge Neighborhood Conservation Plan. The plan outlines residents’ vision for the neighborhood and names improvements residents most desire. The plan includes more than 100 recommendations, including a neighborhood “zoning freeze” in light of the area’s 37.5 percent increase in population from 2000 to 2010. [Arlington County]
$1.5 Million Approved for Neighborhood Improvement Projects — The County Board approved $1.5 million in funding for three street improvement projects. In the Leeway neighborhood, along 24th St N from N. Illinois Street to N. Kensington Street, $781,082 was approved for sidewalk, curb, and gutter street improvements. Nearly $160,000 was approved for the installation of LED street lights in Columbia Forest, on S. Edison Street from George Mason Drive to 11th Street South. And more than $521,000 will go to improvements in the Williamsburg neighborhood, on N. Sycamore Street from 26th Street North to Williamsburg Blvd, for traffic lane reduction, bike lanes, ADA compliant ramps at intersections and landscaped medians. [Arlington County]
Survey Puts Metro Area on List of Best Apartment Kitchens — A survey by Apartment Guide magazine lists the D.C. metro region as number four on a list of rental properties with the best kitchen amenities. Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles were the top three. [Sun Gazette]
ARCA is proposing an update to its Neighborhood Conservation Plan, its first since 1973, which the Board could approve during Saturday’s meeting. The civic association said the zoning freeze request is being made in light of the 22202 zip code’s 37.5 percent population increase between 2000 and 2010.
In its request to the county, submitted this spring, ARCA asks the County Board “to ‘freeze’ zoning within and outside the ARCA area until the full impact of present development plans in areas adjacent to us can be fully assessed in order ultimately to conserve the peaceful single-family character of our neighborhood and protect our quality of life and the air we breathe.”
County staff recommends the neighborhood plan be accepted by the Board, but with notes from county staff essentially denying the proposed halt to zoning. Helen Duong, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, said there are no zoning freezes in place in Arlington, “nor have there ever been.”
“A neighborhood’s request for a zoning freeze is not a typical recommendation in Arlington County,” Duong told ARLnow.com. “More often we see communities asking that the County adhere to the General Land Use Plan and zoning plans and to not consider making changes without going through an inclusive neighborhood process.”
The neighborhood plan does not become codified upon its acceptance by the Board. Instead, the plan consists of recommendations which are then to be implemented by county staff, provided they are consistent with county policy.
There were several other recommendations in the plan that county staff expressed concern about, in terms of implementation, including:
- Expansion and improvements to the Aurora Hills Library and Community Center
- Proactive noise monitoring
- Undergrounding of utilities on Arlington Ridge Road
- Use of speed enforcement cameras
- Erection of sound barriers on I-395
The speed cameras would require authorization from the state legislature, and ARCA requests that the county lobby the legislature for that permission.
Other neighborhood priorities identified by ARCA include maintaining its nine public parks, improving sidewalks and streetlights, “proactively limiting and managing traffic,” and designating Aurora Hills Library and Community Center the neighborhood’s “cultural hub,” despite the fact that the facility is in adjacent Aurora Highlands.
The Arlington Ridge neighborhood is located just west of Pentagon City. Many in the neighborhood vehemently opposed the 2 million square foot PenPlace development in Pentagon City, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in September.