Arlington Family Returns to Boston Marathon — The Walls family of Arlington will be returning to Boston this week to finish the marathon they didn’t get to complete last year because of the April 15 bombings. John Walls was in the grandstands on Boylston Street, waiting for wife Cindy and daughter Katie to cross the finish line, when the first bomb exploded across the street. John captured video of the ensuing chaos on his smartphone. Cindy and Katie were among the thousands of runners who did not get a chance to finish the race. They’re running again this year. [WTOP]
Dozens of Arlingtonians to Compete in Marathon — A record 112 runners from Arlington are signed up to run the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21. The race is the world’s oldest annual marathon and widely considered the world’s most prestigious. [InsideNoVa]
HOT Lanes Proposed for 14th Street Bridge — The District of Columbia is considering a proposal to install High Occupancy Toll lanes on the 14th Street Bridge, the Southeast/Southwest Freeway, and I-295. Arlington County successfully blocked a HOT lanes proposal on the Alexandria and Arlington portion of I-395. [NBC Washington]
Kenmore Teacher Named ‘Teacher of the Year’ — Kenmore Middle School technology teacher Cassidy Nolen has been named Arlington’s 2014 teacher of the year. Glebe Elementary School principal Jamie Borg, meanwhile, was named principal of the year. [InsideNoVa]
‘Business of Weddings’ Forum at GMU — Weddings are big business, and a free forum tomorrow at George Mason University’s Arlington campus (3351 Fairfax Drive) will explore the economic impact of getting hitched. Attendees are asked to RSVP for the event, which is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday. [Eventbrite]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Two passengers of a Red Top taxi cab were injured in a three-vehicle collision today.
The crash happened around noon in the southbound lanes of George Mason Drive, in front of the Army National Guard Readiness Center. Initial reports suggest an Arlington County work truck and the Red Top Cab sedan were stopped in the right-hand lane when the cab was rear-ended by an Advanced Towing truck. The cab was sandwiched between the other two vehicles, causing front- and rear-end damage.
An Arlington couple in their 60s were in the backseat of the cab at the time of the crash, according to Tanvir Ahmed, their son. Ahmed said his mother, who was returning home from cancer treatment at Virginia Hospital Center, suffered a head injury and was bleeding when she was taken via ambulance back to the hospital. His father suffered minor injuries, he said.
All three drivers remained on scene following the wreck. Only minor damage was visible on the rear bumper of the county truck. The tow truck had moderate front-end damage.
So far, there’s no official word from police regarding the cause of the crash. No other injuries were reported.
(Updated at 5:05 p.m. on 11/12/13) Nearly 10 months ago, workers excavated land at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive to make way for a new subdivision called Lacey Lane. Shortly after the land was readied, however, the project stalled out and currently appears to be little more than a vacant lot.
In February, brothers Taylor and Milton Chamberlin of The Barrett Companies said they expected work to begin on the first model home at the site in March, with work on the second beginning shortly thereafter. They anticipated the two models would take about seven months each to build and would be ready by autumn. So far, no housing construction is visible at the site.
The land is divided into nine properties. Each plot will have a house with a base price of $1.4 million.
Calls and emails to Milton Chamberlin over the past few weeks were not returned. But Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) explained where things stand from the county’s point of view.
According to CPHD, there has not been any trouble with The Barrett Companies, the delay revolves around fulfilling safety regulations in order to get a building permit. County staff found outstanding “life safety regulations” that the developer needs to fulfill before a building permit can be granted. Once the developer makes some clarifications and revisions to the permit documents, the permit can be approved.
“To say it plainly, life safety is really about making sure the buildings are safe for people to occupy,” said CPHD spokeswoman Helen Duong. “For this project, the outstanding items on this permit have more to do with the documentation of the design than concerns about the adequacy of the design itself.”
Basically, it appears the designer believed certain safety features were implied in the building plans, but they need to be explicitly included. Revisions must continue until county staff can see all the necessary safety features drawn in.
According to the CPHD permit records, The Barrett Companies first applied for a Lacey Lane building permit in January, but the plans were sent back for revision in February. This process was repeated a few times in the following months, and CPHD’s Inspection Services last rejected a version of the plan in April. No further revisions have been submitted since then.
Permit applications stay active for six months but expire if no action has been taken after that time. The current permit application for Lacey Lane has an expiration date of March 15, 2014. That date can move back another six months, however, if further actions occur, such as submitting another round of revisions.
Once CPHD Inspection Services staff approves the plan’s revisions, the developer must also get the permit approved by the Department of Environmental Services. We’re told that process typically takes place in just a few minutes.
Two cars collided in front of Virginia Hospital Center this morning, and two people involved in the crash were taken inside with injuries.
Just before 11:30 a.m., the two black sedans crashed at the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and 17th Street. According to police on the scene, a black Lincoln collided with a Mitsubishi Lancer as it was trying to turn left out of the hospital.
The Lincoln’s driver was uninjured, while the driver of the Mitsubishi and a passenger in the Lancer were suffering from non-life-threatening injuries.
One lane of northbound George Mason Drive was closed while police investigated the accident and waited for the tow trucks to remove the cars.
The southbound lanes of S. George Mason Drive between Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run Drive are closed due to a downed tree.
The closure is expected to be lifted by 4:30 p.m. as crews work to remove the tree.
The northbound lanes of George Mason Drive are still open, according to police.
The developer behind the upcoming Lacey Lane subdivision in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood is giving peek at what the new area will look like once it’s developed.
The Barrett Companies, which is a business run by the Chamberlin family since the 1980s, bought the vacant property on the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive and had it excavated last month. The Chamberlins had been working to acquire the land for about a decade.
According to brothers Taylor and Milton Chamberlin, the goal for the Georgian style homes is for them to be an alternative to “McMansions.”
“We really take our time to design the homes to fit in the neighborhood. We’re not builders that come in and put this huge McMansion in a small neighborhood where it doesn’t fit. That’s not what we do,” said Taylor. “All of this is really thought through and it’s really livable, usable space. It’s not those McMansions where you walk in and wonder, ‘What do you do in this room?’”
The base model runs around $1.4 million and features four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, with the possibility of another bedroom and bathroom on an additional level. Costs will vary based on the different lot sizes and individual add-ons the purchasers want in their homes.
“We’re pretty enthusiastic about what we’re giving back to the community and what we’re providing for people who want to live there,” Taylor said. “They’re neat homes, they’re going to be well built.”
Another goal is to foster a 1950s sense of community among the owners of the nine properties, in which everybody knows and interacts with their neighbors. The homes will only be accessible via a private road and there will be a small fence around the subdivision.
“There’s a sense of community where people can interact a little bit more, but not lose their privacy,” said Milton.
The homes feature outdoor living area options — such as screened in “sleeping porches” off the second floor bedrooms or fireplaces exposed to the outdoors — which are supposed to add to the sense of community.
“While one neighbor is out grilling, you can see a couple of other neighbors hanging out on their patios,” Milton said. “You can sit and hang out and watch the kids in the backyard. It’s a very functional space.”
The brothers noted The Barrett Companies’ effort toward green building and energy efficiency. From better insulation and caulking to installing appropriate outlets in the detached garages for plugging in an electric car, the Chamberlins believe small touches make their properties stand out.
“It’s the little things that are very time consuming that a lot of builders wouldn’t want to do,” Taylor said. “All those little things add up. It makes it so much more efficient.”
A few neighbors had voiced concerns about last month’s removal of around 150 trees on the property to make way for the subdivision. But Taylor said the trees that were removed weren’t of high quality; many of them will be replaced with new trees that are native to Virginia.
“The trees that were on this site were very low quality trees per Arlington County’s grading scale. A lot had just grown wild over the years,” said Taylor. “In the process of coming back in here, we’re putting in a lot of newer, higher quality trees to grow up around the homes. I do understand the concern of neighbors around it. They’re going to see that it will be beautiful and lush and green again.”
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) An excavating crew has begun clearing land in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood where a new subdivision will be built. The space at the northeast corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive is private property and was one of the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in the county.
The Department of Environmental Services recently reviewed and approved dividing the property into nine residential lots. This was done as a matter of right, which means the County Board does not have to give approval if the applicant meets all requirements.
During the preliminary review and approval of the subdivision proposal, the applicant, Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C., had to send notification to all adjacent property owners as well as those across the street. The president of the neighborhood’s civic association also had to be notified, along with the neighborhood conservation representative. The notification was to inform neighbors of a possible new development in their area, and to give them a chance to speak with county staff about the proposal.
The developer had to submit design plans for the site to ensure all the development’s infrastructure would be adequately designed and built. As with any public infrastructure to be built and be turned over to the county for operation and maintenance, this one had to be guaranteed by a public improvement performance bond and agreement. The applicant also had to meet requirements in the Zoning Ordinance regarding landscaping regulations and tree removal.
Arlington County Urban Forester Vincent Verweij says the developer was sent a letter suggesting preservation for many of the 150 trees on the land. However, Verweij noted it was only a suggestion because private land owners can cut down whichever trees they choose on their own property once receiving the initial land disturbance permit for the site. He believes the excavators left about five trees on the property.
Verweij believes the remaining trees are too exposed and may be unstable in storms or on windy days.
“I fear they may fall into houses now, because a forest is much stronger than individual trees,” said Verweij. “Most of the support and strength comes from being rooted outward and that’s going to be cut significantly by these houses.”
Under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, the developer must preserve, or in this case re-plant, 20 percent of the trees that stood on the site. The county will not award certificates of occupancy for the homes until those standards are met.
Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C. recently applied for a construction permit for one of the homes, which will be built at 1312 N. Evergreen Street. That permit could be approved in about 30 days. The developer will have to apply for individual permits for every additional home and each will have to be reviewed by the county. Currently, there is no estimate on when the subdivision will be completed; it will depend on the developer’s timing for submitting the additional eight permits and beginning construction those houses.
The outage has been reported in the Westover and Bluemont neighborhoods, as well as in the area around Virginia Hospital Center. Traffic lights are out along parts of George Mason Drive and Washington Blvd, according to several Twitter users. The outage was first reported just before 12:30 p.m.
Dominion is telling customers the outage is the result of “a circuit breaker issue,” according to a tipster.
According to Dominion’s outage map, 4,070 customers have lost power in Arlington. The power is expected to be restored some time between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.
No injuries were reported as a result of the two-vehicle accident, but a light pole was knocked down and fell into the roadway.
Police are on the scene. One northbound lane of George Mason Drive may be squeezing by the accident scene, according to a witness. It’s not clear how long it may take for crews to clean up the downed pole.
Photo courtesy David Hartogs
Although still structurally sound, the 51-year-old bridge is apparently the most deteriorated of the 25 throughout the county. The new bridge will be improved structurally, and widened to increase safety, particularly for bikers and pedestrians.
Currently, the entire bridge is 65 feet wide. The bridge widening proposal suggests increasing that to 69 feet. Under the plan, the existing sidewalk, which is five feet wide, would become eight feet wide, and a five foot bike lane would be added. The four lanes of vehicle traffic would remain, but there would no longer be a center median.
Ritch Viola, a transportation planning supervisor with Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, said the bridge replacement is part of a larger overall project to change the nature of Carlin Springs Road. Over the next few years, there will be a series of improvements stretching to Glebe Road. The addition of elements such as curb extensions and wider sidewalks is aimed at improving safety on the road.
“We’re trying to manage some of the speed that’s out there now, as well as provide facilities for bikes and pedestrians,” Viola said.
Although the county will deal with the architectural logistics of replacing the bridge, residents are asked to give feedback on the aesthetic aspects. The online survey for the designs is available through July 11. Once suggestions are sifted through and a final proposal is devised, the county needs to get approval from VDOT, which is funding the project.
There will be a public meeting about the concept sketches next Tuesday, June 26, which will include presentations and an opportunity for public comments. It will be held in room 104 of the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive), at 7:00 p.m.
County staff expect construction on the project to begin late this year or early next year. Efforts will be made to maintain access across the bridge during construction, which is expected to last about a year.