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.
If passed, the motion would fund $781,082 for street improvements on 24th Street N. from Illinois Street to Kensington Street; $159,751 for new streetlights on S. Edison Street from George Mason Drive to 11th Street; and $521,409 for median and striping improvements on N. Sycamore Street from 26th Street to Williamsburg Blvd.
The three projects were recommended by the Neighborhood Conservation Action Committee. The money would come from the Neighborhood Conservation Program, an $11 million pot of money used for relatively small citizen-initiated projects. The three projects would be the third installment of the latest Neighborhood Conservation fund, approved by referendum last year. Four projects were funded last fall and five were funded this spring. If approved, the program would have $4,866,407 in funding left for future projects.
The projects were selected on a points-based system. They were the three highest-scoring projects out of the 25 proposals the NCAC reviews. County staff supported the NCAC’s recommendations in its report..
The item is on the Board’s consent agenda, which means unless a Board member or a citizen decides it warrants further analysis at the Board’s Tuesday meeting, it should pass without additional discussion on Saturday.
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
It’s the First Day of Spring — At 7:02 this morning, astronomical winter ended and spring officially began. Spring also means longer days. Currently, we’re gaining about two and a half minutes of daylight per day. [Capital Weather Gang]
EFC Has Fullest Metro Parking Lot — East Falls Church has the fullest parking lot in the Metro system, with a 120 percent usage rate. Demand for the lot is only expected to increase when the Silver Line opens. [Washington Examiner]
Playground Coming to Long Bridge Park — The Arlington County Board yesterday approved $186,000 in funding for a new playground at Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City. [Sun Gazette]
La Tagliatella to Open in Shirlington — La Tagliatella, which is starting to wrap up work on its new restaurant in Clarendon, will be opening a second Arlington restaurant in the former Extra Virgin space in Shirlington. La Tagliatella is a global, European-based Italian restaurant chain. The Arlington restaurants will be the company’s third and fourth locations in the U.S. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Board Approves Neighborhood Projects — As expected, the County Board yesterday approved $2.5 million in funding for five Neighborhood Conservation projects. The funds will come from bonds approved by Arlington voters. [Arlington County]
Out of the 27 projects considered by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee in December, five were recommended for funding.
- Park improvements at Tyrol Hill Park in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood. Improvements — pictured, left — include demolition of the old existing play area, construction of a new tot and school-age play area, accessibility improvements, new concrete walkways, new site furnishings and a new water fountain. ($670,000)
- Street improvements on N. Buchanan Street between 24th Road and 24th Street N., in the the Old Dominion neighborhood. The project proposes a 24-foot wide roadway, curb and gutter improvements, and a 5-foot wide sidewalk on either side of N. Buchanan Street. ($310,246)
- New streetlights on 9th Street, 7th Street and S. Highland Street in the Arlington Heights neighborhood. The project will install “Carlyle style” LED lights. ($477,339)
- Park improvements at Chestnut Hills Park in the Yorktown neighborhood. The project includes “frontage and beautification improvements,” as well as new benches, a new accessible pathway to a portable toilet, a new enclosure for the toilet and pedestrian safety improvements. ($708,776)
- New streetlights on N. Cleveland Street between 1st Road N. to Washington Blvd, in the Lyon Park neighborhood. The project will install “Carlyle style” LED lights. ($147,843)
This round of Neighborhood Conservation funding also includes $200,000 for “missing link” projects.
Funding for the projects will be provided through Neighborhood Conservation bonds. The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhood groups to apply to the county for public improvements requested by residents.
Neighborhood Projects Approved — The Arlington County Board unanimously approved $3.4 million in funding for six neighborhood improvement projects. “This is the third round in funding for key recommended Neighborhood Conservation projects from the 2010 voter-approved $9 million Community Conservation Bond,” the county noted in a press release. [Arlington County]
County Looking for Partner to Spruce Up Farmhouse — The Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for a charitable individual or organization interested in restoring the historic, county-owned Reevesland farmhouse and estate. The restoration is expected to cost upwards of $1 million. [Sun Gazette]
DESIGNArlington Awards Announced — Arlington County is recognizing outstanding architectural or landscape design through its second-annual DESIGNArlington awards. Among five recipients of the highest “Award of Excellence” this year, three are county-owned buildings and two are private residences. [Arlington County]
John Glenn, Astronaut and Arlingtonian — Astronaut (and U.S. Senator) John Glenn lived in Arlington for about five years around the time he was becoming a celebrity space pioneer. Glenn lived in a single-story home near Williamsburg Junior High School (now Williamsburg Middle School) between 1958 and 1963. [Arlington Public Library]
The Arlington County Board will consider approving $3.4 million worth of Neighborhood Conservation Program projects at its meeting on Saturday.
In December, the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee considered 33 different requests and recommended six for the current round of NC funding. Among the recommended projects:
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs and bike lanes on Patrick Henry Drive from 16th Street N. to Washington Boulevard in Westover Village ($531,829)
- Park improvements to the playground at Glencarlyn Park in Arlington Forest ($485,000)
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs and bike lanes on N. Sycamore Street from 26th Street N. to Williamsburg Boulevard in Williamsburg ($679,101)
- Beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, corner nubs, landscaping and possible bio-retention features on 23rd Street S. from S. Culpeper Street to S. Columbus Street in Claremont ($495,671)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and streetlights on 20th Street N. from N. Kenmore Street to N. Monroe Street in Cherrydale ($562,481)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and streetlights on S. Fern Street from 22nd Street S. to 19th Street S. in Aurora Highlands ($683,673)
Funding for the projects will be provided through Neighborhood Conservation bonds. The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhoods to, essentially, compete with one another to receive funding for public improvements requested by residents.
The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee is recommending that the County Board approve five new street improvement projects when it meets this weekend.
The total cost of the projects — which are expected to improve the appearance and safety of the streetscape — is estimated at $2.8 million. Of the five projects, all but one are in North Arlington.
The Neighborhood Conservation program allows neighborhoods to compete with one another to receive funding for public improvements requested by residents. The five projects expected to receive funding over the weekend include:
- Beautification plus pedestrian safety improvements with raised medians on Yorktown Blvd between Little Falls Road and 30th Street N., near Yorktown High School. ($202,599)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and street lighting in Glencarlyn, on 4th Street S. between Lexington and Kensington Streets and on Lexington Street between 3rd and 4th Streets. ($653,033)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and street lighting in Ashton Heights, on N. Piedmont Street from 5th to 6th Streets. ($519,345)
- Beautification plus pedestrian safety improvements with curb and median extensions in Tara Leeway Heights, on N. Patrick Henry Drive from 18th to 20th Streets. ($717,897)
- Street improvements including sidewalk, curb, and gutter in Leeway, on N. Illinois Street from 22nd Street to Lee Highway. ($716,692)
The last round of Neighborhood Conservation projects included street, park and sign improvements in six different neighborhoods. This time around, the committee passed over proposed park projects in Penrose, Arlington Forest and Boulevard Manor; pedestrian safety projects in Westover Village, Waverly Hills and Claremont; and street improvement projects in Williamsburg and Maywood.
The funds are intended to pay for basic street and park improvement projects, which are proposed by neighborhood groups. This year, most of the money is coming from a $9 million Neighborhood Conservation bond, approved by Arlington voters in November.
In December, the county’s Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) recommended seven projects for the first round of funding under the new bond, out of 33 proposals. The recommended neighborhood projects are listed below.
- Rock Spring — $12,500 — Neighborhood sign design, fabrication, installation
- Rock Spring — $732,245 — Beautification, pedestrian safety and street lighting improvements on Williamsburg Blvd from George Mason Drive to N. Kensington Street
- Arlington Heights — $381,478 — Beautification, pedestrian safety and street lighting plus sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on Arlington Blvd from S. Fillmore Street to S. Irving Street (Phase 2)
- Douglas Park – $495,000 — Park improvements, lighting and trail upgrades to Doctor’s Run Park
- Ballston/Virginia Square — $719,956 — Sidewalk, curb, gutter, beautification and pedestrian safety improvements on Kirkwood Road from Lee Highway to 14th Street N.
- Dominion Hills — $269,678 — Beautification, pedestrian safety, sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on Patrick Henry rive from 9th Street N. to Wilson Blvd (Phase 3)
- Columbia Heights – $391,703 — Sidewalk, curb, gutter and street lighting improvements on 11th Street S. from S. Edgewood Street to S. Cleveland Street
There are two rounds of Neighborhood Conservation funding each year. In October, the NCAC and the county board agreed to spend $3.87 million on ten separate projects throughout the county.