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Illegal Parking Expansion by Gib Leonard/Vespa car dealers…
  • AgentArlington March 23, 2012 - 1:28 pm #47677 Reply

    The car dealer on N. 10th street between Irving and Ivy streets has expanded his parking lot into Ashton Heights without county approval and in spite of community opposition. They have illegally paved over the 25 foot landscaped buffer between the neighborhood and home immediately next door and made the transitional area between commercial to residential areas an eyesore. The new illegal pavement covers an area of roughly 7500 square feet or about the size of one block of houses on one side of the street. Put another way, they added 30- 50 new parking spaces to the commercial lot at the expense of our neighborhood and the homes immediately next door.  

     

    The Arlington Zoning office has been out to inspect the site several times before and after the green space was illegally paved over and fenced in. They told the property owner he could not proceed with his plans before the work was started but they went ahead and paved and fenced in the formerly landscaped area anyway in complete defiance of county agencies and community opposition.

     

    The Zoning office has said “we are in the process of issuing a violation notice to the property owner at 3210 10th Street N. The notice is currently being reviewed and approved by the Zoning Administrator.  At that point the property owner will have 10 days to restore the fence to its original location and replace the landscaping strip.  If he fails to do so by the deadline on the violation notice, our office starts issuing fines.  The initial fine is $200 with an additional $200 levied every 10 days until the violation is remedied.”

     

    In spite of the Zoning office's comments, there seems to be a problem serving the violation notice. The Constituent Services Manager said “A Notice of Violation is being prepared to be served tomorrow (as soon as the owner's email address is forwarded to this office.)”
     

    Will the Zoning office's action to be adequate to get the landscaped area restored to original or better condition?

     

    I can hardly believe all it takes to stop zoning enforcement is lack of an e-mail address? Really? Also, the $200 fine seems woefully impotent when the expense of creating the violation is taken into account. I think we need a stronger enforcment mechanism county wide for these type of issues.

     

    It might help if members of the community called and expressed their outrage over the illegal parking lot expansion and loss of green space.

     

    Other reasons for concern regarding this property owner include increased noise and traffic caused as the dealer uses Irving Street to load and unload vehicles from tractor trailers at all hours, open air auto paint spraying and the resulting harmful fumes blowing over the neighborhood, employees riding scooters and driving vehicles recklessly through the neighborhood, trash and debris throughout the lot including the violated area, and lies/misrepresentations made by people claiming to be the owner who told neighbors the work had full county approval and could not be stopped when that is obviously not accurate.

     

    It's clear these business owners are NOT responsible members of our community. In fact they are threatening the area, our property values, and reducing the quality of life in our neighborhood through their actions. They MUST be stopped!

     

    The property owner of 3210 N. 10th Street is listed to be O'NEILL HILDEGARDE S TR at 905 N JACKSON ST ARLINGTON VA 22201. The lot seems to be jointly managed by a Vespa Dealer and Gib Leonard's auto sales/rentals. 

     

    What else can we do to insure our neighborhood buffer area restored and turn the illegal pavement back into green space in a timely and expeditious manner?

      

    Here are some resources I have found to contact and express concerns include:

    Arlington County Board TEL 703-228-3130 FAX 703-228-7430 E-Mail: countyboard@ arlingtonva.us

     

    Jay Fissette is the local county board member and can be reached at JFisette@arlingtonva.us and tel 703-228-3882

     

    Arlington County Zoning office  703-228-3883

     

    Officer St. John of APD works with zoning disputes and can be reached at 703 228-3300 ex 9130. He seems to be in position to pass on concerns as well

     

    Gib Leonard's used car sales at 703-243-7700

     

    Vespa of Arlington 703-243-8377

     

    Anyone else have any thoughts regarding how to fight to restore our greenspace and buffer? Maybe an Occupy the Strip protest or picketing in front of the businesses? I don't know but I would sure welcome some additional thoughts and ideas. We could also use some volunteers who can spend a few moments of their time to help drum up support, make calls, and share their concerns directly with the owners and operators of the site to help turn this situation around.

     

    The longer the site stays paved, the harder it will be to reverse the situation. Please ACT NOW!

    AgentArlington March 23, 2012 - 2:20 pm #47678 Reply

    Here is the latest update hot of the e-mail from the county. Sounds like the Violation Notice went out but that is far from any guarantee the parking lot expansion will be reversed.

    ********************************************************

    Attached is the notice of violation that has been sent out this morning.  It has been sent via regular and certified mail to both the property owner, Ms. Hildegarde O'Neill, and the tenant, Mr. Gib Leonard.  The compliance deadline is April 5, 2012.  If no action is taken to remedy the violations cited in the notice by this date, our office can proceed with fining the property owner.

     

    Regarding reports of additional violations at the property, I have forwarded these to code enforcement.  Each will be dealt with individually within the appropriate regulatory framework.   If you have any problems with the attached notice, please let me know.

    Cliff Hogan

     

    Clifton Hogan, AICP

    Assistant to the Zoning Administrator

    Arlington County Government  | DCPHD, Zoning Administration

    Ph. 703.228.4821

    chogan@arlingtonva.us

    redstang423 March 23, 2012 - 2:23 pm #47679 Reply

    I agree $200 every 10 days is pretty much next to nothing. To the owner, he probably figures it's basically as if he's “renting” it for $600/mo – way cheaper than it would cost to expand otherwise. There will probably have to be a more serious ruling if he's really to be stopped.

    Arlingtoon March 23, 2012 - 2:59 pm #47680 Reply

    Looks to me as though the owner, Ms. O'Neill, is a neighbor of yours — 905 North Jackson St. is just around the corner (or through the alley that connects Ivy and Jackson Streets).

    Swag March 23, 2012 - 3:07 pm #47681 Reply

    redstang423 said:

    I agree $200 every 10 days is pretty much next to nothing. To the owner, he probably figures it's basically as if he's “renting” it for $600/mo – way cheaper than it would cost to expand otherwise. There will probably have to be a more serious ruling if he's really to be stopped.

    Oh noes, not a whole $20 a day!

    Simply the cost of doing business.

    AgentArlington March 23, 2012 - 3:57 pm #47682 Reply

    Swag said:

    redstang423 said:

    I agree $200 every 10 days is pretty much next to nothing. To the owner, he probably figures it’s basically as if he’s “renting” it for $600/mo – way cheaper than it would cost to expand otherwise. There will probably have to be a more serious ruling if he’s really to be stopped.

    Oh noes, not a whole $20 a day!

    Simply the cost of doing business.

    I got the impression from the way the name shows on the tax rolls that the property is in some kind of trust but I have sent them a communication regarding this matter.

    AgentArlington March 23, 2012 - 3:59 pm #47683 Reply

    Arlingtoon said:

    Looks to me as though the owner, Ms. O’Neill, is a neighbor of yours — 905 North Jackson St. is just around the corner (or through the alley that connects Ivy and Jackson Streets).

    You are correct! I got the impression from the way the name shows on the tax rolls that the property is in some kind of trust but I have sent them a communication regarding this matter.

    John Fontain March 23, 2012 - 5:32 pm #47684 Reply

    The property currently used by “Gib Leonard” for rental trucks and rental cars is actually more than one parcel with two separate owners.  The parcel facing 10th street is owned by the trust you mentioned in your first post.  However, based on Arlington's OnPoint Map Viewer, it appears that the property that was cleared is actually owned by the same guy who owns Arlington Auto Care (it's listed as being owned by “EDMONDS MOTORS INC C/O J ALBERT EDMONDS JR”, which is addressed at Arlington Auto Care).

     

    You can also thank Arlington Auto Care if you've ever been towed from Pio Pio, they own that property and are responsible for the fabulous condition of that property and its beautiful landscaping.

    Village Genius March 23, 2012 - 9:07 pm #47685 Reply

    Good Grief.   The so-called “landscape” buffer was nothing more than an overgrown lot of weeds.  I always wondered why the neighbors allowed that awful trash-filled lot to continue.   Now, there is a NICE fence and it looks so much better.  Apparently the immediate neighbor prefers the trash and weeds.

    lizcommands March 23, 2012 - 10:09 pm #47686 Reply

    Village genius obviously owns or works for the car place.  The landscape was rose bushes that have been there and bloomed every year.  The lawn was kept cut.  The fence might look nice from your side, but walking up to the corner all I see are posts.  Shame on you for destroying greenery and putting in pavement.  This is a residential neighborhood that you are ruining. 

    AgentArlington March 24, 2012 - 1:02 am #47687 Reply

    Village Genius said:

    Good Grief.   The so-called “landscape” buffer was nothing more than an overgrown lot of weeds.  I always wondered why the neighbors allowed that awful trash-filled lot to continue.   Now, there is a NICE fence and it looks so much better.  Apparently the immediate neighbor prefers the trash and weeds.

        

    AgentArlington March 24, 2012 - 1:06 am #47688 Reply

    AgentArlington said:

    Village Genius said:

    Good Grief.   The so-called “landscape” buffer was nothing more than an overgrown lot of weeds.  I always wondered why the neighbors allowed that awful trash-filled lot to continue.   Now, there is a NICE fence and it looks so much better.  Apparently the immediate neighbor prefers the trash and weeds.

     

          And then someone who knows what thay are talking about said

    I think Village Genius must be a plant! I'm just not sure what kind but I feel pretty certain he must be inedible and have poor taste. Possibly due to lack of opportunities afforded employees of the Gib/Vespa lot.

         The owner of the Gib/Vespa lot was the one responsible for maintenance and up keep of the lot the Genius referred to. It's expected of every property owner to properly maintain their lot and keep it in compliance with local laws and customs. Every Genius knows that! In this case that means a 25 foot wide landscaped buffer zone between the business and the residential areas.

        First thing I gotta say about the new fence - I never saw a fence with the finished side facing inside like this one. I will give Genius credit for being first to debut this new Spring fashion but I am not as impressed as the Genius to say the least. I actually think the Village Genius or whoever installed the fence did a really unprofessional looking job. I bet you won't find that guy on Angie's list!

         The formerly 8-10 foot tall fence was replaced with one that is, to be politicly correct, err...should I say...how do you say it? Challenged in stature? For the Village Genius, that means it's too short. It's so short that it cannot begin to block the view of the car lot or keep back automotive paint spray, noise, visual pollution, and all the other strange auto chemical smells that emanate from this particular lot like the old 8-10 foot tall fence did. The new fence is not even as tall as an average pickup truck! How is it supposed to block the view of a significantly taller, 25ft long Budget Rental truck?

        The old fence was tall enough to shield the views for all the neighbors living in the 900 block of Irving and 3100 block of 9th road from the unsightly car lot with greater of lesser effect related to proximity. The same goes for most of the 900 block of Ivy St.

         What was the name of that Genius that designed and built the new fence again? I would sure like to know so I can warn my friends and neighbors run and check out the Gib/Vespa fence before they buy. He built something that must surely make his Mom proud even if the rest of us just can't understand.

        Next we need to talk about the outdoor paint spraying. Yes, I am talking about the guy I ran into Wednesday night spray painting a car for the dealer outside in the open air working on top of the old buffer zone next to Ivy St. So I am walking down the sidewalk from 10th St and first I heard a generator running and an air compressor going. Then I smelled something odd and then I noticed a cloud in the air. Then, just beyond a black car on the lot I saw this guy painting a car and there was auto spray paint bouncing off the car into the air flying half a block in all directions. Then I noticed a sticky chemical taste in my mouth and then my skin started to feel tacky and I realized I was catching spray paint while walking on the sidewalk! BTW - you need toothpaste and soap to get rid of the stickyness that covers you after a walk by the outdoor spray booth when it's in operation. Surely that MUST be illegal? Does anyone know what kind of chemical exposure we are getting from that stuff?

         In spite of the Village Genius' opinion about the site, that buffer zone truely did offer tremendous benefits to ALL of the immediate neighbors and in fact the entire neighborhood. Thank goodness the law and the county are working on the side of the neighborhood in this but we must stay vigilant. We've got to stay after the owner of this car lot and get our buffer zone restored to the same as it was on 1/1/12 or better because every day we allow the pavement to stay will make it more difficult to get it to go away. It's not over until the lot is completely restored.  

        

    AgentArlington March 24, 2012 - 1:28 am #47689 Reply

    John Fontain said:

    The property currently used by “Gib Leonard” for rental trucks and rental cars is actually more than one parcel with two separate owners.  The parcel facing 10th street is owned by the trust you mentioned in your first post.  However, based on Arlington's OnPoint Map Viewer, it appears that the property that was cleared is actually owned by the same guy who owns Arlington Auto Care (it's listed as being owned by “EDMONDS MOTORS INC C/O J ALBERT EDMONDS JR”, which is addressed at Arlington Auto Care).

     

    You can also thank Arlington Auto Care if you've ever been towed from Pio Pio, they own that property and are responsible for the fabulous condition of that property and its beautiful landscaping.

    John,

    Thanks for looking up records and especially the warning about towing! Wouldn't you just love to be able to slap a boot on one of those rogue towing company vehicles? I know I would sometimes!

    Having lived with Edmonds/Dick Blanken Ford/National Car Sales, and now the Gib/Vespa regimes occupying that site over the years, I am sorry to say Edmonds actually seemed to maintain the area better than the current unsavory lot. If there's an Edmonds involved, it must be a different one than the one we had pre Dick Blanken but I feel pretty confident we have all the right offending owners involved in this debacle feeling the heat.

    The “good” folks at Gib/Vespa have not been very honest to date but so far they have not tried to deny their role. In fact they have flaunted it from the very beginning. Plus, I have a pretty fair degree of confidence the Arlington County Zoning office found the correct ID's of everyone involved even if some may be currently MIA and supposedly unavailable to get the restoration started.

           

    Village Genius March 24, 2012 - 11:59 am #47690 Reply

    Good Grief, Again!   Just because I do not share some poster's hysterics does not mean I am part of the Vespa dealership.  Seriously, people can, and do, have different opinions.

     

    I went by again and looked at the new fence.  Not a big deal.   And, unfortunately, it is not uncommon in Arlington for people to have the nice side of the fence face in, not out. 

     

    Where does this “right” to a 25-foot barrier exist?  Most of the commercial establishments that line 10th Street have no 25-foot barrier, so it appears not to be a zoning ordinance.  I am open to hear reasonable explanations, but many of the postings above are based on drama, without any substantive explanation of this alleged harm to mankind.

     

    Here's an idea:  if you do not like living near a commercial strip, then do not buy or rent near a commercial strip. 

     

    Please also note that these comments address the issue of the overgrown weedy lot versus a new fenced gravel parking lot.  What the business does at its establish happens regardless of the new fence.

    AgentArlington March 24, 2012 - 1:28 pm #47691 Reply

    Village Genius said:

    Good Grief, Again!   Just because I do not share some poster's hysterics does not mean I am part of the Vespa dealership.  Seriously, people can, and do, have different opinions.

     

    I went by again and looked at the new fence.  Not a big deal.   And, unfortunately, it is not uncommon in Arlington for people to have the nice side of the fence face in, not out. 

     

    Where does this “right” to a 25-foot barrier exist?  Most of the commercial establishments that line 10th Street have no 25-foot barrier, so it appears not to be a zoning ordinance.  I am open to hear reasonable explanations, but many of the postings above are based on drama, without any substantive explanation of this alleged harm to mankind.

     

    Here's an idea:  if you do not like living near a commercial strip, then do not buy or rent near a commercial strip. 

     

    Please also note that these comments address the issue of the overgrown weedy lot versus a new fenced gravel parking lot.  What the business does at its establish happens regardless of the new fence.

     

                   I see the Genius is back and still not up to speed! Me thinks if Genius wants to comment then Genius should at least take the time to know what he speaks of. Me thinks Genius is an obvious plant or not a member of our neghborhood. BUT this is a free country so I suppose we have to listen to the Genius or we can choose to ignore his posts.

                   The homes were there long before the car dealers and commercial area ever existed. The adjacent neighbors have owned their homes since long before Gib Leonard and Vespa ever came on the scene per the county tax records. The Genius should look it up!

                  Our community has worked long and hard to maintain the residential nature of our neighborhood against the encroachment of the commercial district and I am sure that will not stop because owners of the car lot think we should.

                   When the property owner (Genius you think?) purchased the property they received and had access to all the documents and county zoning ordinances for their site. One of those zoning restrictions includes the requirement for the 25 foot wide buffer zone. County codes also require the owner (or maybe Genius) to be responsible for keeping the buffer zone maintained. That includes mowing, landscaping, replacing plants and trees as needed, and keeping the  8-10 foot privacy fence in good repair. ALL property owners are expected to maintain their county required landscaping. Doesn't EVERY GENIUS know that? Unfortunately the current owners or Geniuses NEVER or VERY RARELY maintained the site at all. The fence was broken for over a year this time around and they have NEVER mowed the site since they bought it. If Genius would like to challenge me on this matter I will provide the specific codes for him to read about the requirements but I think if Genius is so smart he already knows and would prefer to claim ignorance.

                 The Buffer strip is NOT a right. That is what makes it so precious and why it's so important the community stay involved and fight to insure the green space gets restored. Who is to say the County might not allow it to go away some day if they think it no longer serves a purpose or they don't know why it's important to us to maintain the character of our neighborhood? Our community values are enshrined in that code and we need to keep it that way.

                Wouldn't we all prefer a nice landscaped and well maintained transitional area between our neighborhood and the commercial district? Or would we all prefer to lose it and invite the commercial area that much closer where it reduces the value of our homes and the quality of our neighborhood?

               The buffer zone was required by the county specifically to prevent the area from looking like those other car dealers Genius referenced. The community fought long and hard for that buffer zone when the car dealership was first proposed many years and several previous car lot owners/tenants ago. Just take a look at the last house in the 900 block of Ivy St and you can see why the buffer is so important to our community. The community lost that one but that is no reason this buffer zone should be given up. The violations must be corrected and the area restored.

             Gib/Vespa Sales lied and all the plants died. The buffer zone MUST be restored and we must maintain pressure on them to do it.

            I bet if you are reading this (and not a plant or the Genius) you have a cell phone nearby and 5 minutes right now to call or e-mail. Weekends can actually be best because you can leave a quick voicemail with you thoughts and contact info      

           Call the Zoning office and express your concerns at 703-228-3883/703-228-4821

           Call the County Board at 703-228-3130 E-Mail: countyboard@ arlingtonva.us

           Call our County Board Member Jay Fissette at 703-228-3882 JFisette@arlingtonva.us

           Call the Office of the County Manager at (703) 228-3120

           Or call Gib himself to express your concerns - Gib Leonard's used car sales 703-243-7700

     

           STOP THE ILLEGAL PARKING LOT EXPANSION NOW!!

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