The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
by Chelsea Pennington, Writer and Animal Enthusiast
As the days get longer, we’re not the only ones who want to get out and have fun — our dogs want to come too!
Luckily, the Arlington and D.C. areas are full of parks, restaurants and businesses that love your dog almost as much as you do. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular so you’ll have plenty of adventures to choose from this spring.
Tucked away into a wooded area in Arlington, Glencarlyn Park offers access to nature for dogs and owners alike.
Dogs are free to go off leash, although it’s not fenced in so make sure your pup is well-trained. The area includes access to a small creek shallow enough for even small dogs to splash in without worry. The surrounding trees also provide shade for owners while their dogs play, as well as some paved trails you and your pup can spend time drying off on before heading back to the car.
A hidden gem right outside of D.C., Theodore Roosevelt Island provides amazing views of the surrounding areas as well as a network of trails criss-crossing the island.
Try the Woods trail that leads to the Memorial Plaza, featuring a statue of the island’s namesake, or the Upland trail that covers the length of the island and connects to many of the other trails if you feel like extending your walk.
Perhaps best of all is that both access to the island and parking are free. The parking lot is relatively small, however, so be sure to go at off hours or arrive early to get a spot.
If you need a fenced-in area for your dog to enjoy, check out Shirlington Dog Park. (more…)
This may not come as any great surprise, given how the last week’s gone, but you’ll need to pack your umbrellas this weekend.
The whole D.C. region is set for a flood watch through Saturday morning. Sadly, we may not even get any relief from all this rain until the middle of next week.
But if you’re looking for an (indoor) activity this weekend, check out our event calendar.
Or you can always stick around inside and read up on ARLnow’s top articles of the last week.
- Ballston Quarter Unveils 12 New Restaurants, Including the Return of Chick-Fil-A
- Mall Without Power After Outage Hits Pentagon City
- Bishop Considering Redevelopment for St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
- Rosslyn’s Bistro 360 Closing By End of May
- Indivisible Apologizes Over Forum That Devolved into Chaos as Activists Demand Answers
Head down to the comments to discuss these stories, how you plan to stay dry this weekend or anything else local.
Each Friday, Tim’s Arlington Directory sets the table with deals and events for the weekend ahead in Arlington.
Highlights for the upcoming weekend include:
Friday: Fridays at the Fountain in Crystal City.
Scroll through the entire list here:
Follow Tim’s Arlington Directory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & his newsletter for new deals and events, posted regularly throughout the week (typically 10-20 new deals & events are added daily)!
Interested in special promotion as the Deal or Event of the Week? Have a deal or event tip? Comments? Suggestions? Email Tim at [email protected]!
Taste of Arlington will result in significant road closures in the Ballston area this weekend.
The closures will begin on Saturday at 12 p.m. through Sunday at 10 p.m. to accommodate the annual event, which runs from 12-6 p.m. Sunday. Organizers are encouraging attendees to take the Metro or other forms of transit, rather than driving.
Here are the specific roads that will close for the event, according to Arlington County Police:
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed between N. Randolph Street and N. Lincoln Street, all North/South cross streets will be blocked.
- The 7-11 Store at 3510 Wilson Boulevard will be open and accessible by motorists using the eastern parking lot entrance.
- N. Quincy Street will be closed with modified traffic between N. 5th Road and N. 9th Street.
All traffic trying to cross Wilson Boulevard on Pollard, Piedmont, Oakland, Nelson and Monroe Streets will be turned around.
- N. Randolph Street will be open between the Ballston Parking Garage/Loading Dock to N. 9th Street, the area garages will not be closed.
- Other area roadway restrictions may be in place to minimize traffic impacts in the event and area neighborhoods.
- Motorists are encouraged to use Fairfax Drive as an alternate East/West route.
The Girls on the Run 5K, held in conjunction with Taste of Arlington, will be happening Sunday morning. Here are the specific times some roads will be closed in Ballston, per ACPD:
- Fairfax Drive, from N. Taylor Street to Kirkwood Road. Both directions will be closed from 8:15 AM until 10:15 AM.
- Fairfax Drive, from Kirkwood Road to Wilson Boulevard/N. 10th Street, eastbound lanes only, from 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM.
- Traffic lanes will be closed, from N. 10th Street to N. Irving Street, then east on N. 7th Street to Washington Boulevard. Roads will be closed from 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM, but parking will not be affected.
- Washington Boulevard, from N. 7th Street to N. 10th Street, will be closed to eastbound traffic. Motorists from Washington Boulevard will be diverted to N. 10th Street east toward Rt. 50. from 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM.
- 10th Street, from Washington Boulevard to N. Irving Street, will be closed to eastbound traffic from 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM.
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed in both directions at 10th West bound traffic will be diverted onto Fairfax Drive, while east bound traffic will be turned south prior to Jackson Street, where drivers can access Pershing Drive and maneuver around the race course.
- Wilson Blvd. will be closed from 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM.
- Ballston Metro Buses will be delayed for 15 minutes at the start of the race and ALL buses will be re-routed via N. Quincy Street to exit the area and continue their assigned routes.
- Motorists are reminded that other roads in the Ballston area will be closed further west of the race course for the Taste of Arlington event. Pershing Drive, Glebe Road, and Lee Highway are recommended as alternate routes to reach points west and north of Ballston.
For both events, ACPD notes there will limited parking in the area and motorists should look out for “No Parking” signs. Those who violate the signs run the risk of getting ticketed or towed.
Photo courtesy of ACPD
State transportation officials want to hear from you about how to best improve the I-395 interchange at exit 6 near Shirlington.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the midst of studying safety and operational improvements to the area, known as Shirlington Circle, and they’re convening a public meeting on the project this Monday (May 21). The gathering is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street), and VDOT staff plan to give a presentation on potential improvement options at 7 p.m.
VDOT is also eyeing changes to several other roadways in the area, including:
- The ramp from S. Glebe Road (Route 120) to southbound I-395
- The intersection of S. Shirlington Road and S.Arlington Mill Drive
- The intersection of Gunston Road and Martha Custis Drive
VDOT is examining ways to “reduce congestion, crashes, and boost the interchange’s overall performance,” according to a press release.
The agency plans to wrap up the public comment period for the Shirlington improvements on May 31, then study a few alternatives in more detail starting this summer. VDOT plans to issue a report on a “preferred alternative” by this fall.
Anyone looking to comment on the project can do so at the meeting, send comments by e-mail, or even mail them to Olivia Daniszewski, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, by May 31.
Arlington Public Schools is set to add seats for 850 high schoolers by 2021, but the key question for school leaders now is how, exactly, that construction might proceed.
The School Board is gearing up to award a $2.4 million contract for design work at the “Education Center” site adjacent to Washington-Lee High School (1426 N. Quincy Street), where the school system has planned to add space for up to 600 high school students three years from now. Rather than building a fourth comprehensive high school, the Board agreed last summer on a plan to split new seats between the Education Center and the Arlington Career Center just off Columbia Pike (816 S. Walter Reed Drive).
But the Board is also weighing a plan to use the Education Center site for elementary school use instead, while accelerating the construction of new high school seats at the Career Center. Another option would leave high schoolers at the Education Center, but still accelerate the Career Center seats.
Both plans would let APS build additional amenities at the Career Center site, a notable change as parents in the area raise concerns that students there wouldn’t have the same opportunities — a full complement of athletic fields, for instance — as other high schoolers under APS’s current plans.
“We feel like we’re being told we’re asking for too much by simply asking for equality,” Kristi Sawert, president of the Arlington Heights Civic Association, told ARLnow.
Superintendent Patrick Murphy is proposing a 10-year construction plan that broadly follows the outline of the deal the Board hammered out last summer — he’s suggesting that APS add space for 600 high school students at the Education Center site and 250 at the Career Center by 2021, then tack on 800 more seats at the Career Center in 2026.
That construction would also involve the addition of a multi-use gym and “black box” performing arts theater at the Career Center, with plans to build a new elementary school all the way out in 2029.
Yet, at a May 15 work session, county staff presented the Board with two alternatives.
One calls for moving the 800-seat expansion at the Career Center up to 2024, while simultaneously constructing an addition for performing arts programs. Then, a few years later, APS would add a synthetic athletic field on top of an underground parking garage at the site.
That option would reduce the school system’s reliance on trailers at the high school level a bit sooner, but force APS to delay plans to add more middle and elementary school seats, APS planner Robert Ruiz told the Board.
The other option APS staff developed calls for moving the Montessori program at Patrick Henry Elementary School to the Education Center instead, then sending 500 high schoolers to Henry by 2021.
By 2024, APS would add 800 seats at the Career Center, which would help replace the Henry seats. That option would also guarantee a full range of amenities at the Career Center by 2026, including two synthetic fields, an underground parking garage, a performing arts addition, a gym and a black box theater. Murphy’s current plan only calls for the gym and theater to be built.
However, it would also be about $10 million more expensive than Murphy’s plan, an unpleasant prospect for Board members after APS narrowly avoided class size increases in its last budget.
Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.
2611 N. Powhatan Street
5 bed/4 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Henry Hyde
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
15 N. Jackson Street
6 bed/5 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Aaron Seekford
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.
2343 S. Meade Street
6 bed/6 bath single-family home
Agent: Virginia Smith
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
530 24th Street S.
3 bed/2 bath single-family home
Agent: John Schmidt
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m
1401 N. Rhodes Street
2 bed/1 bath, 1 half bath condo
Agent: Maria Princi
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.
2121 S. Pollard Street
3 bed/2 bath single-family home
Agent: Jesse Oakley
Open: Saturday 12-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m.
2651 S. Walter Reed Drive
2 bed/1 bath condo
Agent: Bradley Wisley
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.
New Brewery Profile: Rocket Frog Brewing Company
Location: 22560 Glenn Dr., Suite #103, Sterling, VA
Opened: May 5, 2018
Twin brothers David and Richard Hartogs partnered with David’s wife, Jennifer Showell-Hartogs to open the uniquely named Rocket Frog Brewing Company. They brought in their TV producer brother, Peter Hartogs, as an investor and Ph.D. in biochemistry, Russell Carpenter, as head brewer.
The Arlington-natives, David and Richard, have worked in and around beer for years between The Better Beer Authority beer review video series on YouTube and a craft beer meet up group called Beer Head on meetup.com. Now, they get to make the beers that they want to drink.
They’ve built a tap room for today’s beer drinkers with charging stations for phones and other devices, coat hooks galore and plenty of gathering space for hanging and trying their line up of beers. They’re hoping they can find their niche in the beer-rich LoCo.
I reached out to co-owner Richard Hartogs with some questions to figure out just what a “rocket frog” is and where they’re planning to go with the brewery.
What Is a “Rocket Frog”?
“September 6, 2013, a frog was propelled in the air by the Minotaur V rocket on Wallops Island, VA as the boosters blasted the rocket to space. The frog basically photo bombed a NASA photograph and it gained media attention. I thought Rocket Frog was a funny name and suggested it to David. He said yes. It turns out the rocket was made by Orbital ATK, a mile from the brewery.” (more…)
If large new developments are going to put a strain on Arlington’s schools or eat up more of the county’s green space, why doesn’t the county require developers to chip in some cash to offset those impacts?
It’s a question on the minds of many Arlingtonians, particularly as the county grapples with budget cuts and increasingly overcrowded classrooms. “Peter’s Take” columnist Peter Rousselot even addressed the issue in his May 3 opinion piece, urging county leaders to require that any developer looking to add density to a property through a zoning change first send Arlington money (or even land) for schools and parks.
But county attorney Steve MacIsaac says Arlington isn’t likely to adopt Rousselot’s recommendations any time soon. He believes there’s a lot of nuance that often gets missed in discussions of the issue, starting with the fact that Arlington generally secures money from developers for things like nearby transportation improvements during any negotiation over new construction.
“Think about widened sidewalks and streetscapes you see, new Metro station entrances, things of that nature,” MacIsaac told ARLnow. “The goal of Arlington has been to try to make great places, and that will cause businesses to want to locate here, and then they generate a large amount of tax revenues to offset the cost of other services it has to provide. So if we flipped things around, the county would have to pay more for creating the great place… Things developers pay for now, wouldn’t be paid for, and the county would have to pick up those costs.”
MacIsaac notes that state law limits local governments from exchanging cash or donated land for schools, roads or parks for zoning changes, a process commonly referred to as the “proffer system.” In fact, many other localities across Northern Virginia have chafed at the current state framework for proffers, after a 2016 change to state law set new strictures on what local governments can ask developers to pay for.
MacIsaac points out that Arlington has largely been immune from those headaches, as the law still allows local officials to extract various concessions from developers — from public art contributions to affordable housing commitments to transportation improvements — if they build through the site plan process. (The 2016 changes exempted projects in certain areas, including those around Metro stations.)
Yet MacIsaac believes the proffer law does illustrate the way state lawmakers in Richmond view this issue, and why the county remains broadly limited in how it dictates terms to developers.
“The General Assembly is very stingy in giving us authority to deal with these kinds of things,” MacIsaac said. “New development imposes costs on localities, and the General Assembly believes localities should pay for those costs with the tax revenues they raise from that development.”
Rousselot writes in his column that no state laws or county ordinances “expressly prohibit Arlington County from requesting a reasonable cash or in-kind contribution from a developer as a condition to address these kinds of schools and parks impacts,” and MacIsaac concedes that this point is largely accurate.
Yet he believes moving to such an approach would not only deprive the county of the contributions it currently wins from developers — MacIsaac points out that builders typically pay for everything from transit improvements to public art — but would also fail to make the sort of impact Rousselot and others envision.
(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Activists and lawmakers have been demanding to know who called police on protesters at a legislative town hall that descended into chaos last weekend, and now there is at least a partial answer.
ARLnow.com has learned that Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49), the target of the pro-immigrant organizers’ ire, requested a police presence prior to the event.
Lopez and several other state lawmakers were attending a forum hosted by Indivisible Arlington at Central Library last Saturday (May 12), when activists with the group LaColectiVA used the gathering as a chance to press Lopez on his past consulting work for a contractor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Though the activists asked some heated questions of Lopez, the event remained on track until Arlington County police officers made their presence known, setting off a shouting match. Attendees accused Lopez of asking for officers to intervene in the event, given LaColectiVA’s previous protests of Lopez’s connections with the Immigration Centers of America, which runs an ICE detention center in Central Virginia.
Now, the police who manage protection for state lawmakers — the Virginia Division of Capitol Police — tell ARLnow that Lopez’s office contacted them days in advance of the May 12 meeting to make sure police were on site.
“When a member of the General Assembly raises an issue of possible security concerns in their district, we can and do reach out to the local authorities on their behalf,” Joe Macenka, spokesman for the Capitol Police, wrote in an email. “In this case, Del. Lopez’s office did that. It is up to local law enforcement to respond accordingly.”
Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed that her department heard from the Capitol Police on May 10, two days before the forum was planned, and she said “extra checks were requested for the event.” Savage says library security then called police, though they’d previously been made aware of the forum at Lopez’s request.
Lopez has yet to address the weekend’s events publicly, and an aide to the delegate has not responded to requests for comment.
Flood Watch Continues Today — The National Weather Service has continued the Flood Watch until Saturday morning. Today’s weather is expected to be cool temperatures and near constant drizzle with bouts of heavy rain. [WTOP, National Weather Service, Capital Weather Gang]
Soggy Bike to Work Day — Despite the rain, today’s Bike to Work Day is proceeding as planned, with multiple stops throughout Arlington. Attendance is down but as a result those who are braving the elements have shorter lines and more opportunities for grabbing free food, t-shirts and other swag. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
March of Dimes Moving to Crystal City — “The March of Dimes has reached a deal to shift its headquarters from New York to Arlington County, where it plans to move to new space in Crystal City come January 2019…. [The nonprofit] has signed a lease with JBG Smith Properties for about 28,000 square feet at 1550 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]
Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani
Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”
Is the heavy rain this week responsible for dampening Arlington’s real estate market?
Why else were sellers hesitant to put their homes on the market, and buyers seemed to take a siesta? Only 106 new listings hit the market this week, and buyers ratified only 64 contracts. That’s way off the pace of the last several weeks. Of those sold homes, nearly half sold within seven days.
Interest rates got a jolt on Tuesday reaching the highest levels in seven years. The 30-yr fixed rate is now ranging 4.75% to 4.85% with no points. It won’t be long before rates break the 5% barrier. Rising rates erode buyers purchasing power and forces them to look at homes priced lower.
Agents and lenders are reporting that homes, townhomes and condos priced below $800,000 are frequently receiving multiple offers. How do you win in the bidding wars?
Numerous variables are involved that all contribute to delivering the most attractive offer. But it starts with finding an experienced agent with a winning track record in the bidding wars. While sellers like to select the offer with the highest price, they often choose an offer based on other factors like the closing date, or free rent back, or fewest contingencies.
If you are a buyer just getting started, and know you’ll be buying below $800,000 you should talk to several agents and find one with the experience and skills to get you into the winner’s circle.
Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.
- 2101 N. TAFT ST #120, ARLINGTON, VA 22201 — $325,000
- 2570A S. ARLINGTON MILL DR #1, ARLINGTON, VA 22206 — $519,000
- 408 S. CLEVELAND ST, ARLINGTON, VA 22204 — $649,000
- 1200 N. HARTFORD ST #201, ARLINGTON, VA 22201 — $795,000
- 1035 N. MCKINLEY RD, ARLINGTON, VA 22205 — $799,000
- 629 N. ABINGDON ST, ARLINGTON, VA 22203 — $799,000
- 4620 19TH RD N., ARLINGTON, VA 22207 — $909,000
- 250 N. BARTON ST, ARLINGTON, VA 22201 — $1,100,000
(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next week, and several state legislators and Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol are expected to be in attendance.
On Wednesday, Joe’s Place will offer its pizza, pasta and salad buffet bar at the original price of $3.99 for both lunch and dinner.
The restaurant, at 5555 Lee Highway, is the final remaining branch of a family-run chain that began in Woodbridge in 1978, a rep noted. It was founded by Joe Farruggio, who came to the U.S. from his hometown of Agrigento, Sicily. It is now managed by Joe’s nephew, Rosario Farruggio, and hosts numerous community events and fundraisers for local schools, sports teams and nonprofits each month.
A private event will also be held at the restaurant next week and is expected to feature a brief program during which a Congressional proclamation from Rep. Don Beyer’s office will be presented to the office.
“We have so much to be grateful for, especially all of our longtime staff and loyal customers,” the restaurant’s staff wrote. “Thank you!”
Some new banners proclaiming Columbia Pike as “Arlington’s Oldest and Newest Main Street” could soon pop up along the roadway, with a series of other new pennants close behind.
The nonprofit Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization is looking for the County Board’s permission to start putting up 48 banners along the road over the next few years, as it runs from S. Jefferson Street and S. Orme Street between the area just outside Bailey’s Crossroads and Pentagon City.
The 24-inch-wide, 48-inch-tall banners would be vertically mounted on street light poles along Columbia Pike, in order to “assist in identification and branding of the Columbia Pike corridor,” according to a county staff report.
CPRO is particularly interested in outlining “a Main Street vision” for the area, staff wrote, so the first banners would be placed at five intersections along the road as part of a branding effort along those lines.
In the coming years, CPRO also hopes to post pennants to identify the boundaries of various neighborhoods in the area, like Arlington Mill and Columbia Forest.
CPRO also envisions using the banners to advertise events like movie nights or farmers markets. The organization — which is largely county funded — will pay for the new banners, with a projected cost of $11,280 in all.
The County Board is set to vote Saturday (May 19) on whether to move forward with this project. If approved, the Planning Commission would hold a public hearing on the topic on June 4 and the Board would hold its own on June 16.
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards. Banner rendering via Arlington County.
The Arlington County Board has announced a series of Big Idea roundtables which are supposed to spark conversations “beyond a specific project or proposal to big-picture conversations about our County’s future.” Even more specifically, the conversation is supposed to center on the question “How should Arlington grow?”
The first big idea could be that county leaders start talking less and doing more. Every new County Board Chair talks about community engagement. Often, it is in response to pushback the Board receives from the community on unpopular decisions. But honestly, would more talking have substantively changed any of the outcomes?
Certainly, these discussions will produce some interesting dialogue. But to keep up in an increasingly fast-paced world with broadband Internet and nearing 5G wireless systems, the discussion should point the Board toward action and results.
So what is the big idea? Make Arlington one of the best places in America to do business.
Arlington has one big advantage over many communities. The federal government provides an underlying economic base that is unlikely to go away any time soon. It is not just the federal employees, but the trade associations, lobbyists, lawyers and tourists who bring money from all over the U.S. to Arlington.
Our county also boasts an airport, a highly educated workforce and a good school system. Yet, our commercial vacancy rate remains high.
Businesses do take community factors like schools and location advantages into consideration, but they are ultimately driven by the bottom line. Arlington has been offering incentive packages to big employers, but considering the overall tax treatment and regulatory environment would matter more to the economy as a whole.
The Board can create an action plan that ensures our zoning ordinance and permitting processes results in more efficient interactions with county staff and makes it a priority to ensure costs associated with housing construction are more affordable.
The Board should develop a transportation plan that doesn’t increase traffic congestion. If your plan creates more idling, longer commutes and increases in traffic cutting through neighborhoods, you are not making things better, just creating a different set of problems.
The next capital plan should pay for more projects as we go and reduce our ratio of debt service to spending. Just because we can borrow up to 10 percent to keep the highest bond rating does not mean that we should. If we are growing, we should leave ourselves maximum flexibility to address future needs.
Creating the most favorable business environment possible would provide more jobs at higher wages. And it would ensure we are even less dependent on the federal government for our economy.