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Civil War at Army Navy Country Club Over Bike Path

by ARLnow.com July 13, 2010 at 7:42 am 2,407 31 Comments

A rebel faction of tradition-bound military officers has declared a legal war on the management of Army Navy Country Club for having the temerity to allow Arlington to build a bike path along the northeastern edge of the golf course.

A gang infestation, hoards of recreation-seeking youngsters and liability issues are a few of the undesirable consequences that the dissident club members fear. The officers, 14 in number, have enlisted a lawyer and are suing the club.

The Washington Post reports that the “grumpy generals,” as they’re called, are seeking a club-wide vote on the trail, which had initially been received with enthusiasm by local bicyclists and county transportation planners.

  • charlie

    it is a shame that Arlington took ANCC to the cleaners. Just because Zimmie never served his country he felt it was okay to call the ANCC and elite country club and take them to the cleaners.
    But the reality is that this bike connection is pretty silly as it connects nothing with nothing.

  • MB

    I think, perhaps, the unhappy members could use some improved strategic analysis skills. They’ve really misread this.

    And Charlie, please feel free to tell the neighborhoods around there (one of which is quite isolated from the rest of the county, being pretty much wrapped in 395 and the ANCC) that they’re “nothing.” I’m sure they’ll make space for you on the next civic association agenda.

    • charlie

      who is “wrapped by I-395?” Last I checked it was a linear highway. Arlington Ridge residents can’t get out? Curious what you are thinking.

      • MB

        I can lend you a map of Arlington, if you like.

        (For the rest of you, 395 borders the Arlington Ridge/Aurora Highlands/Crystal City neighborhoods on the north and west. DCA/Potomac River hems them in on the east, and the south is Alexandria/Four Mile Run. These neighborhoods have very few (and generally very poor) bike/pedestrian connections with the rest of Arlington. This connection along the edge of the ANCC will significantly improve bike/ped connectivity, when it’s eventually built.)

        • charlie

          @MB. I don’t think the people of Arlington Ridge would consider themselves hemmed in. They have the W&OD bike trail with access points at West Glebe, South Meade, South Lang, Arlington Ridge/Mt. Vernon Avenue, South Eads, and Jefferson Davis Hwy. Hardly “locked in”. They also have access to the Mount Vernon Trail via Route 1, the Reagan National Access Road, and South 16th Street. They can also “escape to the north, and better parts of Arlington” via South Eads, South Fren, pedestrian tunnel, South Joyce and the South Glebe. Gosh that sounds so confining. But I think it is great that you think they want to get “out” because most of them seem pretty happy. And I I bet they aren’t all that happy with the people of Columbia Pike and Zimmie land having more access to their ‘hood.

  • Kim

    Wow, ARLnow, hate the military much? Not cool.

    I live on the West side of the ANCC; while I wish there was a bike path as the ANCC blocks east-to-west movement for a wide swath, it is ANCCs’s property, not Arlington’s. Not to mention that this could be a reaction to the Board not informing or asking its citizens or the people concerned – we learned that with the Columbia Pike library situation.

    • MB

      Hate on the military? Because a story that makes 14 members of the ANCC look silly is linked to? Mmkay.

      The County’s interest in a connection through the ANCC has been a matter of public discussion and record for years. Perhaps even decades. There was public comment on the matter, discussion of the possibilities at multiple public venues. I’m sorry that you missed these opportunities, Kim, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist.

      I doubt this will have any impact on the easement grant. More threatened is the club’s internal domestic tranquility. And that’s not really our business.

      • charlie

        @MB: Funny, I looked at the 1987 Master Transportation Plan and it isn’t on there. I was very involved in the Transportation Commission of Arlington and for years it did nothing but regulate taxi cab fares. They wouldn’t know a bike route if it hit them in the head. I find these “stories” that it was always there to be great fascination.

        • MB

          I didn’t say “always there”, Charlie. I said “years”, and qualified my “decades” statement, as I’m working from my recollection of conversations (that occurred years ago, in fact).

          And I’m sure that the current Transportation Commission would be greatly amused to hear that they know nothing about bike facilities.

        • Thes

          Charlie, things have changed quite a bit since your involvement with the County Commission was discontinued. Here’s a link to the *current* Master Transportation Plan, which includes an entire section on Bicycles. As you can see from the map, there is a huge hole in the bike network where the ANCC is.


          • charlie

            ah yes the brilliant THES rears his ugly head to once again point out how smart he is and how dumb everyone else. Thank you. My work with the Transportation was not “discontinued” — what a pleasant choice of words. I actually moved and have come back to a very different County.

          • JoshS

            Charlie, paranoid much about being corrected by Thes?

          • Turkey

            I agree with Charlie, Marty and Kim: I wouldn’t exactly called them hemmed in and more importantly for this argument it’s the Country Club’s private property – not Arlington County property. To quote Marty, “The ANCC should change their new clubhouse plans and keep their property the way the members want it-private, not public…” Everyone else should either join the club as a member to have a vote or stay out of their internal planning and development – done in accordance with current law.

          • charlie

            JoshS — good question. no, i’m not threatened by him. people who deceive on purpose get their just rewards. I believe THES is also a user on WaPo called Thesmothete who is one of Zimmies hacks. That’s all. In real life he is just a dime-a-dozen government lawyer.

  • lily

    Arlington desperately needs another bike connection over 395. I really hope these retirees’ irrational fear of “gangs” on a bike path (???) doesn’t kill it.

    • charlie

      I bike, walk and drive thru ANCC several times a year. If you don’t look guilty or up to something bad they’ll let you thru. I’ve NEVER been stopped or questions. Oh, and that hills sucks on a bike.

      • Skeptical

        I’m glad you’ve had success with this, Charlie. It’s not an area of the county where I need to get around, but the whole dialogue brings up a memory — after 9-11, I spent time with friends who walked back from downtown because they were afraid to use any sort of transit. They were afoot for hours and rerouted again around the Pentagon, finally coming up at the far side of ANCC. And there were people there on the links who did not want to let these sunburned, harrowed, exhausted people cross through the club grounds and protested loudly when others offered to ferry them across to Glebe Road in golf carts.

        We’re hearing from some of those same people or their posse on this issue at the moment, I suspect. I advise them not to be too worried about gangs — just about that upstanding class of well-off Arlingtonians who don’t know what bike bells and leashes are for.

        • charlie

          I was stopped once in my car over the last 30 years. I told the person I was going to a dinner at the Club. I was allowed to pass. Most people are intimidated because it says Country Club. I’m dismayed by your story.
          This bike route isn’t “through” the country club, it is just alongside one portion. not sure how much that will help overall.
          I agree it is their private property but they needed something from the County. Start the horse trading.

  • G. Clifford Prout

    I say, no bike path then no new club house. That was the agreement. And don’t blame the Board for not informing the citizens. I got my notice of the hearing in the mail according to the rules.

    • Lou

      It’s not quite that binary. The club is being allowed to build a larger building than they would be able to by-right. For that added density, Arlington requested the bike easement. This is the classic Arlington tactic of “you can build something bigger, if….” The club has the option to build smaller, by-right, and tell the County to pound sand.

      • Eponymous Coward

        I think Lou has this right. The country club wanted certain exemptions from the local rules; the County named a price. It happens with every shopping mall and development ever built. The club willingly cut a deal which it thought was in members’ interests, but maybe they were wrong. Big deal.

        This incident probably didn’t even merit an article until they Post got someone on the record sounding crotchety and worrying about “gangs”, which frankly sounds like a proxy for someone else.

  • Marty

    The ANCC should change their new clubhouse plans and keep their property the way the members want it-private, not public. The members have the right to protest a public bicycle lane and the liability issues. I can see the headlines now about someone being hit by a random golf ball. I’ve been in the area for quite a while and have never heard or read discussions about public easements or right of way through ANCC. We should be glad we have some green space to offset the pollution of 395.


    Time to shut down the comments feature? Who cares what knuckleheads like Charlie think. Keep up the blog posts, if a bozo disagrees who cares. FREDTERP

    • Mike

      Look in the mirror Fred TWERP

    • charlie

      FRED: I didn’t say anything bad about the blog. keep your facts straight.

    • Small thought: you dont like the comments, dont read them (or is that too obvious). The advantage of Web 2.0 tech is that permits dialog and exchange. One of the really nice things in this context is that it gives those who govern a sense of the feeling of the citizens. It also gives the readers a chance to comment on and challenge the reporting of journalists – sometimes this makes the story better – sometimes it corrects a story. I will conclude with this thought from the Supreme Court: “The solution to offensive speech is not censorship — it is more speech.”

  • Wow! Given how much the pentagon uses the bike paths in the area – there are always gentlemen and officers jogging with packs along the GW trail and elsewhere – one would thing this would be welcomed. Bike Path Good.

  • Mike

    ANCC doesn’t want the rif-raf from Guadalajarlington to traipse through their property leaving such nicities as graffiti, beer cans, used condoms and assorted vandalism.

    But that is the price they have to pay in order to build a bigger clubhouse. I suggest they let the bike path go through but put up razor wire and 12 foot fencing to make the trail less inviting. That way people will want to get through it as fast as possible.

  • Katie

    Or use holograms of those creatures in I Am Legend.

  • John

    The country club should be taken under imminent domain and converted into a public park. I had 3 golf balls put through my windows when I lived over there. I saw lots of rich guys and few few dough boys on the course. Let’s take out the greens Abd grow some vegetables there.

  • MC

    Unfortunate this has gone nuclear. Looking at the map in the WP, seems this affects a very small, and edge, portion of the country club. I understand it is private land and that members pay to fund that, but feel it is unfortunate that a few of those members choose to demonize County residents and taxpayers. The County has sound justification for their request, and have made a tangible concession as compensation. I completely emphasize with the Country Club board, and hope people don’t assume that all Country Club members hate the County.

    What got me in the WP article was the plaintive lawyer’s statement about some kind of victimization of those country club members who oppose their own officials because some unspecified number of that group served in Iraq. Please, my wife is serving in Afghanistan right now, and find such reasoning manipulative and repulsive.


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