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Board Approves Ballston BID, Says No to More Taxis

Ballston will be getting a business improvement district, but Arlington will not be getting additional taxis. Those two decisions were reached unanimously by the county board at its Saturday meeting.

The board approved a supplemental commercial property tax in Ballston to pay for the formation of a Ballston Business Improvement District. It did so with the encouragement of many large property owners — like JBG, Shooshan Company and Ballston Common Mall owner Forest City — but over the objections of a few, like the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Nature Conservancy.

“A Business Improvement District for Ballston is the best vehicle for building on Ballston’s already considerable assets and positioning it for the future,” Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said in a statement. “With the success of our BIDs in Crystal City and Rosslyn, we know that this new BID will contribute greatly to the future success of Ballston.”

The Sun Gazette, TBD and Arlington County have more information on the BID’s passage.

In other action Saturday, the board rejected a request from two “green” taxi companies to expand their fleets.

County staff took a hard line on the issue, recommending that the board reject the request to add 75 taxis to Arlington’s current licensed fleet of 765 cabs. Cab drivers spoke passionately at the board meeting about their difficulty making ends in Arlington, arguing that allowing new cabs would impose an additional hardship.

EnviroCab, which currently operates 50 taxis in the county, and a would-be start-up called GoGreen Cab had hoped to win board approval for new environmentally-friendly taxis. In the end, county staff pointed out that Arlington has a taxi density that rivals New York City and Chicago when the county’s size and population is figured in.

The Washington Post, Sun Gazette and TBD all have more on the taxi decision.

Flickr pool photo (top) by Tim Kelley

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