Like the jolly elf, Zimmerman quietly listened to the hopes and dreams (and gripes) of business owners throughout the year, then delivered a tidily wrapped present in the form of his speech at the county board’s New Year’s Day organizational meeting.
Zimmerman, who was officially elected chairman of the county board earlier in the meeting, told the assembled few (and those “watching over their toes” on the county’s TV channel) that “to realize our goals for the community, we need businesses to succeed.”
From controversies and lawsuits over the county’s sign ordinance to business openings and renovations delayed by tie-ups with the county’s permitting process, the past year has seen a steady procession of news that cast an unflattering light on the county as a place to do business. Numerous business owners who have spoken to ARLnow.com off the record have complained about what they see confusing, unnecessary and costly regulations and processes in Arlington.
The new board chairman, it seems, has gotten the message.
“From time to time it is good to re-examine how we do what we do,” Zimmerman said. “Local government has an important oversight role to play… but good regulation exists for a purpose, not as an end in itself.”
“The county should be seen as a facilitator, a partner with small business,” he added. “We do not intend to throw unnecessary obstacles in the path to success.”
Zimmerman said he will convene a “chairman’s roundtable” to find ways to “streamline processes,” to improve “quality of and access to information about [zoning] requirements” and to provide “friendly customer service to business owners.”
Of particular interest to Zimmerman is the oft-bemoaned sign ordinance, which the county is already in the process of rewriting.
“I think it is fair to say that among residents as well as business owners, there is a growing sense that our existing ordinance doesn’t quite achieve the result we want,” he said. “Many feel it is overly restrictive and unnecessarily hard to understand and comply with. There has to be a better way. In 2011, we’re going to find one.”
In addition to making it easier for businesses to locate and expand in Arlington, Zimmerman pledged to make it easier for homeowners to get the permits necessary to renovate their homes.
“I am convinced that we can do a better job by modifying practices in a way that will benefit the whole community,” he said.
The meeting was not a total business lovefest, however. There was also some hinting at possible new regulations or enforcement measures.
Zimmerman kicked off his speech by noting that the Earth “has experienced its eight warmest years on record” since he joined the board in 1998.
“There is now an international scientific consensus that this fact… is a manifestation of climate change induced by human activities, especially those related to the burning of fossil fuels,” Zimmerman said. The county is in the process of drawing up a “community energy plan” to address such issues.
Mary Hynes, who was elected vice chairman at Saturday’s meeting, discussed a new regulatory enforcement initiative for Clarendon bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Hynes said the county “has formed a partnership” with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agent assigned to Arlington, as well as the county fire marshal’s office, zoning office and the police department. The partnership will allow for “coordinated inspections” of Clarendon businesses with live entertainment and dance hall purposes, Hynes said.
Hynes did not note in her speech whether the effort is in response to any specific complaints about nightlife in the area.
Tour the secluded and quiet Bellevue Forest with its local parks, trails, forested areas and more in Neighborhood Spotlight.
In loving memory of William Dinwiddie Tucker, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 95.
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Meeting for lunch? Starting Monday, January 30 and running until Friday, February 3, Copperwood Tavern, The Pinemoor, and Brass Rabbit Pub will be offering buy one, get one free soups, salads, sandwiches, and…
St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.
Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
The truth, your first pregnancy and new mom months are full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and lots of questions! None of us really know the best way to do it – we just figure it out, together…