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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com February 18, 2011 at 8:01 am 1,767 36 Comments

Zimmerman Responds to HOT Lanes Criticism — County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman is responding to attacks by Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity and the Washington Post’s editorial board regarding Arlington’s lawsuit against HOT lanes on I-395. Zimmerman accuses Herrity and the Post of “distort[ing] both the reasons for the county’s litigation in the high-occupancy-toll (HOT) lanes case and its effects.” [Washington Post]

Bishop O’Connell Fight Continues — A group of residents is appealing the Arlington County zoning office’s decision to allow Bishop O’Connell High School to build a new athletic field. Separately, the county board will hear testimony next month about whether the school should be allowed to install stadium lighting around the new field. [TBD]

Artisphere Name Contest Coming to a Close — The deadline for suggesting names for Artisphere’s new restaurant is noon today. Have an idea? Use this form to submit it.

Surfing Legend Comes to Clarendon — Surfing legend turned author and inspirational speaker Shaun Tomson will be making an appearance at the South Moon Under store (2700 Clarendon Blvd) in Clarendon tonight. The South African will be introducing his new children’s storybook iPhone app and signing his best-selling book Surfer’s Code — 12 Lesson for Riding Through Life, starting at 6:00 p.m.

Photo courtesy Jack Garratt

  • Tom

    Good letter Chris.

  • Lou

    Bad lawsuit, Chris.

    • Jeff Miller


  • Lacy Forest

    The lawsuit was a good idea. There was no reason for a blanket exemption from the impact assessments. Except to shovel VA tax dollars into the pockets of the HOT operators.

  • Westover

    Shaun Tomson was a Surf God when I was a kid riding the ankle surf at Bethany Beach. I’ll see you all at South Moon Under!

  • Burger

    So let me get this straight. the Nimby’s near O’Connell are currently appealing just letting O’Connell renovate their field and not the lights (which is later). This is why they’ll lose. You can’t just say “no” everytime someone wants to do something because eventually, people ignore you as being inflexible.

    • NArl

      I agree, if you say no every time to someone who wants to update something then you look like an as*. I think having a good private school in the county is a great idea, it makes the public schools work harder to be as good as the private school.

    • Westover

      That neighborhood is so quite already, I suppose the commotion is all about making commotion to end the boredom. Opposition to the lights is already ridiculous, opposition to the mere upgrading of the fields is preposterous!

      • david

        I agree with you on the fields but the upgrading of the lights should be looked at closely. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t do it but there should at least be some consideration given to the neighbors and their concerns.

        • CW

          Definitely agree. If you look at the proposal, there is a lot of consideration for the local neighborhood. There are limits on the hours which the lights can be on, the lights will not be on unless there is a competition occurring, the track is going to be open to the public, etc.

          Not sure what all the commotion is about. The proposal looks pretty sound to me. (Someone below mentioned the brightness of the lights themselves; I can’t comment on that, because I didn’t see those details. Obviously you don’t want light pollution/spillover, but I’m under the impression the lights were designed to prevent that.)

    • local

      Sure you can say no. So what if you’re “inflexible?”

      • Burger

        As, I said. Eventually, no pays attention to you. much like people laugh at yours and mehoo’s economic arguments.

        • local

          That’s too bad. My comment was dead serious. Flexibility isn’t a requirement for anything. If you feel strongly about something, you aren’t obligated to compromise.

          In any event, not listening goes both ways. How many politicians get in hot water for “not listening” to the people?

        • Overgrown Bush

          The boy who cried wolf.

          • local

            Except nobody’s crying wolf here.

    • Arl Resident

      O’Connell is trying to install NCAA-standard field lights which are 40-67% brighter than the lights on our County high school fields (which meet high school lighting standards). O’Connell’s own data show light spill on neighboring homes that is up to 10 times the County’s maximum standard for light spill from street lights. O’Connell’s property is too small and sits too close to neighboring homes to install these field lights.

      • Burger

        Try reading comprehension.

        I am not talking about the lights in this instance but the neighbor’s attempt at fighting the mere upgrades to the field. Or do you contend that O’Connell can’t upgrade their field, like installing field turf?

        The protest about the lights is ridiculous in its own right but this protest/appeal is akin to the acts of a 4 year old that can’t get his way.

        • Lou

          Have to admit, I don’t know all the details, but since they had to go to zoning to get their proposal approved, it probably means they (DJO) are asking for something more than “allowed”, lets say. And I’m talking strictly about the field construction, not even the lights. I don’t know if it’s just zoning, or some other school-specific neighborhood agreement. Once you open that door, citizens are free to rush in and claim “you told us this, now you want that”. Without commenting on the merits, since I do not live near there, the process is something we should all be happy for.

          • Calm


        • Lester

          My understanding is that it is a procedural complaint. They aren’t supposed to do a building project of that magnitude without posting notices to neighbors before the zoning hearing, and it was not done. The original application was supposedly only for artificial turf, not a major renovation and change in usage from high school to college use.

          • Lou

            If it’s a posting issue, that is 100% yes or no. Either the County told the applicant they need to post notice of the request for site plan amendment, or they did not. So that’s good. That’s easy to answer and nobody can argue about it.

            Unless of course the neighbors are challenging the zoning dept, who may have waived the requirement for the applicant to post (and they are authorized to make that judgement), and the neighbors “think” they should be required to. That’s bad. Nobody ever is satisfied with the outcome.

      • Burger

        have you even been there.

        There are three houses. That’s it. All the rest of the houses are seperated from the field by 250-300 yards.

        And, of course, the lights are going to be brighter. There might be just a slight difference requirement between a street light and light to light a field.

        As people have mentioned in the previous post – Yorktown and WL seemed to have figured it out with out any complaints and the WL lights are much closer to more homes.

        This is pure nimbyism and people burying their head in the sand ignoring the fact development is going on in the county and they live 4 miles from washington, dc and less than 2 from Ballston. This isn’t texas where land is cheap.

        • local

          “slight difference”

          “without any complaints”

          You need to back these up.


          So if someone wanted to build anything – absolutely anything that’s legal to build – in your backyard, you wouldn’t complain? If you do, you’re a NIMBY too. So let’s just stick to the facts and not go around slinging that around to the point of exhaustion. Use it too much and people might stop listening to you, and that would be bad.

          You’re being so, what’s the word? Inflexible.

          • Burger

            It isn’t in their backyard but on O’Connell’s property.

            I get to drive by everyday the clown that put the 15 x 15 solar panels in his yard essentially killing his grass. I don’t like it but I don’t complain.

            Further, as people have noted the school has been there much longer than the complainers have lived there.

            so what is your point beyond even addressing my use of adjatives?

          • local

            If it’s not in their backyard, how can it be nimby? Make up your mind.

          • Loving Mom

            It is NIMBYism. That much is clear. Stop nit picking.
            That neighborhood needs to start worrying about the Metro construction coming and should stop blaming O’Connell for their frustrations in trying to control commuters cutting through their neighborhood.

  • OX4

    I sure am getting tired of all these politicians carping about the HOT lane lawsuit in the papers. Can we move on now, folks?

  • Overgrown Bush

    Interesting. The gas tax has been frozen since 1986 so VDOT doesn’t have the revenue to widen I66? It would seem the number of people, vehicles, and miles driven has increased significantly since 1986. Wouldn’t this result in a substantial increase in revenue from the gas tax? The Post article quote seems to imply otherwise, and uses it as the reason I66 has not been widened. I don’t buy it as the only reason.

    • local

      The gas tax isn’t all that funds roads. It’s something like half.

    • Burger

      As usually Zimmerman is full of crap. 66 W is getting expanded but only in a piecemeal fashion. they are extending the on-ramp and off ramp lanes from spout run out to Sycamore. It is happening right now as we speak. He is like the Iraqi minister telling everyone that there are no Americans in Baghdad on this one.

      • local

        What exactly did he say that isn’t accurate? Perhaps you’re referring to the term “actual widening”? Yes, any reasonable person would say what’s happening now isn’t an “actual widening” i.e. adding an entire lane like the original proposal.

        • Burger

          because it is being widened. only a dolt would argue otherwise.

          • local

            No, it’s perfectly reasonable to say it’s not an “actual widening” project, and I’m sure I could find someone who supports widening who would agree with that, and saying “only a dolt would argue otherwise” is an immature non-argument.

          • Westover

            It’s a band-aid, and even the band-aid was opposed by Zimmerman.

  • Yeah!

    Let’s go DJO!!!

  • Bender

    If Arlington government is going to force me to live with a big new 150-unit building next door to me, then the folks of North Arlington can live with kids having their football field upgraded, with lights.


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