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Neighbors Decry Tree Removal in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com July 11, 2011 at 4:00 pm 7,401 199 Comments

What was once a row of three bungalow houses amid a dense jumble of trees is now an empty dirt lot, and some neighbors are not very happy about it.

The lot, at the corner of N. Danville Street and 11th Street N., will eventually be transformed into a collection of four million-dollar luxury homes, featuring gourmet kitchens, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and spa-style baths with Italian marble, according to a brochure.

In the meantime, however, one neighbor has publicly voiced his or her opinion on the denuding of the lot with a handwritten sign that reads “Just what we need: less trees and more McMansions. Thanks!”

Another anonymous resident emailed ARLnow.com to vent his or her frustration.

“They leveled the entire property and it… is so sad — many of those trees have been on that site for longer than any of our families lived in Arlington,” the tipster said.

The houses are being built by McLean-based BeaconCrest Homes.

  • Jacob

    I don’t see this guy knocking down his own house and planting trees in its place.

    • nhalli

      My son and I lived in the corner house for three years. It was an affordable rental for a widow with a pre-teen. All three houses were Sears homes that had been built as extra housing for Ft. Myer before WWI, and the gentleman who owned them lived just up the street. When I moved in 1994, he was not a young man and I doubt that he would have sold these properties, ass he always had a great affinity and affection for maintaining the properties as much as possible, in their original state. In looking at the pictures, it is obvious that they have been neglected and with the development in the area it was ultimately inevitable that these, too, would go.

      • KalashniKEV

        Sears homes were the original cheap construction. A kit home in a box. Did you really think it would last forever? You don’t have to “neglect” a cheap structure for it to fall apart in 100 years.

        • Westover

          Sears homes were inexpensive, not cheap. The mass production/distribution allowed quality materials at an affordable price. Those house were made to last.

          • KalashniKEV

            100 years?

          • CW

            There’s a Sears cottage up off of Pershing that was on the market a couple months ago for about $550k. It had been all redone inside and kept up well outside and, while it was small at about 1000 square feet, certainly seemed to have a lot of character.

            That said, these three appeared to be truly neglected and possibly occupied by hoarders. There was trash stacked to the ceiling for a couple months and they had dumpsters they were filling with the stuff for quite a while before the demolition permits went up.

          • darrel

            yes… actually, Sears-Roebuck homes command a premium these days, especially in the dc area. They are becoming rarer and rarer and are of quality construction. Of course, if you don’t maintain something, it will eventually fall apart per the law of entropy.

  • SomeGuy

    The angry neighbor should have written “…fewer trees…” for grammatical correctness.

    • Tabby


    • Mike


  • SeanO

    That’s Awesome! Imagine what it’s gonna be like for the folks who buy those houses when they get hate mail for living in the neighborhood.
    In my opinion, anonymous complaints delivered in this fashion hold no water. what a coward!
    If you can’t stand up for your beliefs for everyone to see, then shut the h*ll up…

    • Undereducated

      From my experience, that is The Arlington Way. I could paper my kitchen with all the anonymous letters and notes I’ve received over the last 20 years.

      • Smilla

        Dude, if you’re getting *that* many anonymous notes, I don’t think the problem rests entirely with your neighbors…

        • undereducated

          Still, The Arlington Way. All from one neighbor, tho.

          • Smilla

            Nice generalization. If they’re all from one neighbor, then I don’t think you can call it “The Arlington Way.” You obviously live next to someone with mental issues.

  • N Jackson Guy

    And I’m sure the author of the complaint will in no way benefit from the average house value on his street jumping from $400K to $1.2M.

    • ClarendonGUY

      Yeah he’s so lucky, S/He’ll have higher property taxes!! WOOO

    • R. Griffon

      I think you’re assuming an awful lot to say that anyone that has a problem with this is a homeowner by necessity. There are lots of green-minded folks that rent in the area.

      But even so, there are people who actually care more about the environment and the character of the neighborhood in which they live than they do their personal balance sheet. Strange but true.

  • charlie

    this property has been for sale since the mid 1990’s when i was involved in the lyon village citizens association. it could have been bought and preserved by the community. An offer was never made.

    • greg

      I think Charlie is misinformed. As someone who has lived in Clarendon-Courthouse neighborhood, where the property is located, since the 90s this property has never been listed as for sale.

      • charlie

        sorry. it has been for sale. along with property the owner owns on North Stuart Street. the leadership of the LYCA has meet on several occasions with developers who had the property under contract and wanted to develop it as homes, apartments, townhouses.

        • charlie

          LYCA should be LVCA.

  • Jim

    if these anonymous complainers didn’t want any changes to the old houses… they should have purchased the houses. it’s called private property rights… deal with it.

    • samsonite

      Private property rights are not absolute. Never have been.

      There should be a law preserving some trees.

      • Arlwhenever

        This is the kind of crap you get when you empower the evil bureaucracy to control what you can grow in your yard.


        • samsonite

          Well, no, usually it’s not.

          You’re playing the all or nothing game. Either we have total freedom to do whatever we want, or we have a fascist police state controlling our every move. But we can have something reasonable in the middle. Happens all the time.

          Look up “false dilemma fallacy.”

          • Arlwhenever

            Telling people they must grow on their property something that is not essential, or prohibiting them from growing something on their property that is not harmful, indeed is facist.

            The fact that you may want something I don’t want doesn’t give you the right to use the police power of the state to enforce your views. Indeed, diverse decisions by diverse people, uncontrolled by others, are what over time make societies great and economies strong. Minority views and decisions should be respected and accepted. Enforced travel with the sheeple causes everyone to careen over the same cliff at the same time.

            It is no false dilemma to use adjectives like essential or harmful to guide regulatory intervention; it’s being smart and principled, something the sheeple don’t get.

          • samsonite

            Your idea of fascism is ridiculous, of course. But anyone who throws around the word “sheeple” is going to be like that.

            But I’d say trees are essential. If you understood biology you might too. You might disagree, and that’s fine, but throwing out mindless words like “sheeple” and “fascist” doesn’t enlighten.

            I’ve got some news for you – there’s already a long list of things you can’t do with your property, for the good of the community. And this is nothing new. Property rights have never ever been absolute.

      • We fear change

        There are laws, there are zoning ordianances, plan and review, inspections, etc. Just because you don’t like how they are being applied doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If they are operating within the law the those rights should be absolutely upheld.

  • Tre

    Was a shame to see all of the trees go. I believe a few large trees add wonders to the “neighborhood” feel…

    • johnny b

      …at least until the next “Macroburst”!

  • Stu Pendus

    I’m assuming 4 two-car garages. Eight cars, hundreds of feet of unnecessary paved driveway. Walkable neighborhood. Awesome!

  • Michael

    Wow I’ve always admired all of those lovely homes in Loudoun County! Why move out there when they can bring Ashburn right to us!

  • JamesE

    Just what we need, more pretentious Clarendon residents.

    • Josh S

      I know, those McMansion residents are the worst – Volvo station wagons, schedule their kids lives down to the minute and then complain they have no time, insist that the world changes to accommodate them wherever they go. So pretentious.
      Bungalow dwellers with large trees on their property, now they tend to me more down to earth types. Modest in their belongings, like to stay close to nature, get involved in the community, subscribe to a live and let live world view.
      I’ll take three 1940s bungalows over three (or four) 21st century McMansions anyday.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Th ebungalow dwellers are generally empty nesters or recent grads. Apples and Oranges to compare them. Parents have been scheuling their kids for all the activities that were available and fit into the family budget since the dawn of time. And moms have been complaining about not enough time in the day since before then! Frankly, would rather see more Volvo wagons than view blocking Toyota SUV’s or any manufacture’s minivan, but would really like for the return of the American Full Size station wagon! There are a lot of very well kept bungalows in the county that I would morn the loss of, these three were not some of those. The houses that were torn down would require a ton of work to get them to last another ten years. They served their purpose well for 70+ years, but their time had come to move on.

  • Chris Slatt

    I’m pretty sure Arlington can’t regulate tree removal on private property thanks to (as always) the Dillon Rule. *sigh*

    • Stu Pendus

      Well, I’m not quite sure how this kind of thing works, but it there were three houses, and now will be four, I’m assuming the county had to be involved in the subdivision process. Could they have forced some restrictions on the developer?

      • Undereducated

        You mean the same developers that contribute generously to their campaigns?

      • Jim

        No, the county board is powerless under Virginia law to stop “by right” development by landowners. It will take a wholesale conversion of “downstate” interests in Richmond to change this unfortunate reality. Not likely in my lifetime.

        • Stu Pendus

          I am asking if the county had to allow the division of these three lots into four, and if that process would have allowed them to insert some requirement about maintaining trees.

          I understand the concept of by-right. I do not think turning three lots into four is a by-right process.

          • We fear change

            It can be. It depends on the site. But as regardless they STILL have tree requirements.

    • charlie

      the county required tree replacement on all sites being redeveloped based on the caliper of the tree (only those above a certain size are counted). the problem is that a 16 in diameter huge maple tree is replaced by 8 2 inch diameter dogwoods. that will die in the heat.

      • Get Real

        Sorry but there is nothing you can do about lot subdivisions. From what I understand the county wants and needs the density (mandate from Richmond). The only way we can prevent this from happening is encouraging builders to do otherwise. I suggest letting builders build even BIGGER homes than allow on oversized lots. In this case maybe the builder would build 2 4,000 sf homes instead of 4 2,500 sf homes. That would save 2,000 square feet and the paving needed for 4 driveways.

      • We fear change

        Not true.

        • We fear change

          To clarify: Not True Charlie. Get real, now you are getting to the real heart of the issue. It is the zoning ordinances that mandate the building footprint. Now, if you could preserve a tree and be 2 feet closer to a lot line, that might be attractive. But no. The Arlington County Zoning ordinance will not permit it.

  • Marc

    What are the rules in Arlington for cutting down legacy trees? Are there any? Should there be some? How often are old trees replaced with new ones? Can you do a story on this?

    • Yes

      I would support that wholeheartedly.

      Many of us buy in certain neighborhoods because of the tree cover in part. It really makes a huge difference not only in temperature but in visual appeal as well.

      Takoma Park, MD, has a strict rule in place that you can’t take a tree down without consulting the city arborist. I think this is a great system.

      I fully support private property, but you don’t have unfettered rights to do whatever you want at the expense of others. Unfortunately, for now, people in Arlington have the legal right to harm others by tearing down old, healthy trees that are a fixture of the neighborhood, replacing modest homes with outsized, uninteresting, garish monstrosities that, as someone noted, make Arlington look like Ashburn.

      It deeply saddens me that nothing in Arlington is ever preserved. Someday soon it’s going to be nothing but McMansions and Clarendon-style condos, and nary a tree in sight.

      • Arlington, Northside

        If it is not unfettered, is it really a Right?

        • Uh, yeah…

          Google “yelling fire in a crowded theater.”

          • Arlington, Northside

            If there is a fire, there is nothing wrong with doing that. If there is a tree you don’t like on YOUR property, there should be nothing wrong with removing it.

          • samsonite

            So there should be absolutely no restrictions on what you do with your property?

      • PHD

        yeah, but Takoma Park is in Maryland – *not* Virginia. People in Arlington have those “rights” only because Arlington cannot enact anything more restrictive in this very strong property-rights, anything-goes state.

        • Arlington, Northside

          Hey if Arlington isn’t liberal enough for you, and you would like to live in the “Nuclear Free Zone” that is Takoma Park, Maryland, please feel free to pack up and move. They have a lot of nice houses that will remnd you of “old” Arlington. http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Takoma-Park_MD House prices are comparable, but the schools, while good, are not as highly rated, yet your taxes will be higher with not quite as good of srvices as your receive here.

      • We fear change

        No need to go to MD go to Falls Church City. Arlington doesn’t have these tree ordinances because they over regulate, in many cases are illegal.

      • Elle Kasey

        There is, indeed a process for preserving certain trees in Arlington.

        I know about it because it came about not long after my disastrous first weeks of home ownership in Arlington. Before we bought our house we noted a large old oak leaning into the house with 2-4 inches clearance at the near part. Buyers, sellers (credit to us at sale), and 11 certified arborists all agreed it needed to come down. We moved in and scheduled removal. The night before at the suggestion of the removal team we notified our neighbors. Next door, the couple questioned it, but didn’t fight…Until 10pm that night when they came over with extensive complaints. The tree was entirely on our property. I have never felt so bullied or intimidated. I called my dad to help us broker peace in the morning.

        The neighbors first blocked the equipment with cars, then rammed our legs with the cars, then sat on the edge of their property which haulted the crew who did not dare risk a lawsuit from a falling leaf, branch or dust. The cops were called. They eventually convinced the couple they had no legal standing. They left, spewing nasty remarks. The tree came down after a 2-hour standoff. It was financially costly for us, but we just wanted it to be over. When the tree was cut, it was discovered that it was deeply wounded and suffered heavy internal decay (I don’t know what it was called.)

        Three weeks later that fluke tornado (2001) dipped through Arlington. Our neighbor’s tree collapsed onto their house (house escaped damage). As other neighbors streamed in to see the felled tree many (unaware of circumstances) remarked, “I bet you’re glad yours came down when it did!”

        I have little doubt that had the ordinance been in effect and the tree slated for historic review that it would have both been historic and deemed ok for removal because of it’s poor and precarious condition…eventually.

        Later we moved to South Arlington, to an undisturbed lot (we have a pic from the ’30’s) with only one tree. Soon after our next door neighbor (free tree program leader) came over and suggested perhaps 5 new trees we could plant on our lot. We gracefully declined — but still wonder why anyone thinks they should be able to determine by ordinance or pressure tactics what trees are on our property.

    • Undereducated

      God hates trees. Evidence the raging fires in the west, and closer to home, drive around by Little Falls and Old Dominion, you’ll see that I’m right.

      • Westover


    • R. Griffon

      > Can you do a story on this?

      +1 I’d love to see ARLnow get the Couty’s input on this. I don’t believe that there is any way the County can tell a property owner NOT to cut down a tree. But at the same time, the builder would have had to submit a complete site plan in order to get this project permitted. Does the County not take the existence of mature trees into any consideration at all when reviewing such plans? What’s wrong with dictating that they leave at least a handful of existing trees in the unaffected areas of the yard?

      And as a homebuyer, I know that I myself am willing to pay a premium for a home that has large mature trees on the the “Ashburn” model. Seems shortsighted of the developer as well.

  • y8s

    This reminds me of the zero-setback mcmansion that is being built at the corner of Westmoreland and Haycock…

    Sometime during mid-construction, some passerby spray painted the phrase “I AM GIGANTOR AND I HATE YARDS AND TREES” on the unfinished outside wall. I got a good laugh but it was eventually covered up.

    Then a few months later, the unfinished house burnt to the ground.

    It’s been re-started again but nobody has re-tagged it yet.

    • Michael


    • really…

      I totally agree…vandalizing other people’s private property is so funny and really sends such a great message to others. Grow the F up.

      • y8s

        No need to get all excited and snarky.

        Yes, vandalism is wrong, but the message made a valid point.

        So sit back and enjoy your horizon-to-horizon concrete.

    • charlie

      been fun to watch on my commute.
      my guess is that it was an insurance burn.

  • Get Real

    The county does have a thing called tree coverage so those trees will need to be replaced at somepoint. Beacon Crest, good luck with the sale. Those don’t look like $4 million dollar homes but thanks for trying to raise the price point in Arlington.

    • Not $4 million homes, four million-dollar homes.

      • Get Real

        Thanks, I missed that.

      • Arlwhenever

        Reminds me of my adolescenece when my mother gave me a whupping for coming home with five cartons of ice cream that couldn’t fit into the freezer, when in her mind she had clearly written on the note that I was to get 2 1/2 gallons of the treat. Guess that can’t happen now that the half gallons have been down sized to 1.5 quarts.

    • AJ

      “at some point” being the key issue. an unbuilt lot in donaldson run had been covered in massive tulip trees, dogwoods, oaks and azaleas for decades. in 2007 nearly everything was cut down to build a 7500 sq ft McMansion (the builder/owner got around the zoning ordinance by putting a porch on the plans that gave him a larger permissible footprint and then never built the porch, but kept the bigger footprint). and of course the he cut into the roots of the remaining trees so far that they all either died within the first two years or are nearing death. the “replacement” tree cover he’s put in consists of a stand of pines to give his tiny patio some privacy.

      • esmith69

        What a d-bag, but I can’t say I’m surprised. This day and age, everyone is too concerned with themselves to care about how their actions affect others.

        Hopefully he really did plant true pine trees–those things have very weak roots and don’t hold up well in storms. Hopefully they fall onto HIS house and not a neighbors’.

        • samsonite

          People who cut down mature trees are the d-bags.

    • jan

      The county requires that 20% of the lot will be shaded by tree cover in 20 years.

      So sad

      • We fear change

        Also, see the Chespeake Bay Ordinance. FYI.

  • Ferngully
    • R. Griffon

      This basically gives the owners a shiny plaque and does nothing to protect the trees. From the County’s own website:

      “Note: The “Notable Tree” designation does not give Arlington County any authority over trees on private property.”

  • 20yrsinClarendon

    Most all the developers in this area have been very sympathic to the existing trees and tree canopy,..I’ve seen it over and over, including the expense taken by the developer in the 1000 block of Edgewood to save a huge oak, This developer chose quanity over quality. Too bad, there were some beautiful old oaks on that lot.

    • samsonite

      I have seen nothing of the sort. All the infill I see involves cutting beautiful old trees down to build crammed, ugly McMansions.

      • BooBob

        True that. Drive down Arl Ridge Road and check out all the trees they whacked to replace a big old house with a massive new house. Why?

        • Arlington, Northside

          Why? Because, it costs twice as much money and triple the time, to rehab an old house over tearing it down and building a new green structure.

        • Julia Q.

          That house was on the market for years, and I heard that the owners sold it to the developers in exchange for a new house on half the lot. The developers get the other half to build a house to sell. Thus, no more trees. I also think it’s a shame, they had some beautiful trees on that lot:
          View Larger Map

      • We fear change

        Check with your local zoning dept. They are the ones to blame. I have seen them demand paving the rear yard and cutting down all the trees before they will approve a ‘front loaded’ much more open space plan.

  • JimPB

    A + The McMansions will produce a meaningful increase in real estate taxes on these sites. (Unfortunately, the developer may well not build energy efficient residences, including the aggressive use of landscaping to reduce solar heating in the summer, allow solar heating in the winter while buffering the houses from the cold wind.)

    A? – Will there be “off setting” development that will enable middle and working class families who lived there to live elsewhere in ArlCo.

    A Concern — That the planting in ArlCo be required of new trees that, when grown, will provide an equal amount of tree canopy. (Question: How to obtain restoration of tree canopy lost when trees die (age) or by storm effects?)

    • atown

      What makes you assume that middle and working class families lived there previously? I believe these were rentals for quite sometime because my historical knowledge of these properties is that they’ve been up for sale for YEARS. If someone else wanted to do well with the land, preserve it, and continue renting to those who can afford it (and a multi-bedroom in Clarendon is never REALLY working/middle class to the rest of America, only to Arlington because our “middle class” makes twice as much as the norm and most of the working class can’t afford the area… I know, I am one and have been working hard to “move up” it’s impossible here) they should’ve done that already. People can’t get upset that someone decided to pony up the $$ and do something with the land if they watched it sit on the market for years, did nothing, and now don’t like what someone else has decided to do. Sorry folks. Want a park there? Should’ve bought the property or had the community chip in to finance the land, tear down the houses alone, and do something appropriate in your minds.

  • speonjosh

    Interesting that so many of the initial commenters are anti. I just don’t get it. Why hate on someone who is standing up for something good versus something bad. Yes, property rights, etc etc. But jeez, I can’t see that there is a “pro-mcmansion” lobby in Arlington (other than developers), is there?

    • Me

      Someone is buying these no-set back mcmansions. Yet another scourge to the neighborhood sprung up in Westover seemingly overnight.

      • We fear change

        What the hell is a no setback mansion?

    • Chris M.

      “I can’t see that there is a “pro-mcmansion” lobby in Arlington (other than developers), is there?”

      I believe the lobby is called 80% of North Arlington.

    • There is indeed…

      …a pro-McMansion lobby, consisting of every RE developer who builds here.

      The developers are in bed with the County Board. All the latter care about are raising the tax base to build additional “affordable” (for illegal immigrants) housing, pushing out housing that teachers and the like can afford. (There was a story on this here not long ago–apt complex in Rosslyn that was being converted, pushing out a lot of teachers and those on similar incomes.)

      To get the affordable housing, the Board is more than happy to let developers run roughshod over setback, height, and lot coverage requirements, so long as they contribute to the affordable housing pool. Bascially, it’s a payoff–not directly to the board, but to support efforts they’re in favor of, at the expense of others.

      What’s a crying shame is that the developers could still make plenty of money if only they would build a little smaller and make the houses not the same tired multi-gabled, beige/gray fieldstone, garage-out-front design they all love so much. And if they would keep the trees.

      This is also a very sad thing because there is a rapidly declining stock of small SFHs in Arlington, and yet plenty of demand. Many, many young couples who live in THs or condos would like a small 2BR or 3BR house with a modest yard for their kid to play in. It’s gotten so that their only real option now for that is to move to FFX or possibly buy a fixer-upper in S. Arlington–and even those aren’t cheap anymore.

      • Josh S

        Actually, it was a serious question. (if perhaps somewhat innocent….)

        The whole tired “they’re in bed with the council” “the council just wants to raise taxes” whine is not a serious answer.

  • Get Real

    at 21 x 42 i’d hardly call these McMansions. What am I missing here???

    • Guest McGuest

      A minimum of 3.5 bathrooms, for me, is McMansion territory. These houses look twice as big as what they are replacing, and the families that live in them will likely be half as large as those of the 1950s. We are a soft and spoiled bunch.

      • Michael


      • R

        My under 2000 sq ft townhouse by EFC metro built in 1979 has 3.5 bathrooms…didn’t realize that I lived in a McMansion. Maybe it is worth $1M now because of that title. Sweet.

      • PHD

        and with no backyard, but who needs one if the kids are inside playing Sony PS 3 all day?

  • John Fontain

    The three previous houses were totally rundown eyesores, so I’m not sorry to see them go. It would have been nice if they had tried to build around some of the trees, but when you take three lots and squeeze every last dime of profit out by turning them into four lots, the trees are sure to go.

    What I take bigger issue with is the poorly designed, cheaply made, tacky homes that this particular builder puts up. The builder calls its houses “luxury,” but anyone who has even a basic understanding of building design and building materials can see that this builder uses poor design (lack of architectural appropriateness for the neighborhood combined with incorrect architectural elements) and cheap materials as often as possible (cheap doors/windows and plastic lattice on a million dollar plus house are just a few of the obvious examples visible from the street).

    I’m surprised that this builder has gotten anywhere close to the prices it has gotten for the houses it has built recently in the neighborhood.

    Well, I guess it could be worse (NDI or Classic Homes comes to mind)…

    • ArlingtonChick

      I agree. The big named developers in the area make cheap and shoddy houses that are way overpriced. Case in point, I have a friend who has a new townhouse (ie less than 5 years old) in a small development that SWAYS when it thunders. I’ve stayed in her guest bedroom 4 floors up during a thunderstorm and, let me tell you, that’s very scary.

      If the newer houses were made with the care and materials that were used in the 50s, 60s and 70s, paying 1.5MM for one of those houses with no tree coverage (and thus no shade) close to each other makes sense. But since we all know the construction will be shoddy, I just don’t understand how people can stomach that kind of price tag on a house. Sure they are pretty and have nice kitchens/bathrooms. But when the construction is so bad….why even bother?!?!

    • othersideoftheriver

      Thanks, John, for saying what I was still to indignant to put together coherently.

    • Curious

      Just curious, what/where are the other “poorly designed, cheaply made, tacky homes that this particular builder puts up?”

  • Pablo Escobar

    Signs get no respect. Now a flaming bag of dog feces…

  • lala

    Too bad, those houses are ugly.

  • Sam

    As a former resident of this neighborhood, I can attest that the three homes that were torn down were in atrocious condition – literally rotting into their foundations. At least one of the homes was condemned (yet somehow the house was still occupied). While I hate to see Arlington lose more of its tree cover, I have no doubt that – much like the houses themselves – the trees were poorly cared for, likely rotting, and likely to become a hazard to someone or something in the very near future.

    • Donna

      I agree with this entire comment.
      I live just around the block from this lot and have been walking past those little white homes for 8 years. Each year the entire lot getting worse and worse.
      We watched them demolish the houses last week and it did make me sad just because I knew at one point those houses were brand new adorable homes.
      But they were not cared for in their last remaining years and something needed to be done.
      Watching the lot being demo’d, including the trees, I can attest that some of those old trees WERE rotting from the inside.

      It’s not like there was a park there on that corner. It was a private lot that wasn’t taken care of. Finally something relatively positive was done with that corner.
      Am I happy that million dollar homes are being built there? Not especially. The real estate prices in Clarendon are OUT OF CONTROL. But someone can afford them.
      And at least now the neighbors to that lot don’t have to look at those decrepit bungalows anymore.

      • Tre

        The lots alone are going for $600 / $700k….. Is there a market for reselling dirt as a precious element? Maybe re-brand it as “Clarendon Clay (TM)(C)”?

  • Arlwhenever

    I like large mature trees as much as the next person but when you protect trees too long they can grow so high that you risk najor damage like what occured to some homes along Old Dominion Drive in the macroburst last week.

    Since redevelopment in Arlington single-family home neighborhoods occurs one to a few lots at a time, clearing trees doesn’t dramatically affect the character of a neighborhood as a whole. Removing trees here and there from lots stands in for nature’s normal pruning and replacement processes (wind, fire, disease and insects), There is no need to make the tree removal process rule laden and restrictive.

    Planting “x” number of trees for every “y” square feet cleared works for me. It’s good to have turnover introducing some new and phasing out some old.

    • Actually

      You are mistaken. Those were mostly tulip poplars, not oaks. Oaks can withstand a crazy amount of force. They used to make ships’ hulls out of white oak, for example.

      The problem with replanting is that it takes decades to get a mature tree. In the meantime, all we have are these tiny saplings.

      • Arlwhenever

        I drove along Old Dominion Sunday and inspected debris — those trees weren’t all tulip poplars, not by a long shot.

        In my case, 72 years after my house was built I have two, towering mature healthy oaks in my front yard. Yet if the initial developer, instead of planting those oaks, had kept the trees that were there, the “saved” trees would have been likely have been lost a long time ago, replaced by something a lot less impressive than what is there today. Granted, oaks last longer than tulip poplars (and virtually any other tree that grows naturally in these parts) but oaks have life cycles as well.

        My main point is that it makes a lot of sense to cycle through trees at different times on different lots — its more natural that constraining removal, safer and supports biological diversity. Preserve to property owners the freedom and natural right to makes changes as they see fit.

        It’s not correct to say “all we have are these tiny saplings.” The picture shows tree canopy all around the Danville and N. 11th Street area.

    • Josh S

      This sounds like you’d advocate a program to “pre-emptively” cull large trees? Otherwise, what is the point of mentioning risk of major damage during a thunderstorm? Yes, trees can get knocked over during a storm (thunder or ice). But what is that risk as applied to any one or two or three individual trees? 1 in 10,000? Sure, it’s greater if the tree is diseased. But no one could have predicted that those particular trees along Old Dominion would get knocked over. Nor with any other (apparently) healthy tree. So if we can’t know which ones will get knocked over and the vast majority of them won’t, why worry about it?

  • Dr. Kwok

    Why don’t we serve our new neighbors a healthy dose of the Pines of Florence rigatoni sauce as a house warming gift? They will be wiping so much using these trees that are cut down that this won’t be an issue. Now that is an eco-friendly idea if I might say so.

  • quit the complaining and move

    UGHGHGHG….I hate when my property values go up.

    • JimPB

      UGHGHGHG — Celebrate if your assessment increases. Your home is a major investment, and as such, it would be good if it increased in value at the same rate as inflation, and better if it increased at a higher rate.

      The soaring value of the lots occupied by the original ramblers here in North Arlington offers a return (sale price – original price) for long-time owners that far exceeds the cumulative amount paid out for property taxes in excess of inflationary increases.

  • Lefty

    It is disturbing to see the trees removed. All of the trees removed in the past couple days were healthy, much more so than the homes that were demolished. It would have been impossible to develop the new houses and retain the trees. However, take a look at the photo of the sign on site depicting the rendering of the new houses. Notice there are lots of trees in the drawing. It is our duty to hold the developer and subsequent owners to their obligation to replant tree coverage for 20% of the total lot size as required by the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance (20% coverage, within 20 years following issuance of the certificate of occupancy). Builders have been known to try to avoid fulfilling their requirement to plant replacement trees. Also note, that due to the size of the new homes, there is not a lot of land left to cover with trees. Let’s hold the builder and owners to their obligation to replant trees in these parcels

  • Shooter

    A 4-6 bedroom, 3.5 bath, two car garage home is hardly a McMansion. Has the idiot who wrote that sign only lived in this area his/her entire life? Leave the luxury of the Mid-Atlantic/E. Coast and you’ll find homes of that size in middle class neighborhoods all over the US, not just in the DC area bubble. Look, trees are great and provide a lot of value to our lives, but quit putting nature above man. Stop judging the actions of a few humans because you are jealous of of their success. You know you’d live in one of those homes if you had the opportunity, which at this point in your life is likely pretty slim.

    • JimPB

      Shooter — Do you know the income/financial worth of individuals who commented about McMansions, and if so, how? If you don’t know the income/financial worth, your assertion that the other commenters would live in a McMansion if they could is without a solid basis.

      • Josh S

        And furthermore is rude. And pointless.

    • Jon

      These 4-6 bedroom, 3.5 bath, two car garage houses don’t speak to success, they speak to a lack of imagination and taste. If someone built something clever or interesting and did some solid landscaping, I doubt anyone would be complaining. You can find tons of examples in other cities of how to build large houses while preserving the aesthetic qualities of a neighborhood. These POS don’t make us look successful, they make us look like Las Vegas.

      • samsonite

        Ever hear the term “penis car?” It’s a big, loud car a man drives to show off. It’s said a man drives a car like that to compensate for his small penis.

        Based on Shooter’s comment, maybe we should call those big houses – and his house – a “penis house.”

    • Fact

      My family could easily afford a 5BR home if we wanted to live in FFX or PW or Loudoun.

      And some 5BR houses look great–but they’re on lots that are appropriate to their size, and they’re made of quality materials, in distinctive architecture that still blends in with the neighborhood.

      These in Clarendon are McMansions not simply because of the number of BR–but because they’re clustered together, too tall for the (newly treeless) lots they’re on, and are of the standard cookie-cutter gray-cementboard design the developers love (the “Mc” in “McMansion”).

      The White House has what, 100 rooms? Something like that. But no one would call it a McMansion.

      I would love to own one of the large old homes in far North Arlington–Lee Heights or Woodmont. Maybe someday. If they don’t tear down the beautiful homes that have been there for 70 years and put up more tacky, nouveau riche McMonsters.

    • samsonite

      No, I would not live in a big home like that if I had the money to afford it.

      “You’re just jealous” is an infantile response.

    • dk

      LOL. You could not pay *me* to live in a house like that. I’ll take my charming little 1937 colonial any day–with it’s big back yard and giant oak trees.

      Like a previous commenter, if I had the money for a bigger house, I’d buy one of Arlington’s large early 20th century homes, with all the quality materials & classic design that they feature. Or, I’d hire a terrific architect and build a new home, in the “Not So Big House” school, using my money to buy beautiful craftsmanship as opposed to ridiculous amounts of square footage made of cheap crap.

      Jealous of those houses? Not at all.

      I think I also must have a different opinion of what “middle class” is.

      I wonder: are you capable of stating and defending your opinion without insulting people who disagree with you?

  • Jason S.

    Those who wanted something else here should have bought the land.

    • Josh S

      God forbid there is no vista, sanctuary, childhood memory, sentimental spot, beloved old building in your life. Or that if there are, you already own all of them. Otherwise, I would think your comment would be rather naive and insensitive.

  • James

    Those people buying those four homes on that lot are going to get hammered in a few years when the 2.0 housing crash comes via our Federal Government.

    Big cuts are coming from the government and it’s going to affect the DC/NOVA housing prices for sure since this area is so dependent on the government contracts and salaries.

    • Arlwhenever

      Shhhhh….don’t tell anyone, I want to cash in before next summer.

    • R. Griffon

      +1, and not discussed nearly often enough. DC has been extremely recession-proof in the past, but I think this could well change in the next 2-5 years.

      And that’s not even to mention interest rates. You can buy (or borrow) a lot of house at 4 1/2%. Now what do you think happens to that demand at, say, a historically middle-of-the-road 8%? Bad things.

      • James

        Exactly Arlwhenever and R.Griffon…

        This area has been propped up by the government and everyone knows (who is paying attention) that those days are going to be ending very soon…if not sooner then people think. When the government starts shedding contracts, then the contractors around the area are going to start laying off people. When the government has to live within it’s means, then it’s going to reduce salaries and cut jobs also, many which support this area, especially Arlington (so many lawyers and lobbyists in this area).

        I think this area is going to be hit hard..and I mean really hard in the next 2 years and it’s going to send shock waves through the regions housing market.

        Property values for this region are EXTREMELY over valued due to government salaries/contracts that increased in that time over the last 10+ years. If you look at some property values, they went up from 200K in the late 90s to over a million+. Just not realistic. There is no shortage of land to build on here like NY or SFO.

        And yep R. Griffon, interest rates are going to at least go up to 8%, I’m calling 10% though.

        Read these articles..pretty scary.



        • R. Griffon

          Just to give some people a real-world scenario with the interest rates so that they understand the implications in real terms:

          If you buy a $1.5M home and put 20% down, then you need a loan for the other $1.2M. The payment on a 30-year mortgage at 4.5% is a bit over $6K/mo*. So let’s assume that’s what these N. Arlington SFH buyers can afford.

          Now fast-forward a few years into an escalation of rates (which will surely come), and we’re now at 8% which is a decent historical average. That same loan at 8%? Almost $9K/mo. Those buyers are now priced out of the market, and those homes won’t sell unless they can attract a new breed of more affluent buyers.

          In order to bring those payments back to the $6K range, that $1.5M house has to drop down to about $1M (with a mortgage of $825K) … a loss of nearly 30% of it’s value!

          When people shop for homes, at some point they become numb to the price tag – all they care about is the monthly hit to their budget. I’m not sure that houses will come down 30% (although that’s certainly possible given higher rates combined with sweeping gov’t cuts in spending), but the potential for significant loss is very real. And very scary to those who bought property in the bubble (which Arlington is still in). The only thing that could mitigate these losses are the offsetting effects of worsening traffic and congestion and/or higher gas prices, making homes closer in even more desirable than they are today.

          *These numbers don’t include taxes, insurance, or any other mortgage costs for the sake of simplicity.

          • KalashniKEV

            You kind of saved yourself at the end there, but I had a good laugh at Arlington Real Estate losing 30% of it’s value. So long as we can fight the housing projects, Bum Invasion, and semi-annual boondoggles of the County Board, this area WILL go up and up. And houses will get larger and nicer.

          • doodly

            Better bums than you.

          • KalashniKEV

            I know, I drink tap.

          • KalashniKEV

            You’d rather live next to the wretched bums than me? Do you have kids?

          • samsonite

            Yes and yes.

          • Josh S

            +1 samsonite.

        • Westover

          There is a serious shortage of land to build on inside the beltway. Lots of reasons that we could have another RE Bust, but availabilty of buildable land is not one of them.

  • Bender

    So how many of the people complaining about the McMansions have pushed for more and more McHighrises in Clarendon and all along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, as well as McHighrises along Columbia Pike?

    Would that they would tear down all those 20-story buildings, and put up 2-3 story McMansions in their place, and Arlington would be a lot better for it.

    • CW

      This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

      You think that all the local businesses would like it if their customer base was reduced by a factor of about 100? Why don’t you ask them to make sure?

  • Gary

    The Arlington housing market is killing it and will continue to do so for years to come. Condo’s sell from anywhere between 400 to 800k! A house that costs a million dollars around Arlington is not a big deal anymore. It is a shame the trees were torn down and I’m sure there will be new ones grown in its place (just not quite as nice and mature). The three homes torn down on this lot were hideous eye sores. The other homes in the neighborhood that have similar architecture are very nice and obviously extremely popular given how quickly real estate sells in Clarendon (which everyday becomes more appealing with new stores and restaurants).

  • Charles

    Ya don’t have to be smart to get a job handing out building permits in Arlington. Just bend over and let the developer have its way with you.

    • We fear change

      Why blame the developers? They are just following the rules that are established by the county board, elected by people like you, if you vote. So maybe it is the CB diddling you. You weirdo.

  • LIAM

    Did any of you people who are complaining know what that corner looked like before those houses were torn down? There were 3 of the most run down, rat invested homes that I had ever seen in Arlington. A horder was renting one and the house and porch was filled with garbage, another looked like it was borded up. They were all run down and the yards were overgrown. I bet the neighbors on both sides and across the street are happy they were torn down. I wouldn’t want that garbage next to my home. The guy who owned those properties was a slum lord. He was about to be foreclosed on by the bank when he sold them. Before all you bloggers get up in arms about this, why don’t you ask the people who live next door who are most affected by this. Ask them if they are unhappy. I guarantee the person who put up the sign doesn’t live next door or across the street. They probably live in another neighborhood.

    • R. Griffon

      I haven’t heard a single person complain that the old houses were torn down, and in fact think that everyone was happy to see them go. The point of contention is that they clear-cut the entire lot, removing even the trees on the periphery that are not on land which is to have a new structure or paving on it according to the new plan.

      Why not remove only those necessary for construction?

      • Why?

        That would require developers to actually give a s–t about something other than their own self-interest. They want as much money as they can possibly squeeze out of a given piece of land, for as little effort. It’s probably a little easier to build if there are no trees. Sure, with some skill and creativity they could build around them, but these guys are lazy, greedy scum.

        • Westover

          The developers and builders I personally know, are ALL interested in leaving behind quality work that will be a positive reflection on their name for years to come, as well as allowing them to make a decent living. None are interested in JUST the bottom line, but also their legacy.

    • CW

      I absolutely love old-growth trees and would put saving some first whenever possible. However, these houses were hoarder dwellings and rat traps. Moreover, with respect to the trees themselves, these were very low-growing, spread out trees that had grown VERY close to the houses. Even if they had been trimmed down by a lot, I am not sure that anyone would have been able to build around them without damaging the root structures enough to kill them. They also could not have been made to accomodate a house of more than one story, in my opinion.

  • John Andre

    If the trees on that lot were rotting or hollow on the inside, they would eventually come down in some future windstorm.

    The main point is that they NOT be replaced with Bradford pears or some other nonnative potentially invasive species as some developers do. Native tulip poplar, oak, maple or other saplings will do just fine.

    • Arlwhenever

      Great recommendations! And throw a sycamore or two in the mix, preferably on the lowest part of the lot where water drains (sycamores naturally occur most frequently along creek beds). True sustainability involves recreating as much as possible in your yard what naturally occurs in the area.

  • Jim

    The guy could have always spent a couple cool million buying the land to let it remain undeveloped with trees if he wanted to.

    He didn’t, so don’t care.

  • Duff

    Arlington needs a Canopy preservation law that is similar to the District’s Special Tree Bill but improved upon. The bill preserves property rights but attempts to protect the urban canopy which benefits all residents. Trees of a specific size whether on public or private property are protected by the implementation of a fee or planting requirement (# per tree DBH) if a property owner intends to remove a healthy tree. Hazardous trees are exempt from fees ( Hazard rating determined by ISA cert arborist). The owner is not prevented from removing trees it is only trees that contribute to the community canopy preservation that property owners would be required to compensate for the canopy loss. Trees have a value to municipalities for pollution abatement and storm water management; both of which benefits all within a community, this is what modern Forestry is all about. Residents always assume that street and park trees are where the majority of a community’s forest exists but the majority exist on private land. VA TREES (I may be mistaken) or another Forestry group lobbied to create tree preservation laws in Richmond not two years ago and I am not sure what happened in Richmond but Arlington maybe able to set precedence by developing its own ordinance similar to DC. Just thoughts!

  • guy

    For the record these were ALL UNHEALTHY TREES! And I just love how people can walk by and tell othrs how to deal with their proprty. We have been waiting for years for something to be done with those houses.

    • samsonite

      How do you know that were all unhealthy trees?

      • Westover

        They were overgrown and unpruned with a lot of invasive vines and trees in the mix. They were not healthy.

        • samsonite

          Overgrown and unpruned with invasive vines is hardly a sign that they are too unhealthy to continue living.

          As I suspected, you have no real evidence for your claim.

          • CW

            I am not an arborist but these were very low, spread-out oaks of the sort that I’ve seen split in half many a time during a big southern summer thunderstorm. They sprawled out over most of the lots and covered the roofs of the houses as well. The backyard of the one on the corner was also more or less a swamp. I don’t think the trees could have been made to accomodate the new construction.

  • Two BeaconCrest towers on my block. The houses are the real blight. Also, reasonable chance that they’re playing clever with the zoning rules (use of easements etc.) to squeeze in the size houses they do and deal with setback requirements. Someone with the expertise should take a look.

  • James
  • Andy

    Scroll to the middle of this page and you will see what most of us already know. Those who have bought property in Arlington/DC in the last couple of years continue to MAKE money if they sold today. TAX FREE money if its their primary residence. Even when the bubble burst it wasn’t as bad here as almost everywhere else in the nation. Hmmm…lousy investment huh?


    As long as the Gov’t as well as all of it’s many, many contractors are here (cuts or no cuts), housing demand will be here as well. Those who don’t invest will be left in the dust like everyone else and moving 30-45-60 miles away.

  • ArlForester

    I am always pleased whenever the folks in Clarendon are upset over buildings and trees. These hypocrites are the ones who always stop things they don’t like (Home Depot in the old Sears spot) but then are giant hypocrites when things they do like (hundreds of shops and restaurants) make their argument (too much traffic) a joke.

    • samsonite

      So it’s hypocritical to stop things you don’t like but embrace things you do? Um, how?

      • ArlForester

        It is when the excuse was traffic, of which their preferred businesses have caused much more.

  • guest

    I like McMansions. The trees will grow back.

  • charlie

    our houses here are too small. a real house should be about 3500 to 4500 sf.
    i have seen only a handful of attractive houses built in Arlington in the last 20 years.
    we need architectural review of SF homes as much as we need a tree preservation ordinance.

    • Get Real

      +100 on the architectural review

    • Westover

      If I wanted to live in Home Owner Association land, I would have moved to Ashburn where they can tell me what kind of flag pole I can fly Old Glory from. If we had an architectural review board, the yellow, pink and purple houses that bring a little it of fun to Arlington would be gone.

  • Breaking News: Clarendons full of Self Important Pretentious NIMBY Yuppies.

    • Huh?

      I don’t think whoever once lived in those bungalows was a pretentious yuppie. The no-taste d-bags who buy the McMansions that will be built in their place? Absolutely.

      NIMBY is what people say when they can’t think of any other argument. Oooh, how dare you stand up for your neighborhood! How dare you take an involvement in what your community ends up looking like! We should all just roll over and allow McMansions, natural gas fracking, landfills–whatever the highest bidder proposes. Because money talks.

      • Lou

        I love the “you should have bought the property yourself then” types. Like if you want your neighborhood to be a certain way you should buy the whole place or be quite. Yeah, that argument never came back to bite anyone.

        • Indeed

          There are so many juveniles here, it’s amazing. The same people cyring NIMBY would cry bloody murder if someone proposed a WalMart, a parking lot, or a gas station in their precious mixed-use utopia.

  • Arlingtron

    Arlington does have a “Tree Fund” that requires a developer to contribute to if they can’t plant the requisite trees. http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/Communications/PressReleases/page58308.aspx
    I certainly hope the builder is designing these homes to meet some level of LEEDs standards which specify sustainability and efficiency over the building’s lifecycle.

    • The Native

      Why LEED? Do you think that is the best program out there? Or do you think commercial application to residential standards are the vest idea?

      • Josh S

        Not entirely sure what you just said there, but you might have been trying to say that LEED is only for commercial buildings and not for residential? Not so. LEED does have residential standards, including SFH, I believe.

        If that wasn’t what you were trying to say, then nevermind.

  • Tre

    Despite the missing tree canopy, honestly, I think these proposed houses are actually attractive and a lot better looking that the majority houses in that immediate and surrounding neighborhood. The house BeaconCrest put up a few lots down right across from the 11th Street Park (on Danville) is beautiful. And these are a lot better looking than the cookie-cutter Mickey Simpson bungalows IMO. Nevertheless, these new developments would have more character had they left 1 or 2 of the original trees like the big magnolia tree on the already-built Danville property.

    • CW

      What do you think about the place with the red Spanish terra cotta roof being built behind there on 12th st? Brings ridiculousness to a whole new level in my mind.

      • Tre

        Agreed… that and the monstrosity on its left. It was like someone used MSPaint.exe to design them.

  • KalashniKEV

    I love this story. Sooner than you think all these losers will be forced out, or die off, and we will have total domination.

  • YTK

    My My– MORE trees removed– MORE pollution from all the extra cars and people moving in– more pollution from the AC units and Heating units in these “LUXURY” homes and fewer trees and fewer birds.

    As for “Fewer Birds” NO cats could have caused such a massive bird removal as the CATerpillar bulldozers have done here!! (no trees, no nests, bye bye baby birds — and the birds have to go elsewhere and have to compete with other established birds there)

    • Darwin

      It’s a bitch, ain’t it?

  • Hilarious

    In the (misplaced?) hope that one or two sensible people will read my post, I provide the following:

    You know, I have lived in Arlington my entire life, and it amazes me how things have changed over time. One of the constants is the voice of the minority (complainers) that somehow drowns out all contrary explanations and points of view that tend to be sided with logic.

    For example, the article is about neighbors (a single sign apparently constitutes collusion by multiple “neighbors”) who dislike the fact that “their” vacant/overgrown/tree-filled lot was leveled (including the onsite houses) to allow four homes to be built.

    What I find amusing is that the “neighbor” reaction to the razing of the overgrown and potentially hazardous (hoarder homes define fire hazards) eyesores is in direct conflict with the goals of their elected Arlington County government for the planned development and future growth of Arlington County.

    People need to remember that density in Arlington is only going to go UP. That will eventually mean that most, or all, of the single family homes in the areas around the metro corridor will be torn down and replaced with housing of a higher density. This is how things work. If you don’t like it then change your votes or run for office.

    By the way, the Arlington planning documents are all available on the county website, for free of charge.

    Disclaimer: I am excluding the obvious ridiculousness of “neighbors” being outraged from this conversation because the razing of a blighted property (or properties) is necessary to maintain safe and hygienic living conditions for neighbors. It is also the right of the land owner to decide how they want to landscape their property and none of the business of the neighbors (excluding previous points made).

    • Lou

      You left off the trite “you should have bought the property yourself” argument.

      Also, Arlington has a process for determining blighted properties. Don’t throw around words like that without a factual basis.

      Overall you get a 6/10 just for length.

      • Hilarious

        Dear Lou,

        Thank you for… well, I’m not sure what for. I guess reading the comment. Wait, actually I like your point about suggesting that people put their money where their mouths are. Thanks!

        Oh, I’ve also evaluated your rating and have determined, based upon the American Library Association’s source evaluation criteria, to be useless.

        My statement about the houses was, actually, factual. If you are so inclined, you can still see some of the *facts* on Google Map’s Street View:
        Boarded up window? Check.
        House obscured with plants growing *on* deck? Check.
        Paint peeling off siding? Check.
        Gutter falling away from roof? Check.
        Overgrown plants in yard likely providing nesting for rats? Check.
        Horders with unsanitary conditions inside the homes? Check.
        Failure of properties to comply with Arlington County code 29-12? Check.

        Definition of a blighted property achieved! Thanks for playing!

        • Josh S

          Wait, your “evidence” is Google Street View? Now THAT sh*t is hilarious!!
          Alex, I’ll take “Odds That Google Street View is acceptable evidence for just about anything?” What is a bazillion to one?

          Also, the density argument is great and thanks for bringing it up, but I’m not sure it has anything to do with the discussion at hand. Replacing existing SFH with new SFH doesn’t change the density, even if the new homes are bigger.

          • Hilarious

            Dear Josh S.,

            I bet they would be admissible as Demonstrative Evidence under Evidence Rules 901 and 1001. I’d also expect the same rules to allow a printed copy of the picture in Google Street View to be accepted as well. Care to give it a go?

            Oh, look, a quick Google search (ironic, yes?) turned up an article about the NYPD using Google Street View as evidence in crimes. Here’s the link: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/11/google-street-view-nypd-drug.html

            And since I love correcting faults of logic (if it hasn’t become apparent already), the density DID increase because they tore down three SFH’s and built four. I was never good at math, but that one I was able to pull off (somehow). I’d provide you a link to the webpage where I found that tidbit of information but alas it’s right at the top of this exact page.

            Nice try though! Next contestant?

          • Josh S

            Yes you’re a genius for recognizing that four is greater than three. However, again, this doesn’t change the density in the context of the discussion. The neighborhood is still zoned for a certain density of homes. OK, you got me, this particular lot (or lots) were actually shaped in a way that allowed the subdivision and one extra house to be built. No one with a passing knowledge of zoning and urban planning would claim that the density of the neighborhood has changed.

            Lou’s point about “blighted” was that you probably aren’t in a position to make a factual statement about whether or not a particular house is, in fact, “blighted” by doing sitting at your computer, reading some comment threads, pulling up Google, and looking up the code. Since it’s a fairly serious designation, with serious consequences, methinks a judge is gonna require a bit more evidence to agree that the house, is, in fact, “blighted.” BTW, I’ve never seen the house in person (or should I say I never saw the house in person) so I don’t really know. But I certainly wouldn’t claim to know either.

            But why do I take seriously someone who ends his posts with lolcatz?

          • Hilarious

            First, I would like to thank you for acknowledging my 150+ IQ.

            As for whatever you said, I was fortunately able to find a moron translator (www.google.com/moron) which I used to decrypt your message.

            You’re d*mn right I got you. I am pretty sure SUBDIVIDING A LOT and ADDING A HOUSE would be considered INCREASING THE DENSITY. Especially since housing density is reported as the number of housing units per square kilometer. I would say +1 is an increase… maybe whatever math you practice ends up with a different result. As an aside, you remind me of the subject of a Carlos Mencia joke.

            You don’t know what position I am in so don’t speak for it. Even if I was wrong (which I am not), if you’re allowed to use your own math where +1 = 0 then I can use whatever term I feel is appropriate. You are just the definition of hypocrisy aren’t you?

            And for the record, I’ve seen those houses with my own eyes, so you can stop there with whatever type of analysis you were going to try–yet failed–to interject into our webversation.

            And you’re SUPERFICIAL, too!! Don’t you just have all the best qualities going for you. Saying that people shouldn’t listen to other people because of the way they look, or dress, or what they decide to include in the form of pictorial humor is like saying you shouldn’t listen to a Nobel Prize winners speech because he made a joke…. oh wait, one did… and no one laughed.


            Wow, I hope you don’t live near me. I could be concerned about whatever you have being contagious!

        • Lou

          It doesn’t really matter which rules you think apply. The county has a process for designating a property as blighted. Look into the Bromptons saga and then come back to us with your new knowledge. Learning about what you are discussing is always a good thing.

          These houses were not blight.

          • Hilarious

            HAHAHAHA. Like I said in my first post. Some people just can’t apply logic. Yes Lou, this statement would apply to you.

            Blight, for the purposes of taking legal action against a property, requires a number of things to occur. Non-compliance with the code section I referenced earlier is one of the primary items (this would be the FACT part). The other primary item is the owners not making required changes to the property to bring it into compliance. The declaration of blight by the county is just a procedural move to begin taking action against said property.

            It’s kinda like filing suit against someone in court. The causative action has already occurred. I know you need help, so I’ll break it down for you. The causative action would refer to the property being a blight, while the suit and its corresponding judgement would be the county’s declaration of blight.

            As for your attempt to educate me… You bring up a perfect point with the Bromptons at Cherrydale. The builder stopped building in 2006 and it took two years of abandonment by the builder for the county to determine that it met the criteria of blight. I’m glad you weren’t the captain of the Titanic because I’m pretty sure the Titanic has already gone down but you might have left it until this morning before you decided to “abandon ship”…. oh wait, it sank in 1912. Oops, too late!

            I’m not like you–I don’t need the county to come in and tell me what is blight. I am able to make up my own mind, based on facts, without the assistance of other people.

            P.S. You seem to have such a strong conviction against my using the term blight that I am left wondering.. Did you own the blighted properties? Oops!

          • Lou

            So wait, you are admitting that the properties were not declared blighted? I think you are making progress!

          • Hilarious

            No, I am stating that the county didn’t declare them blighted but that didn’t change the fact that they were blighted. Try looking it up in a dictionary. I’ll give you a hint, it doesn’t say this:

            Blight (blahyt)
            The state or result of a declaration by Arlington County that a property is blighted or deteriorated; dilapidation; decay: Arlington County-defined urban blight.

            Like I said, you’re pretty dense, but maybe one day you’ll be able to make up your mind without someone serving it to you.

            Like I said, there are going to be people whose pathetic mid-50’s lives will prevent them from understanding logic. You fit right into that group (more than you thought I knew, yes?).

            Take care, Lou. I wish you the best in that fairy tale land inside your head. I have to move on to more pressing things and can’t hold your hand anymore.

            Oh, ok. Maybe I’ll help you one more time… here’s a link to the definition of blight:


    • the native

      Right on Hilarious!

      • Hilarious

        Dear the native,

        Thank you! It is my pleasure to inform, educate, and entertain!


  • Wahoo

    I heard the new home owner is a HOKIE?!?!

    GET HIM!

    • Suburban Not Urban

      Why? Cause he might actually know how to build a house. Not just keep Off the LAWN…..

  • jjbug

    Another approach to this problem of losing trees lies in valuing them more at Assessment time! Surely there is some formula for each tree over 40′, say, win the property owner a few thousand dollars reduction in taxes. Now those home builders won’t linger about putting in the new trees and seeing they are cared for! It could take a few years for the new homes to qualify for such reductions.

    What do you Assessment watchers say?

  • Gary

    This just in…. the construction crew at the corner of Washington on 10th just senselessly murdered a tree for the sake of building an apt building! The horror! News crews are on their way. NOGAS!

    • ArborWaterboarder

      Did they torture it first? Because that would be REALLY, REALLY BAD!!!!

  • Big Rick Jackson

    Big Rick don’t mind a few trees cut down. More firewood for the long winter predicted in ma farmers almanac. Too bad some of these granolas weren’t holding on to them when them trees was killed. Find something else to bitch about – this is beyond ridiculous. Big Rick is going to bed now. Dreaming of neon trees. -BRJ

  • Liam

    I am sure the builder probably had a very good reason for cutting down those trees. It is incredibly expensive to cut down large trees – sometimes as much as $1000 or more per tree. In addition, Arlington County makes a builder plant a new tree for every mature tree that is cut down. It’s part of the county rules and you can’t get a building permit without a tree report and plan where every existing tree is counted and new trees have to be planted to replace them. Enough new trees must be planted so that the projected canopy coverage in 10 years is the same as it was before any of the original trees were cut down. New trees are very expensive, too. The builders who cut down a lot of trees spend a lot more than a builder who saves trees. There was probably a very good reason why they were cut down. Utilities may have had to be undergrounded right through the root structures that may have eventually killed the trees. A cheap builder will leave all the old trees and not care if they die eventually as a result of construction.

    • Hilarious

      Dear Liam,

      You make a very interesting point which I hadn’t even considered. I also didn’t know about the Arlington County rule regarding canopy coverage replacement. It seems like that would resolve people’s complaints about losing the trees.

      Of course, I don’t expect the majority of people with the complaints to still be in the county in ten years so maybe that won’t be enough to pacify them. I hear Front Royal has a lot of nice trees, maybe that’s where they’ll end up!

      Thanks for taking the time to add to the conversation!

      • WhiskyBravo

        I love your cat pictures, Hilarious. <3

        • Hilarious

          Dear WhiskyBravo,

          Thank you for the Bravo Zulu!!

          Here’s another!

  • Lou

    First you make a bad argument then you take a wrong guess about me. Maybe you are not cut out for this internet thing.


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