Bluemont Residents to Vote on Bocce Court Request

by ARLnow.com April 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm 4,578 78 Comments

Bluemont residents will vote tonight on a petition (below) that calls for the county parks department to build and pay for a Petanque-Bocce court in the neighborhood.

The vote will take place at tonight’s Bluemont Civic Association meeting. Supporters say the court would “foster community spirit in a fun way for all ages.”


We, the undersigned Bluemont residents, support the petition to construct a 4-meter wide and 15 meters (13’ x 50’) long Petanque-Bocce court along the Bluemont Junction Trail. At the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA) general membership meeting on April 25, 2012, this petition will be submitted to the BCA for approval. Upon approval, the petition will be forwarded to the Arlington County Parks & Recreation Department to fund design and construction. We request the BCA to create a working group to coordinate with the Parks department, and homeowners residing along the Bluemont Trail to determine the site location between N. Illinois and N. Emerson Street.

  • The new trendy sport according to an article in the NY Times earlier this week


  • HollaArlington

    O M G!

  • speonjosh

    Why would anyone vote no?

  • Ashton Heights

    Anyone here going to play at Mosaic Park tonight? May see you there.

  • Really?

    At least its not another soccer field.

  • George

    what the hell is bocce

    • drax

      It’s this Japanese porn thing where they…oh, wait, wrong word.

    • Sir Charles

      Bowls with bad grass

  • PhilL

    quoits is where it’s at

  • nom de guerre

    Jousting is king.

  • Westover

    I watched some people play Bocce in Golden Gate Park once. Watched for like 5 hours. It was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

    • speonjosh

      GGP will do that to you….especially if you pass through the Haight on your way……if you know what I mean, and I believe you do……

      • nom de guerre

        cannabus or hallucingens? or both?

    • Jason S.

      I’m sorry.

  • DarkHeart

    The next thing will be stickball and then Scalia moves in.

    • nom de guerre

      After that it will be lawn darts.

      • Elmer

        Nay, nave. Next its croquet.

        • Elmer

          Knave-not nave.

        • nom de guerre

          Croquet hoops look damn pretty this afternoon.

  • Dot

    Very cool. They have my vote.

    • C. Malone

      I vote for a skeet range.

  • Mark

    Way cool – – unless it’s right next door to your house like this will be for several homeowners. Strange to me how the pro-bocce ballers seem to have no concern for the neighbors. I guess the thought is that enough signatures on a petition makes it OK to jam it down these people’s throats. If the shoe were on the other foot, they might not think it so wonderful.

    • Corey

      Uh – what’s so bad about having a bocce court next door?

      • Suzanne Smith Sundburg

        Some of my fondest memories are watching old French men play boule on the grass in Parisian parks while dragging on unfiltered Gitanes. The problem, though, is not the bocce court but the fact that this discussion has dragged on for nearly a year. There is a relatively small group on each side of the issue (most of us don’t/won’t ever play bocce, nor do we live near the park), but now the rest of us are being put on the spot and asked to choose up sides.

        And in the past year, the side that wants the bocce court has yet to met with the other side to see whether a compromise could be worked out. The initially proposed location was right on top of private property, and the property owner was told that his landscaping was not “suitable” for the envisioned grand entryway to the park and the bocce court. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well. If anyone on this list wants people tramping through their yards to access a bocce ball court, do let us know. Then maybe we could move on to weightier matters.


        • dalcaisan

          That trampling over private property you speak off. Are you talking about the white house on N. Emerson and N. Bluemont where a boat is being built in the backyard… where the 15+ trees and shrubs planted by the homeowner is on public land. And the homeowner has extended his backyard 2+ times? I just want to make sure I have the facts correct so we can better understand if the public is actually trampliing through someone’s yard or it is actually available for public use or not?

    • jackson

      It’s a ball rolling on… sand? Grass? How will it be loud? A playground in the afternoon is 1,000 times noisier. Darn kids!

      • Corey

        I know. If this board is any indication, every Arlington resident has a stick permanently lodged in their rear end

    • Josh S

      This is a joke post.


    • Emily

      Thank you

  • lohad

    Hhmmmm!!!! Demanding a Bocce Court???? What has Arlington come to. Let them pay for it themselves. Sheesh. If AC had to fund all of these “wish” list items for the coddled people in the neighborhood………
    I wish my neighborhood had Hmm let me see..Funding homeless shelters–yes….esoteric pastimes—-no

    • drax

      Who said “demanding?”

  • Sal

    Yes, there’s nothing like the “clack” of bocce balls and acknowledgement of a good roll — not to mention having a gathering place where young and old can meet each other or say hello — during the day — in a park — where no alcohol is allowed — and that Bluemont can be proud of — to ruin the neighborhood.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Is this for real – or is somebody just trying to make a point – that the board will cave to any random special interest – so that they can justify doling out support for their own pet projects and site things like this “community” benefit when residents are asked to cave on things that really matter like density, transportation etc.

    • drax


      We have dozens of “special interest” sports and recreation facilities – because people want to do different things. What’s wrong with that?

      If you think transportation should come first, do you want to shut down all maintenance for fields and tennis courts and shut down the pools? Go ahead, advocate that, I dare you.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        No what I am displaying is disgust for the culture of doling out “perky” things like Long Bridge Park, Aquatic centers and soccer fields in exchange for 60% additional density in Crystal City to turn Arlington into the next Anacostia.

        • drax

          Oh, so you’re just being your same old curmudgeonly self. I’ll get off your lawn.

        • Josh S

          “the next Anacostia?”

          I’m struggling to understand what that could possibly mean, in sort of a reality that bears somewhat of a close resemblance to the one I am familiar with.

          • ramen

            You’ll get it eventually.

          • drax

            Arlington is probably already much denser than Anacostia, so I’m thinking he’s being a racist puke. But he’ll have to speak for himself on that.

          • ramen

            Why do you think racism?

          • drax

            Got an alternative?

          • ramen

            I guess you don’t.

  • ArlMom

    I think the court will be by the rocks towards Illinois Street.

  • Kate

    Over 40 bike trail area families do not want a bocce court in that location. Many think it would be fine in another area, such as Bluemont Park, where there is ample parking and access by the public.
    Families are concerned about Bocce players in areas that are right next to homes, parking, maintenance, trash, and aethetics.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Do you honestly expect the park to be overrun with bocce players such that parking and trash will really be an issue? There are basketball hoops and tennis courts in parks, why not bocce?

    • Josh S

      Please define “aethetics.”

      Do you mean atheletes?

      “Families are concerned…”

      Is this like “some people say….”?

      • Ed

        I think she meant “atheists”

    • Emily

      Kate you are absolutely right.
      Many of the residents do not want activity right up against their property lines. It’s pretty narrow between the homes and the bikepath as it is.
      If you have a house along the path you’d understand how privacy could be an issue.

      I think it makes sense to create a space at the park itself for this.

  • ArlingtonWay

    Seriously. You cant make this stuff up. They board raises taxes and the very same week vote to construct a taxpayer funded Bocce ball court. BOCCE BALL!? Are you freaking kidding me? BOCCE BALL??

    • Plunkitt


      No you can’t make this up.
      Even JRR Tolkien couldn’t have conjured this from his imagination…

  • gapster

    Now I’ve got to pay for a Bocce court I will never use?
    A court? Really?

    We play on cut grass on all terrain – and stand around cheering each other and drinking beer.

    Do you want that next to your house? I’d hate it.

    Play Bocce in your own yard, at your own expense!

    • drax

      You could say that about soccer or softball or tennis too. Yet we have soccer and baseball and tennis courts in our parks.

      Stop making a big deal out of nothing.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Except that none of those sports are playable in the typical arlington yard where boce can.

        • drax

          I sure as hell can’t play bocce in my yard. And lots of Arlingtonians don’t have yards at all.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Look, if the court were going to cost millions of dollars for some reason, then I’d be complaining right there with you. But this can’t possibly cost so much that it warrants this level of angst.

  • Bronsons Stache

    @ gapster – Really?? It’s in Bluemont Park, where alcohol is BANNED. As for cheering, it’s not like the cheers you hear from a little league sport that’s played at the park… All of you opposed to this need to get over yourself.

    • Josh S

      People seem to be on the lookout for something to oppose, don’t they?

  • sunflower

    i’ve just moved to a condo in jax beech florida where our only “recreational facilities”are croquet and bocce ball. I thought it was done because of low maintenance and less intrusiveness noisewise.

    • sunflower

      beach !

  • It wouldn’t be in Bluemont Park. It would be on Bluemont Junction Trail which is a path that runs parallel to houses from George Mason/Wilson Blvd intersection and Bluemont Park.

    • From George Mason/Wilson Blvd intersection to Bluemont Park

  • ArlMom

    If the court does go on the trail at the rocks, I hope they put in a restroom too, as there is none there now.

  • cranky.crankypants

    Could they possibly be bigger cake-eaters in asking for this? It is mind boggling how tone-deaf the request is, coming on the heels of the tax hike. If you want it, build it yourself, with your own money.

    • ramen

      Let them form a new Bluemont Neighborhood Improvement District with an extra incremental tax levied on them to pay for it.

      • drax

        Sure, if they get exclusive use of it.

        • ramen

          Are you agreeing to that on their behalf, or are you one of the residents?

          • drax

            Just saying that they shouldn’t have to pay for all of it if its open to everyone.

    • drax

      We don’t know whether the county would build it with new funds or use some existing funds or ask for donations or what yet.

      We do know that the county spends millions on pools, tennis, softball, soccer, cycling, running etc. facilities and nobody gets all panty-wadded about it. The only reason people like you are freaking over it is that it’s a sport you’re not already used to.

  • You Have Got To Be Kidding

    “nobody gets all panty-wadded about it”

    Bogey was right, “The Cheaper the Crook, the Gaudier the Patter”

  • Kate

    Thanks for the spelling correction, neighbors. Over 50 families along the Bluemont trail have expressed concern about locating a Bocce court in the suggested area. Some neighbors suggested that the court be placed in another area nearby that would not cause the problems. Concerns raised include: adjacency to property that would have court players looking directly into homes, parking, maintenance issues, trash pick-up, and …wait for it…aesthetics. In other words, some neighbors think it would ruin the look of the carefully planted park. We hope for a solution to address the concerns of so many families.

    • NorthArl

      The people who live along the trail do not object to a court in a park area. The objection is building it in the throughway area where the members of the Bluemont Civic Association want it. Every suggestion for another area was ignored or vetoed during the meeting. It seems to have already been decided where it’s going to be.

      During the Civic Association meeting we heard conflicting things – one person who spoke to a county employee was told the throughway was not meant to be developed. Another member said if the Association approved it, it was going to be supported by the county.

      It will be worth finding out if that area can even be developed before continuing to bring about discord in the community.

  • Barbara Wien

    Many of the comments posted on this site miss the real, underlying problem (perhaps because people are not able to attend BCA meetings to witness what is going on). Tearing out green spaces to make way for a cinder bocce ball court on the bike path is only a small part of the issue. Fairness and a democratic process in our community is truly what’s at stake.

    A group of cronies hijacked the civic association a few years back and has been using under-handed tactics to repeatedly get their way and impose their will on the rest of the community. Without adequate public notice, they have repeatedly pushed a pro-development agenda. They lack transparency, openness and good governance. They bend the rules to fit their own interests and shut down dialogue. A case in point is the April 25th meeting. The President attempted to move the Bocce ball vote to another date, even though he knew a large number of attendees showed up to discuss the issue (he did this last spring too) . There was a clear bias by those running the meeting to ignore Roberts Rules. The President was asked to recuse himself from facilitating the vote since he initiated the bocce petition. A 2nd petition opposing the court signed by 40 families was ignored. The April BCA newsletter contained information soliciting signatures in favor of the court, but no alternative was presented, even though the leadership knew weeks in advance of an opposing petition. When people opposed the bocce ball court, their attendance and membership was called into question. Those in favor of the Bocce ball court considered their interests paramount, but the concerns of 65 families who live next to the proposed site not worth discussing.

    A substantial number of people reject tearing out the field on the bike path between Illinois St & Emerson to build a bocce ball court. Yet it is already being presented to Arlington County as if it was approved by the residents. This is not what happened. The result of the meeting was that the site of the courts remains to be determined. A new committee is supposed to investigate alternate sites. The only result of the meeting was ill will and alienation by the BCA leadership. I have witnessed this same behavior by this group of cronies for five years.

    • bluemont resident

      Seeing how the vote was announced in the Bluemont newsletter, I’m not surprised you say this. It read like an ad for a yes vote.

    • BCA member

      As a new member of BCA this was my first meeting and I really appreciated the warm welcome. haha (i.e. being asked if I had a right to be there).

    • Interesting

      Interesting….sounds like a clone of EFC Civic Association….there seems to be a pattern here.

  • When I first heard about this proposal, I was enthusiastic, and signed the petition immediately. The proposed site is just across the street from my house (I live at the intersection of Harrison and Bluemont) and that would be GREAT for a petanque player like myself. I could literally walk across the street and be at a petanque court!!!

    But then I realized why that would be impossible.

    If you look at the proposed site, it is on a tilting down-slope beneath the elevated pedestrian/bike path (the old railway). That would make it a fairly major job to construct a flat, non-sloping court. But if a court _were_ to be constructed there, it would be located beneath the elevated bike path. Every bit of rain that fell on the bike path would run down the slope and in to (on to?) the court.

    What makes the situation even more impossible is the nature of the ground in that area. The geology in this area is such that there are hard impermeable horizontal layers of clay beneath the surface. As a result, when there is a heavy rain or a heavy snow melt, water doesn’t sink into the ground… it sinks only a few inches or a few feet, and then puddles above the layers of clay. If it can, it flow sideways and horizontally — beneath the ground — underneath the street (Bluemont), and into the basements of the houses on the south side of Bluemont.

    Because of this geology, whenever there is a heavy rain (such as we periodically get from the near-miss of a hurricane, for instance) or a heavy snow melt, virtually every house in the area has water in the basement. Most home owners have sump pumps in their basements.

    But that is about basements. Right now, we’re talking bocce/petanque courts.

    What is relevant to us now is that, because of the geology, in some places the water pools on the surface of the ground. In fact, the proposed location for the bocce court lies in the exact center of what (after _every_ heavy rain) becomes a lake of standing water, several inches deep, that lasts for days, sometimes more than a week. After a big rain, when the sun comes out again, kids love to play in it and run through it in their bare feet.

    These conditions would be the destructive for any kind of paved surface (athletic court, parking lot) but (I’m sorry to say) they would be the kiss of death for a clay court such as a bocce/petanque court. A clay-based court would almost literally melt — it would be unusable after the first heavy rain or heavy snow-melt. Which means that it wouldn’t survive its first winter.

    The bottom line is that if you consider the geology and weather of the area, it is hard to imagine a _worse_ location for a bocce court than this one.

    So I’m afraid that I’ll have to give up on my beautiful fantasy of a petanque court just across the street from my house….

  • To Stephen -a BCA committee is now scouting new spots for the bocce court. They are looking at spaces directly adjacent to private property, but still on the bike trail. They have decided not to try for the center spot on the trail that floods. It will be very close to private property between Harrison Street and Illinois Street. So you will receive your fantasy of a court close to your house, perhaps closer than you ever dreamed.

  • george splat

    Emergency Meeting of the BCA Executive Board

    Wednesday, October 10, 7pm, Firehouse # 2

    At the request of BCA non-executive board members Dan Mesches, David Hughes, Carla dal Cais, Kristin McPartland, Brian McPartland, an Emergency Meeting of the BCA Executive Board (elected BCA Officers and Civic Federation representatives) will meet on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 7 pm (Firehouse # 2) to examine the unadvertised motion and vote against a PEG Grant application at the September 27, 2012 BCA General Membership Meeting.

    No advance notice advertised by the BCA of a vote against a PEG Grant application
    No copy of the PEG grant application available for review prior to the vote
    Tone and the lack of civility the audience directed at the bocce-petanque working group member who provided an update before the membership on the October 27
    Determine whether the acting chair recognized a motion that was out of order

    NOTE: This meeting is open to the public. However, public comments or statements will not be accepted by the Chair.


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