Join Club

Residents Voice Opposition to New Glencarlyn School

The Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association is asking the Arlington County Board for help in its fight against a new proposed school in the neighborhood.

To address school capacity issues, Arlington Public Schools is planning to build a number of new schools, including a new 600-seat “choice” elementary school on the site of the existing Kenmore Middle School/Carlin Springs Elementary School campus.

The Citizens’ Association says the new school, slated to be built by 2017, would bring the total number of students attending schools in the Glencarlyn neighborhood to 2,600, including at Kenmore, Carlin Springs and nearby Campbell Elementary School. That, the association says, presents major traffic, parking and open space issues that will degrade the quality of life for residents.

The association is asking for the County Board’s help after not getting a satisfactory response from the School Board.

“We have tried to raise our concerns with the School Board, but our community was not consulted during the planning process, despite our requests that it do so, nor has it been responsive to our questions and concerns,” Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association President Peter Olivere wrote in a letter to the County Board (after the jump). “We need your help.”

Olivere told reporters that Glencarlyn residents do not want to be portrayed as having a “Not-In-My-Backyard” attitude.

“Please, we very much do not want to be categorized as NIMBY; we only want a process which fully addresses the community concerns before a final decision is made, which is the ‘Arlington Way,'” he wrote.

As previously reported, Arlington Public Schools is facing a significant capacity crunch. The school system is expected to reach capacity at the elementary school level by next fall. The new choice school in Glencarlyn is one of five proposed new capacity-generating construction projects throughout the county.

The full letter from the Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association, after the jump.

June 25, 2012

Members of the Board:

The Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association is requesting the assistance of the County Board in addressing significant neighborhood concerns related to the proposed construction of a new choice school in our community. Although the members of the Glencarlyn community generally support the School Board’s efforts to address the capacity needs of the school system, there is strong, broad-based opposition to adding a fourth school within a small geographical area. We have tried to raise our concerns with the School Board, but our community was not consulted during the planning process, despite our requests that it do so, nor has it been responsive to our questions and concerns. We need your help.

Background

As you are aware, the Glencarlyn community is already the site of three Arlington schools: Kenmore Middle School; Carlin Springs Elementary School; and Campbell Elementary School. The School Board’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) includes a total of $46.4 million for the construction of a new choice elementary school at the Kenmore/Carlin Springs location, $4.5 million to come from the November 2012 bond referendum and $41.9 million from 2014 bonds. The addition of that new school will bring the number of students to over 2150 on that site. When Campbell, just one third mile away, is included the total will be 2600, which is 750 more than the high schools. Because three of the schools will be choice schools, they will create a substantially higher level of traffic, particularly during the morning rush hour, than would neighborhood schools.

The four schools are all primarily served by a short segment of Carlin Springs Road, which already operates at well over capacity. In fact, traffic conditions are currently so bad they frequently back up from Arlington Boulevard to Columbia Pike and occasionally disrupt morning programs at the schools with late arrivals. Operating a fourth school in that same small area will compound existing traffic conditions and create new safety issues for many students who walk to school along a busy road on narrow sidewalks next to the roadway.

Parking will be an immense challenge both during and after the schools’ regular operating hours. Demand for parking spaces for recreational use of the athletic fields and afterschool programs, including the Kenmore theaters, often results in use of adjacent residential streets. With the loss of overflow parking on the Kenmore site and more afterschool events to accommodate, there may be a doubling of the demand for parking on neighborhood streets. As one of the oldest communities in Arlington, most Glencarlyn streets are very narrow and many don’t have sidewalks, since they predate county ordinances governing street width and emergency vehicle access. Imposing 2 additional parking demands on neighborhood streets creates new safety concerns and degrades qualify of life for local residents.

We have both met and exchanged several letters with the School Board and Superintendent, urging the School Board to defer the final decision on the site until the school staff has worked with the neighborhood to determine that satisfactory solutions exist to effectively mitigate these critical issues regarding increased traffic on already overcrowded streets, overflowing parking into neighborhood streets, pedestrian safety, and related issues. We asked the School Board to agree to reject this location if the community concerns are not able to be met, whether or not an alternative location for a school has been identified. The School Board’s responses have essentially ignored our request for the delay and note that the community concerns will be considered during the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) process. However, the BLPC Process does not begin until after the school is funded and substantial design funds have been expended, thus providing no assurance that our critical neighborhood issues will ever be addressed.

Request to the County Board

The School Board committed at the beginning of the Capacity Planning process to include Neighborhood Resources as a criterion in the site selection process. The Schools also acknowledge that neighborhoods were not consulted in determining the impact during that selection process. Clearly the focus of the School Board is students and not the community, and that is evident from its handling of the input into the process and their responses to our letters.

We understand that the County Board will review the School Capital Improvement Plan and can adjust the total funding included in the November bond issue, but the County Board cannot address the specifics of projects included. However, the County Board does oversee the approval of the construction of new facilities and in that role will be focusing on the broader community concerns which the School Board chose not consider.

Consequently, we request that the County Board, as part of the discussions on the proposed School bond amount, specifically state that the locations identified by the School Board in its CIP are contingent on reaching satisfactory solutions to mitigate issues of critical concern to the community and that the County Board will reject locations if those critical community concerns are not effectively mitigated, whether or not an alternative location for a school has been identified.

We thank you for your support in this matter of considerable concern to Glencarlyn and other members of the community who either travel on Carlin Springs Road or use the area for recreation.

We have attached a copy of the resolution passed at a Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association meeting and issues that we identified in our initial letter to the School Board on April 5, 2012.

Sincerely,

Peter Olivere
President
Glencarlyn Citizens’ Association
cc: Arlington School Board

Recent Stories

The exploded Little Free Library in Arlington Forest was mysteriously rebuilt last week, much to the delight of the owners. It was a cold, overcast, slightly snowy Wednesday morning last…

Wakefield High School is back open, with heavy hearts and extra vigilance. Last week a student died in the hospital two days after an apparent overdose in a school bathroom….

Morning Notes

Settlement in Jail Death Case — “Relatives of a man who died in the Arlington County jail and their attorney would receive about $1.3 million in exchange for dismissal of…

In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.

Its February and you said you would start your journey to a healthier you, last month! If you are struggling and do not know how or what to do to get started, we are here to keep you accountable. At Aspire Higher Training, we offer 1-1 Personal Training for ALL fitness levels, Semi-Private Group Training, Sport Specific Training and Injury Prevention/Post-Physical Therapy Training. Monica and her team of trainers are available across Arlington, Va.

If you don’t have access to a gym, no problem, we are located in South Arlington, but if you want to workout from your home gym, we also offer that flexibility. We make it as convenient as possible to ensure your success. Before getting started, we offer a free 15-30 minute consultation call to see how we can best help you towards your health and fitness goals. Let’s get started on your health and fitness goals today by setting up a call at your earliest convenience:

https://www.aspirehigherfitness.com/contact

Submit your own Announcement here.

YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers — open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.

Middle School

In the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.

High School

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list