by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm 2,285 39 Comments

Treetop shelter similar to one proposed for Potomac Overlook Regional Park (photo via NVRPA)An ambitious plan to add amenities to Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 N Marcey Road) has been scaled back as a result of negative feedback from residents.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has released a “Version 2.0” of its Potomac Overlook improvement plan. Officials say they made changes to the plan after receiving concerns and criticism at a community meeting last week and in the comments section of an ARLnow.com article.

Site plan for Potomac Regional Overlook ParkThe new plan removes a proposed zip line, rock wall and paved parking lot from “near-term consideration.” It also establishes a “Natural Resources Advisory Committee” to study some elements of the original plan prior to any implementation. Plan elements selected for further study are the signature “tree house overlook,” a small urban farm, and any removal of healthy trees.

Elements of the plan that the park authority intends to move forward with over the next few years include:

  • New programming and interpretive signage
  • Tearing down an aging performance stage and replacing it with a new stage/shelter
  • Renovating the Bird of Prey structure
  • New kiosk/signage at park entrance
  • New scout camping area near a fire circle in the back of the park
  • Historic Donaldson barn site interpretation
  • Adding more wood chips to trails

“We are calling this Potomac Overlook Improvement Plan Version 2.0, and I think it will please many who have shared their views with us,” said Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Executive Director Paul Gilbert.

by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm 10 Comments

After this week’s weather rut, take advantage of the weekend’s sunny forecast and check out these open houses in Arlington.

See our real estate section for a full listing of open houses. Here are a few highlights:

1300 Arlington Ridge Road1300 Arlington Ridge Road
1 BD | 1 BA condominium
Tonya Nelson, Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $225,000
Open: Sunday, March 10 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

3461 Kemper Road3461 Kemper Road
2 BD | 2 full BA, 1 half BA townhouse
Janet McElheney, Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $579,900
Open: Sunday, March 10 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

888 Quincy Street North
2 BD | 2 BA condominium
Shawn Battle, Century 21 Redwood Realty
Listed: $792,500
Open: Sunday, March 10 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

5244 5th Street North
6 BD | 5 BA single family detached
Priti Malhotra, Weichert Realty
Listed: $1,250,000
Open: Saturday, March 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

6319-35th6319 35th Street N.
5 BD | 6 BA single family detached
Denise Kaydouh, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Listed: $1,749,000
Open: Sunday, March 10 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm 2,617 22 Comments

Mama's Donut Bites truck (photo via Facebook)There’s a new food truck prowling the streets of Arlington, bringing freshly-made mini donuts to local office workers.

The new Mama’s Donut Bites truck started serving Arlington late last month. The truck is an expansion of a donut business that has been serving local farmers markets for the past year or so, according to Food Truck Fiesta. The donuts are made freshly in the truck using local ingredients, and served hot.

As reported by Food Truck Fiesta, the mini-sized donuts cost $3 for 6, $5 for 12 or $10 for 26. Coffee costs $1.50.

The donut menu rotates seasonally; past and current favors include “classic,” apple cider, pumpkin spice, dutch cocoa, blueberry and red velvet. According to the truck’s Facebook page, a free toppings bar offers:

  • Homemade Raspberry Preserves
  • Dark Chocolate Sauce
  • White Chocolate Sauce
  • Vanilla Icing
  • Caramel
  • Cinnamon-Vanilla Whipped Cream
  • Clover Honey
  • Cinnamon & Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Rainbow Sprinkles

In Arlington, the truck has thus far served Rosslyn, Ballston and Arlington Hall. The truck was supposed to travel to Rosslyn today, but reportedly had transmission problems and was instead stranded on the side of I-66.

Photo via Facebook

by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm 1,128 37 Comments

Your Beermonger logo

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

Clay Risen has the craft beer world all in a tizzy this week, though most beer geeks out there may not even be familiar with his name. With one New York Times article Risen, an author, Times editor and occasional contributor of some fine spirits articles to The Atlantic, reignited years-old arguments in the craft beer community with an article about his sudden and shocking discovery of 750mL bottles of craft beer, many of which sell at prices comparable to bottles of wine.

Beyond simply being late-to-the-party on the use of 750mL bottles by brewers, the article made legitimate craft beer-drinker concerns sound a bit like whining while seeming amused by the idea of beer being anything but a cheap, ‘common’ drink. The wake of the Times article saw concerns rise once again over the ‘wineification’ of beer, and debates over what the best format is for big beers and special releases.

Large beer bottles on the shelf at ArrowineIt all started with a handful of tweets Tuesday morning: some of the beer fans and writers whom I follow on Twitter started shooting links to Risen’s Times piece with pithy comments about its tone. The conversation quickly turned to concerns over the rising costs of some beers (especially those in larger formats), and frustration over 750mL bottles being too big to enjoy without help.

Let’s tackle the second point first: as a commenter on The Drinks Business points out in their report on the Times article, there are hundreds if not thousands of Belgian beers that come in 750s, while another points out that it’s often easier and more cost-effective for breweries to bottle in 750s rather than in 12oz bottles for four- or six-packs. There have always been those calling for stronger beers to be packaged in smaller bottles, as 750mL bottles demand a crowd to share reasonable servings. However, even when rarities or bigger brews are sold in the 12oz format that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be tackled on one’s own. Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA and WorldWide Stout are sold as 12oz bottles, and both are strong enough to merit a group of three or four (though some of us have been known, on occasion, to take them on solo).

Slightly more concerning to me, not only as a specialty retailer but as a craft beer fan, is the umbrage being taken with more expensive beers, which increasingly make up most of the 750mL beer bottles on the market. Among us beer geeks the conversations run toward breweries we’ve seen come up from humble beginnings abandoning the diehards who supported them in their youth for an upscale, stratified market. These debates will sound familiar to music lovers who have heard laments over one band or the other ‘selling out’ — a concept whose relevance and veracity dull with age and experience, like teeth.

Beer writer and all-around good guy Jake Berg of local beer website DCBeer.com wished for craft breweries to take a route opposite what most have been doing lately by bottling their higher-ABV beers in smaller formats while saving the more everyday recipes for 750s. There is a long history of this exact thing being done and many do it today, but the trend of retail sales over the past few years has favored smaller daily drinkers: for example, I used to only carry the 750mL bottles of Saison Dupont, the classic Belgian Farmhouse Ale. These days, I stock the 12.7oz bottles as the trend went toward beer drinkers enjoying their drink, rather than the group sharing a drink.


by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 11:05 am 2,128 115 Comments

arlington-va-logoIn her proposed FY 2014 budget, which calls for a 3.2 cent tax hike and 9.2 million in spending cuts, County Manager Barbara Donnellan also identified — for discussion purposes — ways the county could cut enough spending to negate the need for tax hikes.

The county would need to cut an additional $13 million to balance the budget without the property tax increase. Among Donnellan’s theoretical options for cuts are: reducing library hours, closing Artisphere, delaying major capital projects, eliminating employee pay raises and cutting maintenance funds.

From the manager’s budget:

  • Changing operating hours of facilities and / or evaluate repurposing or closure of facilities
    • Reducing library hours to 2011 levels – $0.5 million
    • Closing the Artisphere would result in $0.9 million in ongoing savings in FY 2014 (assuming one-time closure costs are covered with other funds)
  • Delay opening of new facilities which could result in operating cost and possibly debt service savings
  • Evaluate employee compensation, including both pay and benefit levels
    • Eliminate merit step increase for FY 2014 – $3.4 million
    • Shift health care increase to employees and retirees – $1.8 million
  • Evaluate service levels in each operating department for possible reduction or elimination
    • A 1% across the board reduction in County departments would yield $4 – $4.5 million
    • Reduce maintenance capital — a 10% reduction would equal over $1 million
  • Redirection of dedicated revenue streams, e.g., reduce allocation to Crystal City Tax Increment Financing Area from 33 to 20% would yield $0.9 million; redirect dedicated bike-pedestrian fee to any General Fund use – $1.2 million

On top of the county’s $13 million in cuts, in a no-tax-hike scenario, Arlington Public Schools would need to find an additional $6.8 million to cut from its budget.

Even if tax rates remained the same, however, local homeowners would still pay higher taxes this year. The average single family home property tax bill would increase $52, thanks to an increase in property assessments. Under Donnellan’s budget, the average homeowner will pay an additional $262.

If the county were to decide to do away with all of Donnellan’s proposed cuts — including cuts to public safety, human services and other departments — Arlington would have to raise the real estate tax rate 5.7 cents to $1.028 per $100 in assessed value. That would result in a $351 increase in the average real estate tax bill.

Such a tax hike is not legally possible in FY 2014. Last month the Arlington County Board voted to advertise a $1.021 tax rate, meaning the Board cannot ultimately set the rate higher than that.

The Board will adopt its final budget on April 20. Public budget hearings are scheduled for March 26 and 28. The Board’s next budget work session is set for March 12, and will address the police, fire, sheriff and emergency management budgets.

by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 10:00 am 4,923 31 Comments

Pupatella Pizzeria opens on Wilson BoulevardThe Washington Post is out with a list of the “40 dishes Washingtonians shouldn’t live without in 2013,” and apparently the region can live without most food in Arlington.

Of the 40 restaurants and dishes, the Margherita DOC pizza at Pupatella (5104 Wilson Blvd) was the only Arlington original to make the list.

Also on the list was the Kufta sandwich at Astor Mediterranean, a D.C. restaurant that has a satellite location in Arlington at 2300 N. Pershing Drive.

Alexandria and Falls Church each tallied two restaurants on the list, which was compiled partially via suggestions from Twitter using the “#40Eats” hashtag. The vast majority of the list featured restaurants in the District.

by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 9:00 am 1,564 66 Comments

Sunset over Reagan National Airport (Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money)

Spring Forward This Weekend — Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend. Clocks should “spring forward” one hour at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. [Yahoo]

Condo Residents Still Oppose Homeless Shelter — Arlington County has failed to allay the fears of Woodbury Heights Condominium residents, who still oppose the opening of a new year-round homeless shelter on their block in Courthouse. A vocal group of residents spoke out at an Arlington Planning Commission meeting last night. [Patch]

Fiorina to Participate in AED Event — Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has just been added to a panel discussion of “empathy in business,” organized by Arlington Economic Development and George Mason University. The event is taking place from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd). [Arlington Economic Development]

Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money


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