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by Katie Pyzyk April 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Police are ready to hand out more tickets as a way to boost awareness of pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

On Friday, police will set up at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Kenmore Street from 3-5 p.m. to enforce traffic laws. They’ll ticket any driver, cyclist or pedestrian who commits a violation. On May 2, they’ll do the same at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street from noon to 2 p.m.

ACPD will conduct the enforcement events as part of a larger D.C.-area safety campaign to reduce injuries and deaths by changing pedestrian, cyclist and driver behaviors. That campaign started yesterday and runs through mid-May.

Police note that cyclists and pedestrians make up nearly a quarter of the region’s traffic fatalities each year. They encourage everyone to safely share the roads and pay attention to one another.

by Chris Teale April 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

No new projects to improve pedestrian safety — such as sidewalk fixes or streetlight installations — will be approved until at least December after a vote last week by a citizen committee.

The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee voted April 13 to suspend its spring funding round due to “anticipated increases in construction costs for projects that have already been approved by the County Board,” neighborhood conservation program coordinator Tim McIntosh said in an email.

NCAC represents 48 of the county’s 57 civic associations and leads the development of neighborhood plans. It also recommends neighborhood-initiated improvements for county funding, like sidewalks, street beautification, pedestrian safety projects, street lights and parks.

The NCAC’s decision does not affect existing projects already approved by the County Board. McIntosh said design work and construction on several plans will continue this year, but that the committee “wanted to reserve a portion of its 2016 bond to cover any cost overruns which may occur later this year for projects going out for competitive bid.”

“The focus will be on continuing design work for approved projects and making sure sufficient funding is on hand to complete them prior to approving new ones,” McIntosh said.

In an email, an anonymous tipster was critical of the NCAC approvals process and said more must be done to help improve pedestrian safety.

“Clearly, the NCAC system isn’t working as a method to help improve pedestrian safety,” the tipster wrote. “These projects are getting conflated with beautification projects and are now shut down due to poor project controls. The queue of vital pedestrian safety projects, many in the NCAC process for years already (projects that have neighborhood endorsement) is growing rapidly as Arlington traffic increases and there is now no way to address these problems.”

McIntosh said no decision has been made about the fall round of funding, set to be voted on in December.

“[Neighborhood Conservation] staff and the NCAC will evaluate whether or not to have the December funding round later this year,” he said.

by Katie Pyzyk April 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

(Updated at 10:45 a.m. on 4/19/17) CarPool only has been closed for two weeks, but we’re now getting a closer look at the building that will replace the long-time Ballston establishment.

Developer Jefferson Apartment Group has released new renderings and information about the structure that will occupy 4000 Fairfax Drive.

The 22-story luxury high rise will have up to 330 residential units and 264 underground parking spaces, along with a rooftop swimming pool and sundeck. The ground level will house 8,260 square feet of retail. Plans for the surrounding outdoor area include a landscaped plaza with seating.

Penzance originally had been the developer for this project when the County Board approved it in 2015, but it sold the site to Jefferson Apartment Group, who has partnered with Mitsui Fudosan America.

The property will be built and maintained to LEED Gold standards. The developers expect to break ground late this year.

by Chris Teale April 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

(Updated at 7 p.m.) A woman was found lying in the middle of the roadway along the George Washington Parkway Monday night.

First reports indicated the was woman lying in the northbound lanes near the Key Bridge. U.S. Park Police officers responded to the call, assisted by medics from the Arlington County Fire Department.

A fire department spokesman said Park Police made first contact with the woman.

When units arrived, the spokesman said, they found the woman able to speak but “with an altered level of consciousness and possibly wanting to commit suicide.” Medics transported her to Virginia Hospital Center for treatment.

U.S. Park Police has not provided additional details about the incident.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What is the likelihood that a lender will approve a loan for ~$500,000 for a first time buyer putting 10% down in a condo building that is approaching or over 50 percent units being rented out?

Answer: This question gives me another opportunity to bring in an industry expert: loan officer Jake Ryon of First Home Mortgage (NMLS #993471). Below, Jake debunks the common myth about rental ratios in condo buildings and introduces the factors that actually impact condo loans most frequently.

MYTH: Buyers Can’t Qualify For Condo Loans If More Than 50 percent of Units Are Rented

One of the most common myths that exists in the industry is that buyers cannot get a loan if more than 50 percent of units are being rented out in a condo building.

TRUTH: Most Homeowners Can Qualify For Condo Loans Regardless Of Rental Ratio

The percentage of units rented in a condo building (aka investor ratio or owner occupancy ratio) has no impact on loans for borrowers that are purchasing or refinancing their primary residence or second home.  If the borrow is an investor seeking a conventional loan, the building must have at least 50 percent of the units occupied by owners (not rented).  FHA’s requirement is the same but does not apply to second homes.  While condo associations may elect to self-impose a rental cap, as it stands now with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it currently doesn’t impact borrowers who are purchasing or refinancing their primary residence or second home.

What Does Impact Loans On Condo Buildings?

  1. Commercial/Non-Residential Square Footage: Currently, Fannie and Freddie cap the total commercial/non-residential square footage in a building at 25 percent of the total space, up from 20 percent a few years ago.  Your lender may be able to obtain a project waiver directly from Fannie Mae if the commercial/non-residential square footage exceeds the 25 percent cap.  I was recently able to obtain a waiver for a five unit project that has 38 percent commercial space (in D.C.) because we were able to show it was common in the area, didn’t impact marketability and were able to provide several comps with similar square footage of commercial/non-residential space.
  2. Single Entity Ownership: The maximum number of units owned by one entity can’t exceed 10 percent of the units in the project per Fannie and Freddie guidelines.  If it is a 2-4 unit project (rare in Arlington, very common in DC), no entity can own more than one unit.  Both Fannie and Freddie do allow one entity to own two units in a project with 5-20 units.  A project waiver may be possible from Fannie Mae if a single entity owns greater than 10 percent.
  3. Delinquency: Fannie and Freddie do not allow more than 15 percent of the units in the Association to be > 60 days delinquent on the payment of their monthly assessments for the project to be warrantable (approved for loans).  A project waiver may be possible with Fannie Mae if the delinquency rate is slightly higher than 15 percent.
  4. Budget: Fannie and Freddie require the Association’s current year adopted budget to include a minimum of 10 percent of the annual monthly assessments to go towards the reserve fund.  If the budget does not document the required 10 percent, a current reserve study that supports the Association’s current level of contribution may be acceptable.

If you have any questions about condo warrantability or anything else loan-related, Jake Ryon can be reached at [email protected]202-448-0873 or online. He is located at 1015 15th Street NW Suite #375 Washington DC 20005.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by Chris Teale April 18, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

(Updated 4:10 p.m.) A new McDonald’s in Rosslyn appears close to opening in the new Central Place building.

External signage is up for the fast food restaurant, and on Tuesday morning construction crews were installing signs inside the windows too. Preparations continue inside the ground-floor space, while the sidewalks around the property appear largely complete.

Rosslyn’s previous McDonald’s at 1823 N. Moore Street closed in 2014 to make way for the Central Place development. At that time, a sign in the McDonald’s window stated it would be closed “indefinitely,” which left open the possibility that the eatery would return to Rosslyn in the future.

A company spokeswoman said the eatery is set to open this spring, although an exact date is to be determined.

by Chris Teale April 18, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The County Board will debate the plan to build a new elementary school on the site of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at its meeting Saturday.

The new elementary school at 125 S. Old Glebe Road would provide 752 seats and replace the current Patrick Henry Elementary School at 701 S. Highland Street. A naming process for the new school is underway. It is projected to cost $59 million and to open in September 2019.

But a report prepared by county staff acknowledges the project still has concerns, including theater parking during construction, the impact on homes at the north side of the site, whether an existing surface parking lot should remain and neighbors’ desire for sidewalk improvements in an area outside of the project’s scope.

As part of the approval process, the County Board will also discuss leasing county-owned land at the site to the School Board so the new school can be built.

If the County Board allows the lease to be executed, Arlington Public Schools would then have the right to use the land to build the new elementary school and a 214-space, joint-use parking garage. The lease would be set to expire in 75 years, in 2092.

A report by county staff found that executing the lease would not impact the county financially, but an agreement will be necessary to solidify how the county and APS will share the parking garage’s operating and maintenance expenses.

Staff recommends approval of the use permit for the new school and the execution of the lease.

by Katie Pyzyk April 18, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Video of Weekend ATV Riders — For the second consecutive weekend, dirt bike and ATV riders took to county roads. This time, there’s clear video of the riders taking up all lanes of traffic on Route 50 and performing stunts. [WJLA]

Operation Firesafe in Full Swing — Arlington firefighters are hitting the streets for Operation Firesafe, which is the annual free door-to-door smoke alarm and fire safety canvassing program. Firefighters travel throughout the county on Saturdays from April through October to check residents’ fire safety and to install smoke detectors. Arlington residents can request a free smoke detector online. [Arlington County Fire Department]

Teen Leadership Program Applicants Wanted — The Leadership Center for Excellence is looking for motivated rising high school juniors and seniors for its summer Leadership Arlington Youth Program. [InsideNova]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 18, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Washington Boulevard will transform into an art-lover’s paradise on Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, during the 5th Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts. One hundred and fifty national and international artists are set to display their fine works from across the nation in a prestigious show encompassing fine jewelry, exquisite works of art and hand-crafted apparel and decor. Whether your passions run to sparkling jewels and one of a kind paintings, exquisitely crafted glasswork or an art deco sculpture, you are sure to find it during the free, two-day event.

Clarendon offers some of Arlington’s hottest restaurants, nightlife, shopping and lifestyle storefronts which lends itself to the high-quality artists’ showcase. Presented by Howard Alan Events, the 5th Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts represents original, hand-crafted artwork selected by an independent panel of expert judges. Hundreds of applicants apply for the Festival of Arts each year, vying for the chance to showcase their creations to the distinguished and discriminating community of Arlington. HAE’s careful vetting process ensures a wide array of mediums and price ranges are always offered during the Festival.

Unlike other art festivals, the Arlington Festival of the Arts are produced free of charge to the public in “pop-up gallery” fashion. Instead of gallery assistants or managers, each artist’s booth is overseen by the artist him or herself. This hallmark of HAE’s shows allow all visitors and appreciators to meet the creator behind each work of art, and to discover the inspirations and processes that go in to each creation.

The all-ages, Arlington Festival of the Arts invites everyone to enjoy a beautiful stroll amongst inspired and inspiring, handmade-in-the-USA creations. Ample parking is available and pets on leashes are always welcome. The free, outdoor event is located at 3003 Washington Boulevard. Participating artists and more information can be found by visiting www.artfestival.com.

The preceding post was written and sponsored by Howard Alan Events.

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