71°Clear

by Katie Pyzyk October 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Samuel Wolbert is the new president and CEO at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Prior to joining AWLA, Wolbert worked at a shelter near Lexington, Kentucky. Before that he was a legislative attorney for a nonprofit organization in Michigan.

“I am very thrilled to be here. I think we have a great organization. I look forward to continue working with the community to help grow it,” Wolbert told ARLnow.

The league’s former CEO, Neil Trent, had led the organization since 2010.

Wolbert currently has a dog and two cats and also has experience with fostering animals. He reports having a soft spot for senior animals and so-called bully breeds.

As far as his future goals for AWLA, Wolbert plans to start a monthly series highlighting the organization’s successes.

“I think the community can expect that we’ll continue to do what’s best for the animals and we’ll continue to improve the lives of animals, not just in the shelter but in the community,” Wolbert said.

AWLA is hosting an event next week for the public to meet the new CEO and mingle with other animal lovers. It will run from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday (October 10) at New District Brewing Company (2709 S. Oakland Street). Those who are interested in attending can RSVP online for the free event.

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A cigarette reportedly sparked a fire that has closed the patio at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City.

The fire was reported last night around 10:30 p.m. The fire department quickly arrived on scene and extinguished the flames, which scorched parts of the patio and its awning, owner Freddie Lutz told ARLnow.com.

Patrons were evacuated during the fire and no injuries were reported.

The bar, located at 555 23rd Street S., expects to open as usual at 4 p.m. today, though the patio will remain closed indefinitely, pending repairs, Lutz said.

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

As it has the past few years, Arlington is keeping most of its county offices open on Columbus Day.

State government-related offices will still close on Monday, as will Arlington Public Schools. Though county government offices will remain open, parking meters will not be enforced.

More from a county press release:

Arlington County government offices, libraries and other government services will be open on Monday, October 9, 2017. Virginia Commonwealth offices, including Arlington Courts, DMVs and Arlington Public Schools, will be closed in observance of Columbus Day. Trash and recycling services will operate on a normal schedule. Metered parking will not be enforced.

Photo via Wikipedia

by Mark Kelly October 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

In Progressive Voice last week, Delegate Alfonso Lopez expressed the opinion that redistricting reform is the only way Democrats can push their agenda through the Virginia General Assembly. Redistricting reform, he argues, would result in Medicaid expansion, a minimum wage increase and more education funding.

Surely Delegate Lopez knows Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in a majority of the House of Delegates districts in November of 2016. Despite the existence of a majority of Clinton districts, Republicans currently hold a 66-34 majority in the House. And, I have noted before, Virginia Senate Democrats drew their own district lines in an attempt to maintain a majority, but voters gave Republicans the majority instead.

In other words, the notion that the placement of the district lines is why Democrats cannot win races across Virginia seems misleading at best.

Lopez bemoans the fact that policies supported by Democrats in Arlington are not embraced by other parts of Virginia. He goes on to claim that more competitive districts would cause Republicans to work with Democrats on the Democrat agenda, like raising taxes to pay for more programs.

As with most liberals, the Lopez definition of bi-partisanship is when Republicans work with Democrats to expand government. Rarely is it the other way around.

Lopez also suggests that voters in rural districts vote against their own self-interest when they elect Republicans now. This is another typical liberal argument that people would be better off if they voted for the government to expand, particularly when it means giving them more of someone else’s money.

What Lopez does not seem to contemplate is that voters have looked at the this Democratic agenda and have rejected it. Or at the very least, maybe Virginia Democrats have done a bad job of explaining their agenda to the voters.

You do have to hand it to Delegate Lopez. He wrote an entire opinion piece on redistricting reform in order to make a gubernatorial endorsement at the end.

Of course Lopez wrote the piece before Ralph Northam released an ad saying he was willing to work with President Trump. This is quite a reversal for Northam who had resorted to calling the president names in his primary ads in order to win over the base in his party. Maybe Northam finally realized that running a campaign aimed at running up the score with the liberal base in Northern Virginia was not a winning strategy in 2017?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Arthritis is something that we see pretty commonly in our pet cats and dogs. Most people think of big dogs and their predisposition to getting hip dysplasia — but we’ve come to recognize that cats and every size of dog are prone to getting arthritis as they age…much like us. They are just SO much better at hiding the symptoms for so much longer than most of us wimpy humans.

When we break it down to it’s Latin & Greek roots arthritis means “inflammation of a joint.” There are two main classes of arthritis — osteoarthritis: which is a chronic use/degenerative process of a joint that develops from overuse or poor conformation of the joint; and inflammatory/immune mediated arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Inflammation, in short/brief doses is good for the body — but when uncontrolled can lead to destruction of the cartilage. In attempts to stabilize the joint and reduce pain, inflammation often leads to excess bone production along the joint edge (such as bone spurs) that actually lead to more pain and inflammation…and the cycle continues.

Symptoms of arthritis can include overt joint pain (i.e. lameness, stiffness) but also more subtle changes such as reduced activity (reluctance on walks, jumping, etc…), inappropriate elimination (many times because it is painful to posture to urinate/defecate) or changes in behavior or mood.

True diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made with x-rays — but we are often suspicious of it and may will manage accordingly based on physical exam findings and history alone. Management of arthritis involves nutrition, weight management, exercise, nutritional supplements and depending on the severity prescription pain medications.

A multi-modal approach to pain management often results is better comfort and many times less needed drug. Two of the most important things to start with are weight and exercise.  A trim/fit dog or cat is going to be able to deal with arthritis much better than an overweight/out of shape pet, as the physical stress on the joints is going to be less.

Regular, controlled exercise is also so important as it helps maintain a normal joint range of motion as well as muscle mass — which is necessary to support a joint. As our pets get older they tend to lose muscle mass and get overweight — which exacerbates any predisposition for arthritis development.

Diagnosis of other types of arthritis (such as infectious arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) often involves a much more extensive work up with blood work, joint taps or other diagnostics, and may involve additional treatments such as antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs.  

Arthritis, while potentially painful for our pets, can often be well-managed — if you are concerned that your pet may be suffering from arthritis, we recommend talking with your pet’s veterinarian about the best options for him/her.

by Katie Pyzyk October 5, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Sunday is the 33rd annual Army Ten-Miler race, part of which takes place in Arlington.

The race begins at 7:50 a.m. on Route 110, and the course takes runners into the District before returning to Arlington in the I-395 HOV lanes. The race ends in the Pentagon north parking lot.

The following road closures will be in effect in Arlington:

  • Route 110 between Rosslyn and Crystal City will be closed in both directions at 5:00 a.m. (Use the George Washington Memorial Parkway as an alternative)
  • I-395 HOV northbound from Crystal City to the 14th Street Bridge will be closed at 6:00 a.m.
  • Eads Street from Army Navy Drive into the Pentagon/northbound I-395 HOV lanes will be closed at 5:00 a.m.
  • I-395 southbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street / Pentagon south parking lot will be closed at 5:00 a.m.
  • Route 27 in both directions from George Washington Memorial Parkway to I-395 will be closed at 7:00 a.m.
  • Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to S. 12th Street at 8:00 a.m.
  • 12th Street from S. Eads Street to Long Bridge Drive at 8:00 a.m.
  • Long Bridge Drive will be closed from S. 12th Street to Boundary Channel Drive at 8:00 a.m.

All roads should reopen by 2 p.m.

The Pentagon north parking lot will be restricted to “Authorized Vehicles Only” from 4:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Pentagon employees and visitors to the Pentagon Memorial can park in the south parking lot, which is accessible by Columbia Pike and S. Fern Street.

Runners and spectators are encouraged to use Metro, which will open two hours early, at 6 a.m., for the event. Metro offers the following tips for traveling to and from the race on Sunday:

  • While the closest Metrorail station to the start of the race is Pentagon Station on the Blue and Yellow lines, to avoid crowds, riders are encouraged to consider using Pentagon City instead.
  • Pentagon Station will be available for “exit only” from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m.
  • In the event of crowded conditions at Pentagon Station, trains may temporarily bypass the station. (In the event of crowding, some customers may be directed to use Pentagon City instead.)
  • Please take note of service changes on the Red Line.
  • Additional Blue Line trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory from 6 a.m. until 8:40 a.m., and from 11:15 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
  • Metro recommends purchasing a SmarTrip card in advance loaded with enough value for the entire day to avoid long lines and speed your trip. SmarTrip cards can be purchased at fare vending machines located at station entrances.

All Metrobus service that usually runs to and from the Pentagon will be diverted to Pentagon City until about 2 p.m.

by Progressive Voice October 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Michelle Winters

In 2015, the Arlington County Board adopted its first-ever Affordable Housing Master Plan. Two years in, how are we doing?

No Market Let Up – Thousands of market-rate affordable housing units have been lost to rent increases or redevelopment. The County’s most recent accounting shows less than 3,000 units remain affordable to households earning 60% of the area median income — about $45K (single person) and $65K (four-person household).

Worsened Political Environment – Proposed Trump administration budget cuts would devastate the support network for low-and moderate-income people, including affordable housing programs. We were spared the worst for the current fiscal year, but we can expect draconian cuts in each new proposed budget. Moreover, plans for a tax code revamp put at risk the nation’s only real affordable housing program – the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit – that responsible for almost all new or substantially rehabbed affordable rental housing in Arlington.

Local Funding Has Not Kept Up – Even with annual allocations to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund – the County’s revolving loan fund supporting affordable housing development and preservation – resources fall so far short of demand that the County can only partially fund the project selected through the recently enacted Notice of Funding Availability – APAH’s Queens Court development. Any other planned developments in the system will have to wait potentially several years.

This is the context for the County’s next budget planning round. The AHMP’s goal for affordable housing supply is simply to provide housing to match the demographic reality and prevent further loss. Adequate AHIF funding is the most fundamental step the County can take to support this goal. Annual AHIF allocations have increased to $15 million in the current fiscal year, doubling the allocation of just five years ago. However, even this increased annual allocation remains far below the amount needed. Supporting Arlington as a diverse and inclusive community requires support for an even higher AHIF investment.

The County is trying to move forward simultaneously on a number of other non-financial AHMP-related initiatives potentially making the climb toward affordability less steep.

Reduce Costs – This month, County staff plan to advertise a policy change to potentially reduce the amount of structured parking required for residential developments near Metro. At an estimated $45,000-$60,000 cost per space, parking requirements are a key example of local public policy impacting the cost of housing. Given ride sharing trends and overall lower levels of car ownership, this forward-thinking policy change can save thousands of dollars per apartment. This reduction is more justified and meaningful for affordable housing properties, potentially reducing public subsidy needs and producing lower rents or a larger number of affordable units.

Provide Incentives – Arlington and other inner-ring suburbs and cities have been undergoing a purging of non-subsidized affordable housing stock. Even were adequate AHIF loans available, saving this market affordable housing stock would be daunting. Individual property owners make their own decisions about the future of these properties based on what makes the most sense to them, not public policy priorities and needs. Setting up an incentive structure that aligns owners’ and developers’ interests with those of the public could be highly beneficial. Over the past year, County staff have been working toward a proposal, hopefully released very soon, to create a property owner incentive package to encourage preservation or replacement of these affordable units.

Create More Options – Another small-scale solution in the works would not rely upon public subsidies or incentives but could nonetheless provide a new, moderately-priced housing supply. The County’s accessory dwelling ordinance, originally adopted in 2009, has not worked as anticipated. Accessory dwellings are what many people refer to as “granny flats” or “in-law units” – standalone apartments within or on the property of a single-family home. The current AD policy contains so many restrictions that only 20 units have been approved. This year, the policy is getting a much-deserved second look with an eye toward removing many restrictive provisions keeping these units from being created.

Progressive Arlingtonians should support all of these efforts with enthusiasm, even if each is just a small step toward solving a large and daunting housing affordability challenge. After these proposals move ahead – and hopefully each will be successfully adopted by the County Board over the next few months – there are many more examples of similar measures that can and should be taken up promptly to achieve the goals of the Affordable Housing Master Plan. Full speed ahead.

Michelle Winters is the executive director of the Alliance for Housing Solutions in Arlington. AHS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to increase the supply of affordable housing in Arlington and Northern Virginia through public education, facilitation and action. Learn more about the Arlington for Everyone campaign at http://www.allianceforhousingsolutions.org/.

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

A man seen peeping into a home in the Madison Manor neighborhood fled the scene after being confronted by a passerby.

The incident happened around 9 p.m. last night, two blocks from McKinley Elementary School.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

PEEPING, 2017-10040316, 900 block of McKinley Road. At approximately 9:08 p.m. on October 4, police responded to the report of a peeping. Upon arrival, it was determined that a witness observed an unknown male suspect peering into a residential window. When confronted by the witness, the suspect fled the area on foot. A canvas of the area by the responding officer was negative. The suspect is described as a white male between the ages of 18-25 with a thin build. He was wearing red shorts, a black tank top and a black baseball hat the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Google Maps

by Peter Rousselot October 5, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Last week, County government added an item to the County Board’s agenda for its October 21 meeting.

This item seeks Board approval of a resolution authorizing:

  • an offer to purchase certain properties on Shirlington Road
  • the transmittal of an agreement of sale to the owner
  • the acquisition of the properties for public purposes and by eminent domain, if purchase negotiations are ineffectual or unsuccessful

A subsequent notice from the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) stated that the Shirlington properties “would be used for public transit facilities and related uses.”

Acquiring the Shirlington properties outright is a much better choice than swapping those properties for a portion of the more valuable land at the “Buck” site on N. Quincy Street.

Abandon Arcland’s land swap proposal

For far too long, the County has been considering a proposal from an entity called Arcland to swap properties Arcland owns on Shirlington Road in exchange for a portion of the Buck property. Arcland wants the right to use a portion of the Buck property to build and operate a private, self-storage facility. My June 1 column sharply criticized this proposal.

It has been apparent for months that adopting Arcland’s proposal would severely restrict the County’s potential uses of the Buck property. It would:

  • result in the permanent loss of 38% of the Buck property’s acreage
  • limit short and long-term flexibility in County use of the property
  • diminish the potential to expand adjacent park space

The Buck property’s central location, size and flexibility are too unique and valuable to be compromised by a swap with Arcland for low-lying land that may contain hazardous waste.

Decide how best to use Shirlington Road properties

Arlington should organize an open, transparent public process to identify the best uses for the Shirlington Road parcels to be acquired.

JFAC has received a briefing (pp. 18-19) regarding storage issues related to ART and APS buses. The briefing specifically cited the Shirlington Road properties. However, JFAC must promptly turn its attention to long-term,
countywide facilities planning. The detailed public review of alternative uses of these Shirlington Road properties ought not to be assigned to JFAC.

I understand that County staff previously presented possible development options for these Shirlington Road parcels at a meeting of the Four Mile Run Valley (4MRV) Working Group. Because Arlington has been “temporarily” parking vehicles/buses at Jennie Dean Park, a 4MRV Working Group member suggested using the Shirlington Road land to build a structured parking garage for County vehicles and APS buses. However, staff countered that it would be “too expensive.”

Staff also claimed that there is a federal security prohibition against co-locating buses and certain other uses too close to each other. Staff should be required to document the precise terms of any such prohibition during the public hearing process.

Conclusion

The County Board should declare publicly that it has abandoned the Arcland land swap in favor of acquiring the Shirlington Road properties outright. Hopefully, this acquisition will be the start of a new commitment to close a serious gap in available public land for critical County services.

Any development of the Shirlington properties will be expensive — and the County is already renting space there to park buses. Therefore, the costs vs. benefits of the structured parking garage option should be fully evaluated rather than rejected out of hand.

by Katie Pyzyk October 5, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

The county is considering a proposal to instate a “housing conservation district” (HCD) to preserve existing market-rate affordable housing.

According to a presentation at The Alliance for Housing Solutions’ annual affordable housing forum last month, the concept for a preservation district has been built off of ongoing work for affordable housing in Arlington.

In 2015, the county adopted the Affordable Housing Master Plan and earlier this year it released a report about preserving market-rate affordable housing (MARKs). The County Board held a work session on the topic in April, and since that time work has continued on developing an HCD study and framework.

Part of the ongoing analysis for a housing conservation district is to determine which sites should be included and what the boundaries would be. Numerous studies point to Arlington’s garden apartments as an affordable housing resource that’s disappearing as they’re increasingly being redeveloped into larger homes. The MARKs study released earlier this year indicates that the parts of Arlington most at risk of losing these types of units to redevelopment are Westover, Ballston and Rosslyn.

Nothing has been finalized yet, but the preliminary HCD goals are:

  • Encourage the retention and renovation of existing rental affordable housing units.
  • Provide opportunities for the creation of new affordable units when redevelopment occurs.
  • Signal that a variety of tools are available to achieve the above.

Although they also haven’t been finalized, the preliminary HCD objectives are:

  • Provide committed affordable housing (CAF) rental housing up to 60% of the area median income (AMI).
  • Preserve MARKs up to 80% AMI.
  • Provide ownership housing between 80% and 120% AMI.
  • Preserve historic buildings.
  • Incorporate sustainable building practices.
  • Encourage renovation and infill development while accommodating redevelopment.
  • Projects compatible to their surroundings.
  • Any density changes recommended to be supported by community & transit.
  • Encourage underrepresented housing forms.

Consultation with county commissions will continue through the fall and community outreach is expected to begin sometime this winter, as is a General Land Use Plan amendment. A Zoning Ordinance amendment is expected next year.

Photo via Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Arlington Man Dies in Motorcycle Wreck — A 68-year-old Arlington man died last month after a motorcycle crash in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Police say Ben Walker, Jr. ran into the back of a car that had just made a U-turn on Indian Head Highway. [Patch]

Pentagon City Hotel Changes Hands — An Orlando-based real estate investment firm has acquired the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City for $105 million. Xenia Hotels & Resorts said in a press release that the 365-room hotel is “uniquely positioned” in the market given its direct connection to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [PR Newswire]

Housing Demolitions Continue — The group Preservation Arlington has released its latest tally of demolition permits, reporting that demo permits for 120 single-family homes were applied for in the first nine months of the year. “The pending loss of these homes ‘represents a loss of history, architecture, time, energy and materials,’ the preservation group said in a statement.” [InsideNova]

Virginia’s Halloween Candy of Choice — The most popular Halloween candy in Virginia, according to the website CandyStore.com, is Snickers bars. Hot Tamales and candy corn were second and third, in terms of pounds sold. [CandyStore]

Letter: Possible Names for Schools — In a letter to the editor, a local resident recommended consideration of three African-American women who played notable roles in Arlington County history as potential new names for public schools. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

×

Subscribe to our mailing list