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by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm 0

Those heading to shop or dine (or ice skate) at Pentagon Row will now get a free hour of garage parking.

Parking for even a short period of time at the Pentagon Row garage has previously required payment, except for those getting parking validation at the Harris Teeter. Starting today (Tuesday), all visitors will be able to park for free for the first hour, according to an email from the shopping center.

As of 5:30 p.m., there were more than 600 open parking spaces at the shopping center, according to its website.

The surface parking lots at Pentagon Row, near Harris Teeter and World Market, remain free for the first hour, though spaces are often hard to come by during peak periods.

by Fatimah Waseem January 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

For the third consecutive year, Democratic lawmakers and gay rights activists are mounting efforts to end conversion therapy for children under 18, a practice that attempts to change individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The state bill, pre-filed by Del. Patrick Hope (D) this month, would bar healthcare providers or individuals involving with counseling in a profession licensed by the Dept. of Health Professions from trying to change the child’s sexual orientation.

Hope said he wants to protect children who are not mature enough to choose the potentially dangerous treatment for themselves. The practice is banned in Washington, D.C. and four states.

“Conversion therapy is based on the false assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or a sin. Well, it is not. There is no on/off switch to sexual orientation,” he said in a statement.

Advocacy organizations like The Trevor Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia are backing the bill to end a practice they say is dangerous and discredited. The practice rests on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental illness and requires therapy. Major mental health organizations like the American Psychiatric Association have also denounced the practice.

Similar legislation introduced over the last two years failed. Last year, proponents of conversion therapy like the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality testified that conversion therapy does not interfere with a gay teenager’s freedom of choice to undergo therapy. The bill died in committee by a 7-8 vote last year.

Hope aims to court support across the aisle this year. “This is an issue Republicans and Democrats can agree,” he said in a statement.

If approved, the change would not affect counseling that attempts to help children undergoing gender transition, services that help children explore their development and interventions to prevent unsafe or unlawful sexual practices.

File photo

by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Single-family home demolitions dropped in 2017, hitting the lowest point since 2012, according to statistics from the group Preservation Arlington.

A new report from Preservation Arlington says there were 158 single-family home demolition permits issued last year, making it the second year in a row with demolition permits falling from the year prior. Demolitions peaked in 2015 at 204, according to the data.

The downward trend may seem like a “mission accomplished” moment for Eric Dobson of Preservation Arlington, but instead he thinks it reflects changing market dynamics, not a new-found interest in preserving older homes.

“I was afraid someone would ask,” he joked after being contacted by ARLnow.com.

Dobson said that the number of homes in Arlington that are attractive candidates for demolition — those that have been poorly maintained, that sit on a lot that can be subdivided, or that are worth substantially less than the underlying property — is finite and shrinking.

But there’s another trend in play that may explain why demolition permits are falling: a trend towards gut renovations that keep just enough of the structure to not be classified as a demolition under county code.

“People are getting creative as supply dries up,” Dobson wrote. For example, “someone buys a house that is on a substandard lot — a lot that has a small side yard or something that would not be permitted today. So they cannot ‘tear it down’ because they would need to meet today’s code for setback. Instead [they] keep that exterior wall that gives them more building room and tear the rest of the house down.”

“The definition of teardown somewhat hides the fact that dozens of more houses are essentially torn down,” he added. “As lots become more scarce, people are becoming innovative/creative.”

Local realtor and ARLnow columnist Eli Tucker largely echoed Dobson’s analysis.

“The sale of single family marked as new construction increased slightly from 121 to 130 homes in 2017,” he said. “New construction can be considered a total demo or building on top of/expanding [an] existing foundation. I’m seeing more of this lately so it’s possible that we’re seeing fewer complete demolitions, but just as many or more new construction with higher numbers of new homes on existing structure.”

Meanwhile, it’s not uncommon for buyers to demolish million-dollar homes. There were a total of 12 demo permits issued in 2017 for homes purchased for more than $1 million, according to Preservation Arlington.

Image via Preservation Arlington

by Chris Teale January 9, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

A new wine bar and restaurant is open on the first floor of a Courthouse hotel.

Verre Wine Bar and Restaurant is located at 2415 Wilson Blvd, on the first floor of the Hyatt Place hotel, which opened ahead of schedule last year. Based on photos posted to the wine bar’s Yelp page, it opened in November.

Verre has an extensive wine and draft beer list, as well as small plates and cheese and charcuterie boards among other foods. It opens at 5 p.m. each day with happy hour.

by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Douglas Park resident Dan Hauser.

I wanted to thank Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse for a really lovely gesture.

I took my four-year-old son to see the Last Jedi on December 30. (If any of the staff at the Drafthouse happen to see this, he was the kid wearing the army clothes and army helmet… it looked like he was going to the premiere of Saving Private Ryan.)

He was so excited! He was sitting on the edge of his seat, eating popcorn and drinking lemonade, and giggling all throughout the movie.

When the movie ended and the credits started to roll, Pete, the manager, asked my son if he might like something from Star Wars. He walked us across the stage and into a little office. He then gave my son a lightsaber and a bag that contained the original Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray, a Star Wars puzzle, a Star Wars book, and four free movie tickets for the Drafthouse!

My son was over the moon, and I was really touched. We’ve read the book twice and have had some epic lightsaber battles.

My family loves going to see movies at ACDH. In fact, this was the second time I’d seen the Last Jedi here. The Drafthouse was a huge draw for us when we were looking for a neighborhood to buy a house. We’ve had so many nice memories laughing, having snacks, drinking some beers (well, my wife and me), and watching movies.

The Drafthouse is a verifiable Columbia Pike institution. Maybe one day my son will take his children here.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk

by ARLnow.com Sponsor January 9, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

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: How did the Arlington real estate market do in 2017?

Answer: In July I wrote that the Arlington market was picking up momentum and after two years of light growth in Arlington, we saw our first year of growth over 2% since 2014 (3.1%). Over 3,100 homes were sold in 2017 compared to approximately 2,900 in 2016 and total sales volume was nearly $2.1B compared to last year’s total of just under $1.9B.

In addition to solid price growth, other momentum indicators improved (if you’re a homeowner/seller) with homes selling nearly one week faster and for ½ percent closer to the original asking price than last year. Price growth and demand were driven almost entirely by South Arlington with 22202, 22204 and 22206 seeing some of the greatest improvement.

Top Sales

  • Once again, the most expensive sale in Arlington was a Rosslyn condo at Waterview with 3,800+ sq. ft. and unobstructed views of the Potomac. It sold for $3,258,000 and took just over a year to sell.
  • The most expensive single family home sold in Arlington was once again in Country Club Hills with nearly one acre for $2,950,000
  • The most expensive townhouse sold in Arlington was also located in Country Club Hills with over 8,000 sq. ft. located on Washington Golf & Country Club and sold for $2,825,000
  • The least expensive home sold in Arlington, not at auction, is a studio condo in The Carlton off Four Mile Run for $115,000

Price Growth: The average price of homes in Arlington has increased every year since 2010, but was slow the last two years. The 22201 and 22203 zip codes continued a steady decline, while 22205 surged forward with an incredible 6.9% YoY increase. Overall, Arlington continues to deliver as promised to most homeowners and investors… steady and stable growth.

Demand Growth: Outside of price growth, my two favorite indicators of demand are days on market (time from listing to ratified contract) and the ratio of sold price to original asking price (100% = buyer paid full ask). Both indicators saw their biggest improvement since 2013 with homes selling faster and for closer to their asking price in seven of nine zip codes. While changes weren’t extreme, they’re enough to say the Arlington market has officially picked up steam heading into 2018.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

As of Jan. 1, there is a new location on your windshield for Virginia state inspection stickers.

Year 2019 inspection stickers — aka those issued in 2018 — should be placed on the lower driver’s side corner of the windshield (lower left from the inside of the vehicle), according to Virginia State Police. Existing stickers can stay where they are — the bottom center of the windshield — until they expire.

The change is “due to new innovations in the automotive industry” — namely, crash avoidance systems that need a clear line of sight at the center of the dashboard.

The new location applies to other stickers, like the Arlington County vehicle property tax decal, as well.

“This change in location will also apply to the placement of any other authorized stickers,” Virginia State Police said in a press release. “There have been no changes made to the size or appearance of the existing vehicle inspection sticker.”

“The core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety and the crash
avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times,” said Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr., Virginia State Police Safety Division Commander. “Therefore, we immediately began evaluating the situation and set forth to make the necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual, which governs the placement of the safety inspection sticker on all vehicles.”

Photo courtesy Virginia State Police

by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Immigrants Afraid to Report Crimes — President Donald Trump’s hawkishness on immigration enforcement has apparently led to a drop in crimes reported in some of the country’s largest immigrant communities, including in Arlington. Per a new report: “In Arlington, Virginia, domestic-assault reports in one Hispanic neighborhood dropped more than eighty-five per cent in the first eight months after Trump’s Inauguration, compared with the same period the previous year.” [New Yorker]

Lawmakers React to Immigration Decision — Local lawmakers are speaking out against a Trump administration decision to end temporary protected status for some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. “Donald Trump’s open hostility to immigrants runs against the values and history of this country,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called the decision “heartless.” [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]

Ramp Near Pentagon Closing at Night — The ramp from eastbound Route 27 to northbound Route 110, near the Pentagon, will be closed each night through Friday for bridge deck work, according to VDOT. “Traffic will be detoured via Route 27, George Washington Memorial Parkway and I-395 back to northbound Route 110,” the agency said. [Twitter]

InsideNova Sold — The parent company of the Arlington Sun Gazette has sold its InsideNova website along with two other local weekly newspapers, while retaining the Sun Gazette papers. Sun Gazette articles will reportedly still be published on InsideNova. [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington’s Top 10 Press Releases of 2017 — Arlington County has posted an article ranking the 10 most popular press releases of 2017 on its website. The article concludes that “2017 was a good year in Arlington County, laying the foundation for great years to come.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Plans for Boozy Taco Bell — A Taco Bell “Cantina” that “mixes the traditional Taco Bell fare with new shareable menu items and alcoholic beverages including twisted freezes, beer and wine” is coming to Old Town Alexandria. [Washington Business Journal]

More Fog Photos — The fog covering parts of the region this morning made for some great photos, particularly among those who trained their lenses on the half-covered Washington monument. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]

by Christina Sturdivant-Sani January 9, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Photo by Brandon Kopp

Washingtonians of the year, another women’s march, bed bugs, and other news of the day over in the District.

by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 8:25 am 0

Arlington Public Schools is opening on a two-hour delay due to icy conditions in many part of the county this morning.

Sleet and frozen rain caused few problems in Arlington during the day, but untreated sidewalks and other surfaces turned icy at night as the sun set and temperatures dropped to be below freezing.

APS made the decision to open on a two hour delay earlier this morning. From APS:

All APS schools and offices will open two hours late today. The Extended Day program will also open two hours late and morning field trips are canceled. Essential employees and food service workers should report to work at their regularly scheduled time. All other employees should report to work two hours past their usual start time.

A number of other Arlington County programs and events have been either delayed or canceled. Among them:

  • All congregate meal programs are cancelled.
  • All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-ops) will open on time.
  • All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips, nature center programs and sports league activities scheduled to start prior to 11:59 a.m. will be cancelled in all buildings.
  • All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips, nature center programs and sports league activities with scheduled start times of NOON or later will proceed as scheduled.
  • All evening Enjoy Arlington classes, sports league activities and nature center programs will proceed as scheduled.
  • All standalone Community Centers including: Madison, Lee, Fairlington, Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center, Lubber Run, Walter Reed, and Arlington Mill will open for regularly scheduled operating hours.
  • Thomas Jefferson, Langston, and Carver Community Centers will open at 10 a.m. Drew, and Gunston will open for their normal operating hours.
  • APS Pools are on a two hour delayed opening.

Many roads and sidewalks around Arlington and the D.C. area remain slick as temperatures climb back above freezing. Authorities are urging those who do have to drive to be extra cautious, while those who can delay their trips should.

A Dense Fog Advisory is in effect for the region, as parts of the area are covered in a thick, frozen fog.

… DENSE FOG ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM EST THIS MORNING… * VISIBILITIES… ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES. * IMPACTS… GREATLY REDUCED VISIBILITIES MAKING TRAVEL DIFFICULT. TEMPERATURES BELOW FREEZING MAY CAUSE A GLAZE OF ICE ON ANY UNTREATED SURFACE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A DENSE FOG ADVISORY MEANS VISIBILITIES WILL FREQUENTLY BE REDUCED TO LESS THAN ONE QUARTER MILE. IF DRIVING, SLOW DOWN, USE YOUR HEADLIGHTS, AND LEAVE PLENTY OF DISTANCE AHEAD OF YOU. &&

In a semi-weather-related closure, the main ramp to Reagan National Airport from the GW Parkway is currently closed due to a water main break. Officials say anyone driving to the airport should use the second ramp, about a half mile down the parkway, or the entrance from Route 1 in Crystal City.

File photo

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