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by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

An online petition against a proposed residential development in Ballston has gathered 175 signatures.

The petition decries what it describes as a “high rise” development; a seven-story condo building and four story townhomes are proposed for the current Grace Community Church site at the 11th and N. Vermont streets.

The development, the petition says, will exacerbate traffic and school crowding issues. Supporters’ reasons for signing the petition also include “too much dense, high-rise development in Arlington already,” “harming the property values and diminishing the quality of life of those who already live here,” and “Arlington has become unaffordable.”

From the petition:

We request that you DENY the proposal for special use exception to change the zoning on 11th Street North and North Vermont Street from Low-Medium Residential to High-Medium Residential Mixed-Use to prevent several negative consequences to the immediately surrounding Ballston area and the broader Arlington communities.

Specifically, we ask that the zoning committee and county board not approve a deviation from the current zoning designations to a much higher density of development and instead maintain the current, well thought-out zoning plan to avoid:

  • increasing the traffic problems in the already highly congested Ballston area (Glebe & Fairfax and proximate streets and main thorough fares),
  • exacerbating the overcrowding in the Arlington Public Schools (Washington-Lee HS, etc.),
  • clearly deviating from and frustrating the existing plan and layout of a graduated reduction in heights and density in transitioning from the metro rail stations, a detrimental precedent to establish for existing neighborhoods and residents, and
  • introducing significant more disruption, potential physical damage, and nuisance to the closely surrounding residents that comes from heavy machinery, pile driving and heavy construction compared with the lighter construction associated with the current zoning.

Reston-based developer NVR describes the project as “a relatively modest in-fill development” that’s in keeping with the “urban townhouse” neighborhood that surrounds it.

The Arlington Planning Commission and County Board are expected to consider a site plan for the project later this year.

by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

A new mixed-income apartment building that provides the amenities of market-rate residences, even though 40 percent of its units are committed affordable housing, has opened near Rosslyn.

The Union on Queen building is located at 1515 N. Queen Street, in the Radnor-Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, roughly equidistant to the Rosslyn and Courthouse Metro stations. It was partially funded with $6.8 million from Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

Work on the 12-story, 193-unit structure, built as a public-private partnership, began at the end of 2014. It was touted as a way to provide affordable housing for those who need it — those making up to 50-60 percent of area median income are eligible for the committed units — while also providing attractive apartments for market-rate tenants.

“What makes Union on Queen so unique is that it offers ALL residents the same award-winning levels of innovation, convenience, amenities and design synonymous with the Bozzuto name in some of DC’s most premier apartments,” a PR rep said. “While most mixed-income communities often lack the luxuries and appointments of market-rate residences, Union on Queen delivers outstanding levels of service and detail for everyone.”

“There are a lot of places that would say, ‘Dumb it down, cheaper, less efficient. It’s affordable housing in there,'” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said during the groundbreaking ceremony two years ago. “But that’s not the way this community works. We want every building to be indistinguishable from the next.”

More on the project, via a press release from developers Bozzuto and Wesley Housing Development Corporation, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Police car (file photo)A woman opened her window last night only to find a man exposing himself several feet away.

The incident happened around 10 p.m. on the 1400 block of S. George Mason Drive, south of Columbia Pike.

Police say the suspect, a white male wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants, ran away after the window was opened.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-01170265, 1400 block of S. George Mason Drive. At approximately 10:07 p.m. on January 17, officers responded to the report of an indecent exposure. A female victim opened a window inside her residence and observed a male subject, several feet from the window, exposing himself. The suspect fled the scene in an unknown direction. He is described as a white male, wearing a blue t-shirt, grey sweatpants, and a dark colored winter hat. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Fog on the Potomac (Flickr pool photo by Tyler Reber)

Arlington Sending Officers to InaugurationUpdated at 10:55 a.m. — The Arlington County Police Department is assigning “more than a hundred” officers to help with inauguration security on Friday. Like other local departments, ACPD will sending some of its officers to D.C. to assist the Metropolitan Police Department. Others will be assigned to Metro stations or areas where large crowds are expected. [WJLA]

Local Inauguration Day Event — A number of local nonprofits, from the Arlington Food Assistance Center to activist groups like Moms Demand Action, will be participating in an “alternative” Inauguration Day event at the Barcroft Community House. The event encourages attendees to “explore how you can get involved in their important causes” and “post your thoughts about how we, as citizens of Arlington, can work to further our common good as we face new tests to our society and democracy after Inauguration Day.” [ARLnow, Facebook]

Senators Hope New Administration Will Fund Bridge Repairs — Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have written a letter to two of president-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, asking them to “do all in your power to see that the rehabilitation of Memorial Bridge is fully funded.” The senators note that the weight limit imposed on the bridge has forced some changes to inauguration plans. [Scribd]

Arlington Jeopardy Contestant Keeps Winning — Arlington resident John Avila, 30, again bested his fellow contestants on last night’s episode of Jeopardy, his second appearance on the show. Avila, an attorney, will face a high school physics teacher from Indiana and a writer from Brooklyn on tonight’s episode. [Sun Chronicle]

Small Dog Owners Want Separate Area of Dog Park — A group of owners of small dogs have proposed a separate small dog zone at the Fort Ethan Allen Park community canine area. There are currently two other dog parks in Arlington with separate small dog areas. [InsideNova]

Remembering Preston King — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark recounts the life and times of Preston King, for whom the Westover Post Office is named. King was killed while bailing out of his plane in the midst of a reconnaissance mission during World War II. [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by Tyler Reber

by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Update at 9:30 a.m. — The suspect has been found hiding under a car in the area of N. Quinn Street and 18th Street N. and has been taken into custody, according to scanner traffic.

Update at 9:45 a.m. — Virginia State Police have issued the following statement prior to confirmation that the suspect had been taken into custody.

“At 8:50 a.m., Virginia State Police initiated a traffic stop on a gray Ford Focus traveling east on Interstate 66 near the 72 mile marker/Lincoln Street overpass. The vehicle refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated. The Ford Focus took Exit 73 and due to its reckless driving and speed, the trooper discontinued the pursuit for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. Minutes later the vehicle was located abandoned on Nash Street near Lee Highway. A search is currently underway, with the assistance of Arlington County Police, for the male driver who fled on foot.”

Earlier: Police have swarmed the area around N. Nash Street and the Holiday Inn hotel in Rosslyn to search for a driver who led Virginia State Police on a morning rush hour chase.

Initial reports suggest that state police were pursuing the suspect on I-66 for an HOV violation. The suspect exited the highway at Rosslyn and bailed out near the hotel.

Police are establishing a perimeter as they try to locate the suspect, who’s described as a black male wearing jeans and a gray hoodie.

Photos by Samantha Moore

by ARLnow.com — January 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm 0

A towing standoff outside Ray's Hell BurgerA bill being considered by the Virginia General Assembly would increase towing fees and override Arlington County’s new towing regulation changes.

The House of Delegates bill, HB 1960, was proposed by Del. Tim Hugo, a Prince William and Fairfax County Republican. It would modify Virginia’s existing towing law with a number of provisions that would only apply to Northern Virginia jurisdictions in the state’s “Planning District 8,” which includes Arlington.

Among the proposed Northern Virginia-specific changes:

  • Raise the base towing fee to $150 and the maximum towing fee to $200.
  • Prohibit Arlington’s new “real time authorization” requirement, which requires businesses to authorize each individual tow.
  • Require that the chair of a local towing advisory board be a licensed towing operator. Currently, the chair of Arlington’s towing advisory committee is a local citizen.

An Arlington County fact sheet about the bill states that it “would unnecessarily restrict the ability of local governments to provide protections to vehicle owners in the taking of their property without their consent.”

“I would describe it as a very consumer unfriendly bill,” County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol told ARLnow.com. “It raises tow rates for the second year in a row with no fair market assessment to justify that.”

Cristol is encouraging residents to reach out to their local delegates and state senators to encourage them to work to defeat the bill.

“We think it’s a bad deal for our community and we hope people will let their state legislators know that they think so too,” she said.

On a statewide basis, the bill would require tow truck drivers to notify animal control when they tow a vehicle “that is occupied by an unattended companion animal.” It also establishes a $100 fine for towing operators that violate state towing regulations, to be paid to Virginia’s Literary Fund, and prohibits the appointment of anyone other than towing operators, law enforcement representatives and a single member of the general public to a towing advisory board.

by ARLnow.com — January 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Arlington police carTwo knife-wielding men robbed a man last night in the Shirlington area.

The robbery was reported just after 11:30 p.m. Monday on the 4400 block of 31st Street S., which is about halfway up the hill from Shirlington to Fairlington.

A police dog was brought in but was unable to track down the suspect.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2017-01160301, 4400 block of S. 31st Street. At approximately 11:37 p.m. on January 16, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that two male suspects approached a male victim near his vehicle, both displayed knives, and told the victim to put his hands up. The suspects then rifled through the victim’s pockets and stole his belongings. The suspects then fled the scene. A K9 search was conducted with negative results. The suspects are described as approximately 5’9″ tall with a bulky build. They were dressed in all black, with black gloves, and black ski masks at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com — January 17, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

Police car (file photo)A teen tried to take an Arlington County police officer’s gun during an incident in a north Arlington neighborhood Friday night, according to ACPD.

Police were called to the 3700 block of 36th Road N., in the Rivercrest community, around 9:30 p.m. for a cab fare dispute.

“Upon the officer’s arrival, he made verbal contact with the suspect,” police said in a crime report. “The suspect then lunged forward at the officer, grabbed his weapon and attempted to remove it from the holster. A struggle ensued and once additional police units arrived on scene, the suspect was taken into custody.”

Several officers were hurt during the fracas.

“Three Arlington County police officers received medical treatment at Virginia Hospital Center for non-life threatening injuries,” said the crime report. “The subject was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation.”

The suspect, a 16-year-old boy from Arlington, is now facing a number of charges, including a drug charge. He has been charged with “attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, assault on a law enforcement officer (x2), resisting arrest and possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance.”

by ARLnow.com — January 17, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Arlington County Board on 9/27/16As of Jan. 1, those listing their homes on Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and other such services have a new set of Arlington County regulations to follow.

That followed the fast-tracked County Board approval of the regulations on Dec. 12, beating the state legislature — which is considering a more lax set of policies that could supercede local rules — to the punch.

With the rules now in place, however, the Arlington County Board is looking to make some changes. Chief among them is allowing renters, not just homeowners, to generate extra income by opening their home to short-term guests.

Advantaging those who own a home over those who rent was criticized by some as regressive, and at its Jan. 28 meeting the Board appears poised to respond. (As part of the legislative process, such changes must first be “advertised” to the public, and the Board did so in December while approving the original regulations.)

In a Board report, county staff said limiting Airbnb privileges to homeowners was an idea gleaned from other jurisdictions — an idea that staff came to realize would face significant pushback.

“Throughout the public outreach process, staff heard from renters with an interest in hosting accessory homestay, including the majority of participants at a public open house, and from several advisory groups and commissions, including the Housing Commission, and from several participants in an online feedback form,” staff wrote. “Staff concluded that it would be appropriate to broaden the proposed amendment to allow accessory homestay in all dwellings occupied by a resident who uses the dwelling as his/her primary residence, regardless of ownership status.”

The change would not, however, automatically mean that any renter could turn their apartment into a de facto hotel: the renter or homeowner must still use the home as their primary residence for at least 185 days out of the year, and landlords could still prevent tenants from taking in short-term renters.

“Even if the proposed amendment is adopted to allow tenants to host accessory homestay, a lease could still preclude (or further limit) a resident from using his/her home for accessory homestay purposes, and any enforcement of lease terms would be between the tenant and landlord,” staff wrote.

Other changes being considered this month include allowing hosts to rent out rooms to multiple short-term “roommates” on separate contracts, and making several “updates for clarity and consistency.”

The Arlington Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the changes at its meeting tonight before the Board votes on it later this month.

by ARLnow.com — January 17, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

MLK memorial by moonlight (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Beyer Won’t Participate in Inauguration — Don’t expect to see Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) at the inauguration of Donald Trump nor at any celebratory inaugural events. Beyer says he “will not be part of normalizing or legitimizing” president-elect Trump, whose “values and… actions are the antithesis of what I hold dear.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Cubs at the Pentagon City Ritz — The World Series-winning Chicago Cubs made the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton their home base before meeting President Obama at the White House on Monday. The hotel is a popular destination for visiting sports teams. [Twitter]

Crash on I-395 — All but one lane of traffic was blocked on northbound I-395 yesterday following an afternoon crash near Shirlington. A police officer helped to calm down a dog who was in one of the cars involved in the crash. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington Group Will March in Inauguration — The Arlington-based Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will march in Friday’s inaugural parade in D.C. The organization supports the families of fallen military service members. [WJLA]

Hot Start for Wakefield Girls — The Wakefield girls basketball team is off to an impressive 12-2 start this season. The team plays Falls Church tonight. [Washington Post]

Business Book Club at Library — Arlington Public Library has launched a Business Book Club “for adults interested in reading about business strategy, leadership and management.” The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28 at Central Library. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — January 13, 2017 at 1:35 pm 0

Arlington County fire truckArlington County firefighters responded to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation offices in Virginia Square this afternoon for a report of smoke.

The call went out around 1:15 p.m., for smoke seen in or around the FDIC building at 1001 N. Monroe Street.

A full fire response was dispatched, but an investigation revealed only a minor smoke event, from a burned out fan motor.

by ARLnow.com — January 13, 2017 at 9:10 am 0

Mural on back of building in Courthouse

Waverly Hills Profiled By WaPo — In a profile of Waverly Hills, residents call the north Arlington neighborhood — which features kids walking to school, a variety of house sizes and plenty of tree cover — “very storybook” with a “really strong sense of community.” [Washington Post]

Go-Go Concert in Arlington Tonight — The Church at Clarendon tonight will host a world premiere performance of “JuJu Symphony” and “Down With You” by the Go-Go Symphony. The event, which mixes go-go and classical music styles, is scheduled from 8-9:30 p.m. [ARLnow, Washington City Paper]

Arlington Factors Into FC Development Editorial — The City of Falls Church must allow more development so it doesn’t have to raise taxes, which would in turn increase the likelihood that it would eventually get absorbed into Arlington or Fairfax. So says an editorial that also notes: “we’ve suspected on more than a few occasions powerful interests based outside our Little City have sought to meddle in our politics to the nefarious end of forcing us to give up our autonomy.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Nearby: Dairy Godmother Has Closed — Beloved Del Ray custard shop Dairy Godmother will not reopen from its winter sabbatical, the store announced yesterday. [Washington Business Journal, Dairy Godmother]

It’s Friday the 13th — But that doesn’t matter. [Vox]

by Tim Regan — January 12, 2017 at 10:55 am 0

Parking meter on N. Oak StreetMost Arlington County facilities and services are slated to close or operate on altered schedules next week in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony.

Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and other facilities will be closed next Monday, Jan. 16 and Friday, Jan. 20, the county said. Though metered parking will not be enforced on those days, recycling and trash pickup is scheduled to go ahead per normal.

ART buses will operate on a Saturday schedule on routes 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87 both on Monday and Friday of next week. Other ART buses will not run on those days, officials said.

Additionally, Commonwealth of Virginia offices, which include courts and the DMV, will be closed tomorrow, Jan. 13,  for Lee Jackson Day. Metered parking will not be enforced that day, but Arlington County offices will be open.

by ARLnow.com — January 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

"Red-shouldered hawk" by Erinn Shirley

Williamsburg to Implement Block Scheduling — Williamsburg Middle School will, in fact, be implementing a block schedule for classes next year, an Arlington Public Schools spokeswoman tells ARLnow.com. While Kenmore has a modified block schedule for sixth grade, and Gunston is “exploring moving to a flexible schedule for next year,” Jefferson and Swanson are not considering moving to a block schedule, we’re told.

Home Prices Decline in Arlington in 2016 — Per WTOP’s Jeff Clabaugh and listing service MRIS: “The median price in Arlington County last year was down 1.8 percent from 2015. Arlington and Alexandria were the only local jurisdictions to see declines in 2016 prices versus 2015.” [WTOP]

Grand Opening for Pamplona — New Clarendon restaurant Pamplona is holding its grand opening celebration tonight. The Spanish tapas restaurant is set in a self-described “sultry and sophisticated space, featuring colorful Spanish tiled floors, unique murals… and of course, an arsenal of bullheads.” [Facebook]

H-B Photography in Richmond — Work by H-B Woodlawn photography students is on display in the Richmond offices of Del. Patrick Hope. Hope plans to highlight one piece a day during the legislative session. [Twitter]

Multi-Generational Housing Construction — A 1950s ranch home near Bishop O’Connell High School is being torn down to make way for a new multi-generation house for a couple, their daughter and husband, and their grandchildren. [Falls Church News-Press]

When You Don’t Want Someone to Take Your Parking Cone — South Arlington is “so rough you have to lock up your cones,” as a photo apparently taken yesterday demonstrates. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — January 11, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

Dominion power outage map in the Shirlington area 1/11/17

Update at 5:35 p.m. — Power has been restored to all Arlington customers, according to Dominion’s website.

Thousands of Dominion customers in south Arlington are without currently without power.

Nearly 2,500 customers are without power in Arlington, primarily in the Shirlington and Fairlington areas, and another 700 or so are in the dark across the border in Alexandria, according to Dominion’s power outage map.

Starting around S. Arlington Mill Drive, the Walter Reed Drive and N. Beauregard Street (in Alexandria) corridor is without power, according to the map. Police have been called to the intersection of Walter Reed and S. Dinwiddie Street for a report of traffic problems.

According to the Dominion website, power is expected to be restored at some point between 4-9 p.m.

Arlington Public Library says the Shirlington branch is among the places affected by the outage. The library will close at 5 p.m. if power is not restored by then.

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