County Board members, in every campaign speech and at the meeting that takes place at beginning of every year, talk about the need to address the affordability of housing in Arlington.
Market forces beyond their control clearly work against the Board, but so do many of the rules and regulations they create and defend. On Tuesday the Board voted unanimously to force a homeowner to pay an additional $20,000 (or more) to replace the roof on their home because it sits in the Maywood Neighborhood Historic District.
The homeowners were not attempting to change the historic design of their home, they simply did not believe they could afford up to $30,000 for tin shingles when asphalt shingles would cost just $6,000. On Tuesday, the County Board unanimously rejected the homeowners’ appeal of the April 2017 decision by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) which required the dramatically more expensive roofing option.
In the scope of review of zoning appeals it says that action should not be taken “which would be incongruous with the historical aspects of the district.” The HALRB ultimately determined that the lack of this particular tin roof would be incongruous. According to the zoning ordinance cited in the staff report, the Board could only overturn the appeal if it was contrary to the law or constitutes an abuse of discretion. The County Board unanimously affirmed that decision.
But if the County Board members wanted to provide the homeowners relief, they could have. According to the Maywood Design Guidelines, “the HALRB strongly supports replacing metal roofs with the same materials.” If they wanted to say it was required, they could have used the word required, but they did not. In fact, the HALRB asked the homeowners to provide an estimate for the cost of asphalt shingles as part of the application process. Therefore, the HALRB clearly had the discretion to allow the asphalt shingles but chose not to. Their exercise of that discretion was open to the County Board’s review.
Ultimately, the County Board had a simple question before it: is the HALRB’s decision to require homeowners to spend five times as much for roofing material reasonable in light of the historic district requirements? The Board unanimously chose to say that imposing such a cost was a reasonable decision.
The Board did so while trying to sound sympathetic. Board Chair Katie Cristol called it a “cautionary tale.” Vice Chair Christian Dorsey said, “I think we can figure out a way to do better.”
When it comes to driving up costs of construction through zoning rules in the county on one hand, and then simultaneously expressing concerns about the rising housing costs that result from those rules, this result is a perfect example of the Arlington way.
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 Lisa Nisenson
This year marked a breakthrough for transportation with a new regional deal for Metro funding. But transit options are only part of developing a mobility system to move people while reducing gridlock. Arlington should consider innovative options from other jurisdictions that would update the county’s longstanding “car-free diet” approach. As it so happens, some of the most exciting opportunities for mobility are rolling out, literally, on two wheels.
Perhaps you’ve seen, or even ridden, the new electric bikes and scooters in Washington. These new bike share systems are called dockless, or free floating. They don’t need to be parked at a station like Arlington’s Capital Bikeshare bikes. This is both a blessing (for riders) and a curse (chaotic sidewalks). Likewise, riders can pay by the trip rather than create a membership.
Some of the dockless bikes are also electric, pedal assist models. The power does not kick in unless the rider is pedaling. There are four companies operating electric scooters in Washington: Lime, Waybots, Bird and Skip. Both scooters and electric bike share are part of a pilot project for dockless systems in DC.
While not yet available in Arlington, the county is studying how Washington and other cities are managing systems to avoid “bike litter” (improperly parked or broken bikes and scooters).
These new systems represent something larger than a bike ride. Competition among providers like Uber and Lime to provide on-demand mobility means the rate of change is outpacing our traditional, deliberative processes. The technology companies’ “install now, study later” tactics reverse the usual process for transportation planning, which can take years. Cities are scrambling to adjust for one big reason: the electric scooters and bikes are wildly popular because they fill some of the most stubborn mobility gaps.
In Arlington, electric scooters and electric pedal assist bicycles can expand bike share to the hillier parts of the northern and southern parts of the county. These bikes and scooters can also expand access to Metro beyond our transit corridors.
We don’t have to wait to begin proper planning now. The key to success is incorporating electric bike and scooter share systems into our county transportation programs via a fast and nimble approach.
Testing ideas first: With new ideas and technology, demonstration and pilot projects let the community start small and experiment with design before making large investments. Demonstrations also let the community take a test drive (or ride) of new mobility and for new street designs. On June 28, for example, the Crystal City BID will host a demonstration of the new electric bike share options (JUMP and LimeBike) as part of Food Truck Thursday.
Nimble infrastructure: Many cities install temporary infrastructure like bike lanes to test demand and design. Others use portable amenities like bike parking to meet seasonal or event-based demand. Seattle used modular rails and planters to test a protected bike lane. Austin is painting designated parking areas for dockless bikes and scooters. Arlington needs to make sure it has access to the data to assess how people are using and parking scooters and bikes, and then use the data to target increased investment on routes with high demand.
Simpler permitting: Los Angeles’ People St program has streamlined permits for installing parklets and bike parking on streets and sidewalks. Making parking easy and accessible is one key to managing dockless systems.
Evolving support: One of the main challenges to the growth of dockless systems is charging the scooters and bikes. In fact, scooter companies pay “juicers” to charge and distribute their fleets in a designated area. Over the long term, integrated parking plus charging stations will become standard in buildings for all kinds of electric vehicles.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is going to be cultural. Car drivers and bike riders alike staunchly defend their mode. The new electric mobility models, though, will mean more options for more places that create more opportunities for Arlington residents to get out and about without adding to gridlock. Allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good with planning in this case wouldn’t be progress; it’d be shifting into reverse gear.
Lisa Nisenson leads Alta Planning + Design’s New Mobility groups and is founder of the award-winning start-up GreaterPlaces. She gave a 2015 TEDxArlington talk on building better transportation networks.
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.
In presenting his proposed new Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to the County Board last month, County Manager Mark Schwartz appropriately stressed fiscal prudence and making tough choices among competing priorities.
The Manager also correctly noted the incremental needs in capital spending that have arisen since Arlington’s last CIP was adopted two years ago, including for:
- Other transportation and core community infrastructure
But, as ARLnow.com reported, the Manager tried to defend moving forward with the construction of a $60 million aquatics center at Long Bridge Park. He argued that it would be a “breach of faith” to cancel it. He also claimed:
“If we back out… nobody in the contracting community is going to bid on any of our contracts for the next five years… We’d probably… be involved in protracted litigation with [the construction company]… and our future projects would go up in price. People would build that in as a risk premium.”
The benefits of cancelling the aquatics center substantially outweigh the costs
The Manager’s conclusions about the contracting community and protracted litigation are alarmist. Contractors will continue vigorously bidding against each other for our business. We can reach a fair settlement with the construction company. At a minimum, county government should produce a redacted version of the construction contract so that it can be evaluated by disinterested, independent experts.
As for the “breach of faith,” we must weigh the great disappointment of aquatics center advocates if this project is cancelled against the lasting opportunity costs to the entire Arlington community of proceeding forward.
I share most of the sentiments expressed in the most up-voted comment to the ARLnow.com news story:
“The aquatics center is a boondoggle that should be stopped immediately. Just because it has been worked on for a few months does not mean we should continue to throw good money after bad… Arlington taxpayers will be on the hook for the deficit forever.”
I don’t agree this project is a boondoggle, but I do agree with the rest of this comment.
While school enrollment is growing at the equivalent of one new elementary school per year, and our vital Metro system still needs more funding, we should take pressure off our CIP’s 10 percent debt service limits by cancelling the aquatics center project. The costs to service our bonded indebtedness are already rising too close to those limits.
The Manager estimates net taxpayer support for aquatics center operations at something north of $1.1 million annually. This estimate is highly speculative because County government has never operated such a facility. The actual annual operating deficit could be much higher.
The net savings from cancelling the aquatics center should be re-directed toward other legally permissible uses
The Manager has confirmed that the County Board legally could reprogram the approved bond monies for the aquatics center to other park and recreation priorities. These include:
- land acquisition for new parkland (the Manager’s CIP contains $0 for acquisition of new parkland over the next 10 years even though Arlington’s population is expected to grow by over 30,000 during that period)
- park infrastructure (including a smaller community pool) at Long Bridge or elsewhere
County government has cancelled the 4thof July celebration at Long Bridge Park due to “budget constraints” while insisting that the aquatics center be built despite budget constraints. Each of those decisions should be reversed.
Reagan National Airport is offering free parking for up to 60 minutes in terminal garages to help alleviate heavy traffic during a major construction project.
The parking will help accommodate travelers affected by the closure of three lanes outside the already-congested Arrivals section of Terminal B/C — a closure that is scheduled to begin today (June 21).
It will be “several months” before the closures end, and a construction advisory issued Tuesday encourages travelers to use Metrorail service to get to the airport. Police officers will also be present to help ease congestion during peak periods.
The lane closures are a step toward the construction of two new security checkpoints above the roadway, which will add eight new security lanes to the airport and alter the configuration of Terminal B/C to increase passenger access to shopping, dining and seating.
Project Journey, the $1 billion capital improvement project launched by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority last March, aims to make Reagan National better equipped to serve the high volume of passengers it sees each year. Construction is expected to wrap up in 2021.
Photo via Twitter
Indulge in some self-care: Washington Improv Theater’s Summer Escape provides relief from 100% humidity and grueling daily headlines. Make WIT part of your night out on 14th Street with our series of improvised shows running through August 5.
Use the code ARLNOW to get two tickets for just $25. What’s in store?
- Your audience suggestion could end the world in Apocalypse How?, a new show by WIT’s hit musical improv ensemble iMusical.
- Inspired by the movie School of Rock, WIT debuts the improvised rock comedy Heavy Rotation where the actors play live instruments.
- A two-night-only guest! Karaoke Storytellers, currently running at Chicago’s iO theater, is the brainchild of D.C. native Connor Gorman. On July 27 and 28, experience a show that blends improvisation and storytelling with full-throttle karaoke!
- The razor-sharp all-female cast of WIT company ensemble Hellcat base their shows off of cringe-worthy readings by special guests. From long-lost AIM conversations to teenage journal entries to angst-ridden poetry, come revel in the awkwardness, shame and hilarity.
Summer Escape can save you from your daily summer struggles with pesky tour groups, pit stains and Metro delays. Get out of your world and step into ours.
Title insurance is boring, but Allied Title & Escrow is here to decode the jargon and make it (somewhat) more interesting. This biweekly column will explore the mundane (but very necessary!) world of title insurance while sharing interesting stories of two friends’ entrepreneurial careers.
What did two childhood friends see in the title industry to make them think there was a big opportunity and a better way to serve agents, builders, lenders and home buyers?
We (Matt Paulson and Latane Meade) have known each other since a basketball league for 7 years olds in Virginia Beach where our dads coached and sometimes got kicked out of games for yelling at 16 year old refs.
Yep, it’s true.
We always discussed different businesses and finally teamed up to start Allied Title & Escrow a couple years ago. We saw an archaic industry which we thought we could shake up.
Today’s article is what we thought could be done better and what we put in place to make sure we could achieve those goals.
As we looked at the industry, we noticed a few consistent themes with title companies:
- On the technology front, most companies seemed to behind the ball. Websites were outdated, not mobile friendly and most companies didn’t have a social media presence and weren’t engaging with their customers.
- Reactive (vs proactive) communication — within the industry, title companies have a reputation for being hard to get in touch with and not responding quickly.
- On a similar note, clients could rarely get in touch with the owners of the title company if a significant issue arose.
- Feedback from customers — title companies weren’t consistently reaching out to clients to find out how their settlement experience went and how they could get better.
- Flexibility — many times people buying or selling a home were too busy to come to the title company for the closing during a work day.
- Atmosphere — the old law firm office feel (mahogany wood panels) from the 90’s still held true in many cases. Sure it’s title insurance and boring but why can’t the settlement experience be fun and cool?
How did we solve or improve on the industry?
- We hired marketing experts to help create engaging content (blogs, social media posts) where we can interact with our customers and provide them marketing ideas that can improve their sales. A mobile friendly website was an easy fix!
- Consistent lunch and learns educating agents and builders on hot topics (eg., TOPA in DC, IZ (Inclusionary Zoning) regulations, what marketing does and doesn’t work for agents.
- Internally, we preach over-communicating and pro-active communication with our clients (agents, builders, lenders and consumers). Whether it’s responding immediately after a contract comes in or answering questions from agents, lenders or the buyers/sellers themselves, we always try to respond timely to questions.
- Matt and Latane provide our clients with our cell phone numbers so they can get in touch with us 24/7 if they need to. We have a great team in place who typically can solve their questions or issues but if not we are always available.
- Continuous feedback — we continuously reach out to our clients to ask them how we did. We might not always hit the mark perfectly but by learning how we can improve and constantly making tweaks, we are always going above and beyond to make a client’s experience top notch. Click here to see our Google Reviews from actual customers.
- We provide remote settlements and will do a settlement anytime and anywhere so buyers and sellers can continue on with their busy lives.
- Fun office atmosphere. Raised ceilings, Silicon Valley feel, coffee and beer on tap for buyers to celebrate their new home. Click here to see our office!
Bus riders along Columbia Pike will see significant service changes starting Sunday (June 24), as part of the long-awaited “premium transit network” planned for the corridor.
Metrobus will soon offer five streamlined routes along the Pike, down from 11, and offer more frequent service across all of those routes, Arlington transportation officials told the County Board Tuesday (June 19).
The changes will move in tandem with some other Metrobus service alterations recently approved by WMATA’s governing board, and bring the county closer to delivering on its promise to improve transit options along the Pike after abandoning the contentious streetcar project four years ago.
“You may not necessarily move through the corridor faster, but you won’t have to wait as long for a bus to take you somewhere, particularly during the peak hours,” said Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey.
Lynn Rivers, the county’s transit bureau chief, noted that Metrobus will offer 30 additional hours of service across all the different routes on the 16 line, with the ultimate goal of running buses once every six minutes along the most crowded stops on the Pike.
The county has also kicked off the process of finding a contractor to build 20 new bus shelters along the Pike.
Dennis Leach, the county’s transportation director, told the Board that the county started soliciting bids for the project last Wednesday (June 13). By July, he expects the county will know how much each shelter will cost, a key point of interest for Board members after the Pike’s “$1 million bus stops” prompted community outcry years ago.
Yet Rivers believes the more noticeable change for riders right away will be the alteration to Metrobus routes along the Pike. She noted that buses won’t be changing where they drop off and pick up riders, but Metrobus will be tweaking how it describes its various routes to be less confusing.
“The idea was to streamline that to make it easier not just for those who are using it, but also bring more people onto the system,” Rivers said.
Moving forward, the five routes on Columbia Pike will be known as 16A, 16C, 16E, 16G and 16H. Rivers added that 16Y service will still be available as well during peak hours, though only to Farragut Square, and service along the 16X route to Federal Triangle will still be available during peak times as well.
While these changes came as good news to Board members, John Vihstadt did point out that “our communities have been frustrated with the pace” of the county’s work to implement bus service changes along the Pike. Rivers believes this first phase of improvements is the equivalent of starting off “with a bang,” but she did acknowledge there’s lots of work left to be done.
Eventually, the county and Metro plan to offer nonstop bus service between the Pike and Crystal City, and extend the Transitway, or dedicated lane bus service, out to Pentagon City — the latter effort just won some new regional funding as well.
“This is just the beginning of many more phases,” Rivers said.
Basic Burger is officially open in Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street) after moving out of its Courthouse location at the end of last week.
The eatery will host a grand opening celebration Saturday (June 23), featuring giveaways and a raffle for Washington Nationals tickets.
The move comes as the young company plans to expand in the region, having signed leases for new spaces in North Arlington and D.C., according to general manager Guillermo Castillo.
The Pentagon Row location is larger than the Courthouse space, where the restaurant first opened in 2016, and will offer an expanded menu.
It’s Summer — Today is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in terms of daylight. [Fortune]
Verizon 911 Outage — Updated at 11:40 a.m. — From Arlington Alert: “Due to a regional Verizon outage, Verizon mobile phones may not be able to reach 9-1-1 or non-emergency numbers in the area at this time. Please use Text-to-9-1-1 or another phone carrier if the voice call does not go through.” Callers in Alexandria, Fairfax and Prince William are also affected by the outage. Service was restored around 11 a.m. [Twitter, WJLA]
Crash Leads to All-Time Terrible Commute — Yesterday’s evening commute was “atrocious” and the “worst I’ve ever seen” in Northern Virginia, per transportation reporter Adam Tuss. Traffic was especially slow on northbound I-395 and the northbound GW Parkway approaching D.C., after a deadly and fiery truck crash shut down a portion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Capital Beltway. [WTOP, Twitter, Twitter]
New Details in Police Shooting — There are new details in the police shooting of a man near Columbia Pike last month. According to court records, Steven Best and his passenger “were involved in a drug transaction with a man outside a hotel.” Police then boxed in his van to make an arrest, but Best allegedly tried to flee, driving “forwards and backwards, striking multiple police cars,” leading to the shooting. Best’s family, which has questioned the police account of what happened, says they have a video of the shooting. [WJLA]
Housing Costs Still Rising — The average per-square-foot cost of an existing home in Arlington is now $475, an increase of 1.3 percent compared to last year and the highest such figure among Northern Virginia localities. [InsideNova]
New ACPD Officers — Ten new Arlington police officers took the oath of honor to protect and serve the residents of Arlington County earlier this week after graduating from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy. [Twitter]
Bishop Burbidge on World Refugee Day — Catholic Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge released a statement in honor of World Refugee Day yesterday, saying in part: “may we… stand with refugees and commemorate their courage, resilience and perseverance. May we always remember to ‘treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and … love him as yourself, for [we] were strangers in the land of Egypt’ (Leviticus19:34).” [Arlington Catholic Herald, Twitter]
Food Truck Inspections — The Arlington County Fire Department has been performing inspections this week of food trucks that operate in Arlington. Officials have been specifically looking at fire suppression systems and the storage of cooking fuels. [Twitter]
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Neighborhood: Crescent Hills
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What could be better than a beautifully renovated home in a fantastic location?
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Generously sized bedrooms and a full master-suite with walk-in closet, bonus room and spa-like bath make this home an inviting retreat.
Walk to Discovery Elementary, Williamsburg Middle School, Chestnut Hills Park & Playground, Lee-Harrison Shopping Center and more! For further info, photos and floorplans, visit www.NorthHarrison.com.
It might seem odd that the consulting firm Accenture would open a second Arlington office in Rosslyn, just a 10-minute drive from its current location in Ballston and a brief Metro ride away from its office in D.C.
But company executives believe Arlington’s pool of talented tech workers is so deep that such a move makes perfect sense — and state leaders are hoping tech giants from Apple to Amazon are similarly swayed by the strength of the county’s workforce.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) helped Accenture christen its new “cyber fusion center” inside the new CEB Tower at Central Place (1201 Wilson Blvd) today (Wednesday), hailing the company for its plans to create 1,000 high-paying tech jobs in the D.C. region by 2020.
Marty Rodgers, Accenture’s metro D.C. office managing director, says the firm ultimately plans to have 4,500 employees at its Arlington locations alone, and they’ll have plenty of company. As of last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 17,000 people in Arlington work in IT-focused jobs, and Rodgers adds that 185 cybersecurity startups in the area won outside funding in 2017.
Observers have speculated that those numbers are part of why Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook are eyeing Arlington so closely for expansion. Northam hopes they’re right.
“I’ve always been a big believer that if we bring talent to the area, talent will attract other talent,” Northam told reporters Wednesday. “We’ve made that pitch and we’re excited about that opportunity, and we’ve had those discussions with Amazon. But whether it’s Amazon or Apple or any other company, in order for them to grow or come here, we’ve got to be able to train our workforce.”
Northam credits his predecessor, ex-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, for putting a focus on tech training programs at both the higher education level and in K-12 schools. But it also helps that many of those workers have gained experience in the area’s bevy of federal government tech jobs, making them even more attractive to companies like Accenture that do plenty of business in D.C.
“This is where all the talent is,” Rodgers said. “You need people who have that combination of experiences, with for-profits, with nonprofits, with government.”
Rodgers noted that those sorts of employees will be particularly important at the company’s new Rosslyn center. It’s designed as not only a cybersecurity research hub, but also as a meeting space for Accenture to help its clients, from governments to massive corporations, investigate cyberattacks in real time.
Accenture executives demonstrated for the gathered elected officials and journalists how the company might educate an oil and gas company about how to prevent a phishing attack on a refinery. After hackers tried, and failed, to blow up a Saudi Arabian refinery by breaking in to a company’s networks via a fraudulent email, company officials warned that such a scenario isn’t terribly far-fetched.
Rodgers believes the center will even be innovative enough to help the D.C. region become the top global destination for cybersecurity companies.
“This region is fundamental to cybersecurity for the country and the world,” Rodgers said. “This is a mantle we hope this cybersecurity fusion center can claim here, as compared to Silicon Valley.”
Both incidents, which were reported to police an hour apart, happened Thursday night in the Radnor-Fort Myer heights neighborhood. Both times, a woman witnessed a man exposing himself and masturbating.
The suspect descriptions differ, and are not do not match up precisely with the serial flashing suspect, but the suspect behavior is similar.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-06140250, 1300 block of Fort Myer Drive. At approximately 10:20 p.m. on June 14, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when she observed a male suspect exposing himself and masturbating. The suspect then approached the victim and touched her inappropriately before fleeing the area on foot. The suspect is described as a male, approximately 5’6, in his mid 20’s, with an average build, approximately 120 lbs., wearing dark grey sweatshirt and dark pants, with a hood pulled tightly around his face. The investigation is ongoing.
INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-06140269, 1300 block of N. Meade Street. At approximately 11:19 p.m. on June 14, police were dispatched to the report of a peeping. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was inside her residence when she noticed movement outside her window and observed an unknown male suspect exposing himself and masturbating outside the window. The suspect is described as a tall white male, with a muscular build, wearing a maroon or dark red short sleeved shirt and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
Arlington officials are pledging to take a fresh look at how they manage local historic districts, after one neighborhood’s design standards is forcing a Maywood family to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a roof repair.
Brendan and Jody Devine have spent more than a year working with county officials to get permission to use asphalt shingles when overhauling the roof of their home along the 3500 block of 21st Avenue N. But the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board, known as the HALRB, blocked that request because the home is located in the Maywood Neighborhood Historic District, and the board feared replacing its current stamped tin shingle roof with a more modern style of roof would leave it out of step with the rest of the neighborhood.
The Devines appealed that decision to the County Board, but members voted unanimously yesterday (Tuesday) to uphold the HALRB’s decision.
Board members, however, expressed a great deal of remorse over that vote, lamenting that the county code obligated them to side against the Devines, even if they agreed with their concerns about the tin roof’s cost.
“We’re ending up on the wrong side of justice if we don’t provide a way to promote the architectural compatibility with the neighborhood, while at the same time accounting for real life circumstances,” said Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey. “I think we can figure out a way to do better.”
Brendan Devine noted at the meeting that the tin shingles would likely cost as much as $30,000, compared to $5,000-6,000 for the asphalt option, and that that is only for a portion of the roof. He argued that the county would be effectively making the neighborhood an “enclave” for the wealthy if the Board forced homeowners to embrace such expensive options.
In general, Board members agreed with that sentiment, though they felt there was little they could do to make a difference in this particular case.
County Attorney Steve MacIsaac cautioned that members had little choice but to side with the HALRB’s ruling unless the Devines could prove that board made some sort of “arbitrary and capricious” decision. The Board took heed of his opinion, but with some communities around the county trying to pursue historic districts in order to protect affordable housing options, several members expressed a willingness to revisit the county’s policies on the matter.
“This is a cautionary tale,” Chair Katie Cristol said. “We’ve had members of our community who have sought to use a historic designation overlay as a tool to protect affordability… but to the extent we’re looking to protect either garden apartments or single family homes, it can sometimes work at cross purposes.”
Board members were particularly interested in finding a way to get the HALRB to consider the cost of a change like this as a central part of their deliberations. Joan Lawrence, the HALRB’s chair, told the Board that her group did indeed take the expense of the tin shingles into account, but ultimately felt making an exception in this case could lead to a slippery slope.
“A defining feature of this historic district is this particular roof,” Lawrence said. “We’re dealing with a situation of death by a thousand cuts… I don’t think being good stewards of a historic neighborhood, a historic house, is making it an enclave.”
County workers now have the green light they need to kick off an overhaul of McCoy Park near Rosslyn and Courthouse.
The Arlington County Board agreed to rezone the park at its meeting Saturday (June 16), allowing work on a series of improvements to the 1.1-acre property at 2121 21st Street N. to move forward. Parks officials have been working on plans for a renovation to McCoy since 2016, after the company behind the mixed-use development that’s home to the nearby MOM’s Organic Market (2145 Lee Highway) agreed to help fund the project.
The county has not made major changes to the park since it opened in 1985.
“Changes to the park will include a re-aligned sidewalk, a seating deck with furnishings, a shade canopy, and interactive chalk art plaza, new landscape vegetation, trash/recycling receptacles, and a new park entry sign,” county staff wrote in a report for the Board.
The county is also hoping to add a dog waste bag dispenser and “Little Free Library” to the park, if it can find sponsors to help build and maintain either amenity.
County staff note in their report that their next step is to submit construction documents for permitting, now that they earned the County Board’s sign off. They’re hoping to complete the improvements by the end of the year.
This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Schrodinger, a Korat cat from Pentagon City who loves tuna.
Here’s what Schrodinger’s owner, Adam, had to say about her:
Schrodinger is a Korat in Pentagon City that was born way back in 2002.
Schrodinger is obviously named after the quantum physics thought experiment in which a cat is placed in a box with some sort of poison. Until the box is opened, when it is discovered that the cat is either alive or dead, the cat is considered both alive and dead simultaneously. Neither Schrodinger nor her owner still have any idea what that means.
Despite her advancing age, Schrodinger is still spry and loves playing with our other two cats. She also has an unhealthy obsession with tuna and whenever she hears the can opener, the alarm sound from Kill Bill goes off in her head and she goes berserk. Other favorite activities include lying on her Washington Football Team blanket, providing her owner with hairballs, drooling when happy, and looking at things.
Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!
Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.
Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.