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by Christina Sturdivant-Sani February 16, 2018 at 8:35 am 0

Photo by DaleKid

A body-conscious bootcamp, Swings Coffee is back, James Beard award finalists, and other news of the day over in the District.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 16, 2018 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Buyers enjoyed a tidal wave of new listings this week, but rising interest rates rained on their parade.

Some 92 fresh new listings came on the market in Arlington, and buyers ratified 54 contracts. An incredible 24 new listings sold within seven days. And 10 of the homes ratified this week were listed over $1m helping to strengthen the upper end market.

But buyers got hammered by a jump in mortgage rates. The 30-yr fixed rate is now 1/4% higher than it was last week ranging now at 4.5%-4.65% for a 30-yr fixed. In this volatile mortgage market, rates vary greatly among lenders so buyers should shop diligently, and quickly, once they ratify an offer and can lock in their rate.  A half point increase would cost roughly $90/mo on a $300k loan.

Rates are expected to continue their climb. Inflation surged last month by 1/2% to an annual rate 2.1% which will likely inspire the Federal Reserve to raise short term rates sooner than later this year.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by ARLnow.com February 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm 0

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Edith Wilson, president of the Shirlington Civic Association and a member of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group, regarding plans for Jennie Dean Park.

On February 6, the Parks & Recreation Department provided the Four Mile Run Valley (4MRV) Working Group with the staff policy framework for Jennie Dean Park over the next 20 years. Here’s a different view of the situation faced by decision-makers.

This park concept is vastly improved over initial proposals, reflecting many compromises where there is no perfect solution, Markedly responsive to a wide range of sharply competing interests and community input, it does right by the environment by respecting the flood plain and resource conservation area (RPA) and planting many more trees. It increases total recreation facilities by creating a new rectangular field where soccer and other casual sports can be played. A brand new playground would be located in the center of the park amid greenery and away from noisy trucks and buses from County facilities and the cement plant. It leaves the majority of new parkland along S. Four Mile Run Drive for landscaping and open space.

There is a lot of history to our valley, but part of that history is the new elements too. Take us for example. Over the last 40 years, residential multi-unit housing was built along the south side of the stream from the Village westward to S. Walter Reed Drive. Twenty years ago Arlington County worked hard to create the Village of Shirlington, a landmark mixed-use urban village with a population that celebrates its diversity. The Shirlington neighborhood now has over 2,200 households with tens of thousands of regular visitors to its business areas. How can this work, though, since there is no park, playground, not even a school or church with open space, in this area? What was the County thinking?

The answer is that literally across the street, though not within the boundaries of the Shirlington neighborhood, are the parks our community depends on: the long landscaped strip along S. Arlington Mill Drive, the dog park, and Jennie Dean Park. Arlington residents from all over come here with their families and pets. Shirlington residents are out there every single day, often several times.

What makes the valley between Shirlington and Nauck special is our beautiful section of Four Mile Run stream. This is presided over by Marvin, the elegant Great Blue heron who lives on a small rocky island in the lower stream, a stretch few visit because it is blocked by a large softball field fence. The Great Blue heron is the largest of all the North America herons, If you are lucky, you can see Marvin gliding down the center of the stream at dusk, dipping like a trick pilot under the pedestrian bridge. There are raccoons, turtles, ducks, geese, snakes, fish and lots of other birds too. Providing public access to the stream and wildlife such as this was the guiding principle of the enormously successful 20-year-old stream restoration project from Shirlington Road eastward to the Potomac River. Now it’s time to extend that principle westward.

This area has a high risk of flooding. – why do you think WETA needs to leave its old production center in the middle of the park? Environmental rules and common sense mandate addressing these conditions but the current softball field location stands in the way. The proposal shifts this field away from the stream, leaving a large open space for many more water-absorbing trees, traditional picnic areas, a nature overlook and a riparian pathway. Moving this field, in turn, also creates space for a new rectangular playing field lying across the back of two slightly repositioned diamond fields. Again, two-thirds of the frontage along Four Mile Run Drive would still be turned into casual space with landscaping and room for an impressive park entrance.

As Arlington’s population and density increases, demand for park and recreation space is shooting up. No one neighborhood owns any of these parks, not even those of us close by. Let’s absolutely respect and honor the important history of this particular neighborhood – including the baseball and softball leagues that have been played here for decades — but let’s focus on the future we need to build together. Let’s share.

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.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 15, 2018 at 4:30 pm 0

Travelers heading to or from Reagan National Airport should get ready for traffic impacts from construction starting next week.

Work will begin overnight from Monday, February 19 into Tuesday to prepare the building foundation for the new security checkpoints.

Roadway disruptions will initially be confined to overnight lane closures near terminal B/C, but will extend into the afternoon and evening hours later in the spring.

A project press release adds that “some temporary changes are coming inside the terminal that will affect the airline check-in process for some passengers.”

Nicknamed “Project Journey,” the one billion dollar infrastructure enhancement is scheduled to run through 2021. The finished project will bring two 50,000-square-foot buildings with security checkpoints, replacing three smaller checkpoints at terminal B/C. A new 14-gate concourse is in the works, which will include an American Airlines members lounge, replacing the notoriously difficult to access Gate 35X.

The airport has vastly outgrown its original passenger projections. It now serves about 24 million travelers a year, as opposed to the 14 million it was built to accommodate.

by Mark Kelly February 15, 2018 at 3:45 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.

Delegate Patrick Hope unsuccessfully tried to move a bill through the House of Delegates to change the way Arlingtonians vote for County Board.

Hope’s bill would not have required the County Board to adopt the new voting process, it would have just given them the option. It is not an option they should have.

Hope proposed what’s known as “instant-runoff voting” which would give voters the ability to rank their choices when voting. This process has been used by local Democrats in recent caucus voting.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes, the the second choice of the last place candidate is redistributed to the other candidates in the field based on the ranking. The process repeats until someone reaches a majority.

Having come in a fairly close second (for an Arlington Republican anyway) in the most recent County Board special election which resulted in no one receiving 50 percent of the vote, you might think I would be for this change.

However, in a county where the numerical advantage so overwhelmingly favors the Democrats, removing the ability for a non-Democrat to win a plurality vote means the only real practical impact of the proposed change would be to put Independents and Republicans at a further political disadvantage.

The cynic may say the call for instant-runoff voting, much like redistricting reforms, is most often pushed by those who think the change would tilt the political playing field their way. But let’s give Hope and others the benefit of the doubt, that one of the big goals is to find a solution that creates more “civility” in politics. Poll after poll certainly says voters would prefer a better tone during our elections.

In Arlington, general elections are not really acrimonious affairs. Can someone really say that any County Board races have devolved into mudslinging affairs in recent memory? Maybe the problem is just with the tone on the Democratic side in their primary elections?

Another of Hope’s stated goals is to prevent a “fringe candidate” from winning a crowded field with only 25 or 30 percent of the vote. Someone should ask Delegate Hope which “fringe candidate” who failed to receive 50 percent is sitting in office that he thinks fits the bill?

It is understandable that politicians want to be seen as doing something, but changing the system of electing candidates is unlikely to change the current political environment here in Arlington.

If you want more civility overall as a political leader, recruit candidates who will adopt a positive tone in their campaigns. If you want more civility as a voter, do not reward candidates who run scorched earth campaigns with your vote.

by Progressive Voice February 15, 2018 at 3:15 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 Takis Karantonis

Four major corridors cut across Arlington — Columbia Pike, Crystal City-Route 1, the Rosslyn-Ballston (R-B) corridor and Lee Highway. “Corridor development” has been at the core of Arlington County’s growth strategy. Our “Main Streets” have merited dedicated policy focus and resources, starting with the development of Metro in the 1970s along the R-B corridor and Crystal City.

But it’s time to look anew at whether these corridors are all meeting their potential and all getting the resources they need. Corridors don’t occur “organically.” They emerge as products of community vision, policy, planning and timely public and private investment decisions.

Attention has been lavished on the corridors close to Metro, and understandably so, since Metro drove their commercial development. But it is time for Columbia Pike and Lee Highway to get the same kind of purposeful attention and long-term investment from the County.

Given the rising challenges in our local and regional economy, it is time to give our corridors a more urgent priority.

Twenty years ago, the Arlington County Board launched the Columbia Pike Initiative, a plan to revitalize Arlington’s most populous non-Metro corridor. A key aspect of that decision was the recognition that:

  • Corridors connect our neighborhoods and business districts, thus forming a county-wide network on which economic activity occurs. Arlington’s potential for a thriving economy will continue eluding us until the pockets of inequality that dot our community are addressed by effectively developing all our corridors.
  • Corridors are business-friendly and economically diverse. This is where small businesses start and often have the best chance for survival and growth. Big businesses prefer to locate here as they are optimally suited to make the most of a dense ecosystem of resources.
  • Corridors provide the environment to address scarcities, such as housing and transportation.

At this year’s 20th anniversary of the Columbia Pike Initiative, we can list accomplishments, such as jumpstarting development after a three-decades-long doldrums and upgrading transit, both of which bring us closer but still not near to our development goals.

Lee Highway has been languishing and despite citizen volunteer work through the Lee Highway Alliance for more than five years, the County-staff-led planning process has been rather slow in delivery.

In the upcoming County budget, let’s show renewed focus and commitment to our corridors.

Let us re-invest fully in our urban partnerships (CPRO, the Clarendon Alliance and the Lee Highway Alliance) in ways that give them actual agency and leverage to act as true partners in advancing already stated stakeholder and community goals.

These organizations are the glue that holds business, neighborhoods, residents and local government together. They have a proven record of steering and aligning, with beneficial and tangible results for public and private interests in their respective areas.

(more…)

by Peter Rousselot February 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm 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.

ARLnow.com reported last Thursday that Arlington County has posted for public comment a 54-page draft “Framework” document that is intended to guide future development of the Four Mile Run Valley (4MRV) area.

Public comments must be posted by tomorrow, Friday, February 16.

Current draft very confusing

The current draft Framework is confusing, redundant and contradictory, making it impossible for an ordinary Arlington resident to know what it means, or which proposed action items might be implemented.

This failure might be welcome if it were clear that the Framework couldn’t be relied upon as justification for proceeding with any of the poorly conceived suggestions that were floated earlier in the 4MRV planning process: for example, adding excessive density, disregarding the community’s preferences for Jennie Dean Park, or creating an arts district.

Unfortunately, the Framework’s substantive ambiguity lends itself to justifying almost any iteration of the often-competing goals and alternatives listed in the Framework, including those noted above.

Excessive density

Appropriately, the draft acknowledges the unsuitability of dense redevelopment for most of the 4MRV area, which lies in a floodway/floodplain. Yet, the Framework lacks any actual plans to reduce runoff by removing hardscape or buildings — instead, planning to add more.

Also discussed are the extensive measures that are needed to remediate decades of environmental damage to the two streams (Four Mile Run and Nauck Branch). However, the majority of the draft discusses how to carve up and develop all this land.

Compared to the earlier versions staff/consultants presented to the 4MRV Working Group, there seem to be fewer/smaller areas to add a lot more density/housing. And, the proposal to retain the existing industrial area for continued industrial use — for which we have great need — would be a plus, if confirmed.

For any particular parcel, however, an ordinary resident cannot determine, in most cases, which potential use the plan will apply to that parcel after the plan’s adoption — or how that use might differ from today’s use.

Prior to the County Board’s final plan adoption, it should direct County staff to provide the community with the numbers of new housing units staff expects will be added with and without this draft plan’s adoption. In addition to these useful metrics (to assess the plan’s likely impact), the public should also receive ratios of added density to added parkland acres within the plan’s boundaries.

Jennie Dean Park

Given the community’s desire that the “portion of the park fronting the neighborhood at Four Mile Run Drive be left open for casual use” and avoid locating fields or courts adjacent to Four Mile Run Drive, the County Board should direct staff to honor those preferences.

Arts district

As I wrote recently, the County Board should adopt a comprehensive, easily understood, 21st century arts policy determining when, where and how Arlington should subsidize the arts before entertaining proposals to create an arts district in the 4MRV area.

Conclusion

Given the current draft Framework’s nebulous state, more work needs to be done to clarify the plan. Residents have a right to know exactly what is and is not being proposed, and to give County Board members meaningful feedback. Only then will Board members be able to make an informed decision as to the likely costs, impacts and desirability of the Framework’s outcomes.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 15, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Update at 4:30 p.m. — Reese Gardner, the owner of Dudley’s Sport & Ale and Copperwood Tavern, reached out to ARL now after deadline. The sports bar has a revised projected opening time frame of between May and June 1 this year.

“We’re putting in a steel rooftop with 300 some people on top of a structure never designed to have a rooftop,” said Gardner. “There’s a whole lot of things that go into it.”

An updated construction schedule will be posted soon on the Facebook page, and Gardner says that he believes that they have completed all of the special inspections that were holding them back from opening.

“We’re back in there working, and we think that that is the last hoop that we have to jump through,” said Gardner.

Earlier: Shirlington is still waiting for its sports bar.

Dudley’s Sport & Ale, a sports bar planned for Shirlington, originally had an opening date for set for early 2016. Fast forward to February 2018 and, following numerous delays, the bar — which bills itself as “Est. 2015” — is still under construction.

Replacing the former The Bungalow Sports Grill at 2766 S. Arlington Mills Drive, which closed in June 2015, Dudley’s is bringing a 3,000 square foot rooftop space to Shirlington, the neighborhood’s first such rooftop bar.

According to Dudley’s Facebook page, the owners received a permit to continue construction on the rooftop deck last year. Another post stated that the bar had passed two of six necessary county special inspections.

Calls and emails to Dudley’s and its sister restaurants were not returned.


by Anna Merod February 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

 

One smiley face made of Post-it notes turned into a conversation between the occupants of two Rosslyn office buildings in this week.

Allison Krumsiek, a government contractor, said her office has considered making contact with the office across the street — the new CEB office tower at Central Place — ever since people began moving into the space a few weeks ago.

Before the new office moved in, Krumsiek said she and her coworkers had a straight-on view of construction workers putting the building together. Then on Monday, people in the new office placed a Post-it smiley face on their window, and the intra-office communication was on.

“So we thought time was perfect to respond! We put up the ‘Hi!’ And when another floor of their building responded with ‘Hey’, we added ‘Welcome!'” wrote Krumsiek in an email.

After that Krumsiek said she heard another floor in her building put up “5 o’clock yet” to which the opposite building responded “sum where.”

“As you can tell from the picture, they had to use at least 3 colors of Post-it. Those things last forever when on your desk but go in a heartbeat when sending messages on windows,” Krumsiek added.

Photos courtesy of Allison Krumsiek

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 15, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

The first 3 to register and attend the class get a FREE Google Chromecast!

Attend the free Home Buyer Class hosted by Orange Line Living and learn all of our tips and get $1,500 towards your next home purchase. Plus, another $500 towards appraisal from our friends at Pure Mortgage!

How much is a down payment on a house?

A lot of people think you still need 20% to put down on a house – that is not the case. Here are a few other options:

0% down: Veterans and active duty military are eligible for no down payment. Also, most cities and states have down payment assistance programs. Virginia’s VHDA and DC’s “DC Opens Doors” programs can allow you to get a 0% down payment without being in the military.

3% to 3.5% down: Conventional or FHDA loans

5% to 15% down: There are many options for putting this amount down, typically the more you put down the better your interest rate will be.

Learn More About Home Buying Essentials at Arlington’s Free Home Buying Workshop

You will get a comprehensive explanation of the home purchasing process – there’s more to know than you’d think.

The Orange Line Living Team and Keri Shull Team will be teaching all of the acronyms and definitions you will need, what happens at each stage of your transaction, real strategies on how to negotiate a lower purchase price, the different type of loans available and much more. There will be local specialists from multiple industries in attendance, so come with questions.

Benefits of Attending

  • $1,500 credit towards your new home or towards early lease termination
  • 12-month home buy-back guarantee
  • Wine and cheese provided
  • The first 3 to attend will receive a Google Chromecast!

Space is limited, register by clicking here.

The event is hosted by best-selling author and top nationally-ranked real estate agent Dan Lesniak, author of The HyperLocal HyperFast Real Estate Agent. Dan and his team have developed a special process that has allowed them to help over one thousand local families buy or sell their home.

Details

  • When: Monday, February 19 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Orange Line Living, 1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 101, Arlington, VA
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: Validated Parking or Free Street Parking
  • Food: Wine and Cheese
  • Contact: [email protected] or call 571-969-7653

Space is limited so be sure to register at arlingtonhomebuyerclass.com.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 15, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

In a long Facebook post earlier this month, Bada Bing food truck owner Nicholas Terzella announced he was closing up shop, partially blaming the Arlington County government for not properly updating him on new sprinkler system requirements.

However, county officials say there were several outreach efforts once commercial hood suppression systems became mandatory in mobile food units on November 6, 2016, according to both Kim Brunette, an environmental health supervisor with the county public health protection bureau and Ben O’Bryant, an Arlington County Fire Department Fire/EMS Captain and spokesman.

The outreach efforts included “soft inspections” to local mobile food units, more commonly called food trucks, to check in with business owners with safety compliance without taking punitive measures, according to the county.

Educational flyers were also distributed to mobile food unit owners, informing them of the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code requirements and the National Fire Protection Association. The updates were also available online.

From ACFD Capt. O’Bryant:

The Arlington Fire Code requirement for commercial hood suppression systems in Mobile Food Units (MFU) became effective on November 6, 2016 with the Arlington County Board’s adoption of the 2012 Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) and Chapter 8.1 local amendments.

In the two years prior (2015-2016), the fire department participated in “soft” non-punitive inspections as a combined effort with Public Health during the annual license renewal inspection period.    These safety inspections were intended to help educate MFU operators on the 2012 SFPC requirements.  Informational flyers were provided to MFU operators based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and SFPC requirements.  This information was also posted on the fire department’s public website.

Enforcement of the code requirements began during the July 2017 licensing period.  We continue to work collaboratively with Public Health, performing joint annual inspections to provide the most efficient and convenient service for MFU operators.

Arlington County only lists online the inspections records for currently licensed, operational food trucks, so inspection records for Bada Bing are no longer on the website.

Terzella additionally blamed other food truck owners for their “almost restaurant sized” vehicles, and specifically called out Loopy’s Eatery food truck owner who he called Tex. Food truck registration records in Alexandria, Va., list Teak Shin as the food truck’s primary contact.

An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman said that any parking violation citations for area food trucks would be lumped in reports with other commercial and passenger vehicles, but that there wasn’t a record of a criminal report filed detailing accusations similar to the Nicholas Terzella’s accusation that Loopy’s owner tried selling a parking space.

To our customers. We can’t put into words how much joy these last eight years of serving you has given us. Though I have…

Posted by Bada Bing on Friday, February 2, 2018

A man who answered the listed phone number for Bada Bing food truck hung up after an ARLnow.com reporter called for comment. Three voicemails left for a number listed for Loopy’s Eatery, with a voicemail box identified as belonging to a man named Tex, went unanswered.

File photo.

by Anna Merod February 15, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

A new, casual eatery is coming to Virginia Square.

In a couple months the Atrium Cafe will open in the former Jen’s Kitchen space in Virginia Square, according to cafe owner DJ Lee.

The Asian-fusion style cafe that sells coffee and sandwiches already has 8 locations in D.C., Lee said. The new establishment is currently applying to sell beer and wine, something its D.C. locations do not serve. There will also be more desserts at the Virginia Square location, Lee added.

Jen’s Kitchen closed in late December and posted a sign that it would reopen in late January under new management. Jen’s Kitchen opened in 2015 following the closure of Metro Cafe and Gourmet.

by Christina Sturdivant-Sani February 15, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Photo by Mike Maguire

Metro delays, free stuff, best restaurants, and other news of the day over in the District.

by ARLnow.com February 15, 2018 at 8:30 am 0

Sen. Ebbin’s Anti-Discrimination Measure Fails — “A measure adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s laws against discrimination in public employment made it through the state Senate, only to be killed in the House of Delegates.” [InsideNova]

Schools, County Offices Closed Monday — Arlington County government offices, courts, schools, libraries and rec centers will be closed Monday for the George Washington Day holiday in the Commonwealth of Virginia — also known nationally as President’s Day. In addition to the closures, parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Ramp Closure Next Week — “A detour will be in place next week as the ramp from northbound George Mason Drive to westbound Carlin Springs Road is closed from Tuesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, Feb. 23 for installation of a sanitary line.” [Twitter]

Springlike Day Today — With temperatures in the upper 60s, today (Feb. 15) is expected to give a brief glimpse of spring, before temperatures turn colder. There is a chance of accumulating snow this weekend. [Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 14, 2018 at 5:45 pm 0

Families with prospective kindergarteners for the 2018-2019 school year are encouraged to apply for admission at St. Thomas More Cathedral School as the program is now nearing full capacity.

Children must be 5 years old by September 30, 2018 to register. The application form is located here: K-8 Application.

St. Thomas More Cathedral School is an authentic Catholic learning community that promotes the spiritual, moral and intellectual excellence of students in PreK through 8th grade. Recently, STM made history as the first elementary school in the world to launch a CubeSatellite and is recognized by The U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School since 2006.

Teachers at St. Thomas More differentiate instruction in the classroom by meeting with students in small groups to reach all levels of learners.

The curriculum includes The Comprehension Toolkit featuring Daily 5, Writer’s Workshop, Words Their Way, Everyday Mathematics, character education and service learning. Students attend special classes in Spanish, Physical Education, Music, Art, Library and Technology.

Opportunities for movement and socialization are woven into the day, including three recess periods. Throughout the year kindergarten students present six performances for their families, prayer partners and friends. These include We Sing America, Corn Feast Reader’s Theatre, The Nativity, Bible Plays, Manners Tea and a Kindergarten Closing Ceremony.

A sample of a typical day in kindergarten can be found here.

As an added convenience, extended care is offered both before and after school from 7 a.m. until the school day begins, and again after school until 6:15 p.m. More than 45 extracurricular choices are available including athletics, band, scouts and high interest enrichment classes.

Students come to STM from Arlington, as well as Alexandria, Fairfax County, the District of Columbia and Maryland. The diverse backgrounds and experiences of our families contribute to the welcoming spirit you will find at Saint Thomas More.

The Diocese of Arlington and the STM School and parish community are committed to making a Catholic education attainable for all who seek it. All families are encouraged to apply for tuition aid if assistance is needed and 30% of current students receive financial aid.

St. Thomas More Cathedral School is conveniently located at 105 N. Thomas St, in the center of Arlington, VA near the Pentagon, Ballston, Ft. Myer and the National Guard. Visit our website for further information regarding the admissions process. To schedule a tour call 703-528-6781 x242 or email [email protected].

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