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by ARLnow.com — April 26, 2017 at 8:55 am 0

Park Upgrades Approved — At its meeting last night, the Arlington County Board approved contracts that will “upgrade the playgrounds and picnic shelter at Oakgrove Park and add a restroom/picnic pavilion and futsal court at Tyrol Hills Park.” The contracts total around $1.7 million. [Arlington County]

TJ Construction to Take Away Theater Parking — Construction of a new elementary school next to the Thomas Jefferson community center and middle school will mean a loss of parking for the community theater used by a number of local performing arts troupes. Those troupes, including The Arlington Players and Ballet Nova, will now have to decide whether to relocate to another community theater or stay and deal with the lack of parking. [InsideNova]

New Location for Children’s School Approved — Last night the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a site plan amendment allowing the Children’s School, a co-op child care center for Arlington Public School employees, to occupy two floors of a Ballston office building. The center is moving from an APS-owned building in Westover to make way for what’s expected to be a new elementary school. Some Ballston condominium residents expressed concerns about the child care center, primarily related to traffic; County Board member Christian Dorsey pointed out that the space it’s moving into was formerly used by a for-profit college. [Arlington County]

Ballston Profiled by WaPo — “With an array of amenities, it’s easy to see why Ballston is one of the area’s hottest markets,” says a real estate-focused profile of the neighborhood. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 26, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Reduced banner

Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!

Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he is not the listing agent of these homes.

Who out there is in spring-cleaning mode?

Aside from sweeping up Fido’s fur, mopping the floors and getting the kids’ fingerprints off of all the windows, now is a prime time to check up on some key components of your house.

Some spots that rarely get as much love as other parts of your house include your gutters, roof, exterior paint, shrubbery and outdoor vents.

And, what’s the beauty of all of these things? They are all outdoors! You’re definitely going to want to inspect all of these items and take care of any persisting issues long before summer arrives… because we all know how humid and sticky summer tasks can be around here.

As always, I’m here to help you GET MORE out of your home (and home purchase), even if it requires a friendly reminder to do your spring cleaning. It will save you big bucks in the long run!

As of April 25 there are 228 detached homes, 42 townhouses and 238 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 51 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week.

Here is this week’s selection of Just Reduced properties:

Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2017 at 5:10 pm 0

After a years-long delay caused by anticipated cost overruns, Arlington County says it’s finally ready to move forward with the second phase of the Long Bridge Park project, including a scaled-down aquatics and fitness center.

The county will be using a design-build approach to keep costs down, according to a press release. Contractors bidding on the project will be able to propose designs incorporating some portion of a “menu” of desired features, provided that the bid stay within budget and retain a number of core elements.

“The new facility will include the core programs that have been the mainstay of the planned aquatics facility and surrounding park improvements,” the county said. “A menu of potential options recommended by the Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee… include advanced energy efficiency, a therapy pool, a 10-meter dive tower and more spectator seats, among other enhancements.”

“We’ve selected design/build as the best way to fulfill the vision for this unique park in the most cost-effective manner,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a press release. “We are eager to move forward and develop conceptual designs that the public will have an opportunity to weigh-in on this fall.”

More from the press release:

Through its design competition, the County plans to narrow the field of firms competing for the contract to three or four finalists. Each will be paid a stipend to submit a proposed concept for the park and facility. The concepts then will be evaluated against the County’s requirements. The public will be able to review the concepts and share feedback. The County Board will approve the final concept.

The budget for the total Phase 2 project, as approved by the County Board in the FY 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan, is $63 to $67 million, the amount of funding originally approved in 2012.  The final total will depend on decisions made during the design process. The budget includes, in addition to the aquatics facility, an extension of the esplanade, rain gardens, public gathering spaces, parking, public art and additional environmental remediation.

The next step is for the County to give firms the opportunity to submit their technical qualifications, which will be evaluated against established criteria.  Firms that qualify will be invited to submit a proposal this summer. Three or four firms who submit design concepts will be invited to participate in the design competition. The public will review the concepts in November 2017, with the Board then selecting the final design. Construction is expected to begin in late 2018.

The first phase of Long Bridge Park was completed in 2011. The park is located at 475 Long Bridge Drive, just north of Crystal City.

by Chris Teale — April 25, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The Crystal City station in the Virginia Railway Express system is set for a major facelift, including a new entrance and a longer platform to add ridership capacity.

The station, one of the busiest in the VRE commuter rail system and the destination of around 18 percent of riders, will eventually be fitted with a 700-foot island platform. Currently, Crystal City’s station has a 400-foot platform beside its three tracks.

VRE staff said the shorter platform creates an “operational bottleneck,” and lengthening it would allow more — and longer — trains to pass through. It would also enable VRE to be used by more local residents as a commuter rail service to Union Station, near Capitol Hill.

Any plans to add a second track within the station’s current footprint would also be coordinated with a future track being designed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s proposed high-speed line between D.C. and Richmond.

As well as adding a longer platform, the station’s entrance would be altered for better connections for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as other transportation options like Metro, the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, local buses and shuttles and taxis.

VRE staff are currently considering three initial locations for the new platform and either a tunnel or overpass connecting that platform to the rest of Crystal City.

At the County Board’s meeting on Tuesday, vice chair Katie Cristol, who serves on VRE’s operations board, said the agency’s staff presented the criteria to analyze those three options to the public for feedback. In June, staff will return to present their analysis of the three options against the criteria while continuing to receive public comment.

Cristol said that an initial concept design and cost projections would be expected in the summer under that timeline. County Board chairman Jay Fisette said Arlington is looking to schedule a date for a future work session to weigh in on the subject and select its preferred choice.

by Chris Teale — April 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

(Updated at 6:45 p.m.) With two weeks to go until the start of the local Democratic party’s caucus for its County Board nominee, Erik Gutshall leads the way in fundraising and endorsements from elected officials.

Gutshall is one of four candidates for the nomination in early May’s caucus, and has racked up backings from current and former County Board members as well as General Assembly representatives.

Throwing their support behind Gutshall are current Democratic Dels. Alfonso Lopez and Rip Sullivan, as well as state Sen. Barbara Favola (D).

Favola is one of several former County Board members to support Gutshall, alongside Mary Hynes, Chris Zimmerman, John Milliken, Mary Margaret Whipple and Joe Wholey. Former School Board members Elaine Furlow, Ed Fendley, Margaret Lampe, Michael Timpane and Richard Barton endorsed Gutshall, as well as numerous former members and chairs of the planning commission.

Retiring Board chair Jay Fisette endorsed Gutshall shortly after he announced his candidacy on March 1. Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson has also endorsed Gutshall, a small business owner who came up short in his primary challenge to Libby Garvey last year.

“Erik Gutshall has the experience, passion, and progressive values that Arlingtonians deserve from their County Board members,” said Lopez in a statement. “Erik’s extensive experience in transportation, planning and entrepreneurship will bring a unique voice to the County Board, and I trust Erik to fight every day for all Arlingtonians.”

At a candidate forum last week, Gutshall rejected the notion that these endorsements mean he is a so-called “party insider.”

Gutshall also has a fundraising advantage. As of the last filing deadline for declaring donations, Gutshall had raised $22,513, with $13,700 left in hand.

Of the other candidates, Vivek Patil has raised $20,320 and Kim Klingler has raised $14,352. Peter Fallon reported $51,129 in contributions, but that included $41,100 in “in-kind” contributions from himself. And ahead of November’s general election, independent Audrey Clement has raised $17,517.

But other candidates have racked up the endorsements too. Patil’s candidacy received an early boost with the backing of County Board vice chair Katie Cristol, who praised his innovative approach.

“We need a perspective like Vivek’s at the table: creative, open-minded and optimistic, with deep experience in the innovation economy and a real dedication to Arlington’s traditions of community engagement,” Cristol said in a statement at the time.

Meanwhile, Fallon picked up the early endorsement of School Board vice chair Barbara Kanninen, who introduced him when he formally announced his candidacy at this month’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting.

And Kim Klingler’s website touts a long list of endorsements from local activists and business leaders, as well as Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy and IAFF Local 2800, the county’s firefighter and paramedic union.

“The rapidly growing landscape of Arlington County requires a leader who understands the need for the best trained and fairly compensated first responders to provide a safe environment for the residents and visitors of Arlington County,” the organization wrote in a statement. “Kim Klingler has pledged her support of these vital issues as well as the ‘live where you work’ program which assists Arlington County public servants to establish long-term residence within Arlington County.”

The candidates will face off in a forum Wednesday hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce at Synetic Theater, then again on May 3 at ACDC’s monthly meeting. The caucus is set for May 9, 11 and 13 at Key Elementary, Drew Model School and Washington-Lee High School, respectively.

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Federal employees should be guaranteed back pay in the event of a government shutdown, says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

Beyer and a fellow Virginia congressman, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), have proposed the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.”

The bill “would guarantee back pay for all furloughed workers if Congress and the White House are unable to come to a funding agreement.” Currently, back pay must be approved by Congress and is not guaranteed.

“Shutting down the federal government threatens the livelihood of federal workers who carry out the nation’s vital missions,” Beyer said in a statement. “It’s inexcusable to play politics with their pay and the well-being of their households.”

While a government shutdown at the end of the week is possible, it’s looking increasingly likely that a deal will be reached to continue funding the government.

Twenty-two percent of employment in Arlington is classified as government employment.

The full press release about the bill, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

An Arlington resident has pleaded guilty to illegally buying guns while under indictment for cocaine possession.

Federal prosecutors announced the plea deal early Tuesday afternoon. The defendant, 28-year-old Anthony Medrano, now faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced in August.

From a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:

An Arlington man pleaded guilty today to willfully receiving a firearm while under indictment in Virginia state court.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement and other court records, Anthony Fernandez Medrano, 28, was indicted in Virginia state court in 2015 for possessing cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance.  While still under indictment, and not lawfully able to purchase or possess firearms,  Fernandez Medrano sought and purchased guns from a private party seller and signed bills of sale confirming the purchases.

Fernandez Medrano faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on August 11.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Michael B. Boxler, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Smith III is prosecuting the case.

by Chris Teale — April 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

A “full-scale” exercise to simulate the response to a terrorist attack in the National Capital Region is set for tomorrow, with Arlington one of six sites where the action will be taking place.

From 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Arlington police’s SWAT team will take part in the exercise near George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School at 3301 Fairfax Drive.

Residents can expect to see an increase in public safety vehicles and law enforcement officers in the area, and those traveling nearby may hear noise originating from the training site. All activities will be confined to the training site.

Law enforcement officials and other first-responders will take part in the exercise organized by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The exercise is intended to prepare for a “complex” attack involving multiple target locations and teams of perpetrators.

Arlington is one of six locations for the exercise, along with neighborhoods in Northeast and Southeast D.C., and Prince George’s and Fairfax counties.

MWCOG spokeswoman Jeanne Saddler said the exercise is designed to be as realistic as possible. She said that residents nearby will be notified beforehand and that disruption should be minimal for those in the area.

“To some degree they’re trying to make it a surprise for the participants,” she said. “In order to maintain the exercise for participants and first-responders, we have to avoid making a mention of locations… I don’t think there’ll be disruption for residents or people traveling.”

Hundreds of police, fire, and emergency medical service personnel and volunteer actors will be involved in the exercise. The timing of the exercise is a secret too.

“Law enforcement officials practice and exercise their skills on their own regularly because that’s the best way to ensure we are always ready to respond quickly and professionally,” said Scott Boggs, managing director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at MWCOG, in a statement. “On April 26, we’ll go one step further and stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties. However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

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 is the Arlington real estate market looking so far this year?

Answer: Through observations in my business, conversations with colleagues and conversations with providers like lenders, title companies, inspectors and contractors, almost everybody saw a spike in business this winter, a usually slow period. After a few years of relatively flat growth in Arlington residential real estate (most of the price growth we saw in the county from 2014-2016 was attributed to tear-downs and some localized development), I think we’re finally going to see some real market-wide appreciation in 2017.

Below, I’ve compiled a series of key metrics that all support this claim. The data is broken down by housing type – detached, townhouse, and condo – and is presented by Quarter (calendar), mostly in Year Over Year changes.

Increased YoY average sold price shows mostly consistent growth over the last few quarters and a clear increase over Q1 2016.

A large increase in new pending contract in Q1 proves a substantial increase in buyer activity. Increased demand means price appreciation.

Homes in Q1 sold for .5-1 percent more relative to their original asking price, another indicator of high demand.

Homes in Q1 2017 sold much faster than they did in Q1 2016, coming close to the expected market pace during spring markets (Q2).

The housing supply has decreased by about one-third over the last two years, meaning the market is shifting further in favor of sellers.

If you’re a homeowner interested in taking advantage of a favorable market or a buyer wondering how to succeed in a competitive market, don’t hesitate to reach out to set-up a meeting. You can reach me directly at [email protected] or (703) 539-2529.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A McLean woman arrested on suspicion of DUI is now facing additional charges after police say she became combative while being checked into the county jail.

The alleged incident happened in the booking room of the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse early Monday morning.

Marilyn McBay, 38, “assaulted an officer and deputy by scratching both on the face and kicking the officer in the chest,” according to police.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2017-04240008, 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 12:25 a.m. on April 24, an officer on routine patrol conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven on a flat tire in the 1300 block of N. Stafford Street. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and was transported to the Arlington County Detention Facility for booking. While in booking, the suspect allegedly became combative and assaulted an officer and deputy by scratching both on the face and kicking the officer in the chest. Marilyn McBay, 38, of McLean, VA was charged with Assault and Battery on Police (x2), Driving Under the Influence, and Refusal of Breath/Blood Test. She was held without bail.

by Chris Teale — April 25, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The redeveloped Market Common in Clarendon will include a revamped courtyard area known as “The Loop,” according to a rendering released by the project’s developer and architect.

The rendering by architect Antunovich Associates shows several new eateries or other stores in the central median of the shopping center, with some seating areas nearby. Currently, that area has a small park with a fountain and benches.

It also appears, based on the rendering, that the sidewalks could be widened in the central space and that some on-street parking spaces could be removed.

A spokesman for Regency Centers, the developer behind the Market Common revamp, said they want to create a “gathering space for the local community.”

“As it sits now, the space is really just an environment to walk or sit in,” said spokesman Eric Davidson. “We want to activate it and take advantage of its design.”

The site plan is still in the preliminary review stage with the county. Regency Center’s plan is to rezone and redevelop a group of buildings along the 2800 blocks of Clarendon and Wilson Blvds.

The renovation would add a fourth floor and approximately 26,784 square feet of additional space to the office building at 2801 Clarendon Blvd. The plan also calls for improvements to the open space at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Edgewood Street, new private outdoor roof terraces and the installation of a “partial green roof.”

Community members have previously expressed concerns about an aspect of the redevelopment plan, which could spell the end of Clarendon’s IOTA Club and Cafe.

A campaign to save IOTA is underway, although Regency has said previously it has wants to keep the music venue in place.

Regency will host an open house on the future of Market Common on May 10 from 6-9 p.m. at 2801 Clarendon Blvd.

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

How to Fix a “Stuck” Homepage — A few users have been reporting that our homepage has been “stuck” for the past few weeks, frozen in time after March 31. This is a browser caching issue that is affecting a very small subset of users. To resolve it, press the “refresh” button on your browser.

Park Volunteers to Be Honored — Two Arlington residents will be recognized as “outstanding park volunteers” at tonight’s Arlington County Board meeting. This year’s honorees are Paul Holland and Yu-hsin Hsu. [Arlington County]

Two Added to Business Hall of Fame — Attorney and former County Board member John Milliken and former Arlington Chamber of Commerce president Rich Doud are being inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame on May 2. [InsideNova]

Video: Morning Activity at Trades Center — A time-lapse video shows the bustle of early morning activity at the Arlington Trades Center near Shirlington, where the county’s school buses and maintenance crews are based. [YouTube]

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

by ARLnow.com — April 24, 2017 at 6:40 pm 0

(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) A large swath of South Arlington is experiencing low or no water pressure due to “several” water main breaks.

One major break happened on S. Dinwiddie Street, near the Arlington Mill Community Center, Monday evening.

As of 7 p.m., water was gushing from a buckle in the road, sending a torrent of water through an apartment parking lot and down to S. Arlington Mill Road below, where it was pooling, just above Four Mile Run. Tow crews, meanwhile, were moving cars from the side of Dinwiddie Street to give water crews room to work.

Police have closed a portion of Dinwiddie Street between Columbia Pike and 8th Road S. The community center closed just after 7:20 p.m. due to the water main break.

Residents of the Fairlington, Barcroft, Nauck and Columbia Forest neighborhoods have all been reporting widespread water pressure issues.

Officials say there are several water main breaks along the Columbia Pike corridor being attended to by county crews. An Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services sent ARLnow.com the following statement just after 7:30 p.m.

We learned within the past hour of several water main breaks in the Columbia Pike corridor and we’re receiving reports of low water pressure in portions of South Arlington. Crews have been dispatched and are working to fix the issue. Due to high call volume, our 24-hour emergency line, 703-228-6555, is down. At this time, I don’t have an estimated completion time or the number of impacted residents.

As of 8:30 p.m., water pressure had returned to near-normal in at least some areas.

by Chris Teale — April 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The County Board will consider a plan by Westover Market to add live entertainment indoors and expand it outdoors, despite previously having not completed required noise tests.

The market, restaurant and beer garden at 5863 Washington Blvd in Westover also is applying to have furniture outdoors year-round, and reduce the number of required noise tests.

Westover Market’s application proposes that live music be permitted indoors each night, except Mondays, until 10 p.m.

The business is also requesting to have live entertainment outdoors until 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, later than is currently permitted, and expanding the amplified music that is currently permitted only on Fridays and Saturdays to other weekdays. That request is meeting resistance from county staff.

report by county staff about the application notes that Westover Market has been issued two verbal warnings for not completing required noise tests in 2015 and 2016, and for its amplified live entertainment being on a non-permitted day and for going past the permitted hours on a day when it was allowed.

The report adds that Westover Market had an independent noise test earlier this month, and that it showed no violations of the Noise Control Ordinance. It also complied with the ordinance during tests in previous years, having struggled in the past with noise complaints from neighbors. Live music returned to the beer garden in 2012.

County staff is recommending that the hours and days for outdoor live entertainment not be expanded, but that indoor entertainment and year-round outdoor furniture be permitted. Staff added that a request that an administrative review be carried out in six months, then a review by the County Board in one year.

Lilith Christiansen, president of the Westover Village Civic Association, said in an email to county staff that they support that recommendation and ” believe it is important that the Westover Beer Garden be in compliance.”

At a March meeting, according to the staff report, some civic association members “noted that the Westover Market owner has not always been receptive to complaints from neighbors regarding noise. “

by Chris Teale — April 24, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

Numerous county businesses have been selected for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s annual Best Business Awards, set for next week.

The awards recognize businesses that go above and beyond to serve their clients and make the county a great place to live and work. Businesses earn the awards through good customer service, if they are industry leaders or offer a unique approach, or if they are active in the community.

This year, the awards will be given out on May 2 at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel in Rosslyn. A VIP past winners reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the main ceremony at 7 p.m.

The finalists by category are:

Service

Awesome Women Entrepreneurs
Clarendon Animal Care
Greg Mullan – George Mason Mortgage, LLC

Retail

Bayou Bakery
Cassatt’s
Current Boutique

Nonprofit

Child Care Aware of America
Encore Stage & Studio

Technology

BeachGeeks, Inc.
Punch Digital Strategies

Home-based

C3 Financial Services
Wolcott Hill Group, LLC

Large Business Award (General)

CNA
Henninger Media Services
Hilton Arlington
Hungry Marketplace, Inc.
Hyatt Centric Arlington

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