Arlingtonwood is a tiny, affluent neighborhood nestled near the GW Parkway and Chain Bridge in the far northern corner of Arlington.
Amid what is otherwise an idyllic suburban scene along N. Richmond Street, one house stands out: a low-slung brick home covered in handwritten signs and Sharpie-scrawled writing on the white siding and doors.
“POISONED HOUSE, DO NOT ENTER – KEEP OUT,” reads the writing next to the main entrance. “DO NOT TAKE AND DO NOT REMOVE ANY POISONED ITEMS FROM MY POISONED HOUSE.”
The note goes on to claim that the house was poisoned in 1999 with various “dangerous substances” and that the “poisoning was proved to the FBI and Arlington police including other U.S. government agencies.”
“U.S. President Clinton was informed in 2000 and U.S. President Bush in 2001,” the sign continues.
Needless to say, neighbors are not happy with the signage.
“I have contacted the [county] and Arlington states there is nothing they can do because the signs are on private property,” one resident told ARLnow.com. “These signs affect everyone in the area as this home is stating there are poisonous gases everywhere (in the ground, her house, etc.). People stop all the time and ask if it is safe to be in the area.”
Gary Greene, Code Enforcement Section Chief for Arlington County, confirmed that there is basically nothing the county can do about the signs and writing. He said that the county has received seven complaints about the home in the past 12 years and that the only actionable code violations found — like an overgrown lawn — were corrected by the homeowner, who does not live in the house.
There is one outstanding “minor” code violation, Greene said, but it has nothing to do with the house being vacant or covered with signs. The signs are not in violation of Virginia law or county ordinance, he said.
“The signs, letters and wall writings visible on the front façade of the property were placed there in 2005 by the property owner; they have been a primary driver for complaint calls,” Greene said. “The signs, letters and wall writings are not of a commercial or political nature and have not been found in violation of any of Arlington’s property related ordinances.”
The house, which was recently assessed by the county at $862,500, was nearly auctioned by Arlington County in 2015 for non-payment of property taxes — but the taxes were eventually paid along with a penalty fee and interest, county records show. It is currently in good standing with the tax office after $8,570.16 in property taxes were paid in 2016.