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by Bridget Reed Morawski April 23, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Board has approved a site plan that would bring 97 affordable housing units and two rows of townhouses to Buckingham.

The “100 percent affordable” multi-family building and townhouses will replace the former local Red Cross headquarters.

The approved development comes despite complaints from nearby residents about the proposal. The new development’s density, potentially increased traffic, and “the desecration of the tree canopy” were all cited as dealbreakers for some locals, though supporters asserted that the building was vacant, the affordable housing is “badly needed” and complaints were overblown.

A partial rezoning of the site was approved alongside the site plan at Saturday’s County Board meeting (April 21). There are currently two single family homes on the site, in addition to the former headquarters and an existing playground.

The townhouses will be built in the first phase of the project, with construction on the multi-family building, which is required to “achieve Earthcraft Gold or LEED v4 Homes and Multifamily Midrise Gold certification,” following in a second phase.

The developer, Wesley Housing Development Corporation, agreed to preserve the on-site apartments, known historically as the Windsor Apartments but now called the Whitefield Commons, which the county says were built in 1943. Unit incomes will average 80 percent of the average median income, and the building will average 60 percent of that figure.

Whitefield Commons’ interior will be reconfigured to add five units, bringing the total units inside that complex to 68. The multi-family building will have 97 units, and the townhouses will have 19.

There will be 187 parking spaces between the developments — 45 at Whitefield Commons, 88 at the multi-family building, and 42 for the townhouses. The townhouses have the highest parking ratio per unit, at 2.26 spots per unit plus four visitor spots.

Wesley Housing Development Corporation will be required to “encourage transportation alternatives.”

That will be done via a transportation management plan, which includes a provision to give “each new tenant in the multi-family building… a choice of a SmartTrip card preloaded with a $65 balance or a bikeshare or car share membership,” according to a county project website.

A Google Maps estimate shows that the site is approximately a 22 minute walk to the Ballston Metro station. The 3.95 acre parcel is bordered by N. Thomas and N. Trenton streets, 2nd Road N., and Arlington Boulevard.

Plans estimate that 60 trees will be removed, three of which are dead or dying and another 17 of which are located on top of or near an existing storm pipe.

An estimated 132 tree credits will be granted, according to the site plan. One credit is given for each planted shade tree or large evergreen tree, or for every three deciduous, ornamental, or small evergreen trees.

Map via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com April 19, 2018 at 9:55 am 0

Petition in Support of Affordable Housing Project — The website Greater Greater Washington is helping to promote a petition that intends to counter resident complaints about a proposed affordable housing project on the former Red Cross site along Route 50. Neighbors are concerned that the project might “defile” the Buckingham neighborhood, with increased traffic and school overcrowding and a loss of green space. [GGW, GGW]

‘A Friend’ Writes Thank You Note to ACPD — From the Arlington County Police Department Twitter account: “To the citizen who left this unexpected note on one of our cruisers, thank you. ACPD is grateful for the support we receive from the community and small gestures like this mean a lot to our officers.” [Twitter]

Arlingtonian Places 23rd at Boston — Among other impressive finishes by Arlington residents at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Graham Tribble finished 23rd with a time of 2:30:06, the fastest among the D.C. area contingent at the prestigious race. [RunWashington, Patch]

High Schools Students Learning How to Spot Fake News — “At Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington, some high school seniors are bent over their laptops, engaged in a digital course called Checkology that helps them figure out what makes news and information real, misleading or just plain false.” [Voice of America]

Elementary Girls Heading to Int’l Problem Solving Competition — “An all-girls engineering team from Glebe Elementary School is heading to the 2018 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals where they will compete with students from nearly 25 countries… The team of fourth graders from Glebe, who are all ages 9 or 10, became state champions last weekend at the Virginia Odyssey of the Mind competition, which was held April 14 in Newport News.” [Arlington Public Schools]

ACPD Forms ‘Restaurant Liaison Unit’ — The Arlington County Police Department has formed a “Restaurant Liaison Unit” to work with local bars to tamp down on drunken and sometimes violent incidents. One Clarendon bar in particular had police responding to it for a call almost every other day in 2017. [Washington City Paper, Twitter]

Glebe Lane Closure Causes Backups — Commuters heading northbound on Glebe Road today faced major backups due to a lane closure near Ballston. Washington Gas has been performing emergency repairs in the roadway since Wednesday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Rex Block

by ARLnow.com April 13, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle and injured yesterday evening in the Buckingham neighborhood.

The crash happened around 5:35 p.m. at the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and N. Pershing Drive. Police tell ARLnow.com that “the driver of the vehicle proceeded through a green light when the bicyclist entered the intersection on a red signal and attempted to turn left.”

Initial reports suggest the cyclist, a man in his 50s or 60s, was woozy and bleeding from the face and head after the crash. Police described his injuries as “minor.”

No citations were issued to either the driver or the cyclists, according to police.

The crash apparently looked more serious than it ultimately was. From a Twitter user who witnessed it:

Photo via Google Maps

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm 0

An open air market is coming to Barrett Elementary School in Buckingham, pending an Arlington School Board vote on its license agreement tonight.

The market would be run by Field To Table, Inc., the same nonprofit that operates the Westover Farmers Market, and would pay an annual fee of $200 to use the property.

Proposed operating hours are 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturdays from April to November, with the nonprofit being responsible for premise clean up by 1 p.m. School board document do not list the exact start date of the market.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s office has recommended that the school board approve the license agreement at its monthly meeting tonight (March 22).

The market is expected to be called the Lubber Run Farmers Market which, according to a newsletter for the Arlington Forest neighborhood, will “avoid some of the negatives of other suggested names.”

Additional volunteers are being sought to help out with the market, the newsletter says, adding that it will be “an exciting addition to the neighborhood community bringing together residents from Arlington Forest and neighboring areas to enjoy shopping for fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, bread and so on.”

Vendors for a farmers market at Barrett are not yet listed, but current vendors at the Westover Farmers Market include Baltimore’s Dimitri Olive Farms, Woodbridge’s Gina’s Pacific Jams and Jellies, and Arlington’s Mormor Crepes.

File photo

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 20, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

The Bethel United Church of Christ’s building in Buckingham is on the market for just over $2.1 million.

Per a real estate listing, the church “is priced at [the] county’s assessed value for a fast sale” and stained glass windows will be removed by the church before the sale. It has been on the market for 18 days as of this article’s publication.

The three level church is located on a .37 acre parcel at 4347 Arlington Boulevard. It is also a location of a multicultural, full-day preschool program known as Children’s International School.

The Bethel UCC congregation is moving to the nearby Arlington Church of the Brethren, in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood, according to a Facebook post from last year.

“After a year of meetings, of wondering, of worrying, and praying, Bethel United Church of Christ yesterday decided that God and Jesus were calling us to change,” the June 26, 2017 post said. “We will leave the building we have occupied for seven decades and begin a covenantal relationship with Arlington Church of the Brethren.”

Messages left for the church and the preschool’s founder were not immediately returned. A preschool employee suggested that it was considering buying the building, but nothing was finalized.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 5, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

A nude woman was found wandering around a building lobby on the 4400 block of 4th Street N. in the Buckingham neighborhood this morning.

Arlington County Police declined to comment further than to confirm that the woman was believed to be suffering from mental health issues and has been transferred to an area hospital for treatment.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

by Chris Teale November 30, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A report has shown that areas of wealth and disadvantage exist very close together in Arlington, sometimes just blocks away from each other.

The report by the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, entitled “Getting Ahead: The Uneven Opportunity Landscape in Northern Virginia,” identifies what it calls 15 “islands of disadvantage,” where people face multiple serious challenges.

Those challenges include the levels of pre-school enrollment, teens out of high school, whether people have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, the level of English spoken in a household, unemployment rate, child poverty rate, health insurance rate and more.

Of those “islands,” three are either wholly or partly in Arlington: one near the county’s border with Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners; another along Columbia Pike in the Douglas Park neighborhood; and another in the area of Buckingham and Fort Myer.

The report also found that neighborhoods separated by one thoroughfare can have very different demographics, housing and poverty levels.

“A striking example was near Ballston Common [Mall, rebranded as Ballston Quarter], where residents in two census tracts on either side of North Glebe Road — tracts 1019 and 1020.01 — faced very different living conditions,” the report reads. “In census tract 1019, east of N. Glebe Road, 85 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree or higher education and the median household income exceeded $160,000 per year.

“Just west of N. Glebe Road, in tract 1020.01, 30 percent of teens ages 15-17 years were not enrolled in school, only 38 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree and 48 percent of the population was uninsured.”

It also found that life expectancy can vary by as much as 10 years across the county, “from 78 years in the Buckingham area to 88 years in parts of Rosslyn and Aurora Highlands.”

To help improve conditions, the report recommended better access to health care, education and affordable housing.

“In today’s knowledge economy, advancement requires better access to education — from preschool through college — and economic development to bring jobs with livable wages to disadvantaged areas,” it reads. “And it requires an investment in the infrastructure of neglected neighborhoods, to make the living environment healthier and safer, to provide transportation, and to improve public safety. What is good for our health is also good for the economy and will make Arlington County a stronger community for all of its residents.”

Courtesy image

by ARLnow.com November 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Two belligerents beat up a pair of bar-goers in a Buckingham bathroom Sunday, according to this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

Two Arlington men in their 20s were arrested following the attacks, which allegedly stemmed from an “unprovoked verbal altercation” inside the bathroom.

The second victim was assaulted after trying to stop the initial fight, police say. The suspects were arrested later, at their home, and are being held without bond.

More from the crime report, below.

ASSAULT BY MOB, 2017-11190224, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 7:15 p.m. on November 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the two suspects allegedly initiated an unprovoked verbal altercation with the victims inside of a restaurant. When one victim went to use the bathroom, the suspects followed and assaulted him. The second victim attempted to stop the fight and was struck by the suspects. The suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. Police developed possible identifications of the suspects and located them at their residence. Axel Tojin Nimajuan, 25, of Arlington, VA and Edgar Tojin, 23, of Arlington, VA, were arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding by Mob. Both suspects were held on no bond.

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

(more…)

by ARLnow.com October 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Arlington County Police are investigating an unusual robbery in the Buckingham neighborhood.

A man called them early Monday to report that he had been robbed the night before. The alleged robbery happened as the man was arriving home along 4th Street N. around 2:45 a.m. Sunday.

The victim told police that two men approached him, forced him back into his car and had him drive them a short distance before robbing him of valuables and fleeing the scene, about an hour after the initial encounter.

“The investigation is ongoing,” police said in a crime report, below.

ROBBERY (late), 2017-10160006, 4300 block of 4th Street N. At approximately 12:32 a.m. on October 16, police responded to the late report of a robbery and abduction. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male victim was arriving home at approximately 2:45 a.m. on October 15 when he was approached by two male suspects. The suspects implied they had a weapon, forced him to his parked vehicle and had him drive a short distance. The suspects rummaged through the vehicle, stole the victim’s possessions and items of value and fled the area on foot between 3:30 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. The victim was uninjured. The suspects are described a male with medium skin tone, round glasses, a short buzz cut and dark, casual clothing and a male with dark skin tone, acne, a graphic black t-shirt, ripped jeans and short dreads. The investigation is ongoing.

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

(more…)

by ARLnow.com October 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

A 24-year-old Arlington man is in jail after allegedly pulling a knife on a woman and demanding a cigarette.

The incident happened early Friday morning outside a bar in the Buckingham neighborhood, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The man was detained by a security guard and charged with attempted robbery and drunk in public.

More from ACPD:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2017-09300030, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 2:13 a.m. on September 30, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect approached a female victim outside a restaurant, brandished a knife and demanded she give him a cigarette. A security guard at the restaurant intervened and detained the suspect until police arrived. Yordli Cabrera Lopez, 24, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Attempted Robbery and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.

by ARLnow.com September 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

The victim of a vicious stabbing is expected to survive after the early Monday morning attack.

Police say someone approached the victim from behind along N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham neighborhood, just south of Ballston, and stabbed him multiple times. The man was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with what were described as “non-life threatening injuries.”

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-09180026, 300 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on September 18, police were dispatched to the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that a suspect approached a male victim from behind and stabbed him multiple times. The victim was transported to G. W. Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The suspect is described as an adult Hispanic male. The investigation is ongoing.

by Chris Teale August 25, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The space occupied by Buckingham Florist until earlier this year is apparently set to be taken over by the owners behind the Ravi Kabob family of Pakistani restaurants, though details about the new eatery are scarce.

The florist’s former storefront at 301 N. Glebe Road is under construction, with signs indicating it will become “Ravi Kabob For Family,” the restaurant’s fourth location in the area of the Buckingham Shopping Center.

A sign next door at the Ravi Chatkhara takeout restaurant indicates it will become the “Ravi Confectioners and Bakers.” The flagship Ravi Kabob restaurant, known in the neighborhood as “Ravi Kabob 1,” appears to be staying put.

Ravi Kabob is described as a “no-frills restaurant” that offers kebabs and other Pakistani food at low prices. It has another location across the street at 250 N. Glebe Road next to the CVS, known as “Ravi Kabob 2.” Multiple attempts to contact the restaurant’s owners were unsuccessful.

Buckingham Florist, a long-time local business, relocated to Annandale. Open since the 1940s, the florist delivered to Arlington County, Arlington National Cemetery and other parts of Northern Virginia.

by Chris Teale July 20, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

A car crashed into the front door of a dentist’s office in Buckingham this morning, trapping patients inside for a brief time according to scanner traffic.

The car crash into Breckenridge Family Dental on the 400 block of N. Park Drive just before 9:30 a.m. Thursday (July 20). The dentist’s office is near Barrett Elementary School and the Lubber Run Community Center.

A captain with the Arlington County Fire Department said at the scene that the crash caused minor property and vehicle damage, but no injuries. He added that patients were trapped because of the way the car wedged against the door, but that firefighters and medics quickly moved it.

Patients were able to go in and out of a side entrance once the car had moved out of an abundance of caution. No roads were closed.

by Chris Teale July 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

The Arlington County Board deferred a vote Tuesday on the design of the new Lubber Run Community Center after confusion over the timing of meetings on the project.

But the Board did agree, by a 3-2 vote, to a $37 million contract to replace the center, out of a total project budget of $47.8 million.

The new center will replace the one built in 1956 at 300 N. Park Drive, Arlington’s first purpose-built community center.

The building will provide programs for youth, adults and seniors including a preschool, senior center, gymnasium and fitness center and several multipurpose rooms. It also will house about 70 employees in the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Construction could begin as early as next fall.

A meeting is scheduled for today (July 19) at Barrett Elementary School for residents to give feedback on the new building’s design. That meeting coming a day after the Board’s scheduled design vote left some members perturbed, as they wanted to see the community engagement process play out before taking action.

Before the start of deliberations, County Manager Mark Schwartz apologized for any communications that caused “confusion or anxiety” in the community.

A timeline in May provided by local resident Michael Thomas had the Board likely voting on the design in September. But Jane Rudolph, director of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said the plan was moved up after staff found they could have the construction contract ready for July’s meeting and advertised on July 7. She also apologized for any confusion

“This is really, I think, close to a smoking gun,” said Board member John Vihstadt. “I don’t understand why we couldn’t defer to September to realize and fulfill the original intention of staff to have the board meeting after the next concept presentation and another PFRC meeting as well.”

Vihstadt was joined in voting to defer, while simultaneously approving the construction contract, by chair Jay Fisette and Christian Dorsey. The trio emphasized that no “fundamental changes” should be made to the plan during the review.

Board member Libby Garvey and vice chair Katie Cristol voted against the plan. Cristol said that the consensus on the Board that no major changes should be made, coupled with the support of many in the community for the new center, should be enough to proceed.

Of those who testified on the project, many had concerns around the project’s impact on the environment, including the need to cut down some trees and possible erosion. Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement, reading remarks on behalf of local activist Suzanne Smith Sundburg, said people wanted more open green space and more trees, rather than more pavement and buildings.

“Staff’s perception of the community’s feedback on this project continues to be at odds with the public’s perception of what it has asked for,” Clement said.

Community engagement for the project took a more modern approach than similar efforts in the past. The engagement used more technology like online surveys and looked to reach out to previously under-represented communities like the Spanish-speaking population in the county.

While Board members and staff recognized the foul-up with the timeline, some residents said the majority of community outreach was done well.

“This is textbook on how to do community engagement,” said Nathan Zee, an Arlington Forest resident. “You went above and beyond what would be reasonably expected, and should be commended. The outstanding design reflects this hard work.”

Images via county presentation

by Chris Teale July 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Police responded twice on Sunday to two separate reports of indecent exposure and arrested one man, but do not believe the two are linked.

Police were called to the 4100 block of N. Henderson Road in Buckingham just before 1 p.m. after reports a man exposed himself to a woman. The suspect, described as a black male in his early thirties, between 5-foot-10 and 6 feet tall, weighing 180-190 pounds and wearing a white shirt and khaki pants, is still at large.

That same day at around 8:10 p.m., police arrested a 43-year-old man for indecent exposure after he allegedly exposed himself to several victims on the 100 block of S. Old Glebe Road in Arlington Heights.

A police spokesman said that investigators “do not believe” the two offenses are related. They follow a spate of similar flashing incidents in Arlington over the past few weeks. Police arrested a man last week for exposing himself to multiple people in the Ballston area.

More from a crime report by Arlington police:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-07020189, 100 block of S. Old Glebe Road. At approximately 8:10 p.m. on July 2, officers responded to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined a male suspect exposed himself to several victims. Alexei Cordero Rodriguez, 43, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-07020105, 4100 block of Henderson Road. At approximately 12:55 p.m. on July 2, officers responded to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined an unknown male subject exposed himself to a female victim. The subject is described as a black male in his early thirties, approximately 5’10”-6’0″ tall and weighed 180-190 lbs. He was wearing a white shirt and khaki pants. The investigation is ongoing.

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