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Condo Board Moves Meetings to School Over Concerns About Armed Resident

The board of a condominium building in Virginia Square is moving its meeting spot after a resident brought a gun to two board meetings.

In a letter sent to residents, transcribed below, the board of the Tower Villas (3800 Fairfax Drive) condo community says that while the armed man didn’t violate any current rules, the gun “caused certain attendees of these meetings fear for their safety.”

Because trying to ban guns from the board meeting — held in the building lobby — would be a legal gray area, the board said it decided to move its meeting to Washington-Lee High School, where guns are prohibited by law, “until the Board receives assurances from this individual that they will no longer bring a firearm to future Board meetings.”

Reached by phone, a building manager declined to comment.

The full letter is below.

Dear residents:

It has been alleged that a member of the Tower Villas community has brought a firearm to the past two Board of Directors meetings. The Board has been made aware that this has caused certain attendees of these meetings fear for their safety. Members of the Board share these concerns. The Board reached out to this individual and respectfully requested that they confirm whether a firearm was in their possession during those meetings, and requested that the individual no longer bring the firearm to meetings if one was in their possession. While a response was received, the communication did not conclusively respond to either of the Board’s requests.

The Board has consulted with legal counsel and believes that the best course of action to address residents’ safety concerns is to conduct Board meetings at a location where firearms are prohibited by law. While the Board believes that it is within its right to prohibit members from bringing firearms to Board meetings held on the common elements, the enforcement of such a prohibition (should this individual choose to ignore it) could prove to be costly and time-consuming.

As such, the Board of Directors meetings will be held offsite at the Washington & Lee High School just a few blocks away until the Board receives assurances from this individual that they will no longer bring a firearm to future Board meetings. However, due to lack of availability, the Board’s June meeting has been postponed. We will keep all residents informed of the date and time of our next meeting.

We understand that this breaks from a longstanding Tower Villas tradition of conducting Board meetings in our lobby, but out of an abundance of caution, the Board believes that this is a reasonable and prudent course of action. It is our hope that this will be a temporary measure. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to attend our offsite meetings.

Thank you,

The Tower Villas Board of Directors

Photo via Google Maps

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Your First Chance to Own at The Yards is Finally Here

At The Bower, you’ll never run out of things to do and explore.

Eclectic dining, live music, nights at the ball game, vibrant community events — it’s all here at The Yards, waiting to welcome you home.

Dine at local hot spots including Chloe, District Winery and Osteria Morini. Shop local favorites from Steadfast Supply to Willow and stock up on the essentials at Harris Teeter located just one block away from The Bower.

Buzzing nightlife, a humming social scene, outdoor concerts, the riverfront and more — it’s a city within a city, a world within a world. For those buying a condo in DC, The Bower is the place to find everything you need.

From studios and one-bedroom condos all the way up to penthouses, The Bower offers a variety of layouts to suit your lifestyle. These thoughtfully designed condos feature 9′ ceilings, wide-plank hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling glass, Bosch electric appliances and Italian cabinetry.

The Bower includes inviting community spaces from a rooftop residents’ lounge and terrace with wet bar and a fitness studio. With the ideal mix of energy, convenience and style, The Bower is the perfect transition from the energy of The Yards to the peace of home.

To learn more visit thebowerdc.com or call 202-869-5233.

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Duckling Rescue Effort at Fairlington Pool Sparks Neighborhood Dispute

Trista Nealon and some of her neighbors thought they were doing the right thing when they forced their way into the neighborhood pool to rescue some wayward ducklings — but now, their condo association is threatening them with criminal charges for their efforts.

Nealon tells ARLnow that one of her fellow condo owners in Fairlington Glen noticed seven ducklings stuck in the neighborhood’s community pool back on May 10 and she decided to go ask the pool’s manager if she could get in and help them leave.

When Nealon was rebuffed, she and her neighbors tried contacting a member of the Wildlife Rescue League to come help — again, they had no luck. So a group went back over to the pool, unlocked its gate by reaching in through a well-positioned mail slot, and fished out the baby ducks.

Nealon says a woman accosted the group at the time and threatened to call the police, before storming off, but she otherwise didn’t think much of the encounter. Yet when last Thursday (May 31) rolled around, Nealon and a few other neighbors involved in the rescue effort received a letter from attorneys representing the Fairlington Glen Council of Co-Owners informing her that the group’s Board of Directors “is currently considering whether to press charges or take other enforcement action.”

“I am a [27-year] Glen resident owner, and it is ridiculous that I am being threatened with criminal charges for being a Good Samaritan and saving baby ducks,” Nealon wrote in an email. She shared a copy of the letter with ARLnow and also posted it to a Facebook group for Fairlington residents.

Kristen Buck, an associate with the firm Rees Broome, said in the letter that the condo board felt a lock around the pool was damaged in the process of this rescue effort, and she’s requesting the people involved to pay the board $100 each to help reimburse the cost of replacing it.

“Such a good faith payment may influence whether the Board decides to press charges or take other action,” Buck wrote.

Nealon insists that no one damaged any property over the course of this episode, and she finds Buck’s suggestion that the neighbors should have simply called the county’s animal control to be without merit, given the “imminent danger” she felt the ducklings were in at the time.

Buck declined comment on the matter, as did Thora Stanwood, president of the condo association’s Board of Directors.

But, in a newsletter distributed by the condo association, there is a reference to a “break in” at the Fairlington Glen pool.

The newsletter claims a police report was filed about the incident, and that condo association’s Board of Directors “consulted with legal counsel about the recovery of damage from the break in.” County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage says she has no record of any police report being filed from the area that day.

Nealon isn’t sure what she’ll do next, but she at least plans to attend the condo association’s next meeting to protest her treatment, and she doesn’t expect she’ll be alone.

Her post on the Fairlington Appreciation Society Facebook page about the incident already has 125 likes and dozens of supportive comments.

Photo courtesy of Trista Nealon

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Sprinklers Help Contain Condo Fire in Virginia Square

One person was sent to the hospital after a fire in a Virginia Square condominium Friday morning.

The fire was reported around 6:30 a.m. at the high-rise Hawthorn condo building, which is located at 820 N. Pollard Street, across Wilson Blvd from Gold’s Gym.

The fire was contained by a sprinkler system, allowing firefighters to quickly extinguish the flames. Large ladder trucks were used to help with the firefighting effort.

One condo resident was taken to a hospital emergency room for observation, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. The Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the blaze.

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Modern Condo Living in Del Ray to Be Unveiled at March Grand Opening

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Del Ray Place will unveil designs for its highly anticipated new condominium residences at a Grand Opening celebration on Thursday, March 22, at nearby Junction Bakery & Bistro.

Grand opening attendees will have the first chances to view never-before-seen floorplans and to schedule a private appointment to purchase their residence at limited-time Grand Opening pricing. They will also enjoy food and drinks at one of Del Ray’s most popular restaurants

To RSVP and receive additional details, interested home shoppers can register as VIPs at DelRayVA.com. Junction Bakery & Bistro is located at 1508 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va. 

Rising up at 1800 Mount Vernon Ave., Del Ray Place will feature 49 modern one- and two-bedroom residences set along the neighborhood’s central thoroughfare. With subtle art deco accents, the building has been tastefully designed to reflect all the color and character of the surrounding community.

Built by Brookfield Residential — “The Mid-Atlantic’s Most Innovative Homebuilder” — each residence will feature a spacious, open floorplan, voice-enabled Smart Home automation and luxurious contemporary styling. Private balconies are available with select residences. Pricing starts from the mid $300’s.

When you live at Del Ray Place, you’ll step out and have access to all your treasured places and new favorites you’ve yet to discover. A seemingly endless variety of local businesses and community events are incredibly close. And you’ll be just 10 minutes from Old Town and 15 minutes from Washington, D.C.

After the Grand Opening, home shoppers can meet with a sales manager at the Del Ray Place Sales Gallery, located just down the street at 2312 Mount Vernon Ave., Suite 206. For more information, visit DelRayVA.com.

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Del Ray Place Set to Offer Modern Condominium Residences at 1800 Mount Vernon Avenue

The 49 modern condominium residences of Del Ray Place at 1800 Mount Vernon Avenue are set to open later in 2018. Though construction is ongoing, anticipation over the new building is spreading fast.

That’s because there’s nothing quite like it in the sought-after, uniquely independent neighborhood of Del Ray. Set along Mount Vernon Avenue, these one- and two-bedroom residences have been designed to reflect all the color and character of the community.

When you step inside, you’ll discover Del Ray living reimagined for a modern lifestyle. Each residence will feature spacious, open floorplans, voice-automated Smart Home technology and luxurious contemporary styling, with private balconies available.

Del Ray Place is set to bring modern living to this charming neighborhood where independent boutiques and eclectic cafes still dominate over big box retail, and where a close-knit sense of community stems from a small-town, main-street feel.

It offers the latest design trends, with a host of modern amenities and luxury features. It’s also just a short walk to Braddock Metro Station.

Best of all, it’s remarkably affordable, with one-bedroom units expected to start from the mid $300’s.

If the growing excitement is any indication, you’ll need to act fast to get in on this limited-time opportunity. To learn more about these exciting new condominium residences, visit DelRayVA.com today.

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Board Rejects Ballston Condo Owners’ Plan for Restricted Public Courtyard Access

Efforts by residents to remove a requirement for a public courtyard behind their Ballston condo building was unanimously rejected on Saturday by the Arlington County Board.

Members of the Berkeley Condo Association (1000 N. Randolph Street) applied to remove the requirement for 24-hour public access to the courtyard, citing concerns about safety and public nuisances.

Peter Schulz, a staffer at the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, acknowledged that the easement for the courtyard — which also serves as a cut-through to the Ballston Metro station — had not been properly recorded by county staff. But county staff recommended against removing the easement, arguing that without it “there is no guarantee that the space will remain open to the public.”

The issue came to light after the association erected gates at entrances to the courtyard without a permit and someone complained about it to the county. A notice of violation was issued and then upheld by the Board of Zoning Appeals; the case is pending in Arlington County Circuit Court after the applicants sued to keep the gates.

Residents said there are problems with nuisance behavior like littering, public drunkenness, drug use and loud music playing in the courtyard, exacerbated by the presences of nearby bars like A-Town Bar & Grill, on the opposite side of Fairfax Drive. Residents said problems persist day and night, and are not confined to bar patrons.

“We’ve really had to put up with a great deal of noise,” said resident Charles Richter. “It’s sometimes at very uncomfortable hours, both from people who have had too much to drink in the evening, and in the day we’ve had several dog fights [and] people fights.”

“When people come out after an evening of drinking, they help themselves to our rear yard,” said William Lawson, the attorney for the condo association.

Police, however, did not report any significant issues associated with the space.

“Staff has only been able to find one (1) police report concerning the outdoor space in the past year,” said the staff report.

In letters to the County Board, both the Parks and Recreation Commission and members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association opposed closing off public access to the park.

While County Board members were sympathetic to the condo owners, and promised to look again at finding ways to improve public safety in the area, they said they could not get rid of the public space requirement.

“This was an easement granted to the people of Arlington County,” said Board member Libby Garvey. “We can’t just give it up willy-nilly because there were some mistakes made.”

Fellow Board member John Vihstadt said there were “dirty hands here all around.” Schulz, the county staffer, said with better coordination between plan reviewers on staff, such mistakes are unlikely to be repeated.

“It was an unfortunate case of too much silo-ing in county staff at the time,” he said.

Photos via county presentation

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Rosslyn, Clarendon Construction Projects in Various Stages of Completion

(Updated August 16, 10:40 a.m.) With the summer almost at an end, several construction projects in Rosslyn and Clarendon are moving along.

In Clarendon, despite a small fire in May that prompted a major response from the Arlington County Fire Department, the Ten at Clarendon apartment building is open for business on 10th Street N.

A spokeswoman said the 143-unit luxury residential community was completed last month and residents are moving in. Also in July, the building added virtual reality tours for its new apartments .

In Rosslyn, a new six-story condo building is starting to rise in place of an aging low-rise apartment complex. The project, now called “Key and Nash” in signs posted nearby, will add 63 units at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street.

The project by Reston-based developer NVR, Inc., the parent company of homebuilder Ryan Homes, looks to be well on the way to completion.

Close by, demolition of the former Wilson School is over, and now workers have cleared the ground to start to lay the foundations for the new building.

The new school at 1601 Wilson Blvd, which will house the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs, is scheduled to open in fall 2019 and house 775 students across both programs.

But less than a block away, there appears to have been little progress as of yet on the proposed redevelopment of the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex at 1801 N. Quinn Street.

The County Board approved in February a project by the local nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to bring 249 committed affordable units in a 12-story building.

And in Radnor-Fort Myer Heights, work is continuing on two new residential buildings and a rebuilt substance-abuse recovery facility. Crews and a variety of heavy machinery are on site at the project, known as Gables Pointe 14, at 1307 N. Rolfe Street. The 370 apartments in two buildings, underground parking and an 8,000-square-foot shared park are set to be complete in 2020.

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New Voting Location Needed For Crystal City Ahead of November Election

A plan to host a polling place at a condo building in Crystal City has been nixed, but elections officials said they are confident of finding a new location before November.

County staff had planned to move the polling station for the Crystal City 006 Precinct to the Crystal Gateway condo building at 1300 Crystal Drive from Crystal Place (1801 Crystal Drive) in time for November’s elections.

But a staff report on various changes to voting locations ahead of the elections said the Crystal Gateway “no longer wishes” to host a polling place. Likewise, the report notes that Crystal Place “no longer wished” to do the same.

Arlingtonians will go to the polls to elect a Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and local members of the Virginia House of Delegates, as well as representatives on the Arlington County Board and School Board.

Gretchen Reinemeyer, the county’s deputy director of elections, said the building “did not provide any information on why they would not like to be a polling place.” Crystal Gateway’s property manager and a spokesman for Equity Apartments, which owns both the Crystal Gateway and Crystal Place, did not return calls requesting comment.

Reinemeyer said staff is “in the process” of finding a new polling place for the precinct, and they are “optimistic that we will have a new location soon.” She said that when looking for new polling places, staff try and find county-owned buildings in the precinct first before assessing other options.

“If there is not a suitable county facility available, we look at other buildings used by the community that have a ground level meeting room such as churches or community rooms in apartment or condo buildings,” she said. “Once we find a location that we think will work, we begin negotiating with the management of the space.”

The County Board will vote on the proposed voting changes at its meeting Saturday (July 15). Also on the table is a change for the Rosslyn Precinct to move its voting place to the 1800 Oak Apartments from the soon-to-be-redeveloped Fire Station 10, and a technical change for the Virginia Highlands Precinct to reflect that votes are cast at the recently reopened Aurora Hills Community Center.

Photo via Google Maps.

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Visa Processing Issues Could Close Local Pools

Local pools could be at risk of indefinite closure due to visa processing issues for potential lifeguards.

According to a resident of the Barkley Condominiums (1016 S. Wayne Street), on Sunday a notice posted to the building’s bulletin board said the pool would be closed indefinitely, due to the pool service company having difficulty getting lifeguards into the country because of visa issues.

The notice also reportedly said the issues would hopefully be resolved within the next week, but that timing was unclear. Another source who lives in the building confirmed the pool’s closure. The condo’s property manager declined to comment.

Many local pools rely on young, foreign lifeguards who come to the U.S. during summer months through a non-immigrant visa program.

A press release on May 26 from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals explained that pools in Mid-Atlantic states might experience delayed openings because of regulatory changes. The Mid-Atlantic is primarily affected because in this region, lifeguards must be present for most commercial or condo pools to be used.

“The pools affected are those run by pool management companies who recruit lifeguards from certain countries through the U.S. State Department’s J-1 Summer Work Travel Program,” the press release said.

In the meantime, the association is trying to recruit lifeguards from local high schools and colleges so that people can still cool off in the summer months.

Chris Teale contributed reporting. Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick. 

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Morning Notes

Pilots in the cockpit at DCA (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Metro Station Manager Arrested — A Metro station manager at the Pentagon has been arrested and charged with assaulting a fellow employee. The fight happened Wednesday afternoon inside the station manager’s kiosk, police say. [Washington Post]

Yorktown Grad’s Music Video Goes Viral — Budding hip-hop artist Hovey Benjamin has tallied nearly 1.5 million YouTube views of his new, NSFW music video. Benjamin lived in Arlington and attended Yorktown High School and Virginia Commonwealth University before moving to Los Angeles and signing a record deal. [Real House Life of Arlington, Uproxx]

New Condo and Townhouse Sales CenterSponsored — Learn about all of the newest and most well-appointed properties in Arlington and DC without the hassle of finding all the information for yourself. Stop by the Sales Center this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. to learn about amenities, features, floor plans, fees, available units, and everything else you could ever want to know about all the condo buildings in the area. Located at 1600 Wilson Blvd. [Keri Shull Team]

Dozens of Arlington Runners Competing in Boston — Seventy-six Arlington runners will be shipping up to Boston next month for the Boston Marathon, one of the sport’s most prestigious races. The field includes local running superstar Michael Wardian, who is also competing in this weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon. [InsideNova]

CERT Training Still Open — A few spaces are still available in Arlington’s Community Emergency Response Team spring training class. The eight-session, 26-hour course begins next week. [Arlington CERT]

Library Exhibit on Baltic WW2 Refugees — Arlington Public Library is hosting an exhibit through April 17 on Baltic refugees from World War II. “‘No Home To Go To’ is the story of people living in refugee camps and finding a home in a new land, as told through their memories, documents, photographs, and memorabilia,” according to the library website. [Arlington Public Library]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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New Condo Sales Center in Rosslyn

Have you been looking into purchasing a new construction condominium or townhome in Arlington or Washington, D.C.?

The Keri Shull Team is excited to announce a new condo sales center at their 1600 Wilson Blvd office. This is the perfect way to learn about all of the newest and most well appointed properties in Arlington and D.C. without the hassle of finding all the information for yourself.

Stop by to learn about amenities, features, floor plans, fees, available units, and everything else you could ever want to know about all the condo buildings in Arlington and D.C. Whether you have been researching for a while now or are in stage one of your new condo search, the information will be tailored to your situation.

All of the homework has been done for you, so come by this coming Sunday afternoon!

When: March 5 from 2-4 p.m.

Where: 1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 101 (Arlington, VA 22209)

To learn more, visit the new condo sales web page.

The preceding post was written and sponsored by the Keri Shull Team

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BREAKING: ACFD Battles Apartment Fire on Lee Highway, Rescues Dog

(Updated at 1 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters battled a fire in an apartment building on Lee Highway today (Tuesday) and rescued a dog in the process.

The fire was reported just after noon on the third floor — the top floor — of the apartments at 4356 Lee Highway, just east of the Lee Heights Shops in the Waverly Hills neighborhood.

The fire was on a balcony in the rear of the building, according to scanner reports, and had also spread to the ceiling of the units below.

As of 12:25 p.m., the fire department reported that the fire was out. No injuries were reported, though a dog was rescued from one of the apartments.

County road crews were called in after the fire was out to spread salt on portions of the roadway that had been drenched with water from the firefighting effort.

https://twitter.com/ACFDPIO/status/818878637575389185

Photos (top) courtesy @DeborahE5, David Johnson, Andrew Pang/DC Metro Fire Photographers

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Work May Begin Soon on New Columbia Pike Condo Building

Initial construction permits have been issued for a new residential development on Columbia Pike.

The sheeting and shoring and demolition permits were issued last month. There’s no word yet on when exactly work will begin but county officials say the project is moving forward.

Pillars Development Group plans to tear down the former El Tutumaso restaurant at 4707 Columbia Pike and replace it with a four-story, 78-unit condominium building with 87 underground parking spaces and 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The development is being built utilizing Columbia Pike Form Based Code, a set of by-right land use provisions intended to reduce the regulatory friction required to build certain types of projects along the Pike.

The project was approved in December 2014.

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Two New Residential Developments On Tap for Ballston and Virginia Square

Members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association were given an early look at two new developments planned for the community over the next few years.

The first, from Reston-based developer NVR, would redevelop Grace Community Church and its surface parking lot at the intersection of 11th Street and N. Vermont Street in Ballston.

The 40-year-old church, which is used by Grace for meetings but not for Sunday services, would be replaced by a seven-story condo building and a block of four-story townhouses. A series of townhomes and a private driveway is planned for the parking lot.

The developers described the project as “a relatively modest in-fill development” that’s in keeping with the “urban townhouse” neighborhood that surrounds it. The development, like the neighborhood, tapers from the towers of central Ballston to the south to the lower-density townhomes and condos to the north.

Officials from NVR said the plans are preliminary and have not yet been filed with the county.

Also at Monday’s civic association meeting, local developer Eleventh Street Development presented early plans for a new apartment building in Virginia Square.

The proposed six-story, 220-unit rental complex, at the intersection of Kirkwood Road and Washington Blvd, would replace the closed Sport & Health gym, the Slye Electronics building and an automotive business.

Developer Garrett Erdle, who previously helped to develop Penrose Square on Columbia Pike, told residents that the building is at least three years away, following “a structured and lengthy” regulatory process.

Before a site plan process for the building can start, the county and its Long Range Planning Committee is expected to discuss land use planning for the parcel and the area as a whole. The special General Land Use Plan study that the development will first go through is expected to take about a year.

Residents at the meeting expressed concerns about the height of the building, parking along their already-crowded streets and a potential lack of public green space in front of the building. The developer responded that the proposal for the building is in the very early stages and that they will take public feedback into account throughout the process.

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