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Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey during the Tuesday, Jan. 24 discussion of Missing Middle housing (via Arlington County)

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Some 200 speakers and seven hours of public comment later, the Arlington County Board will decide whether to authorize hearings on a proposal to allow “Missing Middle” housing later today (Wednesday).

The request to authorize hearings on the zoning proposal was originally placed on the agenda for the Board’s Saturday meeting. After a marathon hearing on Saturday, public comment on the item carried over into the Board’s Tuesday meeting. Rather than make a decision last night, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said members will take an extra day.

“The matter is with the Board but we’re not going to pick this up right away, colleagues, we are actually going to consider all the testimony we heard on this past Saturday and tonight — the nearly 200 registered speakers — and convene again once we are able to properly deliberate tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m.,” Dorsey said at the conclusion of the meeting.

Last night’s meeting had fewer speakers than Saturday’s but featured a contentious exchange between Dorsey and an opponent of the Missing Middle proposal.

Dorsey intervened twice during the meeting, as some people objected to Missing Middle supporter Jane Green standing behind other advocates of the proposal, holding a sign so it would be visible on camera.

“We had 180 people speak on Saturday and we didn’t have any of this. We’re not going to have it with 20, alright?” Dorsey said. “Let the people speak. You can’t dictate where people stand, so let’s just continue, thank you.”

When it was Green’s turn to speak, a man moved to stand behind her and next to Adam Theo, a former County Board candidate and the co-founder of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, an organization that supports the zoning changes.

“Sit down, please,” Dorsey can be heard saying off-screen. “This is childish, this is childish. I will clear the room. Stop it, everybody. I know tensions are high. I know everybody’s excited but we can all be grown-ups, okay? You can either sit down or you can be removed. It’s your choice.”

A man can be heard saying “No, you grow up,” in response to Dorsey. Later, he adds that the Board should “put this to a referendum and let the county vote.” (The county can hold referenda on bond issuances but a referendum on a county ordinance or policy would require authorization from the state legislature, as Virginia is a Dillon Rule state.)

A total of 17 speakers took the podium last night, including many representing organizations, thus giving them three minutes to speak as opposed to the two minutes allotted individuals speaking on their own behalf Saturday.

First up was Jon Ware, speaking on behalf of Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future, which opposes the measure.

Saturday embodied a lot of what frustrates folks about this process. In the week prior, the county put out 150 pages of dense materials with new zoning that goes far beyond the core specifics released only on Halloween. On Saturday, the county cut public speaking times, and talked at the people followed by the people often talking past each other.

He asserted that the people who will be able to afford the 2-3 bedroom Missing Middle housing units will mostly be white, and the county has no process or metrics to “track who gets displaced,” a mechanism that Portland, Oregon, which allows these types of dwellings, does have.

NAACP Arlington branch second vice president Bryan Coleman said the “elephant in the room” is the lack of diversity among Missing Middle opponents, especially those who are talking about gentrification and displacement.

Our residential neighborhoods have already gentrified. The average cost of a detached single-family home last year was $1.2 million. Housing in our residential neighborhoods is getting even more expensive, as 170 homes a year are replaced by McMansions. When we’re talking about displacement, we’re usually talking about lower-income residents being priced out or evicted by landlords. The claim here is different: Upzoning will somehow drive property values so high that some homeowners won’t be able to afford the increased property taxes. Neither part of that claim holds up to scrutiny.

He said it’s implausible a few dozen developments per year will cause property values to spike across the county and those who are burdened by taxes can get relief from the county’s property tax relief program.

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Proposed Missing Middle zoning code changes are set to go before the Arlington County Board for a first look on Saturday.

The Board is slated to review a request to advertise public hearings on a proposal to allow the by-right construction of duplexes, three-unit townhouses and multi-family buildings with up to six or eight dwellings on lots of up to one acre in Arlington’s lowest-density zoning districts.

The proposal includes several options for regulating the number of so-called “expanded housing option uses” (EHOs) built per year, their density and size, and parking and tree canopy coverage.

If Board members approve this request to advertise (RTA), the Arlington County Planning Commission and the County Board will have two months to pick a slate of regulatory mechanisms before holding hearings and, potentially, adopting the proposal in March.

Ahead of the request to advertise, Arlington County warned that speaking times may be shortened on account of the intense public interest in the wide-ranging changes.

“If 75 or more speakers sign up to speak on one item, speaking times will be reduced to 2 minutes for all individuals and 3 minutes for all organizations,” the announcement said. “Speakers will be notified if speaking times change.”

The County Board members adopted an ordinance allowing such time reductions last month, after droves of residents came out to speak about Missing Middle in meetings over the last year.

In addition to possibly shortening speaking times, the county will prioritize hearing from different speakers this month and in March.

“When people sign up to speak at the March public hearing, the Clerk’s staff will identify those that did not speak in January and place them first in the speaking order, followed by anyone that spoke did speak at the January hearing,” county spokesman Ryan Hudson said. “Anyone that signs up to speak will have the opportunity to do so.”

Ahead of the meeting, Missing Middle proponent group YIMBYs of Northern Virginia said this RTA has been years in the making. It says development under this plan will be as “distributed [and] gradual,” but that the county has to start somewhere.

“To further improve affordability, Arlington policymakers can revisit regulations such as height limits in the future, but they must start by legalizing up to 8 units per lot with minimal regulatory burdens, which requires maximum flexibility in the RTA,” the group said in a statement to ARLnow.

(YIMBY stands for “Yes In My Backyard,” the pro-building counterpart to the build-elsewhere-if-at-all NIMBYs, who generally reject that label.)

YIMBYs of NoVA highlighted other organizations supporting the proposal, including the Arlington branch of the NAACP, the Sierra Club and Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE).

“Arlington faces a fundamental choice between growth and inclusion or stagnation and spiraling inequality,” the group said. “Continuing the status quo would be an unsustainable future for Arlingtonians, forcing more essential workers into long commutes and driving more young families to relocate, often to exurban sprawl.”

Arlingtonians for Upzoning Transparency (AFUT), which opposes the proposal, claims that the plan as written will:

  • Make Arlington less diverse;
  • Ignore the thoughtful views of experts and its own advisory groups;
  • Are not needed to meet the Metropolitan Washington Area Council of Governments’ (COG) goals for housing in Arlington and lack the necessary analysis and planning to begin an iterative process;
  • Leave behind low, moderate, and middle-income households — with a one bedroom unit in an 8-plex requiring a household income at 117% of AMI; and
  • Are not integrated with our interconnected priorities for transportation, the environment, and job growth.

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Former Arlington Public Schools internal auditor John Mickevice (via Arlington Public Schools)

Arlington Public Schools appears to be looking for a new internal auditor.

The job posting comes after a national government auditors association told APS that the school system asked John Mickevice, the former internal audit director, to sign a problematic contract, per a letter obtained by ARLnow.

When reached for comment, Mickevice declined to discuss what happened but confirmed he is no longer with APS. The job listing for his former position was posted last Wednesday.

Before his departure, the Association of Local Government Auditors (ALGA) had written to the Arlington School Board, saying Mickevive was asked to sign a contract that conflicts with its own policies as well as best practices. The author — ALGA Advocacy Committee Chair Amanda Noble — confirmed with ARLnow that she sent the letter.

In response to questions about Mickevice’s job status and the letter, a spokesman for APS told ARLnow, “I don’t have any details and I can’t comment on personnel matters.”

According to the ALGA letter, dated as of late August, the contract would have allowed the Superintendent to terminate the Internal Audit Director without cause with 90 days of written notice. It also would have allowed the Superintendent to assign duties to the audit director.

Noble wrote that this conflicts with APS policy as well as with international auditor standards and government auditing standards from the U.S. Comptroller General.

Per APS policy:

The Superintendent shall oversee only day-to-day administrative matters such as authorizing the IA’s leave, travel or minor purchases. The IA shall otherwise be independent of the Superintendent’s supervision. The IA’s annual evaluation shall be conducted by the two School Board members of the Committee.

APS policy and international and national standards alike “protect the independence and objectivity of the internal audit function by placing the internal audit function outside the reporting line of areas subject to audit and preventing management’s interference in the auditor’s performance of work and reporting results,” Noble said.

In other words, such a policy is set up to ensure school officials do not influence the outcome of audits.

Noble says the auditor’s independence would be “greatly strengthened by clarifying district policy regarding appointment and removal of the [Internal Auditor] Director and changing the audit committee composition.”

Currently, the committee that directs the Internal Auditor Director and to which the auditor answers is made of two School Board members as well as the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent. Half of voting members are management, which Noble says increases the chance of interference in the audit process.

Noble says that is not typical of most committees.

“In a recent internal audit benchmarking report prepared by the Council of Great City Schools, no respondents reported that their audit committee included the Superintendent or any member of management,” she said. “All respondents having an audit committee reported the audit committee composition was board members only, community advisors only, or a mix of board members and community advisors.”

The sending of the letter and Mickevice’s departure occurred less than a year after his scathing review of issues that plagued the Virtual Learning Program, which he said earlier this year was “an indigestible meal that is going to make you sick.”

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(Updated 9:55 p.m.) Marymount University is developing plans to build a new sports facility on an embattled parcel of county property near its campus.

Currently, the property at 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive, in the Old Dominion neighborhood, is home to a temporary road salt storage “dome” and a parking lot used for mulch distribution. In 2019, despite opposition from some neighbors, the county demolished a roughly 90-year-old water storage tank, repurposed for road salt, which was on the brink of collapse.

The tank saga came a few years after the county proposed and later nixed plans to relocate Fire Station 8 from Langston Blvd to the Old Dominion neighborhood.

Now, Marymount University, which was recently ranked for the first time as a national university and is showing other signs of growth — including higher enrollment rates, new softball and wrestling teams and new academic majors — is trying its hand at redeveloping the site.

The school, which has its main campus across from the county property and an additional presence in Ballston, first put forward a plan for the property two years ago. It proposes to build a sports field, a children’s playground and an enhanced walking trails to Missionhurst Preserve, according to a map on the university’s website.

In addition, it would replace the existing temporary salt dome with a new, solar-powered one, along with a mulch area.

A little less than a year ago, it also put forward a proposal to build new diamond fields where the Washington-Liberty High School baseball diamond in Quincy Park and the softball diamond on school property are. Since then, it has been in talks with W-L, Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation.

Marymount has advertised an informational meeting on this proposal, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The university said in a statement to ARLnow that the session acts on a suggestion from Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz to “build consensus among community members and inform them of our proposed plans to create a generational green space for Arlington at 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive that would improve and expand recreational opportunities for the County’s residents.”

It added that the forthcoming meeting also acts on a suggestion from a neighborhood association to meet with the three impacted neighborhood groups together. Marymount says it notified and invited Schwartz and the Arlington County Board to the meeting.

“We have put a great deal of thought and consideration into both projects, but these are proposals,” the university said. “We are discussing them with the neighborhood associations to receive their feedback after repeated attempts were made to communicate with the County about them.”

But Arlington County released a statement this afternoon (Monday) to clarify it has not endorsed the project.

“The County and APS received notice of Marymount’s November 29 Information Session at the same time Marymount informed the general public,” the statement reads. “The County and APS are not associated with or participating in the November 29 Information Session and do not sanction the materials or proposals presented by Marymount University.”

Per the statement, members of the Arlington County Board and the School Board have met with Marymount over the last year, at the university’s request, to hear the proposed concepts.

“At those meetings, County and APS staff asked clarifying questions but no decision was reached,” the county said. “At no time did County or APS staff indicate that these proposed facilities were feasible or acceptable.”

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Susan English speaks in favor of Missing Middle housing during the September County Board meeting (via Arlington County)

In a crowded Bozman Government Center on Saturday morning, one person urged the Arlington County Board to move forward with Missing Middle housing while another critiqued the push for county-wide zoning changes.

But Board members had only to read the room — and the signs people brought — to see a sea of residents who were as divided into pro- and anti-Missing Middle camps that day as they were during a raucous meeting this June.

“We owe it to our larger community to let more people live here through smaller multiplexes, yes, but especially through denser affordable apartment housing. Doing otherwise is environmentally unsustainable — and it’s exclusionary,” said Susan English. “I’ve lived in a pleasant tear-down in a nice neighborhood for 40 years, but I hope when I leave my house will be replaced with at least a duplex.”

Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement, the only candidate opposed to the Missing Middle upzoning proposal, told those attending and watching the meeting that she would “debunk some myths about it.”

Reciting excerpts of a speech she has presented during the Arlington County Civic Federation and Chamber of Commerce candidate fora, Clement argued that Missing Middle will not add to the county’s stock of 3-bedroom, and will reduce Arlington’s tree canopy, and will not increase home-buying opportunities for people of color — though the latter is an assertion with which the local NAACP disagrees.

Clement suggested alternatives such as office-to-residential conversions.

Board Chair Katie Cristol broke through the whooping and hollering that followed Clement’s comments, saying, “Alright, thank you ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to continue hearing from neighbors.”

But she later thanked attendees for respecting the rules for addressing the Board, which include restrictions on how many people can speak on a given matter not otherwise on the Board’s agenda.

“I also just want to give a sincere thanks to all who’ve come who respected our one-speaker-per-topic rule, helping us hear from more neighbors,” she said.

During the June meeting, some attendees shouted at Cristol when she cut off another speaker for violating the rule. The Board allows one speaker per topic, with opposing views on the same topic considered two separate topics.

Booing, which followed a speech this summer by a member of pro-density group YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, was also absent this time around. But there was plenty of applause — for every speaker, despite the range of topics, from the taxes nonprofits pay to climate change.

Resident Dima Hakura, who has spoken at length in meetings and with the Board about the Courthouse West General Land Use Plan, took the podium to urge the County Board to listen to its constituents, not “patronize us.” The room erupted in cheers after she finished her speech.

We need a leadership that builds consensus among us and unites us. A leadership that not only respects our opinions and values them, but also taps into them. One that considers our thoughts and makes constructive use of them to evolve the solutions possible… Interestingly, Arlington was always known for that, but somehow, somewhere we lost our way and we need to find it again.

… When I told people I was coming to speak before you today, the reaction was: “Why bother?” or, “It’s not going to make an iota of difference,” or, “Their mind is already made up. They have an agenda they want to push.” Regardless, I am hoping differently.

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Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti at Arlington Democrats election watch party in November 2019, when she was elected to office (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) The Arlington police union is pushing back on accusations that officers mishandled the search of a suspect who is now linked to a double murder.

In a rare public rebuke of Arlington’s top prosecutor, the Arlington Coalition of Police this afternoon sent out a press release accusing Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti of “ineptitude” and “deflection of blame.”

The barbs stem from a 2020 case against Francis Rose, who is currently in jail in Alexandria after a series of break-ins at an apartment complex there reportedly led to two construction workers, a stepfather and stepson described as “innocent bystanders,” each being fatally shot in the head.

As ARLnow exclusively reported last week, Rose was released from Arlington County jail this past February after the 2020 case against him fell apart when a judge ruled that evidence was obtained during an unconstitutional search of his bag. With the gun and the drugs allegedly found in Rose’s bag disallowed as evidence, prosecutors dropped the charges against him, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Rose spent nearly two years in jail awaiting trial before being freed when charges were dropped.

“As court records show, our office attempted to proceed on those charges, but during a suppression hearing, a judge ruled that the police had performed an unconstitutional search and, as the law required, suppressed the evidence in the case,” Dehghani-Tafti told ARLnow last week. “Obviously, we could not prove a case without the evidence, and therefore dismissed it.”

“My heart breaks for the families and loved ones of the people killed this weekend,” she added.

Dehghani-Tafti subsequently said on Twitter, in response to criticism from the Virginia Republican party, that she’s “not casting blame on anyone” for the case falling apart.

The Arlington Coalition of Police, however, suggests that Dehghani-Tafti should be taking more of the blame, accusing her of “attempting to throw police officers under the bus for a lost [evidence] suppression hearing.”

The full statement from the union is below.

Commonwealth Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti’s recent statements regarding the suppression hearing for Francis Rose, intentionally worded to cast fault on the officers involved, were based on self-preservation and deflection of blame.  Unlike the Commonwealth Attorney, the Arlington Coalition of Police ordered the transcript of the hearing to have a full understanding of what happened before making public comment.

Prior to the hearing, the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney handling the case believed there would be “no problem” regarding the suppression and believed the officer’s actions were lawful.  At the time of the suppression hearing, Mr. Rose had spent approximately two years in jail awaiting trial. The Commonwealth Attorney opposed giving him bond on multiple occasions.  If the Commonwealth Attorney believed the actions of the officers were unlawful, opposing bond and holding Mr. Rose for two years would be unethical.

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) You might soon be able to buy a Beretta where you could previously sip a bumble.

Gun store Nova Armory appears poised to open in the former This Is Fine Coffee and Kino Coffee space at 2607 Wilson Blvd. Boxes outside the storefront are addressed to Nova Armory and its parent company, while the store has the address listed on a “contact us” page on its website.

Nova Armory has an existing location on N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park that opened amid considerable local controversy in 2016. A representative of the store told ARLnow via email Monday afternoon that the Pershing Drive location will close.

“We [will] only have one location at Wilson Blvd,” the store rep said. “The old location is being shut down.”

Already, early word of the potential opening is causing its own controversy. One of several tips sent to ARLnow called it an “unacceptable, reckless addition to the neighborhood.”

Despite drawing the ire of some neighbors and experiencing several burglaries, the local gun store is seemingly popular with customers given its online reviews while reporting growing business a couple of years after opening. Like many gun stores, Nova Armory also experienced a boom in business at the outset of the pandemic.

Kino Coffee, which was noted for serving a unique (at least for the United States) orange juice-espresso blend called bumble coffee, closed late last year, citing Covid-related business challenges.

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(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) The Arlington County Board is eyeing December for a vote on residential zoning changes suggested by the county’s Missing Middle Housing Study.

But changes to the study’s draft framework — for allowing multi-family homes with up to 8 units on properties currently zoned only for single family homes — seem likely.

The Board discussed the often-contentious community feedback to the proposal and possible modifications at a work session Tuesday afternoon. As they talked with county staff and amongst themselves, residents — many with signs supporting or opposing the proposal — packed the Board room and watched with interest.

Slide from staff presentation at Missing Middle Housing Study work session

The feedback, county staff said in a presentation, has been mixed but more negative than positive. Of note is the split between feedback from residents of single-family detached homes and those who live in apartments, condos and townhouses.

Asked whether any housing types, from townhouses to 8-plexes, should be removed from the proposal, 78% of single-family detached home residents who provided feedback said yes, indicating opposition to the current proposal, while 70% of those who live in other housing types said no, indicating support.

Slide from staff presentation at Missing Middle Housing Study work session

Arlington has about 29,000 single-family detached homes and 79,000 townhouses, apartments, condos and other housing types, the staff presentation said.

Though critics of the missing middle proposal have been calling for more public outreach and feedback, county staff argued that they conducted extensive outreach, including 150,000 postcards, nine pop-up events, six walking tours and an online feedback form.

Slide from staff presentation at Missing Middle Housing Study work session

The online feedback form received 2.5 times as many negative comments as positive comments, the staff presentation said, though feedback at the pop-up events and through emails and letters was more positive, with roughly 2.5 times more positive comments as negative via email.

County staff noted that the vast majority of those responding to the feedback form said they own a single-family detached home and reported “white” or “prefer not to respond” under “race and ethnicity.”

Slide from staff presentation at Missing Middle Housing Study work session

Given the overrepresentation of white homeowners in providing online feedback, staff said they used the county’s “equity lens” and decided to hold pop-up events in areas with renters and minority residents, so as to gather more feedback from those groups.

All told, staff told the Board that it has received “strong” interest and extensive input from the community about the proposal.

“The feedback was fast and furious and ongoing,” said Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development Communications Manager Erika Moore.

Slide from staff presentation at Missing Middle Housing Study work session

Following the staff presentation, the Board discussed aspects of the proposal and posed questions to staff.

Board members Libby Garvey and Matt de Ferranti — who is up for reelection in November — both expressed concern about putting eight housing units in the footprint of a single-family home in an otherwise single-family home neighborhood.

“The eight units makes me kind of uncomfortable,” Garvey said

“I share the concern with the 8-units for this specific reason, I think it will result in more small half bedroom units,” de Ferranti agreed, joining other Board members in expressing support for “missing middle” homes with more bedrooms, which could house a family.

There was also discussion of whether missing middle zoning should be limited to transit corridors, which received pushback from some members.

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Morning Notes

Lightning over Cherrydale last night (photo courtesy Kennedy Combs)

‘Missing Middle’ Fight Heats Up — “The topic of housing wasn’t even on the agenda for lawmakers in Arlington County, but residents streamed into one recent meeting with a sea of posters to express their dueling views on the issue… That raucous meeting offered a taste of what promises to be one of the most contentious political battles in recent memory in Arlington: a proposal to legalize ‘missing middle’ housing — from townhouses to duplexes to eight-unit buildings — that many are treating as an existential debate over the future of this affluent, deep-blue Northern Virginia suburb.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Has Priciest Local Rent — New data shows that the average rent for one-bedroom apartments in Arlington is the highest in the region, after rising 5% month over month to $2,310/mo. [Zumper]

Video: A Ride in the RainUpdated at 9:20 a.m. — “Was just past the White House on Constitution Ave heading… towards Arlington when I got pummeled by rain.” [YouTube]

Videos: Stormy Evening — Videos posted to Twitter show the strong wind and the spectacular lightning from yesterday evening’s storm. [Twitter, Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Several items before the County Board on Saturday would tee up an Arlington Transit bus facility construction in Green Valley — to the chagrin of two communities.

The Board will consider approving the use of the new bus facility for commercial parking, temporarily relocating about 30 ART buses to a Virginia Square site during construction, revising a lease to accommodate the temporary storage, and making contract amendments.

Construction on the project off Shirlington Road, which is budgeted at $97 million, is set to start in late spring, per a board report.

The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association is concerned with the county’s plans to use the approximately 6-acre “Buck site” along N. Quincy Street for temporary bus storage. The association claims the property isn’t zoned as a bus dispatch and storage site, and it would be disruptive to the neighborhood.

County officials said in December that property is the only available and affordable site zoned for vehicle storage. Ahead of construction, 29 buses will go to the N. Quincy Street site, while 12 will move to a bus site on S. Eads Street, which opened in 2017 near Crystal City.

“Other sites were considered, both County-owned and private facilities, but these did not meet all the suitability criteria needed to maintain service delivery to our transit riders,” county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said in a statement. “If the Board approves the application for the use permit, the County has committed to being a good neighbor to minimize impacts to the largest extent possible and be responsive to concerns that may arise from this temporary use.”

Layout of the county-owned 1425 N. Quincy Street site with the temporary Arlington Transit (ART) bus storage (via Arlington County)

Currently, the county uses the site across from Washington-Liberty High School to park some fire and police vehicles, as well as a portion of the Arlington Public Schools vehicle fleet. An item before the Board this weekend would amend its lease with the School Board to move those vehicles to another part of the site.

The local civic association, however, is opposed to the plan.

“Our neighborhood — like any other in Arlington — should shoulder its fair share of uses that benefit the broader community, even if that sometimes means greater noise, traffic, and pollution,” BVSCA President James Rosen said in a statement. “But placing buses on the Quincy site fails to meet the standard for a good — let alone lawful — use of land the County paid over $30 million to acquire in 2017, of which the County has since written off $5 million.”

Before the county purchased the property, which is zoned for light industrial uses, it was home to family establishments like Jumping Joeys and Dynamic Gymnastics. The county, facing a shortage of land for school and government operations, saw the purchase as a possible school bus facility, which the surrounding community also opposed at the time.

“The noxious effects of the operation of ART buses… will not only put our health and safety at risk, but will compromise the livability of our neighborhood, and put our students and visitors in dangerous situations,” Rosen said.

Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services previously said the peak times of the high school and bus dispatches aren’t the same so it doesn’t think that student safety will be an issue.

Projected route activity for the temporary bus facility on N. Quincy Street (via Arlington County)

Through 2025, buses will be parked at and dispatched from the N. Quincy Street site on weekdays, with a majority of movement happening between 4 a.m. and 9 p.m., according to the board report. The buses parked on the site would serve six ART bus routes, mostly in north Arlington.

Maintenance and refueling activities would not occur on-site but buses may leave to be maintenanced at other county facilities on weekends.

Green Valley facility

As ART has increased its routes and hours of service over the last decade, and anticipates continuing to increase service over the next 20 years, the operations and maintenance facility in Green Valley is needed, according to a board report.

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The Liberty gas station in Bluemont (photo via Google Maps)

Nearly 200 comments later, a contentious Nextdoor discussion about the propriety of tossing bagged dog poop in business trash cans ended on a hopeful note.

The discussion thread on the social network started when a Bluemont resident posted the following complaint about a “rude confrontation” at the neighborhood’s well-liked Liberty gas station at 5201 Wilson Blvd. It concluded 18 hours later with something rare to behold these days within the online fighting pits: genuine self-reflection and the promise of an apology.

“I want to warn other dog walkers that you might get an earful from the company if you try and dispose of your dog’s waste in their bins,” said the man’s original post. “There’s a public bin within a few meters.”

The comments in response were immediately negative, questioning why he had not just dropped the doggy doo doo in the public waste bin and whether the post was real, which led to the poster doubling down and threatening to boycott the gas station.

Not a hoax. If they don’t want me throwing things away in the trash while I’m not paying for gas. Ok, I got.

It was more the way the employee had interacted with me, as if I’m the only one ever throwing away trash (which is always going to be stinky) in their trash bin. As if I, on this one day in particular, was the reason he’s had to empty out trash every day of his life.

Now I won’t be paying for gas there or using their services again; as any consumer has that right.

More than 150 comments followed in the proceeding 18 hours, mostly upbraiding the poster and defending the employee.

“You’re throwing literal feces, not generic gas station waste, into a private trash can and wrote a page trying to besmirch their business for making a reasonable request on how their property is used, as is their right, and expect to not seem entitled?” wrote a Maywood resident in response. “You hit all the marks for it in your diatribe and then instead of just saying okay no problem with respect you deflected to ‘well it’s not just me’ and pushed your point.”

“If you really respected this gentleman just doing his job, you would have immediately apologized and promised to not do it again. Instead, you chose to initiate a confrontation. And he responded, as would anyone!” wrote a Westover resident. “That doesn’t make him rude. Instead, it only proved your inability to accept responsibility. What would you have done if someone walked up to use the trash can on your porch for any trash, poop or not?”

Amid the pile-on — which eventually came to include Alexandria, D.C. and Fairfax County residents, as Nextdoor seems to expand the geographic radius of users who see local posts when one is receiving high engagement — some remarked on the relative frequency of and passionate response to posts involving dog poop in the platform.

A common Nextdoor discussion, they pointed out, involves disputes over neighbors tossing feces-filled bags in each other’s trash cans.

“One thing I have learned on Nextdoor is that some people have no issue at all with throwing dog poop in a bag in any trash can available, and that some people feel extremely strongly that it should never be done,” observed a Rock Spring resident. “And that the two sides don’t remotely understand how the other could feel that way.”

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