Have you ever showed up to a date and realized you had been stood up?
The Arlington County Board nearly did yesterday (Thursday) during a hearing on the proposed property tax rate.
The county proposes a rate of $1.013 per $100 in assessed value. While flat over last year, the average Arlington homeowner would still see taxes go up $454, owing to rising residential property assessments and other fees.
“Madame Clerk, do we have any speakers this evening?” asked Board Chair Christian Dorsey.
“We do. We have one speaker,” said the clerk.
“Terrific,” he rejoined.
That speaker was Hamilton Humes, the commissioner of the Youth Ultimate League of Arlington, an ultimate frisbee league. Addressing the board in gear suggesting he had just been out slinging a disc — or would be soon — he expressed his thanks for the County Board’s work and approval for the fees levied to maintain local playing fields.
“We appreciate all the effort to provide playing fields,” said Humes. “I speak for all the youth athletic organizations to say that… The only issue, which is not in your purview, is the scheduling between Arlington Public Schools and the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, but you all know that.”
There was no mention of the property tax rate.
The Board took a break to wait for more speakers. Eventually, a man called in to ask why the real estate assessment on a church property he recently purchased along Route 50 had increased by more than 17% — compared to increases of 3.5.-5.5% in previous years.
He prefaced his brief comments by apologizing for possibly bringing this up in the wrong avenue, saying he had never done anything like this before. After he finished speaking he was informed that it was, in fact, the wrong venue for challenging property assessments.
“We have a no wrong door policy,” Dorsey assured him. “We’ll be sure to communicate with you via email about the exact route for [appealing the tax assessment]. We’re happy you joined us however you come to us.”
Last night’s meeting is a far cry from Missing Middle hearings last week, which saw north of 200 speakers, as well as yesteryear’s tax rate hearings. A hearing in 2010 drew 26 speakers, the most of any meeting dating back to 2008 with minutes available on the county website.
In these meetings, people often requested higher taxes to cover school spending or affordable housing, while others have advocated for lower tax rates or holding the current tax rate steady to provide relief to people on fixed incomes and small business owners. Those opposed to tax hikes would often also speak in favor of reducing county spending.
The number of speakers has since declined to seven, four and six speakers in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively — years that coincided with introspection and concern about the county’s pathways for citizen engagement, called the “Arlington Way.”
Meeting minutes showed about a half-dozen people who used to speak reliably against increases: In first place, with at least eight appearances, is former independent Congressional candidate Jim Hurysz; in second is former independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement, with at least seven.
While lacking in speakers passionate about taxes and county finances, the meeting had one memorable moment.
Arlington’s youngest-ever Sergeant-At-Arms — County Board member Katie Cristol’s son — banged the gavel to start the hearing at 7 p.m. As he continued banging the gavel, Cristol intervened.
“Okay, you don’t have to keep doing it,” she said.
He happily sat on Cristol’s lap, sipping juice until his father took him home. Board members continued chatting among themselves between the speakers and the adjournment at 8 p.m. sharp.
Is crime on the rise in Arlington? It depends on which Arlington County official you ask.
Police Chief Andy Penn told the County Board last Thursday that crime rates rose in 2022, driven by upticks in theft — of cars and from cars — and assaults, largely in Arlington’s most populated neighborhoods. He noted that ACPD is seeing more crimes where a weapon is used.
Arlington started 2023 with a rise in carjackings and student overdoses, and this early data indicates that it ended 2022 with a nearly 23% increase in property crimes over 2021 with, specifically, a 27.4% increase in larcenies. In addition, there has been a nearly 32% increase in vehicle thefts and a 14% increase in thefts from vehicles, especially with unlocked cars or those with keys left inside.
There has also been a 16% increase in crimes against people, such as assault, and a 21.5% decrease in crimes against society, such as drug violations.
Penn noted officers are seeing “more guns than what’s normal,” as officers seized 147 firearms in 2022 — an increase from 126 in 2021 and 104 in 2020. Of the seizures in 2022, 15 were ghost guns.
ACPD does not typically report arrest numbers — as opposed to offense numbers, which are released annually — for the most common group of offenses, which span everything from burglary to murder. A department spokeswoman told ARLnow that that would have to be requested through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The department noted its 2021 annual report, released last summer, that people officers have arrested for these “Group A” crimes are “frequently responsible for multiple cases within Arlington or regionally.”
The question of whether crime is rising in Arlington has implications for the race to determine the upcoming Commonwealth’s Attorney race. Josh Katcher, who used to work for the incumbent top prosecutor, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, has made his campaign about acknowledging that crime is rising and criticizing his opponent for, he says, not admitting this.
“We can’t begin to address these issues until we are willing to acknowledge and face them head on,” he said in a statement to ARLnow. “Arlington County deserves a Commonwealth’s Attorney who is transparent with those that they are elected to serve. My opponent has repeatedly and publicly stated that crime has not been rising, starting in November of last year.”
Dehghani-Tafti, who won in 2019 on a platform of criminal justice reform, has maintained her position despite crime concerns from some residents and members of ACPD. In a statement to ARLnow in response, Dehghani-Tafti called Katcher’s rhetoric fear-mongering.
“Real leaders don’t engage in right wing fear mongering propaganda, particularly when Arlington remains one of the safest communities in the country,” she said. “Real leaders also don’t use right wing attack lines that prosecutors are responsible for temporary rise or decline in crime. While some categories of assaults have been on the rise since 2018, serious crimes such as homicides have declined in Arlington at the same time as jurisdictions nationwide have seen an increase.”
She noted that Arlington had zero homicides for nearly 18 months — one in February 2022 and none since then.
“Our job is to build on that success to continue to keep our community safe. That’s what I intend to do,” Dehghani-Tafti said.
A County Board candidate says Arlington should acquire the now-condemned Key Bridge Marriott hotel and surrounding property in Rosslyn.
A number of people living in the shuttered hotel were removed Friday in a large-scale law enforcement operation, after the county condemned the building “due to the risk posed to the community’s safety and health.”
A planned residential redevelopment of the property, overlooking the Potomac River, was approved in 2020 but the project has stalled amid financial problems for its owners.
Natalie Roy, a local real estate agent who’s running in June’s Democratic primary for County Board, said in a statement this morning that current situation is “a tremendous opportunity for Arlington.” The property, she said, could be purchased and used for affordable housing, sports fields, an arts facility and a park.
“The former hotel’s garage could be the site of a state-of-the-art Pickleball facility,” the statement adds.
Roy cites the ongoing redevelopment of the 9+ acre Rouse estate in Dominion Hills — on which several dozen large, single-family homes are being built — as an example of a missed opportunity for the county.
“The key is to not let what happened to the Rouse Family Estate happen to this Arlington gateway,” her statement says.
Roy will be going up against fellow Democratic candidates Maureen Coffey; Jonathan Dromgoole; Julius “JD” Spain, Sr.; Tony Weaver; and Susan Cunningham in the June 20 primary for the two Board seats being vacated by Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey. The primary will be conducted for the first time using ranked-choice voting.
More of Roy’s statement regarding the Marriott site is below.
This empty hotel and the surrounding property represent a tremendous opportunity for Arlington. Land is at a premium in Arlington and when it becomes potentially available, as it has in this case, we need to make smart decisions quickly.
The County needs to be creative by acting now to explore ways to form a private-public partnership to purchase and then re-utilize this prime property. The site could be a showcase for Arlington and include a mixed-use complex that provides affordable housing and retail for essential workers and the most vulnerable members of our community. It could include a sports field, an arts facility or a large tree lined park. The former hotel’s garage could be the site of a state-of-the-art Pickleball facility. The potential is great.
The county needs to act swiftly and bring public and private stakeholders together, to explore the possibilities and develop a comprehensive strategy for the site. The key is to not let what happened to the Rouse Family Estate happen to this Arlington gateway.
“If elected as a County Board Member, I will make it a priority to work with other Board Members to develop a strategic county-wide land use plan, so we are not playing catch up when opportunities present themselves.”
Public safety in Arlington County is poised to be increasingly automated and unmanned, with more traffic enforcement cameras and drones potentially coming soon.
The updates came during a work session on County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed budget, attended by County Board members and heads of public safety departments yesterday (Thursday).
Installing new speed cameras and adding more red-light cameras are part of the county’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes, as well as a recommended way to reduce potentially adverse interactions between officers and civilians during traffic stops.
Cameras and drones could also help the Arlington County Police Department work more efficiently with fewer officers, as ACPD has had to scale back services amid ongoing challenges with recruiting and retaining officers.
More than a year ago, the County Board approved the installation of speed cameras in school and work areas to reduce speed-related crashes in these areas as part of the Vision Zero campaign to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries. Now, according to Police Chief Andy Penn, a contract with a speed camera vendor could be ready this spring.
Last fall, the county told ARLnow that there would be more signs of progress, including camera installation and community messaging, once a contract is finalized this spring. Penn told the County Board yesterday that a request for proposal for both speed cameras and more red-light cameras will close next week.
“My hope is that we’ll have a contract for both of those in the next couple of months,” Penn said.
Meanwhile, the police department is working with the Virginia Dept. of Transportation to expand locations with red-light cameras, according to Penn.
“We’re almost at the finish line with VDOT on the PhotoRED expansions, there’s a couple intersections… we should be there soon,” he said.
There are nine intersections that currently use PhotoRED cameras, according to the county’s website. These intersections are located along major corridors including Columbia Pike, Route 1, Glebe Road and Langston Blvd.
Arlington is also considering deploying drones, which could be a safety tool for both police and fire departments. Penn and Fire Chief Dave Povlitz told the Board they are focused on improving employee safety and wellbeing, which could bolster staffing levels.
“While we’re on equipment, drones? Are we thinking about drones?” asked Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey. “It’d be a lot safer to send a drone in than a person into a burning building.”
After working with other jurisdictions in the region and conducting a survey, a comprehensive proposal on drones could be ready for Board review in “the next couple of months,” according to County Manager Mark Schwartz.
“They are fantastic additions to any fleet,” he said. “We absolutely would, in many cases, prefer — not just for fire but police and also for our building inspections — to have the ability to have drones.”
Police may already be using drones locally in some cases. One could be seen flying near the former Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn this morning as part of a large public safety agency presence at the aging building, which the county condemned amid the continued presence of squatters.
Two hurdles to greater drone use could be privacy and flight regulations governing drones in the region, Schwartz said.
“We want to make sure we address the privacy concerns, which I think have been successfully handled in other jurisdictions,” he said.
Unmanned aircraft flights, including drones, are heavily restricted within a 30-mile radius of Reagan National Airport, according to rules the Federal Aviation Administration put in place after 9/11. Drones need FAA authorization and have to operate under certain restrictions.
Arlington County will be stabilizing part of the Donaldson Run stream to prevent erosion.
On Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved without discussion a more than $888,200 contract with Sagres Construction Corporation to complete the work.
The project could provide relief to nearby property owners who have been trying for years to get the county to make improvements to the stream, but were stymied by land access issues, per a county report.
Two storm drain outfalls — openings that empty water into the stream — were in poor condition and discharged water onto private property, causing “significant erosion” downstream and possibly damaging private retaining walls and trees.
The county could not fix these outfalls, however, because they were left off “properly recorded” easements. And that was not the only problem.
“Since the stream meanders across multiple different properties, no one landowner could initiate a private project to stabilize the erosion,” the report said. “Residents were fearful due to large trees that had fallen on homes and private infrastructure, such as retaining walls and decks, and had been requesting assistance with the severe erosion for many years.”
The report credits county leadership for rallying multiple landowners within the Analostan Homes Association — a small townhouse community near a county-owned water tower — to provide temporary and permanent construction easements to make the project happen.
Impacted residents are “generally supportive of the project,” the report adds.
The project begins at the stream’s headwaters at the 24th Street N. storm sewer outfall and extends about 650 feet downstream to a previously restored portion of Donaldson Run.
For this project, 28 trees will be removed and Sagres will reforest the area with 630 trees and 188 shrubs, per a project webpage. The company will use rocks and plants to stabilize the stream banks from 24th Street N. to the place where previous work ended.
Sagres will replace a failing retaining wall at the end of a stormwater pipe, called an endwall, add back soil to the stream valley and install some rock, wood or earth structures that hold that dirt down, preventing more erosion, which the county calls grade control measures.
An informational meeting about the project will be held on Tuesday, March 28, according to the project webpage. Some tree removal has already begun on the site, the site notes.
Tree removal has been a significant concern among some residents during previous restoration projects including, recently, restoration work on Donaldson Run farther downstream.
Construction is expected to begin in April or May and take about nine months. Sagres will access the construction site from 25th Street N. and the 11-acre hilltop property called Missionhurst.
(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) Last night, the Arlington County Board took a landmark step to allow the by-right development of 2-6 unit buildings throughout the county.
After the unanimous vote around 6:45 p.m., and additional statements by Board members, the room erupted in cheers from supporters, who shook hands and hugged and high-fived each other. There were, reportedly, a few teary eyes.
A slow trickle of opponents left the room as the meeting wore on, but many remained, swapping their yellow signs against upzoning for blue headstones mourning the burial of the “Arlington Way,” the name for the pathways citizens have for influencing policy-making.
Talk of a policy change like this dates back a decade and, for some Board members, was tied to tearful remembrances of conversations with the late County Board member, Erik Gutshall. After Amazon agreed to come to Arlington, the conversation picked up steam.
Arlington’s first step to increase housing stock was to allow accessory dwelling units. Its second step last night culminated more than two years of study that saw the proposal rebranded and modified to respond to some community concerns such as parking, tree canopy, and the pace of development.
There was lots of celebration on Twitter for the changes, which will go into effect on July 1 of this year.
Thank you @Matt4Arlington @TakisKarantonis @kcristol @libbygarvey @CD4arlington for moving @ArlingtonVA forward! This teacher appreciates this historic moment of righting historical wrongs. #MissingMiddle l pic.twitter.com/XwKErcPNI2
— #TiredTeacher (@pondfamily) March 22, 2023
tonight Arlington passed one of the most progressive zoning reforms in the nation—due in large part to the work of @NAACPArlington, @VOICEVirginia, @TheGattoniCelli and @janefgreen’s YIMBYs of NoVA and many others 👏 https://t.co/ZwWDaukIxk
— dan reed 🦀🏳️🌈👋🏾 (@justupthepike) March 22, 2023
Arlington’s County Board deserves credit for carrying a version of Missing Middle across the finish line.
A ton of that credit should also go to Jane and the NoVA YIMBYs, who organized an entire progressive housing movement from the ground-up. It’s a gargantuan accomplishment. https://t.co/1EvB8RSXpP
— Kevin Saucedo-Broach (@KSBforVA) March 22, 2023
A theme in the speeches County Board members made last night was that change is already here and county leaders have to respond to make sure the real estate market works for more people who want to live in Arlington.
In a statement from the advocacy group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), member Pat Findikoglu echoed this sentiment, noting that the county is already changing, with larger, more expensive single-family homes replacing more modest homes.
“Change in the housing market is inevitable,” she said. “How we shape it to meet new needs and still remain livable is the challenge. VOICE believes this Expanded Housing Options proposal does that.”
Board members made a few more compromises, removing a clause that would allow for fewer parking for homes close to certain bus networks, plus approving a five-year cap of 58 units per year and a method of dispersing allowable units by zoning district.
YIMBYs of Northern Virginia co-founder Jane Fiegen Green accepted these limitations on social media but still heralded the decision as a win. She said the limitations could result in “less housing than otherwise.”
“Our organization is concerned that limitations imposed on the policy will yield fewer homes, without any practical or political benefit,” YIMBYs of Northern Virginia said in a statement. “Yet beyond the zoning changes that will help end racial segregation in the County and bring forth more housing, the Missing Middle campaign has shown our neighbors that restrictions on density and growth damage their community’s ability to be welcoming, inclusive and forward-looking.”
One group opposed to the plan did not acknowledge the concessions in its colorful post-mortem.
“This County Board has plopped a half-baked cake on the table that Arlington residents must now eat,” said Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future’s Peter Rousselot. “Arlington County is flying blind on Missing Middle, but it’s Arlington residents who now are headed for a crash landing.”
(Updated at 9:40 p.m.) After years of consideration, and multiple days of public testimony and County Board discussion, one of Arlington’s most contentious local proposals in memory is becoming a reality.
The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Wednesday evening to approve allowing smaller multifamily structures — also known as Missing Middle — in what were heretofore neighborhoods of only single-family detached homes.
The vote will allow the by-right construction of buildings from duplexes to six-plexes, depending on lot size, with the units capped at four on certain smaller lots. The structures will be no larger, in height or footprint, than what’s allowed for single-family homes.
The vote also comes with a temporary cap: 58 such structures per year, for five years, geographically dispersed by zoning district. It also comes with minimums for off-street parking: half a parking spot per unit as the minimum 3/4 of a mile from Metro rail and 1/2 mile from certain bus stops and one spot per unit outside of transit zones.
Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey called the previous single-family only zoning a “vestige of old times” in comments immediately following the vote on the measure, which he called a “reform” and “fundamental good policy.”
Dorsey, echoing other Board members who spoke of the expected future growth of Arlington’s population, expressed support for allowing more types of housing in all parts of Arlington, with greater affordability as an overarching goal. Currently, much of the redevelopment of older single-family homes has resulted in the construction of much larger and more expensive single-family homes.
“We are part of a dynamic vibrant community of Arlington that has for generations invested in the kind of living conditions that makes this the kind of place that most people value and naturally people will be attracted to,” Dorsey said. “That is not a bad thing, in fact, that is a damn good thing. We should think of how we accommodate that so that it continues to work well for as many people as it can.”
While the vote was unanimous, some Board members expressed concern about allowing up to six units in less transit-accessible parts of the county. Matt de Ferranti and Libby Garvey backed an amendment that would have limited more lots to only four units away from Metro corridors, but the amendment failed by a vote of 3-2.
Board member Takis Karantonis, in his remarks following the vote, noted the general disparity in age between supporters of the Missing Middle proposal, dubbed Enhanced Housing Options by the county, and those who spoke against it, who were notably older on average.
“Now is the time to intervene: to shape change on our terms before change shapes us,” Karantonis said. “Enhancing housing options for Arlingtonians who live here today and those who will choose to live here tomorrow is one of the decisive actions we cannot afford not to take.”
“Whoa, we just de-segregated Arlington,” a supporter of the proposal said to another after the vote, seemingly in disbelief. Only a few other large localities in the U.S. have taken similar action to densify housing, including Minneapolis and Portland.
Elsewhere in the County Board room, opponents were holding up blue tombstones saying “R.I.P The Arlington Way” and balloons with a winged heart, saying “Forever in our hearts.” Since a draft Missing Middle proposal was first reported by ARLnow last May, opponents have predicted deleterious consequences from rezoning and decried what they characterized as a rushed process that did not include a sufficient level of study and community engagement.
Board member Matt de Ferranti spoke in favor of correcting a historic wrong — among other reasons for the vote — citing the county banning construction of row houses from the 1930s to 1960s. The County previously “protected the wealth of those already living in single-family neighborhoods,” he said.
Arlington County’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation says it has a surfeit of programs for teens — but not enough teens to fill them.
Between July 2021 and June 2022, DPR logged 6,350 visits to its teen programs, down from 46,500 visits during the same span of months across 2018 and 2019. The dramatic drop was caused by the cancellation of programs during the 2021 fiscal year, according to County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed budget.
That year, DPR logged a low of 3,286 check-ins to teen programs. Now, the parks department is aiming to get those kids involved in activities once again. It projects 24,000 visits to teen programs in the next fiscal year.
“I think that, during the pandemic, a lot of teens reverted to their phones, to their rooms, and really didn’t get out into parks and into our centers,” Jane Rudolph, the director of the parks department, told Board members during a budget work session last week. “I look forward to working with our partners to get them back.”
The Arlington County Board is also motivated to see higher participation in these programs, which are geared toward preventing risky behavior and increasing physical activity, among other goals.
County Board members indicated they would like to see these programs figure into the county-wide effort to tackle the mental health and substance abuse epidemics affecting Arlington youth. Member Takis Karantonis kicked off a round of questions for Rudolph about how her department plans to boost offerings for teens and tweens.
“It’s not so much expanding the offerings but getting people into the programs we offer. That’s where we see our biggest challenges,” Rudolph said. “Where we need to do better, to be honest, is getting word out more about our programs, working better with schools so kids understand where they can come to us.”
Before the work session, ARLnow had asked DPR to share its offerings for teens and tweens. It provided a long list of offerings, including:
- “Out of School Time” programs daily at Gunston and Thomas Jefferson Community Centers
- More than 100 summer camps from exploring outdoors to coding, as well as volunteer and employment opportunities through other camps
- Esports, flag football and basketball leagues
- An annual soccer tournament in partnership with the Arlington County Police Department Gang Prevention Task Force
- DJ and music production classes
Recent community meetings on opioid use, however, encapsulate the gulf between what is offered and what the community actually knows about.
When a group of Latino parents convened the same week 14-year-old Wakefield High School student Sergio Flores died from an overdose, many parents did not know what options were available but seemed desperate for after-school programs and open recreation time at the school gyms, meeting organizers told ARLnow.
In another meeting ARLnow attended a few weeks later, at Kenmore Middle School, a representative from Arlington County Police Department asked the audience to guess how many programs the county has for youth. The answer was more than 300, but one parent challenged how helpful sheer volume if there is a lack of awareness and enrollment is a challenge.
Today, Wednesday, could be the day that the Arlington County Board allows the by-right construction of 2-6 unit homes in the county’s lowest density neighborhoods.
The scheduled vote on proposed zoning amendments, known by the shorthand Missing Middle or Expanded Housing Options, would culminate nearly a year of intense discussion since a draft was published in May and updated in November, and before that, more than a year of study and public engagement.
Ahead of the Board’s vote, more than 250 people signed up to urge the Board to move forward with the most expansive options, build more consensus by making a few tweaks, or reject the proposal altogether. The long list of speakers led the County Board to dedicate its regular meeting Saturday and carryover meeting Tuesday to hearing public comment, pushing the vote to today.
On Saturday, about 200 people spoke during the marathon meeting that went from around 8:30 a.m. to just before 6 p.m.
Of the 204 speakers who took the podium on Saturday, some 57% were in favor of the zoning changes, according to a spokesman for YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, an advocacy group supporting the change. At the conclusion of Tuesday night, 226 people had spoken across the two days of hearings, of whom nearly 54% were in favor.
About 50 speakers in support outnumbered about 20 opponents during Planning Commission hearings earlier this month, per commissioner Daniel Weir.
Representatives from the Planning, Transportation and Housing commissions, as well as the Disability Advisory Commission, all voiced strong support for the proposal. By another metric, more than 6,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal as of Tuesday night.
On Saturday, a number of renters and homeowners shared their personal stories of saving — or trying to save– enough money to buy a home in Arlington to underscore the stakes of the changes.
Proponents said more people would have the option to stay in Arlington with Missing Middle housing allowed throughout the county. Opponents disputed how helpful it would be, with some predicting surging property values should the zoning changes be approved. Other opponents predicted the dwellings would deflate property values and jeopardize their long-term investments.
Through an interpreter, Héctor Herrera urged the Board to allow Missing Middle to give Hispanic residents more home-buying opportunities. He and his wife tried twice, unsuccessfully, to buy in 2010 and then in 2016, while working two jobs and even with the help of their adult children.
“Since I came to the U.S. — and I thank God for this wonderful country — I have worked this whole time in the construction industry in Arlington,” Herrera said. “I’ve seen how much it costs to build a house that costs more than $1 million. My community that represents 20% of Arlington cannot buy a house.”
Arlington County is offering residents free training on the anti-overdose drug Narcan.
The sessions are available as an hour-long online training course or an abridged, 10-minute training over the phone.
To help promote the trainings, County Board members will be trained on the use of Narcan at their meeting this afternoon, the county said in a press release.
Arlington has seen elevated levels of opioid overdoses in recent years, including a fatal overdose at Wakefield High School in January and a near-fatal teen overdose in a Ballston parking garage three weeks ago. The quick application of Narcan by first responders helped to save those who overdosed in the parking garage.
Rising overdoses among juveniles in particular have resulted in calls for more vigilance in schools and expanded local addiction treatment options. The string of student overdoses this year has also prompted action by Arlington Public Schools.
Nationally, the presence of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl in counterfeit street drugs has been blamed for a significant portion of deadly accidental overdoses.
More on the Narcan training in Arlington, below, from a county press release.
Arlington County is committed to reducing fatal overdoses in Arlington and offers multiple opportunities for community members to be trained in using the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan.
Narcan is a safe and effective medication that can reverse an overdose of opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin, and/or fentanyl. If you or a loved one are experiencing addiction or are prescribed powerful narcotic painkillers, you should have Narcan on hand. You can find Narcan at your local pharmacy or via the County’s website on Overdose Reversal & Naloxone.
Members of the public can schedule free 1-hour virtual Narcan trainings, or a 10-minute abridged training over the phone, by emailing [email protected].
The Arlington County Board will receive this training from the Department of Human Services on administering Narcan at their Recessed Meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
The training highlights the importance of familiarity with Narcan and demonstrates the ease and accessibility of the County’s abridged 10-minute training. “I view this as a basic emergency response skill for everyone in our community, and we are looking forward to having Human Services join us on Tuesday to share just how quick and easy it is to receive training that can save someone’s life,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said.
The meeting can be viewed via the County website and YouTube, and is broadcast live on Arlington TV, the County’s cable channel, with live captioning on Comcast 25 & 1085 (HD) and Verizon FiOS 39 & 40. Videos of Board meetings are archived on the County website (with captions and staff reports) and on YouTube.
Update at 9:40 a.m. — The Saturday County Board meeting is underway and 248 people are signed up to speak about Missing Middle. The Board expects to hear speakers today and during its Tuesday meeting before deliberating and potentially voting on Wednesday, according to County Board Chair Christian Dorsey. The Wednesday meeting will start at 4 p.m.
Earlier: The Arlington County Board is set to vote Saturday on zoning changes intended to add housing by allowing greater density in single-family neighborhoods.
The vote is the culmination of nearly a decade of discussion by elected officials that picked up steam after Amazon agreed to come to Arlington.
Since then, the county has taken incremental steps toward increasing housing. First, it allowed accessory dwelling units. Then, in fall 2020, it kicked off the “Missing Middle” housing study.
After more than two years of grassroots advocacy, politicking and vigorous debate — some of it caustic, introspective and divisive — County Board members have a final vote on their weekend agenda. There are no indications, at least as of today, that the discussion will get moved to the Board’s traditional carryover meeting next Tuesday.
The rezoning plan known as Missing Middle has been rebranded and modified in response to some community concerns such as parking, tree canopy, and the pace of development. The county intends it to address the racial, socio-economic and environmental impacts of previous exclusionary housing practices, in addition to allowing more of the moderate density housing currently limited by zoning codes.
Ahead of the vote, a trio of current and former Planning Commissioners, including two architects, published a guidebook with 12 “fixes” they say will help the county meet its goals more effectively. They say the goals of the current proposal are understandable and laudable but they predict numerous problems once the plan is in place.
“We felt that it was important to… not just criticize what the county has, but study what other communities have done and put on the table proposals that address some of what we see as planners and architects as shortfalls in the county plan,” said architect and former commissioner Brian Harner in a meeting of the Arlington County Civic Federation housing committee Thursday night.
The “fixes” range from placing more limitations on height, lot coverage and density to allowing more accessory dwelling units — effectively creating cottage clusters — and building in tools to incentivize affordability and reuse of existing homes, rather than teardowns.
These may come too late, given the vote is set for tomorrow, but Harner chalks this up to the public engagement process once the county had a draft in October 2022.
“The process was teed up in such a way that there was no chance for adequate public discussion,” Harner tells ARLnow.
For instance, the Planning Commission had just over one week to read the document and prepare for three meetings in rapid succession around the Thanksgiving holiday.
“In response, we created the guidebook, hoping to chart a course to a more well-considered EHO,” he continued, using the abbreviation for “Expanded Housing Options,” another term used by the county for Missing Middle. “The Board should pause and improve its proposal before adoption, but if not, we hope our work provides a set of tools to help Arlington get to a better EHO through the follow-on work that will be essential for overall success.”
Specifically, they say the proposal allows buildings that are too tall, too big and too dense, while falling short on affordability, equity, environmental preservation and neighborhood character. The Missing Middle proposal limits multifamily structures on lots to what is currently allowed for single-family detached homes, which the guidebook authors suggested is too big.
“We don’t see it as a zero-sum game where density fights against other qualitative aspects,” Harner said in the CivFed meeting. “We think we can have them both.”