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by ARLnow.com — February 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

Katie Cristol Christian Dorsey

Tonight ARLnow.com and Sarah Fraser are hosting new Arlington County Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey for a discussion about local issues at Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd).

The event is being held tonight (Wednesday) from 6:30-8 p.m. There’s still time to get your tickets online, or you can get it at the door.

Each ticket is only six bucks and is good for a drink and a guaranteed seat at Mad Rose.

We’ll be asking Cristol and Dorsey about a variety of local issues, including:

  • The compromise deal to widen I-66
  • The change they hope to bring to Arlington
  • Millennial and minority participation in county government
  • Bar crawls
  • Post-streetcar plans for Columbia Pike
  • How they managed to win last year in a very competitive Democratic primary

We’ll also be asking three questions suggested by readers, which had the most upvotes as of Tuesday:

  • Moo 2.0: “Why do we have to pay $33 for a car sticker even though we already pay personal property tax on the vehicle and registration fees?”
  • Obvious Troll: “The county board has repeatedly shown a willingness to approve new high density developments without accounting for the increased stress the added students living in those developments will place on nearby schools. Will you start requiring builders to make direct contributions towards new PERMANENT student seats in the county (not just trailers), rather than settling for ‘public art’ concessions? If not, why not?”
  • Arlington Guy: “What is your plan for lowering the tax burden on existing residents? Isn’t that the best way to keep our seniors in their homes and get the younger folks to stay here instead of moving further out when it comes time to start a family?

Attendees will also have an opportunity to ask their own questions during the latter half of the event.

by ARLnow.com — February 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

ARLnow Presents: The County Board Young Bloods logo

ARLnow.com will be hosting a discussion in Clarendon with new Arlington County Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey on Wednesday, and we’d want to know what you’d like to ask them.

The event will be taking place at Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) from 6:30-8 p.m. on Feb 10 — rain or shine. Tickets are available via Eventbrite and are good for a drink during the event. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Our discussion will be focused on Cristol and Dorsey’s goals as Board members, with a special focus on how they and the Board can better engage with Arlington’s sizable millennial and minority populations.

There will be time for audience questions during the event, but we’re hoping to pick a few of your questions to ask ourselves.

Let us know what you’d like us to ask about in the comments. We’ll pick the top three serious question suggestions that get the most up-votes for inclusion in our question list.

Also, if you use your real email address when making the comment (or when registering your Disqus user name), and your question is one of the top three selected, we’ll email you two free tickets to the event.

The event, ARLnow Presents: The County Board Young Bloods, will be hosted by local media personality Sarah Fraser.

by ARLnow.com — February 8, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

Lee Highway at N. Glebe RoadDemocratic County Board candidate Erik Gutshall would like to see further progress on the planning process for the future of the Lee Highway corridor.

Gutshall, a small business owner who serves on the Arlington Planning Commission, warned in a statement (below) that Lee Highway could experience “crazy-quilt development” if not for “a thoughtful, community-led planning process.” He called on the County Board to prioritize long-range planning for Lee Highway this year.

Gutshall is challenging County Board Chair Libby Garvey in the June 14 Democratic primary.

Erik Gutshall called today for the Arlington County Board to make development of a long-range plan for Lee Highway a priority for the County Manager for the coming year.

Gutshall, who is challenging the incumbent Board Chair in the Democratic Primary, congratulated the Lee Highway Alliance, a collaborative effort of all neighborhood civic associations abutting Lee Highway from Arlington’s North Highlands community along the Potomac River to the Falls Church line, noting, “…the Lee Highway community has shown uncommon leadership in developing a vision for the future of Lee Highway.”

Gutshall called on the County Board to appoint a citizen-led task force quickly to undertake the development of a Lee Highway Plan, provide the task force with significant staff support and outside expert resources, and develop a scope of work that allows the task force to think big about the Lee Highway of the future. “Lee Highway,” Gutshall said, “is the last major unplanned commercial corridor in Arlington. Similar plans for the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor have been a central reason for that area’s great success.”

Gutshall, as a task force member, was engaged in the development of today’s plan for Clarendon.  “Without a plan,” he said, “we can expect crazy-quilt development along Lee Highway; changes that aren’t the result of a thoughtful, community-led planning process are much less likely to meet Arlingtonians’ needs and are likely to detract from, rather than add value to, surrounding neighborhoods.”

Gutshall noted that long-range plans are extraordinarily valuable to the community and have underpinned much of Arlington’s standout prosperity. These plans are a concrete expression of the community’s hopes for the future and provide property owners with the policy guidance needed to encourage thoughtful, responsible and responsive development. “Unfortunately,” Gutshall said, “County Board leadership looks at the County’s long-term plans as merely advisory, something that can be easily dismissed. In my view, these plans are a compact between our elected representatives, developers and the community and embody the collective vision for the neighborhoods where we live, work, learn, and play.”

 

by ARLnow.com — February 1, 2016 at 4:55 pm 0

An aging low-rise apartment complex in Rosslyn will be replaced with a new condominium development.

The Arlington County Board on Thursday approved the condo project from Reston-based developer NVR, Inc., the parent company of homebuilder Ryan Homes. The Board approved NVR’s plan for a six-story building with a total of 63 units, which will replace a four-story, 33-unit apartment complex built in 1955, along with a two story house.

The new building, at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street, is across from a planned — but stalled — redevelopment that was to include a 28-story residential building and ground floor grocery store.

“Washington Vista,” as the condo development is referred to in public documents, will include four affordable two-bedroom units that will be offered to qualified moderate-income buyers. Other community benefits include a contribution of more than $100,000 to Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund and $75,000 worth of public art.

Residents of the Metro Rosslyn apartment building, which is being torn down to make way for the condos, initially complained that the developer had not offered relocation assistance after notices to vacate were posted on the property. A relocation plan was subsequently approved by Arlington’s Tenant-Landlord Commission on Dec. 16.

After the jump: the county press release about the development’s approval.

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by ARLnow.com — January 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

ARLnow Presents: The County Board Young Bloods logo

The old guard of the Arlington County Board is out and new leadership is in.

With the election of Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey in November, the County Board became younger and more geographically diverse. Cristol and Dorsey, who both live along Columbia Pike, bring a fresh perspective to a Board that has been perceived as being most responsive to affluent, north Arlington homeowners.

So what sort of changes do the new Board members hope to bring to Arlington? And what, specifically, do they plan to do to better serve younger and minority Arlington residents?

The millennial generation comprises nearly 40 percent of Arlington’s population — making Arlington the most millennial-soaked “city” in the U.S. — yet younger residents are under-represented in many aspects of Arlington County civic life. As are minority groups — also about 40 percent of the county’s population.

Join ARLnow.com and host Sarah Fraser as we discuss those and other issues with Cristol and Dorsey at next month’s ARLnow Presents.

The event will take place at Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) in Clarendon from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Tickets are on sale for only $6 and are good for one drink at Mad Rose Tavern during the event.

by ARLnow.com — January 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Board on Thursday approved major renovations to a playground and volleyball court at Quincy Park.

The new playground will incorporate “universal design” to make it fun and accessible for users of all ages and physical abilities. Features include swings, picnic tables, a slide and a “climbing tree.”

The revamped sand volleyball court will be located adjacent to the playground and is being created with adult after-work sports leagues in mind.

The total cost expected design and construction of the project is $1.275 million. Construction is expected to start this spring and wrap up this fall.

Quincy Park is located between Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School, near the Virginia Square Metros station.

From an Arlington County press release:

The Arlington County Board today approved a contract for $1,085,727 to overhaul the heavily used playground and sand volleyball court at Quincy Park.

The playground will be the first in Arlington to incorporate state-of-the-art Universal Design elements to make it accessible for people of all ages and physical abilities. All Arlington County parks are accessible and meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards, but this playground was specially designed to accommodate and engage the entire community.

“This is a truly innovative project that will make Quincy Park a very special place, accessible, welcoming and fun for people of all ages and abilities,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey.

Universal Design seeks to appeal aesthetically and functionally to everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.

The new playground will have a wheelchair ramp to reach the top of the slide area, instead of stairs. Its swings will hold heavier bodies, so that parents and caregivers can swing alongside children.

The Universal Design elements mean people of varying ages and abilities can climb, swing, play and enjoy this space together. Softer surfaces will make the play space safer. The design includes quieter areas for those with sensory sensitivities. Fencing and gates are all integrated into the landscaping to provide green space and a calming environment. A pavilion area will shade picnic tables, and there will be other benches and tables for seating throughout. There are also water fountains with bottle fillers. The park’s features will be explained in signs throughout the park.

Beginning in July 2014, County staff conducted extensive public outreach for this project, including four public meetings and two on-line surveys. County residents participating in the public meetings included neighbors of the park, parents of children and adults with disabilities and members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association. Staff solicited feedback from organizations such as the Special Education PTA, the Community Services Board for Developmental Disabilities and the Arc of Northern Virginia. County staff also consulted with a designer who specializes in universal playground design. To facilitate the design for the sand volleyball court, County staff consulted with local players, teams and groups such as Orange Line Sports and United Social Sports.

A final concept was presented at a May 2015 public hearing that had the consensus approval of all involved groups.

The Board voted unanimously as part of the consent agenda to award the contract to Bennett Group, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder in the competitive bidding process. The overall project funding for this Parks Maintenance Capital project of $1,275,000.00 includes design, soft costs and construction. Funding is provided by FY 2012 closeout funds ($100,000) and FY 2013 park bond funds ($1,175,000).

Construction is set to begin early spring of 2016 and be completed by the fall.

by ARLnow.com — January 29, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Rosslyn and the frozen Potomac River (Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore)

ARLnow Celebrates Sixth Anniversary — Six years ago today, ARLnow.com launched with a brief post about an upcoming snow storm and an early mission statement.

In Rosslyn: WJLA Stays, Politico Implodes — In Rosslyn yesterday, there were two big pieces of local media news in the same building, on the same day. First, it was announced that Sinclair Broadcast Group signed a five-year, 100,000 square foot lease that will keep WJLA and NewsChannel 8 in the 1000/1100 Wilson Blvd twin towers. Later, it was revealed that Politico — which renewed its lease in the same complex in 2014 — would soon be losing CEO Jim VandeHei, chief political reporter Mike Allen and three senior executives. [Washington Business Journal, Huffington Post]

Arlington OKs Gondola Study Contribution — Arlington County will kick in $35,000 to study the feasibility of a gondola running from Rosslyn to Georgetown. Some County Board members expressed skepticism of the plan, though the county’s economic development director said it would at minimum give local hotels and tourism a boost. [Washington Post]

Apartment Complex Deemed Historic District — The Arlington County Board yesterday voted to designate Cambridge Courts — “a garden apartment complex built from rationed materials to house defense workers during World War II” — a local historic district. The apartment complex along Route 50 will now be protected from redevelopment. [Arlington County]

New Rules for Bus-Only Lanes — New rules have been approved for the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway. After it opens this spring, the transitway’s lanes in Crystal City will be designated bus-only during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Police will issue warning to drivers who violate the rules during the first 30 days, then will issue $200 fines to lane violators after that. [WTOP, Arlington County]

EatBar Returns… On Capitol Hill — EatBar, which closed in 2014 in Lyon Park, will be coming back as a new bar/restaurant on Capitol Hill’s Barracks Row in D.C. [Barred in DC]

County Board Approves ‘Complete Streets’ Guidelines — The Arlington County Board has approved a set of guidelines intended to “help transform busy neighborhood streets into ‘Complete Streets’ – ones that will be safe for users of all ages and abilities whether they are walking, driving, cycling or using transit.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore

by ARLnow.com — January 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Front end loaders clearing snow during the January 2016 blizzard (Flickr pool photo by Starbuck77)

Arlington County and other D.C. area jurisdictions simply do not have the resources to clean up quickly from a monster snowstorm like this past weekend’s blizzard, officials told the County Board yesterday afternoon.

“We do not pretend to have the equipment and staff to handle this kind of record storm,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “It takes time. We don’t spend to the level of equipment or staffing, nor do our sister jurisdictions, to rebound as quickly as we would like when a record event happens.”

Schwartz said snow removal crews — both county employees and contractors — have been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts, operating all the heavy equipment the county has to muster, to try to massive amounts of snow from local roads.

Snow piled in front of a stop sign during the January 2016 blizzard (photo via Arlington County)“They’re all pretty exhausted, but they’re committed to doing their jobs,” said Schwartz. “They’re been working flat out as hard as they can.”

Both Schwartz and Greg Emanuel, head of the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services, acknowledged that the county had been receiving a high volume of complaints from residents about the slow pace of snow removal on certain residential streets. Complaints have been flooding in via email, online form submissions and phone calls, Emanuel said, and county staffers were doing their best to “triage” the feedback.

“We are very much in the middle of this fight,” said Emanuel, who offered a hopeful estimate that all residential streets would be plowed by the end of the day today (Wednesday). Among the problems faced by crews: the snow was too deep and too heavy for traditional plows to be effective in many cases, necessitating the use of front end loaders and other heavy equipment.

“We’re getting to [local streets] systematically, slowly and steadily,” Emanuel said. “Much of our equipment could not plow through the 18 inches due to the physics of the matter.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — January 27, 2016 at 11:55 am 0

"Hoth" snow fort near Ballston (photo courtesy Susan Schonfeld)

Power Outage in Boulevard Manor — About 120 Dominion customers have been without power for much of the morning in Arlington’s Boulevard Manor neighborhood. A damaged power line is said to be the cause. Power may not be restored until later this afternoon.

Garvey Wants More Millennials Engaged With Gov’t — One of Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey’s goals for the year is to find ways for the county government to better engage younger residents. Garvey said members of the Millennial generation get “a little bit of a bad rap” but “really do want to be involved and help.” One possible Millennial-friendly measure that Garvey floated: allowing people to use Skype to speak at County Board meetings. [InsideNova]

Business’ Unplowed Sidewalks Called Out on Social Media — Arlington residents are using Facebook and Twitter to call out businesses and commercial property owners that haven’t yet plowed their sidewalks. One such example is the sidewalk in front of Colonial Village Shopping Center, which as of this morning was still snow-covered even though the shopping center’s parking lot has been plowed. [Twitter]

Arlington Hoping to Get Federal Funds for Snow Cleanup — The Arlington County Board yesterday ratified a declaration of a local emergency, which may help the county receive federal disaster relief funds for its ongoing blizzard cleanup effort. The county has spent more than $800,000 on post-blizzard snow removal so far. [InsideNova]

TSA HQ Limbo Continues — A federal judge’s ruling has left the Transportation Security Administration’s planned move to a new headquarters in Alexandria in limbo. The TSA is currently based in Pentagon City, but the agency is trying to consolidate four offices into one, larger headquarters office. Bisnow’s Ethan Rothstein reports that insiders are expecting “some movement either way in a matter of weeks.” [Bisnow]

Photo courtesy Susan Schonfeld

by ARLnow.com — January 27, 2016 at 11:10 am 0

Level bus boarding in Las Vegas (photo via Arlington County)Premium bus service will be coming to Columbia Pike, and Arlington County is studying the possibility of establishing dedicated bus lanes as part a series of transit improvements.

That’s the message from County Manager Mark Schwartz, who spoke at a County Board meeting yesterday afternoon.

More than a year in the making, since the Nov. 2014 cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar project, the new transit plan for Columbia Pike will include bus service that’s “fast, frequent, reliable, easy to use, comfortable,” Schwartz said.

“Staff has identified several features that could be part of premium bus service on the Pike that would be similar to the Metroway service already operating in Crystal City,” Schwartz told the Board. “We are looking at near-level boarding platforms, traffic signal priority for buses, and the possibility of creating locations with dedicated bus lanes, along with other innovations.”

Near-level boarding, as depicted in the photo above, makes for faster boarding and shorter stops. The infrastructure to allow it is in the works, as Arlington County already has a plan to build 23 new, enhanced transit stations along Columbia Pike. The stations are expected to cost about 40 percent less than the infamous $1 million “Super Stop” prototype at the corner of the Pike and Walter Reed Drive.

Off-board fare collection (photo via Arlington County)Other considerations to make bus service faster include include off-board fare collection — so riders can pay for their fare before the bus arrives — and traffic signal prioritization, which would allow green lights to stay green until a bus passes.

More frequent service and simpler route structures — including limited stop and express service — are also being considered, as are new connections to Crystal City and the Skyline section of Fairfax County. The new service would be provided by specially “branded” buses with “comfortable and attractive amenities.”

Though it would require state approval and potentially costly acquisition of Right-of-Way, dedicated bus lanes are currently being studied by county planners.

One of the most lethal criticisms of the streetcar plan was that it would operate in mixed traffic without dedicated lanes. The county is studying the possibility of dedicated lanes for at least portions of the Pike — potentially allowing buses to make stops without blocking a lane of car traffic, for instance.

Dedicated lanes are part of the Metroway Bus Rapid Transit service that’s being implemented in Crystal City.

“Premium bus service would build on transit improvements already underway in these corridors. Columbia Pike, Pentagon City and Crystal City are among the most transit-rich areas of Arlington, with the Pike’s 600 bus trips carrying more than 17,000 passengers each weekday,” the county said in a press release.

The new Pike bus service plan will be included in the county’s state-mandated Transit Development Plan. Arlington will be conducting public outreach on the plan over the next couple of months. It’s expected to be ultimately approved by the County Board in May.

by ARLnow.com — January 26, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

Rendering of Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola (image via Georgetown BID)The Arlington County Board on Thursday will consider joining a partnership to study the feasibility of a gondola running from Rosslyn to Georgetown.

County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending approval of the multi-party partnership, which calls for Arlington County to contribute $40,000 to the study’s expected $250,000 cost.

Among the parties to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding are the Georgetown Business Improvement District, which first floated the gondola idea, along with the District of Columbia Dept. of Transportation, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, Georgetown University and property owners JBG, Gould Properties and Vornado.

The Georgetown BID would be the biggest contributor to the study, with $75,000 pledged. The other parties, besides Arlington, are slated to contribute between $35,000 and $5,000.

County staff said that an aerial gondola system running above the Potomac could draw more visitors to Rosslyn and could help ease vehicle and pedestrian traffic on the congested Key Bridge. Georgetown is the largest employment center in the District without a Metro system — more than 22,000 people work there, including 10,000 at the university — and the walk from the Rosslyn Metro station across the bridge is about a kilometer, a chilly and windy 0.6 miles in the winter.

“A more efficient and reliable transit connection between Rosslyn and Georgetown would benefit both communities socially and economically,” county staff wrote.

The county’s Transportation Commission voted 6-3-2 in favor of the study. Opponents worried that “the primary purpose of a gondola would be for tourism rather than for transport.”

“The Commission is of multiple minds on this proposal,” wrote Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt in a letter to County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “There is a fear that the gondola proposal does not solve a real transportation need, and many commissioners fear that even contributing to a study will provide substantive fodder for transit-naysayers.”

The gondola study is expected to take seven months to complete and could be complete by October 2016.

Rendering via Georgetown BID

by Tim Regan — January 25, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Quincy park snowball fight

County Board Takes a Rare Snow Day — The Arlington County Board cancelled its Jan. 23 meeting due to the snow. Government officials can’t remember the last time a monthly meeting was called off on account of the weather. [InsideNova]

Snowfall Covers Graves at Arlington National Cemetery — Accumulating snow covered headstones at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday. Army sentinels continued to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier despite whiteout conditions. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Florida Teens Stuck in ‘Snowzilla’ — The monster blizzard stranded a group of Florida teenagers in Arlington all weekend. For many of them, it was their first real experience with snow. [WJLA]

Falls Church to Emulate Arlington’s Student Decal Competition —  The treasurer of Falls Church will copy Arlington’s student vehicle decal competition. Falls Church students stand to win $750, with lesser prizes for second, third and fourth place. [InsideNova]

Digging Out — From walking to work to dealing with limited Metro service, here’s how the D.C. area has coped with the remnants of the snow. [Washington Post]

Quincy Park snowball fight photo courtesy of John Kua

by Jennifer Currier — January 7, 2016 at 12:05 pm 0

Shirlington Crescent- Four Mile Run Study area (Via Arlington County)

Arlington County has pledged to start an extensive community planning effort in 2016 for the area known as Shirlington Crescent, a process with the goal of bringing major economic, environmental and cultural changes to the area.

Plans for revitalizing and possibly redeveloping parts of Nauck and the Four Mile Run corridor began with a study conducted in 2014. This study outlined approximately 95 acres along Four Mile Run Drive and Shirlington Road for the community planning process to focus on.

The goal for this planning effort is to “develop a vision and area plan which could re-evaluate land use goals and objectives.” To do this, the County will consider various aspects of the existing Crescent and how to improve or change them, including:

  • economic development
  • environmental sustainability
  • relationships to neighboring areas
  • open space
  • transportation
  • affordable housing
  • connectivity
  • urban design
  • previous planning work
  • cultural resources
  • historic preservation

In a letter sent to ARLnow over the summer — which also appeared on InsideNoVa — Nauck resident Robin Stombler shared her thoughts on the need for change.

“A swath of South Four Mile Run and Shirlington Road has been neglected for too long,” she wrote. “Our Nauck neighborhood is often the location for industrial activities and unused vehicle storage. While much of the industry is welcomed, the Shirlington Crescent could be so much more.”

Stombler and her fellow Crescent residents will be a part of the planning process this year, starting with a gathering on the subject this weekend.

This neighborhood revitalization meeting starts this Sunday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. According to a public notice, members of the Arlington County Board will also be in attendance.

During the meeting, small groups will depart from the children’s playground at Jennie Dean Park at 3630 27th Street S. for a walking tour of the Crescent, lead by neighborhood guides.

Tours will end at the Arlington Food Assistance Center at 2708 S. Nelson Street around 1:45 p.m. Hot chocolate will be served as some residents and community members — and possibly County Board members, who will be attending the meeting — will give remarks about the neighborhood and their thoughts on which issues should be a priority.

Stombler is also responsible for organizing the walking meeting. In her letter, she expressed her neighborhood’s excitement and dedication to the start of the planning process.

“Shirlington Crescent is uniquely positioned to become an industry and arts cluster for Arlington,” she said. “[My neighbors and I] recognize that there is a long process of deliberation ahead, but we want to jumpstart the conversation. Input to our plan from the public is welcomed and encouraged.”

by ARLnow.com — January 4, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

County Board Chair Libby Garvey at the 2016 New Year's Day Organizational Meeting(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) Libby Garvey will lead the Arlington County Board in 2016.

Garvey, a Democrat who has clashed with the local Democratic establishment over her endorsement of independent John Vihstadt and opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar, was unanimously elected County Board Chair at the Board’s annual New Year’s Day organizational meeting on Jan. 1.

Garvey is up for reelection this year and it is a long-standing tradition that the Board member who is up for reelection serve as Chair.

Jay Fisette, meanwhile, was elected vice chair. Fisette, who has served on the Board since 1999, is now the body’s most senior member, following the retirements of Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada. Their successors, Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey, served their first day on the Board at Friday’s meeting.

Garvey, who was first elected in 2012, outlined her priorities at the meeting. Among them:

  • Improving county government customer service, including by reforming the “Byzantine” zoning and permitting process for homeowners, small businesses and developers.
  • Moving forward with a new transit plan for Columbia Pike. Garvey said she was frustrated with the slow pace of planning following the streetcar’s cancellation, and instructed the County Manager to report back later this month on plans including off-board fare collection and traffic signal prioritization.
  • Broader civic participation in county government. Garvey wants to see busier people — those with kids or jobs that prevent them from attending long meetings — have a greater voice in local policymaking.
  • More flexibility in local regulation. Garvey said Arlington should be careful not to stifle innovation and to not over-regulate to the point where there’s too much sameness in Arlington’s local communities.

Garvey said she also wants to “ensure that every Arlingtonian, people of all ages, interests, and from across the socioeconomic spectrum, can live and work here comfortably.”

Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz said he and county staff are focusing on improving the county’s use of technology in service delivery and to promote government transparency and accountability. Possible new initiatives include streaming county commission meetings, which currently are not recorded for public broadcast.

Vice Chair Fisette, meanwhile, said his focus will be on schools and county facilities

In her remarks, Garvey said she looks forward to “the need for facilities, including schools, while constrained by limited land,” along with strengthening Arlington’s economic competitiveness, balancing the budget and focusing on housing affordability.

“Clearly, some things are going to be different this year, but a lot will stay the same,” Garvey said. “My goal is to see that Arlington achieves its potential.”

“We have challenges, like our commercial vacancy rate, our growing need for more school space, and our shrinking supply of affordable housing but this remains a wonderful community,” Garvey continued. “I’m confident that, together, our residents, our businesses, our staff, and this new Board will make sure that Arlington delivers outstanding customer service to all our residents and businesses, that every Arlingtonian who wants can have a voice in our government, and that we will work strategically to make this wonderful County even better.”

by ARLnow.com — January 4, 2016 at 9:05 am 0

Crane from JBG's Central Place development in Rosslyn

Garvey Named 2016 Arlington County Board Chair — Libby Garvey, who is facing a challenge in this year’s Democratic primary, has been named the Chair of the Arlington County Board. Articles to follow.

Update: Family Given Lease Extension — An Arlington family with a disabled son has been given a 30-day lease extension, after they went to the media to protest the landlord’s reported refusal to renew their lease. The family said the manager of Columbia Pike apartment complex complained about them making too much noise. [Washington Post]

Dorsey to Serve on Metro Board — Christian Dorsey, who along with Katie Cristol began his first County Board term on Jan. 1, has been chosen to serve as Arlington’s non-voting representative on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board of directors. [InsideNova]

Reminder: Arlington Is the Smallest Governing County — Arlington County is the smallest self-governing county in the United States. Kalawao County in Hawaii, New York County in Manhattan and Bristol County in Rhode Island are smaller, but don’t have their own separate county governments. [Arlington County]

Favola Proposes Allowing Cigarette Tax Hike — State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) has proposed a bill that would allow Arlington and Fairfax counties to double local cigarette taxes. The extra funds would be used to support education. [InsideNova]

Free Breakfast at Northside Social — It’s unclear whether the promotion is still going on as of publication time, but Northside Social this morning was giving away free breakfasts and coffee courtesy of the new CBS show Angel from Hell, starring Jane Lynch. [Twitter, Twitter]

Christmas Tree Collection Starts Today — Christmas tree collection in Arlington County starts today and runs through Friday, Jan. 15. Trees will be collected curbside on regular trash collection days. Those who live in apartments or condos without county trash collection can bring their trees to the Solid Waste Bureau near Shirlington. [ARLnow]

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