Fire Station 7 in Fairlington will soon shut down temporarily and its firefighters will relocate elsewhere, due to some structural concerns at the property.
Arlington County’s fire department announced the move yesterday (Thursday), reassuring Fairlington and other South Arlington residents that other firefighters near the station (located at 3116 S. Abingdon Street) will continue serving the area during the closure.
The fire department says the trouble stems from the “apparatus bay floor” of the station, where fire engines are housed inside the building. Whenever firefighters would pull an engine into or out of the station, the county says crews heard noises that convinced them to undertake an engineering investigation — particularly because some of the crew’s living quarters are located directly beneath the area in question.
That closer look at the concrete convinced the fire department to move its crews elsewhere, for now.
“First, the floor was built many decades ago and was not designed to handle the weight of modern fire engines, which has almost doubled since the station was built,” the fire department wrote in a blog post. “Second, with the additional weight, engineers found that the steel and the concrete structures of the flooring were no longer working in unison to support the load. The noise the crews heard was the concrete and steel in the floor rubbing against one another as they were flexing at different rates.”
With the onset of some colder temperatures, firefighters don’t feel comfortable simply storing fire engines outside, so crews working out of Fire Station 7 will move to Fire Station 4 in Clarendon (3121 10th Street N.) as work continues.
The fire department expects it will need a month or two to complete a “more thorough inspection of the concrete slab,” and then expects to identify some “possible fixes” for the station.
Until then, the county expects to rely on Fire Station 9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive), two stations in Alexandria and one in Bailey’s Crossroads to serve the area.
“The fire department is committed to providing high-quality and dependable service to Arlington residents,” Acting ACFD Fire Chief Joseph Reshetar wrote in a statement. “The proximity of Fire Station 9 and our mutual aid agreements with Alexandria and Fairfax County will ensure that Fairlington continues to receive thorough fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coverage.”
Crews at Fire Station 7 will officially move out this coming Tuesday (Oct. 30).
Photo via Google Maps
Work is kicking off on a massive new development in West Rosslyn, and its developer is offering a first look at its plans to build three new residential towers, a new fire station and an improved Rosslyn Highlands Park.
The D.C. developer Penzance announced today (Monday) that it would be dubbing the project “The Highlands,” which will be located at 1555 Wilson Blvd.
In all, the development will include 104 condos, 780 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space, including a new CVS pharmacy replacing the old shop at the location that closed earlier this year.
The Highlands is the result of a years-long effort by county officials to guide the redevelopment of a busy section of Rosslyn while maintaining space for public amenities, including a new Fire Station 10 included in the development and a public school on the adjacent site of the old Wilson School. The 1.2 million-square-foot Highlands development will also be centered around a new park to replace the existing Rosslyn Highlands green space.
“The Highlands will establish a culturally-rich, welcoming, and lively urban-style space that aligns nature with architecture to create a pedestrian-friendly, connected environment, delivering equal parts D.C. culture with Northern Virginian charm,” John Kusturiss, Penzance’s vice president of development, said in a statement.
Penzance, which purchased the property at 1555 Wilson for $67 million back in 2011, has already kicked off initial preparations at the site. In all, the developer plans to build a 27-story tower featuring 449 apartments, a 26-story building populated by the 104 condos and a 23-story building with 331 apartments. Amenities at the site will include “a cabana-covered rooftop pool, private club deck and state-of-the-art fitness center,” according to a Penzance release.
The CVS is the only ground-floor retail tenant the developer has announced thus far, but it expects to unveil others soon. The construction will also include a “north-south connector street” to better connect Wilson Blvd to 18th Street N. for pedestrians, the developer said.
Penzance hopes to hold an official groundbreaking for the project on Oct. 24, and expects the entire project to be finished by 2021. The new Wilson school is set to open next fall.
The demolition for Fire Station 8 is still a long ways away, but two homes behind the building are being prepared for demolition to eventually make way for a temporary station.
According to Peter Golkin, a spokesman with the Arlington Department of Environmental Services, the homes at 2211 and 2215 N. Culpeper Street will be demolished at the beginning of next week.
Currently, contractors at the site are putting up sediment and erosion control barriers around the buildings.
The buildings were purchased by Arlington County in December 2016 for $1.6 million.
According to Ben O’Bryant, spokesman for the Arlington Fire Department, demolition of Fire Station 8 is still at least a year away. O’Bryant says the Fire Department wants to have the temporary station built and running before they start to tear down the existing station.
Photos via Google Maps
Flash Flood Watch Issued for Arlington — Arlington, D.C. and points west are under a Flash Flood Watch today, starting at 10 a.m., as the remnants of Hurricane Florence drop heavy rain on the area. [Twitter]
New Food Distribution Site in Ballston — “The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) has joined with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to open a new food-distribution site at The Springs, an apartment complex in the Ballston area. The site will distribute food on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and will serve eligible residents from the apartment as well as neighboring APAH communities.” [InsideNova]
Rosslyn Fire Station Leveled — Rosslyn’s Fire Station 10 has been demolished as construction proceeds on a new fire station on the ground floor of a new development. [Twitter]
‘Coffee With a Cop’ Planned — “Wednesday, October 3 is National Coffee with a Cop Day and the Arlington County Police Department is hosting two events with our Community Outreach Teams to celebrate. Community members are invited to join police at this informal event to ask questions, voice concerns, get to know their neighbors, interact with the Community Outreach Teams and meet officers from other sections of the department.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The legacy of Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8, and how to honor it, will be the subject of a community discussion this weekend.
The event is scheduled from 3-4:45 p.m. on Saturday (April 14) at the Arlington Central Library auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street).
During segregation Fire Station No. 8 was the only Arlington station staffed by African Americans.
The Fire Station 8 History and Legacy working group is hosting the discussion, “to share memories, perspectives and ideas on how to recognize, emphasize and honor the history and legacy of the Hall’s Hill/High View Park Volunteer Fire Department and Fire Station No. 8,” according to an Eventbrite page.
The group is due to submit recommendations for ways to honor the fire station’s legacy by late May.
A new, four-bay station is set to be built at 4845 Lee Highway, where the existing Fire Station No. 8 stands. The design process is scheduled to begin this summer.
Photo via Arlington County
DHS Official Charged With Beating Wife in Arlington — A “senior career official with the Department of Homeland Security who… handles a ‘high volume’ of classified information in his role as an intelligence briefer,” served jail time after a 2016 incident in Arlington in which he was charged with assaulting his wife, breaking two ribs and causing bruising around her neck. [Washington Post]
Anti-DUI Event at Shamrock Crawl Tomorrow — The Arlington County Police Department will hold a St. Patrick’s Day-themed anti-DUI event dubbed “Don’t Press Your Luck” in Clarendon tomorrow (Saturday). The event will coincide with the planned Shamrock Crawl bar crawl. [Arlington County]
More on Wakefield’s Championship Run — But for a great defensive play by Varina, the Wakefield High School boys basketball team might have emerged victorious from yesterday’s state championship game in Richmond. [Washington Post]
Arlington to Co-Star in Travel Video — Arlington County has received grant funding that will help pay for its share of a new Virginia tourism video that will also feature Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Loudoun County, Richmond and Staunton. [Arlington County]
Long Branch Creek Profiled — “A mostly residential section of south Arlington, Long Branch Creek is a diverse community where almost 75 percent of residents are renters. In addition, there are condominium buildings, townhouses, duplexes and one single-family home.” [Washington Post]
Fire Station History to Be Recognized — Last month Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz established a “Fire Station No. 8 History and Legacy (FS8HL) Working Group,” to record and celebrate the history of the first Arlington fire station staffed by African Americans. [Arlington County]
Kanninen Gets Democratic School Board Nod — “An Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board caucus? Fuggedaboutit. Incumbent School Board Chairman Barbara Kanninen was the lone candidate to file to run in the caucus, which had been slated for several days in May. With no opposition bubbling up, the caucus was nixed.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Rex Block
Board Votes for Housing Conservation District — The Arlington County Board on Saturday voted 4-1 in favor of the creation of Housing Conservations Districts, which will make it more difficult for property owners to convert multifamily buildings into single-family homes. The Board says there is an urgent need to preserve market-rate affordable apartments, though critics charged that the Board rushed a decision that will restrict the rights of private property owners. [Washington Post]
Volunteers Place 245K Wreaths at ANC — “The weather was chilly but that didn’t stop huge crowds from heading to Arlington National Cemetery to help out with the annual wreath laying Saturday. Traffic was jammed and sidewalks were packed with long lines of volunteers.” [WTOP, Twitter]
Doctor Charged With Spiking Drink with Abortion Pill — A doctor who had recently moved to Arlington was arrested in May and charged with spiking his pregnant girlfriend’s drink with an abortion pill, which then caused her to lose the baby. He’s currently being held at the Arlington County jail, awaiting trial. [Fox News]
Bridging the Biking Gender Gap in Arlington — “Despite overall growth in the number of people biking to work, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed by cities, organizations, and employers for more women to bike more often.” [BikeArlington]
Children Visit Incarcerated Parents — Children of inmates at the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse were able to visit and play with their incarcerated parents during the jail’s annual holiday party. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Phil
In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, county residents can safely dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
Drugs will be collected at the following sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
- Fire Station 1 (500 S. Glebe Road)
- Fire Station 5 (1750 S. Hayes Street)
- Fire Station 8 (4845 Lee Highway)
- Fire Station 9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive)
- Pentagon parking lot between S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street (551 Army Navy Drive)
The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharp objects. Only pills or patches will be accepted.
More from an ACPD press release:
Last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds–more than 4,050 tons–of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines–flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash–both pose potential safety and health hazards.
If residents are unable to participate in this event, please visit the Arlington County website for information on how to prepare unwanted medications for disposal. For additional information about the October 28 Take Back Day Event, please visit the DEA Diversion website.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department is celebrating Fire Prevention Week with its second department-wide open house this Saturday (October 14).
All 10 county fire stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and have activities and information on fire safety. Visitors can also climb the trucks, tour the stations and meet crews on duty.
For Fire Prevention Week, which began on Monday, ACFD had the slogan “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” to remind residents to plan a quick escape after their smoke alarm sounds. (Incidentally earlier this week a man nearly died in a house fire in Ashton Heights.)
ACFD had the following advice for homeowners to stay safe in a fire.
- “Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.”
- “Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home and practice using different ways out.”
- “Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.”
- “Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked on the outside and easy for the fire department to find.”
- “Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the spread of smoke, heat and flames.”
- “Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.”
Construction crews have moved in and are well on the way to demolishing the former Wilson School in Rosslyn to make way for the future H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs.
As of Thursday, very few walls from the school at 1601 Wilson Blvd were remaining, with piles of rubble, metal and bricks piling up as workers continue to clear the site. Construction on the new $100 million building is set to start later this year.
The new structure is scheduled to open in fall 2019 and house 775 students across both programs. The Stratford Program will have the majority of the space of the lowest level, while H-B Woodlawn will have classrooms on the first through fifth floors. There will be shared spaces throughout the building, with outdoor terraces allowing open space for recreation and learning.
The former Wilson School had been recommended for designation as a historic district, but that request was denied by the Arlington County Board in 2015. Instead, the Board directed Arlington Public Schools to incorporate pieces of the old building into the new school.
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
Highest Monday Wind Gusts — According to the National Weather Service, the highest wind gusts recorded in Arlington Monday, after the initial squall line came through Sunday night, were between 47 mph in Barcroft and 53 mph in Cherrydale. [National Weather Service]
Arlington Man Arrested for Bank Robbery — A 41-year-old Arlington man was arrested in D.C. Monday and accused of robbing the HSBC Bank at the corner of 14th and I streets NW. Police say the man passed the teller a note claiming to have a bomb, fled on foot with cash but was then detained by a pair of witnesses and held until police arrived. [Washington Post]
County Defends Property Purchase — Arlington County says it did not overpay by spending $800,000 to buy a house, assessed for $519,200, which was needed for the Fire Station No. 8 expansion project. The county says the owner of the home was not anxious to sell and, essentially, making them an offer they couldn’t refuse helped save time and effort compared to trying to use eminent-domain to try to acquire the property at a fair-market value. [InsideNova]
Kudos for Arlington’s Affordable Housing Plan — “Arlington has set ambitious goals to tackle housing affordability, in part by making it easier for developers to build affordable housing in the first place. According to a recent report, Arlington made plans for new affordable units and brought its number of homeless residents down last year even as rents and housing costs went up.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Registration Open for Girls Fire Camp — The Arlington County Fire Department is now taking applications for its 2017 Girls Fire Camp, which “gives teenage girls, ages 15-18, a chance to experience firsthand what it takes to be an Arlington County Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician.” The camp will take place from July 6-9. [Arlington County]
Nearby: No New Taco Bell in Alexandria — A proposed new Taco Bell restaurant on Duke Street in Alexandria, which neighbors worried could bring “late night riff raff” and cause traffic problems, will not be opening after all. The company has withdrawn its plans for the new location. [Washington Business Journal]
Va. Officials on Immigration Order — President Donald Trump’s executive order barring those from seven Muslim nations from entering the U.S. has caught the ire of Arlington’s Democratic congressional representatives and state officials. Sen. Tim Kaine said that he was “appalled by the cruelty” of the order, Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner have “demanded answers” from the Dept. of Homeland Security, Gov. Terry McAuliffe is “outraged and disappointed,” and Rep. Don Beyer joined four other local congressmen at Dulles International Airport to try to speak to Customs and Border Protection officials who were detaining a number of travelers.
County Board Changes Airbnb Regs — Renters will now no longer be barred by the county from renting their home on Airbnb and other online services. The Arlington County Board approved the change to their recent-passed ordinance unanimously at its Saturday meeting. [Arlington County]
Bill: No Food = No Liquor — A bill that has passed the Virginia state senate would prohibit restaurants from serving liquor while the kitchen is closed and no longer serving food. The bill clarifies a 1971 law that was intended to do the same but was “interpreted liberally by some.” [Style Weekly]
County Acquires Land for Fire Station Project — The Arlington County Board has approved the $800,000 purchase of a home on N. Culpeper Street for the construction of a new, expanded Fire Station No. 8. The property is the final acquisition necessary to build a temporary fire station for use while the new station is constructed. [Arlington County]
County to Buy Houses for Fire Station — The Arlington County Board last night approved the purchase of two houses on N. Culpeper Street for a total of $1.68 million. The houses are needed for the construction of a new Fire Station No. 8. One house will be torn down to make way for a temporary fire station, while the other will serve as quarters for firefighters at the station. [Arlington County]
Boeing to Move Defense HQ to Arlington — Boeing is moving the headquarters of its Defense, Space and Security unit from St. Louis to its existing regional HQ in Crystal City. The move will bring about a dozen top executives and fifty support staff to Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]
County Buying Bus Maintenance Site in Springfield — County Board members unanimously approved the $4.65 million purchase of 2.15 acre industrial site in Springfield, Va., to be used as a future heavy maintenance facility for Arlington Transit buses. After it is built, the facility will replace the current leased ART maintenance facility, located in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
ACPD Distributing Toys for the Holidays — Arlington County Police Department officers have been delivering toys to Arlington Public Schools families in need, after collecting the toys during the department’s Fill the Cruiser drive. [Twitter]
Recycling Center Move Approved — The Four Mile Run Drive self-serve recycling center will soon be moving to the Arlington Trades Center, as expected. The County Board unanimously approved the move at its Tuesday night meeting. “County workers will be better able to monitor recycling at this location, to make sure the site is maintained properly and remains litter-free,” said Board Chair Libby Garvey. [Arlington County]
Fire Station 10 will be temporarily relocated to the corner of N. Quinn Street and 18th Street, not far from the current fire station, which is set to be torn down. The old, stand-alone station will be replaced with a modern fire station at the bottom of a new mixed-use development; developer Penzance will be paying for its construction.
A number of alternative temporary fire station locations were considered but found to be lacking. In approving the location — despite the objections of H-B Woodlawn parents — County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a statement that the Board made the best choice in a difficult situation.
This was a very tough decision for the Board. And we know that there will be members of the community who are disappointed. I think everyone will agree, however, that we listened to the community’s concerns and launched a thorough search for an alternative that would meet the criteria of providing fire protection and emergency medical services to Rosslyn, at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. We acknowledge that this solution will need to be accompanied by serious efforts to mitigate the impact of the fire station on the Wilson school site and the students who will be learning there. We have always said the redevelopment of Western Rosslyn is complex and difficult, but in the end, it will result in benefits for our entire community. We will have a wonderful new urban school, new, integrated open space, including a park that the developer has agreed to pay for, a fire station that the developer will build, affordable housing and a commercial building.
Also on Saturday, the County Board approved a “coordinated open space plan” for Rosslyn Highlands Park — a plan that will come to full fruition after the temporary fire station is removed to make way for a new field.
According to the plan, the renovated park will include:
- Multi-use, lighted court for basketball and other sports
- Sloped green lawns for added tree canopy, picnics, seating and play
- Lighted, synthetic turf field at Wilson School
- Planted/permeable field boundary with trees
- Playgrounds for tots and school age children across the street from the main park
- Community access to Wilson School indoor amenities including gym, cafeteria and theater
Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending that the Board stick with the original plan: to build and operate a temporary fire station on the Wilson School site while Fire Station 10 is torn down and a new permanent fire station is built in its place as part of a private redevelopment.
That plan drew criticism from parents of H-B Woodlawn students, who worried that the temporary station would be built on what would otherwise be a field for the school, which will be moving to a new building on the Wilson School site in 2019.
In addition to concerns about the temporary loss of what little open space there is adjacent to the school, concerns were also raised about students being picked up on busy Wilson Blvd while the temporary station is in operation.
Parent outreach prompted county officials to examine alternative locations, but only two other viable alternatives were identified.
One, Rhodeside Green Park, was unpopular with local residents, who started a petition against it that garnered more than 750 signatures. A second, along Lee Highway near the Rosslyn Holiday Inn, was determined by county staff to be too small and challenging from a construction standpoint.
An online poll posted on the county’s website resulted in 420 votes for the Wilson School site. The Rhodeside Green Park site received 299 votes and the Lee Highway property 113 votes.
“After extensive analysis and additional community outreach, staff confirms its recommendation that the Wilson School site be selected as the location for the temporary fire station,” says a staff report. “While there is no perfect location, the Wilson School site is recommended.”
More excerpts from the staff report, after the jump.
The Wilson School site is recommended for the following reasons:
- Of the available options, it best meets the fire response area requirements which are essential to public safety in Rosslyn. It is on the same block as the existing, and future location for Fire Station 10;
- While this site will delay the delivery of the full playing field on the Wilson School site, the County has worked with Arlington Public Schools to identify options to mitigate some of the impacts for students, including installation of an on-site temporary recreational playfield and use of nearby County parks by Wilson School students. The new Wilson School also includes a gymnasium and unique rooftop spaces that will potentially provide recreational space for students.
- Is sufficiently sized to accommodate all of the necessary facilities required to support a temporary fire station;
- Has minimal topographical and utility constraints that would need to be corrected with site work to support a temporary fire station;
- Is appropriately zoned and designated by the GLUP to support a temporary fire station;
- The property is owned by the Arlington County School Board in its entirety and is the subject of a License Agreement between the County and the Arlington County School Board to use the site for a temporary fire station;
- Requires no closures of roads and only minor adjustments to traffic signals;
- Guarantees the completion of the permanent fire station sooner than if another site is selected for the temporary fire station; and
- Placement of the temporary fire station in an area already home to a fire station, and an area to be home to a permanent fire station does not alter the expectations of nearby residents. The placement of a fire station on the site has been discussed for an extensive period of time as part of the WRAPS process.
Rhodeside Green Park was also considered as a possible site because of its location within the fire response area, County ownership, and adequate parcel size. However, the following factors were considered by staff to counsel against the siting of a temporary fire station at this location:
- This public park was identified by the Fort Myer Heights North Plan as a significant existing public open space that deserves additional programming through a community process and the continued use as a public park;
- Would locate the temporary fire station approximately 30 feet from existing townhouse units;
- The site is not appropriately zoned or designated by the GLUP to permit use as a temporary fire station;
- Would require the removal of 36 mature trees;
- Would require the temporary displacement of a public park which serves all the members of the community, especially the surrounding neighborhood;
- Would require the relocation of a 12-inch waterline that traverses the site and a 15-inch storm main in the southern portion of the site;
- May contribute to a reduction in value of the adjacent residential properties; and
- Introduction of a fire station (even though temporary) would be a change to the neighborhood and expectations of nearby residents.
The Lee Highway property located next to the Rosslyn Holiday Inn was determined not to be a
feasible location for the temporary fire station for the following reasons:
- The site is too small to accommodate all of the necessary features to support a temporary fire station on this property;
- Significant site work to bring the property to the elevation of 20th Street N. and N. Nash Street, as well as extensive utility relocations would be necessary;
- On-street metered public parking spaces would need to be removed to accommodate the temporary fire station;
- Traffic signals along Lee Highway would have to be retimed, which would exacerbate traffic conditions in an already congested corridor of Rosslyn and may adversely affect emergency response timing;
- Siting the temporary fire station at this location would complicate access to the Holiday Inn’s parking garage from 20th Street N.; and
- Introduction of a fire station (even though temporary) would be a change to the neighborhood and expectations of nearby residents.