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Morning Notes

Redevelopment Proposal Near Rosslyn — “The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is moving forward with a proposal it previewed to redevelop part of the Marbella Apartments. APAH has filed a zoning application to replace 72 units across a pair of low-rise apartment buildings at 1300 and 1305 N. Pierce Street (map) with two 12-story buildings, delivering a total of 561 affordable units.” [UrbanTurf]

Vision Zero Plan Approved — “Arlington County Board approved a five-year Vision Zero action plan over the weekend, joining other jurisdictions throughout the region that are trying to curb traffic fatalities. The county’s goal is to reach zero traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Currently, Arlington has about four traffic fatalities per year and about 55 severe crashes.” [GGWash, Sun Gazette]

Trump Aides Are Still Working in Arlington — “Taxpayers are still footing the bill for Donald Trump to pay aides, Business Insider reported Monday… For Trump, accepting public money has meant employing 10 transition aides in Palm Beach, Florida — where Trump has been living since he left the White House — and another seven aides in an office building in Arlington, Virginia.” [Raw Story]

Metrobus Service Changes Planned — Adjustments are coming to numerous Metrobus routes starting Sunday, June 6. Service is being restored to a number of routes, but one notable pandemic-era service reduction will stay in place: the 16Y, a limited-stop service route which once connected Columbia Pike stops to McPherson Square in D.C., will remain out of service. [WMATA]

Longtime Arlington Judge Honored — “Its presentation was due to the pandemic, but Arlington Circuit Court Chief Judge William Newman Jr. on May 11 was honored with the 2019 Harry L. Carrico Outstanding Career Service Award by the Judicial Council of Virginia. The award is presented annually to a Virginia jurist who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in court administration while exhibiting the traits of integrity, honest, courtesy, impartiality and wisdom.” [Sun Gazette]

YHS Dominating in Boys Lacrosse — “Pick one: Stingy defense; a potent, high-scoring offense; scads of talent, especially at midfield; depth and experience with 17 seniors; versatility; and a willingness to work hard, achieve and improve. That describes this season’s undefeated Yorktown Patriots high-schoolboys lacrosse team, which began the week with a dominating 6-0 record. The Patriots’ accomplishments include a shutout and outscoring opponents 96-18.” [Sun Gazette]

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(Updated at 9:55 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department doesn’t just untangle flags from national monuments. It also rescues parakeets that have flown the coop.

Yesterday evening the fire department received a “public service” call for a prized sun parakeet that was stuck in a tree. The bird’s owner was out on a walk with her avian companion when “the bird was spooked by a dog and flew into a tree and did not come down,” ACFD spokesman Taylor Blunt tells ARLnow. She called the fire department after running out of options for getting the bird down.

The crew of Truck 106 responded and used the fire engine’s ladder to gently grab the bird from its perch above a house, bringing it back to its grateful owner.

“As firefighters, we never know what our day will be like!” the fire department said on social media this morning. “Happy to help.”

“This was an interesting run for us,” Blunt added.

The bird rescue happened around the same time as other ACFD crews were battling an apartment fire on the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, near Rosslyn. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

Photo courtesy ACFD

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A 22-year-old man was arrested last night and charged with attacking and strangling a woman as she walked through a neighborhood near Courthouse.

The attack happened along a path on the 1800 block of N. Uhle Street, in the Colonial Village community, at around 7 p.m.

Police say the man put a cord around the woman’s neck, pulled her to the ground and then tried to strangle her with his hands. He ran off “when two witnesses arrived in the area,” according to police.

Detective work led police to a suspect who was subsequently arrested on the 1500 block of N. Pierce Street, in the Rosslyn area.

“Following the April 13 incident, detectives launched a thorough investigation which included canvassing for information, reviewing crime scene evidence, interviewing witnesses and following up on investigative leads,” Arlington County police said in a press release. “As a result, detectives identified [Marquis] Holmes as a suspect and sought a warrant for Strangulation.”

“On the evening of April 21, officers responding to the report of a suspicious person in the 1500 block of N. Pierce Street located the suspect and took him into custody without incident on the outstanding warrant,” the press release continued. “Following an interview with detectives, an additional charge of Abduction with Intent to Defile was obtained.”

The abduction charge implies that police believe the suspect intended to have some sort of forcible sexual contact with the victim.

The police department is asking anyone with additional information about the case to contact them.

“This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” police said.

Photo courtesy ACPD

Arlington County police are searching for a man they say tried to rape a woman near Courthouse last night.

The incident happened around 10:45 p.m. in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood.

The victim was walking her dog alone when the suspect allegedly started chasing her. He fell on top of her at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Rolfe Street, then tried to remove her pants, but a witness started yelling at the suspect and he ran of, according to ACPD.

Officers on the ground and a police helicopter tried to find the man, but the search was unsuccessful.

More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating an attempted rape in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood that took place on the evening of November 17, 2020.

At approximately 10:47 p.m., police were dispatched to the 1300 block of N. Rolfe Street for the report of an attempted rape. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking her dog along the N. Rhodes Street bridge over Arlington Boulevard when she noticed the male suspect begin to follow her. The victim picked up her pace to a run in an attempt to separate herself from the suspect who then began to chase after her. At the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Rolfe Street, the victim and suspect fell to the ground. The suspect ended up on top of the victim, told her not to talk and attempted to remove her pants. A witness heard the victim yelling and called out to the suspect. The suspect froze and the victim was able to run away. Responding officers established a perimeter and canvased the area with negative results.

The suspect is described as a Black male in his 20’s, approximately 6’0″, 225-250lbs with broad shoulders. He was wearing a black hoodie with the hood up, dark jeans and a navy-blue face mask at the time of the incident.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. McGrath at 703-228-4244 or [email protected] Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Map via Google Maps

The Virginian Suites hotel at 1500 Arlington Blvd, near Rosslyn, has closed.

Earlier this week workers could be seen hauling furniture out of the building, which is located on the southern side of Route 50, a couple of blocks from the Iwo Jima memorial. A sign on the door said the building is under new management.

The plan is to renovate the building and convert it back into apartments, according to Bernstein Management Corporation.

The company said last month on its website that 1500 Arlington Blvd will be reopened “as value-oriented multifamily rental apartments with amenities to include a lobby lounge, an amenity floor with fitness options and co-working, and an outdoor patio with grills and fire pit.”

“Unit interiors will undergo kitchen renovations, and receive new lighting, flooring, closet organizers and paint,” the company said. “The property is approximately 1/2 a mile from the Washington D.C. line. Its proximity to the Rosslyn Metro station, national employers, multiple universities, dining, and entertainment options makes it a promising acquisition and attractive place to live for those looking for amenities, sustainability, technology and a compelling value given the location.”

The ten-story tower was originally an apartment building after it was completed in 1951. It was later converted into a suite-style hotel.

Bernstein Management Corporation says it now owns a 50% interest in the building. The family behind the D.C.-based residential and commercial property operator just announced a $12 million charitable pledge to local organizations that champion “the arts, racial equality, and a brighter future.”

It’s unclear how long the renovations will take and when the new apartments will be available for lease. Reached by ARLnow, a spokeswoman for the company did not have any other details to share.

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A 25-year-old Arlington man is behind bars after police say he broke into a hotel room early this morning and assaulted a woman inside.

The incident happened around 2 a.m. on the 1600 block of Arlington Blvd, which is home to the Inn of Rosslyn motel.

Arlington County police say the man banged on the locked door of the hotel room before forcing his way in and grabbing the woman “around the upper torso.” She fled and called police. The suspect was later spotted by officers banging on another building door in Rosslyn and taken into custody, police said.

More from today’s ACPD crime report:

BURGLARY, 2020-09230019, 1600 block of Arlington Boulevard. At approximately 1:48 a.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the report of a breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 1:40 a.m. the victim was awoken by noise from the suspect allegedly banging on the door to a secured hotel room. The suspect subsequently forced entry to the room, causing damage, and grabbed the woman around the upper torso. The victim was able to free herself from the suspect, who then fled on foot. Arriving officers established a perimeter, canvased the area, and a K9 track was conducted. At approximately 2:07 a.m., police were dispatched to the 1700 block of N. Quinn Street, where a male matching the suspect description was banging on the door to a building. Arriving officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the suspect had also caused damage to a shed located outside of the building on Quinn Street. Nomin-Erdene Begzjav, 25, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Burglary with Intent to Commit Assault, Assault & Battery, and Destruction of Property (x2). He was held on no bond.

Photo via Google Maps

Arlington is the No. 1 best city to live in the U.S., according to 2020 rankings from Niche.com, and two Arlington neighborhoods are No. 2 and No. 3 on the website’s new list of the Best Places to Live in America.

Arlington, which is technically a county, has topped the Niche “Best Cities to Live” list since 2016.

The site calculates the rankings “based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities.” Niche previously lauded Arlington for high-quality public schools, low crime rate, abundant nightlife options and walkability.

In its rankings this year, Niche cites the following recent review of Arlington from a current resident.

Arlington is a very clean and open-minded town with educated individuals and businesses that are dedicated to producing less waste. Many stores and retail centers are modern and well-kept. It is a family friendly area with great public schools. However, traffic is prevalent and real estate prices are through the roof. But, living a healthy lifestyle is easy in Arlington with many healthy food options and amazing trails all over.

Arlington neighborhoods also ranked remarkably well on Niche’s 2020 Best Places to Live lists for both the state and the country, thanks in large part due to highly-rated public schools and walkability.

The Bluemont neighborhood, west of Ballston, is the No. 2 best place in the nation, according to Niche. Radnor-Fort Myer Heights, near Rosslyn and Courthouse, is No. 3. Ballston/Virginia Square is No. 12 in the U.S. and Clarendon/Courthouse is No. 24.

Within Virginia, Arlington neighborhoods dominated the top 25: Bluemont (1), Radnor/Fort Myer Heights (2), Ballston/Virginia Square (3), Clarendon/Courthouse (4), Waycroft/Woodlawn (6), Colonial Village (11), North Rosslyn (12), Lyon Village (13), Cherrydale (14), Arlington Forest (15), Dominion Hills (16), Arlington Ridge (18), Claremont (20), Columbia Heights (21), Aurora Highlands (22), Alcova Heights (23), and Ashton Heights (25).

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(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A development plan for a new hotel and a new apartment or condo tower in the Rosslyn area has decreased the number of units originally planned for the site.

Grant Investment Properties, LLC which owns both the Best Western Iwo Jima hotel at 1501 Arlington Blvd and 14-unit Ellis Arms Apartments at 1523 Fairfax Drive, is now seeking to build a 10-floor, 48-unit residential building and a 12-story, 160-room hotel building on the Rosslyn site, according to county documents.

The Arlington County Board is set to vote Tuesday on the amended plan, and county staff is recommending approval, according to a staff report. The plans also include a 160-space parking garage, LEED Gold certification for both proposed buildings and “an extensive green roof.”

An earlier proposal called for a 250-room “dual brand hotel” and a 64-unit residential building, as ARLnow previously reported.

“While the number of proposed units decreased, the total residential [gross floor area] is unchanged, as the average unit size increased due to the elimination of studio units and increase in two (2) bedroom units,” the staff report said.

During an April 8 Planning Commission meeting several community members expressed concern about how the development may displace current residents from the Ellis Arms apartment building, which is considered market rate affordable housing, according to County Board documents.

“In response, the applicant has indicated that, in addition to the required Tenant Relocation Plan, it is working to identify potential affordable units, nearby the site, where existing tenants may have an option to move,” the documents note.

Depending on whether the residential building becomes rental apartments or condominiums — the staff report suggests the current plan is for condos — the developer would provide either on-site affordable rental units or a multi-million dollar contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, respectively.

The Arlington Park and Recreation Commission supports the plan, noting in a letter that the development’s community benefits package includes a donation to the nearby Ft. Myers Height Park, which will help fund improvements to “the picnic area (furnishings, ADA access, drinking fountain, invasive species removal), the half basketball court, and landscaping on a vacated playground site.”

Photos via Arlington County

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A convenience store was robbed in broad daylight Monday afternoon, and the suspects were able to flee the scene with cash.

The robbery happened on the 1200 block of Fort Myer Drive, near Rosslyn, around 2 p.m. That block is home to the popular Quarterdeck restaurant and the Fort Myer Market, a convenience store.

Police say two men hopped the counter and struggled with one of the people inside the store, before grabbing cash from the register and running off.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ROBBERY, 2019-04010150, 1200 block of Fort Myer Drive. At approximately 1:56 p.m. on April 1, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that the two suspects entered a convenience store, jumped the counter and stole money from the cash register. Following a brief struggle with the victim, the suspects fled the scene. Suspect One is described as a black male with short brown hair, 25 years old, 6’0 tall, 190 lbs. He was wearing black jeans, a black shirt and black jacket at the time of the incident. Suspect Two is described as a black male with short brown hair, 20 years old, 5’5 tall, 175 lbs. He was wearing a gray t-shirt and gray shorts at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

More highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported, are below.

Read More

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(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Firefighters responded this morning to a significant gas leak at a construction site in the Radnor-Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood.

A gas line was reportedly struck at a construction site near the intersection of N. Rolfe Street and the Arlington Blvd access road. The gas leak prompted evacuations of nearby residents.

Washington Gas is currently on scene working to control the leak, ACFD said.

Map via Google Maps

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Arlington County Police have arrested a man who they say is the serial flasher responsible for a series of incidents dating back to 2017.

Fairfax County resident Santiago Rodriquez Campos, 34, has been charged with indecent exposure and sexual battery in connection to a Aug. 29, 2017 incident in which, according to police, he exposed himself to a woman and then brushed up against her.

Charges are also pending for a series of indecent exposure incidents in the Rosslyn and the Radnor-Fort Myer Heights area, according to ACPD. Police say the arrest was made by a regional fugitive task force and is the result of an “intensive investigation.”

More from a police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has charged 34-year-old Santiago Rodriquez Campos of Fairfax County with sexual battery and indecent exposure for his role in an incident stemming from 2017. Campos is linked to a series of indecent exposures and additional charges in Arlington County are pending.

At approximately 12:15 a.m. on August 29, 2017, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim was walking in the area when an unknown suspect approached her from behind, exposed his genitals and brushed against her. The suspect then fled the area on foot prior to police arrival.

Following an intensive investigation into the indecent exposure series, Santiago Rodriquez Campos was arrested by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force on the evening of August 9, 2018, at his residence in Fairfax County. He is being held in the District of Columbia where he is facing additional charges.

The investigation into Santiago Rodriquez Campos is ongoing. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective J. Echenique of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).

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