Arlington, VA

If state Sen. Scott Surovell’s (D-36) bill passes the Virginia legislature, businesses in Arlington could be on the line for recovering shopping carts people have taken but not returned.

Senate Bill 631 would make it so that the cost of removal, including disposal, of an abandoned shopping cart will be charged to the cart’s owner. The ordinance originally applied just to Fairfax County, but Surovell said Arlington and Alexandria asked to be included in the new legislation.

Surovell told the state Senate’s Local Government Committee that his frustration was borne out of years of personally pulling shopping carts out of a creek in Fairfax.

“These carts often end up in drainage ditches and when it rains they end up going in the creek,” Surovell said. “I’ve taken 230 shopping carts out of the creek myself.”

Abandoned shopping carts have been a plague on areas of Arlington, particularly the Pentagon City area, so prevalent they inspired Twitter accounts that have obsessively documented abandoned scooters around the area for the past several years.

The bill was reported from the Local Government Committee on a narrow 8-7 vote, where it faced pushback both on the dais and from public speakers. Parker Slaybaugh, executive director of the very newly formed nonprofit Virginia Food Industry Association, said the bill would make shopping carts the only stolen property where the victim of the theft is charged for its recovery.

That criticism was a recurring theme of opposition to the bill.

“If somebody steals your property, then abandon that, I don’t think you should be charged to have to go retrieve that property,” said State Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-82th District). “Businesses already paid to purchase it, [then] somebody stole it. The right thing to do would be to charge someone who stole it.”

DeSteph compared the proposal to requiring someone whose vehicle is stolen to retrieve the vehicle or pay for it to be recovered.

“It’s one of the points people raise every year and it’s totally wrong,” Surovell fired back. “To prove someone guilty of petty larceny [you] have to show intent to permanently deprive someone of something. The reason you don’t see these people charged with crimes is because it’s not a crime.”

Surovell said the legislation included a section that would allow localities to make it a civil infraction to take the carts from the business owner, though a police officer speaking at the meeting who claimed to have arrested someone for stealing a shopping cart disagreed with Surovell’s statement that it wasn’t a crime.

Sarah Taylor, Alexandria’s legislative director, said the city had asked to join the ordinance to give them another “tool in a toolbox” to encourage businesses to better manage their carts, such as geofencing.

Surovell also noted that at ALDI, customers put a quarter in to get the cart, get a quarter back when it is returned.

“It’s not about punishing the victim,” Surovell argued. “Retailers could take steps to keep this from happening, they just choose not to do it.”

Photo (top) via Scott Surovell/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Fire on Columbia Pike Sunday — Arlington County firefighters extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of Columbia Pike Sunday afternoon. One resident was displaced by the blaze. [Twitter/@ArlingtonVaFD]

Ballston Launches ‘Gnome’ Promotion — “Starting December 16th through December 20th, look for the Ballston Holiday Gnome spreading cheer all around the neighborhood. Find our holiday helper, and you’ll win gifts from some of our favorite Ballston restaurants and stores.” [Facebook]

Skylight Replacement at Arlington National — “After 30 years, the skylight in the @ArlingtonNatl Welcome Center is being repaired under the watchful eye of our Engineering team. As always, the cemetery remains open while we improve your experience.” [Twitter/@KDurhamAguilera]

Amazon Opening Smaller Office in NYC Post-HQ2 — “The giant online retailer said it has signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet on Manhattan’s west side in the new Hudson Yards neighborhood, where it will have more than 1,500 employees. The new lease represents Amazon’s largest expansion in New York since the company stunned the city by abandoning plans to locate its second headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City.” [Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York BusinessTwitter/@ProfGalloway]

Nearby: Shoppers Closing in Potomac Yard — “Shoppers is closing in Potomac Yard, its parent company announced today. The supermarket, at 3801 Richmond Highway, is expected to close by the end of January. Other Shoppers stores in Manassas, Baltimore and Severn (Maryland) are also closing, and the company is selling 13 other locations.” [ALXnow]

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Morning Notes

Crows Are Swarming Rosslyn at Dusk — “As the sun begins to sink below the horizon, ghostly caws and flapping wings echo through the air. Then, they come in droves. Hundreds, if not thousands, of huge, black birds darken the sky, swooping through buildings and swarming like giant gnats. This Hitchcockian scene is a typical Tuesday in North Rosslyn.” [Washingtonian]

New Candidate for School BoardCristina Diaz-Torres has announced that she is running for Arlington School Board to replace Tannia Talento, who is not seeking a second term. Diaz-Torres is planning a campaign launch event on Columbia Pike this Sunday. [Twitter, Facebook]

Arlington Residents Are Up at All Hours — “The massive Nov. 8 water-main break underneath Chain Bridge Road taught Arlington public-works officials a number of lessons. Among them: Some county residents are up and at ’em in the wee hours of the morning. The county government received its first call complaining of no water at 2:59 a.m., a mere three minutes after the rupture of the 36-inch, 75-year-old pipe.” [InsideNova]

More on GMU Arlington Campus Expansion — “As George Mason University leaders celebrate the 40th anniversary of the school’s Arlington campus, they promise that its Amazon-inspired expansion will be ‘unlike any building ever built’ by a state institution.” [Washington Business Journal]

Upgrades for 911 Call Center — “The County’s 9-1-1 call processing system was upgraded today! Our staff are thrilled to have made the switch to this top of the line system that will allow us to best collaborate with neighboring jurisdictions and serve the community.” [Twitter]

NORAD Exercises Planned Tonight — “Don’t be frightened if you see and hear military aircraft speeding overhead… The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is expected to conduct air exercises over the Washington area from Thursday night into early Friday morning. Flights are scheduled between midnight and 5:30 a.m.” [WTOP]

Five Year Anniversary of Streetcar Cancellation — “Five years ago this week – Nov. 18, 2014 – County Board Chairman Jay Fisette stood somewhat grimly in front of a microphone and TV cameras to announce that Arlington officials were abandoning plans for a streetcar system in the Columbia Pike corridor.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Food Star to Open in Bailey’s Crossroads — “A Food Star grocery store is opening up in the former Toys R Us building at 5521 Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads – possibly by the end of the year.” [Annandale Blog]

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Morning Notes

Scooters Can Officially Ride on Sidewalks, Trails — Details about the new, William Shatner-approved permanent e-scooter and e-bike regulations approved by the County Board over the weekend: “Motorized scooters and skateboards will have a top speed of 15 miles per hour, and e-bicycles will have a top speed of 20 miles per hour on streets and trails. When operating on public sidewalks, the top speed of all the devices is restricted to six miles per hour. The devices will not be allowed to operate on sidewalks where a protected bicycle lane is available and may be prohibited from other sidewalks.” [Arlington County]

Progress on Second Ballston Metro Entrance Plan — “At long last, Arlington seems to be making real progress on building a western entrance to the Ballston Metro station — and that includes finding a path to fund the stalled project. County officials plan to set aside an extra $25 million for the Metro station entrance, then ask for $33.5 million in regional transportation funding for the project.” [Washington Business Journal]

Ballston Harris Teeter Development OKed — “A mixed-use redevelopment approved today by the County Board will replace the Harris Teeter and the American Service Center on N. Glebe Rd. with apartments, a new grocery store, other ground floor retail and a new public open space… community benefits will include a $4.1 million contribution to affordable housing; new public street connections; improvements to the traffic signals at Randolph Street and Glebe Road, and the replacement of a large water main under Glebe Road.” [Arlington County]

Talento Not Seeking Reelection — “I have decided not to seek reelection to my School Board seat. Fulfilling my duties as a public servant take first priority for me and, while it is an honor to serve on the School Board, running a campaign while simultaneously fulfilling these responsibilities is not the best way for me to ensure our students have the future they deserve.” [Blue Virginia]

Jennie Dean Park Project Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a $15.5 million contract with MCN Build, Inc. to begin Jennie Dean Park’s long-awaited transformation.” [Arlington County]

Caps Host TAPS Families at Iceplex — “Late Thursday afternoon, family members of fallen soldiers got a chance to skate with Capitals players in Arlington, Virginia. The Capitals hosted the event with an organization called TAPS – the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.” [WJLA]

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The new Harris Teeter store along Columbia Pike will open its doors to the public next week.

A ribbon cutting and a grand opening celebration will take place at the store (950 S. George Mason Drive) on Tuesday, October 22 from 4-7 p.m. During the grand opening, a “Taste of Teeter” will be held throughout the store, featuring grocery product samples.

The finished grocery store is has just over 50,000 square feet of space and is a larger part of the redevelopment of the Columbia Pike Village Center, dubbed “Centro Arlington.”

In celebration of the new store, Centro Arlington developers Orr Partners, in partnership with the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO), will host a Halloween-themed party on Saturday, October 26 from 2-6 p.m.

“We want to invite everyone to join us for this [Halloween] celebration to thank the community for putting up with our dust as we constructed this great project,” said David Orr, Chairman of Orr Partners, in a press release.

Developers first announced the large-scale project — which includes 22,150 square feet of public space, a three-level parking garage, and 365 market-rate apartments) — in 2015. It was approved by the county a year later, resulting in the demolition of the former Food Star grocery store.

“CPRO is thrilled to see the Pike growing,” said the organization’s executive director, Kim Klingler, in a statement. “We are eager to welcome Centro’s new tenants and businesses to the community.”

Harris Teeter joins Centro Arlington tenants Orangetheory Fitness, Eye Smile Optometry & Dental Care, and pop-up hotelier WhyHotel.

More on the store from Harris Teeter’s website:

This location will have many unique features including: expanded service meat and seafood cases with dry aged beef; handmade lobster rolls; and fresh steamed seafood. This location will also feature a pharmacy, ExpressLane Online Shopping and signature Harris Teeter amenities, such as: a hot foods bar; salad bar; a sub shop; store-made pizza; and fresh sushi.

“Harris Teeter is thrilled to celebrate the Centro Arlington store opening with a Taste of Teeter; we know the community is excited to see their new store, and we cannot wait to meet our new neighbors,” said Danna Robinson, communication manager for Harris Teeter.

In each of its stores, Harris Teeter strives to offer customers an incredible place to shop, which begins with customer service and features high-quality products, variety and selection. Harris Teeter also works to be a true community partner by supporting local schools and youth sports organizations, among other non-profit organizations. […]

Store Hours: 6 a.m.-midnight, daily

Store Square Footage: 53,000

Check-Out Lanes: 6 checkouts and 8 express checkouts

Pharmacy Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Store Features and Departments

Full-service Butchers Market with Rancher Beef, HT Reserve Angus Beef and USDA Certified Very Tender Beef • Dry Aged Beef Fresh • Store made sausage and burgers • Full-service Fishermans Market • Fresh Steamed Seafood • Fresh Made Lobster Rolls • Farmers Market Produce • Salad Bar  • Full-Service Floral and Custom Floral Arrangements • Full-service Fresh Foods Market Deli/Bakery • Sushi • Self-Serve Olives • International Cheeses • Custom Cakes and Ice Cream Cakes • Sub Shop • Artisan Breads • Boar’s Head Meats and Cheeses  • Fresh Made Pizza • Party Trays • Home Meal Replacements • Natural and Organic Foods • Pharmacy •  Free Blood Pressure Testing • Private, Professional Pharmacist Consultations • Drug Interaction/ Allergy Screening • Double Coupons • Club 60 Discount • ExpressLane Online Shopping •  Red Box DVD Rental Kiosk •  Starbucks • Sit-down eating area • ATM • Build Your Own 6-packs

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Morning Notes

New Grocery Store for Crystal City — “D.C.-based Dweck Properties is pitching a nearly 16,000-square-foot ‘urban format grocery store’ for the base of its Crystal Plaza apartments, according to plans filed with Arlington County this summer. Dweck is hoping to add roughly 38,000 square feet of retail to a plaza in front of the apartments, located at 2111 Richmond Highway.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Record High at DCA — “Washington is experiencing a beastly hot October day, unlike anything it has previously observed. The city exceeded its hottest October temperature ever previously observed, hitting 98 degrees, surpassing the mark of 96 degrees set on Oct. 5, 1941.” [Washington Post]

WaPo Interviews Dog About Hot Day — “Skippy, a golden retriever from Arlington, said: ‘I haven’t relieved myself outside in months. A dog of my standing cannot relieve himself in these offensively hot conditions.’ Skippy’s owner, Bill, rolled his eyes and confirmed this before heading back downstairs to scrub the carpet.” [Washington Post]

Joint Arlington-Alexandria Meeting — “In a rare joint meeting of top Alexandria and Arlington officials, the two communities laid the foundation for a closer collaboration on affordable housing… Despite the lofty goals for collaboration, little was decided in what amounted to a lengthy icebreaker between the two governing bodies.” [ALXnow]

Opening at Crystal City Art Gallery — “The Gallery Underground’s focus gallery theme this month is Chaos in which the artists strive to capture the feeling of instability and chaos. In addition to the focus gallery, we’re celebrating the opening of the newest Fotowalk Gallery.” [Crystal City]

Septuagenarian Still Playing Hockey in Ballston –“Paul Mason, 76-years-old, knows that age is just a number. WUSA9 caught up with him at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex, playing in a pick-up game with others who were many decades his junior.” [WUSA 9]

Press Conference in Rosslyn Area Driveway — Attorney and oft-discredited conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman is planning to hold a press conference in the driveway of his home near Rosslyn this afternoon to present new, thus-far uncorroborated allegations against Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. [Twitter]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Climate Change Protests in D.C.Updated at 8:45 a.m. — As expected, demonstrator are blocking a number of key intersections in D.C. this morning to protest against government inaction in tackling climate change. The roadblocks have caused major backups on northbound I-395. [WTOP, Twitter]

APS Implements New Verification System — “Arlington school officials say a new, higher-tech effort to gather requisite start-of-school information from parents is moving forward as expected. The new online-verification process has been completed by 54 percent of families as of Sept. 19, Superintendent Cintia Johnson told School Board members.” [InsideNova]

County Board Approves Pike Redevelopment — “A new six-story apartment building and ground floor retail will replace an aging shopping center and surface parking lot at the northeast corner of South Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, under a plan approved today by the Arlington County Board.” [Arlington County]

Worker Hurt Friday in Madison Manor — “Scanner: ACFD on scene of a worker who fell out of a tree on the 900 block of N. Potomac Street in Madison Manor. Being transported by ambulance to a local trauma center with potentially serious but non-life threatening injuries.” [Twitter]

Post Praises Swell Sausages at Ballston’s Bronson — “The five kinds of housemade sausages emerged from the kitchen tinkerings of Barley Mac chef Chris Harman and co-owner Mike Cordero, Koh says. Both the bratwurst and the wiener, reminiscent of a hot dog that spent a semester abroad, have a pleasantly snappy casing and a peppery pungency. The Bronson is rightly proud of its sausages, which are available to-go from a case at the front.” [Washington Post]

Ballston Harris Teeter Design Event — “Come share your thoughts on the consolidated design for the public space at Harris Teeter on N. Glebe Rd at an open house Mon., Sept. 23 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Arlington Room at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex (accessible from the 8th floor). This design is based on prior community feedback. Don’t forget your sweater! The Arlington Room is next to the rink and you might get a little chilly.” [Arlington County]

APS Trying to Fix Bus Issues — “Arlington school officials continue to work out start-of-school transportation kinks, with a goal of having everything running as expected by the end of the month… ‘We have heard from families who are still experiencing challenges,’ Superintendent Cintia Johnson told School Board members on Sept. 19. ‘We’re working to resolve all the concerns.'” [InsideNova]

New LEED Certification in Ballston — “4201 Wilson Boulevard, a 595,000-square-foot office building at Ballston Exchange in Arlington, VA, has earned LEED Silver certification, making it the first office building in the state of Virginia to certify using the LEED v4 Building Design + Construction green building rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The building constitutes one half of the 776,000-square-foot Ballston Exchange development.” [Press Release]

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The new Harris Teeter along Columbia Pike appears to be one step closer to opening.

State records indicate that the grocery store replacing the Food Star market at the corner of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive applied for a Virginia ABC permit to sell wine and beer last week, and a Harris Teeter spokeswoman said it’s expected to open soon.

The spokeswoman told ARLnow yesterday (Monday) that the new store at 950 S. George Mason Drive had an “anticipated opening date of fall 2019,” but did not provide an exact opening date. Previously, a spokesperson said the store was slated to open in late 2019.

The finished store will have 50,000 square feet of space and is part of the redevelopment of the Columbia Pike Village Center that demolished the shopping center that Food Star, EvolveAll fitness studio, and several other small businesses inhabited.

As part of the project, dubbed Centro Arlington, developers are also building a 22,150 square foot public space, 31,530 square feet of space for other retailers, a three-level parking garage, and 365 market rate apartments.

Pop-up hotelier WhyHotel is planning to open around 150 temporary hotel rooms in the new apartment building this fall.

Image 1 via Google Maps, Image 2-3 via Google Maps

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The Giant store at Penrose Square is adding a new online pickup kiosk.

The grocery store just off Columbia Pike, tucked away in the Penrose Square building at 2501 9th Road S., recently was issued permits for interior alterations to create an online pickup area near the front of the store.

Staff at the Giant confirmed to ARLnow that the area will be turned into a place for guests to pick up groceries they ordered online. When the new section will open is currently unknown.

The company has been rolling out the new curbside service called Giant Pickup since July, according to Supermarket News. Orders must be $30 or more and come with a $2.95 fee.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Photo courtesy @SRtwofourfour/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Ribbon Cutting for Revamped Rosslyn Safeway — “Safeway will unveil renovations to its Rosslyn store at 1525 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 am on Friday, July 12.” [Press Release]

More on Real Estate Boom Forecast — “Real estate agents and local economists said inventories are so sparse that some popular Zip codes in Arlington and Alexandria show no homes for sale at all. They added that investors are pouring into the market, looking to turn homes into rental properties.” [Washington Post, InsideNova]

Acosta Signs Books in Clarendon — CNN correspondent Jim Acosta showed up to an sparsely-populated Barnes and Noble store in Clarendon for a “surprise signing” of his book “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America.” [Twitter]

Workers Vote for Strike at DCA — “On June 12, airline food workers who prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served onboard American Airlines flights departing from Reagan National Airport voted 100% to strike when released by the National Mediation Board.” [Press Release]

New Local Store at DCA — “The District of Columbia Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) today celebrated the grand opening of the Made in DC retail pop-up at Reagan National Airport, providing a new national and international presence for local makers and small business owners.” [Press Release]

ARLnow’s Press Release Section — For the next week, we’re experimenting with posting press releases directly on a special section of our site. Let us know what you think. [ARLnow]

Photo by Vernon Miles

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Morning Notes

Brush Fire in Park Near Columbia Pike — “Firefighters were called to Alcova Park a little after noon today to put out this small fire. No word on cause, but it’s an early season reminder to fully extinguish smoking & BBQ’ing materials before safely discarding them in a metal container & leaving the area.” [Twitter]

‘Walk for the Animals’ Tickets on Sale — “On Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., AWLA invites you to Walk for the Animals and celebrate our 75th anniversary of improving the lives of animals in our community… $35 Early Bird registration until May 1 (includes Walk registration and t-shirt)” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington]

Traffic Enforcement in Clarendon — Arlington County Police conducted “high-visibility pedestrian enforcement at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Washington Boulevard as part of regional @COGStreetSmart campaign” yesterday afternoon. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington Resident Wins Lottery — “An Arlington man is $100,000 richer after playing a Cash 5 game he purchased at a store in the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood near Rosslyn recently.” [Patch]

Ebbin, Levine Endorse Parisa — State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) and Del. Mark Levine (D) have endorsed Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Democratic candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. They join several other elected officials, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former County Board member Walter Tejada, in endorsing the challenger in the Democratic primary. [Facebook, Blue Virginia]

Stamos’ Recent Endorsements — Earlier this month Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos announced endorsements from Arlington’s firefighter union and county treasurer Carla de la Pava in her bid for reelection, in addition to a litany of endorsements from other elected and former elected officials. [Facebook, Facebook]

Nearby: Aldi Coming to Bailey’s Crossroads — An Aldi grocery store will reportedly be replacing the former Babies R Us store at 5700 Columbia Pike, while a nearby Safeway store is said to be closing. [Annandale Blog]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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