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Dog poop, a lackluster park and imposing tower façades.

These are lingering concerns for some county commission members and residents who recently reviewed designs for two proposed apartment towers from JBG Smith in Crystal City.

The developer proposes building two towers with a total of 1,440 apartment units where the restaurant Jaleo (2250 Crystal Drive) used to be, and where an 11-story office building stands (223 23rd Street S). The new towers would have ground-floor retail and a parking garage underground.

Architects went back to the drawing board after a meeting in July to improve designs, and generally, these improvements were welcomed during a Site Plan Review Committee meeting last week.

Still, commissioners, community members and county staff said a planned interim park should be more vibrant — with ample amenities to separate dogs and their droppings from other visitors — and the towers should have more pedestrian-scale architecture, so that walking by does not feel claustrophobic and shady.

“I do hope there will be signs saying ‘This is not a dog park’ because people will try their hardest to use it as such,” said Ben D’Avanzo, a nearby resident representing the Aurora Highlands Civic Association, during the meeting on Thursday. “There’s only so much we can do to control that and prevent what happened at Met Park happens here.”

Before Amazon began rebuilding the park, Metropolitan Park was best known for being a large patch of grass where dogs from neighboring apartment buildings relieved themselves.

The 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan envisions three park spaces, totalling some 26,000 square feet, but one of those parks would require JBG Smith to redevelop apartments at 2221 S. Clark Street. In the interim, as part of this project, JBG Smith will create a temporary 8,000 square-foot park on the southwest corner of 223 23rd Street S.

Commissioners had also criticized initial designs for the park near JBG Smith’s planned towers for being “just a lawn,” said Planning Commissioner James Schroll during a meeting last week.

“Some of the concerns we received from you guys is that there may be foot traffic cutting through this lawn and there were concerns pet owners would use it for dog relief, and we didn’t really want that,” said Amanda Walker, with OJB Landscape Architecture.

Landscapers added pet relief areas and plantings around the park’s edges to prevent people from creating desire paths. The park is designed to allow for flexible, removable furniture to accommodate concerts, fitness classes and picnics and become a “destination for the community,” Walker said.

Before and after changes to designs for the interim open space at 223 23rd Street S. (via Arlington County)

“Right now, this looks good, but we’ve got lots of parks that look like this all over the area. It’s going to be hard to attract people to it in this interim period,” said Michael Dowell, representing the Crystal City Citizen Review Council. “If we really want to take a chance, let’s get some massive sculpture — that you can move…”

“… to the next interim park,” said Chris Slatt, representing the Transportation Commission at the SPRC meeting, completing Dowell’s sentence.

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After spending all of their lives in kennels, nearly 70 beagles will soon be up for adoption through Arlington-based organizations.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation began welcoming a number of rescued beagles into their facilities last week.

The dogs are now going through medical exams and being given a chance to adjust to their new life before being adopted out, both organizations told ARLnow.

There’s no set timeline yet for when the beagles will be ready to go to their forever homes.

Last year, inspections at an Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland, Virginia where thousands of beagles were being housed turned up dozens of animal welfare violations.

Finally, in July of this year, a judge ordered the release of thousands of beagles from the facility, with authorities having two months to find the dogs new homes. The plight of the beagles became an international story.

Several local shelters have lended a paw to the rescue efforts. AWLA in Shirlington took in 10 beagles while LDCRF, the non-profit beneficiary of Arlington restaurants Lost Dog Cafe and Stray Cat Bar & Grill, greeted 56 beagles at its Falls Church care center. The nearby Fairfax County Animal Shelter also took in 16 beagles.

Now the focus shifts to helping the beagles adjust to a world they’ve never encountered before.

“Nearly every experience for the beagles rescued from the mass breeding facility is a first,” Heidi Gioseffi from Lost Dog told ARLnow. “First sniffs of fresh air, first sunlight on their faces, first splash through clean water in a kiddie pool, first cuddles from caring humans, first chew toys, first ambling run outdoors, first collar with a name tag, first NAME to replace a code tattooed for life on the underside of their ear, first attempt to climb steps into a house. For volunteers witnessing their firsts is a joy one cannot fully describe. It is truly uplifting.”

While it can be a joy to watch these dogs experience all these new things, it also can be frightening for the animals. Chelsea Jones, AWLA’s spokesperson, says things like toys, dog parks, and, even, floors might be too much for them to handle right now.

“What might be super fun to a regular dog, might be kind of scary to these dogs that have never experienced it before,” Jones said. “So, we are just going really slow and kind of letting them experience the world at their own pace.”

Most of the dogs with AWLA are now in foster homes so caretakers can learn how they adapt and, so far, Jones said they are all doing “surprisingly well” with no major behavior challenges to report beyond not being house trained.

“They are beagles, though,” she laughed. “They do like to bark and are pretty chatty.”

That’s why AWLA named all of its beagles after percussion instruments, she said.

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Morning Notes

Hazy afternoon at DCA (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

First Day of School Three Weeks Away –” It seems as if summer just started, but before you know it, the 2022-23 school year in Arlington will be starting. The first day of classes for Arlington Public Schools is Monday, Aug. 29.” [Patch]

Pet Adoptions Down Slightly — “The Animal Welfare League of Arlington reports that 2,444 cats, dogs and small animals were adopted from its shelter during the 12-month period ending June 30. That’s down slightly from the 2,587 in the preceding year, which may be a positive sign that things are calming down in the get-along-with-COVID world that is now being experienced.” [Sun Gazette]

Another Gun Seized at Airport — ” Transportation Security Administration officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington stopped a Charlottesville man on Wednesday from bringing his loaded handgun onto a flight… The man told officials that he was in a rush to fly to Florida to attend a funeral and ‘forgot that he had his loaded gun with him,’ according to TSA.” [Patch]

Arlington Man Charged With Robbery — “The investigation determined the suspect entered into the business, selected a beverage and allegedly attempted to leave without paying. A female employee confronted the suspect, who ignored her and selected additional merchandise. The employee attempted to stop the suspect, during which he struck her before fleeing the scene on foot. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect had stolen merchandise from an additional business.” [ACPD]

West Glebe Bridge Demolition — “After months of being closed, much of West Glebe Road Bridge has finally been torn down ahead of eventual reconstruction. Demolition started earlier this week and is expected to finish by the week of Sept. 5. Demolition work is expected to continue Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.” [ALXnow]

It’s Monday — Humid throughout the day. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:17 am and sunset at 8:13 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Pet owners in Arlington now have another doggie daycare to choose from with the opening of Playful Pack.

The Rosslyn daycare and boarding center, located at 1528 Clarendon Blvd in the former LavaBarre space, is set to hold an open house this Saturday (June 20) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. It plans to officially open toward the end of June.

Giveaways and dog treats are expected at the open house, Playful Pack co-owner Scott Parker told ARLnow. During the event, participants have a chance to visit the play areas and meet the owners and employees, according to a Facebook post. Dogs are also welcome, as long as they are leashed. Those interested can RSVP on the website.

Playful Pack is a daycare and overnight boarding center that provides physical exercises and games for dogs. Some of the activities scheduled at different store locations include frisbee, tug of war and story times, according to its schedule.

The owners chose to open a new store at Rosslyn because of the number of dog owners there.

“We just thought that there are so many people in Rosslyn with so many dogs and there’s no dog daycare there to take care of them,” Parker said.

The store has four other locations, in Fairfax Station, McLean, Alexandria and Annapolis, Md. The first store was opened in Fairfax Station in 2019 by Parker, his brother Tyler and Tyler’s wife Alyssa, according to previous ARLnow reporting. Scott Parker has opened numerous other businesses in Arlington like a beer hall, retro pizzeria, sandwich shop-slash-flower shop, barbershop and boxing gym.

Once it is officially open, Playful Pay is expected to operate between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. every day and charge $44 for a full day of care, with discounts for 5-day, 10-day and 20-day daycare packages. For overnight boarding service, the store is set to charge $74 per night and $45 for each additional dog, according to its website.

Playful Pack also works with shelters in Virginia, including Home Animals Rescue Team, Mutt Love Rescue, A Forever Home and LOVEPAWS, to help foster dogs find homes.

“We will usually have one foster dog per location staying with us at our facility, and we take care of that dog and feed it and just give it a place to stay while we help find a home,” Parker said. “And then in the meantime, we advertise the dogs there available to our client base.”

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Primary and urgent veterinary care clinic Bond Vet and dog daycare and boarding facility District Dogs are set to open locations in Clarendon in June.

Both businesses are coming to The Crossing Clarendon retail center.

Bond Vet, a chain based out of New York City, will open at 2871 Clarendon Blvd on Tuesday, June 14, the company says.

Bond Vet chose Arlington as its first location outside New York City because of the “rich context” of Clarendon, Marketing Manager Brooke Goldstein told ARLnow. The shopping center is also home to Tatte Bakery & Cafe, Lululemon, an Apple Store and other higher-end stores and restaurants.

“We like to be part of a rich context with many different types of tenants, rather than going into an area where you’re only going to find soft goods or medical offices,” she said, “We felt that this was a good opportunity for that.”

The clinic also plans to open locations in Bethesda and D.C. neighborhoods, such as Capitol Hill.

An open house at the Clarendon clinic will be held between noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 12. The event will feature dogs up for adoption from The Little Black Dog Rescue Group, pet portraits and raffles.

Bond Vet provides urgent care services such as treating rashes, wound care and gastrointestinal issues, as well as primary care services like dental cleaning, neutering and planned surgeries, according to the press release. The clinic, which offers walk-in and scheduled appointments, will be open every day between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m, including on holidays.

District Dogs, which provides daycare, spas and overnight boarding services for dogs, is set to hold its grand opening on Monday, June 6. The storefront at 2820 Wilson Blvd is also the company’s first location in Virginia.

There will be playrooms, full-service pet spa services, and behavioral training workshops. Customers can also rent private dog playrooms at the store.

Clarendon currently has a variety of pet care businesses, including two other veterinary clinics, Clarendon Animal Care and Caring Hands Animal Hospital, along with Chippin, a locally based dog food brand.

District Dogs is planning to open another Arlington location in Pentagon City, at Amazon’s HQ2, which is currently under construction but set to open its first phase next year.

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Bond Vet, a New York City-based chain of primary and urgent care clinics for cats and dogs, is setting up shop in Clarendon.

Construction in the space at 2871 Clarendon Blvd, in the former Lilly Pulitzer storefront, is underway. Bond Vet aims to open its doors to local dogs and cats and their humans this summer.

The storefront, part of The Crossing Clarendon retail center, has been vacant since the purveyor of preppy pink clothing packed its portmanteau and left last May. Bond Vet signed a deal to take over the space late last year, Director of Real Estate and Development Lauren Heuser tells ARLnow.

“Things are moving forward,” Heuser said. “We’re actually ahead of pace from what we anticipated from a permitting standpoint, which never happens.”

The new location is part of Bond Vet’s first expansion outside of the New York area, where it has opened nearly a dozen locations since 2019. The full-service clinics offer urgent care and routine care, including wellness exams, vaccines and spay and neuter services, as well as surgeries, dental cleanings and international health certificates.

Outside of Clarendon, its foray into the Mid-Atlantic region includes Bethesda, D.C.’s 14th Street NW corridor and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The company is also headed north into Boston, and will have 25 total locations by the end of 2022.

“[The expansion] was on the horizon ahead of the pandemic,” Heuser said. “During the pandemic, the development pace slowed down a bit, but we picked up again as soon as we felt like we could.”

Bond Vet leaders chose The Crossing Clarendon because they liked the new tenants Regency Centers has nabbed for the rebranded shopping center.

“We like to be part of a rich context with many different types of tenants, rather than going into an area where you’re only going to find soft goods or medical offices,” Heuser said. “We felt that this was a good opportunity for that.”

Recent tenant announcements for The Crossing Clarendon include New York-based seafood eatery Seamore’s, fitness center Life Time, and District Dogs, a daycare and overnight boarding facility for pooches.

“We’re certainly not a daycare but we like to create symbiotic relationships with pet care providers within the neighborhood,” Heuser noted.

Bond Vet is the third option for pet owners whose animal companion needs care sooner than what a primary veterinarian could provide but in a different setting than an emergency room, she says.

“We believe it provides enough availability for same day appointments across locations, and it keeps pets that don’t need to be in the emergency room out of the ER,” Heuser said.

(The pet-centric neighborhood will now have all three veterinary options covered, with Arlies award winners Clarendon Animal Care at 3000 10th Street N. and Caring Hands Animal Hospital at 2601-A Wilson Blvd, in addition to the new doggy daycare and a locally-based dog food brand.)

Bond Vet’s expansion comes as veterinary jobs and services have been in high demand over the last two years, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The association says urgent care clinics appear to be taking on a substantial portion of that demand.

“From a competitive landscape, what we’re seeing all over the country is a high demand for veterinary care,” Heuser said. “So many people got new pets through the pandemic, and that trend has not slowed down.”

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A coyote was spotted in Arlington Forest, near Lubber Run (courtesy of Amy Cocuzza)

A black coyote was sighted near Lubber Run this week, and she may have pups.

While sighting the shy canine is relatively rare, the dark fur of the Arlington Forest coyote is a touch more uncommon. Its coloration is what helped the Animal Welfare League of Arlington identify she was not new to the area.

One Arlington Forest resident called the AWLA, which runs the county’s animal control operation, to report a sighting on Monday, and said the coyote had pups in tow, although officers couldn’t locate her or the young to confirm. On Tuesday, an ARLnow reader Amy Cocuzza caught her on camera in the neighborhood.

Cocuzza reached out to a USDA wildlife specialist, who said the Arlington Forest coyote’s dark fur is uncommon but not rare. Coyotes in the East have tremendous color variation.

AWLA’s Chief of Animal Control Jennifer Toussaint tells ARLnow the Arlington Forest coyote is not the only dark coyote she’s seen in Arlington. She saw her first on Route 110 near Memorial in 2013. She compared the uncommon coloration — known as melanism — to that of the more prevalent black squirrel.

She said the coyote Cocuzza saw is likely female and they became aware of her in Arlington Forest last year.

Previous coyote sightings reported by ARLnow were all of a grey or lighter brown colored canine. A coyote was spotted multiple times wandering around in the Fairlington area in 2020. Coyotes have also been seen moseying along Washington Blvd, and in Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Lubber Run and Cherrydale. In 2014, a coyote was struck by a car near Arlington National Cemetery.

Toussaint called coyotes “highly adaptable opportunists” and said they thrive living near people in suburban and urban settings like Arlington where scavenging for food is easy — taking advantage of pet food or trash left out. But she said the presence of a coyote, which can be active both day and night, isn’t cause for alarm. In fact, there are some benefits like free rodent control.

“Urban coyotes are born right in our neighborhoods and are generally familiar with us, our pets, and our routines,” she said. “Occasionally, a curious coyote may need to be reminded to be wary of people, especially if someone has been feeding them, which is not advised or legal.”

Toussaint recommends “hazing” techniques, such as clapping your hands, raising your voice, blowing a whistle or shaking an aluminum can with pennies inside. She said, while coyotes don’t pose a risk to humans, they should never be handled and pets should be monitored closely and kept current on rabies vaccines.

“We don’t see many interactions or conflicts between coyotes and people or pets, but when we do, it’s usually because someone was startled, so it’s a good idea to practice hazing techniques before allowing a pet in your yard, as well,” she said.

Arlington’s Natural Resource Manager Alonso Abugattas writes that “the Eastern coyote is bigger than those in the West, about the size of a border collie or even German Shepherd, often between 45 to 55lbs” with males usually larger than the females.

The USDA specialist suggested to Cocuzza that the black coyote may be wandering out because it’s their mating season, and “they do tend to be more bold and wander out at this time.”

Hat tip to Amy Cocuzza 

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The Ballston Quarter location of Heart + Paw (courtesy photo)

Dog parents can get a few photos of their furry best friend with Santa while chowing down on free donuts in Ballston over the next couple of days.

This Friday afternoon (Dec. 17) from 1-3 p.m., four-legged locals can join Santa outside of Ballston Quarter’s Hearts + Paw for holiday pet photos. The combination veterinarian, dog daycare, and grooming business opened in May.

Then, on Saturday, free donuts and hot cocoa kits from District Doughnut will be available at the mall from 1-3 p.m. along with $25 gift cards to REWILD, the trendy plant shop that opened at Ballston Quarter earlier this fall. The snacks and gift cards are available while supplies last with only one giveaway given per person. Holiday tunes will also be spun by local D.J. Cyndi Tran.

Both events are taking place at and hosted by Ballston Quarter on Wilson Blvd.

Elsewhere in Ballston this weekend is a holiday wreath market at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Stuart Street. That event is being organized by the Ballston BID and will feature live music, a local TikTok star (the cello-playing one), a light art projection, holiday wreaths for sale, and Santa selfies.

There’s plenty of other holiday cheer in Arlington this weekend with Christmas now just over a week away. There’s the Rosslyn holiday market (with Santa and dog photos, too), holiday light displays in Crystal City, and a number of local Christmas tree sales (depending on availability among the current tree shortage).

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Columbia Pike pet fair “Paws on the Pike” is returning this weekend after being held virtually last year.

The event by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO), now in its fourth year, will be from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday at Centro Arlington apartments (950 S. George Mason Drive).

It will feature a mix of pet-friendly activities and a meet-and-greet to help locals connect to nearby animal service providers and vendors.

For those starting to get concerned about what to do with their pets over the holidays, the fair will offer locals a chance to meet with pet-sitters and boarders.

Pets will be available for adoption from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and other rescue organizations.

“Join us for a day of pet-friendly fun and meet your local veterinarians, trainers, pet-sitters, boarders, dog walkers, groomers and more,” the CPRO said on its website. “Find your forever friend from a local shelter or stock up on homemade treats, there’s something for every pet parent.”

Planned activities include a “pup-arazzi” photoshoot with a professional photographer taking free portraits of pets. Pet owners must sign-up in advance for a photoshoot.

There will also be a DJ and “water bar” to allow pets to sample selection of different types of water. At 2 p.m., Pastor Ashley Goff from Arlington Presbyterian Church will be on-site to bless pets with a brief prayer.

Photo via Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Apartment Rents Bounce Back — “It took a little while, but average rents for Arlington apartments have now shot past pre-pandemic levels, according to new data. With median rent prices of $2,013 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,437 for two bedrooms, Arlington is among 92 of the nation’s 100 largest urban communities that has seen rents return to, or exceed, levels of March 2020, when the pandemic hit.” [Sun Gazette]

Ballston Resident Creates Bourbon Brand — “I Bourbon is one Arlingtonian’s ode to this classic American whiskey. Now, if he could just get it on store shelves.” [Washington Business Journal]

Reston to Crystal City Bus Proposed — “One of two projects proposed by Fairfax County, the new express bus service would connect Fairfax Connector’s Reston South Park and Ride lot with key employment destinations in Arlington County, including the Pentagon and Pentagon City and ending in Crystal City. The county is seeking $5.1 million to cover two years of operating costs for the service as well as the purchase of six buses.” [Reston Now]

AWLA Takes in Louisiana Pets — “A special delivery arrived Wednesday afternoon at Manassas Regional Airport: a plane carrying more than 100 pets that were evacuated from the Louisiana hurricane zone ahead of Ida’s arrival earlier this week. As the plane landed, rescue organizations from throughout the D.C. area were standing by to take the animals in. ‘There were mostly dogs, but also a few cats in the mix,’ said Samantha Snow with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.” [WJLA]

Student Housing May Become Hotel — “Marymount University is moving to convert some of its recently acquired student housing in Ballston into hotel rooms, giving its hospitality program a boost in the process. The Arlington university filed documents with county planners Tuesday seeking permission to convert as much as half of the 267-unit residential building at 1008 N. Glebe Road into a hotel. Marymount has operated the building, dubbed The Rixey, as housing for students, faculty and staff since buying it back in 2019.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Holiday decorations now on sale at the Pentagon City Costco (photo courtesy John Antonelli)

Local Pet Rescue Orgs Take in Hurricane Evacuees — “One of the first transports of dogs arrived Sunday with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, which was able to find fosters to take in evacuated dogs from Mississippi shelters… Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is another rescue urgently working to take in dogs and cats in Hurricane Ida’s path… ‘Fostering or adopting an animal NOW will save more than that one life. It will save dozens. Please donate, foster and adopt NOW.'” [WUSA 9, WTOP, WJLA]

Arlington Girl Hooks Record-Setting Fish — “If you happen to meet 5-year-old Caroline May Evans, she may want to tell you about the fish she caught. It’s a story worth hearing: She and her mom and dad hiked 12 miles into the remote Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, where she swung a red worm over the outlet of a lake with no name and caught what turns out to be a world-record golden trout. Caroline’s fish, landed on July 8, a few days before her 5th birthday, weighed 2 pounds, a remarkable size for a golden.” [Field and Stream]

Young Dems Blast Arlington Bishop — From the Arlington Young Democrats: “In a letter penned to his church community, Bishop Michael F. Burbridge of Arlington made heinous statements about trans folks and even trans children, where he stated that “no one is transgender.” Not only is this statement harmful to the hundreds of thousands of trans people that live in this country, many of whom live here in Arlington, but it is categorically false.” [Twitter]

APS to Punish Less, Teach More — “The Arlington County, Virginia, public schools are reimagining discipline, in the hope that teaching valuable life lessons will benefit students more than punitive consequences. On the first day of the 2021-2022 school year, Superintendent Francisco Duran, standing outside the newly opened Cardinal Elementary School, in North Arlington, said the school system is shifting the focus of discipline from punishment to making amends.” [WTOP]

Glebe Road Over Pimmit Run Back Open — “After more than two weeks, N. Glebe Road between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road/Virginia Route 123 in Arlington reopened Monday morning after delays caused by storm damage. The stretch was was originally set to be closed for nine days beginning Aug. 13 and ending Aug. 23, but an additional week was added on because of the impact of severe weather.” [WJLA]

Police Make Credit Card Theft Arrest — “The officer located the owner of the wallet, contacted him, and learned the wallet was previously stolen and there were fraudulent charges on the victim’s credit cards. The officer initiated a follow-up investigation and developed a suspect description. At approximately 8:22 a.m. on August 29, the officer was on patrol in the area of Wilson Boulevard and N. Randolph Street, observed the suspect on foot, and took him into custody without incident.” [ACPD]

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