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Morning Notes

Another Chase Branch Coming to Arlington — Following its purchase of the former Walgreens in Clarendon, JPMorgan Chase is now planning a second bank branch in Arlington. The new branch will reportedly be located at the northwest corner of N. Randolph Street and Wilson Boulevard in Ballston. [Washington Business Journal]

Preservationists Eye Local Log Cabin — “A retired florist, Cal Marcey is worried over possible destruction of one of Arlington’s remaining log cabins, to which his ancestors have ties. A new owner has purchased the early-19th century Birchwood cabin at N. Wakefield and 26th sts., and the plans — renovation versus teardown — are unclear.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Record Round for Arlington Startup — “Arlington safety and security startup LiveSafe Inc. has raised $11.1 million in fresh funding, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. It’s the company’s largest round so far and puts its total funding at about $25 million, according to a review of previous SEC filings. LiveSafe did not respond to requests for comment.” [Washington Business Journal]

Business Group Wants Better Bus Service — “A group of chief executives from the greater Washington region says deficiencies in bus service are holding back growth in the region. The region’s bus network possesses valuable assets, including more than 3,800 buses and a growing system of limited-stop service and bus rapid transit lines, but the region hasn’t fully leveraged the potential of the network to help solve its transportation challenges.” [Washington Post, Greater Greater Washington]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Volunteer Group TreeStewards Looks for Trainees

TreeStewards, an organization that works to advocate and care for trees, is looking for new volunteers to train in Arlington.

Volunteer efforts include activities, such as planting and pruning, along with education and advocacy initiatives, like holding neighborhood “Tree Walks” and informational booths at farmers’ markets and festivals.

Training will kick off on Oct. 2 and is split into four modules. Each module includes between two and four mandatory classes and one field session.

The first module covers topics such as fall tree identification and correct tree planting methods. The fourth and final module begins April 16, and will cover topics like pests, diseases and care of mature trees.

Those interested should apply online by Aug. 22.

Photo via Facebook

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Report: Arlington Has Lost More Than 14,500 Market-Rate Affordable Homes Since 2000

Rent prices on more than 14,500 homes in Arlington have surged past rates deemed “market affordable” since 2000, according to a new report.

In an evaluation of affordable housing around the region, the Northern Virginia Housing Alliance found that the county has seen steep declines in the number of homes affordable for people making 60 percent of the area’s median income. In Arlington, federal officials set those levels at $49,260 a year for a one-person household and $70,320 for a four-person household.

The county had only 2,245 homes on the market affordable for people at those income levels through the end of 2017, the group wrote. The affordable housing advocacy group also determined that the county lost 335 homes affordable for people at those income levels over the course of 2017 alone.

At the same time, the county added 276 homes with rent prices specifically “committed” to remain affordable last year, “despite significant expenditures of local resources,” the group’s researchers found. In all, the county had 7,729 committed affordable units last year, or “approximately half of what has been lost in the last 17 years.”

County officials have long eyed this issue, and Arlington is hardly alone among its Northern Virginia neighbors when it comes to dealing with spiking rent prices. The group found that Alexandria and Fairfax County are dealing with similar trends, particularly as the D.C. region’s population continues to grow.

But with the potential arrival of tech giants like Amazon and Apple, the researchers warn that Arlington officials need to take a hard look at these numbers and put a focus on preserving the affordable homes already available.

“Preventing the further loss of rental units available to low- and moderate-income households is critical to expanding economic opportunity and supporting the region’s growth,” the group wrote. “In a resource-constrained environment, bridging the affordability gap requires stemming the loss of the existing stock of affordable homes.”

The researchers awarded the county government high marks for how it approaches the issue generally, but it also urged leaders to move ahead with plans to provide additional incentives for developers to both build and renovate affordable homes.

Additionally, the group urged local officials to work with “non-traditional, mission-driven developers” to help them acquire properties that might otherwise be used for high-priced apartments or condos.

“As budgets remain constrained and competing priorities emerge, it is important now more than ever that the region’s leaders work together to develop a range of creative solutions to create mixed-income communities that provide a range of housing choices,” the researchers wrote.

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Nonprofit Could Transform Historic Reeves Farmhouse into Group Home

After years of debate over the future of the historic Reeves farmhouse in Bluemont, a solution that the community likes and does not require lots of taxpayer dollars may have been found.

County officials have worked up a plan to team up with Habitat for Humanity to transform the farmhouse into a group home for adults with developmental disabilities.

The Northern Virginia branch of the nonprofit is currently exploring the prospect of renovating the 118-year-old home, then turning it over to another group to manage it, Habitat director of real estate development Noemi Riveira told ARLnow.

The farmhouse sits on the 2.4-acre Reevesland dairy farm property (400 N. Manchester Street), which the county purchased in 2001. The County Board has long hoped to find some other use for the home, with community groups urging the county to transform it into a museum or learning center, but the high cost of renovating the house convinced the Board to move toward selling it instead.

Riveira cautions that her group is still in the “very, very preliminary” phases of studying the property, and she isn’t sure yet whether this plan would involve Habitat buying the farmhouse from the county. Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey suggested that the nonprofit could end up purchasing it, then transferring ownership to whichever entity runs the group home, or simply lease the house from the county instead.

Regardless of the details, however, both Riveira and Dorsey are cautiously optimistic that this arrangement could prove to be the best possible outcome for the historic home.

“Any opportunity we have to serve anyone that needs a shelter, we’re happy to assist,” Riveira said. “It’s a bit outside of our normal program scope… but this is a demographic that needs homes, so we’re there to help.”

Riveira noted that the “community came to us” with this proposal. Specifically, Chris Tighe, president of the Boulevard Manor Civic Association, says he first floated the idea of reaching out to Habitat in a conversation with Dorsey roughly a year ago.

“A lot of nonprofits valiantly tried to save it over the years, but all of that just sort of petered out,” Tighe said. “So at one point I just said, ‘How come no one’s thought of [Habitat] before?'”

Tighe reached out to the nonprofit, and brokered a meeting with the group and Dorsey to work up an initial proposal.

Broadly, Habitat would agree to renovate the exterior of the house and select portions of the interior, as well as constructing an addition. The county estimates that renovating the home via contractors would cost anywhere from $2.5 million to $3 million, though at this stage Riveira is unsure how expensive the work would be with volunteer help.

“That was a lot of money for us… but they’re a nonprofit that can leverage volunteers, so it provides a great opportunity for a traditional renovation not paid for in traditional market ways,” Dorsey said.

Riveira says the home is currently zoned to house up to eight people, so she envisions the farmhouse someday offering rooms for five or six adults with disabilities, then a few live-in counselors as well.

While Habitat is generally focused on building new homes for low-income people, Riveira says the group does have some experience working with historic properties, and would look to enlist the help of experts in the field if it moves forward with the project.

Tighe says Habitat presented that vision for the farmhouse at the civic association’s meeting last Sunday (June 17), where it earned “unanimous approval.”

“We’re pretty confident this would be a phenomenal win-win for everybody,” Tighe said.

If all works out, the farmhouse’s future could be decided by the end of the year.

“Reasonably, I would hope that we’ll know within the next three to six months concretely if we’re moving forward on this,” Dorsey said.

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Arlington Experiencing Downward Trend in Total Home Demolitions

Single-family home demolitions dropped in 2017, hitting the lowest point since 2012, according to statistics from the group Preservation Arlington.

A new report from Preservation Arlington says there were 158 single-family home demolition permits issued last year, making it the second year in a row with demolition permits falling from the year prior. Demolitions peaked in 2015 at 204, according to the data.

The downward trend may seem like a “mission accomplished” moment for Eric Dobson of Preservation Arlington, but instead he thinks it reflects changing market dynamics, not a new-found interest in preserving older homes.

“I was afraid someone would ask,” he joked after being contacted by ARLnow.com.

Dobson said that the number of homes in Arlington that are attractive candidates for demolition — those that have been poorly maintained, that sit on a lot that can be subdivided, or that are worth substantially less than the underlying property — is finite and shrinking.

But there’s another trend in play that may explain why demolition permits are falling: a trend towards gut renovations that keep just enough of the structure to not be classified as a demolition under county code.

“People are getting creative as supply dries up,” Dobson wrote. For example, “someone buys a house that is on a substandard lot — a lot that has a small side yard or something that would not be permitted today. So they cannot ‘tear it down’ because they would need to meet today’s code for setback. Instead [they] keep that exterior wall that gives them more building room and tear the rest of the house down.”

“The definition of teardown somewhat hides the fact that dozens of more houses are essentially torn down,” he added. “As lots become more scarce, people are becoming innovative/creative.”

Local realtor and ARLnow columnist Eli Tucker largely echoed Dobson’s analysis.

“The sale of single family marked as new construction increased slightly from 121 to 130 homes in 2017,” he said. “New construction can be considered a total demo or building on top of/expanding [an] existing foundation. I’m seeing more of this lately so it’s possible that we’re seeing fewer complete demolitions, but just as many or more new construction with higher numbers of new homes on existing structure.”

Meanwhile, it’s not uncommon for buyers to demolish million-dollar homes. There were a total of 12 demo permits issued in 2017 for homes purchased for more than $1 million, according to Preservation Arlington.

Image via Preservation Arlington

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Morning Notes

Beyer Blasts GOP Tax Bill — Rep. Don Beyer is, to say the least, not a fan of the Republican tax bill that is expected to pass the House and be sent to the president’s desk later today. “At its core, this bill is an immoral redistribution of wealth towards the richest among us at a cost of trillions of dollars, and I believe that those who voted for this monstrosity will be held accountable,” Beyer said in a statement. [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]

Single Vote Swings Va. House — Thanks to a Democratic candidate in Newport News winning her race by a single vote, as determined in a recount, the Virginia House of Delegates is now evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, ending a majority the GOP has maintained since 2000. [Washington Post]

‘Dominion Pint’ Coming to Arlington — The owner of Meridian Pint (also Brookland Pint and Smoke & Barrel) in D.C. is planning to open a new craft beer-centric outpost somewhere in North Arlington. The location has not yet been announced, but it will be called “Dominion Pint.” [PoPville]

DESIGNArlington Winners Announced — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday recognized the ten 2017 DESIGNArlington award winners for “outstanding architectural or landscape design in the County.” Among the winners are the new Marymount University building in Ballston, the Tellus apartment building in Courthouse, “The Quill” public art project in Rosslyn and two private North Arlington residences. [Arlington County, Arlington County]

Gutshall Sworn In — The newest Arlington County Board member, Erik Gutshall, was sworn in at yesterday’s Board meeting, while outgoing County Board Chair Jay Fisette received a standing ovation. [Twitter]

Changes to Historic Preservation Process — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously last night to revise and further codify the process for requesting historic preservation studies. Until now, any single individual could request a “historic preservation overlay district” study, which requires significant county staff time to complete. Before the vote, such a study could even be requested without consulting property owners in the proposed district. [Arlington County]

Arlington Man Dies in Plane Crash — Paul Schuda, a National Transportation Safety Board official and Arlington resident, was among three people killed in the crash of a small plane in Indiana. [NPR, Legacy]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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Morning Notes

Arlington Ready for Possible Snow — The chances of “meaningful accumulation” have since gone down, but Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services crews started applying brine to county roads Monday night in anticipation a “potential snow/ice this Wednesday evening/Thursday.” [Twitter, Washington Post]

VDOT Pleased With I-66 HOT Lane Data — NBC 4’s Adam Tuss tweets: “Doesn’t look like @VaDOTNOVA plans to change anything about the I-66 toll lanes. They say their data shows commutes were faster and more reliable.” [Twitter]

Dems Want Satellite-Voting Centers — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee could again be at loggerheads with the county’s elections office over whether to provide satellite locations for absentee voting in non-presidential-election years.” [InsideNova]

ARLnow T-Shirt Now Available — Need a gift for the ARLnow.com fan in your life? Show your Arlington pride with this long-sleeved t-shirt from the county’s No. 1 local news source. [Amazon]

ACPD Officers Helping in Puerto Rico — The Arlington County Police Department is among the departments nationwide sending officers to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to provide emergency assistance. The third ACPD team to rotate in is working on the island through Dec. 18. Officers who’ve gone say many challenges remain but there are hopeful signs as well. [Arlington Connection]

Westover Townhouse Battle Continues — Arlington County is weighing both a historic district and a “Housing Conservation District” for Westover, to protect aging but affordable garden apartments from being redeveloped into $800,000 townhomes. [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Arlington Man Dies in Motorcycle Wreck — A 68-year-old Arlington man died last month after a motorcycle crash in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Police say Ben Walker, Jr. ran into the back of a car that had just made a U-turn on Indian Head Highway. [Patch]

Pentagon City Hotel Changes Hands — An Orlando-based real estate investment firm has acquired the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City for $105 million. Xenia Hotels & Resorts said in a press release that the 365-room hotel is “uniquely positioned” in the market given its direct connection to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [PR Newswire]

Housing Demolitions Continue — The group Preservation Arlington has released its latest tally of demolition permits, reporting that demo permits for 120 single-family homes were applied for in the first nine months of the year. “The pending loss of these homes ‘represents a loss of history, architecture, time, energy and materials,’ the preservation group said in a statement.” [InsideNova]

Virginia’s Halloween Candy of Choice — The most popular Halloween candy in Virginia, according to the website CandyStore.com, is Snickers bars. Hot Tamales and candy corn were second and third, in terms of pounds sold. [CandyStore]

Letter: Possible Names for Schools — In a letter to the editor, a local resident recommended consideration of three African-American women who played notable roles in Arlington County history as potential new names for public schools. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

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Historic Preservationists Say I-66 Project Threatens Highway’s History

A plan to revamp Interstate 66 is threatening the character of the Custis Memorial Parkway, the highway’s name inside the Capital Beltway, historic preservation advocates said today (Wednesday).

Preservation Arlington, a nonprofit group that looks to protect Arlington’s architectural heritage, released its annual list of “endangered historic places,” with the parkway named as one.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the midst of an ambitious plan known as “Transform 66” to widen I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston within the existing eastbound right-of-way.

Under the plan, VDOT would also add tolls and improve local trails, as well as build a pedestrian bridge in East Falls Church.

But Preservation Arlington said the plan could undermine “the roadway’s unique parkway design.”

“Plantings are no longer maintained. Corten steel guardrails and sign supports are being replaced with standard, steel interstate highway components,” the group wrote. “The new toll road gantries, and large, new sign supports (and highway signage) on nearby arterial roads have further eroded the parkway’s ability to blend into its surroundings.”

Another piece of history under threat, according to Preservation Arlington, are the Education Center and Planetarium, chosen last week by the Arlington County School Board for an extra 500-600 high school seats and a renovation.

A request had been made to designate the site as a historic district, but the County Board followed staff’s recommendation and denied that designation in May.

“While some exterior improvements will be necessary it is hoped that this will be minimal and will not alter the appearance of the historic structure,” Preservation Arlington wrote. “Designed as a headquarters building to show the strength and commitment to education, the building is iconic in our community.”

Also under threat, according to Preservation Arlington:

  • 1000-series Metro cars, retired this month for safety reasons
  • Community buildings like those for churches and service organizations
  • Four Mile Run industrial area
  • Housing stock from before World War II, with the continued loss of these homes “erasing Arlington’s architectural and community history.”

Image via VDOT presentation

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Morning Notes

Metro Changes in Effect — As of Sunday, the Metrorail system is now operating less frequently, with reduced hours and higher fares. [WMATA, WTOP, Greater Greater Washington]

Home Demolition Stats — So far in 2017, there have been 66 demolition permits for single-family homes applied for in Arlington, according to the group Preservation Arlington. Twenty-two permits were applied for in May alone. [Preservation Arlington]

Linden Combining With Melwood — Arlington-based Linden Resources is linking up with Maryland-based Melwood “to create one of the largest regionally focused nonprofits with more than $100 million in joint revenue.” The organizations provide job opportunities for people with disabilities. [Washington Business Journal]

B&E’s Ranked Among Best Eats — Bob and Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike (and in Crystal City) has been named the best 24-hour restaurant in Virginia by Cosmopolitan Magazine. [Cosmopolitan, Patch]

Best of Ballston Awards — Cybraics, a company focused on fighting cybercrime, won the Innovation Award at the inaugural Best of Ballston Awards last week. [Ballston BID]

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

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Potential High School Site Nominated for Historic Preservation

As Arlington school officials consider locations for a new high school, a resident has nominated one of the potential sites for consideration as a local historic district.

The 1960s-era Arlington Education Center and planetarium, next to Washington-Lee High School, should be designated historic and preserved, says Nancy Iacomini, an Arlington Planning Commission member.

More from the website of Preservation Arlington:

Designed by Cleveland-based architecture firm Ward and Schneider, the building is an excellent example of “New Formalism” which combined classical design elements with modern materials and techniques. Bethlehem Steel used a new cost-saving technique of steel wedges to construct the building. Both buildings were completed in 1969, having been funded by a 1965 bond referendum and designed with community-wide input. In 1967 a special citation from the American Association of School Administrators said the center “should attract the public and focus attention on the importance of education.” The two buildings were built as a pair and symbolize the great civic pride of Arlington and its’ investment in the future.

Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board will now consider the nomination. If the HALRB recommends historic designation, public hearings will then be held by the Planning Commission and County Board.

Iacomini says there is both architectural and cultural significance to the Education Center, which currently houses Arlington Public Schools administrative offices and the School Board’s meeting room.

From her nomination letter:

Structures are literally visual landmarks of our shared history; the Education Center is emblematic of an important era of Arlington’s past…

Clearly the 1960s was a boom time for the county — a time when we were beginning to plan for the future of the Rosslyn/Ballston corridor and time of great growth in our schools but also still a time of grappling with social issues in our schools. The Education Center and the planetarium are physical embodiments of the forward thinking of Arlington and our County’s hope for the future. They should stand as reminders of our accomplishments and goals of the past as we continue to provide for the future.

The Education Center and Planetarium are proud civic buildings of a set, carefully designed and constructed with taxpayer funds on publicly owned land. It is not unlike the commitment we’ve made to the new school on the Wilson site. They are part of our shared civic heritage.

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County Board Votes to Move Forward with Reeves Farmhouse Sale

Reeves farmhouse (image courtesy Arlington County)

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously yesterday to move forward with the sale of the historic Reeves farmhouse in Bluemont.

Despite a last push from a group that wants the farmhouse converted into a learning center for students, the county says that selling the farmhouse to a private buyer, who will be required to “maintain its historic integrity,” is the only economical way to preserve it for future generations.

“The County’s goal is to preserve the historic character of Reeves farmhouse and to preserve the site’s two acres of open space, the raised gardens, sledding hill and milk shed,” the county said in a press release.

“The County’s efforts to achieve the sort of successful partnership to restore the Reevesland farmhouse that it has achieved with other projects have been hampered by the estimated, and increasing, cost of renovating the farmhouse and bringing it up to code for public use, estimated to be in the range of $2.5 – $3 million, as well as an unspecified amount for ongoing maintenance and operating costs.”

The full press release, after the jump.

The Arlington County Board today authorized the County Manager to move forward with the sale of the historic Reeves farmhouse, as the County has not identified a financial partner in the farmhouse’s restoration and reuse. The Manager had asked the Board at the February 28 Board Meeting to direct him to move forward.

“After exploring numerous alternatives, this Board has decided that the best way to preserve this piece of Arlington’s history is to sell the Reeves farmhouse itself to a private buyer who will be required to maintain its historic integrity,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette.

“We believe that the County Manager has found a solution that will both breathe new life into the farmhouse while preserving the vast majority of the land as parkland and allowing the continuation of the current public uses.”

The Board voted 5 to 0 to authorize the Manager to move forward with the sale of Reeves farmhouse. To read the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 24 on the agenda for the Tuesday, March 21 Recessed County Board Meeting.

The County’s goal is to preserve the historic character of Reeves farmhouse and to preserve the site’s two acres of open space, the raised gardens, sledding hill and milk shed.

The County’s efforts to achieve the sort of successful partnership to restore the Reevesland farmhouse that it has achieved with other projects have been hampered by the estimated, and increasing, cost of renovating the farmhouse and bringing it up to code for public use, estimated to be in the range of $2.5 – $3 million, as well as an unspecified amount for ongoing maintenance and operating costs.

Several steps must be taken before the farmhouse parcel can be sold:

  • Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) – the County must apply for and obtain a CoA from the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) before staff can prepare the farmhouse for sale. Proposed site improvements requiring HALRB approval include:
    • demolishing the non-historic garage
    • repaving the existing driveway from North Manchester Street
    • creating a parking pad as required by the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance
    • removing a tree and a bush
    • constructing a grass paver access driveway to the milk shed for County maintenance vehicles
  • Easements – a County access easement must be finalized, and a perpetual historic preservation easement must be developed to further protect the historic farmhouse
  • Appraisal, broker – the County must obtain an appraisal and engage the services of a qualified real estate broker with experience in marketing and selling historic properties
  • Negotiate – the County must negotiate the sale of the farmhouse lot and present it to County Board for final approval. The sale will require a public hearing per Va. Code §15.2-1800

Once the County Board approves an Agreement of Sale, staff will proceed to settlement with the purchaser and recordation of a Deed of Conveyance, (subject to the prior-recorded perpetual historic preservation easement). Staff estimates that it will take at least one year to accomplish these steps.

Both the farmhouse parcel and the public park parcel will remain under a County local historic district, so all exterior changes are subject to review by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board.

The County purchased Reevesland, located at 400 North Manchester St., in 2001 to expand Bluemont Park. The parcel and 19th-century farmhouse, owned by one family for almost 100 years, is the remnant of Arlington’s last operating dairy farm. The entire property was designated as the Reevesland Local Historic District in 2004.

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Letter: Ball Family Members Want Ballston Graveyard Preserved

Robert Ball graveyard in Ballston

Members of the Ball family, for which Ballston is named, would like to see their small family graveyard along Fairfax Drive preserved and not moved for a redevelopment.

An attorney representing four descendants of Robert Ball Sr. sent a letter (below) stating the family members’ position to the Arlington County Board earlier this week.

The family members “fully support” an item on this Saturday’s County Board agenda that would be a first step to designating the graveyard a local historic district, according to the letter .

The attorney, Alexander Berger, said family members do not want to prevent the planned redevelopment of the church, but they do want the church to honor its century-old commitment — made after the family granted the church the land on which it sits — to preserve the graveyard.

“This is a situation where everyone involved can certainly find agreement,” Berger said. The family members have “no desire to stand in the way of the church and the development, provided they honor the history of the county and the family.”

The church, meanwhile, is pursuing two different methods of trying to get approval to move the graveyard. First, it has applied for a permit with the Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources. Additionally, it has filed suit against members of the Ball family in Arlington Circuit Court in order to have the graveyard declared abandoned, which would then allow it to be moved.

“It is not a lawsuit in the sense anybody is suing anybody,” explained Tad Lunger, the attorney for the church.  “There are basically two ways to allow for the relocation of human remains in Virginia, the first being through the DHR permit process, and the second being to get a court order to allow the relocations to occur.”

“The DHR permit is more of a passive notice process, whereas for the court process we cast a wider net and actually have to do genealogical research to locate any potential descendants and proactively go out and notify them,” Lunger continued. “Because we wanted as much opportunity for descendants to know we might find human remains at this site, and we wanted to know directly from them what they felt was most appropriate to do with any remains if they were found, we decided to do both processes to get as much involvement as possible.”

Berger, who was hired by family members after they were served with the lawsuit, said that the church “didn’t go about this in the right way.”

Berger said he believes the church is working on a plan for building the new development around the graveyard, which family members would likely support, but those plans have not yet been shared with him or the family.

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Morning Notes

Large plush bear outside of Kinder Haus Toys in Clarendon

Stratford School Designated Historic — The Arlington County Board has approved a historic designation for the Stratford School, the current home to the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and the future home to a new middle school. In 1959, Stratford became the first public school in Virginia to be integrated, with four black seventh graders enrolling, thus marking the beginning of the end of school segregation in the Commonwealth. [Arlington County]

Fox Freed From Fence — A not-so-sly fox had to be freed by an Arlington animal control officer after getting its hind leg stuck in a chain link fence. The fox was uninjured. [Twitter]

Park Expansion, Land Donation Approved — The County Board last night approved the expansion of Benjamin Banneker Park, via the purchase of a 8,487-square-foot lot for $637,500. The Board also accepted the donation of 7,432 square feet of land adjacent to I-66 and a bike trail. Hitt Contracting, Inc. donated the land after figuring out that zoning restrictions prevented the company from developing it. [Arlington County]

Preservationists Worried About Tear-Downs — Local preservationists are worried about plan to tear down a number of older properties in the area of Minor’s Hill and replace them with new homes. However, it appears that the home builders will be able to proceed with their plans, as “Arlington County has no legal authority to delay or stop the demolition.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Long Branch Creek’s First Neighborhood Plan — The Long Branch Creek neighborhood, located near the Glebe Road onramp to I-395, has had its first-ever Neighborhood Conservation Plan approved by the Arlington County Board. The plan will allow the neighborhood to apply for neighborhood improvement projects. It calls for Long Branch Creek to become a “walkable urban village” while “preserving the livability and quiet, diverse character of the neighborhood.” [Arlington County]

Yorktown Student Auditions for Shark Tank — Among those auditioning for the ABC show Shark Tank at a recent casting call at 1776 in Crystal City was a 17-year-old Yorktown High School student, Zanab Farooq, who founded a custom mobile phone case company. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

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Morning Notes

Rainbow over the Iwo Jima memorial (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Motorcycle Ride Arrives This Afternoon — The annual America’s 9/11 Ride will arrive in Arlington around 3 p.m. today. The ride is escorted by police and features hundreds of motorcyclists. The bikers are arriving at the DoubleTree Crystal City hotel and touring the Pentagon this afternoon, before departing for New York City at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

Arlington > D.C. in Home Prices — The median home sale price in Arlington is now more than $100,000 higher than in the District of Columbia. A year ago, the median sale price in Arlington was $490,500, compared to $499,900 in D.C. [Washington Business Journal]

Preservation Board Delays Reevesland Action — The Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board has deferred consideration of changes to the Reevesland farmhouse until November. Arlington County is seeking to make a couple of changes to prepare the house for sale. [InsideNova]

Tablet Changes Coming — We’ve heard your feedback and are making some changed to the ARLnow experience for tablet users. Chief among those changes: full articles will now once again be displayed on the homepage if you own an iPad or other tablet. That change is expected to take place within a few days.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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