Arlington, VA

County Board members enthusiastically and unanimously passed six amendments to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance intended to open up more elder care housing in Arlington.

Developers can now build elder care facilities across 18 zoning districts, after being limited to a handful of possible location for such facilities before.

The Board also voted to update parking standards and to update definitions for terms such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, and continuing care retirement in county code, allowing more types of elder care facilities to be built.

Parking regulations for assisted living spaces and independent living facilities are now set to 0.5 spaces per bedroom, while the minimum parking requirement for nursing homes is now 0.5 spaces per bed.

“It really is good, it’s a need — there are more and more of us in this demographic every day and we need to be thinking about it,” said County Board Vice Chair Libby Garvey.

There are more than 35,000 Arlington residents above the age of 60, according to a county staff report.

“This represents 14% of the County’s population, and this percentage is expected to grow in the coming decades,” the report notes. “Across the nation, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older by 2030.”

The zoning changes were bolstered by the results of year-long study by the Arlington County Zoning Committee. Hundreds of Arlington residents answered surveys and participated in public forums and meetings. During an October community forum, participants were asked to place stickers on a map indicating where they would like to see future elder care housing.

“The study provided a community-wide forum for discussing a host of issues about housing for our older residents,” said principal planner Nick Rodgers. “It’s something that touches all of us — everyone has, or will have, an older loved one who will likely need this kind of extra help at one time or another.”

The zoning changes notably allow a proposed six-story senior living center along the 4300 block of Lee Highway to move forward.  McLean-based developer Artis Senior Living filed plans with the county in March to build a 175-unit property, but per zoning laws, was not permitted to construct in the area.

“I think this is an excellent body of work,” said board chair Katie Cristol. “And it will serve one definitive plan, and I hope with many more to come.”

There are currently 12 elderly residential care facilities in Arlington, all built before 2013 — when the county tightened zoning regulations, effectively limiting elder care facilities to a handful of smaller spaces meant for hospitals. The most recent facility is Mary Marshall Assisted Living, which opened in the Penrose neighborhood in 2011 and is funded by the county.

Photo (1) via sunriseseniorliving.com

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The Arlington County Zoning Committee (ZOCO) is recommending the county open up more areas for potential use as elder care facilities.

During a meeting last night (Tuesday), ZOCO urged the county permit elder care facilities across 18 zoning districts, citing a growing elderly population and prohibitive restrictions on where such facilities can currently be built. The loosened regulations would let developers build nursing homes, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, and continuing care retirement communities.

“This limitation on potential sites and development standards has become a barrier to licensed residential care facilities seeking to locate in Arlington,” said Nick Rogers, zoning amendment coordinator with the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development.

Last night, Rogers presented interim results of the county’s study of ways to build more senior housing, particularly in places like Rosslyn, Crystal City, and along Columbia Pike.

“Elder care facilities are an appropriate use for zoning districts which already permit multifamily development,” he said.

There are more than 35,000 Arlington residents above the age of 60, according to a county staff report.

“This represents 14% of the County’s population, and this percentage is expected to grow in the coming decades,” the report notes. “Across the nation, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older by 2030.”

That growing older population will need places to live that support their needs.

“Arlington is really behind in housing for older people and more assisted living facilities are definitely needed,” said Joan McDermott, a former member of the Arlington Commission on Aging, during an October 7 community forum.

There are currently 12 elderly residential care facilities in Arlington, all built before 2013 — when the county tightened zoning regulations, effectively limiting elder care facilities to a handful of smaller spaces meant for hospitals. The most recent facility is Mary Marshall Assisted Living, which opened in the Penrose neighborhood in 2011 and is funded by the county.

Developer Artis Senior Living submitted a site plan earlier this year to build a six-story, senior living facility along the 4300 block of Lee Highway. The plans stalled after the site turned out to be outside the county’s few areas designated in 2013 for elder care facilities, leading the developer request an exemption to move forward with the project.

A representative from the McLean-based company was present during the October community meeting on the issue but declined to comment.

During the community forum, residents were asked to place stickers on a map indicating where they would like to see future elder care housing. The blue dots were dispersed across the the county, with the biggest clusters of dots stuck to the Courthouse and Bluemont areas.

The zoning expansion is scheduled for review with the county’s Planning Commission in December, before reaching the dais of the Arlington County Board later that month.

Photo (1) via sunriseseniorliving.com

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This article was sponsored by Arlington Economic Development‘s Business Investment Group.

The marketplace for technology to assist aging adults is expected to grow to nearly $30 billion in the next few years, according to Arlington’s own Consumer Technology Association.

Seniors and their families and caregivers are eager to acquire new tech-enabled products and services that would provide better care and improve the quality of their loved ones’ lives. Hence, entrepreneurs, innovators and technologists are increasingly focused on the growth opportunities in serving older adults.

To address this issue, Culpepper Garden and Arlington County are hosting a unique competition to identify and provide funding and pilot program opportunities for innovative companies and technologies focused on helping improve the lives of low-income seniors. This competition is open to companies and individuals from early seed stage to established corporations from around the world.

Judges are looking for products and ideas that are helping older adults leverage technology to stay healthy, improve their mobility and better connect to their family and community. Companies selected to pitch will receive valuable feedback from older adults, health care providers, businesses and government officials. The three winning companies will have the opportunity to trial their product or service at a residential community in Arlington.

Culpepper Garden and its nonprofit owner, the Arlington Retirement Housing Corporation, are celebrating 50 years as an award-winning residential community that was one of the nation’s first to serve the needs of low-income seniors as they age in place. Culpepper Garden is home to over 340 residents and is located on North Pershing Drive.

Participants have the opportunity to:

  • Win $12,000 in funding for each of the top three winners
  • Pilot their technology or approach at Culpepper Garden and a formal evaluation to provide to future customers
  • Become a leader in social impact technology benefitting low income seniors
  • Build relationships with competition judges including venture capitalists, medical professionals, company CEOs and government officials
  • Receive mentoring, feedback and advice from health care providers, senior and assisted living experts, older adults and other stakeholders
  • Solicit customer testimonials
  • Receive recognition and publicity about their company and technologies

To learn more and apply, visit Culpepper Garden’s website.

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Morning Notes

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Unusual Decorations in Former Startup Office — “The walls were covered in ‘hundreds’ of framed detective and noir movie posters, bills and actor headshots, McAfee said. There was food still in the office fridge, wedding photos on the desks, and a sign that read “Danny” in an office that is presumed to have belonged to Trustify founder Danny Boice.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sen. Howell Recovering from Medical Scare — “State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) can thank an injured ankle for alerting her to the fact she needed life-saving heart surgery. Howell shattered her ankle in late July while hiking on some rocks on an island in Upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains… Routine blood tests showed Howell had suffered a so-called “silent” heart attack that often strikes women.” [InsideNova]

ACFD Trains at Waterpark — “Members of our Water Rescue team were at Great Waves Waterpark today training with their counterparts from @AlexandriaVAFD. Members practiced their skills while getting more familiar with each team’s members & capabilities.” [Twitter]

Glass Recycling Drop-off Gripes — Since Arlington County announced that glass was to be thrown in the trash, rather than placed in the recycling cart, many residents have been opting for the second option: bringing glass bottles and jars to designated recycling drop-off centers. But the drop-off bins reportedly only allow you to insert one item at a time, which has led to frustration and mishaps. [Falls Church News-Press]

Local Senior Sails Solo to Bermuda — “Juan Perez didn’t let age affect his decision or performance when the sailor recently decided to return to his hobby of boat racing. The 85-year-old longtime Arlington resident and retired mechanical engineer purchased a sailboat – a 28-foot tartan – then sailed alone for one leg of the  recent Bermuda One-Two race, from Newport, R.I., to St. George’s, Bermuda. He was the oldest competitor and had the smallest boat.” [InsideNova]

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Some seniors in the right place at the right time helped to stop a fire in Ballston.

A group of seniors from the Arlington Neighborhood Village program were playing their weekly bocce match Monday (Aug. 5) at the courts near the Ballston public parking garage when they noticed a distinctly smoky smell.

“All of us kept smelling smoke, but at first we couldn’t tell where it was coming from,” Gary Eiserman, one of the players on the green team, told ARLnow in an email. “Then I noticed smoke rising out of the bushes near the bocce courts.”

As the players approached, they poked around and saw smoke coming up through the mulch at the base of the bushes.

“We stomped on what embers we could find, then doused the area with water from one of our water bottles,” Eiserman said. “We figured the fire was out, and went back to the game, but shortly after that we smelled smoke and saw more smoke in the bushes.  We didn’t have more water to put on the fire, and it was very close to a large transformer, so at that point we decided to call for help, telling them that it wasn’t an emergency, but someone should come and put it out.”

Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant said firefighters from Engine 102 were able to extinguish the smoldering fire with a fire extinguisher. Firefighters at the scene told the players that the dryness of the mulch meant it was a good thing the seniors called when they did, according to Eiserman.

“We were very impressed with the firefighters,” Helen Onufrak, one of the players on the red team, said. “It certainly added excitement to our weekly bocce game.”

The group posed for a photo with the firefighters, before the ACFD squad departed. The game then continued, with red team beating the green team 16 to 7.

While recounting the eventful bocce outing to ARLnow, Eiserman offered some headline ideas.

“I also have a couple of suggestions for titles: ‘Great Bocce Balls of Fire!'” Eiserman said, “or: ‘Bocce Ballers Battle Burning Bush, Blaze Beaten By Ballston’s Bravest.'”

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Arlington County is searching for ways to make building new senior care facilities easier.

The Arlington County Board approved a request for public hearings on the topic, and specifically on whether Arlington should change zoning regulations to allow developers to build senior centers in more parts of the county.

Right now, developers can only build assisted living facilities in “special development districts” usually meant for hospitals, according to a county staff report to the Board. Nursing homes can be built in the same areas, as well as some commercially-zoned areas.

The Board and the Planning Commission will invite the public to discuss the possibility of opening up some areas zoned for multi-family buildings to senior centers, as well as commercially-zoned areas. Meeting dates and locations have not yet been announced as of today (Friday.)

Planning staff are also currently considering public land, too, as part of a broader zoning study they intend to complete by the end of 2019.

Currently there are six assisted living facilities for senior citizens in Arlington with a total of 2,658 beds, per the staff report to the Board. An additional 2,408 beds are spread across the county’s four nursing homes.

No new facilities have been built in the last 20 years — a big problem considering the county’s growing elderly population.

“Arlington County is home to more than 35,000 residents above the age of 60,” County staff noted in the report. “This represents 14% of the County’s population, and this percentage is expected to grow in the coming decades. Across the nation, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older by 2030.”

Despite this growing need, staff acknowledged that current options are “limited.”

The County Board unanimously approved the request to advertise the hearings during its meeting last weekend.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Tech Company Acquired — Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm Imperva has acquired Arlington-based bot mitigation startup Distil Networks. [TechCrunch, Imperva]

Permits Filed for B&E’s on Lee — Bob and Edith’s Diner finally applied for construction permits last month for its planned but delayed Lee Highway location. [Arlington Economic Development]

Jail Holds Family Event for Inmates — “Some Arlington County children got a rare opportunity Tuesday night: a chance to visit with their fathers and mothers — who are in jail — without any barriers between them.” [WJLA]

Local Girl Scouts Help Seniors — “They came in need of help, smartphones in hand… Girl Scout Troop 60013 was on it. This week, the Arlington, Virginia-based scouts hosted ‘TechBridge,’ their first walk-in clinic to help local senior citizens learn how to use their cellphones.” [CNN]

County Fair Seeking Judges — “Organizers of the Arlington County Fair are seeking volunteers both to register and judge entries for the competitive-exhibit competition. Volunteers with expertise will serve as superintendents and judges in a host of categories, with judging taking place Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson Community Center.” [InsideNova]

Campaign Ad Questioned — A TV ad placed by a political action committee on behalf of commonwealth’s attorney candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is being questioned. The ad brings up recent anti-abortion laws in other states says incumbent Theo Stamos “would enforce anti-choice laws” in Virginia. The video cited in the ad shows Stamos saying she “takes an oath to uphold the law” but would not enforce an unconstitutional law. [Blue Virginia]

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Morning Notes

Dense Fog Advisory This Morning — “A Dense Fog Advisory has been issued for the DC/Baltimore metro areas, including portions of western MD & eastern WV. Use caution driving early this morning, and allow extra time to reach your destination. The fog should dissipate by around 9am.” [Twitter]

HQ2 May Look Like HQ1 — “Amazon.com Inc. has enlisted a trio of firms deeply involved with the development of its Seattle campus to help shape the plans for its second headquarters, an early indication the two campuses could share some common design elements.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Marks Older Americans Month — “As we enter the month of May, Arlington is joining the nationwide observance of Older Americans Month. We’ll be recognizing the positive impact older adults have in and around our community and highlighting the many programs and services we offer them.” [Arlington County]

Write-Up for Hot Lolas in Ballston Quarter — “Two new shops experiment with heat levels and global inspiration for new wave fried chicken sandwiches.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Beyer in the News — “Rep. Don Beyer was South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s first Congressional endorsement, and he said Wednesday that he ‘deeply’ believes there needs to be a woman on the Democratic ticket ‘either as president or vice president.'” Also, Beyer is calling for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr. [CBS News, Twitter]

Nearby: No Tax Rate Hike for Alexandria — “The Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted a $761.5 million budget Wednesday without raising taxes or cutting services, adding more money for schools, early childhood education, additional firefighters and a new $100,000 fund to provide lawyers for residents facing deportation. The property tax rate, for the second year in a row, will stay at $1.13 per $100 of assessed value.” [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

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A new senior living center, perhaps the first to be built in Arlington in decades, could soon be on the way for a property along Lee Highway.

McLean-based Artis Senior Living has filed plans with the county to build a six-story facility with 175 units on a 2.79-acre property near Cherrydale. The building would be divided into two wings, surrounding a landscaped plaza and a new public park near the site, located at 2134 N. Taylor Street.

Artis has discussed the potential of bringing a senior living center to the property with neighbors in Cherrydale and Waverly Hills for close to a year now, but the company (which operates facilities across nine different states) only brought zoning applications to county officials in late November.

“The proposed facility would be the first new assisted living facility constructed in Arlington in almost 20 years,” Martin Walsh, an attorney representing Artis, wrote in a letter to zoning officials. “There is a sincere need for additional senior housing in Arlington. Currently, without sufficient capacity in the county, seniors are forced to look outside Arlington for assisted living. The proposed facility would allow Arlington’s seniors to ‘age in place’ and continue to call Arlington home.”

Artis’ plans call for one wing of the building to be about 173,600 square feet in size, with another at about 152,500 square feet. That would include room for 95 assisted living units, and another 80 specifically set aside for “memory care” patients.

The apartments would range in size from studios to one- or two-bedroom units. The buildings will overlook a plaza with green space for residents, which will sit over top of a partially buried parking garage. That will have about 108 spaces, under the company’s proposal, which Artis expects will be more than enough space for the center’s 50 employees.

The company also expects that close to 30 percent of its workforce will rely on nearby Metrobus and Arlington Transit routes to get to work, and a traffic analysis attached to the plans does not foresee the senior center impacting congestion on Lee Highway.

The new park, designed as a contribution from Artis to the county in order to benefit both the facility’s residents and neighbors, would be located at N. Taylor Street’s intersection with Lee Highway. Walsh noted in the application that a visioning study of the Lee Highway corridor completed in 2016 called for a new park on that site — the document was created ahead of a broader effort to draw up new plans for the entire corridor, which just began in earnest last month.

Once the county signs off this proposal, Artis plans to purchase the property, which is made up of several different parcels of land along the 4300 block of Lee Highway. They were owned for decades by the Courembis family, and neighbors have often debated what might become of them, though the homes on the land now sit empty, according to Arts’ application.

The company is asking for some zoning changes to allow for the construction of a senior center in the area, and submitted this application as a “site plan,” a process that will involve an additional layer of county scrutiny.

The Site Plan Review Committee will now hold meetings on the project and its design. Should it withstand that group’s review, it will need to advance to the Planning Commission and, ultimately the County Board for approval.

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Morning Notes

Amazon in Talks to Come to Crystal City — Per a widely re-reported Washington Post scoop, Amazon “has held advanced discussions about the possibility of opening its highly sought-after second headquarters in Crystal City.” An Amazon executive, meanwhile, tweeted that “the genius leaking info about Crystal City” is “not doing [it] any favors.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Crystal City Isn’t Alone — “Amazon.com Inc. has progressed to late-stage talks on its planned second headquarters with a small handful of communities including northern Virginia’s Crystal City, Dallas and New York City, people familiar with the matter said, as it nears a final decision that could reshape both the tech giant and the location it chooses.” [Wall Street Journal, Washington Business Journal]

Jewelry Store Coming to Ballston Quarter — “ninetwofive, formally Wuayra Peruvian Silver Jewelry, is offering sterling silver jewelry and fine accessories in its new location at Ballston Quarter in Arlington, VA beginning this November.” [PR Log]

Officials: We’re Listening to Boundary Concerns — “Arlington school leaders say nothing has been cast in stone when it comes to adjusting elementary-school boundaries, but that the clock is ticking toward decision-making… The schools whose boundaries are in play in this round of adjustments include Abingdon, Barcroft, Drew, Fleet (the new school to replace Patrick Henry), Hoffman-Boston, Long Branch, Oakridge and Randolph elementaries.” [InsideNova]

APS Asked About Graduation Rates — “Arlington school officials are being pressed by one board member to be more specific in analyzing data related to graduation and drop-out rates of minority students. School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento says minority students — those classified as black, Latino and Asian — could end up ‘falling through the cracks’ if more attention isn’t given to their individual cases.” [InsideNova]

Miss Steindorff Remembers — A nursing home employee in Minnesota used social media to help a former Walter Reed Elementary teacher, Miss Steindorff, remember the names of students in one of her classes, as depicted in a photo she kept. Students in alumni groups the employee reached out to helped fill in the gaps in Miss Steindorff’s memory, while sharing their own fond memories of their teacher, shortly before she passed away. [Presbyterian Homes & Services]

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Morning Notes

Metro Assault Suspect Arrested — The registered sex offender from Maryland suspected of groping a woman on an Orange Line train in Arlington has been arrested by Metro Transit Police “following media coverage” of the case. MTPD is now looking for additional victims. [Twitter]

Scott Parker Eyes D.C. for Next Venture — “Boston burger chain Tasty Burger has closed its sole D.C. location… Eater has learned Scott Parker — the restaurant owner of millennial-targeted bars such as Clarendon’s Don Tito and Ballston’s A-Town Bar and Grill — is pursuing a project at the Shaw location of the former burger joint in the Atlantic Plumbing building (2108 8th Street NW).” [Eater]

Circus Coming to RosslynJack Burkman, conspiracy theorist and Rosslyn area resident, says he’s going to hold a press conference at the Rosslyn Holiday Inn tomorrow to “reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims” — though he has not offered any evidence to back up the accusation and is now facing a possible FBI investigation into a woman’s claim that he tried to pay her to testify that she was abused by Mueller. Burkman’s last Rosslyn press conference, in which he promised a bombshell revelation, was instead panned by fellow conspiracy theorists. [The Atlantic, Daily Beast, Heavy]

Arlington Nursing Homes Lauded — Two Arlington nursing homes — ManorCare and The Jefferson — were included in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Nursing Home” list. A total of 2,975 facilities across the U.S. received the “Best Nursing Home” distinction. [WTOP]

Caps Host Special Hockey Players in Ballston — Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals hosted more than 80 players from the American Special Hockey Association at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston on Tuesday. [NHL]

Snowy Winter Ahead? — “Consulting meteorologists and weather companies like AccuWeather and the Weather Company unanimously agree: Washington is in for a snowy winter. So, now, do the forecasters you watch on television.” [Washington Post]

Nearby: 5K to Raise Money for Pittsburgh Victims — A 5K run/walk has been planned to raise money for the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting victims and the non-profit refugee group HIAS. The run is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2 along the C&O Canal Towpath in D.C. [Active, Safety and Health Foundation]

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