Arlington, VA

A sequence of events led to the side of an apartment building in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood catching on fire Monday evening.

The Arlington County Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire on the 2400 block of 27th Court S. around 7:30 p.m. Residents were evacuated as firefighters worked to extinguish the smoky fire.

Within minutes, the flames were out and the cleanup work was starting.

ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli tells ARLnow that the blaze was caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials” that caught mulch on fire and subsequently spread to the vinyl siding of the building. From there, the flames crept up the side of the building and burned the plywood under the siding.

The fire was quickly extinguished, no one was injured, and no residents were displaced. Tirelli said the incident “seems accidental” and no charges are pending.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Due to the amount of interest I’ve gotten over the last few years on smoking bans in condos, and the number of buildings currently trying to ban smoking, I decided to organize a panel discussion/information session on it.

Next Tuesday, October 15 from 7-8:30 p.m. I’m hosting four Board/Committee members who led the smoking ban effort in their respective (Arlington) buildings to share their approach, lessons learned and more. We will also be joined by the Northern Virginia Regional Manager for Virginia’s Tobacco Control Program.

You do not have to be Arlington-based to attend. If you can’t make it in person, I plan on broadcasting on Facebook Live and having the recording available afterwards for anybody who wants to watch.

If you’d like to attend or to view the live or recorded version, please email me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Do you have any updates to your previous columns about banning smoking in condos?

Answer: Banning smoking in condos is probably the most popular topic I’ve written about and it has given me visibility into how many communities have tried, are trying, or want to ban smoking in units and common areas.

Multiple Buildings Have Banned Smoking

As of 2019, only 12% of Arlingtonians smoke so it’s not surprising so many condo residents are interested in eliminating it from their buildings. Over the last few years, multiple condo buildings in Arlington have successfully amended their by-laws to ban smoking in units and on private balconies (common areas are relatively simple).

Hosting Info Session for Residents/Board Members

This fall, I’m organizing a meeting/info session for all interested condo communities (residents and/or Board members) to discuss strategies and lessons learned on banning smoking, misinformation surrounding smoking bans and other topics I’ve gotten questions on over the years.

We’ll have guests who were heavily involved in the smoking bans in their communities, including an attorney who led the charge in his building, and who has helped other communities get their process started.

Let Me Know If You’re Interested

If you’d like to be included, send me an email at [email protected] with your name, condo building, whether you’re a Board/Committee member or resident and if your building has already tried or currently trying to ban smoking.

I’m targeting a September meeting and hope to set a date and time by early August. Don’t worry, you won’t get signed up for a bunch of junk marketing emails from me if you reach out. 🙂

I hope everybody has a great July 4th!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Morning Notes

Snow Likely Tonight — An inch or two of snow may fall overnight tonight. Snow is also possible Sunday. [Capital Weather Gang]

Clement Running for County Board Again — “She’s been a familiar name and face in local elections for nearly a decade, and Audrey Clement has made it onto the ballot again for 2019. Clement filed all requisite paperwork to run for County Board as an independent, Arlington election officials confirmed.” [InsideNova]

Lee Highway Revitalization Process Chugs Along — “Neighborhood activists… turned out Feb. 12 to execute ‘The Arlington Way’ and put in their two cents on how to create a theme for the multi-ingredient pudding that has characterized Lee Highway since it was so-named nearly a century ago.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Ballston Apartment Project Update — “Saul anticipates substantial completion of its massive North Glebe Road project by early 2020. The $275 million development will include 490 apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail — small-format Target included — across 2.8 acres.” [Washington Business Journal]

Dim Sum Restaurant Closes in Seven Corners — “Fortune is closed for good. Always an awkward space in the middle of the Home Depot parking lot, but I know it was a special spot for many.” [Twitter]

Lubber Run to Become Smoke-Free — Thanks to a change in state law, Lubber Run Amphitheater could be smoke-free by the end of the year. The state has until now prohibited Arlington County from being able to enforce a smoking ban at the venue. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy David Ruckman

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Morning Notes

Shake Shack, Philz and More Coming to Ballston — “Ballston will beef up its fast-casual restaurant offerings by the end of this year, with Shake Shack, We the Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava all slated to lease space in the newly dubbed Ballston Exchange project. Ballston Exchange, formerly known as Stafford Place I and II, was until 2017 home to the National Science Foundation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Outdoor Lab Squeezed by Rising Enrollment — “A growing student body at the elementary-school level may soon mean there are not enough days in the school year to send the usual cadre of students to the Arlington Outdoor Lab, located in Fauquier County.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Smoker Busted in Falls Church — Falls Church police issued a summons to a 56-year-old Arlington man for smoking in a restaurant in the city. [Falls Church News-Press]

Hamlin Leaving Macedonia Baptist Church — The Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin Sr. is leaving Macedonia Baptist Church in Nauck for a post at the Washington National Cathedral. “To celebrate his 22-year tenure at Macedonia, more than 300 people attended a farewell gala held March 25 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]

Advocates Flock to Open Door Monday — Those seeking more funding in the county budget process flocked to yesterday’s regularly-scheduled Open Door Monday event with County Board member Libby Garvey. Among those bending Garvey’s ear were first responders, who are seeking higher pay, and Arlington Independent Media, which is fighting a proposed budget cut. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr

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Morning Notes

GGW Boosts Gondola — “While [the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola] might not be the one, most important transportation project in the whole region, it’s a worthwhile way to help people reach jobs and shops and reduce single-passenger car trips.” [Greater Greater Washington]

USB E-Cig Banned at APS — “Schools in Arlington, Virginia, have specifically banned a new type of e-cigarette that has gained popularity among local teenagers: the Juul.” [WTOP]

‘Collision’ to Showcase N. Va. Tech — Arlington and Alexandria’s economic development agencies last week “announced their collaboration in showcasing the brightest and emerging startups on a national platform next month at one of the fastest growing tech conferences in the country.” [Alexandria News]

Beyer Unhappy With Military Helo Report — “A 400-page U.S. Army report on military-helicopter noise in the Washington area has failed to satisfy the member of Congress who authored legislative language requiring its compilation.” [InsideNova]

Snow Predicted for Arlington Tonight — “Expect a sloppy mix of precipitation that slowly transitions from rain to sleet to perhaps snow between early Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.” [Capital Weather Gang]

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Vaporfi store opening on Columbia PikeVaporFi, a store selling e-cigarettes and other vaporizers, is planning to open its doors on Columbia Pike on Friday.

The store will sell vaporizers and e-liquids, which come in various flavors including traditional tobacco flavors and more exotic flavors like watermelon mojito or peppermint bark. Customers can also create their own flavors at a “juice bar,” said Scott Parker, a managing partner in the business.

The new store is located at 3219 Columbia Pike, across from the Audi dealership. It’s a locally-owned franchise of VaporFi, a Miami-based retail chain and manufacturer.

“We’re very happy to be in South Arlington, with a great location right on Columbia Pike, an area with tons of traffic,” said Parker. “At the same time, we’re also currently shopping locations in North Arlington as well. We hope to open 15 stores in the next 12 months all over Northern Virginia.”

There are three existing VaporFi locations locally, in Alexandria, Georgetown and Potomac Mills, said Parker, who’s also a partner in two notable Arlington businesses: A-Town Bar and Grill and Don Tito.

The new store will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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As part of its new “Smoke-Free Parks Initiative,” Arlington County has placed ‘no smoking’ signs in more than a dozen county parks.

But while many government signs convey a law — a ‘no littering’ sign, for instance — the new signs have the word “Please” above “No [Smoking],” since Arlington doesn’t actually have the authority to outlaw smoking in parks. Rather than a ban, Arlington is simply asking smokers to voluntarily refrain from smoking within 50 feet of playgrounds, courts, ball fields, pavilions, recreation areas and other “areas of congregation.”

“To the extent possible, it is important for the County to take action to prevent park patrons’ exposure to this dangerous health hazard,” Arlington County explains on its website. “Children may be especially vulnerable, which is why the Smoke-Free Parks Initiative is specifically targeting areas where children congregate.”

To help spur public awareness of the new initiative, the Arlington parks and recreation department is encouraging Facebook fans to post photos of themselves giving a thumbs up in front of the signs. County Board members Mary Hynes, Walter Tejada and Chris Zimmerman are leading by example by being the first to flash a big thumbs up next to the signs (above).

The parks department will also be holding a “Smoke-Free Parks Kickoff” event at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 in Bon Air Park (850 N. Lexington Street). The event is being held in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout.

Currently, the ‘no smoking’ signs are in place at the following parks: Bluemont, Bon Air, Quincy, Barcroft, Virginia Highlands, Long Bridge and Big Walnut, Chestnut Hills, Ft. C.F. Smith, Tuckahoe, Westover, Fields and Lubber Run. More signs are on the way, we’re told.

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Morning Notes

Goldman Sachs Invests in Rosslyn — Investment giant Goldman Sachs has acquired a majority stake in 3 million square feet of office space in Rosslyn. The acquisition includes trophy properties like the gleaming metal-and-glass 1000 and 1100 Wilson Boulevard towers. The office space represents 30 percent of Rosslyn’s 10 million square feet of commercial real estate. [Washington Post, BusinessWire]

County Wants Residents to Stop Smoking in Parks — Arlington’s parks department is planning on politely asking visitors to county parks to refrain from smoking near ballfields, pavilions and playgrounds. The initiative will use signs, not the force of law, to try to get visitors to comply. [Sun Gazette]

Reagan Statue Unveiled at DCA — A 9-foot bronze statue of President Ronald Reagan was unveiled yesterday at the airport that bears his name. The $900,000 statue, located in front of Terminal A of Reagan National Airport, was paid for by the private Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. [Washington Times]

Flickr pool photo by Christaki

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Del. Patrick Hope (D), who represents part of Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, has proposed a bill that would raise taxes on tobacco products to fill several gaps in the state’s Medicaid budget.

The bill would raise the tax on cigarettes from the current $0.015 per cigarette to the national average of $0.0725 per cigarette, or $1.45 per pack. Virginia currently has the lowest cigarette tax in the U.S.

The bill would also raise the tax on snuff and other tobacco products. Cigars would be taxed at 50 percent of the wholesale price, up from 10 percent.

Hope’s legislation would direct 52 percent of the additional tax revenue (estimated at about $250 million) to fund Medicare waivers for intellectual and developmental disabilities. Forty percent of the revenue (about $150 million) would go to Medicaid reimbursement for physicians and hospitals. And 8 percent (about $30 million) would be split among the state tobacco quitline and a youth tobacco prevention program.

“Virginia’s Medicaid budget is on an unsustainable course,” Hope said in a statement. “Cuts to Medicaid only result in higher costs down the road. The sick end up in the hospital and ERs for costly medical procedures and avoidable hospitalizations; and individuals with disabilities wind up in institutions rather than being served in their communities for a fraction of the cost. This proposal will take a significant step in preserving and protecting the Medicaid program for future generations and will fulfill a promise to Virginia’s families.”

What do you think?


Virginia has traditionally been one of the more tobacco-friendly states in the country, making consideration and passage of such a bill an uphill battle. Hope has received public words of encouragement, however, from a number of influential health-related organizations, like the Medical Society of Virginia, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

See the press release prepared by Hope’s office, after the jump.

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