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by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2016 at 10:40 am 0

Shirlington site for land swapArlington County is considering a land swap that would provide more land for ART bus parking and would allow a developer to build a self-storage facility across from Washington-Lee High School.

Arcland Property Company, which owns a swath of industrial land near Shirlington, wants to swap those 3.5 acres for 2.3 acres of the 6.1 acre “Buck property” site across from W-L, which the county has an option to purchase for $30 million.

Arlington, which is already leasing a portion of the Shirlington property for parking, would get an even larger piece of property for its expanding ART bus fleet — it’s expected to grow from 65 to 90 vehicles by 2020 — and would save $4 million in lease payments.

Arcland would get the piece of the Buck property closest to N. Quincy Street, in the Virginia Square area, and would use it for a six-story, 150,000 square foot self-storage facility. (The company also developed the CubeSmart storage facility, which is located adjacent to I-395, next to the land it proposes to swap.)

Neighbors might object to the facility — they objected to a county proposal to use the Buck property for school bus parking — but the property is zoned for light industrial use and the facility could be built by right. The county says it will require tasteful building design as part of a deal.

“The land exchange agreement, if reached, would require high quality architecture from Arcland compatible with the surrounding neighborhood,” the county said in a press release. “The proposed facility must also comply with M-1 (light industrial) zoning regulations including set back and height restrictions, as would any use the County makes of the Shirlington site.”

N. Quincy Street site for land swap

Arcland only expects to use 1.2 acres of the Quincy Street property for the storage facility. The remaining 1.1 acres would be leased back to the county “at below market rate.”

“This is a rare opportunity for the County to secure land in Shirlington, zoned for light industrial use, that could accommodate our growing bus fleet,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “We have a critical need for support facilities, and must make smart, tough decisions about land to meet those needs. If the Board is interested in pursuing this proposal, I will work to shape an agreement with Arcland. I am confident that we can put facilities on these sites that will both serve our community’s needs and allow us to be a good neighbor.”

The deal will be discussed at next month’s Arlington County Board meeting. From the press release:

The proposed exchange, if approved, would take place after November 20, 2017, the date on which the County must exercise its option to purchase the N. Quincy Street site. The land exchange would involve no additional cost beyond the $30 million that the County has already agreed to pay for the N. Quincy Street site.

The Manager plans to seek the Board’s approval to pursue negotiations with Arcland at the Board’s December meeting. If the Board approves negotiations, any agreement that might be reached would come before the Board for consideration in 2017.

Update at 11 a.m. — Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, sent the following email to residents last night regarding the potential deal.

This is a complex issue and there are a lot of potential trade offs. On the plus side, the land swap would end the potential for the County to move the bus depot from Shirlington to the Buck property. But on the down side, it would also limit the County’s ability to use all of the Buck property for other, larger purposes (as the Buck property is also adjacent to Hayes Park, across the street from Washington-Lee High School, etc.).

This seems like its happening fast, but there is still plenty of time for us to better understand what’s going on, and to learn what other trade-offs and potential upsides and downsides there may be. I understand that the next step is for the County Board to talk about whether to further entertain this idea at its December 13 meeting. But I have been told that the Board will not be making a final decision at that meeting.

by ARLnow.com — November 17, 2016 at 10:40 am 0

Following a nearly $1.3 million improvement project, the new Quincy Park is ready for its big day.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the park’s playground and volleyball court, located at 1021 N. Quincy Street near Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School, is scheduled to take place Saturday from 1-2 p.m.

The revamped park features a “universal design” playground — Arlington’s first — with a play environment that’s accessible for users of all ages and physical abilities. Among the amenities are swings, picnic tables, a slide, a “climbing tree” and other play equipment.

The sand volleyball court, located adjacent to the playground, was created with adult after-work sports leagues in mind.

Though the ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for this weekend, the playground and the volleyball court are currently open to the public. Despite some earlier rain, at least a dozen kids and caretakers were taking advantage of the playground and its picnic shelter when ARLnow.com visited Wednesday afternoon.

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

Entrance of new Virginia Square DMV officeThe Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles is getting ready to open its new Metro-accessible DMV location in Virginia Square.

The office, which will supplement the existing Arlington DMV location on Four Mile Run Drive, is set to open on Monday, Nov. 7. (See update, below.)

Located on the ground floor of an office building at 3434 Washington Blvd, the office will offer all DMV services with the exception of road tests.

Update on 11/7/16 — The DMV is now not expected to open until Wednesday, Nov. 9. From the Virginia DMV’s Twitter account:

by ARLnow.com — October 26, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Here’s a public service announcement, inspired by this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report: if you’re driving a stolen car, the least you can do is refrain from driving it while drunk.

An Ohio woman was arrested near the Virginia Square Metro station early Monday morning for allegedly doing just that.

RECOVERED STOLEN AUTO, 161024006, 3700 block of N. Fairfax Drive. At approximately 2:32 a.m. on October 24, an officer conducted a routine traffic stop. Upon investigation, it was determined that the vehicle was reported stolen. Maureen Elizabeth Burke, 22, of Xenia, Ohio, was arrested and charged with grand larceny auto and driving while intoxicated. She is being held without bond.

The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — October 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm 0

Arlington County joint facilities presentation

(Updated at 6:25 p.m.) Arlington County is in desperate need of more land for schools and for county government operations. But a plan to acquire an office park across the street from Washington-Lee High School and use it for school bus parking is meeting with community opposition.

The county is planning to spend $30 million acquiring the Quincy Street Technology Center, also known as the Buck property, a 6.1 acre office park zoned primarily for commercial and light industrial uses. Located adjacent to N. Quincy Street and I-66 in the Virginia Square area, the property also partially borders a residential neighborhood.

In a joint County Board-School Board work session earlier this month, Arlington County staff laid out the case for the moving the Arlington Public Schools school bus operations from the Trades Center near Shirlington to the Buck site.

The Buck property is in a central location, near the school administrative building and has the space to accommodate current APS bus parking needs, unlike the increasingly crowded Trades Center, where growth has exceeded capacity. (Thanks to rising enrollment, APS has added 40 new school buses in the past 5 years.)

The Buck property would at first be used for temporary bus parking, then would be considered for a permanent APS bus parking, operations and dispatch center, with a new vehicle wash and fueling station, according to the staff presentation. Other potential uses of the property include temporary overflow parking for Washington-Lee, police and fire reserve vehicle storage, APS office use and a permanent Office of Emergency Management and Emergency Operations Center facility.

In response, some nearby residents have created a petition against the bus proposal. The petition, entitled “The Buck Stops Here,” has more than 100 signatures.

Here’s what the petition says:

Again, Arlington County is barreling ahead with a project impacting a neighborhood without consulting nearby residents. This is a disturbing trend that demands a strong voice from Arlington citizens.

The county is proceeding with a plan to purchase the Buck tract on N. Quincy Street for $30 million (more than $6 million over the 2016 tax assessment) and redevelop the property for, no doubt, tens of millions more – all for a bus parking lot and repair facility.

We do not object to the redevelopment of this ideally-located tract but the placement of an industrial site directly adjoining an existing residential neighborhood is unprecedented in Arlington and bodes ominously for other neighborhoods.

They have proceeded without consulting the adjacent neighborhood and have kept Arlington citizens at-large in the dark about their planning. We have repeatedly asked for a seat in their discussions but have been denied at every turn.

It’s time for Arlington citizens to demand a return to the “Arlington Way” and stop the Buck tract before your neighborhood is next.

The petition, we’re told, is also “‘trending’ across nine Arlington neighborhoods” via Nextdoor, an online social network.

“This is sadly reminiscent of the recent instances of Arlington citizens rising up against the planning without consultation with the [H-B Woodlawn] relocation, the TJ parking lot, the Lee Hwy firehouse, and plopping a temporary firehouse on the green grass of Rhodeside Green Park, along with a growing number of other attempts at action without consulting neighborhoods,” Dennis Whitehead, a resident who lives near the Buck site, told ARLnow.com.

Arlington County joint facilities presentationDespite the insistence that the county is “barreling ahead” with the project, the county’s acquisition of the Buck property may not close for another year, and the county says it’s committed to a community process prior to determining its permanent uses for the property.

The proposal may be discussed tonight (Tuesday) at a meeting in Courthouse. The public meeting, intended to review community input regarding a new joint county-schools facilities advisory committee that’s being planned, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Navy League Building (2300 Wilson Blvd).

That committee, which will follow up on the Community Facilities Study that wrapped up around this time last year (but is still the subject of meetings), will also be considering uses for other county-owned or potentially county-owned properties, including:

  • A 11.5 acre Virginia Hospital Center property along S. Carlin Springs Road, which could potentially be used for police and fire vehicle logistics, a new police impound lot, material staging and for the Office of Emergency Management/Emergency Operations Center.
  • County-owned land at the intersection of 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive, across from Marymount University, which currently includes a park, a mulch pile and a salt dome. The park will be preserved but the county wants to replace the aging salt dome and use some of the land for snow clearing operations and material storage.
  • Madison Community Center, though no specific additional uses were presented.
  • Clarendon House, a vacant former rehabilitation center at the intersection of N. Irving Street and 10th Street N.

Another joint County Board-School Board meeting, on recommendations from the Community Facilities Study, is planned for Nov. 1 at 6 p.m.

by ARLnow.com — October 7, 2016 at 10:05 am 0

The Staples store at 3804 Wilson Blvd in Virginia Square is slated for redevelopment, though the plans are still in the early stages.

Schupp Companies presented a plan to build a hotel on the site to the Ashton Heights Civic Association last month.

“My understanding is that the redevelopment would also replace the apartments on that side of N. Oakland [Street],” said a resident who was in attendance.

Ray Schupp said the exact details are still fluid and that his company will be working with residents to craft the plan.

“We have not decided exactly what we’ll do with the site,” Schupp told ARLnow.com. “We are exploring several options including a hotel. That being said we have been extremely pleased with the reception of the community to our new Hyatt hotel at Courthouse.”

“We will be working with the County staff and the neighbors on solutions to the Staples site,” Schupp continued. “Just as we developed a close relationship with Lyon Village homeowners and reached a win-win solution to the Courthouse site… we will work with the community and staff on this.”

Plans should begin to firm up within 3-4 months, said Schupp.

by ARLnow.com — September 27, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association were given an early look at two new developments planned for the community over the next few years.

The first, from Reston-based developer NVR, would redevelop Grace Community Church and its surface parking lot at the intersection of 11th Street and N. Vermont Street in Ballston.

The 40-year-old church, which is used by Grace for meetings but not for Sunday services, would be replaced by a seven-story condo building and a block of four-story townhouses. A series of townhomes and a private driveway is planned for the parking lot.

The developers described the project as “a relatively modest in-fill development” that’s in keeping with the “urban townhouse” neighborhood that surrounds it. The development, like the neighborhood, tapers from the towers of central Ballston to the south to the lower-density townhomes and condos to the north.

Officials from NVR said the plans are preliminary and have not yet been filed with the county.

Also at Monday’s civic association meeting, local developer Eleventh Street Development presented early plans for a new apartment building in Virginia Square.

The proposed six-story, 220-unit rental complex, at the intersection of Kirkwood Road and Washington Blvd, would replace the closed Sport & Health gym, the Slye Electronics building and an automotive business.

Developer Garrett Erdle, who previously helped to develop Penrose Square on Columbia Pike, told residents that the building is at least three years away, following “a structured and lengthy” regulatory process.

Before a site plan process for the building can start, the county and its Long Range Planning Committee is expected to discuss land use planning for the parcel and the area as a whole. The special General Land Use Plan study that the development will first go through is expected to take about a year.

Residents at the meeting expressed concerns about the height of the building, parking along their already-crowded streets and a potential lack of public green space in front of the building. The developer responded that the proposal for the building is in the very early stages and that they will take public feedback into account throughout the process.

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm 0

Police standoff in Virginia Square (courtesy photo)

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A reported standoff with an armed man near the Virginia Square Metro station ended peacefully this afternoon.

The standoff was said to be taking place in an apartment tower on the 900 block of N. Pollard Street. Police said the man was making threats and was in possession of multiple loaded firearms.

A police spokeswoman described it as a “fluid situation,” with officers “taking an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety.”

While police took defensive positions down the hall from the man’s apartment, he was spotted outside the Starbucks near the Metro station. As it turns out, the man had left his apartment prior to police arriving. Officers talked with the man, who was said to be calm and mostly cooperative.

At 4 p.m., police said the situation was “safely resolved” and the man was “being referred to County services.”

During the standoff Pollard Street was closed to traffic and police advised people to avoid the area. One nearby resident told us that heavily-armed officers had the apartment building “locked down.”

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — July 27, 2016 at 4:40 pm 0

Update at 6:55 p.m. — The leak has been stopped and ACFD units have now left the scene.

Arlington County firefighters are on the scene of a major gas leak in the Virginia Square area.

Initial reports suggest that construction crews at the Latitude Apartments site, on the 3600 block of Fairfax Drive, across from the Metro station, hit and severed a three-inch gas line.

Police were called to the scene to block traffic around the gas leak.

by ARLnow.com — July 13, 2016 at 5:00 pm 0

Anyone walking to or from the Virginia Square Metro station may see this curious sight just across Fairfax Drive from the station entrance.

The patio of an under construction apartment building is seemingly being built around a streetlight and traffic signal pole.

So what’s going on here, asks an ARLnow.com reader?

The photo shows the Latitude Apartments on the 3600 block of Fairfax Drive, first approved by the County Board in 2013 and expected to open later this summer, according to its website. County officials say the pole will eventually be moved at the developer’s expense.

“The pole is going to be relocated as part of the private developer’s site plan,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “The developer’s contractor chose to move the pole later on during construction.”

by ARLnow.com — May 27, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Police car (file photo)A woman walking down the street in Virginia Square Wednesday night was grabbed by a stranger who reached underneath her dress.

The man grabbed the woman’s underwear, then fled the scene. A police dog attempted to track the suspect down but lost his scent.

From an Arlington County Police crime report:

SEXUAL BATTERY, 160525052, 3800 block of N. Fairfax Drive. At approximately 10:45 p.m., a female victim was walking down the street when an unknown male subject reached his hand underneath her dress and grabbed her underwear. The subject fled the scene on foot and a K9 track in the area was negative. The subject is described at a black male, 20-30 years old, approximately 6ft tall with an average build.

Also Wednesday evening, a 19-year-old Arlington man was charged with being drunk in public, having a fake ID and attempting to bribe the officer who was taking him to jail.

ATTEMPT TO COMMIT BRIBERY OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, 160525042, 4900 block of N. Lee Highway. At approximately 5:27 p.m., officers were dispatched to the report of an intoxicated male subject. When the officers arrived, the subject provided them with a false identification. During transport to booking, the subject became agitated and offered to pay the officer to allow him to leave without charges. Ryan McNulty, 19, of Arlington VA was charged with Attempt to Commit Bribery, Possession of a Fictitious license (x2), Provide False ID to Avoid Arrest, Underage Consumption of Alcohol and Drunk in Public.

by Jackie Friedman — May 25, 2016 at 11:05 am 0

Lawn Chair Talks graphicIt’s finally going to feel like May today, with the temperature nearing 90 degrees — just in time for some outdoor chocolate sampling.

Arlington Cultural Affairs and BizLaunch are hosting a “lawn chair talk” tonight with chocolatier Jason Andelman, of Artisan Confections in Clarendon, and artist Molly Springfield.

The event is being held from 6-8 p.m. at the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square (3550 Wilson Blvd).

Andelman and Springfield will be discussing their methods and how they got their start in art and business. Chocolate samples and light refreshments will be provided. Admission is free, but registration is required.

by ARLnow.com — April 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm 0

Testy-Fest-2016-Logo-FBThe ever-popular Montana State Society Testicle Festival is only two weeks away.

Now in its 12th year, the festival is taking place from 6-11 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. As usual, it’s being held at the American Legion hall at 3445 Washington Blvd, in Virginia Square.

The event is, of course, all about the all-you-can-eat Rocky Mountain Oysters, but for those who aren’t fans of “swinging beef” — also known as “cowboy caviar” or “Montana tendergroins” — there are other options thanks to food trucks that will be parked behind the hall. And then there’s the beer and Crown Royal.

Here’s how the pun masters at the Montana State Society are promoting their big day.

You’d be NUTS to miss this! The Montana State Society would like to invite you to have a ball (literally!) at the 12th annual D.C. Testy Fest – “Members Only” – to be held from 6:00PM – 11:00PM on Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at the Arlington American Legion.

Last year over 600 people flocked to the event to enjoy live music provided by the Wil Gravatt Band and graze on all-you-can-eat Rocky Mountain Oysters! Thirsty? Wash them down with a limitless supply of Crown Royal (A.K.A liquid courage) & beer – all for the bargain price of $25 bucks! While the theme this year is “Members Only,” all are welcome at this great event.

Our Rocky Mountain Oysters are prepared by legendary chef Frank McGraw, and shipped fresh from the Rock Creek Lodge in Western Montana. Not your ‘bag’? Don’t worry baby! We will have food trucks there selling delicious grub. Get there early, the first guests will also get a T-Shirt to forever memorialize the event.

What: 12th Annual DC Testicle Festival “Members Only”
When: Saturday, May 14th 2016, 6:00PM – 11:00PM
Where: Arlington American Legion, 3445 N. Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA (metro accessible via Virginia Square or Clarendon stations)
TICKETS: $25 online OR $30 at the door. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2540264
**MUST BE 21+ years of age!

Prepare to go Ballistic! For more information and to see all of your friends who are attending please visit our Facebook page for the event! https://www.facebook.com/events/104383383301895

by ARLnow.com — April 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

Yaser Mansour Alio (photo courtesy ACPD)A 35-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly exposing himself to a woman who was oblivious to the whole thing.

The incident happened just after noon on Tuesday, on the 3700 block of Wilson Blvd in Virginia Square.

Police say a man was following a woman down the street, exposing his genitals to her. The only problem: she didn’t notice. A man who did notice the indecent exposure came over and alerted the woman, who called police.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 160412028, 3700 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 12:03 p.m. on April 12, a male witnessed a male subject following a female victim and exposing his genitals to her. Yaser Mansour Alio, 35, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. He is being held without bond.

Also on Wednesday, a man was robbed at knifepoint by two suspects as he was leaving a building.

The incident happened around 10:40 a.m. on the 6100 block of Wilson Blvd, near Seven Corners.

Police are still investigating the the brazen, broad daylight robbery, during which one of the suspects held a knife to the victim’s throat. At one point the man tried to flee and had his hand slashed by the knife-wielding suspect, police said.

ROBBERY, 160412025, 6100 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 10:40 a.m. on April 12, two unknown subjects approached a male from behind and held a knife to his throat. When the victim attempted to flee, his hand was cut with the knife. The subjects fled the scene with the victims backpack. The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’0″ tall. He was wearing a black hoodie and black pants. The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’0″ tall. He was wearing a blue hoodie, jeans, and white shoes.

On Wednesday afternoon, meanwhile, a Dumfries man was arrested in Clarendon for allegedly brandishing a gun while driving.

The gun brandishing was observed by a police officer, who at first thought the man was threatening her. She called for backup and then conducted a traffic stop.

The man said he was not brandishing the gun at the officer, but rather at the car behind him, which was following too closely, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. He was charged with brandishing a firearm near a school — since the New Directions school was located less than 1,000 feet away, on the 2800 block of Wilson Blvd, Savage said.

BRANDISHING FIREARM NEAR SCHOOL, 160412032, 3000 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 2:45 p.m. on April 12, while on patrol, an officer observed a male subject brandish a firearm in his vehicle near school property. Jeffrey M. Volan, 36, of Dumfries VA, was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm near a school. He was held on an unsecured bond.

by ARLnow.com — April 1, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

The new Conte’s Bike Shop in Virginia Square quietly opened for business last week.

The store, at 3449 Wilson Blvd, is awaiting some additional window signage and product inventory before holding its grand opening.

Located between two other well-established bike shops along the Orange Line corridor — Freshbikes in Ballston and Revolution Cycles in Clarendon — Conte’s hopes to compete on selection, price and service.

Conte’s is primarily a dealer of bicycles from Giant, the world’s largest bike manufacturer. The store also offers Liv bikes, Giant’s brand aimed at female cyclists, and BMC bikes.

Revolution, by contrast, is primarily a Trek and Felt dealer, while Freshbikes offers brands like Cannondale, Specialized, Cervelo, Santa Cruz and others. It’s not dissimilar to there being a number of car dealerships offering different makes of cars along a given corridor.

It’s a return to Arlington for Conte’s, which previously lent its name to what its now Freshbikes. About five years ago Conte’s decided to stop franchising and the store at 3924 Wilson Blvd was renamed in 2011. Co-owner and store manager Charles Conte called Freshbikes and Revolution “great” stores, but said he’s looking forward to serving Arlington again.

“We create a level of professionalism in the marketplace that will give customers another choice,” he told ARLnow.com Friday. “There are too many people who cycle in this community without having enough choices.”

Conte’s, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, has seven other stores throughout Virginia, including one that opened at 7121 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church a few months ago. Conte said “several” new stores are in the works, but declined to provide additional details.

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