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New Bike Lanes Proposed to Connect Lee Highway to N. Glebe Road

Some new bike lanes and other road improvements could soon be on the way for N. Woodstock Street as it runs between Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road.

County officials are circulating some new designs for the road, which primarily runs through the Waverly Hills neighborhood, ahead of some paving work kicking off later this summer.

The county currently has a community survey open on possible designs for the retooled street, including the addition of bike lanes in each direction and some new traffic calming measures to bring down speeds on the road.

Officials also plan to add new, high-visibility crosswalks where the road meets both 20th Road N. and N. Glebe Road, as the county embarks on the wholesale replacement of brick crosswalks in favor of reflective plastic markings.

The work also calls for the removal of several “outdated medians” to help facilitate the construction of the bike lanes, without requiring any change in on-street parking or traffic patterns.

“Adding bike lane markings rather than having un-utilized pavement (previously occupied by medians) will also serve as a traffic calming measure to keep vehicle speeds low and encourage safer movements,” the county wrote in the survey.

The survey is set to close to respondents tomorrow (July 31).

Photo 1 via Google Maps

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Heavy Rain Prompts Severe Flooding in Waverly Hills, Residents Plead for County Help

(Updated at 6 p.m.) The relentless rain soaking Arlington is prompting some serious flooding in the Waverly Hills neighborhood, and now people living there are pressing the county for help.

Tom Reich, a longtime homeowner in the area, told ARLnow that many of his neighbors along the 4000 block of 18th Street N. experienced serious flooding starting two weeks ago, on May 22. He also sent along the above video, showing water reaching high enough to partially submerge some cars parked on 18th Street N. and carry away some recycling bins.

“Many houses had their garages, basements, and cars flooded, sustaining many thousands of dollars in damage,” Reich wrote in an email.

Reich added that similar floods have plagued the neighborhood several times over the years — in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2013 — and the Waverly Hills Civic Association convened a meeting on May 31 with county officials to address the problem. Reich says many residents urged the county to construct stormwater management improvements, but they didn’t get much in the way of good news on that front.

“The upshot was that the county told us our need is real and acute, but the money is not currently there in the capital budget to execute the projects,” Reich wrote. “Needless to say, the Waverly Hills residents are now in the beginning stage of a campaign to highlight the threat to our homes presented by the county’s failure to act on its own plan.”

Reich points out that a variety of projects designed to manage flooding in the Spout Run watershed, where the neighborhood is located, have gone unfunded in recent years.

The county’s Capital Improvement Plan passed ahead of fiscal year 2013 included funding for four different sewer projects in the area — but Reich says those were never completed and the next CIP, passed by the County Board two years later, includes no mention of them.

County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed CIP, which details construction projects running from fiscal year 2019 through 2028, also includes some funding for stormwater management in other parts of the county, but Reich and his neighbors are frustrated that the spending plan doesn’t call for more construction around Waverly Hills.

Staff with the county’s Department of Environmental Services completed preliminary work on the projects Reich referenced after the 2006 flooding, according to county spokeswoman Jennifer Smith. Yet she says that work “identified significant challenges and costs to upgrade the system, as the current system traverses more than a dozen private properties.”

DES spokeswoman Katie O’Brien adding that the county is “still pursuing” those projects, yet noted that “technical challenges and funding remain an issue.”

Schwartz has certainly warned of the county’s fiscal challenges as he’s unveiled this year’s construction plan, thanks to Arlington’s increasing obligations to fund the Metro system and shrinking commercial tax revenues.

However, Smith would caution that “while greater capacity in the storm sewer would alleviate flooding concerns, there is no system which can guarantee elimination of flood risk to flood-prone properties.”

Video via YouTube

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Jon David Salon Plans Second Arlington Location Along Lee Highway

Jon David Salon is planning to open another location in Arlington, with a second salon slated for the Lee Heights Shops along Lee Highway.

The company said last month that it’s hoping to open the new location sometime this fall.

The salon will take the place of furniture store Random Harvest at 4522 Lee Highway, between a Starbucks and a Chipotle. Random Harvest closed up shop just before the start of 2018.

Jon David is planning on hosting a cosmetology school known as “Hair Tech Institute” at the new salon. Classes for aspiring stylists are set to start on Sept. 4.

The company currently operates another salon in Courthouse along Wilson Boulevard, as well as locations in Clifton and Springfield.

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Civic Groups Plan Meeting on Potential Cherrydale Senior Living Center

A new senior living center could be coming to Cherrydale on a property along Lee Highway.

McLean-based Artis Senior Living is considering building a new facility on the north side of Lee Highway near the intersection with N. Taylor Street. Representatives intend to bring some development ideas to an April 26 community meeting convened by several civic associations.

The Lee Highway Alliance will play host to that gathering at its headquarters (4620 Lee Highway) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (April 26), and the Cherrydale and Waverly Hills Civic Associations will help coordinate the discussion.

Sandra Chesrown, president of the Lee Highway Alliance and vice president of the Waverly Hills Civic Association, says Artis has yet to divulge many details of what the new facility might look like so it can first hear the community’s concerns.

Indeed, county real estate records show that Artis, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has yet to even buy the 2.7-acre property.

A message sent out on the Cherrydale Civic Association listserv suggested that Artis is considering a “seven-story, 184-room assisted living residence” on the property.

“The facility would allow Cherrydalers and their family members to age right in our neighborhood,” the message read. “It would have a sizable workforce. There might be some issues with parking. We certainly want it to be welcome addition to the neighborhood.”

Made up of five separate parcels of land along the 4300 block of Lee Highway, the property was owned for decades by Louis Courembis, records show. Courembis transferred those parcels to William Murray, a local estate attorney, in September 2015, and the county hasn’t recorded any other sale of the land. Murray did not respond to a request for comment.

The property is currently home to a single-family house and several other structures. All of the land is valued quite highly — county assessments pegged one parcel as worth nearly $3.5 million in 2018, while the other four are assessed from $687,000 to $880,000.

Photo via Google Maps

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Cassatt’s Café Updates Menu, Hires New Executive Chef

Cassatt’s Café, the New Zealand bistro at 4536 Lee Highway, is rolling out a new dinner menu today.

The restaurant is introducing new dishes with ingredients and preparations from other parts of the globe, which will be offered in addition to the usual New Zealand classics. Behind the additions is a new executive chef, Evan Synder.

Synder has cooked at several local restaurants, including the French-Belgian restaurant Marcel’s in Washington, and Volt in Frederick, Md. The Le Cordon Bleu, Orlando, graduate most recently worked as the sous chef at Jose Andrés’ FISH at the MGM casino in Oxon Hill, Md., according to a press release.

“Dishes like Charred Cucumber with Mint, Dill Yogurt & Casovertrano Vin speak to Chef Snyder’s appreciation of Middle Eastern cuisine (specifically Israeli food) and personal love of bold flavors,” said the press release. Other new, less-than-Kiwi menu items include a $16 octopus shawarma dish and a $14 haloumi cheese plate.

The rollout of the new menu is happening on Waitangi Day, a significant New Zealand holiday celebrated annually on Feb. 6.

The restaurant, named after American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, has been in business for 15 years. It is located in the Lee Heights Shops.

Photos courtesy Cassatt’s Cafe

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Beware the Hole in This North Arlington Road

A big hole on the side of a road in the Waverly Hills neighborhood has been damaging cars that fail to steer around it.

At least one car was disabled and more damaged by the hole, according to police scanner traffic. No damaged cars were seen when an ARLnow.com reporter stopped by later in the day.

Located at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Woodstock Street, the hole appears to have been cut as part of road, curb and sidewalk work along Woodstock Street. While there are orange traffic cones around it, cars turning onto the residential street seem to have trouble squeezing by the hole when another is waiting at the stop sign to turn onto Glebe.

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No Water, Traffic Delays on N. Glebe Road for Emergency Water Main Repairs

Some residents in Waverly Hills could experience water outages and traffic delays while crews carry out emergency water main repairs.

Crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services are out on N. Glebe Road between 18th Street N. and 19th Street N. making the emergency repairs, near Glebe Elementary School.

In a tweet, DES staff said water service for 50-100 customers in the area will be affected, and that N. Glebe Road will be partially closed. Repairs are expected to be completed by 8 p.m. tonight (Tuesday).

Image via Google Maps.

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Morning Notes

Mural on back of building in Courthouse

Waverly Hills Profiled By WaPo — In a profile of Waverly Hills, residents call the north Arlington neighborhood — which features kids walking to school, a variety of house sizes and plenty of tree cover — “very storybook” with a “really strong sense of community.” [Washington Post]

Go-Go Concert in Arlington Tonight — The Church at Clarendon tonight will host a world premiere performance of “JuJu Symphony” and “Down With You” by the Go-Go Symphony. The event, which mixes go-go and classical music styles, is scheduled from 8-9:30 p.m. [ARLnow, Washington City Paper]

Arlington Factors Into FC Development Editorial — The City of Falls Church must allow more development so it doesn’t have to raise taxes, which would in turn increase the likelihood that it would eventually get absorbed into Arlington or Fairfax. So says an editorial that also notes: “we’ve suspected on more than a few occasions powerful interests based outside our Little City have sought to meddle in our politics to the nefarious end of forcing us to give up our autonomy.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Nearby: Dairy Godmother Has Closed — Beloved Del Ray custard shop Dairy Godmother will not reopen from its winter sabbatical, the store announced yesterday. [Washington Business Journal, Dairy Godmother]

It’s Friday the 13th — But that doesn’t matter. [Vox]

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BREAKING: ACFD Battles Apartment Fire on Lee Highway, Rescues Dog

(Updated at 1 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters battled a fire in an apartment building on Lee Highway today (Tuesday) and rescued a dog in the process.

The fire was reported just after noon on the third floor — the top floor — of the apartments at 4356 Lee Highway, just east of the Lee Heights Shops in the Waverly Hills neighborhood.

The fire was on a balcony in the rear of the building, according to scanner reports, and had also spread to the ceiling of the units below.

As of 12:25 p.m., the fire department reported that the fire was out. No injuries were reported, though a dog was rescued from one of the apartments.

County road crews were called in after the fire was out to spread salt on portions of the roadway that had been drenched with water from the firefighting effort.

https://twitter.com/ACFDPIO/status/818878637575389185

Photos (top) courtesy @DeborahE5, David Johnson, Andrew Pang/DC Metro Fire Photographers

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Crime Report: Armed Robbery in Bluemont

Arlington County police carA man with a gun robbed a couple of people on N. George Mason Drive in the Bluemont neighborhood yesterday evening.

The crime happened close to the entrance to the Bluemont Junction Trail. Attempts by police to find the suspect were unsuccessful.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 161004036, 700 block of  N. George Mason Drive. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on October 4, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery. When on scene it was determined that a male subject approached the victims, brandished a firearm, and demanded money. The suspect then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. A K-9 track was attempted with negative results due to the amount of pedestrian traffic in the area. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ tall and weighed 225 lbs. He was wearing a blue t-shirt, dark pants, and had dreadlocks.

Also in this week’s crime report, a man with a gun was able to detain a suspect who allegedly broke into his Waverly Hills home and stole booze from his refrigerator.

BURGLARY, 160929016, 4300 block of N. Old Dominion Drive. At approximately 10:03 a.m. on September 29, officers responded to the report of a fight in progress involving a firearm. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male victim witnessed a male subject exit his apartment through a window. The victim retrieved his firearm, chased the subject and was able to hold down the subject until officers arrived on scene. The firearm was not discharged and there were no injuries. It was later learned that the suspect took alcohol from the victim’s fridge. Ben Houssen, 39, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with burglary, grand larceny, and identity theft. He 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.

ARMED ROBBERY, 161004041, 1100 block of S. Rolfe Street. At approximately 8:11 p.m. on October 4, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery that just occurred. When on scene it was determined that two male subjects approached two female victims, one subject brandished a firearm. Following a brief struggle, one of the victims purses was stolen. The suspects fled the scene in an unknown location. The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’2″ tall and weighed 180 lbs. He was wearing a dark blue hoodie, black jeans, and dark shoes. The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’10” tall and weighed 170 lbs. He was wearing a black fleece jacket, dark jeans, and a ski mask.

ARMED ROBBERY, 162003001, 4100 block of S. Columbia Pike. At approximately 12:10 a.m. on October 3, officers responded to the report of a late armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male victim was approached from behind by a male suspect who brandished a knife and demanded money. The suspect then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ tall with a slim build. He had a black ponytail and goatee.

LATE EXPOSURE, 161003020, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 4:30 p.m. on October 2, an unknown male subject exposed his genitals to a female victim. The suspect is described as a black male in his thirties, approximately 6’2″ tall. He was wearing a gray sweater, light gray hat, and black pants.

GRAND LARCENY(significant), 1601002040, 1300 block of N. Veitch Street. At approximately 4:52 p.m. on October 2, officers responded to the report of stolen bicycles. Upon arrival, officers located and arrested three juvenile suspects each in possession of stolen bikes from the area. Warrants are being obtained and the investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 160930008, 900 block of N. Lebanon Street. Between 3:00 p.m. on September 29 and 8:30 a.m. on September 30, an unknown subject(s) entered several unlocked vehicles in the area and rummaged through items. Nothing appeared to be stolen. There is no suspect(s) description.

BREAKING & ENTERING, 161002016, 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 3:52 a.m. on October 2, officers responded to the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival it was determined that a female subject entered a residence and damaged a door and door jam. The subject then moved outside to a vehicle and smashed the windshields and slashed the tires. Tiffany Mason, 28, of Annapolis MD, was arrested and charged with destruction of property and breaking and entering. She is being held on no bond.

COMMERCIAL BURGLARY, GLA, 160928019, unit block of N. Glebe Road. At 10:19 a.m. on September 28, officers responded to the report of a burglary. The reporting party arrived at work to find the sliding glass doors to the business broken and the business ransacked. Investigation revealed that four (4) vehicles had been stolen from the sales lot along with numerous items of value. There is no suspect(s) description.

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Downed High-Voltage Line Sparks Car Fire on Lorcom Lane

Smoke from a car fire on Lorcom Lane (photo courtesy Sophie Pyle)Update at 2:20 p.m. — The scene is being cleared and nearby roads are being reopened.

Firefighters are on the scene of downed wires and a car fire near the intersection of Lorcom Lane and Lee Highway in Waverly Hills.

A high voltage line came down on top of six cars around noon, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. At least one of the cars caught fire and smoke from the blaze could be seen from as far away as Ballston.

Video (below) show the smoke and fire coming from what appears to be a small parking lot next to an apartment building.

It’s unclear if anyone was inside the cars when the power lines came down, but no injuries have been reported. No word yet on what caused the wires to come down.

Firefighters were unable to douse the flames with water due to the live wires, Marchegiani said. A Department of Defense foam tanker was dispatched to the scene in order to extinguish the fire, according to scanner traffic.

A Dominion Power crew has arrived on the scene and will be working to shut off power to the lines.

Northbound Lorcom Lane is currently closed between Old Dominion Drive and Lee Highway due to the fire department activity. Police are planning on closing two lanes of Old Dominion at Lorcom, according to scanner traffic.

Photo (top) courtesy Sophie Pyle

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BREAKING: Bank Robbery on Lee Highway

(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Arlington County Police are on the scene of a reported bank robbery in the Waverly Hills neighborhood.

The robbery was reported around 5:00 p.m. at the Capital One Bank, at 4700 Lee Highway.

Initial reports suggest a man dressed in all black and armed with scissors robbed the bank and ran off with cash. He was last seen heading westbound on Lee Highway.

The man had a t-shirt wrapped around his face during the robbery, according to scanner reports. He was reportedly wearing a black shirt, black pants and white socks with holes in them, but no shoes.

A witness, Bryan Hudzina, was walking his dog in the area at the time of the robbery. He told ARLnow.com that he saw the man run by him, behind the bank.

“As I’m walking… we turn around at the corner of the back of the bank [and see] a gentleman wearing all black, covered face, carrying something,” Hudzina said. “[He] ran to the side of me and headed down toward the back side of the buildings.”

Police officers and K-9 units are searching the surrounding neighborhoods for the suspect. Detectives are talking to employees and witnesses, and processing evidence at the bank.

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Progressive Voice: Waverly Hills, A Success Story

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Ginger BrownAs Arlington faces challenges that are not easy to resolve, it is important to take note of a recent success story about Arlingtonians working together to build consensus around a dynamic vision for the future of a neighborhood.

During a two-year process driven by resident input and feedback, the Waverly Hills Civic Association (WHCA) developed the Waverly Hills Neighborhood Conservation Plan (NCP) — a document that fosters a more closely knit community, identifies citizen-driven capital improvement projects, and lays out a dynamic vision for the future of our neighborhood.

Last Saturday, the WHCA’s hard work resulted in a unanimous vote by the Arlington County Board to approve the NCP. The WHCA members’ consensus building efforts are a testament to the power of grassroots, citizen-led planning and to the trust placed by the County in the NCP process as a way to improve neighborhoods and help them thrive.

The creation of the WHCA’s NCP was an exercise in community building. Different generations with varying needs came together to forge an updated vision for Waverly Hills. All of us who participated received an education about the neighborhood’s rich history, its connections to Lee Highway, and its perceived strengths and weaknesses. Long-time residents listened to the concerns of newcomers, and vice versa. Neighborhood residents built shared understanding and trust through well-attended brunches, bake sales, and happy hours.

Through its process, the WHCA identified several capital improvement projects that would be beneficial to the neighborhood and around which consensus had developed, focused principally on Woodstock Park and pedestrian safety.

Woodstock Park — like most parks in Arlington — is a valuable resource. WHCA reached a consensus that the park should be more than just a children’s play area; it should be place for all ages to enjoy. A section of the park was identified as a top-priority capital improvement project, which will result in the addition of recreational uses primarily for adults such as a formal garden area for reading, chess tables, and a place for yoga classes.

The WHCA NCP also included spending recommendations for sidewalks and other pedestrian safety projects. Waverly Hills is within walking distance of Lee Highway and Ballston, both of which are major transportation and shopping hubs. We are also proximate to three schools — Glebe Elementary, Washington-Lee High School and the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program — that are experiencing the capacity challenges that come with increased enrollment. Because sidewalks are expensive, the WHCA prioritized projects that connect residents to transit, shopping, schools, and parks.

The WHCA NCP also addresses critical issues confronting seniors in our community. Seventy percent of Waverly Hills’ residents expect to retire in the neighborhood. This has prompted a community goal of creating a comprehensive aging-in-place strategy, including supporting the “Villages” concept, expanding senior housing options so that seniors can stay in the neighborhood, and ensuring that the local hospital has the capacity to keep up with the coming wave of healthcare demands.

This vision for Waverly Hills is ambitious, but it is also workable and affordable. Hopefully, the successful implementation of the NCP will help create bonds within the neighborhood and restore faith in the ability of Arlingtonians to work together in a fiscally responsible manner to enhance the quality of life for our residents and to improve a neighborhood that is rich in history and tradition.

Ginger Brown is the immediate past president of the Waverly Hills Civic Association. She is a co-founder of the Lee Highway Alliance and currently serves on the Arlington County Planning Commission.

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Board Approves Resident Plan for Future of Waverly Hills

Woodstock Park (photo via Google Maps)The residents of the Waverly Hills neighborhood in North Arlington want more mixed-use development and to be able to age in place, according to the community’s just-approved Neighborhood Conservation plan.

Waverly Hill is the area north of I-66, south of Lee Highway between N. Glebe Road and Utah Street. According to a survey of almost 400 residents in the 3,800-person neighborhood, 70 percent of Waverly Hills residents want to retire in the neighborhood.

“Seventy percent is a very large number, and I don’t want to say we’re transient, but there are a lot of people that come and go from Arlington,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. “It shows how many people like it enough to suggest that they want to live their whole life here and take advantage of the services into retirement.”

The County Board approved the new neighborhood conservation plan, which includes a request to implement a master plan for Woodstock Park (pictured), which would include a vision for future improvements. The County Board approved a $644,000 renovation for the park in June, which will include a new playground and basketball court, under construction now.

County Board members said they expect the update to the NC plan for the community to serve as a model for other civic associations, both with a focus on aging in place and the update’s thoroughness; according to the county’s press release, the civic association spent more than 1,000 hours on the process.

“This plan gives us an inclusive outline for preserving our livable community while addressing the concerns of our residents,” Michael Polovina, president of the Waverly Hills Civic Association, said in the release. “We are very proud to have accomplished this revisioning after a process that took several years to complete. The next 15 years look very bright for Waverly Hills.”

Other priorities for the update include facilitating mixed-use development along Lee Highway and Glebe Road, with nods to affordable, senior accessible housing. The neighborhood also requests a sidewalk on 20th Road N. adjacent to N. Utah Street and further pedestrian improvements for walking to nearby schools like Washington-Lee High School and Glebe Elementary.

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Six Neighborhood Improvement Projects Could Secure Funding

arlington-va-logoThe Arlington County Board could approve another round of neighborhood improvement projects at its meeting this Saturday.

Six projects are slated to receive $3.5 million in funding in the fourth and final round of appropriations from 2012’s $11 million Neighborhood Conservation Bond.

The projects are:

  • Street improvements to the 5700 block of 2nd Street S. and the 100 block of S. Kensington Street in Glencarlyn. Cost: $724,042. Expected completion date: June 2016.
  • A trail connector from the 4800 block of 7th Street S. to the W&OD trail in Barcroft. Cost: $135,317. Expected completion date: October 2015.
  • Pedestrian safety improvements to 19th Road N. between Woodstock Street and Upton Street in Waverly Hills. Cost: $753,845. Expected completion date: May 2016.
  • Street improvements to S. Lang Street between Arlington Ridge Road and 28th Street in Arlington Ridge. Cost: $713,003. Expected completion date: October 2015.
  • Streetlights and trail improvements on N. Ohio Street between 22nd Street and Washington Blvd in Highland Park Overlee Knolls. Cost: $380,369. Expected completion date: July 2015.
  • Park improvements to Woodlawn Park in Waycroft-Woodlawn. Cost: 795,000. Expected completion date: None given.

The projects were chosen based on a priority scale and approved for recommendation by the NCAC in December.

The projects given the highest priority were those in neighborhoods that have recently updated or completed new conservation plans and in neighborhoods that have waited for projects the longest. The county staff report has the full list of criteria.

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