Children already are climbing on equipment at the two newly renovated playgrounds at Woodlawn Park, ahead of this weekend’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The ceremony will take place at the park (1325 N. Buchanan Street) this Saturday, April 22, at 4 p.m.
Members of the community — including kids — helped design the new playgrounds. As part of the renovation process, the new equipment was installed farther away from the creek than the previous fixtures had been.
Invasive plants were removed and the area along the creek has been reforested with native trees, shrubs and perennials. The park also now offers better accessibility. Lawn aeration and overseeding will be completed next week.
The County Board approved funding for the $795,000 neighborhood improvement project in 2014, and construction began last August. A federal grant funded part of the reforestation.
The park remains open and usable in the time leading up to the ribbon cutting.
The driver of a car ran up onto an embankment in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood this morning.
The crash happened around 9:15 a.m. at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Evergreen Street, just west of Ballston. No significant injuries were reported.
Shortly after the crash, a nearby resident emailed ARLnow.com to argue that Arlington County should be doing more to make the intersection safer.
“Residents at the northeast corner of N.Evergreen Street have yet again had a car land in their yard,” wrote Sharon Dorsey. “This is an incredibly dangerous area [with] daily horns blaring when drivers play chicken in the merge lane.”
“Neighbors in and around this area have engaged with a number of agencies within Arlington County over the years to make this safer,” she continued. “Currently, a Neighborhood Conservation project to narrow the mouth Evergreen Street and connect sidewalks is on the books but will not be completed for a number of years… The issue will not be resolved until Arlington County and VDOT work together to restructure the entire intersection, add in turn lanes north and south and remove (or restrict to buses) the eastbound merge lane on Washington Blvd.”
Separately, a crash involving a car and an elderly pedestrian was reported this morning at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street. The pedestrian’s injuries were not reported to be life-threatening.
Photos by Samantha Moore
Courthouse, Columbia Pike Developments Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a 90-unit condominium building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse. The Board voted 4-1, with John Vihstadt voting against, after hearing objections from residents of the nearby Odyssey condo tower. Also on Saturday, the Board unanimously approved a 105-unit condo building on the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Plans Filed for New Affordable Complex in Rosslyn — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing has filed preliminary plans to redevelop the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex into a new, 12-story, 250-unit affordable apartment building, with underground parking and a 9,000 square foot public park and playground. The redevelopment was included in 2015’s Western Rosslyn Area Plan, or WRAP. [Washington Business Journal]
Woodlawn Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $616,000 contract for improvements to Woodlawn Park in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. The improvements to the 3.2 acre park includes “replacing the playground equipment, updating the trails and better protecting Lubber Run stream.” [Arlington County]
Couple Gets Engaged at Local Event — A San Antonio, Texas couple got engaged at Friday night’s Wine in the Waterpark event in Crystal City. [Twitter]
Stream Restoration Project OKed — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.5 million contract to restore the lower portion of the Four Mile Run stream. Work on the project, which has been in the works since 2000, is expected to begin later this summer and may result in some trail detours over the course of a year. [Arlington County]
First Day of Summer Today — Today is the first day of astronomical summer, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. [Capital Weather Gang]
Leadership Arlington to Run Volunteer Arlington — The nonprofit group Leadership Arlington will be taking over the administration of Volunteer Arlington from Arlington County. Leadership Arlington won the contract in a competitive bidding process. Volunteer Arlington is “the County’s clearinghouse for volunteerism, matching volunteers with non-profits and government programs that rely on volunteers in carrying out their work.” [Arlington County]
A county water crew’s effort to smoke some bees out of a hollow tree ended with a fire department response earlier today.
The incident happened Wednesday morning near the intersection of 17th Street N. and N. Buchanan Street, in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood.
An Arlington Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau crew was trying to rid the tree of the bees, in order to replace a meter box below the tree, when something seemingly went wrong.
“Crews discovered a beehive in the hollow part of the tree and smoked it out so they could access the box,” said Meghan McMahon, a spokeswoman for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. “The tree began smoking badly, so crews called the fire department.”
“[Firefighters] sprayed the tree down as a precautionary measure… the tree did not catch fire,” McMahon noted. “Crews didn’t want to take any chances in today’s dry, hot weather.”
The tree is scheduled to be removed by the county parks department Thursday, at which time the water crew will try again to replace the meter box.
Anti-Semitic fliers were found on the steps of homes near Virginia Hospital Center today.
The fliers, soggy from the rain, were spotted in front of homes on 16th Street N. and N. Edison Street. Fliers were also left in front of the hospital’s emergency room entrance, according to a tipster.
Within the fliers were hateful messages and conspiracy theories about Jews and Israel.
Chris Williams, a 16th Street resident, picked up two fliers he found lying around. Others nearby were torn up and in scraps on the street.
“I guess it was a good thing it rained,” he said. “[The fliers] were just laying in the yard. It seems like they didn’t want to get caught because they didn’t go put them where the other fliers go.”
Williams said he’s never seen anything like them in the 11 years he’s lived here.
“I prefer not to live near people like that, but you have to,” he said.
It’s not clear, however, who distributed the fliers. Last week it was reported that similar fliers had been distributed to homes in parts of Arlington, Alexandria, Chevy Chase, Md. and various neighborhoods in Northwest D.C.
An Arlington police spokesman could not be reached for comment.
(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Arlington County Firefighters are on the scene of a two-alarm house fire near Ballston.
Smoke and fire was showing from the second floor and roof of a home near the intersection of 15th Street N. and N. Abingdon Street, in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood, according to firefighters on the scene. A second alarm has been called.
The flames have since been extinguished and crews are checking for additional hotspots.
Firefighters have also reported that a dog was rescued from the house. Witnesses said the owner also owned two cats, but firefighters on scene said they could not confirm whether cats were inside.
The fire broke out right as neighborhood children returned home from school. While several fire trucks, engines and emergency vehicles were parked on the narrow street, children were running around the scene, albeit out of harm’s way.
No other residents were believed to be in the house.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) April 29, 2015
Video (above) courtesy Allan Yankosky/1411 Media, Inc.
Cops say 100 bottles of wine were reported missing at a divorcing couple’s house in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood on Monday. The wine, worth about $5,000, disappeared at some point between September and November, said the female half of a couple.
“The male half denied any knowledge or involvement in the missing wine,” police said. “There were no signs of forced entry.”
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
BURGLARY, 141201025, 4600 block of 13th St N, On 12/1/14 at 1242 hours, the female half of a divorcing couple told police she believed her estranged husband entered the marital home when she was not present and stole approximately 100 bottles of wine, valued at approximately $5000.00, sometime between 9/23/14 and 11/28/14. The male half denied any knowledge or involvement in the missing wine. There were no signs of forced entry.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
For $6,500 a month, Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin could be your landlord in Arlington.
Ovechkin’s Arlington house, at 4906 16th Street N, in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood, is currently listed on the rental market. The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom single family detached house has been on the market for several weeks, according to Buck & Associates Realtor Billy Buck.
Buck, who confirmed to ARLnow.com that the house is still available as of today, said that length of time on the market is to be expected at this time of year with a lull in the rental market because of the holidays.
The 5,000-square-foot house is described in its listing as having “gleaming hardwood floors” on the main level, a master bedroom with a sitting room and a whirlpool tub and separate shower in the master bath, a rec room with a wet bar and a rear deck. The security deposit is posted as $7,950, and tenants are required to be non-smokers, but pets are allowed.
Ovechkin is listed as the owner of the house, which was built in 2005, on Arlington’s property database. The house and 11,603-square-foot lot was assessed at $1,572,000 by the county last January. Ovechkin purchased a $4.3 million colonial in McLean in 2012.
A house in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood in North Arlington will be considered for a historic designation by the County Board at its Saturday meeting.
The house, at 5151 14th Street N., just a few blocks south of Virginia Hospital Center, is a Queen Anne-style dwelling and was built, according to county staff, in 1881 and called Broadview. It was constructed by Robert Stinson Lacey, a Civil War veteran who “operated one of the County’s large market farms at and surrounding Broadview, and played an active role in local political and social affairs,” the staff report states.
Currently, the home and property is owned by Alex Deucher and Angela Guzman, who moved in about three years ago. Deucher contacted the county earlier this year to have a “local historic district” designation placed on the house, because the two “just wanted to see it protected.”
“This house is just so cool,” he said this afternoon while giving this reporter a tour of the exterior. “It’s got a lot of neat features that you don’t really see in newer houses. It’s got about 12-foot ceilings on the lower level, big parlors and a big porch. A lot of nights we sit out here and eat dinner.”
The house is painted yellow with blue trim, and many of the original features are still in existence and, according to Deucher, use.
“It represents the evolution of a simple I-house into an ornate Queen Anne-styled dwelling corresponding to the architectural trends of the late-19th century,” the staff report states. “[It] possesses integrity of design, materials, form, plan, and workmanship to convey its various periods of construction; and remains one of the best examples of Queen Anne-styled architecture in Arlington County.”
If the historic district status is approved, all renovations and major work on the house will have to be approved by the county. After Deucher called the county to apply for the status, he said the staff was able to pull the history of the house “all the way back to the land grant from King George.”
(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) Construction has begun at the new Lacey Lane subdivision at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive, more than a year-and-a-half after crews first excavated the site in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood.
Work on the first model home first was expected to begin in March 2013, but didn’t actually happen until a few weeks ago. County employees told ARLnow.com last November that the stall had to do with developer The Barrett Companies fulfilling safety obligations in order to receive permits. County staff confirms the developer met all requirements and obtained a building permit this spring.
According to the Evergreene Homes website, the nine properties will be “exquisitely detailed luxury residences.” Renderings of what the finished homes are expected to look like are also available on the website.
The base models originally were said to feature four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, at an estimated cost of $1.4 million each. Although preliminary plans are available for the three-level houses, Evergreene Homes Director of Sales and Marketing Rich Rudnicki said the company currently is finalizing the home options and base pricing. He said the company should be ready to put the properties up for sale by September 1.
Rudnicki says details like detached garages, courtyards and sitting areas will make this a unique subdivision.
“It’s a cool location,” he said, “It’s going to be a different kind of community.”
Clinton Signs Books at Pentagon City Costco — Former Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton signed books at the Pentagon City Costco store on Saturday. One group of Clinton supporters who lined up outside the store Saturday morning told ARLnow.com that they were in line for more than 4 hours before getting their books signed. The signature: a simple, cursive “Hillary.” Also dropping by on Saturday was Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was shopping and stumbled upon the event. [Huffington Post, Washington Post]
Board Approves Waycroft-Woodlawn Plan — The County Board on Saturday unanimously approved an updated Neighborhood Conservation Plan for the Waycroft-Woodlawn community, located northwest of Ballston. The plan calls for funding “to address speeding and cut-through traffic, improve pedestrian safety, enhance street conditions and make park improvements.” Waycroft-Woodlawn has 1,600 residents, mostly in single-family homes. [Arlington County]
Healthy Vending Machine Installation Complete — Arlington Public Schools has completed installation of 115 new “FitArlington Healthy Vending Machines” in all 40 APS-owned buildings. The machines offer “bottled water and 100% fruit juice beverages, and a variety of healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, baked chips, and granola bars.” [Arlington Public Schools]
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.
(Updated at 5:05 p.m. on 11/12/13) Nearly 10 months ago, workers excavated land at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive to make way for a new subdivision called Lacey Lane. Shortly after the land was readied, however, the project stalled out and currently appears to be little more than a vacant lot.
In February, brothers Taylor and Milton Chamberlin of The Barrett Companies said they expected work to begin on the first model home at the site in March, with work on the second beginning shortly thereafter. They anticipated the two models would take about seven months each to build and would be ready by autumn. So far, no housing construction is visible at the site.
The land is divided into nine properties. Each plot will have a house with a base price of $1.4 million.
Calls and emails to Milton Chamberlin over the past few weeks were not returned. But Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) explained where things stand from the county’s point of view.
According to CPHD, there has not been any trouble with The Barrett Companies, the delay revolves around fulfilling safety regulations in order to get a building permit. County staff found outstanding “life safety regulations” that the developer needs to fulfill before a building permit can be granted. Once the developer makes some clarifications and revisions to the permit documents, the permit can be approved.
“To say it plainly, life safety is really about making sure the buildings are safe for people to occupy,” said CPHD spokeswoman Helen Duong. “For this project, the outstanding items on this permit have more to do with the documentation of the design than concerns about the adequacy of the design itself.”
Basically, it appears the designer believed certain safety features were implied in the building plans, but they need to be explicitly included. Revisions must continue until county staff can see all the necessary safety features drawn in.
According to the CPHD permit records, The Barrett Companies first applied for a Lacey Lane building permit in January, but the plans were sent back for revision in February. This process was repeated a few times in the following months, and CPHD’s Inspection Services last rejected a version of the plan in April. No further revisions have been submitted since then.
Permit applications stay active for six months but expire if no action has been taken after that time. The current permit application for Lacey Lane has an expiration date of March 15, 2014. That date can move back another six months, however, if further actions occur, such as submitting another round of revisions.
Once CPHD Inspection Services staff approves the plan’s revisions, the developer must also get the permit approved by the Department of Environmental Services. We’re told that process typically takes place in just a few minutes.
The developer behind the upcoming Lacey Lane subdivision in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood is giving peek at what the new area will look like once it’s developed.
The Barrett Companies, which is a business run by the Chamberlin family since the 1980s, bought the vacant property on the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive and had it excavated last month. The Chamberlins had been working to acquire the land for about a decade.
According to brothers Taylor and Milton Chamberlin, the goal for the Georgian style homes is for them to be an alternative to “McMansions.”
“We really take our time to design the homes to fit in the neighborhood. We’re not builders that come in and put this huge McMansion in a small neighborhood where it doesn’t fit. That’s not what we do,” said Taylor. “All of this is really thought through and it’s really livable, usable space. It’s not those McMansions where you walk in and wonder, ‘What do you do in this room?'”
The base model runs around $1.4 million and features four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, with the possibility of another bedroom and bathroom on an additional level. Costs will vary based on the different lot sizes and individual add-ons the purchasers want in their homes.
“We’re pretty enthusiastic about what we’re giving back to the community and what we’re providing for people who want to live there,” Taylor said. “They’re neat homes, they’re going to be well built.”
Another goal is to foster a 1950s sense of community among the owners of the nine properties, in which everybody knows and interacts with their neighbors. The homes will only be accessible via a private road and there will be a small fence around the subdivision.
“There’s a sense of community where people can interact a little bit more, but not lose their privacy,” said Milton.
The homes feature outdoor living area options — such as screened in “sleeping porches” off the second floor bedrooms or fireplaces exposed to the outdoors — which are supposed to add to the sense of community.
“While one neighbor is out grilling, you can see a couple of other neighbors hanging out on their patios,” Milton said. “You can sit and hang out and watch the kids in the backyard. It’s a very functional space.”
The brothers noted The Barrett Companies’ effort toward green building and energy efficiency. From better insulation and caulking to installing appropriate outlets in the detached garages for plugging in an electric car, the Chamberlins believe small touches make their properties stand out.
“It’s the little things that are very time consuming that a lot of builders wouldn’t want to do,” Taylor said. “All those little things add up. It makes it so much more efficient.”
A few neighbors had voiced concerns about last month’s removal of around 150 trees on the property to make way for the subdivision. But Taylor said the trees that were removed weren’t of high quality; many of them will be replaced with new trees that are native to Virginia.
“The trees that were on this site were very low quality trees per Arlington County’s grading scale. A lot had just grown wild over the years,” said Taylor. “In the process of coming back in here, we’re putting in a lot of newer, higher quality trees to grow up around the homes. I do understand the concern of neighbors around it. They’re going to see that it will be beautiful and lush and green again.”
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) An excavating crew has begun clearing land in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood where a new subdivision will be built. The space at the northeast corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive is private property and was one of the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in the county.
The Department of Environmental Services recently reviewed and approved dividing the property into nine residential lots. This was done as a matter of right, which means the County Board does not have to give approval if the applicant meets all requirements.
During the preliminary review and approval of the subdivision proposal, the applicant, Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C., had to send notification to all adjacent property owners as well as those across the street. The president of the neighborhood’s civic association also had to be notified, along with the neighborhood conservation representative. The notification was to inform neighbors of a possible new development in their area, and to give them a chance to speak with county staff about the proposal.
The developer had to submit design plans for the site to ensure all the development’s infrastructure would be adequately designed and built. As with any public infrastructure to be built and be turned over to the county for operation and maintenance, this one had to be guaranteed by a public improvement performance bond and agreement. The applicant also had to meet requirements in the Zoning Ordinance regarding landscaping regulations and tree removal.
Arlington County Urban Forester Vincent Verweij says the developer was sent a letter suggesting preservation for many of the 150 trees on the land. However, Verweij noted it was only a suggestion because private land owners can cut down whichever trees they choose on their own property once receiving the initial land disturbance permit for the site. He believes the excavators left about five trees on the property.
Verweij believes the remaining trees are too exposed and may be unstable in storms or on windy days.
“I fear they may fall into houses now, because a forest is much stronger than individual trees,” said Verweij. “Most of the support and strength comes from being rooted outward and that’s going to be cut significantly by these houses.”
Under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, the developer must preserve, or in this case re-plant, 20 percent of the trees that stood on the site. The county will not award certificates of occupancy for the homes until those standards are met.
Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C. recently applied for a construction permit for one of the homes, which will be built at 1312 N. Evergreen Street. That permit could be approved in about 30 days. The developer will have to apply for individual permits for every additional home and each will have to be reviewed by the county. Currently, there is no estimate on when the subdivision will be completed; it will depend on the developer’s timing for submitting the additional eight permits and beginning construction those houses.