by ARLnow.com February 28, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

A community meeting is being held tomorrow night to discuss a proposed development that would bring The Children’s School to the former Alpine Restaurant site on Lee Highway.

The Children’s School, a subsidized daycare center for Arlington County teachers, is planning to relocate as its long-time home — the Reed School building in Westover — is renovated and turned into a new elementary school.

A flyer for the meeting — to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lee Highway Alliance (4620 Lee Highway) — says a three-story building has been proposed for the Alpine site, which has sat largely unused for the past eight years.

“Two-hundred thirty-five children, aged 0-5, would be housed in a three story building that tapers at the rear towards the Glebewood townhouses, with rooftop play areas,” says the flyer. “Integration Station, which is a pre-school for kids with special needs, would also be part of the application (about 30% of 235 children).”

“Daycare would open at 6:45 a.m. and close by 5 p.m — not open on weekends,” the flyer continues. “The site is approximately 19,400 square feet. This is a by-right application under a use permit. The preliminary drawings illustrate an attractive, glass-paneled contemporary and playful design for the school.”

The site is owned by Arlington businessman Brian Normile, of BCN Homes and Liberty Tavern, and would be leased to The Children’s School, according to the flyer. The Children’s School would temporarily move to Ballston during the approval and construction process, it says.

The flyer lists “impacts to Glebewood Historic District,” green space and tree coverage, and parking — the plan calls for 40 mostly underground parking spaces plus drop-off spaces — as some of the issues for further community discussion.

Photo via Google Maps

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 22, 2018 at 11:10 am 0

The Westover beer garden will again be a topic of conversation before the Arlington County Board this weekend.

In the latest installment of the Westover Market’s saga to operate their outdoor beer garden as they see fit, County Manager Mark Schwartz has recommended that the County Board advertise a public hearing which will consider new use permits for the market and beer garden.

Westover Market wants to expand the current 29 outdoor cafe seats, as permitted by current county code, to 102. It also wants to be able to host live music more often, expand the days in which it can use amplifiers during live music performances and play background music when live music isn’t taking place.

Outdoor live entertainment is presently permitted at these times:

From April 1 through October 31

Wednesdays: 6 p.m. through 8 p.m.
Fridays: 6 p.m. through 10 p.m.
Saturdays: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The market has proposed the following hours to the county:

From April 1 through October 31

Wednesdays: 6 p.m. through 8 p.m.
Thursdays: 6 p.m. through 9 p.m.
Fridays: 6 p.m. through 10 p.m.
Saturdays: 5 p.m. through 9 p.m.
Sundays which precede a federal holiday: 5 p.m. through 9 p.m.

Zoning issues have dogged the business, which at one point had a two year amplified musical hiatus as it waited for county permission. Noise complaints have also weighed down the market’s efforts to expand its live music entertainment in the past.

Typically permit amendments cannot be reviewed by the County Board within 360 days of its last consideration. The exception is for the County Board to review the use permit application “on its own motion,” as the County Manager has recommended has recommended in this case.

Westover Market, originally a smaller grocery store that has evolved into a more drinking and entertainment focused establishment, is located at 5863 Washington Boulevard.

File photos

by ARLnow.com February 14, 2018 at 3:50 pm 0

Someone broke into nearly a dozen vehicles overnight, between Monday and Tuesday, in the Nauck, Douglas Park and Westover neighborhoods.

Most of the vehicles were unlocked, according to police.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130043/0046/0057/0061/0065, 3000 block of S. 19thStreet/1500 block of S. Glebe Road/3100 block of S. 15th Street. At approximately 6:37 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto series. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered multiple, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and stole numerous items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130040/0052/0055/0060/0066/0067, 1000 block of N. Kensington Street/1000 block of N. Kentucky Street/800 block of N. Lexington Street. At approximately 7:16 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of multiple larceny from autos. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered numerous, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and tampered with the contents and stole items of value from some of the vehicles. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’6 to 5’10, 150-175 lbs. The investigation is ongoing.

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


by ARLnow.com February 5, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

Two men robbed a woman of her purse and cash early Sunday morning in the Westover area, according to police.

The robbery happened around 1 a.m. on the 5700 block of 10th Road N., a block or two from the Custis Trail. The woman was not harmed and the suspects fled in a pickup truck, police said.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ROBBERY, 2018-02040017, 5700 block of 10th Road N. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on February 4, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim exited her vehicle and was walking to her residence when she was approached by two male suspects, who demanded her purse and money. The two suspects stole the victim’s purse and other items of value and fled in a dark blue two-door pickup truck driven by a third suspect. Responding officers canvassed the area with negative results. Suspect One is described as a medium-skinned black male, approximately 5’8-5’10, medium build, in his early 20’s, wearing a black cap, a long black jacket with a hood, with a beige jacket underneath and black shoes. Suspect Two is described as a black male. There is no description of the third suspect. The investigation is ongoing.

Also over the weekend, a Purcellville man was arrested and charged with drunkenly brandishing a gun at a security guard in Crystal City.

From ACPD:

BRANDISHING, 2018-02030233, 200 block of 18th Street S. At approximately 9:37 p.m. on February 3, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined that a security guard was patrolling the area on foot when a male suspect walked past him. The security guard looked back and observed the suspect allegedly brandishing a firearm at him. Responding officers canvased the area and located a suspect matching the description provided by the victim. Trevor Burns, 23, of Purcellville, VA, was arrested and charged with Brandishing a Firearm, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Carrying a Concealed Handgun Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drunk in Public.

by Chris Teale January 25, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

A store in Westover Village that offers handmade and fairly traded products from developing countries has opened a new cafe.

Those behind Trade Roots (5852 Washington Blvd) opened the cafe, called Roots & Vines. It offers fairly traded coffees, teas and food items.

The café is run by chef Katia Reecer, who grew up in a Brazilian restaurant family and rounded her skills at the former Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda.

“Roots & Vines offers a casual and welcoming ambiance to relax over locally sourced and globally inspired coffee, tea, sweets & savories,” Reecer said in a statement. “We plan to keep the eclectic menu limited with weekly and seasonal changes, while always offering vegetarian and vegan options. My mother instilled in me the simple philosophy that when you cook with passion using both your hands and palate, the results will always be extraordinary.”

Trade Roots also sells soaps, food, jewelry and home products from local people, and prides itself on offering “beautiful and unique” items.

“I’m thrilled to have Katia as part of the team,” Trade Roots owner Lisa Ostroff said in a statement. “Trade Roots’ customers will now have fair trade coffee and tea options and an array of delicious foods and drinks from around the globe. Katia’s experience and philosophy lend perfectly to our vibe. She makes healthy morning treats like oatmeal and fruit parfaits and some amazing-but-not-as-healthy scones and croissants as well!”

Photos via Facebook

by ARLnow.com January 18, 2018 at 11:05 am 0

Arlington County police are looking for a man who “made a sexually inappropriate comment” to a girl under the age of 18 near the Westover neighborhood.

The incident happened last Thursday afternoon, according to this week’s ACPD crime report.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES (late), 2018-01110206, 5600 block of N. Washington Boulevard. At approximately 6:47 p.m. on January 11, police were dispatched to the late report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 2:30 p.m., a juvenile female victim was walking in the area when an adult male approached her on foot and made a sexually inappropriate comment before fleeing the scene. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’5″ to 5’11” tall with an average build, and a black beard. He was wearing a red baseball hat and blue jeans at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

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

Map via Google Maps


by Chris Teale January 3, 2018 at 11:40 am 0

The Arlington County Police Department is seeking information on a man suspected for robbing a bank in Westover last month.

Police said the man entered a branch of Wells Fargo at 1701 N. McKinley Road just before 3:30 p.m. on December 22 and handed the teller a note demanding money. He then fled on foot after the teller complied.

Police said the suspect is a white male, aged between 40 and 50 years old, approximately between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-6 tall. He was wearing a gray winter hat, dark red coat and blue jeans at the time of the incident.

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a bank robbery suspect captured on surveillance footage.

On Friday, December 22, 2017, at approximately 3:22 p.m., a male suspect entered the Wells Fargo Bank located at 1701 N. McKinley Road in Arlington, Virginia and passed the teller a note, demanding money. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money, the suspect exited the bank and fled on foot heading towards Washington Boulevard.

The suspect is described as a white male, 40-50 years old, approximately 5’3″ – 5’6″ tall. He was wearing a gray winter hat, dark red coat and blue jeans at the time of the incident.

The Arlington County Police Department requests that anyone with information regarding this incident contact Detective C. Riccio at 703.228.4180 or [email protected]. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

Photos via Arlington County Police Department

by ARLnow.com December 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm 0

(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) The Wells Fargo bank in the Westover neighborhood was robbed Friday afternoon.

A man robbed the bank by passing a note to a teller shortly before 3:30 p.m., we hear. Arlington County Police are currently on the scene investigating. No injuries were reported.

The suspect is described as a white male between 40-50 years of age. He was wearing a light-colored vest and blue pants at the time of the robbery, and fled the bank in the direction of Washington Blvd carry a bag full of cash, according to initial reports.

by ARLnow.com December 13, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Arlington Ready for Possible Snow — The chances of “meaningful accumulation” have since gone down, but Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services crews started applying brine to county roads Monday night in anticipation a “potential snow/ice this Wednesday evening/Thursday.” [Twitter, Washington Post]

VDOT Pleased With I-66 HOT Lane Data — NBC 4’s Adam Tuss tweets: “Doesn’t look like @VaDOTNOVA plans to change anything about the I-66 toll lanes. They say their data shows commutes were faster and more reliable.” [Twitter]

Dems Want Satellite-Voting Centers — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee could again be at loggerheads with the county’s elections office over whether to provide satellite locations for absentee voting in non-presidential-election years.” [InsideNova]

ARLnow T-Shirt Now Available — Need a gift for the ARLnow.com fan in your life? Show your Arlington pride with this long-sleeved t-shirt from the county’s No. 1 local news source. [Amazon]

ACPD Officers Helping in Puerto Rico — The Arlington County Police Department is among the departments nationwide sending officers to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to provide emergency assistance. The third ACPD team to rotate in is working on the island through Dec. 18. Officers who’ve gone say many challenges remain but there are hopeful signs as well. [Arlington Connection]

Westover Townhouse Battle Continues — Arlington County is weighing both a historic district and a “Housing Conservation District” for Westover, to protect aging but affordable garden apartments from being redeveloped into $800,000 townhomes. [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Chris Teale December 7, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) Surveillance video appears to show a man loading The Italian Store’s Vespa scooter into his car and then driving away.

The still-missing 1966 Celeste Green Vespa scooter disappeared Saturday evening from outside The Italian Store’s Westover location around 5 p.m., the business said.

The footage shows a man allegedly loading the Vespa into a red Ford Focus before driving away on N. Longfellow Street. The video is from behind the nearby Ayers Variety & Hardware Store (5853 Washington Blvd).

In a recent Facebook post, The Italian Store said they are waiting for the case to be assigned a detective by the Arlington County Police Department for more examination. They also urged anyone with surveillance cameras along N. Longfellow Street to share any footage they may have from that day.

There was a possible sighting of the car at around 10:30 a.m. yesterday (Wednesday) at the nearby intersection of 10th Street N. and N. Kensington Street, prompting a police response.

A woman said she saw a “suspicious” red car in the neighborhood and posted about it on an app. Someone who saw that post told the store owner, who then called the police. The woman thought the car was suspicious because she had never seen it before.

Several police units responded to the scene but the car was nowhere to be found and there was no evidence that it might have been the same suspect vehicle.

Vespa Update:We have obtained video of a man loading up the Vespa into the red Ford Focus shown behind Ayers Hardware…

Posted by The Italian Store on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Photos via Facebook

by ARLnow.com December 4, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Arlington, we need your help! Yesterday (12/2) between 3-6pm the 1966 Celeste Green Vespa was stolen from the Westover…

Posted by The Italian Store on Sunday, December 3, 2017

Long-time local business The Italian Store has lost a piece of its history to a thief.

The restaurant’s 1966 Celeste Green Vespa scooter, which “has welcomed customers to the store for the past 20 years,” was stolen Saturday evening around 5 p.m. from its Westover location, the business said on Facebook.

The Italian Store also released a screenshot from a surveillance video (below) showing the alleged Vespa bandit absconding with the vehicle down N. Longfellow Street.

The restaurant said it has contacted the Arlington County Police Department but it is seeking the public’s help in getting the Vespa back. Dozens of people have commented with words of sympathy and encouragement on the Facebook post.

by Chris Teale October 23, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

After the recent fight over the Westover Beer Garden’s outdoor seating, the Arlington County Board will consider some changes at its meeting next month.

Under a plan put forward by staff, the County Board could review the seating capacity and hours of piped-in music in outdoor seats governed by a use permit, like the Westover Beer Garden, on a case-by-case basis. It would mean the Board can approve exceptions to the rules of a use permit individually.

Standards that cannot be modified under a use permit include parking requirements, the use of portable lights and furniture and tying their opening hours to the attached restaurant’s.

The beer garden at 5863 Washington Blvd ran into difficulties earlier this year when it tried to add to its outdoor seating as county use permits expressly forbid having more outdoor seats than indoor seats.

That stands in contrast to the just-open Continental Beer Garden in Rosslyn, which has many more seats outside than inside and can do so because it went through a site plan process, which requires County Board approval and is much more involved than a standard administrative permit process.

Similarly, the proposed beer garden known as “The Lot” in Clarendon would need to go through a site plan process to ensure it can have more seats outside than inside under the current rules.

Staff said outdoor seating cannot be considered as permanent seating for a restaurant, and must continue to be treated as an optional extra.

“Because it is an accessory use, an outdoor café is not considered a permanent expansion of a restaurant’s seating capacity, as it is a transitory use which provides patrons with additional seating options on days with pleasant weather,” staff wrote. “The accessory outdoor café also goes largely unused during periods of cold, snow, and rain.”

The County Board voted unanimously Saturday to hold a public hearing on the subject at its November meeting. Staff will make a recommendation on whether the Board should adopt the changes beforehand, with the Planning Commission also set to weigh in.

Photo via Facebook.

by Chris Teale September 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Arlington County’s public libraries are celebrating “Cosplay Month” for the first time with a series of events at the Westover Branch Library, starting tonight (Monday).

Cosplay is a hobby where participants dress up to represent characters from books, comics, television shows or movies, and now Arlingtonians can learn more with four free events.

“It’s about empowering our patrons through a hybrid of art, fashion, role play, books and sub (geek) culture,” a library spokesman said. “We provide our patrons with the opportunity to transform themselves into their favorite characters from their favorite shows.”

Tonight, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road), photographer Ashley Loth and cosplay model Jillian Ryan will teach cosplayers how to pose their models, set a storyline and bring their cosplay to life in photographs. The event is aimed at adults and mature high schoolers.

On Tuesday, September 12 at the Westover Branch Library, Star Wars fans can meet the 501st Legion from 7-8:30 p.m. The legion has “spread the magic of the Star Wars genre worldwide” by wearing authentic costumes and hosting charity events, according to an event listing.

September’s Casual Monthly Drawing Meet-Up on Tuesday, September 19 will be themed around cosplay from 6:30-8:30 p.m., while on Saturday, September 30, the Westover Branch Library will host a panel discussion on what it’s like to cosplay when you are a “minority nerd.” The discussion lasts from 1-2:30 p.m., with panelists expected to share their diverse perspectives.

The month of events comes hot on the heels of International Cosplay Day, which took place on the weekend of August 26 and 27 and saw themed events held across the world.

Photo via Twitter

by Chris Teale August 29, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Drivers in Westover and East Falls Church can expect traffic delays and detours in the coming weeks as the state and county repave and add bike lanes to Washington Blvd.

The project by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the street, is set to begin in the next couple of weeks with repaving between Lee Highway and N. McKinley Road.

After that repaving is complete, staff from the county’s Department of Environmental Services will install green bicycle lanes, bollards and way-finding signs for bicyclists. At some points, the lanes will have a buffer as wide as two or three feet from traffic. The county and VDOT coordinated on a design plan for the new striping earlier this year.

At one stage, the plan had been for continuous bike lanes along Washington Blvd. But those plans were nixed earlier this year and revised.

Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to shorter stretches. Westbound the lane will run between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets. Eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.

Staff said they anticipate between 16 and 19 parking spaces on the street will be lost out of around 150 in total. In turn, Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church (6201 Washington Blvd) is expected to increase its parking capacity to 15 spaces.

DES staff said the project has a number of benefits for those in the area:

  • Enhance bicycle infrastructure where it does not currently exist
    • Help stitch together the expanding Capital Bikeshare system (a new station was installed at the East Falls Church metro station in 2016 and two new stations will be installed in Westover in 2017 and 2018).
    • Connect to existing bicycle lanes on Washington Boulevard between Westover and Lacy Woods Park.
    • Create a nearly two-mile stretch of bicycle lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.
  • Narrow unnecessarily wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.
  • Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.
  • Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bicycle lanes.
  • Pedestrian safety improvements at key intersections with highly visible markings for crosswalks (pending VDOT approval). Center line “Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk” signs may also be installed.

During the work, DES says parking will be prohibited on Washington Blvd and detours will be in place.

Next year, staff will collect additional usage data to track cars, bicycles, pedestrians and parking.

Image (top) via VDOT, (middle) via Google Maps

by Chris Teale August 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Independent Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement criticized the recent demolitions of more garden apartments in Westover to make way for townhomes.

Clement, a frequent candidate for public office, said the demolition of two more apartment buildings in the neighborhood shows that not enough is being done to protect affordable housing, especially as they are replaced by what she described as “luxury townhomes.”

Much of Westover is currently designated as a national historic district, but that hasn’t prevented redevelopment of some properties. Last year, crews tore down a garden apartment building and replaced it with townhouses in by-right development, meaning County Board approval was not required.

At the time, the Arlington Greens called for the Westover apartments to be designated as a local historic district, something the County Board directed staff to study last year. Since 2013, nine garden apartment buildings have been demolished, Clement said.

Clement criticized developers for razing the properties and the county for cashing in thanks to increased property taxes.

“County records indicate that the sale price of the three Westover garden apartments demolished in 2013 was $4 million,” Clement said. “The total sale price of the 20 luxury town homes that replaced them was $16.8 million dollars or more than 4 times the value of the original properties.”

An advertisement for the Arlington Row townhomes that ran on ARLnow.com earlier this year advertised the homes as being priced in the “mid-$800s.” The townhomes feature up to four bedrooms and four baths, plus private garages and “timeless brick architecture.” The first phase of the development quickly sold out.

Clement said designating the units as a local historic district is the “only way” to save the remaining apartments, but she criticized the Arlington Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board for not moving faster on a petition to do so that was submitted last year.

She added that the demolition of affordable housing units in the county causes numerous problems:

For one thing, there’s a fairness issue. A lot of longstanding, hardworking, responsible tenants are now facing long commutes as a result of displacement from Arlington County.

For another thing, there’s a public health issue. The most recent demolitions were put on hold when it was determined that both buildings were insulated with asbestos, making demolition hazardous for anyone in the nearby.

And there’s an economic issue. While the speculative prices commanded by the developers of Westover Village might be attractive to high income wage earners, they drive up assessments overall, spelling hardship and possible foreclosure for people on fixed incomes, single heads of households, and those who find themselves out of work.

In a fact sheet produced last year, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing said it made some headway in 2016 by purchasing 68 Westover apartments in five buildings. But APAH noted that since the county adopted its Affordable Housing Master Plan in 2015, 60 apartments have been demolished for redevelopment.

Clement promised to speed up approval of historic districts to protect affordable housing if she wins a seat on the County Board in November.

“If elected, I am going to call upon AHALRB to expedite consideration of petitions for local historic designation to preserve Arlington’s remaining affordable housing and stabilize Arlington’s housing market,” Clement said.

Clement is one of three candidates on the ballot for County Board this fall, alongside Democratic nominee Erik Gutshall and fellow independent Charles McCullough II.


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