Arlington, VA

Navy Federal Credit Union has now opened its fourth branch in Arlington.

The bank held a grand opening for the new branch, located at 6402 Williamsburg Blvd, on Monday.

The new location is situated in the Williamsburg Shopping Center, near the intersection of N. Sycamore Street and Williamsburg Blvd., which is also home to a CVS and newly rebranded frozen yogurt shop.

Navy Federal primarily caters to active-duty service members, veterans and their families. Other locations around Arlington include one on the grounds of the Pentagon itself, one in Ballston and one in Crystal City.

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A hair salon in Williamsburg has relocated to Westover, and one of its stylists is trying to re-connect with old customers after the move.

Par Hair Design, formerly located in the Williamsburg Shopping Center near the intersection of Williamsburg Blvd and N. Sycamore Street, has set up shop at 5852 Washington Blvd instead.

According to a sign posted at its former location, it made the move in May, and is now located across the street from Westover Beer Garden.

However, a dueling sign posted at the shop notes that “Tram Hairstyles” didn’t make the move to the Westover location, instead heading to Queen King Salon in McLean. Tram wrote on the sign that she’s “really missing all customers” who she got to know at Par Hair Design, urging anyone missing her as well to call the new McLean salon.

As for the old space in the Williamsburg Shopping Center, the 1,018-square-foot location is currently listed for lease.

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A Maryland man is now facing a slew of charges after he allegedly fled a traffic stop along I-66, then crashed into a car carrying three people in Williamsburg on Tuesday (Aug. 21).

Virginia State Police and county police tried to pull over a 2017 Honda Civic taking the exit ramp from westbound I-66 toward N. Sycamore Street when the driver refused to stop, according to state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The car “sped away at a high rate of speed,” Geller said, and then struck another car near the intersection of N. Sycamore Street and Williamsburg Blvd. The driver of the Honda, subsequently identified as 21-year-old Brandon Andrew Lee of Ft. Washington, Maryland, fled the scene of the crash on foot.

A state trooper arrested Lee soon afterward “without further incident,” Geller said.

Lee is now charged with possession of stolen property with intent to sell, one felony count of eluding police, driving on a revoked license and two drug charges. He’s set for a hearing in Arlington General District Court on Sept. 20, and is currently being held in the county jail.

The adult and two children inside the other car involved in the crash were not injured, Geller said.

Photo courtesy of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office

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Williamsburg frozen yogurt shop Zinga is now under new management, though loyal customers shouldn’t expect to see too many changes.

The store, located in the Williamsburg Shopping Center at 2914 N. Sycamore Street, will now be operated by Yobe, a Louisiana-based frozen yogurt chain. One of its new managers, Brittany Uribe, told ARLnow that the Williamsburg location will retain the Zinga name, however.

“Everyone was happy with the way it is, so why change it?” she said.

Zinga, which operates half a dozen other shops around Northern Virginia, first opened the Arlington location in 2013. But Uribe says its owners wanted to get out of the business, and sold their stake to Yobe instead.

She doesn’t plan to change much about the shop itself, other than adding a few new flavors; cookie dough is first on her list.

Uribe also hopes to start offering a few new specials to lure customers in, like offering yogurt for half-off after 6 p.m. and charging a flat fee for cups (no weigh-in required) on Wednesdays.

Photo via Facebook

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Workers began cutting down a 114-foot-tall dawn redwood tree in front of a Williamsburg home today (Tuesday), just a few days after county officials announced they couldn’t find any way to save the tree and meet the demands of local conservationists.

Activists with the Arlington Tree Action Group told ARLnow that workers are now on-site at the property along the 3200 block of N. Ohio Street, removing branches from the massive tree in preparation for removing it entirely.

The developer Richmond Custom Homes plans to demolish the single-family home on the lot, then build two more in its place, prompting the tree’s removal.

Yet environmentalists had hoped that the County Board might intervene to save the tree, recognized as one of the largest of its species by both the county and the state.

The dawn redwood is also located within a “Resource Protection Area,” given the tree’s proximity to a stream that feeds into the Chesapeake Bay, giving them further hope that officials might be able to prevent the tree’s removal.

But the Board revealed last week (Aug. 15) that it felt it didn’t have any recourse to stop the tree’s removal and alter the property’s redevelopment, prompting condemnations from county conservationists.

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Despite some intense opposition from conservationists and the community, plans to chop down a massive dawn redwood tree in North Arlington are moving ahead.

Since April, a developer has been hoping to remove the 114-foot-tall tree as part of a larger project on a property along the 3200 block of N. Ohio Street in Williamsburg.

The county recently approved a permit to let that work move ahead, according to a community letter sent Wednesday (Aug. 15) by the County Board and provided to ARLnow. A county spokesman confirmed the letter’s veracity, and added that the developer “intends to move forward with removal of the tree.”

Environmentalists had hoped to save the dawn redwood, as it’s recognized as one of the largest of its species by both county and state officials, and it could live to be up to 600 years old if left in place. The tree also sits within a “Resource Protection Area,” known as an “RPA,” giving the county the chance to scrutinize these construction plans quite closely.

But the Board wrote in the letter that it just couldn’t find any way to justify denying the permit, citing the developer’s “considerable rights as a private property owner” to redevelop the site. Richmond Custom Homes is hoping knock down the existing single-family home on the property, and build two in its place, a tactic frequently favored by developers in Arlington’s residential neighborhoods.

“While staff did ask Richmond Custom Homes to explore options to preserve the tree, the developer could not identify a design that both provided for the subdivision of the property and preserved the dawn redwood,” the Board wrote. “Pushing the homes to the rear of the lots would impact other large trees on the property also located within the RPA — and likely still would have jeopardized the dawn redwood during construction.”

The Board did note, however, that the approved plan “does protect multiple large trees on the back end of the property, which provide a significant benefit to the watershed adjacent to the Little Pimmit Run stream,” pointing out that the developer also agreed to replace the trees removed during the construction.

Nevertheless, the whole process has left conservationists feeling like the county isn’t listening to their concerns.

“The county could find ‘no’ way to preserve this living fossil, which had become extinct in North America and worldwide millennia ago, with the exception of a few remaining trees located in China and the few planted here in an effort to save the species,” Suzanne Sundberg, a local activist focused on environmental issues, told ARLnow. “What does that tell you about the county ordinance?…County staff and the Board are not doing all that they could to preserve the mature tree canopy here in Arlington.”

The Arlington Tree Action Group was similarly critical of the Board, arguing in a statement that it “decided not to use the powers at its disposal in its own Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance” to contest the developer’s plans, making this a “landmark case.”

“In failing to make a decision in favor of the environment and the voices of concerned residents, the county puts at risk its own widely touted ‘progressive’ credentials in environmental protection,” the group wrote. “The letter does not provide reassurances of how the RPA, which runs the length of the lot, will be protected once the lot is subdivided.  ATAG will be looking for answers.”

The Board noted in its letter that members “share community concerns about the significant pressures on mature trees from redevelopment of properties across the county” and plans to kick off the process of updating the county’s Urban Forest Master Plan and Natural Resources Management Plan early next year.

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A Washington, D.C. man is now facing 23 years behind bars, after pleading guilty to shooting and killing a man at a party in Williamsburg last year.

Jason Allen Johnson, 39, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and two gun charges on Tuesday (July 31), averting the need for a trial previously set for September.

Investigators believe Johnson got into an argument with 23-year-old Michael Gray of Manassas on Feb. 17, 2017 while the pair attended a party at a home on the 6300 block of 29th Street N., not far from Bishop O’Connell High School. Police believe Johnson then shot Gray, who later died of his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Johnson managed to flee the scene before police arrived, and he was only arrested in October after he was caught shoplifting in New York City. He was initially charged with first degree murder, before pleading to a lesser charge this week.

“Mr. Gray tragically lost his life to a senseless act of violence by Jason Allen Johnson,” Arlington County Deputy Police Chief Daniel Murray wrote in a statement. “This sentence is a result of the commitment of our detectives to continue to pursue this case and hold Johnson accountable for his actions, despite fleeing from the commonwealth. Although nothing will return the victim to his family, we hope this sentence will provide closure to the victim’s family knowing that this violent criminal will be behind bars for a significant amount of time.”

Photo courtesy of Arlington County Police

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Conservationists and neighbors are teaming up to push back against plans to chop down a 114-foot-tall dawn redwood tree in Northwest Arlington.

A developer is currently hoping to demolish a single-family home along the 3200 block of N. Ohio Street, subdivide the lot and build two homes in its place, according to county permit applications.

As part of that process, Richmond Custom Homes could eventually remove several trees in the area, including the large dawn redwood tree in the center of the Williamsburg property.

But an online petition to protect the tree has already garnered more than 800 signatures, and the neighborhood’s civic association is pleading with county leaders to protect the redwood. Not only is the tree recognized as one of the largest of its species by both county and state officials, but it sits within a “Resource Protection Area,” giving the county the chance to scrutinize these construction plans quite closely.

“The tree is stately, thriving and establishes a sense of place and continuity in a rapidly changing county,” Ruth Shearer, the president of the Williamsburg Civic Association, wrote in a letter to the County Board. “The loss of such a prized and recognized tree would be a tragedy, not only to this community but also to Arlington and to Virginia.”

The developer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on its plans for the property. But Shearer points out in her letter that county and state law generally prevents the removal of large trees in Resource Protection Areas, zones near streams that feed into the Chesapeake Bay.

She argues that Richmond Custom Homes likely won’t be able to prove that their plans meet the narrow exceptions allowing the removal of trees in these areas, a claim echoed by the advocates with the Arlington Tree Action Group.

“Both this tree and this RPA are important for protecting the air and water quality not just of the immediate neighborhood and Arlington County at large, but of the Bay watershed,” the group wrote in a news release. “The loss of either would call into question the enforcement of the [Chesapeake Bay Protection Ordinance].”

The action group added that this tree is likely one of the largest dawn redwoods in the entire country, and could live to be up to 600 years old if left undisturbed.

Jessica Baxter, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services, noted that the redwood is not necessarily guaranteed protection under Arlington’s tree ordinance, however. She points out that the tree would need to be designated as a “specimen or heritage tree,” a designation the county can only grant following a request from the property’s owner, and the homeowners have yet to ask for such a change.

“The county is reviewing the [developer’s permit] applications and its options for preserving the tree,” Baxter told ARLnow via email. “We’ll keep the community informed of the outcome.”

Read the entire statement on the redwood from the tree action group, after the jump.

Read More

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Morning Notes

Bike and Walk to School Day — Today was Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. The yearly event encourages families to use their feet — rather than cars — to get to school, at least for a day. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]

Hospital Expansion Meets Some Resistance — Some neighbors are at odds with Virginia Hospital Center over its plan to expand its campus. Complaints include objections to “height and mass in close proximity to single-family homes” and the large number of proposed parking spaces. [Greater Greater Washington]

Machinery Topples Over, Blocking Road — A piece of heavy machinery toppled over on Little Falls Road at N. Sycamore Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood yesterday. The cleanup temporarily blocked Little Falls Road. [Twitter]

Fourth High School Could Cost >$250 Million — “Redeveloping portions of the Arlington Career Center campus near Columbia Pike to accommodate a fourth general high school in Arlington could end up costing a quarter-billion dollars or more depending on amenities, according to preliminary cost estimates being fleshed out by school officials.” [InsideNova]

Another Farmers Market Opens — Arlington County is now home to ten farmers markets, with another on the way. The Arlington Mill farmers market opened over the weekend and hosted a Latin jazz band and Arlington’s Art Truck, in addition to numerous food vendors. [Arlington County]

More on Controversial Favola Auction Item — “Brian White of Winchester was the winning Democratic bidder. He said in an interview Monday that he thought the offer blurred the line of appropriateness, but had an idea: ‘I was looking at how much it was and I was like, Dominion [Energy] pays a whole lot more for this type of access.’ He said he plans to offer the day in Richmond to Theresa ‘Red’ Terry, the Roanoke County woman who spent 34 days living in a tree stand to protest incursion of a natural gas pipeline through her land.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Three separate events will be temporarily shutting down Arlington roads this weekend.

The sixth annual Arlington Festival of the Arts will be held in Clarendon on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The event will shut down the following roads from 4 a.m. on Saturday through 9 p.m. on Sunday:

  • Westbound Washington Boulevard from N. Garfield Street to Clarendon Boulevard
  • N. Highland Street from Clarendon Boulevard to Washington Boulevard
  • 11th Street N. between N. Highland and N. Garfield streets only will be open to delivery traffic

Police are advising motorists that street parking will be restricted and that “No Parking” signs will be enforced.

The Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K race will be held on Saturday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following roads will be closed during that time:

  • Williamsburg Boulevard will be closed to eastbound traffic from Little Falls Road to N. Harrison Street
  • Little Falls Road will be closed from Williamsburg Boulevard to N. Harrison Street
  • N. Ohio Street will be closed from 26th Street N. to Williamsburg Boulevard

Residents living in the closed-off area will be escorted by police, and are encouraged to park their vehicles in their driveways.

Saturday’s Arlington Palooza, at Alcova Heights Park, will close 8th Street S. between George Mason Drive and S. Randolph Street from 9 a.m.-6 p.m, according to ACPD.

Temporary “No Parking” signs will be placed along George Mason Drive to allow vehicles to load and unload items for the event. Vehicles violating the signs will be towed.

Photos courtesy ACPD

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Morning Notes

Advertising for Capital Bikeshare? — The Arlington County Board has approved a policy that would allow an advertising sponsorship for Capital Bikeshare. A corporate sponsorship of the regionwide system could generate $750,000 over five years for Arlington County, which would be used to support, expand and promote the system in Arlington. [Washington Post, Washington Business Journal]

Board Approves Climate Resolution — The County Board last night approved a resolution expressing the county’s commitment to fighting climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency. The resolution also states “that Arlington County supports the principles of the Paris Agreement and will continue to… advance action in accordance with the goals outlined in [it].” [Arlington County]

Arlington Taking Action to Attract Pollinators — Workers planted flowering plants in Arlington yesterday as part of a joint effort to attract more pollinators — insects like bees and butterflies. The environmentally-friendly effort was sponsored by the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, NOVA Parks and Dominion. [WJLA]

Arlington to Update Resource Protection Map — Arlington County will hold public hearings on updating its Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map. “The more accurate map will help Arlington protect environmentally sensitive lands near streams and ensure that the County can comply with local and State regulations,” said a press release. “It will allow the County to review development projects fairly and provide accurate information to residents and other stakeholders.” [Arlington County]

Photos from Crystal City Car Show — The annual Crystal City Fathers Day Auto Festival was held this past weekend and featured more than 100 cars. This year the show was organized in part by Carsfera.com. [Facebook]

Williamsburg Neighborhood Plan Updated — The County Board has approved an update to the Neighborhood Conservation Plan for Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Per a press release: “Residents made recommendations for improving traffic and pedestrian safety, maintaining the neighborhood’s character, protecting the tree canopy and improving neighborhood parks.” [Arlington County]

First Day of Summer — Today is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. [Capital Weather Gang, Vox]

Photo courtesy Valerie O’Such

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