Quarterly Membership Meeting (7:00 pm)
Tuesday October 26, 2004
Patrick Henry Elementary School
Attendees: Bob Dannemiller, Carole Lieber, Adam Croswell, Betty Siegel, Jim Gill, Phyllis Regan, Regina McWethy, Ella Nargele, Zyatt Ziber, Doug Duncan, Janet Shannon, Phil W. James, John C. Kozyn, Gus Moshos, Karl Schwartz, Bill Stevens, Martin Chadzynski, Patrick Madden, Kimberly Sumner, Sylvia Witaschek, Emanuele Cognetti, Moinque O'Grady, Catherine Camp, Sara Agez, Robert Perry, Richard Bullington-McGuire
Guests: Arlington County Police, Sgt Marc Jenkins and other members of the 3rd District Team; and Doug Ross, Bob Hough
The meeting was called to order at 7:07 pm.
The meeting began with presentations by guests.
Voting Machine Demonstration
President Carole Lieber called the meeting to order and introduced guest, Bob Hough, to talk about and demo the new touch screen voting machines that will be in use on November 2nd. Mr. Hough explained that the machines are not connected to the internet, so one is not voting on-line. Each machine makes a paper tally of votes on that machine which are verified at the end of the day by numerous election officials.
Some things to be aware of for voting – They election officials will close the voting line to newcomers at 7:00 pm but anyone in line at 7:00 pm will be able to vote. If there is some kind of discrepancy with records when someone goes to vote they can get a provisional ballot. It is too late to mail in absentee ballots but one can still go to the main county building and vote absentee in-person up until at least this Saturday October 30. Paper ballots are counted by hand after the polls are closed at 7 pm on Tuesday.
The lines at the polls are expected to be much greater than usual. People tend to stop to vote on their way to or back from work. The recommendation for when to go and have a shorter line is around 10 am or 2 pm.
Carole introduced Sgt Marc Jenkins and the 3rd District team including Matt Owens, and Dell Myrick. Sgt. Jenkins gave a brief summary of activity along Columbia Pike, and suggested that people be careful as the holidays approach. The police see an increase in seasonal crimes such as street robberies so be alert and aware of your surroundings and expect to see more officers on the street.
Be careful of scams – people knocking on your door, strangers, and always call to report any activity you find suspicious. You can call the non- emergency number – 703-558-2222
Questions were asked regarding: safety at the polls on Tuesday and Sgt Jenkins said that there will also be an increased police visibility; gang activity in Arlington; individual incidents around the area; activities at the County Fair, etc. Sgt Jenkins encourages neighbors to call the police anytime something doesn't feel right. Neighborhood Watch is a program that is good but it is difficult to start and everyone has to be active. More information about Neighborhood Watch programs can be found at: http://www.co.arlington.va.us/Departments/EmergencyManagement/EmergencyManag ementNeighborhoodWatch.aspx
Park Bond Issue
Jay Wind couldn't attend so Doug Ross, who is with "Vote Yes for Arlington's Parks', came to address the park bonds that will be on the ballot Tuesday. Detailed information about the bonds and parks issues can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/pvtc.geo/voteyes.html
Mr. Ross, asked for county residents to support the park bonds because these are in investment in the Arlington Park Systems. The biggest part of the bond is for the North Tract which will build desperately needed new aquatic facilities for county residents, and include indoor and outdoor facilities including a fitness center. He encourages anyone interested to get involved in the community process. The idea is to make this big facilities revenue neutral, with a reasonable fee charged for use to county residents and higher fees to non-residents. Other projects to be funded by the bonds would include the park at Yorktown, synthetic fields at Wakefield and elsewhere, renovation of the Fairlington Community Center, and design and engineering on the Arlington Mill Community Center.
Columbia Pike Transportation Initiative
Tim Lynch spoke about transit, and the development that looks to be in the works under the form based code along Columbia Pike.
Development plans include the approved mixed use residential/retail project at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed opposite the Cinema and Draft House; the Capstone property behind Eckerd's which now has new owners who just submitted plans for mixed use retail and residential; Trammel Crow who just bought property up near Greenbrier and are planning a 230 condo unit with retail on the first floor and parking below; and Adams Square owners are considering redevelopment. Question was asked about plans for the old Strayer University sight. Tim thinks the owner is still undecided about what to do with the property, partially because Mancini's, Subway and the Clinic have long term leases on their spaces.
Tim was asked about what will be done regarding cut-thru traffic and parking as Columbia Pike is developed. He mentioned the parking to be built under the development at Columbia Pike and Walter Reed which will have at least 450 parking spaces, 150 for shared use, the rest for residents. Betty Siegel interjected that her impression from the many meetings she has sat in on is that the County has promised to address these issues but has basically done nothing. The County has offered no concrete plans for how they will encourage the development of shared parking, or how they will address cut-thru traffic, etc. Her impressions are that AHCA is positioned such – between Columbia Pike and Route 50 – that it is particularly vulnerable to increased traffic and parking if Columbia Pike does indeed fulfill its promise to become a destination for retail, restaurants, etc. and that the Counties response to concerns regarding this have been unsatisfactory. She recommends that anyone from AHCA that is concerned about these start letting the County Board and the County Manager know now that these issues must be addressed now.
Plans for improved Transit along Columbia Pike are moving along. Columbia Pike has been identified as an alternative transit corridor by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Several alternatives for types of transportation on Columbia Pike from the Pentagon up to Baily's Crossroads/Skyline have been considered including: monorail, light rail, bus rapid transit, streetcar, and underground metro. The two types that are currently being considered are streetcars and bus rapid transit. Either one would be run in mixed traffic with stops/stations at the curb.
Pike Transit Community Forums will be held 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm on November 8, 2004 at the Arlington Career Center, 816 S. Walter Reed Drive in Arlington and on November 10, 2004 at the Mason District Governmental Center at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, VA. Everyone should have gotten information in the mail about this and additional information can be found at www.commuterpage.com/eventdetail.cfm?eventID=263
Other questions regarding transit can be address to Arlington County staff, Jim Hamre at (703) 228-3698, firstname.lastname@example.org
Other questions for Tim included: the status of utility under grounding along Columbia Pike; what development is happening on South Glebe Road near the post office – which will be a mixture of townhouses and single family homes; what is being done to protect small business along Columbia Pike as it develops – Tim mentioned that the county is exploring ways to invest in and support "mom and pop"; businesses; and whether there are plans to do any serious development of Fillmore Gardens – Tim isn't aware of anything other than possibly some development of units north of 9th Street.
There was no presidents report.
Motion: To approve the July minutes. Seconded, and passed.
Bob Dannemiller reports that AHCA has a bank balance of $2999.99 ,and that there are currently 53 family members and 4 business members.
Adam mentioned that the Federation Delegates College to learn about the civic associations, the federation and how the county works was held. And, that at another meeting the bonds were discussed.
Neighborhood Conservation (NCAC)
Betty reported that AHCA currently has two Neighborhood Conservation (NC) projects which have received approval for funding by the County Board.
- Installation of Carlyle type street lights on 2nd Street South between South Glebe Road and South Fillmore Street; on 1st Road South between South Glebe Road and Old Glebe Road; and on Old Glebe Road between 1st Road South and 2nd Street South.
- Completion of installation of Carlyle type street lights on 6th Street South between South Glebe Road and South Walter Reed Drive, and installation of Carlyle type street lights on South Garfield Street between 6th Street South and 7th Street South.
Questions about when the County is going to start work on these NC projects should probably be addressed to the County Manager, Ron Carlee. His email address is email@example.com and his phone number is 703-228- 3120. The explanation so far from the County as to why these projects have not been started is that the County has a backlog of NC projects and it is trying to catch up.
Arlington Heights Civic Association currently has six projects waiting to be recommended for funding through the NCAC. The one that is currently eligible to be funded is the first on the list below in the motion. However there is a glitch. The County has stated that the County will not put in curbs and gutters unless there is a sidewalk. This was not the case at the time this project was originally petitioned and submitted, and qualified as an NC project, and hence it doesn't include a sidewalk. To get a sidewalk included in this project the homeowners on that street would be petitioned and a certain percentage of them would have to agree to having the sidewalk. The question for the neighbors who live on this street is whether or not they want a sidewalk as a part of this project.
At this point, AHCA is getting one project every two years funded by the NC. The next funding round is in December 2004.
MOTION: The Arlington Heights Civic Association approves of the following NCAC projects and prioritizes them in the following order:
- Installation of curbs, gutters, and Carlyle type streetlights on South Garfield Street between Arlington Boulevard and 2nd Street South.
- Installation of curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and Carlyle type streetlights on South Fenwick Street between Arlington Boulevard and 2nd Street South.
- Installation of curbs, gutters, and Carlyle type streetlights on South Irving Street between Arlington Boulevard and 2nd Street South.
- Installation of Carlyle type street lights on South Ivy Street between South 7th Street and South 9th Street, on South Highland Street between South 9th Street and Columbia Pike, and on South 9th Street between South Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive.
- Installation of Carlyle type street lights on South Highland Street between South 7th Street and South 9th Street
- Installation of Carlyle type streetlights on South 5th Street between South Glebe Road and South Jackson Street.
The motion was seconded and passed.
AHCA Website: Richard has been working to register a domain name and get a new website up and running for AHCA. He is currently about half done and the site can be found at www.acha.info He says there is a lot of information, current and archival/historical that he is working his way through to get it all posted. He would like to try to get conversations from AHCA emails posted as well as letters that get written to the County.
Celebrate Columbia Pike Left Turn
Saturday October 30 at 9:00 am there will be a small celebration for the completion of the left hand turn lanes at Columbia Pike and Glebe.
Monique O'Grady encouraged us to purchase a calendar put together by a group of 4th graders that includes their drawings of local architecture. For more information contact Monique.
Street Lights on South Ivy
Carole brought up that the neighbors on South Ivy have expressed concern about poor lighting making the street unsafe. This street is currently on the AHCA NCAC priority list. But, it is the fourth item on the list and may not get funding for four to eight years. Carole mentioned that there might be a possibility to get Cobra Lights faster then waiting for the improvements through the NCAC process. Martin Chadzynski, who lives on South Ivy thinks that his neighbors probably do not want the cobra lights. Carole will follow up with the county to see if anything can be done to improve the existing lighting. Martin also suggested that the AHCA newsletter be printed in Spanish as well as English. He volunteered to help get the newsletter out to his neighbors and to try to get them involved in AHCA.
Carole tabled the vote on AHCA dues.
Carole asked for volunteers to serve on the nominating committee. Elections for the AHCA executive committee officers will be held at the January 2005 AHCA meeting. Richard Bullington-McGuire volunteered to help and also mentioned that the job descriptions for these positions is in the by-laws posted on the website. Richard asked if anyone one of the current officers will continue to serve. Carole said that she would stepping down as President but hoped that Adam Croswell would step up as President.
ZORC recommendations to changes in zoning
Carole was unable to get anyone from the county to come out and speak on this topic. Much has been discussed on the AHCA email list. The ZORC has recommended significant changes in allowable lot coverage which will potentially have a serious negative impact on AHCA and homeowners who want to add on to their homes. The recommended decrease from 56% to something closer to 36% allowable lot coverage will have a disporportionate effect on the smaller lots in South Arlington.
Jim Gill discussed some of the history of this proposal, which he says was rejected five years ago by the community because there was absolutely no consensus. His impression is that the ZORC proposed changes were proposed originally to stop "mega mansions"; and "ugly homes"; in North Arlington, and that it will severely and negatively limit our rights in South Arlington. He recommends that AHCA homeowners and concerned residents immediately email the county board about concerns, and to express whether or not they are or are not in favor of the proposed changes. He recommends that we not wait until the "official"; comments period because by then it will be too late. The Board needs to hear now, and hear clearly how we feel.
Carole pointed out that the NCAC tabled a proposal to vote to support the changes because there was adamant opposition to the changes. Betty mentioned that the vote by NCAC was to send a letter supporting the proposal to the Board, but that the vote that counts in this matter is the vote by the Arlington County Board and that, as Jim said, AHCA needs to make it clear, now, that it does not support the proposed changes.
Motion: That AHCA is opposed to the proposed ZORC changes to zoning which will limit the allowable lot coverage. Seconded, and passed.
Carole read an email from the Civic Federation, dated yesterday, stating that the County Manager is not yet ready to advertise the changes, but that this issue is also not off the table. The Manager has asked County staff to look at some options. The Civic Federation Planning/Zoning committee will also look at this. Adam reminded everyone that anyone can join one of the Civic Federation committees.
AHCA Next Quarterly Meeting
Date was not set.
Meeting Adjourned at 10:05 pm
Betty Siegel, Secretary