SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Newsletter

Our September newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

Back on Track – Still by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

I wanted to send my warmest regards to everyone within Ashton Heights and our surrounding community, and hope you had a good summer and are safe and secure during this pandemic.

The Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) has still been very active addressing a wide range of issues. I am happy to say that we will continue to email our AHCA Newsletter but we will also return to delivering it after we polling our coordinators Bea Camp and Julie Mangis as well as the volunteers that deliver the newsletters.

As you can see on the cover page, we will hold our first new AHCA Monthly Meeting (the third Wednesday of every month) using ZOOM coordinated by Emmilu Olson and Chris Armstrong. I hope you will participate and hear the short reports by our Chairs & Co Chairs of our eight AHCA Committees & Subcommittees and our two speakers.

AHCA is in the process of sending another letter to the County Board on “safety” approaches on North Kenmore Street since a child was hit a few months after a bicyclist was hit – emphasizing the need to speed up differentiate between ‘traffic calming’ and move to “pedestrian & property’ safety. We plan to keep up the pressure.

AHCA has been active on a range of COVID-19 issues, starting with the family help service established by AHCA Safety and Security Committee chair Christina Schultz, and interfacing with the County on crowding at the Beer Lot and other issues.

Development issues are always before us, as are tree canopy, affordable housing, schools, transportation & traffic, and open spaces/playgrounds. And I expect the challenges of COVID, smaller Arlington County budget resources — are all going to make our efforts harder. That said, why we have a civic association is to pool our human resources to track these issues, build community consensus, and interact effectively with the County, businesses, and community organizations.

Two issues we are preparing for, is how we interface and react to the Arlington County Water & Wastewater Utility Rate Study. We want to make sure rates are fair and that service and billing are also fair and responsive. The County has two proactive activities maximizing: 1) mail-in voting, and 2) insuring maximum participation in Census 2020. Right now we are just forwarding information, but we are very interested in ideas and approaches from anyone within the Ashton Heights community.

So welcome to Fall. Join us this month as we start-up our monthly meetings via ZOOM. And all, be safe!

May 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our May newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

An Amazing Community – Great Spirit and Generosity by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

 I can’t express my appreciation for all the great work and camaraderie by our Ashton Heights community which is just overwhelming. Just too many to shout out, but I am listing the handful that comes to mind:

  • a group making masks for health workers
  • families giving out books for children and adults
  • on street dancing for children and us old folks
  • establishment of a buddy system for food and errands for those unable to leave their houses
  • listserv trading items that people in our community need
  • organizing a blood drive for COVID-19 patients

And it is wonderful seeing families walking, biking and playing together – chalk drawing on the street, skateboards and scooters and bouts of playfulness. This is our last newsletter before the summer, so I wanted to emphasize the breadth of commitment to our community.

The day-to-day actions we at AHCA are doing, all by volunteers, for AHCA Committees on traffic & street repairs, development & zoning issues, security and safety, schools, parks-playgrounds-open spaces, native plants & tree canopy preservation, affordable housing, water bills data collection, and those representing our community on the Arlington Commission on Aging, the Civic Federation, Neighborhood Conservation, Clarendon Alliance, etc. – are ongoing and also how we contribute to the well being of our community.

I want to thank all of you — everyone of you — for making Ashton Heights just a wonderful place to live.

I have no idea what will be the situation with this pandemic in September. We will begin again in September our AHCA newsletter for the Fall (thank you Amy Miller), but not sure whether it will be only electronic or handed out as in the past as a printed version too. I am also not sure whether we will be able to hold our monthly meetings (third Wednesday of every month) at the Clarendon Methodist Church social hall – if not we’ll explore a larger ZOOM meeting.

But all that aside – the generosity and initiative of all of you, are making a great difference. So I salute you and wish you a safe and healthy Spring & Summer.

April 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our April newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

COVID-19: Our AHCA Community by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Well you can imagine we have lots of COVID-19 related challenges, but we are moving through them. As your AHCA President, I have had lots of communication with the County on issues, services, etc. As they are officially announced, I send them on the listserv. Some important info for you:

Arlington County Announces New COVID-19 Call Line – Community members who cannot find the information they need on the County’s website or through other resources, should call 703-228-7999 for assistance.

Arlington County & Virginia Hospital Center Open A New COVID-19 Drive Through Test Center – A temporary drive-through COVID-19 sample collection site at 1429 N. Quincy Street. Physicians with symptomatic patients can send orders to the Virginia Hospital Center outpatient lab electronically in EPIC or via fax to 703-558-2448. Once they have received a physician’s order, patients should call the VHC COVID-19 Scheduling Line at 703-558-5766 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site. Please keep your physician’s phone number on the wall near your telephone and in your pocket as well.

This brings me to REQUEST #1 – if you know a neighbor who is new to the area or not usually using the internet, please cajole them to join the AHCA listserv. Communications are extremely important at this time. Requests should be e-mailed to the AHCA listserv moderator, Betsey Lyon at etlyon410@gmail.com.

The AHCA April monthly meeting has been canceled (see box). We have to see how the coming months are as to whether we can reschedule future meetings.

Our AHCA Safety & Security Committee Chair Christina Schultz has an important column in this newsletter (page 3) on our AHCA Community Help and Service approach for helping those in Ashton Heights who are unable to leave and need food, medicines, and sustained periodic checking upon. We already have some volunteer names but more will be collected along with use of a formal request form (forms.gle/U8FjEmoDpWgD5ySo6). If you want to volunteer by being paired with a family/person, fill out the appropriate form: high risk (https://forms.gle/PbvhhiYUsT92xawv8) and low risk (https://forms.gle/Xpw2kR7wuAMWiDWp9).

AHCA has a very high ratio of 65-and-older age group, and we have many with immune system deficiencies that make them more susceptible (such as diabetes, heart & lung disease, cancers, etc), handicapped/special needs, single parents, etc.

REQUEST #2 – if you have neighbors in these categories, call them or e-mail them – check how they are, let them know of this effort — as a community we do not want ANYONE left out of this safety net, not one.

And finally, REQUEST #3 – if you have any other ideas, concerns, etc, please email me directly at solarsklar@aol.com, or call me at home 703-522-3049. I have already received quite a number of emails/calls and I appreciate them. I have seen some wonderful suggestions on the listserv, but wanted to highlight three:

1. Order in from local vendors routinely – please lets keep our special businesses viable during this ordeal,

2. Short, socially distanced activities like dancing and bike riding for kids (and adults) is important .. safe social interaction is needed, and

3. Leaving books and other activities for pick up is wonderful to share – reduce clutter and provide an activity for another.

From what I see, most people are social distancing, friendly when walking by, my own neighbors are amazing (since I am way over 65) to make sure I am OK and have food – just the attributes that make this such a great community. The more we help each other, the better our community will make it through this unprecedented event.

I am certain we will as a community meet these new challenges. And again, I want to deeply thank so many of you that have already volunteered, offered to volunteer, keep our Civic Association functioning, and those for reaching our to your neighbors in your community.

Be well, Be safe. Many thanks.

March 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter, Uncategorized

Our March newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

Five Trends in Arlington: Ashton Heights “Front & Center”

by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

As we move into Spring, I am feeling the need to encourage a creative dialogue. I am not advocating one way or the other on the points below, but using this column only to stir discussion.

Trend #1: Housing Density and Affordability. Discussions in Richmond and with the Arlington Board are not only addressing affordable housing, but the nature of residential neighborhoods. Many of us strongly want to keep the single home character of our community, yet others see multiplexes, townhouses and other approaches to offer a variety of living approaches to allow more flexibility, affordability, and livability.

Trend #2: Climate Change: Trees, Energy, and Buildings. The Arlington County Board voted unanimously in November 2019 on an updated Community Energy Plan (CEP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Clean Air Act regulated emissions, and significantly increase energy efficiency and renewable energy. Aside from announcing a contract with Dominion for over 100 MW of solar, efforts to nudge builders and developers to incorporate these approaches significantly in their projects and buildings since residential (26%) and non-residential (53%) buildings use 79% of our energy. More pressure on how our buildings are built, renovated, and how we behave in them, are going to be ever increasing. Native trees are also in this game plan for soaking in carbon, providing food and shelter for wildlife, and softening the urban character of our community.

Trend #3: Convenience & Personalization of Transportation. We all know Uber/Lyft, scooters, well-marked roadways, bike lanes, and density around Metro stops, all address not only traffic, but convenience, and livability. We can have food delivered by any restaurant, Amazon and others drop off any goods, and more and more in-home and in-office services are at our fingertips. How that impacts personal time, comfort, and family is being studied by many.

Trend #4: Multi-use Spaces and Buildings. Our schools and government buildings are not only used for their prime use, but also for community meetings, the arts and education. And now we are seeing private buildings, have public meeting space in the lobby, the NRECA building used for public meetings, as does AHCA and Little Beginnings Day Care share the Clarendon United Methodist Church facilities.

Trend #5: Aging in Place. The older population in Arlington – those ≥65 years of age – grew more rapidly than the rest of the population in each of the last three decades. It will continue to grow rapidly and at a faster rate. Northern Virginia’s older old population, those ≥75 years of age, is the region’s most rapidly growing population group. Growth in this age group will exceed 50% in each of the next two decades. Yours truly, is planning to age-in-place in my home. This means more walkable community, in-house services, and more county and various association tailored programs to my demographic.

I hope, as a community, we can discuss how we fit best into these trends among others not mentioned, so as to be proactive on addressing our future. Only through shared vision, community dialogue, and volunteer time – can we create a joint vision to help drive our consensus visions to reality.

Details of Ashton Heights 100th Anniversary plans for next year are underway (see page 4). We have had some very prescient Arlington residents and leaders that helped fashion the community we have today. This perspective should help all of us and guide all of us on pathways to the future.

We have a great community and we have a long road to further many past and present great ideas to make it an even better community.

Happy Spring!

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 02/19/2020

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Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 02/19/2020
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.  Scott was contacted by the county regarding the Clarendon Sector Plan inviting our community’s input.  Scott replied that representatives from our Development, Transportation, Housing Committees and , Playgrounds & Parks and our Tree Canopy subcommittees will be happy to provide input.  We will be impacted the most by this development by the potential congestion, density and the traffic. He also received an email from the county re our traffic concerns on Kenmore Street.  They will be putting a traffic study together about this which should take six months.

Patrick Lueb, Chairman of our Transportation Committee mentioned that there have been concerns about the traffic circle at Jackson St and 6th Street, because the signage is worn and is hard to see, especially at night.  He is looking into this. He also mentioned that there are concerns about the redevelopment on Pershing Dr., that ugly barrels, like the ones recently placed on Pershing on the other side of Washington Blvd, will be used.  He has found out that the type being planned for our site is different. 

Brooke Alexander of the AHCA Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee shared with us a copy of the Henry Clay Park construction plan.  Originally there was concern since we had no idea what was happening there.  The Arlington County Rep assured us that this plan was shared with the immediate neighborhood, and they did provide input to what was being proposed.  This project is on schedule and scheduled to be completed in 2020. She also updated us on the three trees that were removed on the site of the Arlington Art Center.  Come to find out that the county has approved 16 trees to be planted on this site, which should happen soon. She also shared an article called “How to Turn Your Yard into an Ecological Oasis” and took email addresses to send it to each of us.  

Brent Burris of the AHCA Playground & Parks Subcommittee reported on the NCAC Redevelopment Project at Pershing and Oakland, which includes a water garden and an adjustment to some side walks.  Come to find out that will also impact on some street parking spaces.  He will be attending a presentation about what is being proposed next week and will report back to us. He also gave us an update on what is happening with the construction at Mosaic Park.  Right now they working on the interactive water feature and are on schedule to be finished during second quarter of 2020.

Dave Phillips of the AHCA Development Committee reported that with the Clarendon Redevelopment there are three sites and three developers involved.  So far we have heard one preliminary site plan for the Joyce Motors site and hopefully we will hear from the other two soon.  For now it is looking like the Silver Diner will remain open until December 2021.
He attended a meeting with the county rep re the proposed plan for the The Highlander Motor Inn site, which will eventually be the location of a new CVS store.  The site for the new CVS includes the property the hotel is on, and the parking lot behind the hotel.  The lot of the house behind this location, not zoned for a commercial site, will be used as a green space and buffer, for the houses beyond, but not necessarily the “greenway”.  Neighbors Kristen Bass and Courtney and Nick Lewis, are the homeowners most impacted by this development and they attended this meeting as well.  Scott mentioned that he understands that neighbors around this store will be concerned about lighting and noise, but the civic association will support them in any way they might need.  Scott also gave a shout out of appreciation to Dave Phillips and Jack Spilsbury of the Development/Zoning Committee for all of their time, attention and interaction with the county and the property owner over this whole project.

Denny Edelbrach from the Clarendon United Methodist Church invited us to participate in the Arlington Bunny Hop scheduled for April 18, 2020 @ 8:00 am.  Funds made from this event will be donated to Bridges to Independence and Offender Aid and Restoration.

Arlington County Police Officer Corporal Lennon and crew did an analysis of criminal activity in our area for the past year.  There have been burglaries at some used car lots where suspects have been arrested.  Larceny from unlocked cars continues and they are encouraging us to implement the daily 9:00 pm routine to making sure your car, garage, yard and house are all secure.  Ballston Mall has had some shoplifting issues and cars being stolen as well.  They are encouraging us to call them if we spot anything suspicious.  The Arlington Restaurant Initiative with bars taking a more proactive involvement with potential problems, has been working with curbing drunk and disorderly activity in and around the Clarendon restaurant and bar area.  There still are large crowds on the weekends, but there are fewer incidents.  5 – 10 police officers are usually assigned to this area during these busy times, which also helps.  
A concern was raised about traffic blowing through some intersections while people are attempting to cross streets in cross walks.  It was suggested that we report any of these incidents on-line.
Another concern was raised about electric scooters being parked on sidewalks and also rented cars being parked in residential areas after use.  Technically the companies who own these vehicles are supposed to pick up their vehicles within a day or two.  If they do not, feel free to call the company.
A food truck has been parked most evenings in a parking slot on Pershing Dr. running their business.  Concern was raised about the propane tanks on the back of the truck sticking out into traffic.  Technically the truck is parked legally and there really is nothing that can be done about the propane tanks sticking out into traffic.

Gary Hamilton, the Published of Arlington Magazine talked about some of the impacts of Amazon’s arrival and some observations about the July 2019 flooding. He advised that while housing will rise, not so much that residents should wait to bet on the value increases.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 
Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, February 22, 2020

February 2020 Ashton Heights Newsletter

February 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our February newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

 

Getting into Full Swing – Making Ashton Heights Stay Great (As Always)
by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

 As January dashed by, the biggest issues we are facing are development, crime, water rates, and roadways. Our intrepid AHCA Crime & Safety Chair Christina Shultz put out a detailed memo about the Arlington County police presentation at our January meeting. The recent rash of automobile incursions in Ashton Heights cars are almost all in unlocked vehicles. The only smashed windows were tied to two visible – computer and purse – on the car seat in commercial parking areas. No use of wireless fob number theft devices has been reported or believed to be in use. So two basic guides – check & lock your car every evening, and leave nothing of value visible.

We also advised on the listserv roadwork beginning on Pershing Drive and soon, some continued work on Wilson Blvd. approaching 10th Street North. AHCA also submitted a formal letter to Arl. Co. on traffic calming on N. Kenmore St. AHCA Transportation Committee Chair Patrick Lueb has been following, dialoguing with the County, and fact finding on planter design options.

Due to great work by Barbara Taylor (bet2713@gmail.com ), we have collected data from 71 residents whose water bills were over 100% higher. We have submitted the aggregated data to the Arlington County Board, and with other civic associations to show a statistical quantification of the problem. AHCA will be pursuing this issue, since it has been an ongoing problem that is not solely tied to water leaks, as County staff maintains.

AHCA has also been dialoging with the other Arlington civic associations who have contacted Arlington County Board members about the need to revisit the Zoning Ordinance provisions for lot coverage, height, and setback of single-family homes — and also to ensure compliance with these restrictions as homes are actually built.

We transferred to our new listserv platform seamlessly. Thank you for the hard work Betsey – please see the full article on page five of this month’s newsletter.

The AHCA Development Committee has been meeting with the county on these main in-process developments: 1. TCS project on Wilson (Beer Lot to Silver Diner). 2. Joyce Motors redevelopment on 10th street 3. Status of third development (Wells Fargo site) 4. CVS project – zoning/rezoning issue on three lots; environmental issue; arrangement for meeting with group of nearby residents on permitting (lighting, traffic, vegetation barriers etc). 5. Hotel (Randolph and 5th); Mr Wash: Status. AHCA Development Co-chairs David Phillips and Jack Spilsbury are always open to input and guidance.

MORE THANK YOU’s from all of us at AHCA — Debby Chin, owner of The Baking Q, has been donating food at our monthly as she tests the market place for its product line of desserts. If you like something and would like to place an order, please contact Debby (debbychin@me.com) for more information. Thanks to Greg Morse who has also been bringing in healthy snacks for the meetings.

Carmen Kosik (emailocity@gmail.com) has been successfully getting ads for the newsletter so we can expand it slightly, and deserves our kudos for this important task. And Ann Felker (gr8est9@gmail.com) has been coordinating the Kids Page in our newsletter that helps employ our youngest members in ways that help our community. Thanks so much!

Wishing you a happy Winter season, here in Ashton Heights!

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 01/15/2020

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Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 01/15/2020

Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought meeting to order at 7:30 pm.  

Scott thanked Amy Miller for stepping up as the new editor of the AHCA newsletter.

AHCA has a new committee, AHCA Committee on Housing Chair Matthew Hall and Vice Chair Christina Schulz.

Dave Phillips and Jack Spilsbury of the Development/Zoning Committee reported that they are reaching out to the Highland Hotel owner so they can stay abreast of issues that may arise from the new project, and following the three development projects between Wilson Blvd, Wash Blvd, & 10th St North. There will be a meeting of the County Board regarding density and heights.  If anyone has any interest, please contact them. The West Clarendon project along Wilson Blvd and 10th St. involves the development of new apartments and hotels; they want to guard against glass, concrete and set back.  The presentation we had scheduled today for part of this redevelopment was cancelled.

Greg Morse CoChair of our Schools Committee reported that there has been talk of swapping elementary schools and most recently have come to find that more seats are needed in the Rosslyn and Clarendon corridor.

Brent Burris Chair of the Playground & Parks Subcommittee reported that there has been a resolution between the Fire Department and the city planners regarding the North Oakland St. water gardens being proposed.  This is being presented to the residents right now. 

Brooke Alexander Chair of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee reported that we are still losing our tree canopy primarily because of builders knocking down small houses and building larger houses in their place.  We have been able to take advantage of the Tree Canopy Fund and have applied for 31 trees to be planted in Spring of 2020.  Applicants should hear if they have been accepted for the program soon.  This past Fall we were about to get 13 trees planted from this fund. She also looked into if the three trees that were removed on the North Monroe St. side of the building will be replaced.  They are slated to have trees planted here.  If anyone has any interest, please let her know. 

Betsey Lyon our Listserv Moderator has swapped our list serve to the Groups.io system.  There have been a number of questions about how this works, and she has been sending out guidance.

Scott mentioned that a number of our residents have received very high water utility bills this past month—some 114% higher, or more.  Betsy Taylor is leading the AHCA data effort and has collected info from 71 households so far.  If your bill was unusually high, please let her know. Scott had suggested that residents should hire a plumber to check their meters, with the water turned off, to determine if there is a leak.  So far 12 residents have done this and have reported no leak.  Two other nearby civic associations have reported this problem as well.  Some communities have put in Wifi meters at no cost to help monitor and track what they are being billed for.  

Arlington County Police Officers Keen and Ryan and Corporal Lennon came by for a visit.   98% of auto break-ins are done to unlocked cars. Suspects walk by a car and just check the door handle of a car to see if it is open.  If the car is unlocked, they take advantage. From Oct 1 thru Dec 31 only 7 car break-ins were reported in Ashton Heights and 4 in Lyon Park.  There has only been one break-in reported where a window was broken to a locked car, where a purse was left in plain view on the seat.  Rumors have been flying that equipment is being used to unlock cars, which is called “cloning”.  This is not true.  The equipment needed has never been found on any suspects and it would take too long for this process to work. The process can take 45 – 60 minutes. They are encouraging everyone to do the 9 PM Routine. Every night at 9 pm every evening, make sure your house, garage and car are secure.  Take the time to do this every night.

If you find that someone has gone through your car and taken nothing or anything, please report it on-line.  If you cannot figure out how to report it on-line, call the non emergency number and a police officer will come over to your home to show you how to do this.  They want these reports submitted so they will really know the extent of the problem.   For the 300,000 residents of Arlington County there are only 18 police officers on duty at a time.  Currently there still is a shortage of police staff.  Ideally we need 400 police officers to be fully staffed; right now we only have approximately 330 police officers working.

Matt De Ferranti the newest County Board Member came to dialogue with our residents about county board issues. He pointed out that everyone should complete the census starting on April 1, 2020. He grew up in McLean, is a lawyer, practiced in TX, and was an advocate for Native American kids and supported Feed America.  

The two issues he ran on were affordable housing and education.  A lot of people who work in Arlington cannot afford to live here and feel more should be done to support affordable housing.  Virginia law does not allow for rent control nor inclusionary zoning.  Also 29% of the students in Arlington schools are not affluent and require food assistance.  

He talked about a goal for the county of 100% renewable energy and getting our carbon footprint to 0.  The fact we opened 5 new schools this year reflects a growth factor that we need to continue to deal with. 

Since small houses in Arlington are being replaced by larger homes, not only does this drive the cost of housing up, it also is reducing the size of our county tree canopy.  The Board needs to amp up the education of the county regarding the best management practices to better support our tree canopy and our environment.  Having more trees will also help with storm water absorption, since we are now having more severe storms and flooding due to climate change. 

This year the county will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of when Arlington split from the city of Alexandria.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 

Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, January 19, 2020

January 2020 Newsletter

Featured, Newsletter
Ashton Heights January 2020 Newsletter

Our January newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

2020 – An Exciting Year for Ashton Heights and Arlington County by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Some good actions have happened by the end of 2019. Clarendon Circle, the convergence of Washington Blvd, Wilson Blvd, Clarendon Blvd. and Fairfax Drive is basically finished – meaning roadways are clear from construction, noise, and traffic slow downs. And the commercial center evolves, with wider sidewalks, safer street crossings, and clearer traffic patterns.

Arlington County has kept taxes flat, added some clarifications for scooters while adding to bike lanes, and the County Board unanimously adopted an update to the County Energy Plan which will result in more clean energy, less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, creating a healthy environment for all of us.

The Ashton Heights Civic Association is strong. The best news is we finally have a new newsletter editor, and I would like to heartily welcome Amy Miller and please feel free to e-mail her with comments and suggestions. I also want to add my thanks again to Jeanette Wick who stepped in a second time as our interim AHCA newsletter editor. AHCA has a new Committee on Housing and is Chaired by  Matthew Hall and Co-chaired by Christina Schultz. Thank you both for stepping up to cover this critical issue.

Another highlight worth noting is the formal dialogue process with Arlington County initiated by the Co-chairs of the AHCA Development Committee, so we can be proactive about development decisions rather than just be reactive. As mentioned in our last newsletter, our Co-chairs of the AHCA Schools Committee along with other AHCA volunteers are actively involved with County school facilities planning committees. And our other AHCA Committees of Crime & Safety, Open Spaces & Playgrounds, Tree Canopy & Native Plants, along with Transportation are all diligently following their issues, interacting with County staff and AHCA members.

So I am happy to report that we are covering most of the major issues confronting our community. That doesn’t mean we have resolved every issue exactly our way, but we have a solid organization and process to sustain member involvement and dialogue to help drive issues more in our direction. That said, we can always use more volunteers not only on standing committees, but also on sub-issues either within our existing AHCA committees (listed on the inside page of this newsletter), establish new task-oriented committees or create subsets of existing committees. Please feel free to contact me, or anyone on the AHCA Executive Committee at any time.

And that brings me to the last issue for AHCA, that in May 2020 we elect new officers. I have been advised our AHCA Secretary who issues our monthly meeting minutes will need to be filled, and I have been actively looking for someone from our community to shadow me so they can take the reins in 2020 or 2021. Establishing an orderly transition is essential for AHCA as we have grown, and issues become more complex and intense. So don’t be shy, please feel free to drop me an e-mail on these positions, as well as other issues within our community and within AHCA.

That said, I am excited about the upcoming year, and look forward to hearing from many of you. Enjoy the winter and hope to see you at our annual AHCA membership meeting this Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 7:00 PM at the Clarendon Methodist Church Social Hall. Happy 2020!

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 11/20/2019

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Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought meeting to order at 7:32 pm.  

Scott announced that this is the last Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting of 2019.  

Christina Schultz of our Crime and Safety Committee reported that according to Arlington County Police the level of gang activity in Arlington has gone down.  They feel the use of school resource officers has helped with this decline.  She is going to look into if the Ring Doorbells may be a way of sharing information about suspicious activity in our neighborhood.

Jim O’Brien the Vice President for Membership is willing to take our membership dues!  He will report on the status of our membership next month.

Jim Richardson the Vice President for Programs mentioned that in January our speaker will be Arlington County Board Member Matt de Ferranti.  In February it will be the co-owner and Editor of Arlington Magazine Greg Hamilton.

Brent Burris of our Playground and Parks Subcommittee mentioned that the status of what is happening with the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee is about the same.  With respect to the water garden being proposed at the North Oakland St. and Pershing Dr. intersection – apparently it has stalled over disagreements at the county level over the proper width for the street.

Scott thanked Carmen Kosik our Advertising Representative for her diligent work getting advertisements for our newsletter and made a plea for help in finding a new newsletter editor.

Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Committee reported that 16 new trees were planted in Ashton Heights this past week funded by the Arlington County Tree Canopy Program and planted by the county.  She is now looking for applications from anyone who would like to get a tree from this program this coming Spring. She will be happy to meet with you to discuss possible locations for this tree and to help with your application.  She will be coordinating this process with the county.  The deadline to submit your request to her is November 30, 2019.  She handed out a list of available types of trees.  

A question from the floor regarding the trees that were taken down next to the Art Center on Monroe Street.  Are there plans to replace them?  Brooke mentioned that in the Sector Plan includes plans to widen the sidewalk at that location, which will not leave room for trees at this same place.  She will look into it further.

Another question from the floor about what is happening at Clay Park off of Highland St.  The park had been fenced off and most of the trees and all of the equipment was pulled up.  Why were we not notified of this?  Brooke will look into this also.

Patrick Lueb of our Transportation Committee mentioned the residents on North Kenmore St. have put together a petition with 20 signatures requesting traffic calming measures be installed along their street.  Apparently Kenmore is the latest cut thru to get to Wilson Blvd/Pershing Dr.  Speed bumps may or may not still be used for traffic calming and stop signs are not being used for such efforts.  A suggestion from the floor to have a traffic circle installed.  They would like more police presence to study the situation.  Our police, the last year or two, has had a major staff shortage, which has been helped lately with a number of new hires coming on board this past year.

During our discussion of this issue, it was mentioned that the Google App “Waze” apparently offers North Kenmore Street as a way to get through the neighborhood.  Some thought to petition “Waze” and Google to stop this practice.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) owns Route 50 and has been focusing on traffic turning left into Ashton Heights.  They are looking into input from residents for possible solutions in early 2020 on their website.  Patrick will try to get representatives from the county and VDOT to come to one of our meetings before the deadline for our input for this problem.  

Jack Spilsbury of our Development and Zoning Committee mentioned that there are a couple of developers working up possible projects in some of the Clarendon area that is to be redeveloped.   One is a hotel proposal for the Silver Diner and Beer Lot along with a residential rental project in one of the nearby spaces.  He hopes to get one of these developers to come to our January meeting to share what they are planning.

Jack and Ken Matzkin have been taking the initiative and reaching out to owners to some of these properties (Wells Fargo Bank, the Verizon site and Mr. Wash) being developed and keeping in touch, so we can stay on top of what may be happening to these properties.

The owner of The Highlander Hotel on Wilson has an agreement with CVS to allow a store to be built on this site.  They are not entertaining options from anyone else right now.  There will be a proposal from CVS to the county soon.  Most likely the CVS currently on Wilson will be closed and will reopen on the Highlander Hotel site, which will allow more parking.

A question from the floor about cleaning up the Dominion Substation in Clarendon, which seemed unlikely. 

Jim Feaster who is part of the Arlington Commission on Aging mentioned that their focus is on how Arlington can be more age friendly and able to provide more resources to residents aging in place.

Mark Blacknell mentioned that he would like Arlington to find ways to attract younger Arlington County residents to AHCA meetings.  He feels we need to work some strategies to attract younger residents.

Scott McPartlin with the Arlington County Parks and Recreation Office gave us a Mosaic Park Update.   Mosaic Park started out as an idea back in the 1970s and in the 1990s the idea started to take shape.   Now Phase One is under construction and will open in the 2nd quarter of 2020.  The area for Phase Two remains, for now, a parking lot at Gold’s Gym.  ACHA President Sklar asked everyone to give him a round of applause for his great work since the beginning of this project.

Brooke Alexander asked to see the list of trees and perennials being proposed for the Phase One site.

A question from the floor was asked about if members of the Parks and Recreation Office actively reach out to neighborhood civic associations, when any of their projects would impact some of these groups.  Scott McPartlin himself tries to reach out to neighborhoods that would be impacted by his projects that he manages, and did not know why we were not contacted by the project manager for the Clay Park Project.  He is  happy to find out who the project manager is and will have them contact the members of our Playgrounds and Park Subcommittee.

Zack DesJardins a Bikeshare and Scootershare Planner for MetroBike is the Arlington County POC on Scooter Trial and Police on Enforcement.  He gave a talk about the new county regulations for e-Scooters that the Arlington County Board just approved.  The state law allows anyone 16 or older to use an e-Scooter; the user agreements for all the companies providing e-Scooters in Arlington requires users to be 18 years old.  Parking corrals have been established on a number of county streets to encourage people to park e-Scooters at these locations, though e-Scooters can be parked all over.  Concerns regarding no requirements for helmets to be worn and injuries, while operating these scooters were brought up from the floor.  Supposedly approximately 78 crashes have been reported, but am unable to verify because most emergency rooms will not release injury reports to the public.  DC e-scooter staff are trying to get injury information from emergency rooms.

The meeting was adjourned a bit after 9:00 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 

Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, November 23, 2019.

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 10/16/2019

Uncategorized

Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought meeting to order at 7:30 pm.  

Scott mentioned that two potential newsletter editors have left, and the editor for the Lyon Park newsletter has stepped up to help us again.  We need an editor for our newsletter!  To be the editor one needs to have an IBM PC to work with the software, 85% of the format of the newsletter is set, with four articles left to be filled in.  Once done the final newsletter will need to be emailed to the printer.  

Brent Burris, our Open Spaces, Playgrounds and Parks Subcommittee Chair, was not here, but Scott mentioned there our concerns with outstanding temporary easements with county construction designs and what the latest is with Mosaic Park. 

Jim Terpstra the AHCA Neighborhood Historian mentioned that our civic association will turn 100 years old in 2021. Now is a good time to start planning for this historical milestone. He is is gathering and reviewing the historical records of the Ashton Heights Civic Association and is putting them in order.  Any neighbors who might have old AHCA newsletters/documents please share copies/originals with him.  He will also be looking for someone to help scan his historical docs into electronic files.  He will put a blurb in our newsletter.

Greg Morse the Schools Committee Co-chair mentioned that the County Board and School Board have created a joint working group to evaluate the Career Center site and to figure out how to accommodate an additional 700-800 seats at this location.  Caroline Rogus and Polly Hall are AHCA reps on respective Arlington County Committees as AHCA will be keeping an eye on this.  Also the revamping of the elementary school districts in Arlington County is seems to be heating up again with the School Board.

Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee brought two Red Bud whips to give away.

Scott mentioned that this year was going to be Scott’s 8th and final term as President, but since Julia Tanner has stepped down from as incoming shadowing President to assume the AHCA Presidency in May 2020, we now need another candidate to shadow for a year so as to step up to transition as President.

Gretchen Reinemeyer the Arlington Director of Elections and Registrar gave a talk about how Arlington is preparing for the 2019 Election.  She showed a video about Election Security and took questions from the floor.

Presentation from P&H Investments re building design proposal for Joyce Motors Site at North 10th Street and North Irving Street location.  This will include 240 rental apartments and 200 parking spaces in an underground garage, 3000 Sq ft Retail, with 7 – 10 street parking places, for what they call a “destination cafe” with outdoor seating.  The facade of Joyce Motors will be included in the building facade including the white tiles and the pattern of the garage doors.  The name of the building being proposed is The Joyce.  At the south end of the building, along North 10th Street, the zoning allows for a height of 55 ft or 6 floors.  The zoning allows at the north end of the building, closer to Wilson Blvd, a height of 110 ft or 11 floors.  The alterations to the sector plan is the “taper line” of the building.  Currently if the taper line is enforced, the building design would be too choppy along the roof line of the building.  If the taper line were extended, the roof line of the building would be more gradual.  This is the exception they are requesting to the Sector Plan.  This proposal was being shared with us to get our input.  We did not hear any major concerns from the floor, but there was a question about public accessibility to any green space on the site. This proposal will be shared with the county representatives in a few weeks.  There is hope that construction can begin in about two years in 2022.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 

Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, October 20, 2019.