September 2021 Meeting Minutes

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AHCA Meeting – 9.15.2021

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

26 participants. 

Scott Sklar Update

Scott called the meeting to order at 7:33 PM, thanking the Clarendon Methodist Church for hosting our first in-person meeting in 18 months. 

Corporal Kenny Giles, ACPD 

Corporal Giles is in community outreach and currently assigned to Crystal City. He reports that our area has 356 police calls so far this year, down from last year. Last year, there were 5 stolen vehicles, and as of the meeting we are at 14. The biggest trend he sees when it comes to stolen vehicles are unlocked vehicles and found keys, including spare keys in cars. He emphasizes the importance of the 9 PM routine – locking your car, house, etc. He notes to register bikes with the county to assist in recovery in the case of theft. Register your bike on the Arlington website: https://police.arlingtonva.us/bicycle-registration-form/, or by emailing Lieutenant Heather Hurlock at hhurlock@arlingtonva.us.

Development Committee Update from Jack Spilsbury and the Clarendon Plan

Jack noted the range of development projects in the western part of Clarendon, including the current sites of the Highlander Motel, Joyce Motors, Silver Diner, St. Charles Church, and others. AHCA is working closely with civic associations from Lyon Village and Lyon Park on development issues. Jack asks that people review the development plan and reach out to him on development issues or to get more involved.

Ashton Heights 100th Birthday 

Jim Terpstra and Peter Dickson on the history of Ashton Heights

  • AHCA is looking for volunteers to review the twelve studies by George Washington University students that were done in the 1990’s, in an effort to summarize them for the AHCA newsletter. If interested, please contact Jim at terpstras4@msn.com.
    • Study topics include an interview with Frederick Westenberger, a local builder, a history of the Arlington County Street Railway System, a description of residential changes since 1940, and other topics.
  • Jim and Peter both reviewed Ashton Heights’ remarkable history from  sparsely settled region dominated by farmsteads, to a growing area sold by the Hunter family to Ashton Crenshaw Jones and Frank Lyon, to the neighborhood we call home today.
    • Jim Terpstra handed out copies of a collection of summaries and records from the National Register of Historic Places.
    • Peter Dickson’s work can be found in his Ashton Heights: Its Origin and History, a written history of our neighborhood which includes fascinating advertising and photography from Ashton Heights history. Copies are available for $10 if you contact Peter at pwdbard@aol.com.

Ann Felker, Julie Mangis, and Brooke Alexander provided a preview of the Ashton Heights Birthday Bash, which will take place on Saturday, September 25th.

Tree Tour and Plant Giveaway

Brooke Alexander and Ann Felker provided a preview of the Ashgton Heights Notble Tree Tour, to take place on Saturday, October 2nd, from 10 a.m. to noon. They are still in search of volunteers. Following the tree tour, join us in the Methodist Church parking lot for tree stories, music, snacks (including ice cream!) and a tree sapling and plant giveaway.

  • Fun fact – feeding one bunch of chickadees requires 6,000-9,000 caterpillars!

The meeting adjourned at 9:01 PM.

Respectfully submitted by Chris Armstrong, AHCA Secretary, September 27, 2021.

October 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The October 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Three Months Focus on the Ashton Heights 100th Anniversary

By Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

In our September AHCA meeting – our first in-person meeting in 18 months – we had the beginning of formal presentations on AHCA’s history. Our AHCA historian, went over a few of the reports on the beginnings of Ashton Heights, named after Ashton C. Jones as he massed land holdings in 1921. In 1892 the electric trolley was introduced and transformed rural Arlington into new subdivisions growing from 6,430 people to 10,231 people. Ashton Heights grew from 1910 -1930, with 1914 being the first County rule requiring approval of subdivision plans by the County Engineer.

Peter W. Dickson, historian, also presented, and offered his new book, Ashton Heights: It’s Origin and History (you may buy a copy for $10, Peter’s email: pwdbard@aol.com). On page 6, of his book, he recounts that by 1919, there were 45 homes on the 600 to 800 bocks of North Irving, North Ivy, North Jackson, and North Kenmore that eventually became the beginning core of Ashton Heights.

Saturday, September 25th was the AHCA Birthday Bash from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Arlington Arts Center. Again, this was a chance for our community to come together and celebrate not only our anniversary but our connections together making this community a better place, and coming through our ordeal of the pandemic. Kudos to Matt Hall, Ann Felker, and Julie Mangis among others to make this happen!

Saturday, October 2nd is the “Notable Tree Tour” coordinated by Brooke Alexander who heads our Tree Canopy & Native Plants Committee. Our tree canopy is what differentiates us from many other parts of Arlington – providing buffer from noise & pollution, habitat for birds and other wildlife, and has a cooling effect in light of changes due to global warming. Note: October 3rd is the National Solar Home tour, from 10:30 a.m. To 3:30 p.m., of which my 100 year old North Ivy Street house has been featured for the last decade.

At our October AHCA meeting, Jim Terpstra will discuss the Ashton Heights Style Guide, first published in 2003, to go over the unique house styles that principally make up a good portion of Ashton Heights residences. Also at our meeting on Wednesday, October 20th, we will have presentations from the Arlington Hospital Center and their Foundation, an outstanding Arlington institution.

So that brings me to what the Ashton Heights Civic Association’s (AHCA) role is today at this point in our first 100 years. From my view, AHCA’s focus has been to “keep the character of Ashton Heights as we grow and urbanize, so as to maintain our unique comfort, safety and livability”.

To do that our AHCA Committees composed of members of our community are doing the following:

▪ Development – ensure development in and around Ashton Heights protects light as well as protects against noise, maximizes open space, tree canopy, on street businesses and services, and enhance sense of community

▪ Housing – assure affordability and livability, track County initiatives

▪ Open Spaces – increase and enhance our parks and playgrounds

▪ Tree Canopy & Native Plants – significantly increase tree canopy and utilization of native plants

▪ Safety & Security – maintain dialogue with Arlington County police, inform community of crime & safety challenges and trends

▪ Schools – improving teaching and facilities, preserve walkability to schools, and enhance safety traveling to and within schools

▪ Transportation – embrace traffic calming, protect neighborhood parking, increase bike lanes and paths, pedestrian walkways, and noise reduction

These functions are essential to keep the best qualities of our community. So in this celebration of our 100 years, let us also rejoice that we are actively engaged to preserve, protect, and evolve for the upcoming 100 years.

I wish you all a happy and safe autumn. And look forward to seeing many of you in person at our Notable Tree Tour and at our monthly in-person October meeting.

September 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The September 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Back on Track: Full Speed to Autumn by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Activities have been full speed this summer, but before I get into that detail, we have had some wonderful cooler mornings in the 60’s with low humidity. So unlike a Washington, DC area summer – very nice! That said, we have had some residual tree mite bites from our earlier influx of cicadas, and it appears the eye infections and deaths of birds have receded, which is good news.

As of this August printing, our host at the Clarendon United Methodist Church (CUMC) has yet to establish a policy for public meetings held at the church. Please check the AHCA listserv or the AHCA website for information on our Fall AHCA meeting, to be held on Wednesday, September 15th at 7:30 p.m. – It will either be held in the social hall of CUMC or via Zoom.

We still have COVID-19 Delta issues to deal with. Good news is Arlington County is over 63.4% vaccinated, higher than the national average. (https://data.news-leader.com/covid-19- vaccine-tracker/virginia/51/)

The State of Virginia will be imposing certain vaccination requirements for state employees that I assume counties and cities will follow. Please visit Arlington’s COVID dashboard for stats and facts. And all questions COVID goes to AHCA’s Martha Casey: mlcasey@oacpc.com.

All our AHCA Committees have been working through the summer. Brent Burris who Chairs the Open Spaces Committee is working with Arlington County on the opening event of Mosaic Park, which our association has been the guide and vanguard. Brooke Alexander who Chairs the AHCA Tree Canopy & Native Plants Committee has been active on Arlington planning meetings, as well as County plans on park upgrades and replanting.

Our AHCA 100th Anniversary Committee, chaired by Jim Terpstra, has also been working hard and planning a celebratory event at the Arlington Art Center with free food and celebrations. Note: They have yet to adopt my amazing idea of a giant cake where Ashton Heights founder Ashton Jones jumps out, but I am hopeful.

The AHCA Development committee led tirelessly by Jack Spilsbury has been involved in both the Long Range Planning Committee activities and the Clarendon Sector Planning Activities. The Committee is very active, and of course, all with strong opinions. But the good news is that Ashton Heights is the focal point and has enlisted the surrounding Civic Associations to join us to strengthen our position for more open space and park, building setbacks and tapering and for more light, among other requests. A shout out to Jack, especially, for being innovative, working long hours in this zero-pay job, and spending time assimilating every ones’s ideas and concerns. And the Committee has also been great, and the Association owes you much for your attention to detail, principle, and for putting in the hours. So, thank you on behalf of our community.

Other notes, AHCA also pushed for the crossing walk light on North Irving St across 10th Street North which has been installed (which took years). Thank goodness for the little wins.

I need to apologize for yet another hack on our website, even after we upgraded to a higher cyber-protected host, where a similar e-mail address to mine went out to you asking for gift cards. Again, I will only “ever” ask for whiskey in bottles. We will try to address again.

As I do every fall, I ask you to email me with any ideas, suggestions, or concerns. The Association is here for all of you. I would be remiss if I didn’t add what a great community we live in, and it has been great to work and interact with each and every one of you.

A most happy Fall 2021. Be safe.

May 2021 Meeting Minutes

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AHCA Meeting – 5.19.2021

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

22 participants. 

Scott thanked everyone for showing up for the last AHCA meeting before the summer. AHCA Secretary Jodi Flakowicz replaced by Chris Armstrong, who is also AHCA web host, advertising newsletter coordinator,  Position switch by Jim Feaster is now Vice President of Programs, and Jim Richardson is now AHCA ExCom at-large member. Thanks to Jack Spilsbury for taking on his new role at AHCA Development Committee, as well as Jim Terpstra and Ann Felkner and others for taking the lead on the AHCA history project. Scott gives a shout out to Amy Miller for the newsletter, and Beatrice Camp who coordinates delivery of the newsletter, as well as Betsy Lyon who moderates our list serve.

AHCA Development Committee – Clarendon Sector Plan

Jack Spilbury – the focus continues to be the county’s review of its Clarendon Sector plan, including the circle, St. Charles Church, and the Wells Fargo site. County should post additional materials this weekend, to give us a month before the meeting. There are new drawings for redevelopment around the market commons site. There will be new development around there, and the county has posted new materials on the planning site. There is also a super-sized plan for the YMCA on 13th, including an additional mixed-use residential building. Also a new hotel and residential site at Pershing & 50.

AHCA Native Plants Committee: Tree Canopy Fund and Tree Tour

Brooke Alexander – the county has made available more trees through the tree canopy fund, which is on the list serve and in the newsletter. The tree tour is planned for September, and Brooke is still looking for old, native trees to include in that. We are still expecting planting at Moray Park and Gumball Park, with details to come. On Saturday, the Civic Federation is having a program for exploring Arlington’s tree canopy and saving/increasing it. Contact Anne if you can join one of the breakout sessions.

AHCA Safety and Security Committee  – Arlington County Police Dept (ACPD)

Christina Schultz, who chairs the Safety and Security Committee, and also co-chairs the Housing Committee. She noted concerns over loud vehicles, as well as Officer Guenther’s responsiveness on the matter.

Officer Harley Guenther introduced the new ACPD community representatives –  Corporal Ryan and Officer Carly Hirschman. Also mentioned: Officer Michael Keen, head of homeless outreach, original liaison, and Corporal Regina Ryan – has Brook, the Department’s therapy dog. FRK9 Brooks is excited to meet us.

Stat updates – 40 incidents in the county. Cases of note for stolen vehicles – cars are all unlocked with keys inside. 9 PM routine is KEY.

Sargent Lubin on loud cars –  On 3.1.21 the VA General Assembly changed motor vehicle offenses from primary to secondary – 46.2.1049 of the VA Code. The most notable thing that changed – the odor of pot is no longer enough to search a car. Other violations became a secondary violation. Google “Special Legislative Session Virginia 2021.” ACPD philosophy is safety-based, rather than revenue-based. 

If you have concerns, contact legislators in Richmond rather than ACPD. The penalty for excessive noise is a “traffic infraction,” which is $30 penalty + $64 court fee. 

AHCA’s 100th Anniversary – Ashton Heights History 

Jim Terpstra on the house mapping project – Eastern half is 1919-1934 (wide variety) western side (1934-1950). We are surrounded by these two towering places, and in the heart of Clarendon is this beautiful village. 

Jim Terpstra, AHCA Historian. introduces Tom Petty.

Clarendon and the Alliance – the eras of Clarendon (Town of Clarendon, Nova’s Downtown, Decline Era, Vietnamese Era, Weird Era, CrossFit Era?)

Scenes of Clarendon in 1900 vs. now. Old Masons Building is now Liberty Tavern. Town was founded in a location to take advantage of both the Trolley line and Great Falls power. Northside Social as a rail line building. The Mason’s Building is the oldest remaining building. 

The presentation covered the “boom times” of development in the 1920’s, including the 1925 cornerstone for the Odd Fellows building, now Don Tito’s. The business community protested the site of the Clarendon post office, as it was a half mile from the city’s “center,” and thus too far. 

Clarendon went into decline in the late 1950’s, and during this period 18 acres of buildings were demolished for surface parking lots, which had the effect of isolating remaining buildings. There was even a plan to put a 6-lane ring of roads around the city, which thankfully was not carried out. This decline included the closing of Sears, J.C. Penny, and other stores, and was further exacerbated by construction of the Metro station.

Later, in the 1970’s, the lower rents led to an influx of Vietnamese businesses and led to Clarendon’s nickname of “Little Saigon.” Liquidator businesses also moved in, and by the 1980’s Clarendon was still looking for “rebirth.” Clarendon Alliance activities. Clarendon Tax Day – Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted by Chris Armstrong, AHCA Secretary, May 19, 2021.

May 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The May 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Shout Out to an Amazing Community and Civic Association by Scott Sklar, AHCA President

I want to thank you for supporting a solid team for the Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) Executive Committee for the 2021-2022 year. I am now serving over 10 years as your President, it is wonderful serving you and with a great group of talented and caring people.

Since this is our last newsletter before the summer, I decided to use my column as a “shout out” to a number of volunteers that make the AHCA such a great organization which ultimately makes our community such a wonderful place to live. These volunteers devote their personal time, at the same low salary rate of “$0”, and deserve acknowledgement. I am sorry I cannot include everyone in the space provided, please do not be offended on omission – there’s plenty of room for kudos in subsequent editions.

New Executive Committee (AHCA ExCom) – Winners

We’re mostly the same old crowd with one addition and a switcheroo. But each and every one provides a valuable service to the association, and as a group, the AHCA Executive Committee follows many issues weekly, votes on actions monthly, and is the heart and soul of AHCA. Jim Feaster – VP for Programs, Jim O’Brien – VP for Membership, Doug Williams – Treasurer (since 2004!), and Chris Armstrong – Secretary. The At-Large Excom members: Cole Deines, Patrick Lueb who also Chairs the AHCA Transportation Committee, Ken Matzkin – who was our VP of Programs, and Jim Richardson who had Chaired the Development Committee for many years and then was VP of Programs this past year. This group has immense breadth and depth of experience, works well together, and are all very approachable – feel free to e-mail them with thoughts and ideas – their e-mails are on the third page of our newsletter.

Leaving

Jodie Flakowicz has served as our AHCA Secretary, as an ExCom officer and now is serving as the AHCA Nominations Committee Chair for 2021 . Dave Phillips, our heroic CoChair of the AHCA Development Committee who brought on CoChair Jack Spilsbury. He built the Committee as a very strong influence on County decision-making and built a solid dialogue with County officials. Emmilu Olson who stepped up as our coffee provider when we had in-person AHCA monthly meetings, and then stepped in to coordinate our monthly AHCA Zoom meetings.

Stood-up and Performed

My biggest shout-out in this department is Christopher Armstrong who took over scheduling our AHCA Monthly Zoom meetings and other civic association meetings. And, he took over Carmen’s job to coordinate advertising for our AHCA newsletter. Then he volunteered to run for AHCA Excom as the Secretary, and recently stepped up to coordinate the AHCA Board web elections – a four-fer, wow! Amy Miller who jumped in to fill an empty slot as our AHCA newsletter editor – I mean it’s amazing! I don’t know about you but I think the newsletter gets better all the time. Christina Schultz who Chairs our AHCA Safety & Security Committee pushed to have an AHCA effort on Housing. She suggested, and Matt Hall agreed to be the AHCA Housing Committee chair with Christina as Vice Chair, and they hosted a session on Middle Housing. Thanks Matt for stepping up as AHCA’s newest Committee Chair, and Christina for pushing on key community issues on two fronts.

Martha Casey proposed to lead an information service on COVID to keep AHCA members up-to-date on the State of Virginia and Arlington County policies and programs, and availability of vaccines. She worked with Lyon Park Citizens Association to set up a joint assistance service to help people in obtaining appointments for vaccines.

Jim Terpstra our long time AHCA Historian, who now is leading with a great group of members our 100th AHCA Anniversary celebration this year. He is working with AHCA residents: Jim and Rita O’Brien, Ann Felker, Julie Mangis, Brooke Alexander, Betsey, Lyon, Peter Bard, and Tom Petty.

The Ole Reliables

Bea Camp coordinates the newsletter distribution (a thankless job) and all the volunteers who deliver the newsletter. Bea delivers to six “mid-level” distributors, who then package smaller amounts for the block captains. Julie Mangis keeps the lists. (See a full article of thanks to the newsletter delivery team on page 11 of this issue.) Ann Felker who prepares the student jobs page in our newsletter monthly, helped co-coordinate out AHCA yard sale, and is active in our 100th anniversary celebration preparation.. Betsey Lyon – our listserv moderator who helped us transfer from Yahoo to Google, and it works seamlessly. We have over 600 residents on our AHCA listserv!

Honorable Mentions

Jack Spillsbury joined as CoChair of the AHCA Development Committee which takes a huge amount of time covering very many actions and issues. In 2021, he assumes the role as it’s sole chair, and coordinates with a great group of AHCA residents who have been very active on these issues for a long time: Brooke Alexander, Cole Deines, Joan Fitzgerald, Julie Mangis, Ken Matzkin, David Phillips, Jim Richardson, Julia Tanner. Rob Liford, a name most of you don’t know, maintains our web site accounts and helps us not get hacked as often.

And most importantly – all of you – our members! Your participation on the listserv, on the committees, at the monthly meetings and at special AHCA and County events makes this all come together. I know we are all busy raising our families. working, errands, etc, — so this public service is all on top of that — but it does make a difference.

So, thank you each and every one of you, and have a wonderful and safe summer!

Ashton Heights Civic Association Minutes for 04/21/2021 Meeting

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Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:32 pm. He noted that this is the 11th year he is serving as President of the AHCA, which has been an honor.

The AHCA election results announced by AHCA Nominations Committee Chair Jodie Flakowicz, which ended on April 20, were as follows:

President: Scott Sklar
Vice President for Membership – Jim O’Brien
Vice President for Programs – Jim Feaster
Treasurer – Doug Williams
Secretary – Chris Armstrong
Members-at-Large (4) – Cole Deines, Patrick Lueb, Ken Matzkin, Jim Richardson

David Phillips has resigned as co-chair of the Development Committee and Jack Spilsbury will remain as sole chair.

Ann Felker mentioned that the Glencarlyn Citizens Association along with AHCA and Lyon Village, will host a Zoom event on May 13 at 7:00 pm. This will be a conversation with Wilma Jones, a fourth-generation resident of Arlington’s Hall’s Hill neighborhood and author of “My Halls Hill Family: More Than a Neighborhood” (2018). Wilma will share stories of growing up in the historically-Black neighborhood of Halls Hill, followed by an interactive discussion.

Christina Schultz of our Safety and Security Committee introduced Arlington County Police Reps Officer Harley Guenther and Corporal Steve Wallace to give us the latest activity in Arlington. They introduced their new supervisor Sgt. Jeffrey Lubin who has lived and worked in Arlington for the last 14 years. They then gave a presentation about Community Outreach Team here in north Arlington. They also have presentations available on a wide variety of community support needs including a homeless outreach program, Brooks the Therapy Dog, Fill the Cruiser events.

Saturday April 24 is National Drug take Back Day from 10 – 2 to turn in any prescription drugs you are no longer using.

Corporal Wallace gave a monthly report of approximately 77 incidents, which was not bad. Car larceny has gone down – please keep locking your cars. Of the 2 stolen vehicles reported, both have been returned.

On the Arlington County Police Website there are a lot of resources the community can use to keep abreast of the latest info out there. This includes the Police Newsroom, a Daily Crime Report, Community Crime Map where you can see the location of each crime incident reported.

If anyone would like a security assessment of their home you can request one on their website.

There is a service request aspect to the My Arlington app one can download on to their phone. Here you can request services from the county for damaged signs, sidewalks or other concerns you may come across with your phone.

Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee reported that trees are scheduled to be planted in both Maury and Gumball Parks.

5/28/2021 is the deadline to let Brooke know if you would like a tree planted paid for by the Arlington County Tree Canopy on your property.

Brooke is also interested in conducting a tree walk around the neighbor in honor of our 100 Year Anniversary. She would like to include all “old trees”. This can include trees as young as 15 – 20 years old.

Jack Spilsbury of our Development Committee mentioned that the construction of the CVS at the Highland Motel site on Wilson Blvd will begin very soon.

The Mr. Wash site construction is now on hold.

Regarding the year long review of the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan by the LRPC continues. On April 14, a 3rd meeting took place where Scott Sklar represented the AHCA well. Not clear yet what the results will be of all our efforts. Our outreach to Lyon Park and Clarendon/Courthouse Civic Associations we hope will be helpful with our consensus letter to the County Board re our concerns. The next meeting of the LRPC will be in May sometime, yet to be scheduled. There are two more meetings in the review process.

No reports from Transportation Committee, Schools, Housing Committees.

Presentation about The National Capital Treatment and Recovery (formally Phoenix House) by Deborah Taylor, R.N., C.D. – Discussion of Arlington’s drug and alcohol problems and solutions by the director of the facility located on our boundary.

A copy of a presentation from Deborah Taylor, President and CEO

General NCTR Slideshow March 2021.pptx

Some takeaways from her talk:
They believe that anyone should get the highest level of care despite their ability to pay
The Arlington Recovery Center partners with the county and the police
Along with our COVID Pandemic we are having an opiod epidemic right now
Heroin right now is 800 times as strong as it was in the 70s in Arlington
Opioid overdoses are up 70%
Arlington has a 75% increase in fatal overdoses
Looking for real estate to set up a transition location
They have put in a second elevator to accommodate more physically limited and elderly clients at their current location.
They have added a full gym to the facility for their clients
They would like a Board Member from Ashton Heights who is interested in substance use disorders

AHCA History II in support of AHCA 100th Anniversary celebration – – Social History Presentation with Ann Felker, Christa Abbott, Marion Penn and Cassandra Penn Lucas who lived in Arlington’s early black communities. An historical video was shown.

The meeting adjourned around 9:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, AHCA Secretary, April 24, 2021.

April 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The April 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

The Future of Ashton Heights by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

In our March AHCA meeting, we heard Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey present on Missing Middle Housing, discussing a multi-year process where the Board has started to look at affordability, housing equity, and options in Arlington County. She stated quite rightly that “change is inevitable.” In fact, housing has changed quite a bit since Arlington’s founding. As we celebrate Ashton Height’s 100th anniversary this year, we will learn about that in more detail.

I have lived in Arlington since 1980 and moved into the house I live in now on N. Ivy Street in 1984. Arlington has changed pretty radically from a sleepy suburb into an urban suburb. In my last column, I acknowledged much of what has been done right has been due to leaders in our civic association along with our sister associations on the planning and guidelines that have been formalized and enshrined in the County planning process. The reason we have open spaces, tree canopy, pedestrian friendly walkways & bikeways, and preservation of residential neighborhoods has been in large part to this effort. These features are really what make Arlington and our area, an especially wonderful place to live.

And as we all know, these decisions impact traffic, crime and safety, affordability, schools, taxes, parks and open space, etc. At the same time, as we urbanize, land prices and housing prices rocket upward, and so we face a future of being a neighborhood of the richest rather than as being more eclectic and diverse.

Before we all take sides and move into our respective positions, I ask everyone to take a deep breath. This process started by the Arlington County Board and brought ably before us by our new AHCA Housing Committee chairs Matt Hall and Christina Schultz, is to envision and balance how Arlington evolves. There are lots of trade-off as we all know. For instance, we may form a consensus that multi-family and duplexes along thoroughfares rather than cement buildings (like CVS) may be an appropriate buffer and address housing affordability issues. And frankly, more commercial space that may stay partially vacant in the post-COVID world, may shift more tax burden to residential owners. I am not taking a position here, just offering that there are many sides to these issues.

The Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) is going to continue what we have always done with development, traffic, schools, open spaces, tree canopy and safety – build some common knowledge as our AHCA Housing Committee started, and slowly build a united consensus that we can articulate clearly to Arlington County. To do this correctly, our Housing Committee needs some volunteer time, and also needs some listserv and monthly meeting time to keep this dialogue going.

We have been able to forge a consensus and articulate our positions over many issues, which has made the Ashton Heights Civic Association well respected, and in most cases “listened to”. So as always, let’s work together to forge consensus and a vision. We are lucky to live in such as great community and have so many people willing to offer their thoughts and time, and put in some elbow grease to make this an even better place to live.

So thanks and welcome Spring 2021 to a hopefully safer and more joyful year.

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 03/17/2021 via Zoom

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Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:31 pm. asking for reports from our committees.

Jack Spilsbury of our Development Committee mentioned that he and Dave Phillips attended the latest LRPC Clarendon Sector Plan Update Meeting, where they shared concerns compiled by our civic association.  Obviously what they talked about did not square with what the developers were proposing, but it still was a good meeting.  They will attend the next meeting scheduled for April 14.  They referenced the AHCA consensus letter released to Arlington County Board and staff a week earlier.

They also attended a Lyon Village monthly meeting with the County Planner Brett Wallace presenting the Clarendon Sector Plan Update.  Lyon Village Residents had similar concerns we did primarily along the Washington Blvd side to all this redevelopment.

They are continuing to reach out to other neighborhood civic associations about this.

Gregory Morse and Caroline Rogus of our Schools Committee were not on-line.

Brent Burris our Neighborhood Conservation Rep was not on-line.

Patrick Lueb of our Transportation Committee was not on-line.

Scott mentioned that break-ins into cars are on the rise.  Please lock your car.  There is alot of road work happening on Pershing Drive and Washington Blvd.  Any concerns contact Patrick Lueb at jiffy64@me.com.  He mentioned that there has been concerns that the reconstruction of Clay Park is taking too long, can someone look into this?  Scott also thanked Martha Casey for posting the latest information about COVID vaccines in Arlington.  If you are unable to schedule an appointment, please contact her at mlcasey@oacpc.com .

Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy Committee reported that trees will be planted at Maury and Gumball Parks this Spring.  Our latest batch of tree canopy funded trees are coming in two weeks

Christina Schultz of our Safety and Security Committee introduced Officer Harley Guenther from the Arlington County Police.  She presented some options to find crime information and stats for Arlington County.  She is suggestion going to the Arlington County Police Website at police.ArlingtonVA.us.  Once you log in, there are links to the right side of the screen for Police Newsroom, Daily Crime Report and an on-line crime map, where you can see the latest criminal activity in the county.

The Missing Middle Housing Initiative – Three Presentations:

1) Presentation by Hon. Libby Garvey about the Arlington County Missing Middle Study

2) Presentation by Peter Rousselot with Arlingtonians for a Sustainable Future

3)  Third Presentation by Alice Hogan with the Alliance for Housing Solutions

Here’s the link to all three presentations:  pastedGraphic.png https://goldsteinhall-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/p/mhal EpOdFgyg7W9JhlQXeLXQkWEBg4A4Pusjz3xdKPbzeOjQ0g?e=pvURyA

And some other items mentioned:

Link to Merion Pike West Development Analysis re up zoning impacts mentioned by Libby Garvey. https://3d81d522-ce99-431c-a359-61f1ce06c557.filesusr.com/ugd/a48bae_527aa129a4ec4f19b98a743bb9ae987c.pdf

Website for Arlingtonians for our Sustainable Future https://www.asf-virginia.org/

Peter’s take: Arlington’s Missing Middle Housing is High End Housing

Alliance for Housing Solutions Webpage:  

https://www.allianceforhousingsolutions.org

Missing Middle for a Better Arlington:

https://www.allianceforhousingsolutions.org/blog/missing-middle-housing-for-a-better-arlington

The GMU study – The economic and fiscal impact of locating Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington VA:  https://sfullerinstitute.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/SFI_-Economic_-Fiscal_Impacts_of_Amazon-HQ2_110818.pdf

The final presentation for the meeting is part of a multi-series of AHCA meeting presentations on ACHA History by Jim Terpstra, AHCA’s Historian, as a precursor to our 100th anniversary celebration.

Ashton Heights Origin and History Book by Peter Dickson in 2007 is being updated to include more recent developments.  Hopefully will be printed and available in the Fall.

Ashton Heights Style Guide – three volunteers have identified newer housing styles in our neighborhood will be identifying what they are and will be updating the housing style guide.  They hope to do a walking tour of these homes in the Fall.

Jim also plans on adding for historical information not our website soon.

The meeting adjourned around 8:39 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, March 20, 2021. 

March 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The March 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Community Benefits – The “Arlington Way” by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

What makes the Ashton Heights community so amazing is its long history of participating and leading within Arlington County on development, transportation, education and other issues. In fact, much of the uniqueness of living here has been a visionary set of leaders within our community who have put their visions, along with some sweat and tears beginning in the 1960’s, into a citizen’s participatory process which we call “The Arlington Way.”

In my ten years at the helm of the Ashton Heights Civic Association, I am always amazed at the breadth and depth of our members on the key planning issues. But I am also amazed about what I will term as “County Drift,” where a few years after a multi-year collaborative process, the planning processes within the County seem to discard the prior-approved consensus so we have to gear up to weigh-in on the issues again and again.

Nothing seems more open to this than the development and parking planning now underway by County government.

In redevelopment, the County allows developers to receive certain waivers if there are clear “community benefits.” In the proposed Clarendon Sector Plan, there appears willingness to allow heights above the mandated 110 feet and higher building densities without “community benefits.” So what are the community benefits we have fought so long and hard for? (I quote from the listserv from a sample of our association leaders long involved in this area: Joan Fitzpatrick, Brooke Alexander, Julie Mangis, Ann Felker, and others.)

Greenways: The existing greenway between Irving and Ivy Streets is almost adjacent to this proposed development! It is not irrelevant. We have already experienced one attempt to penetrate this important buffer. Having the greenway form a buffer along the northern edge of our neighborhood is absolutely necessary to define our boundary. And why should we retreat from the Greenway concept, which originated here in Ashton Heights? The County actually incorporated it into the GLUP based on our recommendation.

Building height: It is important to remember that the 110′ maximum was predicated on getting community benefits in return. So far, we have not been apprised of any proffers that would justify the 110′ height, much less the 128′ height. I think AHCA has done a good job of articulating our concerns about height and density, but I might consider including language regarding FARs (floor-area-ratios).

Building setbacks: Address light and imposing structures over our residential community. Here, we were informed that building step-backs present architectural challenges, including plumbing, electrical and other infrastructure issues. It was as if developers are resisting the step-back requirements. We need to challenge the 165′ measurement from our neighborhood regarding the 1:3 taper. We need to be vigilant about the tapering, transitions, step-backs and set-backs lest they, too, get modified. We are reminded of the time when developers told us that building residential buildings wasn’t “economically feasible.” So they got away with building the Rosslyn office canyons, which we’ve been trying to fix ever since.

Open space: A hotel terrace, at whatever level, provides any benefit to those of us who live in Ashton Heights. There is no plan for open space in these proposals, with the possible exception of the linear park replacing Fairfax Drive adjacent to Northside Social and St. Charles Church. It’s not clear to me whether that area would be paid for by the county or whether developers would be expected to provide the park as their community benefit.

A similar set of issues appear to be happening regarding parking strategies that were established as the Metro came through Arlington so that neighborhoods near Metro stops (we have three in Ashton Heights: Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston) would not have commuter cars parking all day in our neighborhoods, so our residents living in these areas can park on their own street. Luckily, the Arlington County Board has held in place the program for the existing neighborhoods, good news. However, what is not good news is that developers are now allowed to put in less “inbuilding” parking for condominiums and apartment houses with the assumption that these people will not use their own vehicles, but utilize Metro. We can argue if that is true, these residents will have visiting relatives, friends, service workers and vendors that need to park as well.

I raise these points not to be whiny, but rather to illustrate that our community involvement has driven our area to be a great place to live. But that also requires the sweat and tears of an earlier time be taken on by newer and younger residents so as to keep the assets that attracted all of us to live in Ashton Heights.

We will be celebrating AHCA’s 100th Anniversary this year – where we all can learn, laud, and celebrate these achievements.

But I hope as we do, and many of you who read this newsletter and participate in the listserv, can build perspectives and join in on an outstanding legacy.