Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes 09/18/2019
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
Scott mentioned that this is going to be his 8th and final term as President. For the next year, Julia Tanner will be shadowing him and his duties, so she can step in as President at the end of his term in May 2020.
He went over the entire list of civic association members who are serving on the Executive Committee, as Members-at-Large, List Serve Moderator, and all the various committees we have. He expressed appreciation for all their involvement and hard work supporting our community.
He noted that Jim Richardson has rejoined the Executive Committee as the VP of Programs. Mark Blacknell is replacing Betsy Lyon as AHCA lead for the Civic Federation. Polly Hall will be the AHCA rep to the Career Center – Public Facilities Review Committee in consultation with the AHCA Schools Committee.
Scott also mentioned that Kristine Babick attempted to pull together this month’s newsletter but was unable to complete it due to software problems. He thanked her for her efforts and noted that he was able to get Jeanette Wick, once again, to create our newsletter for this month. He is hoping to have a lead on someone who may be interested in taking this job over very soon. He also mentioned our members who work on our advertising and distribution support and distribution. He thanked everyone all for their hard work in getting these newsletters delivered and encouraged other members of our civic association to join in these efforts.
David Phillips of our Development and Zoning Committee talked with us about a working group they have created with Lyon Park and Lyon Village Civic Association reps to establish a proactive dialogue with the county about the three Clarendon redevelopment proposals.
They are (with some details still contingent):
- The TCS proposal would include a hotel (height approx 110 ft) and an apartment complex of similar height located along Wilson Blvd from the Beer Lot to and including the north part of the Silver Diner lot. The Silver Diner lease is due to expire end of 2021. Ground breaking on the new project is due at the start of 2022 contingent on all plans and permits being approved.
- The P&H Investment (Orr Partners) proposal. This project is smaller than that of TCS. It will cover part of the 10th St frontage from the Beer Lot up and including the south part of the Silver Diner site. The proposal is understood to be for an apartment complex of 225 units (height 110 ft) plus 3000 sq ft of retail. Joyce motors will close but its façade is planned to be somehow incorporated into the facade of the apartment complex. There is to be a new road (’10th road’) dividing the overall site West to East to facilitate vehicle access and/or create public space. The timeline is similar to or ahead of the TCS project.
- Project on Wells Fargo site between Irving and Hudson. Akridge Ventures combined with Jefferson Apartment Group will be constructing an apartment complex on the Wells Fargo site. This is at an earlier stage of concept development – details awaited.
Scott suggested that the three civic associations pull together a Statement of Principles to be submitted to the county. Also it was mentioned that at our March meeting we will have a speaker to discuss the latest about this project and the Mercedes and Harris Teeter redevelopment sites.
It was mentioned that the Firehouse on 10th Street may be going away. This is being looked into.
The owner of the Highland Motor Inn won his case at the Supreme Court and it sounds like at this time, he has about 75% interested in putting a CVS at this site.
Christina Schultz of the Crime and Safety Committee mentioned a new program that the Arlington County Police is proposing that Arlington County residents follow called the “9:00 PM Routine.” The idea is that a 9:00 pm every day, each resident should check and make sure their vehicles, sheds, garages and anything in their yards, that need be, are secured.
October 2, 2019 is the next Coffee with a Cop at various Starbucks locations. The hours and locations can be found on the Arlington County Police Website.
Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee spoke about two options residents have to get free trees:
The county registration for a free tree (“whips”) is now closed and all of these trees are taken.
The other program is the Tree Canopy Program from which our community is slated to receive 16 new trees (2” caliber) in October/November. Please let Brooke know if you are interested in having one of these trees planted in your yard.
There has been a lot of concern expressed on our neighborhood list serve recently about how to get rid of mosquitos. The concern has been with neighbors who are having their yards sprayed and the impact it might have on neighbors and wildlife. Brooke handed out a draft announcement for a speaker (the Virginia Cooperative Extension in collaboration with the Master Gardners of Northern VA and the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists) who will talk about options to minimize mosquitos and ticks in our yards and the best methods to use to reduce them. This presentation will be for Ashton Heights and Lyon Park residents. Stay on the lookout for a date, time and location.
Concern was expressed that builders/new home owners are removing well established trees indiscriminately. A suggestion from the floor was for our Civic Association to establish a letter to be sent to new home owners talking about the importance of trees and our tree canopy in our neighborhood. Brooke will work up a draft for us.
A complement came from the floor about the list of Native Plant Sales in the area being included in this month’s newsletter.
Brent Burris of our Playgrounds and Parks Subcommittee gave us an update about the latest activities with our local parks.
Mosaic Park on schedule – there will be a presentation about this project at our Nov meeting.
Oakland Park update is in progress.
The removal of the three trees at the Art Center was approved by an arborist. Brooke Alexander will look into getting replacements.
The Neighborhood Conservation Plan for the water garden at the intersection of North Oakland Street and Pershing Dr. is on hold due to neighbor objections.
Comment from the floor about the county Storm Water Retention Site. If you would like your property assessed for this you can contact them to get an assessment. It is free.
Nancy Van Dorn, the Chair of the Arlington County School Board spoke about how our county schools are doing. Below is the 2019-20 School Board Action Plan she presented.
A concern from the floor about teachers having enough training regarding issues around LGBTQ students. Nancy Can Dorn assured us that teachers were getting plenty of training. This is a new era of taking a holistic approach to make sure each student is included and that each student succeeds.
Another concern about lockdown practices and impact on stress levels of students and parents. The want a balance between schools being welcoming and secure. Come to find not all parents have appropriate identification in order to get into schools easily, they are looking into how to work with these parents.
Ken Matzkin – Burden of Increasing Taxes and Rent on Small Businesses
Ken provided his detailed description of why retail locations tend to stand empty for extended periods. Vagaries in taxation rates, expectations of mortgagers, and opacities in the commercial marketplace combine to keeping retail rents high and not responding to reductions in demand.
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, September 23, 2019.