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.

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