April 2022 Newsletter

Newsletter

The April 2022 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Red Lines in the Sand by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

The Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) has been one of the leaders in looking towards the future. Our association leaders in the 1960’s and 1970’s fought to ensure tapered zoning from the metro stations to the residential neighborhoods, tree canopy expansion, and open spaces as Arlington became an inner suburb.

It was wise then, and it is wiser now.

Joining four other civic associations, we have drawn a line in the sand on the block where the fire station sits, to have it a mixed-use park, including the roof of the new firehouse other than development. We have rejected that the spot of land where a tiny used car lot and some Arlington-owned houses and an area of no-parking area between the Northside Social coffee shop and the church suffices for mixed use in the future. There is a difference between some open space, and some community picnic, playground, and other activities in a large space in what will be a high concentration urbanized setting in the near future.

We have also rejected the idea that this site become another giant building of which some will be dedicated to Affordable Housing. To be clear, AHCA supports affordable housing – and we are strongly prodding the Arlington Board to include it in the other five giant buildings being reviewed now to be built in the Clarendon area within the next two years. But the park on the 10th Street North site is as important to those in affordable housing as it is to our five neighborhoods represented by the five civic Associations. AHCA is standing our ground.

AHCA has also been working with those in our community affected by roof-top noise from various bars and restaurants in Clarendon and along Wilson Blvd. The Arlington County Police have worked with us pro-actively on Don Titos and other restaurants. But institutionally, the Arlington code enforcement staff are the ones that need to be given extra hours with pay, rather than police, to visit these sites at night when the complaints are filed. These issues are not really police matters, but code enforcement matters – and again AHCA is making clear that as we urbanize even more, these issues will get worse, not better. So we need an expansion of enforcement with pay, for those who can ensure commercial behavior fits the guidelines and those within our community can sleep at night. Another line in the sand.

On a personal note, many of you may know I sit on Arlington County’s C2E2 Commission’s Energy Committee, and many of us are pushing for an Arlington County Climate Coordinator to be appointed to ensure that the myriad of Arlington agencies and programs row in the same direction of the unanimously approved (twice) Arlington County Community Energy Plan (CEP). Again, drawing a line in the sand for our Arlington’s resilient future.

There has been some pushback on all the above by Arlington’s various commissions and committees. I have gotten many calls. But these issues are too important to “just go along for the ride”. It affects our quality of life, and frankly, some personal control of our local environs. So, we’re hanging tough. But not just to be tough, to be vigilant – it’s our community, and if we don’t fight for it – Clarendon can transform into the cement, shaded, lack-of green of Ballston (just walk along North 9th Street in the cement wind tunnel to experience the effect).

I want to thank AHCA’a Development Committee and the AHCA Committee Chairs and CoChairs of our other Committees who have all been important leaders in directing and protecting our community’s future. And I look forward to hearing your ideas, and having you work within our AHCA Committees as your time allows.

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