The May 2022 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email email@example.com.
President’s Column by Scott Sklar
This April, I was asked by the Arlington “Committee of 100” to make a presentation on Clarendon Development with a vision from a high level. I decided to wind some other issues into that vision because several issues need to be addressed in tandem.
The Arlington Way “Adrift”
Many of our long-time AHCA members have been actively involved in Arlington planning processes such as Long Term Planning, GLUP (general end use plan), and Sector Plans, taking many months and in some cases years. We are witnessing many of these efforts substantially changed at the very end with little input. Now obviously some issues change, I ask, “Why spend years on a deliberative process if it can be “end gamed” in the last few months?”
Arlington County, to its credit, surveys resident’s attitudes, but these community input surveys inadvertently limits views and expressions. As Joan Fitzgerald has highlighted to the AHCA Development Committee, polling has been changed from the affected area of the County to the entire County. County polling needs to be divided into two polls: 1) all Arlington residents, and 2) affected neighborhoods. Those areas of the County most affected by a particular plan need to have their own input.
Arlington is not Keeping up with Densification
As your Civic Association president, I get called with problems daily. Some examples follow. Clarendon businesses have approached me extremely concerned that parking between Northside Social and the Church will be removed – where are people out of Clarendon going to park?
• not everyone is going to Metro or Uber
• beyond the bar crowd, those in the suburbs or commuting thru Arlington before they go home need access to underground paid parking in EVERY building.
Good news: The Red Top construction which is building #3 of free-standing buildings with a total of 580 residential units and nearly 3,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space on the site, has 468 underground parking spaces, according to a county news release. (The Red Top Parking Lot construction now underway is the third of these three originally approved in 2015) but with another eight buildings being built, we will need more.
Rooftop restaurant and bar noise has increased from three calls per month to fifteen calls per month – residents being awakened from sleep in the middle of the night CONTINUOUSLY, where police have been responsive but are being constantly called to remediate noise – this is unsustainable. Our county manager has rebuffed the AHCA request to better empower police and code officials “on site” in evenings and hopefully issue fines – and the County is soliciting public input from all public sectors in May.
The Future of Clarendon
Nine new buildings – two are being built now and seven will be built, will totally remake Clarendon. The transformation will be huge. AHCA believes that Affordable Housing is necessary, but not in one singular building but rather within EACH of these nine buildings (Note: the one being built on the corner of Washington Blvd and Kirkwood St. has some). Every new building should have a floor (or more) dedicated to making Arlington livable for a wide array of incomes.
Arlington is not keeping up with other advanced municipalities. Interlacing within the bulls eye density – open space is needed for: community (or rooftop) gardens, larger social events, picnics, and recreation and a real community center. Alternative suggestions by staff and Board that sites on North Quincy, Maury Park or Hayes Park suffice (which are 15 minutes) away is sheer nonsense and misses the point. For the first time ALL five civic associations in-and-around Clarendon have united on the Clarendon Sector Plan for a 40,000 sq ft park “on and around” the fire station on the 10th Street North block which is the epicenter of these large soon to-be-built buildings. We need to all thank the AHCA Development Committee and especially its Chair Jack Spilsbury for enlisting our four sister civic associations.
It would be inexcusable to endorse more tons of cement within the Clarendon vortex (nine large buildings) and actually believe this is advanced development without this signature open space – it is not.