January 2023 Newsletter


The January 2023 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

2023 Opportunities and Obstacles
by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Year end 2022, was a rush of issues and challenges. I don’t expect any change for 2023. And in fact, I expect that the issues confronting Arlington’s growth, government’s directional changes, increases in certain crimes, and increasing traffic congestion will be providing some new challenges.

For 2023, the top ten topics AHCA is following proactively, not in any order of priority are as follows:

  1. Planning and Zoning – Clarendon: several planning and zoning processes have been on our plate. AHCA Development Committee co-chairs Jack Spilsbury and Alexander Tuneski, as well as a very active AHCA Development Committee have been working very hard to stay on top of the issues and participate in the processes and input to meetings. Of these, Clarendon re-development has been our focus – addressing building sizes, parking, tapering and setbacks, tree canopy & native plants – and our signature issue working with our surrounding civic association partners – a large park on the county-owned block where the 10th St N. firestation sits. We are fighting hard for this, because we believe it is a signature issue in the midst of several large cement buildings all going up in the area.
  2. Missing Middle Housing (MMH) and Housing: the County has proposed an approach that has caused quite an uproar on increasing housing density in principally single-family communities. AHCA hosted a meeting on this issue, addressing it from multiple viewpoints, and we took a survey of AHCA residents (see results on page 7).While many AHCA residents support the original intended purpose – to make housing ownership affordable to mid-salary county workers such as teachers, police and fire – an overwhelming majority (over 75%) see the proposed approach as not meeting that goal and creating tensions on other issues including county infrastructure, traffic and parking, schools, tree canopy loss, etc. AHCA has banded together with area civic associations to coordinate and continually meet with the County Board. The AHCA Development Committee has led the response with active involvement by the AHCA Tree Canopy and AHCA Transportation Committees. The County Board vote will be in January 2023.
  3. Crime and Safety: crime issues have remained steady here in the Ashton Heights area, but some crimes such as car break-ins, catalytic converter thefts and car heists have been increasing. Christina Shultz coordinates our Arlington County Police briefings at our AHCA monthly meetings, but if there are other ideas or concerns on how we tamp this down, please do not be shy.
  4. Traffic and Parking: county changes in the number of on-street parking permits, increasing apartments/condos being built on our boundaries, changes in zoning relating to MMH, and just more people in Arlington as we rebound from COVID, are increasing pressures on our roadways, and on pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. that are causing greater concerns. Patrick Lueb chairs our AHCA Transportation Committee and is who you should contact with questions or concerns.
  5. Tree Canopy & Native Plants: AHCA is a leader on tree canopy and native plans, due in large part to our dedicated chair Brooke Alexander who tirelessly testifies at county meetings and educates on the issue. Our tree canopy is one of the signature attributes living here and is continually under threat as a barrier to noise, light, and air pollution, and a sanctuary for wildlife.
  6. Schools: this tends to be a cyclical issue, and our committee chaired by Caroline Rogus and Greg Morse is always ready. Greg is looking for a replacement, so now is the time to recruit a new co-chair. Please contact Greg or me if interested in this position.
  7. Stormwater Management: Christine Lewicki has been AHCA’s designated contact on this issue and served on a multi-association county effort on the Spout Run watershed area, and with MMH there will be other pressures our community needs to keep track of, so please feel free to contact Christine with your thoughts and concerns.
  8. Open Spaces and Playgrounds: this has been AHCA’s other signature issue and Chris Horvath is our lead, tracking park issues as well as the Arlington County Neighborhood Conservation Program. Please contact Chris with any concerns or questions.
  9. Noise & Light: Martha Casey has taken the lead on the issue and an AHCA committee on night-time noise from area bar establishments including Don Titos, Darna, and others has been active. The committee was able to drive better county coordination on this problem to ensure noise enforcement. And we owe thanks to our Arlington County Manager, Mark Schwartz, who stepped up and took the reins to help resolve the issues.
  10. Informing: Dave Shutz is our VP for Programs and plans our monthly AHCA meetings. Amy Miller is our AHCA newsletter editor and Betsey Lyon is our listserv moderator. This team makes sure we get information to you. It is a two-way street, meaning they need your feedback on information needs, the best format, and vehicle to get what AHCA members want. Please feel free to email them or me, as your AHCA President.

    Our AHCA Committee chairs, co-chairs, sub-committee chairs are listed on page 2 of the AHCA Newsletter. Feel free to send an email with ideas, suggestions, concerns, and yes, joining a committee or initiating an effort.

We win by working together, discussing issues respectfully with each other – because we are ALL on this ship together. Thank you for being an AHCA member, coming to AHCA monthly meetings at the Clarendon United Methodist Church social hall, reading this newsletter, being active on the listserv, and participating in AHCA Committees, and events.

Have a wonderful winter season.

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