The May 2023 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email email@example.com.
Good Neighbors — May Be Getting Harder to Find
By Scott Sklar, President, AHCA
What makes a good neighbor ?
Our civic association has welcomed businesses and promotes them in our community. In fact, we want local vendors and restaurants, because they make our neighborhoods walkable. These businesses advertise in our AHCA newsletter, and during COVID we promoted them to keep them “in business”. We did lose a few businesses during that hard time (I personally miss the leather/shoe repair next to the Clarendon Post Office) but overall, most businesses survived in an extremely hard time.
Now some of you may remember Darna, next to Jiffy Lube, whose night time noise was generating calls and complaints. They did invest in insulation, and four years ago, the co-owners came to our AHCA meeting to make a presentation, brought some food and gave me their e-mails. We still get some complaints, but they are open to hear from us and take actions.
The exact opposite is Don Tito’s, which has generated most of the noise calls, and seems oblivious to their obligation to the surrounding neighborhoods.
In contrast, were the developers of The Lot, the outdoor food and beer place at the corner of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street North. Before they opened, they walked our AHCA Development Committee co-chairs around The Lot. We made some recommendations: fence and shrubs around The Lot so the kids do not wander into the street, lights & speakers facing downward, and a contact phone of someone on the Lot that can be called for noise or other issues. The co-owners have done exactly what we asked, to the letter and noise complaints have been minimal.
That brings us to the new CVS on Wilson Blvd across from Hurt Cleaners, a by-right development under law. Here, the national chain had no discussions with the community, built a solid brick wall facing Wilson Blvd, installed very high lights without shields, and provided no bush/tree barriers closest to the residential neighbors.
AHCA asked if we could have W&L students paint a mural on the Wilson-facing wall. AHCA has asked them to lower the lights and put-up glare shields to keep light out of the residential neighborhoods – so far nothing, even with County intervention. AHCA asked for barrier plants to shield the development from the residents closest to CVS – nothing. So far, not a responsive or good neighbor.
Ashton Heights has been lucky that in most cases, our neighbors have tried to be good neighbors, but with increasing density, changes in County attitudes to intervene to behalf of residential neighborhoods – it’s getting tougher.
So the point of this article, as the primary allows voting to start in early May – please begin asking questions and demanding answers. We must have Board members who are not arms-length on day-to-day issues in our neighborhoods. If we don’t expect greater awareness and involvement to solve day-to-day problems – our quality of life as individuals, as families and as a community will be significantly downgraded.