May 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The May 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Shout Out to an Amazing Community and Civic Association by Scott Sklar, AHCA President

I want to thank you for supporting a solid team for the Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) Executive Committee for the 2021-2022 year. I am now serving over 10 years as your President, it is wonderful serving you and with a great group of talented and caring people.

Since this is our last newsletter before the summer, I decided to use my column as a “shout out” to a number of volunteers that make the AHCA such a great organization which ultimately makes our community such a wonderful place to live. These volunteers devote their personal time, at the same low salary rate of “$0”, and deserve acknowledgement. I am sorry I cannot include everyone in the space provided, please do not be offended on omission – there’s plenty of room for kudos in subsequent editions.

New Executive Committee (AHCA ExCom) – Winners

We’re mostly the same old crowd with one addition and a switcheroo. But each and every one provides a valuable service to the association, and as a group, the AHCA Executive Committee follows many issues weekly, votes on actions monthly, and is the heart and soul of AHCA. Jim Feaster – VP for Programs, Jim O’Brien – VP for Membership, Doug Williams – Treasurer (since 2004!), and Chris Armstrong – Secretary. The At-Large Excom members: Cole Deines, Patrick Lueb who also Chairs the AHCA Transportation Committee, Ken Matzkin – who was our VP of Programs, and Jim Richardson who had Chaired the Development Committee for many years and then was VP of Programs this past year. This group has immense breadth and depth of experience, works well together, and are all very approachable – feel free to e-mail them with thoughts and ideas – their e-mails are on the third page of our newsletter.

Leaving

Jodie Flakowicz has served as our AHCA Secretary, as an ExCom officer and now is serving as the AHCA Nominations Committee Chair for 2021 . Dave Phillips, our heroic CoChair of the AHCA Development Committee who brought on CoChair Jack Spilsbury. He built the Committee as a very strong influence on County decision-making and built a solid dialogue with County officials. Emmilu Olson who stepped up as our coffee provider when we had in-person AHCA monthly meetings, and then stepped in to coordinate our monthly AHCA Zoom meetings.

Stood-up and Performed

My biggest shout-out in this department is Christopher Armstrong who took over scheduling our AHCA Monthly Zoom meetings and other civic association meetings. And, he took over Carmen’s job to coordinate advertising for our AHCA newsletter. Then he volunteered to run for AHCA Excom as the Secretary, and recently stepped up to coordinate the AHCA Board web elections – a four-fer, wow! Amy Miller who jumped in to fill an empty slot as our AHCA newsletter editor – I mean it’s amazing! I don’t know about you but I think the newsletter gets better all the time. Christina Schultz who Chairs our AHCA Safety & Security Committee pushed to have an AHCA effort on Housing. She suggested, and Matt Hall agreed to be the AHCA Housing Committee chair with Christina as Vice Chair, and they hosted a session on Middle Housing. Thanks Matt for stepping up as AHCA’s newest Committee Chair, and Christina for pushing on key community issues on two fronts.

Martha Casey proposed to lead an information service on COVID to keep AHCA members up-to-date on the State of Virginia and Arlington County policies and programs, and availability of vaccines. She worked with Lyon Park Citizens Association to set up a joint assistance service to help people in obtaining appointments for vaccines.

Jim Terpstra our long time AHCA Historian, who now is leading with a great group of members our 100th AHCA Anniversary celebration this year. He is working with AHCA residents: Jim and Rita O’Brien, Ann Felker, Julie Mangis, Brooke Alexander, Betsey, Lyon, Peter Bard, and Tom Petty.

The Ole Reliables

Bea Camp coordinates the newsletter distribution (a thankless job) and all the volunteers who deliver the newsletter. Bea delivers to six “mid-level” distributors, who then package smaller amounts for the block captains. Julie Mangis keeps the lists. (See a full article of thanks to the newsletter delivery team on page 11 of this issue.) Ann Felker who prepares the student jobs page in our newsletter monthly, helped co-coordinate out AHCA yard sale, and is active in our 100th anniversary celebration preparation.. Betsey Lyon – our listserv moderator who helped us transfer from Yahoo to Google, and it works seamlessly. We have over 600 residents on our AHCA listserv!

Honorable Mentions

Jack Spillsbury joined as CoChair of the AHCA Development Committee which takes a huge amount of time covering very many actions and issues. In 2021, he assumes the role as it’s sole chair, and coordinates with a great group of AHCA residents who have been very active on these issues for a long time: Brooke Alexander, Cole Deines, Joan Fitzgerald, Julie Mangis, Ken Matzkin, David Phillips, Jim Richardson, Julia Tanner. Rob Liford, a name most of you don’t know, maintains our web site accounts and helps us not get hacked as often.

And most importantly – all of you – our members! Your participation on the listserv, on the committees, at the monthly meetings and at special AHCA and County events makes this all come together. I know we are all busy raising our families. working, errands, etc, — so this public service is all on top of that — but it does make a difference.

So, thank you each and every one of you, and have a wonderful and safe summer!

April 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The April 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

The Future of Ashton Heights by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

In our March AHCA meeting, we heard Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey present on Missing Middle Housing, discussing a multi-year process where the Board has started to look at affordability, housing equity, and options in Arlington County. She stated quite rightly that “change is inevitable.” In fact, housing has changed quite a bit since Arlington’s founding. As we celebrate Ashton Height’s 100th anniversary this year, we will learn about that in more detail.

I have lived in Arlington since 1980 and moved into the house I live in now on N. Ivy Street in 1984. Arlington has changed pretty radically from a sleepy suburb into an urban suburb. In my last column, I acknowledged much of what has been done right has been due to leaders in our civic association along with our sister associations on the planning and guidelines that have been formalized and enshrined in the County planning process. The reason we have open spaces, tree canopy, pedestrian friendly walkways & bikeways, and preservation of residential neighborhoods has been in large part to this effort. These features are really what make Arlington and our area, an especially wonderful place to live.

And as we all know, these decisions impact traffic, crime and safety, affordability, schools, taxes, parks and open space, etc. At the same time, as we urbanize, land prices and housing prices rocket upward, and so we face a future of being a neighborhood of the richest rather than as being more eclectic and diverse.

Before we all take sides and move into our respective positions, I ask everyone to take a deep breath. This process started by the Arlington County Board and brought ably before us by our new AHCA Housing Committee chairs Matt Hall and Christina Schultz, is to envision and balance how Arlington evolves. There are lots of trade-off as we all know. For instance, we may form a consensus that multi-family and duplexes along thoroughfares rather than cement buildings (like CVS) may be an appropriate buffer and address housing affordability issues. And frankly, more commercial space that may stay partially vacant in the post-COVID world, may shift more tax burden to residential owners. I am not taking a position here, just offering that there are many sides to these issues.

The Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) is going to continue what we have always done with development, traffic, schools, open spaces, tree canopy and safety – build some common knowledge as our AHCA Housing Committee started, and slowly build a united consensus that we can articulate clearly to Arlington County. To do this correctly, our Housing Committee needs some volunteer time, and also needs some listserv and monthly meeting time to keep this dialogue going.

We have been able to forge a consensus and articulate our positions over many issues, which has made the Ashton Heights Civic Association well respected, and in most cases “listened to”. So as always, let’s work together to forge consensus and a vision. We are lucky to live in such as great community and have so many people willing to offer their thoughts and time, and put in some elbow grease to make this an even better place to live.

So thanks and welcome Spring 2021 to a hopefully safer and more joyful year.

March 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

The March 2021 newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, email editor@ashtonheights.org.

Community Benefits – The “Arlington Way” by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

What makes the Ashton Heights community so amazing is its long history of participating and leading within Arlington County on development, transportation, education and other issues. In fact, much of the uniqueness of living here has been a visionary set of leaders within our community who have put their visions, along with some sweat and tears beginning in the 1960’s, into a citizen’s participatory process which we call “The Arlington Way.”

In my ten years at the helm of the Ashton Heights Civic Association, I am always amazed at the breadth and depth of our members on the key planning issues. But I am also amazed about what I will term as “County Drift,” where a few years after a multi-year collaborative process, the planning processes within the County seem to discard the prior-approved consensus so we have to gear up to weigh-in on the issues again and again.

Nothing seems more open to this than the development and parking planning now underway by County government.

In redevelopment, the County allows developers to receive certain waivers if there are clear “community benefits.” In the proposed Clarendon Sector Plan, there appears willingness to allow heights above the mandated 110 feet and higher building densities without “community benefits.” So what are the community benefits we have fought so long and hard for? (I quote from the listserv from a sample of our association leaders long involved in this area: Joan Fitzpatrick, Brooke Alexander, Julie Mangis, Ann Felker, and others.)

Greenways: The existing greenway between Irving and Ivy Streets is almost adjacent to this proposed development! It is not irrelevant. We have already experienced one attempt to penetrate this important buffer. Having the greenway form a buffer along the northern edge of our neighborhood is absolutely necessary to define our boundary. And why should we retreat from the Greenway concept, which originated here in Ashton Heights? The County actually incorporated it into the GLUP based on our recommendation.

Building height: It is important to remember that the 110′ maximum was predicated on getting community benefits in return. So far, we have not been apprised of any proffers that would justify the 110′ height, much less the 128′ height. I think AHCA has done a good job of articulating our concerns about height and density, but I might consider including language regarding FARs (floor-area-ratios).

Building setbacks: Address light and imposing structures over our residential community. Here, we were informed that building step-backs present architectural challenges, including plumbing, electrical and other infrastructure issues. It was as if developers are resisting the step-back requirements. We need to challenge the 165′ measurement from our neighborhood regarding the 1:3 taper. We need to be vigilant about the tapering, transitions, step-backs and set-backs lest they, too, get modified. We are reminded of the time when developers told us that building residential buildings wasn’t “economically feasible.” So they got away with building the Rosslyn office canyons, which we’ve been trying to fix ever since.

Open space: A hotel terrace, at whatever level, provides any benefit to those of us who live in Ashton Heights. There is no plan for open space in these proposals, with the possible exception of the linear park replacing Fairfax Drive adjacent to Northside Social and St. Charles Church. It’s not clear to me whether that area would be paid for by the county or whether developers would be expected to provide the park as their community benefit.

A similar set of issues appear to be happening regarding parking strategies that were established as the Metro came through Arlington so that neighborhoods near Metro stops (we have three in Ashton Heights: Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston) would not have commuter cars parking all day in our neighborhoods, so our residents living in these areas can park on their own street. Luckily, the Arlington County Board has held in place the program for the existing neighborhoods, good news. However, what is not good news is that developers are now allowed to put in less “inbuilding” parking for condominiums and apartment houses with the assumption that these people will not use their own vehicles, but utilize Metro. We can argue if that is true, these residents will have visiting relatives, friends, service workers and vendors that need to park as well.

I raise these points not to be whiny, but rather to illustrate that our community involvement has driven our area to be a great place to live. But that also requires the sweat and tears of an earlier time be taken on by newer and younger residents so as to keep the assets that attracted all of us to live in Ashton Heights.

We will be celebrating AHCA’s 100th Anniversary this year – where we all can learn, laud, and celebrate these achievements.

But I hope as we do, and many of you who read this newsletter and participate in the listserv, can build perspectives and join in on an outstanding legacy.

February 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our February newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

COVID, Economy and Safety – by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

The core issue on everyone’s mind is how long we are all going to endure this pandemic and when we will all be vaccinated. And I understand this being over 65 myself.

Leaving politics aside, we have four issues. Coordination with states proactively by the federal government, coordination by the state with Virginia cities and counties and Arlington County coordinating with all of us. I had issued a brief from Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz at our January 2021 AHCA meeting. And to put it bluntly, the feds were unclear with the state, and Virginia bypassed Arlington on providing first doses via CVS/Walgreens for nursing/old age homes, and Virginia Hospital Center (VHS) for healthcare workers, first responders and a third of our teachers.

Now that is changing, in part, with vaccines going to counties, not hospitals, and the counties working with their hospitals and other healthcare providers. While this resulted in cancellations for those that signed up for vaccines with VHC, I expect that as vaccines come in, those appointments will be re-set ASAP.

The fourth issue, is that vaccine supplies have been limited, putting strains all over the country. The vaccine companies are having problems scaling up supply . Hopefully soon, a third “one dose” vaccine will be available.

With all these questions, we have a volunteer Martha Casey, who will coordinate timely information both through our monthly newsletter and our listserv. Any questions and suggestions, please contact her directly. Thank you, Martha. I am also in contact with the county on these issues, so if you have suggestions that you believe I should be inputting to the county, please email me directly: solarsklar@aol.com.

On a related issue, our local businesses are hurting. I personally am making an extra effort to buy food, goods and services right here in Arlington. Most are surviving on razor-thin margins. So if possible, please buy locally. I understand not everything can come from local businesses, and there are other considerations that come into play. Do what’s best for you and your family.

And I would be remiss not to re-emphasize that wearing masks, washing hands and sanitizing is very essential. Even those vaccinated can still convey the virus with unwashed/sanitized hands or even spreading droplets from others — so as tiring as this all is, please keep your resolve.

I feel very safe here in Ashton Heights – we have a caring community. And I want to thank all AHCA members for not only stepping up to the challenge but helping others in our community. Makes me very proud. Have a safe and joyous February.

January 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our January newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

Ashton Heights – 2021 Will Be An Exciting Year For Our Community by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

As with the rest of the country, dealing with COVID, it has been hard with children out of school, small businesses hurting or out-of-business and constraints on how we see family and friends. Our political leaders in Richmond and Arlington have done an admirable job, conforming with science and health guidance while balancing the economic needs of the State and County. That said, I have been very proud of how our community has behaved throughout these hard times. With the vaccines coming in this year, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel hopefully by the summer to return somewhat close to normal.

As you’ve read a few times in our AHCA Newsletter, the 100th Anniversary of the Ashton Heights Civic Association is in 2021 and we are looking for your help in digging up old newsletters, pictures and reports in the past so that we can assemble these artifacts, retell the memories, and celebrate ourselves as a community.

Seems a perfect way to reset our Ashton Heights community to energize ourselves for the future. See AHCA Historian Jim Terpstra’s January 14th Zoom meeting (7 p.m.) on page three of this newsletter.

As we enter this new year and a significant portion of us are working routinely out of our homes, you might want to consider joining our AHCA Standing Committees – the email addresses of the Committee & Subcommittee Chairs and CoChairs are on the next page – and these issues will be revved up in 2021 after the COVID lull of 2020. Even if it’s just tracking the issues in a more detailed way, it’s worth your time. Some areas to consider – Development, Housing, Open Spaces (Subc on Park & Playgrounds – Tree Canopy & Native Plants), Safety & Security, Schools, & Transportation (including Parking & Pedestrian-Street Safety).

I am also looking at some AHCA themes for 2021 to attract the interests of younger residents – so those of you in your 30’s and under – please drop me a note (solarsklar@aol.com) on issues and programs that are important to you. It is critically important that our Association covers the priorities of all groups within our membership — and am happy to hear ideas and suggestions of any type.

I want to thank everyone within the Association on your camaraderie and respect for each other during these difficult times. And also for your time in being involved in all aspects of our community to make Ashton Heights such a wonderful place to live. I wish everyone a Happy New Year 2021 and may this coming year be full of joy, peace, health, and prosperity.

SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Newsletter

Our September newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

Back on Track – Still by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

I wanted to send my warmest regards to everyone within Ashton Heights and our surrounding community, and hope you had a good summer and are safe and secure during this pandemic.

The Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) has still been very active addressing a wide range of issues. I am happy to say that we will continue to email our AHCA Newsletter but we will also return to delivering it after we polling our coordinators Bea Camp and Julie Mangis as well as the volunteers that deliver the newsletters.

As you can see on the cover page, we will hold our first new AHCA Monthly Meeting (the third Wednesday of every month) using ZOOM coordinated by Emmilu Olson and Chris Armstrong. I hope you will participate and hear the short reports by our Chairs & Co Chairs of our eight AHCA Committees & Subcommittees and our two speakers.

AHCA is in the process of sending another letter to the County Board on “safety” approaches on North Kenmore Street since a child was hit a few months after a bicyclist was hit – emphasizing the need to speed up differentiate between ‘traffic calming’ and move to “pedestrian & property’ safety. We plan to keep up the pressure.

AHCA has been active on a range of COVID-19 issues, starting with the family help service established by AHCA Safety and Security Committee chair Christina Schultz, and interfacing with the County on crowding at the Beer Lot and other issues.

Development issues are always before us, as are tree canopy, affordable housing, schools, transportation & traffic, and open spaces/playgrounds. And I expect the challenges of COVID, smaller Arlington County budget resources — are all going to make our efforts harder. That said, why we have a civic association is to pool our human resources to track these issues, build community consensus, and interact effectively with the County, businesses, and community organizations.

Two issues we are preparing for, is how we interface and react to the Arlington County Water & Wastewater Utility Rate Study. We want to make sure rates are fair and that service and billing are also fair and responsive. The County has two proactive activities maximizing: 1) mail-in voting, and 2) insuring maximum participation in Census 2020. Right now we are just forwarding information, but we are very interested in ideas and approaches from anyone within the Ashton Heights community.

So welcome to Fall. Join us this month as we start-up our monthly meetings via ZOOM. And all, be safe!

May 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our May newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

An Amazing Community – Great Spirit and Generosity by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

 I can’t express my appreciation for all the great work and camaraderie by our Ashton Heights community which is just overwhelming. Just too many to shout out, but I am listing the handful that comes to mind:

  • a group making masks for health workers
  • families giving out books for children and adults
  • on street dancing for children and us old folks
  • establishment of a buddy system for food and errands for those unable to leave their houses
  • listserv trading items that people in our community need
  • organizing a blood drive for COVID-19 patients

And it is wonderful seeing families walking, biking and playing together – chalk drawing on the street, skateboards and scooters and bouts of playfulness. This is our last newsletter before the summer, so I wanted to emphasize the breadth of commitment to our community.

The day-to-day actions we at AHCA are doing, all by volunteers, for AHCA Committees on traffic & street repairs, development & zoning issues, security and safety, schools, parks-playgrounds-open spaces, native plants & tree canopy preservation, affordable housing, water bills data collection, and those representing our community on the Arlington Commission on Aging, the Civic Federation, Neighborhood Conservation, Clarendon Alliance, etc. – are ongoing and also how we contribute to the well being of our community.

I want to thank all of you — everyone of you — for making Ashton Heights just a wonderful place to live.

I have no idea what will be the situation with this pandemic in September. We will begin again in September our AHCA newsletter for the Fall (thank you Amy Miller), but not sure whether it will be only electronic or handed out as in the past as a printed version too. I am also not sure whether we will be able to hold our monthly meetings (third Wednesday of every month) at the Clarendon Methodist Church social hall – if not we’ll explore a larger ZOOM meeting.

But all that aside – the generosity and initiative of all of you, are making a great difference. So I salute you and wish you a safe and healthy Spring & Summer.

April 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our April newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

COVID-19: Our AHCA Community by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Well you can imagine we have lots of COVID-19 related challenges, but we are moving through them. As your AHCA President, I have had lots of communication with the County on issues, services, etc. As they are officially announced, I send them on the listserv. Some important info for you:

Arlington County Announces New COVID-19 Call Line – Community members who cannot find the information they need on the County’s website or through other resources, should call 703-228-7999 for assistance.

Arlington County & Virginia Hospital Center Open A New COVID-19 Drive Through Test Center – A temporary drive-through COVID-19 sample collection site at 1429 N. Quincy Street. Physicians with symptomatic patients can send orders to the Virginia Hospital Center outpatient lab electronically in EPIC or via fax to 703-558-2448. Once they have received a physician’s order, patients should call the VHC COVID-19 Scheduling Line at 703-558-5766 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site. Please keep your physician’s phone number on the wall near your telephone and in your pocket as well.

This brings me to REQUEST #1 – if you know a neighbor who is new to the area or not usually using the internet, please cajole them to join the AHCA listserv. Communications are extremely important at this time. Requests should be e-mailed to the AHCA listserv moderator, Betsey Lyon at etlyon410@gmail.com.

The AHCA April monthly meeting has been canceled (see box). We have to see how the coming months are as to whether we can reschedule future meetings.

Our AHCA Safety & Security Committee Chair Christina Schultz has an important column in this newsletter (page 3) on our AHCA Community Help and Service approach for helping those in Ashton Heights who are unable to leave and need food, medicines, and sustained periodic checking upon. We already have some volunteer names but more will be collected along with use of a formal request form (forms.gle/U8FjEmoDpWgD5ySo6). If you want to volunteer by being paired with a family/person, fill out the appropriate form: high risk (https://forms.gle/PbvhhiYUsT92xawv8) and low risk (https://forms.gle/Xpw2kR7wuAMWiDWp9).

AHCA has a very high ratio of 65-and-older age group, and we have many with immune system deficiencies that make them more susceptible (such as diabetes, heart & lung disease, cancers, etc), handicapped/special needs, single parents, etc.

REQUEST #2 – if you have neighbors in these categories, call them or e-mail them – check how they are, let them know of this effort — as a community we do not want ANYONE left out of this safety net, not one.

And finally, REQUEST #3 – if you have any other ideas, concerns, etc, please email me directly at solarsklar@aol.com, or call me at home 703-522-3049. I have already received quite a number of emails/calls and I appreciate them. I have seen some wonderful suggestions on the listserv, but wanted to highlight three:

1. Order in from local vendors routinely – please lets keep our special businesses viable during this ordeal,

2. Short, socially distanced activities like dancing and bike riding for kids (and adults) is important .. safe social interaction is needed, and

3. Leaving books and other activities for pick up is wonderful to share – reduce clutter and provide an activity for another.

From what I see, most people are social distancing, friendly when walking by, my own neighbors are amazing (since I am way over 65) to make sure I am OK and have food – just the attributes that make this such a great community. The more we help each other, the better our community will make it through this unprecedented event.

I am certain we will as a community meet these new challenges. And again, I want to deeply thank so many of you that have already volunteered, offered to volunteer, keep our Civic Association functioning, and those for reaching our to your neighbors in your community.

Be well, Be safe. Many thanks.

March 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter, Uncategorized

Our March newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

Five Trends in Arlington: Ashton Heights “Front & Center”

by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

As we move into Spring, I am feeling the need to encourage a creative dialogue. I am not advocating one way or the other on the points below, but using this column only to stir discussion.

Trend #1: Housing Density and Affordability. Discussions in Richmond and with the Arlington Board are not only addressing affordable housing, but the nature of residential neighborhoods. Many of us strongly want to keep the single home character of our community, yet others see multiplexes, townhouses and other approaches to offer a variety of living approaches to allow more flexibility, affordability, and livability.

Trend #2: Climate Change: Trees, Energy, and Buildings. The Arlington County Board voted unanimously in November 2019 on an updated Community Energy Plan (CEP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Clean Air Act regulated emissions, and significantly increase energy efficiency and renewable energy. Aside from announcing a contract with Dominion for over 100 MW of solar, efforts to nudge builders and developers to incorporate these approaches significantly in their projects and buildings since residential (26%) and non-residential (53%) buildings use 79% of our energy. More pressure on how our buildings are built, renovated, and how we behave in them, are going to be ever increasing. Native trees are also in this game plan for soaking in carbon, providing food and shelter for wildlife, and softening the urban character of our community.

Trend #3: Convenience & Personalization of Transportation. We all know Uber/Lyft, scooters, well-marked roadways, bike lanes, and density around Metro stops, all address not only traffic, but convenience, and livability. We can have food delivered by any restaurant, Amazon and others drop off any goods, and more and more in-home and in-office services are at our fingertips. How that impacts personal time, comfort, and family is being studied by many.

Trend #4: Multi-use Spaces and Buildings. Our schools and government buildings are not only used for their prime use, but also for community meetings, the arts and education. And now we are seeing private buildings, have public meeting space in the lobby, the NRECA building used for public meetings, as does AHCA and Little Beginnings Day Care share the Clarendon United Methodist Church facilities.

Trend #5: Aging in Place. The older population in Arlington – those ≥65 years of age – grew more rapidly than the rest of the population in each of the last three decades. It will continue to grow rapidly and at a faster rate. Northern Virginia’s older old population, those ≥75 years of age, is the region’s most rapidly growing population group. Growth in this age group will exceed 50% in each of the next two decades. Yours truly, is planning to age-in-place in my home. This means more walkable community, in-house services, and more county and various association tailored programs to my demographic.

I hope, as a community, we can discuss how we fit best into these trends among others not mentioned, so as to be proactive on addressing our future. Only through shared vision, community dialogue, and volunteer time – can we create a joint vision to help drive our consensus visions to reality.

Details of Ashton Heights 100th Anniversary plans for next year are underway (see page 4). We have had some very prescient Arlington residents and leaders that helped fashion the community we have today. This perspective should help all of us and guide all of us on pathways to the future.

We have a great community and we have a long road to further many past and present great ideas to make it an even better community.

Happy Spring!

February 2020 Ashton Heights Newsletter

February 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our February newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

 

Getting into Full Swing – Making Ashton Heights Stay Great (As Always)
by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

 As January dashed by, the biggest issues we are facing are development, crime, water rates, and roadways. Our intrepid AHCA Crime & Safety Chair Christina Shultz put out a detailed memo about the Arlington County police presentation at our January meeting. The recent rash of automobile incursions in Ashton Heights cars are almost all in unlocked vehicles. The only smashed windows were tied to two visible – computer and purse – on the car seat in commercial parking areas. No use of wireless fob number theft devices has been reported or believed to be in use. So two basic guides – check & lock your car every evening, and leave nothing of value visible.

We also advised on the listserv roadwork beginning on Pershing Drive and soon, some continued work on Wilson Blvd. approaching 10th Street North. AHCA also submitted a formal letter to Arl. Co. on traffic calming on N. Kenmore St. AHCA Transportation Committee Chair Patrick Lueb has been following, dialoguing with the County, and fact finding on planter design options.

Due to great work by Barbara Taylor (bet2713@gmail.com ), we have collected data from 71 residents whose water bills were over 100% higher. We have submitted the aggregated data to the Arlington County Board, and with other civic associations to show a statistical quantification of the problem. AHCA will be pursuing this issue, since it has been an ongoing problem that is not solely tied to water leaks, as County staff maintains.

AHCA has also been dialoging with the other Arlington civic associations who have contacted Arlington County Board members about the need to revisit the Zoning Ordinance provisions for lot coverage, height, and setback of single-family homes — and also to ensure compliance with these restrictions as homes are actually built.

We transferred to our new listserv platform seamlessly. Thank you for the hard work Betsey – please see the full article on page five of this month’s newsletter.

The AHCA Development Committee has been meeting with the county on these main in-process developments: 1. TCS project on Wilson (Beer Lot to Silver Diner). 2. Joyce Motors redevelopment on 10th street 3. Status of third development (Wells Fargo site) 4. CVS project – zoning/rezoning issue on three lots; environmental issue; arrangement for meeting with group of nearby residents on permitting (lighting, traffic, vegetation barriers etc). 5. Hotel (Randolph and 5th); Mr Wash: Status. AHCA Development Co-chairs David Phillips and Jack Spilsbury are always open to input and guidance.

MORE THANK YOU’s from all of us at AHCA — Debby Chin, owner of The Baking Q, has been donating food at our monthly as she tests the market place for its product line of desserts. If you like something and would like to place an order, please contact Debby (debbychin@me.com) for more information. Thanks to Greg Morse who has also been bringing in healthy snacks for the meetings.

Carmen Kosik (emailocity@gmail.com) has been successfully getting ads for the newsletter so we can expand it slightly, and deserves our kudos for this important task. And Ann Felker (gr8est9@gmail.com) has been coordinating the Kids Page in our newsletter that helps employ our youngest members in ways that help our community. Thanks so much!

Wishing you a happy Winter season, here in Ashton Heights!