March 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter, Uncategorized

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

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


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


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 ( ), 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 ( for more information. Thanks to Greg Morse who has also been bringing in healthy snacks for the meetings.

Carmen Kosik ( 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 ( 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!

January 2020 Newsletter

Featured, Newsletter
Ashton Heights January 2020 Newsletter

Our January newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to

2020 – An Exciting Year for Ashton Heights and Arlington County by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Some good actions have happened by the end of 2019. Clarendon Circle, the convergence of Washington Blvd, Wilson Blvd, Clarendon Blvd. and Fairfax Drive is basically finished – meaning roadways are clear from construction, noise, and traffic slow downs. And the commercial center evolves, with wider sidewalks, safer street crossings, and clearer traffic patterns.

Arlington County has kept taxes flat, added some clarifications for scooters while adding to bike lanes, and the County Board unanimously adopted an update to the County Energy Plan which will result in more clean energy, less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, creating a healthy environment for all of us.

The Ashton Heights Civic Association is strong. The best news is we finally have a new newsletter editor, and I would like to heartily welcome Amy Miller and please feel free to e-mail her with comments and suggestions. I also want to add my thanks again to Jeanette Wick who stepped in a second time as our interim AHCA newsletter editor. AHCA has a new Committee on Housing and is Chaired by  Matthew Hall and Co-chaired by Christina Schultz. Thank you both for stepping up to cover this critical issue.

Another highlight worth noting is the formal dialogue process with Arlington County initiated by the Co-chairs of the AHCA Development Committee, so we can be proactive about development decisions rather than just be reactive. As mentioned in our last newsletter, our Co-chairs of the AHCA Schools Committee along with other AHCA volunteers are actively involved with County school facilities planning committees. And our other AHCA Committees of Crime & Safety, Open Spaces & Playgrounds, Tree Canopy & Native Plants, along with Transportation are all diligently following their issues, interacting with County staff and AHCA members.

So I am happy to report that we are covering most of the major issues confronting our community. That doesn’t mean we have resolved every issue exactly our way, but we have a solid organization and process to sustain member involvement and dialogue to help drive issues more in our direction. That said, we can always use more volunteers not only on standing committees, but also on sub-issues either within our existing AHCA committees (listed on the inside page of this newsletter), establish new task-oriented committees or create subsets of existing committees. Please feel free to contact me, or anyone on the AHCA Executive Committee at any time.

And that brings me to the last issue for AHCA, that in May 2020 we elect new officers. I have been advised our AHCA Secretary who issues our monthly meeting minutes will need to be filled, and I have been actively looking for someone from our community to shadow me so they can take the reins in 2020 or 2021. Establishing an orderly transition is essential for AHCA as we have grown, and issues become more complex and intense. So don’t be shy, please feel free to drop me an e-mail on these positions, as well as other issues within our community and within AHCA.

That said, I am excited about the upcoming year, and look forward to hearing from many of you. Enjoy the winter and hope to see you at our annual AHCA membership meeting this Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 7:00 PM at the Clarendon Methodist Church Social Hall. Happy 2020!