Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 11/18/2020

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Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 11/18/2020 via Zoom

Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:32 pm.  

Scott gave a shout out of thanks to Emmilou Olsen and all who helped for the Halloween Celebration in Ashton Heights.

He called the Committee Chairs (below) to make reports other than the Development Committee who is hosting the speakers at today’s meeting.

Christina Schultz of our Safety and Security Committee pointed out two police-related engagement opportunities that they are hoping some of our residents might want to get involved with.  One is the recruitment process for a new police chief, and the other is the use of cameras for collecting evidence.  If you have any questions or concerns with these two items, please contact Christina at cmschultz@yahoo.com.

Arlington Police Department Representatives Officers Harley Gunther and Corporal Wallace reported no huge change in our crime activity.  Please do your part to prevent crime – if you see something strange, please contact the police to investigate.  These tips have been helpful.

  • Since it is getting darker earlier please be vigilant maintaining awareness of your surroundings and who is around you.  Carry your keys in your hand as a weapon.
  • Package larcenies from front porches are on the rise.  Track your packages.  Have someone you trust pick up your packages and hold them until you get home.  Maybe use in-store pick up instead of delivery to your front porch if you are not home.
  • Lock your cars.  If you have packages in your car, please keep them out of sight.  The have been two arrests for larceny in autos.  Do the 9:00 pm routine to lock all your cars and doors.
  • The was an attempted rape reported nearby.  Since it is an ongoing investigation there were no specifics to report.

Brent Burris our Neighborhood Conservation Representative reported that Brooke Alexander is working with county reps making sure appropriate replacement trees are planted in Gumball Park.

Two Presentations:  

1) Overview of the Arlington Neighborhood Planning and Redevelopment Process – Bob Duffy, Planning Director, Arlington Department of Community Planning and Development

Concerns raised about the impact on our area by traffic, pedestrian safety, light and noise from these new developments, as well as tall buildings creating a “canyon effect”.  Hoping that setbacks and tapering will be incorporated in the planning to help diminish impact on our neighborhood.  Bob Duffy responded that all these concerns will be addressed.

2) Redevelopment Plans for the Clarendon Wilson Blvd/10th Street Triangle (Silver Diner and Beer lot Sites) – P. David Tarter, Esquire, Tarter Nova Law, and Tom Shooltz, TCS Realty.

Christopher Gordon the Architect with KGD Architecture gave the presentation on the different aspects of the development and answered questions posed by AHCA members.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm. 

Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, November 19, 2020 

November 2020 Newsletter

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

Building Consensus 2020 – Ashton Heights Civic Association by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

What makes me so proud of this Association and Community is how we slowly come to consensus on issues.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Virginia Department of Health issued guidelines on Halloween. We had a resident, Emmilu Olson, step up to help coordinate a dialogue on how our community will celebrate Halloween and conform to the new guidance. Cory Capps on Jackson Street and over 30 other AHCA residents dialogued on this issue. We built a consensus to de-emphasize Jackson Street as a magnet for Halloween revelers this one year, have a parade and candy hand-out a day before Halloween to maintain the festive feeling for our children. We had some frank discussions and I am proud we were able to build a consensus, and Celia Slater helped us draft a press release which was picked up by ArlingtonNow.

Arlington County contacted us on the process to review neighborhood parking rules, and we have many views on on street parking, the role of apartment/condo residents, sharing expenses and access, and the comfort of easy access to park near where we live. Again, we have had wide ranging dialogues on the AHCA listserv and we will work to build a consensus. While there are many divergent views and priorities, I am so proud of the tenor of the discussions, respectful dialogue, and frankly, some very good points by all. I have no doubt we will forge a stance that embodies the best of Arlington & Ashton Heights.

And we are carrying all this out along with activities by the Development Committee, Transportation Committee, Housing Committee, Open Spaces and Tree Canopy Subcommittees, Safety & Security Committee, and Schools Committee – during a COVID-19 environment through limited personal meetings, zoom meetings, and listserv dialogues. Some hard work, good thinking, and in all cases moving towards building shared outlooks on all the various issues AHCA Committees and Subcommittees are dealing with every month.

And finally our AHCA 100th Anniversary planning committee led by AHCA Historian Jim Terpstra, but robustly supported by over 10 other AHCA residents, has had several dialogues and meetings to brainstorm, collect historical information. Again, please send any documents, pictures, and other memorabilia (or information on any) to Jim at terpstrajames2@gmail.com.

So as we enter this Fall 2020, probably facing another notchup of COVID cases, but always seeking ways to work with each other and help keep Ashton Heights one of the best places ever to live.

And I want to thank each and every one of you for contributing what you can, when you can. I know we are all busy, with families, work, and other obligations. But all of us within AHCA deserve some solid pats on the back – and I wanted to thank you all, and wish you a most Happy Halloween, and wonderful beginning of Autumn.

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 10/21/2020

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Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:32 pm.  

Scott gave a shout out to Emmilou Olsen for her efforts to pull together a Halloween Celebration for Ashton Heights residents, following the Virginia Health Department guidelines, and Celia Slater for putting out the press release to Arlington Now.

Regarding the recent Arlington County Board focus on changing parking issues,  Scott voiced appreciation about the tenor of the discussion about this on our Ashton Heights list serve.  He thanked everyone for blending interests, concerns and respect around this issue.

Arlington Police Department Representatives Tom Rokowski with Officers Wallace and Gunther, reported out recent crime statistics for our area.  Overall crime statistics are down, however the car larcenies have increased 50% this past year and 19 people have been arrested.  Unlocked cars are still getting broken into, please lock your cars.  Do the 9:00 pm routine to lock all your house doors, as well as your cars. Please call in any suspicious activities, which is helpful to better zero in on specific problem areas.

The latest identity theft strategies are phone calls from the IRS or Social Security Offices – please just hang up on these callers.  Normally if they need to contact you, they use “snail mail” – and

  • If you are called to pay any sort of debt using an iTunes or Apple card is a scam.
  • If you get a call that a grandchild is in jail and needs bail to be paid over the phone, this is most likely a scam.
  • If you need to pay a fine for not showing up for Jury Duty, this is most likely a scam.

Jim Terpstra, the AHCA Historian and a team of residents are planning the AHCA 100th Anniversary Celebration for next year. Next year they have scheduled presentations for this celebration, over a number of monthly meetings, they want them to be live presentations.

If you have any Ashton Heights memorabilia to contribute to this effort, please let him know.

On the Ashton Heights Website there is a house style guide that was made 20 years ago.  He would like to update this to reflect newer homes that have since been built.  He estimates there might be 40-50 new buildings in our neighborhood, the styles of which he would like to be included. If anyone is interested in this newer architecture and would like to lend their expertise, please contact him at terpstrajames2@gmail.com.

Jim Feaster, AHCA Member-at-Large is serving as Arlington County committee member for a General Land Use Plan (GLUP) study.  This is for the area where Pershing Drive and Route 50 intersect for the land on which the Days Inn is located.  This study is for a proposed change to the GLUP for either an 8 story office building or a 10 story building for residences.

Development/Zoning Committee members Jack Spilsbury and David Phillips have been having an ongoing dialogue with county planning staff and appreciate the support of a half dozen community members helping them out with this effort. 

The west side of Clarendon is being totally transformed with redevelopment of the areas of the Silver Diner, Joyce Motors, Wells Fargo, St. Charles Church and the Beer Lot.  They county planning division is keeping their eyes on all of this as well as our own committee members.

At our Nov 18th meeting there will be an overview of the county planning process with Bob Duffy and there will be a presentation about the Silver Diner Site.

The CVS being proposed at North Kenmore St. should be going ahead next year.  We got the proposed plans and landscaping.  Brooke has proposed revisions to the landscaping plan with more appropriate trees.

Jack and Dave are reviewing the historical buildings in our area. The Gold’s Gym (which use to be Al’s Motors) and &Pizza are designated historical, which could impact on further development of these areas.  They may confer with Peter Baird ? (Peter Dickson?) about this.

Brooke Alexander of the AHCA Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee reported that the county has 15 new trees for Ashton Heights in December and will have more for us in the Spring.  If you would like a tree please let her know at brooke.alexander52@gmail.com.

in the 1980s Brooke mentioned that she was part of the effort of 5 civic associations involved with the development of the Rosslyn to Ballston Sector Plan.  She is now working with the county to get trees planted in Maury and Gumball Parks.

Brent Burris our Neighborhood Conservation Rep reported that renaming of Henry Clay Park was approved.

As to the recent discussion of riding bikes on the mounds in Mosaic Park, the county rep has responded that the use of wheeled vehicles (bikes/ skateboards) is not allowed and could cause damage to the surface on the mounds.  They will be posting signs about this soon.

Also do not park in the Gold’s Gym lot if you are visiting Mosaic Park.  They do tow.

Christina Schultz of our Housing Committee attended a county meeting about the missing middle priced housing.  Apparently the focus was more on the supply side and not the demand side.

Presentation about White-Tailed Deer and Forest Health in Northern Virginia – Bill Browning of the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists presented a slide show (link is available to AHCA members) on how they are destroying habitat for other animals, flora. 

Presentation about the Redistricting Reform Amendment – Daela T. Tipton Deputy Executive Director of FairMapsVA on Provision One on the ballot on a bi-partisan commission on gerrymandering.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm. 

Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, October 21, 2020 

October 2020 Newsletter

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

COVID, Halloween, and Aircraft Noise by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

As we limp along through this pandemic, except for a few issues, we seem to be in good shape. Arlington County tried to institute some sidewalk behavior modifications in the evening on the area bar/restaurant strips in Clarendon & Pentagon City, but withdrew them. And the Beer Lot at the corner of 10th Street North and Wilson Blvd is packed at half strength (350 people) — many without masks or social distancing. I have talked with the Arlington County Board members and County staff on this issue – it is well known. Our only goal here is not to become a “hot spot” in the future.

A related issue was brought up on how we handle Halloween, raised by AHCA member Emmilu Olson – and we both have contacted the County who is also seeking guidance from the CDC and the State of Virginia. That said, Ashton Heights and some of our high volume streets such as North Jackson St, should not wait. We obviously want to celebrate safely without putting our children, their grandparents, and all of us in the community at risk. I am sure we can come up with some viable approaches. See more on page 10 to get involved in the planning.

Arlington County has initiated, due in part, to our urging, legislative language through the efforts of Representative Don Beyer, to get the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to look at flight patterns to ease noise over our communities. It sadly does not cover government airplanes or any helicopters. We experienced a recent ceremonial very low flyover of a fighter plane tied to the Eisenhower Memorial ceremony on the Mall. We may need to apply some other tactics to ensure low flying, except for public safety, is the last resort and flight patterns be routed over The Potomac River or major highways including Route 66 and 395.

I have no doubt we can come together on these issues and influence outcomes – that is what any good civic association should do. And that leads me to the final point of AHCA celebrating our 100th birthday next year (2021). Jim Terpstra (terpstrajames2@gmail.com), our AHCA Historian is the lead for this effort. We need to collect older documents – AHCA newsletters, flyers, pictures that we can digitize and create a compendium to memorabilia tied to our AHCA history – so any of you that have been in Ashton Heights awhile, please search your files and send on to Jim. Also the newer pictures of AHCA under COVID, with ride by parties, street dancing etc., should be sent along to Jim as well.

AHCA has a great legacy and I am excited about how we can come together on our challenges and our celebrations – which makes this community so vital. In January 2021, I will have lived in Ashton Heights for 36 years and served as your AHCA president for the 10th year. It has been an honor and a wonderful experience being part of this amazing community. Be well, be safe.

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 09/16/2020 via Zoom

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Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:35 pm.  

Scott thanked our AHCA Zoom Team, Emmi Olsen and Chris Armstrong, for organizing this, our first Zoom Meeting.  

Emmilou Olsen also has become our Point of Contact (POC) re Halloween planning for our neighborhood.  She has heard from neighbors who are planning on celebrating Halloween as usual and others who have expressed concern about having Halloween this year, while we are still dealing with this pandemic.  Arlington County would like to wait to get Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines and directions from Richmond, and AHCA would like to come up with a consensus safe solution for the kids.  Jackson St. is a major draw for Halloween, but this year the police have no interest in shutting it down for trick or treaters.  A number of neighbors on Jackson St. have mentioned that they do not plan to decorate, as usual, due to the pandemic concerns.

If anyone has questions or ideas to help celebrate safely, please contact Emmilou Olsen at (briggsphotography@gmail.com).

Jim Terpstra, the AHCA Historian is organizing the AHCA 100th Anniversary Celebration for next year.  We have a great team of neighbors helping to plan this event, who will be meeting next week.  They are planning to have presentations celebrating this event at our March, April, May, Sept, Oct and November meetings next year.  Please check the historical part of our AHCA Website.  If you have any documentation to contribute please let him know.  We do plan on paying to have some documentation digitized so it can be posted to our website.  Also, if you have any questions/ideas with what we should do with all our historical documentation, please contact Jim at (terpstrajames2@gmail.com).  

Brooke Alexander of the AHCA Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee reported that the county still has tree whips available.  Let her know if you would like one at (brooke.alexander52@gmail.com).  She is working with the Arlington Arts Center to get more trees planted on their lot.

Gumball Park has six dead trees that need to be removed and replaced.  The county began removing two of the trees without her knowledge.  She is working with the county reps to get better advanced warning on when they are focusing on any tree activity in the parks in our neighborhood.  

Scott Sklar reported since Patrick Lueb of our Transportation Committee was not on-line re the Kenmore Street traffic calming issue.  Apparently Arlington County was looking into traffic calming on Kenmore St., which we think is more of a safety issue, since both a kid and a bicyclist have been hit by cars recently on this street.  The County Board has been notified and Scott was hoping Patrick might give us the latest.  AHCA is also working with Lyon Park Citizens Association one blocking Route 50 east left turns onto North Irving Street.

David Philips and Jack Spilsbury of our Development and Zoning Committee reported on the following:

The Glebe Road Harris Teeter Project will begin construction by the end of the year.  The old Harris Teeter will remain open for the next three years, while the surrounding tear down (of the Mercedes Body Shop and house) and construction begins. Once the new Harris Teeter is built and opened, the old Harris Teeter will be removed.  The new site will also include 300 apartments.

The Joyce Motor Project timeline for all permits is over the next 24 months.  This will be in the Beer Lot and the Silver Diner spaces for the construction of a hotel, apartments, commercial space and a new street. The are aiming to break ground in 2022 and to finish up in 2024.  We will have a presentation about this at our November 18 meeting.

The CVS Project had a meeting with nearby neighbors.  There also was a landscaping meeting re landscaping to block the light and the noise to nearby houses.

Re the issue of zoning adjustments for non conforming lots that are allowed to add additions – AHCA has decided not to take a position on this.

Christina Schultz of our Safety and Security Committee has heard from Captain Linder of the Arlington County Police, who is our new Point of Contact.  The number of cases of crime has gone down.  Larceny of vehicles continues to happen and people need to remember to lock their cars.

The Census in Arlington is 75% done.  Areas in south Arlington still need to respond to this effort.

We have a new Committee of Housing overseen by Matthew Hall and Christina Schultz.  They are focused on the missing middle housing study by the Arlington Alliance for  Housing with a focus on how to increase the supply.  Builders are not building housing to meet this need.

Voting Safely in 2020 Presentation – Joan Porte, President; Lisa Koteen Gerchick, Election Integrity Chair and Donald Gurney, Voter Services Chair; Arlington League of Women Voters

Presentation on the Plans for the George Mason University Institute for Digital Innovations & Replacement for the Kann’s Department Store Building – Lisa Wilson Durant

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm. 

Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, September 20, 2020 

March 2020 Newsletter

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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!

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 02/19/2020

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Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 02/19/2020
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.  Scott was contacted by the county regarding the Clarendon Sector Plan inviting our community’s input.  Scott replied that representatives from our Development, Transportation, Housing Committees and , Playgrounds & Parks and our Tree Canopy subcommittees will be happy to provide input.  We will be impacted the most by this development by the potential congestion, density and the traffic. He also received an email from the county re our traffic concerns on Kenmore Street.  They will be putting a traffic study together about this which should take six months.

Patrick Lueb, Chairman of our Transportation Committee mentioned that there have been concerns about the traffic circle at Jackson St and 6th Street, because the signage is worn and is hard to see, especially at night.  He is looking into this. He also mentioned that there are concerns about the redevelopment on Pershing Dr., that ugly barrels, like the ones recently placed on Pershing on the other side of Washington Blvd, will be used.  He has found out that the type being planned for our site is different. 

Brooke Alexander of the AHCA Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee shared with us a copy of the Henry Clay Park construction plan.  Originally there was concern since we had no idea what was happening there.  The Arlington County Rep assured us that this plan was shared with the immediate neighborhood, and they did provide input to what was being proposed.  This project is on schedule and scheduled to be completed in 2020. She also updated us on the three trees that were removed on the site of the Arlington Art Center.  Come to find out that the county has approved 16 trees to be planted on this site, which should happen soon. She also shared an article called “How to Turn Your Yard into an Ecological Oasis” and took email addresses to send it to each of us.  

Brent Burris of the AHCA Playground & Parks Subcommittee reported on the NCAC Redevelopment Project at Pershing and Oakland, which includes a water garden and an adjustment to some side walks.  Come to find out that will also impact on some street parking spaces.  He will be attending a presentation about what is being proposed next week and will report back to us. He also gave us an update on what is happening with the construction at Mosaic Park.  Right now they working on the interactive water feature and are on schedule to be finished during second quarter of 2020.

Dave Phillips of the AHCA Development Committee reported that with the Clarendon Redevelopment there are three sites and three developers involved.  So far we have heard one preliminary site plan for the Joyce Motors site and hopefully we will hear from the other two soon.  For now it is looking like the Silver Diner will remain open until December 2021.
He attended a meeting with the county rep re the proposed plan for the The Highlander Motor Inn site, which will eventually be the location of a new CVS store.  The site for the new CVS includes the property the hotel is on, and the parking lot behind the hotel.  The lot of the house behind this location, not zoned for a commercial site, will be used as a green space and buffer, for the houses beyond, but not necessarily the “greenway”.  Neighbors Kristen Bass and Courtney and Nick Lewis, are the homeowners most impacted by this development and they attended this meeting as well.  Scott mentioned that he understands that neighbors around this store will be concerned about lighting and noise, but the civic association will support them in any way they might need.  Scott also gave a shout out of appreciation to Dave Phillips and Jack Spilsbury of the Development/Zoning Committee for all of their time, attention and interaction with the county and the property owner over this whole project.

Denny Edelbrach from the Clarendon United Methodist Church invited us to participate in the Arlington Bunny Hop scheduled for April 18, 2020 @ 8:00 am.  Funds made from this event will be donated to Bridges to Independence and Offender Aid and Restoration.

Arlington County Police Officer Corporal Lennon and crew did an analysis of criminal activity in our area for the past year.  There have been burglaries at some used car lots where suspects have been arrested.  Larceny from unlocked cars continues and they are encouraging us to implement the daily 9:00 pm routine to making sure your car, garage, yard and house are all secure.  Ballston Mall has had some shoplifting issues and cars being stolen as well.  They are encouraging us to call them if we spot anything suspicious.  The Arlington Restaurant Initiative with bars taking a more proactive involvement with potential problems, has been working with curbing drunk and disorderly activity in and around the Clarendon restaurant and bar area.  There still are large crowds on the weekends, but there are fewer incidents.  5 – 10 police officers are usually assigned to this area during these busy times, which also helps.  
A concern was raised about traffic blowing through some intersections while people are attempting to cross streets in cross walks.  It was suggested that we report any of these incidents on-line.
Another concern was raised about electric scooters being parked on sidewalks and also rented cars being parked in residential areas after use.  Technically the companies who own these vehicles are supposed to pick up their vehicles within a day or two.  If they do not, feel free to call the company.
A food truck has been parked most evenings in a parking slot on Pershing Dr. running their business.  Concern was raised about the propane tanks on the back of the truck sticking out into traffic.  Technically the truck is parked legally and there really is nothing that can be done about the propane tanks sticking out into traffic.

Gary Hamilton, the Published of Arlington Magazine talked about some of the impacts of Amazon’s arrival and some observations about the July 2019 flooding. He advised that while housing will rise, not so much that residents should wait to bet on the value increases.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 
Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, February 22, 2020

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 01/15/2020

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Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 01/15/2020

Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought meeting to order at 7:30 pm.  

Scott thanked Amy Miller for stepping up as the new editor of the AHCA newsletter.

AHCA has a new committee, AHCA Committee on Housing Chair Matthew Hall and Vice Chair Christina Schulz.

Dave Phillips and Jack Spilsbury of the Development/Zoning Committee reported that they are reaching out to the Highland Hotel owner so they can stay abreast of issues that may arise from the new project, and following the three development projects between Wilson Blvd, Wash Blvd, & 10th St North. There will be a meeting of the County Board regarding density and heights.  If anyone has any interest, please contact them. The West Clarendon project along Wilson Blvd and 10th St. involves the development of new apartments and hotels; they want to guard against glass, concrete and set back.  The presentation we had scheduled today for part of this redevelopment was cancelled.

Greg Morse CoChair of our Schools Committee reported that there has been talk of swapping elementary schools and most recently have come to find that more seats are needed in the Rosslyn and Clarendon corridor.

Brent Burris Chair of the Playground & Parks Subcommittee reported that there has been a resolution between the Fire Department and the city planners regarding the North Oakland St. water gardens being proposed.  This is being presented to the residents right now. 

Brooke Alexander Chair of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee reported that we are still losing our tree canopy primarily because of builders knocking down small houses and building larger houses in their place.  We have been able to take advantage of the Tree Canopy Fund and have applied for 31 trees to be planted in Spring of 2020.  Applicants should hear if they have been accepted for the program soon.  This past Fall we were about to get 13 trees planted from this fund. She also looked into if the three trees that were removed on the North Monroe St. side of the building will be replaced.  They are slated to have trees planted here.  If anyone has any interest, please let her know. 

Betsey Lyon our Listserv Moderator has swapped our list serve to the Groups.io system.  There have been a number of questions about how this works, and she has been sending out guidance.

Scott mentioned that a number of our residents have received very high water utility bills this past month—some 114% higher, or more.  Betsy Taylor is leading the AHCA data effort and has collected info from 71 households so far.  If your bill was unusually high, please let her know. Scott had suggested that residents should hire a plumber to check their meters, with the water turned off, to determine if there is a leak.  So far 12 residents have done this and have reported no leak.  Two other nearby civic associations have reported this problem as well.  Some communities have put in Wifi meters at no cost to help monitor and track what they are being billed for.  

Arlington County Police Officers Keen and Ryan and Corporal Lennon came by for a visit.   98% of auto break-ins are done to unlocked cars. Suspects walk by a car and just check the door handle of a car to see if it is open.  If the car is unlocked, they take advantage. From Oct 1 thru Dec 31 only 7 car break-ins were reported in Ashton Heights and 4 in Lyon Park.  There has only been one break-in reported where a window was broken to a locked car, where a purse was left in plain view on the seat.  Rumors have been flying that equipment is being used to unlock cars, which is called “cloning”.  This is not true.  The equipment needed has never been found on any suspects and it would take too long for this process to work. The process can take 45 – 60 minutes. They are encouraging everyone to do the 9 PM Routine. Every night at 9 pm every evening, make sure your house, garage and car are secure.  Take the time to do this every night.

If you find that someone has gone through your car and taken nothing or anything, please report it on-line.  If you cannot figure out how to report it on-line, call the non emergency number and a police officer will come over to your home to show you how to do this.  They want these reports submitted so they will really know the extent of the problem.   For the 300,000 residents of Arlington County there are only 18 police officers on duty at a time.  Currently there still is a shortage of police staff.  Ideally we need 400 police officers to be fully staffed; right now we only have approximately 330 police officers working.

Matt De Ferranti the newest County Board Member came to dialogue with our residents about county board issues. He pointed out that everyone should complete the census starting on April 1, 2020. He grew up in McLean, is a lawyer, practiced in TX, and was an advocate for Native American kids and supported Feed America.  

The two issues he ran on were affordable housing and education.  A lot of people who work in Arlington cannot afford to live here and feel more should be done to support affordable housing.  Virginia law does not allow for rent control nor inclusionary zoning.  Also 29% of the students in Arlington schools are not affluent and require food assistance.  

He talked about a goal for the county of 100% renewable energy and getting our carbon footprint to 0.  The fact we opened 5 new schools this year reflects a growth factor that we need to continue to deal with. 

Since small houses in Arlington are being replaced by larger homes, not only does this drive the cost of housing up, it also is reducing the size of our county tree canopy.  The Board needs to amp up the education of the county regarding the best management practices to better support our tree canopy and our environment.  Having more trees will also help with storm water absorption, since we are now having more severe storms and flooding due to climate change. 

This year the county will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of when Arlington split from the city of Alexandria.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 

Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, January 19, 2020

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 11/20/2019

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Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought meeting to order at 7:32 pm.  

Scott announced that this is the last Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting of 2019.  

Christina Schultz of our Crime and Safety Committee reported that according to Arlington County Police the level of gang activity in Arlington has gone down.  They feel the use of school resource officers has helped with this decline.  She is going to look into if the Ring Doorbells may be a way of sharing information about suspicious activity in our neighborhood.

Jim O’Brien the Vice President for Membership is willing to take our membership dues!  He will report on the status of our membership next month.

Jim Richardson the Vice President for Programs mentioned that in January our speaker will be Arlington County Board Member Matt de Ferranti.  In February it will be the co-owner and Editor of Arlington Magazine Greg Hamilton.

Brent Burris of our Playground and Parks Subcommittee mentioned that the status of what is happening with the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee is about the same.  With respect to the water garden being proposed at the North Oakland St. and Pershing Dr. intersection – apparently it has stalled over disagreements at the county level over the proper width for the street.

Scott thanked Carmen Kosik our Advertising Representative for her diligent work getting advertisements for our newsletter and made a plea for help in finding a new newsletter editor.

Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Committee reported that 16 new trees were planted in Ashton Heights this past week funded by the Arlington County Tree Canopy Program and planted by the county.  She is now looking for applications from anyone who would like to get a tree from this program this coming Spring. She will be happy to meet with you to discuss possible locations for this tree and to help with your application.  She will be coordinating this process with the county.  The deadline to submit your request to her is November 30, 2019.  She handed out a list of available types of trees.  

A question from the floor regarding the trees that were taken down next to the Art Center on Monroe Street.  Are there plans to replace them?  Brooke mentioned that in the Sector Plan includes plans to widen the sidewalk at that location, which will not leave room for trees at this same place.  She will look into it further.

Another question from the floor about what is happening at Clay Park off of Highland St.  The park had been fenced off and most of the trees and all of the equipment was pulled up.  Why were we not notified of this?  Brooke will look into this also.

Patrick Lueb of our Transportation Committee mentioned the residents on North Kenmore St. have put together a petition with 20 signatures requesting traffic calming measures be installed along their street.  Apparently Kenmore is the latest cut thru to get to Wilson Blvd/Pershing Dr.  Speed bumps may or may not still be used for traffic calming and stop signs are not being used for such efforts.  A suggestion from the floor to have a traffic circle installed.  They would like more police presence to study the situation.  Our police, the last year or two, has had a major staff shortage, which has been helped lately with a number of new hires coming on board this past year.

During our discussion of this issue, it was mentioned that the Google App “Waze” apparently offers North Kenmore Street as a way to get through the neighborhood.  Some thought to petition “Waze” and Google to stop this practice.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) owns Route 50 and has been focusing on traffic turning left into Ashton Heights.  They are looking into input from residents for possible solutions in early 2020 on their website.  Patrick will try to get representatives from the county and VDOT to come to one of our meetings before the deadline for our input for this problem.  

Jack Spilsbury of our Development and Zoning Committee mentioned that there are a couple of developers working up possible projects in some of the Clarendon area that is to be redeveloped.   One is a hotel proposal for the Silver Diner and Beer Lot along with a residential rental project in one of the nearby spaces.  He hopes to get one of these developers to come to our January meeting to share what they are planning.

Jack and Ken Matzkin have been taking the initiative and reaching out to owners to some of these properties (Wells Fargo Bank, the Verizon site and Mr. Wash) being developed and keeping in touch, so we can stay on top of what may be happening to these properties.

The owner of The Highlander Hotel on Wilson has an agreement with CVS to allow a store to be built on this site.  They are not entertaining options from anyone else right now.  There will be a proposal from CVS to the county soon.  Most likely the CVS currently on Wilson will be closed and will reopen on the Highlander Hotel site, which will allow more parking.

A question from the floor about cleaning up the Dominion Substation in Clarendon, which seemed unlikely. 

Jim Feaster who is part of the Arlington Commission on Aging mentioned that their focus is on how Arlington can be more age friendly and able to provide more resources to residents aging in place.

Mark Blacknell mentioned that he would like Arlington to find ways to attract younger Arlington County residents to AHCA meetings.  He feels we need to work some strategies to attract younger residents.

Scott McPartlin with the Arlington County Parks and Recreation Office gave us a Mosaic Park Update.   Mosaic Park started out as an idea back in the 1970s and in the 1990s the idea started to take shape.   Now Phase One is under construction and will open in the 2nd quarter of 2020.  The area for Phase Two remains, for now, a parking lot at Gold’s Gym.  ACHA President Sklar asked everyone to give him a round of applause for his great work since the beginning of this project.

Brooke Alexander asked to see the list of trees and perennials being proposed for the Phase One site.

A question from the floor was asked about if members of the Parks and Recreation Office actively reach out to neighborhood civic associations, when any of their projects would impact some of these groups.  Scott McPartlin himself tries to reach out to neighborhoods that would be impacted by his projects that he manages, and did not know why we were not contacted by the project manager for the Clay Park Project.  He is  happy to find out who the project manager is and will have them contact the members of our Playgrounds and Park Subcommittee.

Zack DesJardins a Bikeshare and Scootershare Planner for MetroBike is the Arlington County POC on Scooter Trial and Police on Enforcement.  He gave a talk about the new county regulations for e-Scooters that the Arlington County Board just approved.  The state law allows anyone 16 or older to use an e-Scooter; the user agreements for all the companies providing e-Scooters in Arlington requires users to be 18 years old.  Parking corrals have been established on a number of county streets to encourage people to park e-Scooters at these locations, though e-Scooters can be parked all over.  Concerns regarding no requirements for helmets to be worn and injuries, while operating these scooters were brought up from the floor.  Supposedly approximately 78 crashes have been reported, but am unable to verify because most emergency rooms will not release injury reports to the public.  DC e-scooter staff are trying to get injury information from emergency rooms.

The meeting was adjourned a bit after 9:00 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 

Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, November 23, 2019.

Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 10/16/2019

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Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought meeting to order at 7:30 pm.  

Scott mentioned that two potential newsletter editors have left, and the editor for the Lyon Park newsletter has stepped up to help us again.  We need an editor for our newsletter!  To be the editor one needs to have an IBM PC to work with the software, 85% of the format of the newsletter is set, with four articles left to be filled in.  Once done the final newsletter will need to be emailed to the printer.  

Brent Burris, our Open Spaces, Playgrounds and Parks Subcommittee Chair, was not here, but Scott mentioned there our concerns with outstanding temporary easements with county construction designs and what the latest is with Mosaic Park. 

Jim Terpstra the AHCA Neighborhood Historian mentioned that our civic association will turn 100 years old in 2021. Now is a good time to start planning for this historical milestone. He is is gathering and reviewing the historical records of the Ashton Heights Civic Association and is putting them in order.  Any neighbors who might have old AHCA newsletters/documents please share copies/originals with him.  He will also be looking for someone to help scan his historical docs into electronic files.  He will put a blurb in our newsletter.

Greg Morse the Schools Committee Co-chair mentioned that the County Board and School Board have created a joint working group to evaluate the Career Center site and to figure out how to accommodate an additional 700-800 seats at this location.  Caroline Rogus and Polly Hall are AHCA reps on respective Arlington County Committees as AHCA will be keeping an eye on this.  Also the revamping of the elementary school districts in Arlington County is seems to be heating up again with the School Board.

Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee brought two Red Bud whips to give away.

Scott mentioned that this year was going to be Scott’s 8th and final term as President, but since Julia Tanner has stepped down from as incoming shadowing President to assume the AHCA Presidency in May 2020, we now need another candidate to shadow for a year so as to step up to transition as President.

Gretchen Reinemeyer the Arlington Director of Elections and Registrar gave a talk about how Arlington is preparing for the 2019 Election.  She showed a video about Election Security and took questions from the floor.

Presentation from P&H Investments re building design proposal for Joyce Motors Site at North 10th Street and North Irving Street location.  This will include 240 rental apartments and 200 parking spaces in an underground garage, 3000 Sq ft Retail, with 7 – 10 street parking places, for what they call a “destination cafe” with outdoor seating.  The facade of Joyce Motors will be included in the building facade including the white tiles and the pattern of the garage doors.  The name of the building being proposed is The Joyce.  At the south end of the building, along North 10th Street, the zoning allows for a height of 55 ft or 6 floors.  The zoning allows at the north end of the building, closer to Wilson Blvd, a height of 110 ft or 11 floors.  The alterations to the sector plan is the “taper line” of the building.  Currently if the taper line is enforced, the building design would be too choppy along the roof line of the building.  If the taper line were extended, the roof line of the building would be more gradual.  This is the exception they are requesting to the Sector Plan.  This proposal was being shared with us to get our input.  We did not hear any major concerns from the floor, but there was a question about public accessibility to any green space on the site. This proposal will be shared with the county representatives in a few weeks.  There is hope that construction can begin in about two years in 2022.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00 pm and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs. 

Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, October 20, 2019.