AHCA Meeting – 9.15.2021
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:32 PM.
Scott Sklar Update
Scott called the meeting to order at 7:33 PM, thanking the Clarendon Methodist Church for hosting our first in-person meeting in 18 months.
Corporal Kenny Giles, ACPD
Corporal Giles is in community outreach and currently assigned to Crystal City. He reports that our area has 356 police calls so far this year, down from last year. Last year, there were 5 stolen vehicles, and as of the meeting we are at 14. The biggest trend he sees when it comes to stolen vehicles are unlocked vehicles and found keys, including spare keys in cars. He emphasizes the importance of the 9 PM routine – locking your car, house, etc. He notes to register bikes with the county to assist in recovery in the case of theft. Register your bike on the Arlington website: https://police.arlingtonva.us/bicycle-registration-form/, or by emailing Lieutenant Heather Hurlock at email@example.com.
Development Committee Update from Jack Spilsbury and the Clarendon Plan
Jack noted the range of development projects in the western part of Clarendon, including the current sites of the Highlander Motel, Joyce Motors, Silver Diner, St. Charles Church, and others. AHCA is working closely with civic associations from Lyon Village and Lyon Park on development issues. Jack asks that people review the development plan and reach out to him on development issues or to get more involved.
Ashton Heights 100th Birthday
Jim Terpstra and Peter Dickson on the history of Ashton Heights
- AHCA is looking for volunteers to review the twelve studies by George Washington University students that were done in the 1990’s, in an effort to summarize them for the AHCA newsletter. If interested, please contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Study topics include an interview with Frederick Westenberger, a local builder, a history of the Arlington County Street Railway System, a description of residential changes since 1940, and other topics.
- Jim and Peter both reviewed Ashton Heights’ remarkable history from sparsely settled region dominated by farmsteads, to a growing area sold by the Hunter family to Ashton Crenshaw Jones and Frank Lyon, to the neighborhood we call home today.
- Jim Terpstra handed out copies of a collection of summaries and records from the National Register of Historic Places.
- Peter Dickson’s work can be found in his Ashton Heights: Its Origin and History, a written history of our neighborhood which includes fascinating advertising and photography from Ashton Heights history. Copies are available for $10 if you contact Peter at email@example.com.
Ann Felker, Julie Mangis, and Brooke Alexander provided a preview of the Ashton Heights Birthday Bash, which will take place on Saturday, September 25th.
Tree Tour and Plant Giveaway
Brooke Alexander and Ann Felker provided a preview of the Ashgton Heights Notble Tree Tour, to take place on Saturday, October 2nd, from 10 a.m. to noon. They are still in search of volunteers. Following the tree tour, join us in the Methodist Church parking lot for tree stories, music, snacks (including ice cream!) and a tree sapling and plant giveaway.
- Fun fact – feeding one bunch of chickadees requires 6,000-9,000 caterpillars!
The meeting adjourned at 9:01 PM.
Respectfully submitted by Chris Armstrong, AHCA Secretary, September 27, 2021.
AHCA Meeting – 5.19.2021
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:32 PM.
Scott thanked everyone for showing up for the last AHCA meeting before the summer. AHCA Secretary Jodi Flakowicz replaced by Chris Armstrong, who is also AHCA web host, advertising newsletter coordinator, Position switch by Jim Feaster is now Vice President of Programs, and Jim Richardson is now AHCA ExCom at-large member. Thanks to Jack Spilsbury for taking on his new role at AHCA Development Committee, as well as Jim Terpstra and Ann Felkner and others for taking the lead on the AHCA history project. Scott gives a shout out to Amy Miller for the newsletter, and Beatrice Camp who coordinates delivery of the newsletter, as well as Betsy Lyon who moderates our list serve.
AHCA Development Committee – Clarendon Sector Plan
Jack Spilbury – the focus continues to be the county’s review of its Clarendon Sector plan, including the circle, St. Charles Church, and the Wells Fargo site. County should post additional materials this weekend, to give us a month before the meeting. There are new drawings for redevelopment around the market commons site. There will be new development around there, and the county has posted new materials on the planning site. There is also a super-sized plan for the YMCA on 13th, including an additional mixed-use residential building. Also a new hotel and residential site at Pershing & 50.
AHCA Native Plants Committee: Tree Canopy Fund and Tree Tour
Brooke Alexander – the county has made available more trees through the tree canopy fund, which is on the list serve and in the newsletter. The tree tour is planned for September, and Brooke is still looking for old, native trees to include in that. We are still expecting planting at Moray Park and Gumball Park, with details to come. On Saturday, the Civic Federation is having a program for exploring Arlington’s tree canopy and saving/increasing it. Contact Anne if you can join one of the breakout sessions.
AHCA Safety and Security Committee – Arlington County Police Dept (ACPD)
Christina Schultz, who chairs the Safety and Security Committee, and also co-chairs the Housing Committee. She noted concerns over loud vehicles, as well as Officer Guenther’s responsiveness on the matter.
Officer Harley Guenther introduced the new ACPD community representatives – Corporal Ryan and Officer Carly Hirschman. Also mentioned: Officer Michael Keen, head of homeless outreach, original liaison, and Corporal Regina Ryan – has Brook, the Department’s therapy dog. FRK9 Brooks is excited to meet us.
Stat updates – 40 incidents in the county. Cases of note for stolen vehicles – cars are all unlocked with keys inside. 9 PM routine is KEY.
Sargent Lubin on loud cars – On 3.1.21 the VA General Assembly changed motor vehicle offenses from primary to secondary – 46.2.1049 of the VA Code. The most notable thing that changed – the odor of pot is no longer enough to search a car. Other violations became a secondary violation. Google “Special Legislative Session Virginia 2021.” ACPD philosophy is safety-based, rather than revenue-based.
If you have concerns, contact legislators in Richmond rather than ACPD. The penalty for excessive noise is a “traffic infraction,” which is $30 penalty + $64 court fee.
AHCA’s 100th Anniversary – Ashton Heights History
Jim Terpstra on the house mapping project – Eastern half is 1919-1934 (wide variety) western side (1934-1950). We are surrounded by these two towering places, and in the heart of Clarendon is this beautiful village.
Jim Terpstra, AHCA Historian. introduces Tom Petty.
Clarendon and the Alliance – the eras of Clarendon (Town of Clarendon, Nova’s Downtown, Decline Era, Vietnamese Era, Weird Era, CrossFit Era?)
Scenes of Clarendon in 1900 vs. now. Old Masons Building is now Liberty Tavern. Town was founded in a location to take advantage of both the Trolley line and Great Falls power. Northside Social as a rail line building. The Mason’s Building is the oldest remaining building.
The presentation covered the “boom times” of development in the 1920’s, including the 1925 cornerstone for the Odd Fellows building, now Don Tito’s. The business community protested the site of the Clarendon post office, as it was a half mile from the city’s “center,” and thus too far.
Clarendon went into decline in the late 1950’s, and during this period 18 acres of buildings were demolished for surface parking lots, which had the effect of isolating remaining buildings. There was even a plan to put a 6-lane ring of roads around the city, which thankfully was not carried out. This decline included the closing of Sears, J.C. Penny, and other stores, and was further exacerbated by construction of the Metro station.
Later, in the 1970’s, the lower rents led to an influx of Vietnamese businesses and led to Clarendon’s nickname of “Little Saigon.” Liquidator businesses also moved in, and by the 1980’s Clarendon was still looking for “rebirth.” Clarendon Alliance activities. Clarendon Tax Day – Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.
Respectfully submitted by Chris Armstrong, AHCA Secretary, May 19, 2021.
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:32 pm. He noted that this is the 11th year he is serving as President of the AHCA, which has been an honor.
The AHCA election results announced by AHCA Nominations Committee Chair Jodie Flakowicz, which ended on April 20, were as follows:
President: Scott Sklar
Vice President for Membership – Jim O’Brien
Vice President for Programs – Jim Feaster
Treasurer – Doug Williams
Secretary – Chris Armstrong
Members-at-Large (4) – Cole Deines, Patrick Lueb, Ken Matzkin, Jim Richardson
David Phillips has resigned as co-chair of the Development Committee and Jack Spilsbury will remain as sole chair.
Ann Felker mentioned that the Glencarlyn Citizens Association along with AHCA and Lyon Village, will host a Zoom event on May 13 at 7:00 pm. This will be a conversation with Wilma Jones, a fourth-generation resident of Arlington’s Hall’s Hill neighborhood and author of “My Halls Hill Family: More Than a Neighborhood” (2018). Wilma will share stories of growing up in the historically-Black neighborhood of Halls Hill, followed by an interactive discussion.
Christina Schultz of our Safety and Security Committee introduced Arlington County Police Reps Officer Harley Guenther and Corporal Steve Wallace to give us the latest activity in Arlington. They introduced their new supervisor Sgt. Jeffrey Lubin who has lived and worked in Arlington for the last 14 years. They then gave a presentation about Community Outreach Team here in north Arlington. They also have presentations available on a wide variety of community support needs including a homeless outreach program, Brooks the Therapy Dog, Fill the Cruiser events.
Saturday April 24 is National Drug take Back Day from 10 – 2 to turn in any prescription drugs you are no longer using.
Corporal Wallace gave a monthly report of approximately 77 incidents, which was not bad. Car larceny has gone down – please keep locking your cars. Of the 2 stolen vehicles reported, both have been returned.
On the Arlington County Police Website there are a lot of resources the community can use to keep abreast of the latest info out there. This includes the Police Newsroom, a Daily Crime Report, Community Crime Map where you can see the location of each crime incident reported.
If anyone would like a security assessment of their home you can request one on their website.
There is a service request aspect to the My Arlington app one can download on to their phone. Here you can request services from the county for damaged signs, sidewalks or other concerns you may come across with your phone.
Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee reported that trees are scheduled to be planted in both Maury and Gumball Parks.
5/28/2021 is the deadline to let Brooke know if you would like a tree planted paid for by the Arlington County Tree Canopy on your property.
Brooke is also interested in conducting a tree walk around the neighbor in honor of our 100 Year Anniversary. She would like to include all “old trees”. This can include trees as young as 15 – 20 years old.
Jack Spilsbury of our Development Committee mentioned that the construction of the CVS at the Highland Motel site on Wilson Blvd will begin very soon.
The Mr. Wash site construction is now on hold.
Regarding the year long review of the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan by the LRPC continues. On April 14, a 3rd meeting took place where Scott Sklar represented the AHCA well. Not clear yet what the results will be of all our efforts. Our outreach to Lyon Park and Clarendon/Courthouse Civic Associations we hope will be helpful with our consensus letter to the County Board re our concerns. The next meeting of the LRPC will be in May sometime, yet to be scheduled. There are two more meetings in the review process.
No reports from Transportation Committee, Schools, Housing Committees.
Presentation about The National Capital Treatment and Recovery (formally Phoenix House) by Deborah Taylor, R.N., C.D. – Discussion of Arlington’s drug and alcohol problems and solutions by the director of the facility located on our boundary.
A copy of a presentation from Deborah Taylor, President and CEO
General NCTR Slideshow March 2021.pptx
Some takeaways from her talk:
They believe that anyone should get the highest level of care despite their ability to pay
The Arlington Recovery Center partners with the county and the police
Along with our COVID Pandemic we are having an opiod epidemic right now
Heroin right now is 800 times as strong as it was in the 70s in Arlington
Opioid overdoses are up 70%
Arlington has a 75% increase in fatal overdoses
Looking for real estate to set up a transition location
They have put in a second elevator to accommodate more physically limited and elderly clients at their current location.
They have added a full gym to the facility for their clients
They would like a Board Member from Ashton Heights who is interested in substance use disorders
AHCA History II in support of AHCA 100th Anniversary celebration – – Social History Presentation with Ann Felker, Christa Abbott, Marion Penn and Cassandra Penn Lucas who lived in Arlington’s early black communities. An historical video was shown.
The meeting adjourned around 9:00 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, AHCA Secretary, April 24, 2021.
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:31 pm. asking for reports from our committees.
Jack Spilsbury of our Development Committee mentioned that he and Dave Phillips attended the latest LRPC Clarendon Sector Plan Update Meeting, where they shared concerns compiled by our civic association. Obviously what they talked about did not square with what the developers were proposing, but it still was a good meeting. They will attend the next meeting scheduled for April 14. They referenced the AHCA consensus letter released to Arlington County Board and staff a week earlier.
They also attended a Lyon Village monthly meeting with the County Planner Brett Wallace presenting the Clarendon Sector Plan Update. Lyon Village Residents had similar concerns we did primarily along the Washington Blvd side to all this redevelopment.
They are continuing to reach out to other neighborhood civic associations about this.
Gregory Morse and Caroline Rogus of our Schools Committee were not on-line.
Brent Burris our Neighborhood Conservation Rep was not on-line.
Patrick Lueb of our Transportation Committee was not on-line.
Scott mentioned that break-ins into cars are on the rise. Please lock your car. There is alot of road work happening on Pershing Drive and Washington Blvd. Any concerns contact Patrick Lueb at firstname.lastname@example.org. He mentioned that there has been concerns that the reconstruction of Clay Park is taking too long, can someone look into this? Scott also thanked Martha Casey for posting the latest information about COVID vaccines in Arlington. If you are unable to schedule an appointment, please contact her at email@example.com .
Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy Committee reported that trees will be planted at Maury and Gumball Parks this Spring. Our latest batch of tree canopy funded trees are coming in two weeks
Christina Schultz of our Safety and Security Committee introduced Officer Harley Guenther from the Arlington County Police. She presented some options to find crime information and stats for Arlington County. She is suggestion going to the Arlington County Police Website at police.ArlingtonVA.us. Once you log in, there are links to the right side of the screen for Police Newsroom, Daily Crime Report and an on-line crime map, where you can see the latest criminal activity in the county.
The Missing Middle Housing Initiative – Three Presentations:
1) Presentation by Hon. Libby Garvey about the Arlington County Missing Middle Study
2) Presentation by Peter Rousselot with Arlingtonians for a Sustainable Future
3) Third Presentation by Alice Hogan with the Alliance for Housing Solutions
Here’s the link to all three presentations: https://goldsteinhall-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/p/mhal EpOdFgyg7W9JhlQXeLXQkWEBg4A4Pusjz3xdKPbzeOjQ0g?e=pvURyA
And some other items mentioned:
Link to Merion Pike West Development Analysis re up zoning impacts mentioned by Libby Garvey. https://3d81d522-ce99-431c-a359-61f1ce06c557.filesusr.com/ugd/a48bae_527aa129a4ec4f19b98a743bb9ae987c.pdf
Website for Arlingtonians for our Sustainable Future https://www.asf-virginia.org/
Peter’s take: Arlington’s Missing Middle Housing is High End Housing
Alliance for Housing Solutions Webpage:
Missing Middle for a Better Arlington:
The GMU study – The economic and fiscal impact of locating Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington VA: https://sfullerinstitute.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/SFI_-Economic_-Fiscal_Impacts_of_Amazon-HQ2_110818.pdf
The final presentation for the meeting is part of a multi-series of AHCA meeting presentations on ACHA History by Jim Terpstra, AHCA’s Historian, as a precursor to our 100th anniversary celebration.
Ashton Heights Origin and History Book by Peter Dickson in 2007 is being updated to include more recent developments. Hopefully will be printed and available in the Fall.
Ashton Heights Style Guide – three volunteers have identified newer housing styles in our neighborhood will be identifying what they are and will be updating the housing style guide. They hope to do a walking tour of these homes in the Fall.
Jim also plans on adding for historical information not our website soon.
The meeting adjourned around 8:39 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, March 20, 2021.
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:34 pm.
Scott thanked Jim Richardson, for enlisting AHCA meeting speakers and Emmi Lou Olson and Chris Armstrong for setting up the meeting ZOOM meetings, and specifically to Chris Armstrong for taking over Carmen’s position covering ads for our newsletter. Martha Casey has stepped up to provide the latest vaccine and pandemic information on our list serve and the newsletter. He also thanked our newsletter editor Amy Miller and the newsletter distribution team.
Doug Williams and Patrick Lueb have been focused on the county review of our residential parking situation. Doug has attended and testified, on our behalf, at county meetings about this issue and want to ensure our current parking parameters and permit requirements remain the same on our streets. Six civic associations in our area are focused on this issue and maintaining the current requirements. We want to keep our finger on the pulse of how this dialogue is going.
Christina Schultz and Matt Hall of our Housing Committee are focused on the county dialogue on the loss of middle housing in our area. At our next meeting in March, they will have three speakers for us on this issue.
Dave Phillips and Jack Spilsbury of our Development Committee just posted on our list serve a first draft response for Ashton Heights on the current update of the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan presented in February. They would like input from everyone by Feb 22 to meet the deadline for county input. Submit your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Also if you would like to review the presentations about the Clarendon Sector Plan yourself, below is the link to the Arlington LRPC/Planning Commission website, as well as a direct link to the survey they have posted for input on the Clarendon Sector Plan with a deadline of February 22 for input. Included at this site are links to two Planning Staff presentations (on Youtube) regarding key issues for the Clarendon Sector Plan review that was launched last November and will continue through fall 2021. One presentation focus on building design and zoning requirements, while the second discusses public/green space issue in the study area (Clarendon West End including 10th St/Wilson Blvd triangle as well as the segment of Fairfax drive between Clarendon Circle and Kirkland).
Brooke Alexander expressed concerns that we need to stick to what we agreed to in the 2006 Sector Plan. There was talk that the fire station would be going away and replaced with a green space. Why not keep the fire station to better support our neighborhood? Dave Phillips mentioned that he is under the impression that the plan with the county is for the fire station to remain. He went on to mention how there is a proposal by the county to create green space near St. Charles Catholic Church turning a parking area between the church and Northside Social Club into a park. On one hand it is a good thing to create more green space, however, why give up this very active parking area that is needed which will not doubt contribute to our current parking problem.
Brooke also mentioned that she attending the LRPC Meeting regarding the development between Clarendon and Courthouse areas where some hight density is being proposed. She was concerned that the area of density seems to be expanding, which could create a precedent, which will encourage high-density to continue.
Julie Mangis agreed that this is something that we need to keep an eye on. These county proposals could allow the “urban village” idea to slowly disappear.
Cole Deines has noticed that so much time and effort has been done by our community members to provide input on what our vision is to be, but over time instead of these plans being allowed to remain adhered to, he is finding that they are challenged more and more.
Jack Spilsbury mentioned the idea of Sector Plans for areas of the county not being budgeted for more recently. Maybe this is another thing to keep an eye on.
Corporal Wallace with Arlington County Police went over recent crime statistics for Arlington County. Nothing out of the ordinary.
2 stolen vehicles – keys left in the cars while engines still running
1 peeping tom at Life Fitness – suspect hiding above the ceiling tiles attempting to get over to the women’s locker room – he fell through to the floor.
2 car jackings in Crystal City and Pentagon City
1 rape in our area – can not share any info yet.
There have also been a series or burglaries of small businesses around the county.
Presentation by Officer Harley Guenther with the Arlington County Police
Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft – Downloaded from the Arlington County Police Website
CYBERSAFETY TIPS – INTERNET SAFETY
- PASSWORDS & PRIVACY Use complex passwords (upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols) that are difficult to guess and avoid sharing your password.
- DOWNLOADS Never download files from unverified sources or senders. Verify the sources of files and third-party applications before downloading.
- OPERATING SYSTEMS Run updates regularly to keep operating systems and installed software current and protect your devices from viruses.
- COMMUNICATION Always have open dialogue with family members about computer use and internet safety. Ensure children recognize risky situations online and know to alert an adult.
PROTECTING YOURSELF ON SOCIAL MEDIA
- Limit the amount of personal information you post. Do not post information that makes you vulnerable, such as your address, or information about your daily routine or schedule.
- The Internet is a public resource. Only post what you are comfortable with anyone seeing.
- Be wary of strangers. It is easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives on the internet. Avoid interacting with people you don’t know.
- Be skeptical. Don’t believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information, and not always with malicious intent.
- Evaluate your privacy settings. A site’s default settings may not offer the level of protection you desire and may change, so review your privacy settings regularly. Use third-party applications cautiously. Third-party applications may provide entertainment or functionality, but avoid enabling suspicious applications and limit the amount of personal information the application can access.
- Use strong passwords. Protect your account with passwords that cannot be easily guessed. If your account is compromised, someone else may be able to access your information.
- Read privacy policies. Some sites may share your information with other companies, which may lead to an increase in spam. Always read and understand referral policies.
- Keep software up to date. Install software updates regularly, including updates to your web browser. This prevents attackers from taking advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. When possible, enable automatic updates.
- Use anti-virus software. When kept up-to-date, anti-virus software protects your computer against known viruses, and can detect and remove viruses before they do damage.
PROTECTING YOUR CHILD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
- Be involved. Consider activities you and your child can work on together. This allows you to monitor your child’s computer habits while teaching safety skills. Set rules and warn about dangers. Set boundaries for internet usage. Make sure your child understands and recognizes suspicious activity and content, including cyber bullying.
- Keep you computer in an open area. Keeping the computer in a high traffic area allows for easy monitoring of computer activity and acts as a deterrent to children who engage in risky activities on the computer.
- Monitor computer activity. Know what your child is doing on the computer, including what websites they visit and have a sense of who they contact and interact with online.
- Consider partitioning your computer into separate accounts. Most operating systems give you the option to create different accounts for each user. Create a separate account with controlled access and privileges for your child to use. Consider implementing parental controls. Some browsers and internet service providers allow you to block certain websites on your computer, or allow you to restrict access to those with a password.
More information about cyber safety is available on the Arlington County Police Department’s website on the Crime Prevention & Safety page (police.arlingtonva.us/prevention-safety).
- Be suspicious of:
- Strangers who are overly friendly or who offer to share “just-found money”
- Someone claiming to be a “bank examiner” who requests your help in catching a thief — a real bank official won’t ask you to take money out of your account for any reason
- The well-dressed “bank official” or uniformed “guard” who offers to make your bank transactions for you
- Phony debts after the death of a loved one — check it out before paying
- Getting something for nothing and deals that sound too good to be true
- “Free home inspection” offers or door-to-door solicitations for home improvements
- Stop and think before you hand anybody any cash.
- Read and understand anything you sign, especially the fine print.
- Report to the police any crime, attempted crime or suspicious person or activity. If you have any doubts about something, report it — you may prevent a crime.
Credit Card Skimmers
Skimming devices have become more sophisticated. In most cases, the skimmers are being placed inside machines, such as gas pumps and ATMs, and are undetectable without opening the machine. Citizens can take the following crime prevention steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:
- Pay inside at the gas station, rather than at the pump.
- Always pay using a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
- If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
- Consider purchasing a refillable prepaid card to purchase gas at the pumps.
- If you have not already switched to a chip reader on your credit card, do so.
- Regularly check your bank statements and if you notice fraudulent activity, notify the bank so they can begin an investigation.
Credit card skimming cases are typically reported to police as credit card fraud. Since credit and debit cards are accepted at most locations, the challenge is identifying the point of compromise. Turnaround time from point of compromise to first fraudulent use varies depending on how the suspects intend to use the stolen data. Police work closely with banking institutes who notify us when there is a trend with customers cards being compromised and they identify the location all the cards have in common. Citizens are encouraged to regularly review their bank statements and report fraudulent activity.
When approached by a charitable solicitor, follow these practices:
- Demand to see the solicitor’s proper identification.
- Donate only to familiar causes and organizations.
- Check an organization’s reliability by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline – Handled by the Office of the Attorney General, VA toll free at 800-552-9963 or at 804-786-2042.
- To find out more about the charitable organization and how much your contribution will be used for charitable purposes, call the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs (OCRP) within the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 804-786-1343. All charitable organizations must be registered with OCRP.
- Beware of the smooth-talking salesman who comes to your home unannounced. Also, be weary of any phone call requesting a home appointment to give you something or asking you to participate in a survey.
- Be on the alert for the operator who poses as an inspector. If you’re approached in this way, ask for the person’s credentials and call the agency represented or the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) at 703-558-2222.
- Watch out for bait-and-switch sales tactics. This is when a merchant advertises a product at a certain price or as possessing certain qualities, but when you attempt to buy it, you’re switched to a higher-priced or off-brand product.
- Fight the temptation of referral selling. This scheme offers you the chance to make quick money by supplying your friends and relatives’ names as prospective customers.
- Carefully investigate “free” or “bargain” offers. There is often a hidden trick or condition attached to the offer, which may result in you paying much more.
- Don’t be rushed into signing any papers. Carefully read, examine and understand all conditions of any contract or agreements. Never sign a blank contract or a contract with blank spaces.
- Don’t rely on verbal representations. Be sure that such promises can be found in the terms and conditions.
- Ask questions. Know exactly what you’re buying and find out what the product or service will cost.
- Know with whom you are dealing. Beware of the fly-by-night operator or the company without a local address. It’s safer to deal with a local merchant you know.
- Don’t hesitate to shop around. You may find a better price for the same product elsewhere.
- When signing a contract, agree to the printed terms in the contract, not to verbal representations.
- Always keep a copy of what you sign.
- Have all the blanks in the contract filled in before you sign it.
- Understand the contract before you sign it. Generally, there is no “buyer’s right to cancel” clause in contracts signed at a company’s place of business.
- Be suspicious of anyone who won’t let you take a copy of a proposed contract or agreement to someone you trust before you sign. Call the Consumer Protection Hotline – Handled by the Office of the Attorney General, VA toll free at 800-552-9963 or at 804-786-2042 for suggestions.
- Don’t accept the seller’s word that any part of a contract doesn’t apply to you (unless that part is crossed out on all copies and initials) or that something not listed will be done unless it is written in before you sign.
- Never give your credit card number over the telephone to unsolicited callers.
- Don’t put your account number on the outside of envelopes when making monthly payments.
- Keep your credit card number confidential—it represents your money.
- Report a lost or stolen credit card by calling the card issuer’s toll-free phone number. To limit your liability from unauthorized charges, follow the card issuer’s instructions explicitly.
- Be suspicious of a solicitor who says, “You’ve been selected …” or “I’m taking a survey.”
- Ask to see the solicitor’s identification and company credentials, including a County Solicitor’s License. The County requires all door-to-door salespersons to be licensed and to show prospective customers a County-issued identification card on request.
- Buy only if you need the item, not because you may feel sorry for the solicitor.
- Insist on a written guarantee.
- Take ample time to consider the purchase. Avoid any high-pressure tactics.
- Never sign a contract unless you completely understand it and know the total cost.
Note: Virginia state law provides a buyer of most consumer goods and services with three days to cancel a home solicitation sale after a purchase. If a “Buyer’s Right to Cancel” clause is not included in the contract and the company won’t accept a written cancellation, call the Consumer Protection Hotline – Handled by the Office of the Attorney General, VA toll free at 800-552-9963 or at 804-786-2042.
- Shop around— get estimates from at least three contractors and check with people who had work performed by them. Call the Consumer Protection Hotline – Handled by the Office of the Attorney General, VA toll free at 800-552-9963 or at 804-786-2042 to determine if there are any complaints against the contractors.
- Before you sign the contract, make sure you understand the contract and that it includes the following information:
- A description and total cost of the services to be performed
- Types of materials to be used
- Start and completion dates
- Warranty information, if applicable
- Be cautious of companies that require advanced payments.
- Remember that the cheapest bid may not always be the best.
- Learn more about the home repair/improvement permit process in Arlington by visiting the Building Arlington Website or call the Arlington County Building Inspection Division at 703-228-3800.
The County requires all home improvement contractors to be licensed and to show prospective customers a County-issued identification card on request. This includes installers of:
- Aluminum or other siding
- Concrete work
- Structural changes
- Fire damage repairs
- Kitchen and bathroom remodeling
- Swimming pools
Note: This licensing requirement doesn’t apply to landscapers or painters (except when the paint is to be applied to a roof or asphalt paving), or to licensed electricians, gas fitters or plumbers (who are licensed under a different provision of the Code). For more information, call the Arlington County Building Inspection Division at 703-228-3800, or the Office of the Attorney General, VA Consumer Protection Hotline toll free at 800-552-9963 or at 804-786-2042.
- To avoid a telemarketing scheme, tell the caller you’re not interested and/or just hang up the phone.
- Never give a telemarketer your credit card number, bank account number or Social Security Number, or authorize bank drafts.
- When listening to a sales pitch, remember the federal government’s Telemarketing Sales Rules:
- You must be told the name of the company, the fact that it’s a sales call and what’s being sold.
- If there’s a prize offering, you must be told immediately that there’s no purchase necessary to win, and you can’t be asked to pay anything for it. You can’t even be required to pay shipping charges. If it’s a sweepstakes, the caller must tell you how to enter without making a purchase.
- You can’t be asked to pay in advance for services such as cleansing your credit record, finding you a loan or acquiring a prize you’ve supposedly won. You pay for services only if they’ve been delivered.
- You shouldn’t be called before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. If you tell telemarketers not to call again, they can’t. If they do, they’ve broken the law.
- If you’re guaranteed a refund, the caller has to tell you all the limitations.
- If you suspect fraud, call the National Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
Outstanding Warrant and Jury Duty Scams
Periodically, residents have reported receiving unsolicited phone calls claiming they have failed to appear for jury duty and/or have an outstanding warrant for their arrest. The resident is provided with a phone number and instructed to call an individual the scammer claims to be a Lieutenant with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office or other local law enforcement agencies. The scammer then demands immediate payment for an alleged fine. Through threats and intimidation, they attempt to convince residents to purchase prepaid credit cards and provide the identification numbers which allows the scammers to obtain the money from the cards.
If you receive a call of this nature, immediately hang up with the caller and verify the claim by calling the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office at 703.228.4460. Never use a phone number provided to you from the caller to verify their credibility.
As a reminder, the Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office will not call and ask for money over the phone.
Our second Presentation about the Virginia Hospital Center Rebuilding and Reorganization with Adrian Stanton VP/Business Development for VHC was a no show.
The meeting adjourned around 8:58 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, February 18, 2021.
Ashton Heights Civic Association Meeting Minutes for 01/20/2021 via Zoom
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, brought the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
Sklar advised AHCA that all the Committees are working at full swing. He quickly outlined AHCA Committee activities by Committee Chairs not on the ZOOM meeting. Development Committee dealing primarily with development projects and County planning issues in the Clarendon area. Transportation Committee covering Pershing Drive plan and other traffic and vehicle/pedestrian safety issues. He then called on the present Committee Chairs for short reports.
Christina Schultz of our Safety and Security Committee mentioned that the Arlington County kick-off meeting for an affordable housing plan will be held tomorrow evening, January 21, 2021 from 6-8 pm. There also will be a meeting about the missing middle housing problem on February 7, 2021 at 7:00 pm. Both will be available via Zoom. Go to the Arlington County Website to get details to join either one.
Scott Sklar mentioned that both Jim Richardson, our Vice President for Programs and Jodie Flakowicz our Secretary will, no longer be available to serve in these roles after our May meeting. Our Advertising position for our newsletter remains open as well. If anyone has any questions about or has any interest in volunteering to serve inn any of these positions, please contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brooke Alexander of our Tree Canopy and Native Plants Subcommittee mentioned that 14 trees were provided for our tree canopy by the county in December. We have 10 more to plant, if you would like one please contact Brooke at email@example.com. She is also “collecting” the whereabouts of old trees that reside in our neighborhood, as part of the coming 100 Year Celebration for our community this year. Please let her know if you have such a tree on your property, that you think should be included. She is hoping to have a tour of these trees for our community members in the Fall.
1. COVID and Other topics – Mark Schwartz, Arlington County Manager
Scott mentioned our appreciation for the work Mark is doing on our behalf, while Mark responded that he feels we are well represented by Scott Sklar in his role as our President.
What we need to know about COVID – A lot of our county service employees are working at home, while approx 1500 are on the job in the offices and streets including our police, fire, environmental, park and library employees. There is intense frustration regarding the availability of the vaccine. He advised the State has contracts with CVS & Walgreens on vaccinations at nursing and old-age homes, and the County is not privvy to the number treated. He also mentioned VHC is dealing now primarily with healthcare works, first responders, and has not vaccinated a third of the teachers with their first doses. Originally the county was asked to order amounts of vaccine for our 1a needs – Medical Professional and Long-term Care residents & staff. 12 hours after that, the Governor announced that we should also start vaccinating the 1b needs as well. This includes people aged 65+, people 16-64 with underlying medical conditions, people in correctional facilities and homeless shelters plus frontline essential workers. For the first week we had requested 2000 doses and were given only 1400. Mark Schwartz advised there is shortage of vaccine supply and notification of Arlington which makes it very hard for planning & distribution.
The budget for next year being proposed will be on 2/20/2021. Obviously with the pandemic our revenue of funds has declined. Hotel occupancy has been very low, except for the week of January 6th. This will impact on the funds we will be able to spend next year.
In July 2019, the Arlington County Board adopted Vision Zero: a strategy to eliminate all transportation fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all people.
Clarendon Sector Plan
Mark was asked about what role The Virginia Hospital Center will play with the vaccines. Mark understood they got vaccine doses to last one week. They are set up to deliver more, but they don’t have more vaccine to administer. The county is unaware of role of the Walgrens and CVS stores will be doing with distribution of the vaccine and how much they will distribute.
Brooke Alexander wondered about how much influence our community has over development of areas along our borders. Specifically finding out what the plans are for the CVS opening up on the sight of the Highland Hotel. We would like to provide input to the buffer they are proposing to protect the surrounding houses from lights and sounds from the new store. Julie Mangis mentioned that the Neighborhood Conservation Plan for the area has included a “greenway” in this same buffer zone for at least the last 40 years. Brooke wants to ensure we are able to provide input into the final plans. Mark is going to look into a Point of Contact for Brooke for this project.
Concerns voiced about getting teachers vaccinated before kids are required to return to school.
Christina Schulz asked about the end of December findings of the analysis of some areas of the services that the police currently provide, that could be farmed out. Four areas were determined that possibly could be done by someone else. They are:
- mental health scenarios
- alternate ways to work with some kinds of disputes
- create a civilian review board
- traffic problem solvers – traffic control officers
There was also discussion of why there is so much racial disparity in traffic stops. They hope to see this final report soon.
Mark was asked about what major areas of change does he think could happen in Arlington over the next 20 – 30 years. Mark thinks that office buildings will not be so prevalent, so our revenue sources from properties will have to change. He also wondered if we will be able to create the “missing middle” so not only rich people will be able to live in this area.
2) Sidewalk Inventory – Jeremy Hassan, P.E.; Chief Operating Engineer, Sewer & Streets; Arlington County Department of Environmental Services; Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau
Over the next six months, Arlington will be going under a sidewalk condition survey. The last time there was such an analysis was back in the 1980s and it is long overdue. This is to review all types of sidewalks – brick, asphalt and concrete to find any tripping hazards, obstructions and overgrowth of weeds. In addition they will also be checking out all the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) ramps to ensure they are compliant and if there is a need for new ones and also the status of all our cross walks.
Scott mentioned that about 50% of the time he gets notifications from the county reps regarding any county activity in the neighborhood. He’s appreciate that he be notified about the status of this project when it hits our neighborhood as well.
If anyone would like to report a problem with their sidewalks, pipes and snow removal one can contact his office on-line or via phone. There also is a “Report a Problem” aspect to the the My Arlington app, that can be downloaded to your phone. Once on your phone you can access the Report a Problem part of the My Arlington app and submitted anywhere and anytime that you have your phone.
Also on the My Arlington Website you can go to the Projects page where there is a map of Arlington with blue highlights reflecting the status of various projects going on in the county. This has been improved for context so it can be more easily read by residents.
Question about standards for sidewalks that cross driveways. Jeremy confirmed that when the contractor applies for a permit, the standards are shared with contractor at that time. If a resident would like, if they need their driveway/sidewalk repaired, the county can provide this service for them at a cost.
Question about the sidewalk survey impacting on taxes. Jeremy mentioned that his budget can run $300,000-$600,000 depending. The contract for the sidewalk survey is running the county approximately $150,000 and will benefit the county for the next twenty years. Once the assessment is done the county can strategize the priority areas that should get done first and over the next number of years spread out the cost and work of fixing the sidewalks throughout the county.
Scott mentioned that if there are issues that we are not addressing to please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He wants to ensure that we are being vital to our residents needs.
The meeting adjourned around 8:45 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Jodie Flakowicz, January 23, 2021
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 email@example.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.
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
Our November newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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