BAD NEWS: COUNTY CLOSING THE CONNECTION LIBRARY

Without any prior notice to the community, the County is closing the Connection Library December 27. It was posted on the Library’s website.

The Crystal City, Aurora Highlands, and Arlington Ridge Civic Associations are dismayed by the County’s announcement, lack of communication, and poor decision to leave the growing community without a library until (hopefully) a more permanent situation can be worked out in 2-3 years. We know that the County extended the Pop Up Library only for 18 months in June 2018. However, it is a very bad idea to close it now. The Library has become a focal point for Crystal City and sees frequent visits from the residential and business community alike. It is a major attraction for Amazon and other businesses and Crystal City is being revitalized as an attractive area to both live and work. Killing off such an attraction now runs counter to the County’s commitment to provide adequate infrastructure in this area.

The 3 CAs have sent a letter of protest, asking for an urgent meeting with the County Manager, Board members, and County staff to discuss what we consider to be an untimely closing of the Connection Library and to understand what the County goals and plans are for the future with respect to the library and the Livability Framework.

Join us and take action. Email the members of the Arlington County Board and demand they keep the Crystal City Connection open.

Thanksgiving & the Census – Count Your Kids!

Just as it’s difficult to wrangle a toddler to the Thanksgiving table, the Census Bureau reports that counting every infant and toddler in the country is among the most challenging aspects of ensuring an accurate population count.

Undercounting children can impact the public funding of programs that serve them for years. Arlington is grateful for all the children in our community and would be thankful to see them all counted.

Find out more about how kids should be counted for the 2020 Census >

County Board Approves Regulations for Shared Mobility Devices (SMDs)

The Arlington County Board adopted regulations for e-scooters and other shared micro-mobility devices that will allow their use on sidewalks (with limitations), trails, and bike lanes, unless specifically signed or marked otherwise.  In operation and user requirements, the devices will be treated largely like bicycles.

Devices will be required to have speedometers. Motorized scooters and skateboards will have a top speed of 15 miles per hour, and e-bicycles will have a top speed of 20 miles per hour on streets and trails. When operating on public sidewalks, the top speed of all the devices is restricted to six miles per hour. The devices will not be allowed to operate on sidewalks where a protected bicycle lane is available and may be prohibited from other sidewalks at the Manager’s discretion.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the regulations and permitting process. To read the staff report and specific requirements of the regulation, visit the County website

The Board also approved a permit system to regulate the private companies renting the devices in the County. The Board’s actions came after staff collected extensive data on how, where and by whom the devices are being used in Arlington and analyzed hundreds of comments from residents through a pilot program the County launched in October 2018.

For more details, visit the Country Board website.

Livability Framework Action Plan Just Released

Throughout 2019, the Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, and Crystal City Civic Associations worked together to develop a Livability Framework.

The purpose of this framework is to develop shared values and goals that will achieve a more livable neighborhood. Through a series of workshops bringing together residents with diverse backgrounds and extensive knowledge of their communities and county processes, we examined the many essential elements of such a community and refined these goals into an Action Plan with specific objectives and outcomes we believe are needed to accommodate the expected growth in the area over the next decade.

The result of these efforts is presented in an Action Plan released November 12.

November Newsletter is Out!

A few things you’ll find highlighted in this month’s CCCA Newsletter:

1.  Be sure to come to our Annual General Meeting on November 13 from 7-9 pm.  With all that’s going on in Crystal City, with Amazon coming, with the BID changes, you’ll want to come here from the key players. 

  • Andy Van Horn, Vice President for Development of JBG Smith will return with his team of project managers to show a PowerPoint presentation of current and upcoming plans and construction.  It will be very informative and give you a chance to ask questions. 
  • Tracy Gabriel, President and Executive Director of the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) will give a brief explanation and update on the BID’s expansion to Pentagon City and Potomac Yard/Arlington.
  • And of course, we’ll have brief elections for new CCCA Officers right at the beginning of the meeting.  Officers work hard for you, and we appreciate support.

2.  Speaking of Elections.  Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 5, from 6 am to 7 pm.  Offices on the ballot in Arlington will be Senate of Virginia (30th, 31st, and 32nd Districts), Virginia House of Delegates (45th, 47th, 48th, and 49th Districts), Commonwealth’s Attorney, Sheriff, Commissioner of Revenue, Treasurer, two County Board seats, and School Board.  You will only have 1 Senate and 1 House District that is determined by where you live. There are no bond questions or constitutional amendments on the 2019 ballot.  Tr to see a sample ballot, check here.

3.  Finally the Newsletter this month.  You’ll notice that there are no internal links this time.  Your faithful editor is finishing an extended stay in Italy and doesn’t have the hours necessary to create them.  If folks really want them in the Newsletter in the future, please let us know at [email protected]

New Apartment Tower Approved in Crystal City

Site plan rendering.

From the newsroom of Arlington County:

Crystal City’s Verizon site will be redeveloped with a  306-unit,19-story apartment tower within walking distance of Metro that will include 12 affordable housing units, under a plan approved today by the Arlington County Board.

“The community’s goals for Crystal City, as embodied in the Crystal City Sector Plan, include a better balance of housing and commercial buildings, more affordable housing in this transit-rich neighborhood, and new open space,” County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. “This redevelopment is in keeping with all of those goals.”

Crystal City apartment tower rendering.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the vacation of a portion of the right-of-way for Old South Eads Street, a rezoning and site plan amendment for the proposed redevelopment. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to item No. 41 on the agenda for the Saturday, October 19, 2019 Regular County Board Meeting.

Developer LCOR has agreed to provide on site seven two-bedroom and five one-bedroom affordable units that will be contractually committed to remain affordable for 30 years. Two units will be fully accessible. The developer also will contribute $1.059 million to the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund. The building will achieve  a Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED) Silver certification.

The approved tower, located at 400 11th Street South on a nearly one-acre site, will front County-owned property (the “Teardrop Parcel”) and 11th Street South to the north and 12th Street South to the south. The building will be divided into two sections at the 11th floor, with an offset between the upper and lower sections, and will include a 19th-floor terrace for residents. The apartments will be built above more than 11, 400 sq. ft. of ground floor retail and a three-level underground parking garage with 148 parking spaces.

Community benefits

The developer has agreed to contribute $1.43 million to the County for open space improvements to help plan and design the New Park at South Eads Street and Army Navy Drive, and construction of the South Parcel adjacent to the site. The Board indicated, in its discussion, that it expects the planning effort to get underway within 180 days, and that anoth $1.179 million public open space contribution associated with the adjacent Altaire Apartments will be added to the New Park budget. The County will engage the community in shaping the Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines for the new park.

Additional community benefits include the developer improving the streetscape around the site’s perimeter; contributing $75,000 to the County Public Art Fund; $90,000 to support the Eads Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Project, and installing an in-building wireless emergency responder communications system to enable public safety to communicate within the building during any emergency.

Public engagement

Public engagement for the proposed redevelopment included informing civic associations around the site, review by the County’s Site Plan Review Committee over three meetings between May and July 2019, and reviews by the Housing, Transportation, and Planning Commissions in October 2019.

View the project webpage.

More Locations for Arlington Glass Recycling

Arlington residents have three more drop-off sites for recycling used glass jars and bottles.  

Customized purple-and-green bins now stand ready at: 

  • Aurora Hills Community Center/Branch Library, 735 18th St. S. 
  • Cherrydale Branch Library, 2190 N. Military Rd. 
  • Lee Community Center, 5722 Lee Highway.  

The County debuted its first glass-only collection bins in April at Quincy Park (Washington Boulevard and North Quincy Street) and the Trades Center (2700 S. Taylor St.) after an official County Board response to the plunge in the number of processing operations and global markets for used glass.