CCCA September 2020 Newsletter

Click the link here to download.

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings!  We’re entering a period of many virtual meetings that will affect our community.  Stay tuned for updates. We really need volunteers for a number of issues—please consider getting involved.

1.  Farewell to Jackie Bianchini:  Our Communications Director is moving out of Crystal City and has resigned her position as of August 31.  Jackie has been tremendously helpful with her media background and technical expertise.  She also worked with previous Membership Liaison Zach Komes, who also moved out of the area in June, on outreach to the rental community and young residents, including a Renters Happy Hour in February before COVID took hold. We will greatly miss her.

2.  Volunteers Needed:  Many hands will make lighter work.  Please consider at least some civic engagement.

CCCA Communications Director:  So now we are looking for a recruit with technological expertise who can take over management of our website and help out on Zoom meetings and other tech issues.  Some familiarity with graphics or picture design would be helpful.  Please contact us if you are interested at [email protected].

We need more volunteers to join our ongoing Livability 22202 working groups: Housing, Open Space, Future of the Underground, and Route 1:East/West Access.  Plus, several folks noted the need for a working group on schools and we would love for folks to step forward to create this group.  There will eventually be other groups, including perhaps an Arts and Culture group (including the library and a potential Black Box theater).  Email your interest to [email protected].

Are you concerned that we might lose Synetic Theatre in the future when its lease expires? Would you like to see a Black Box Theatre somewhere in 22202 to house various performance groups as well? Could it be developed in Crystal City or PenPlace?  Join the Livability22202 Arts&Culture working group.  Email [email protected].

Highlands Urban Garden:  Livability 22202, in partnership with the Friends of Urban Agriculture (FOUA), The National Landing Business Improvement District, and Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation, have launched an urban agriculture demonstration project in Virginia Highlands Park, the Highlands Urban Garden (HUG).Volunteers are needed! To sign up for more information about the project, and learn how you can get involved visit

3.  Meetings Anticipated in September (at least the ones we know about):

  • September 9: Aurora Highlands Civic Association invites ACPD to discuss recent crime wave; follow on Facebook Live
  • SPRC on 101 S. 12th Street
  • September 10:  LPRC on Block M site plans (2000/2001 S. Bell Street 223 23rd Street/2300 Crystal Drive)
  • LPRC and Planning Commission community engagement on Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan Study 
  • Crystal City Parks Final Community Engagement (BID; JBG Smith)
  • September 22:  County Board Work Session to discuss the scope of the upcoming Missing Middle Housing Study. Details and a link for live streaming will be forthcoming on the County Board website.  Read more here.
  • VDOT Community Engagement on Route 1 redesign
  • September 30: Livability22202 Meeting on Route 1 redesign plans
  • Livability 22202 Underground challenge:  The Challenge officially ended July 31, and there were a lot of great submissions. The contest videos will be rolled out soon and there will be a Zoom meeting in September for the judges to announce the winners. 

Your President
Carol Fuller

August CCCA Newsletter

Hoo boy, so much going on!  Who said that in the summer things slowed down.  And COVID-19 may have even speeded many things up.  Your President is tired and needs to go on vacation.  So read on, folks!

1.  Livability 22202 Follow Up:  What a great meeting July 30.  Thank you to the many folks who joined our meeting where we presented the work that has been done since January.  Here are the links to the presentations:

  1. Presentation of Livability 22202
  2. Housing Presentation
  3. Open Space Presentation
  4. Underground Presentation
  5. Route 1 Update Presentation
  6. Fall Planning

As stated in our meeting, community engagement and support are essential to our moving forward.  We are therefore following up the July 30 presentation of updates, actions, and proposals from the Livability 22202 working groups.  The response period is now open and you can send your questions/comments to .  We will also be holding a CCCA Zoom meeting on August 6 for participants to talk with workshop group members directly, ask questions or for more details, and comment.  We will be scheduling another combined follow-up meeting towards the end of August for all three civic associations for final consultation on the path to move forward in the Fall.  Here is the Zoom link for the August 6 CCCA meeting.

Call for Volunteers: We need more volunteers to join our ongoing working groups:  Housing, Open Space, Future of the Underground, and Route 1:East/West Access.  Plus, several folks noted the need for a working group on schools and we would love for folks to step forward to create this group.  There will eventually be other groups, including perhaps an arts and cultural group (including the library and a potential Black Box theater).  Email your interest to [email protected].

 CCCA Meeting August 6:  In addition, we are scheduling a virtual CCCA meeting August 6 from 7-9 pm to:  1) Answer questions and receive feedback and 2) Provide information on what’s happening in development in our area right now (especially 101 S. 12th Street and the 2000/2001 S. Bell Street and 223 23rd Street/2300 Crystal Drive  projects.  Here’s the link to join us.

2.  SPRC Process for 101 S. 12th Street:  The County has now hosted two community engagement sessions for the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) on JBG Smith’s proposed site plan for a building at 101 S 12th Street. The first was July 1-10 and the second is ongoing July 27-August 2.   You can comment in a feedback form on the project page.  There were 82 pages of comments and staff responses to the first session which you can now download from the project page. 

3.  SPRC Process for the Crystal Plaza Block:  As you may have seen, we have begun our public review of JBG Smith’s next two site plan applications.  Since these are both located within the same block in Crystal City, our review will consider both applications as part of a broader discussion of this large block plan with the LRPC.  This will begin with an online feedback form and subsequently have a virtual LRPC meeting in early Fall.  Once that takes place, each site plan will proceed on its own (independent) SPRC review process.  Given this is more complex than the 101 12th Street example, we have posted all of the content early so that folks have additional time to review.  As a result, I’m sharing the following links to each project page which share a similar online feedback form that will initially just focus on the block plan analysis. 

  1. 2000/2001 S. Bell Street
  2. 223 23rd Street/2300 Crystal Drive  

Your President
Carol Fuller

Read the August Newsletter here.

June Newsletter is Out

Newsletter Masthead

In the midst of so much turmoil, our Newsletter remains stable to provide essential local information.  Welcome to Phase One.  Even if we go to Phase Two, it looks like that may last a long time and we are going to be “virtual” for some time to come.  Stay tuned for plans of upcoming virtual meetings. 

Newsletter highlights:

1.  Elections:  All you need to know about the June 23 and July 7 elections can be found on the attached URL for the County’s Election #5 Update, including how to request an absentee ballot and where to drop it off.  Voting by mail is recommended and you can drop your ballot off at the Aurora Hills Library at certain times.

2.  Pre-Briefing on 101 S. 12th Street:  In advance of the expected SPRC meeting to be held by the County on JBG Smith’s development plans for 101 S. 12th Street, JBG Smith is offering voluntarily an informal briefing open to the public for information purposes and questions.  The Crystal City Civic Association is sponsoring this meeting since the development will be done in Crystal City in order to ensure substantial outreach to the community during the COVID-19 crisis which has made face to face meetings impossible.  JBG will be hosting this virtual meeting on WebX June 8 from 7-8 pm with a 20-25 minute presentation by JBG Smith followed by a Q and A period.  The participation will be by pre-registration only for security purposes and is open to 22202 residents and other invited guests, including County planners.  In order to attend, please register on the link below included in the Newsletter.

3.  Census 2020:  Once again, the Crystal City area has one of the lowest response rates in the County because of the nature of the multifamily buildings. Overall, Arlington County has a 69.4% response rate whereas Crystal City has 58.6%.  Those households that have not yet responded to the census will receive an in person visit by a census taker to collect their information later this summer. 

4.  Livability Updates:  Because of the COVID-19 shutdown, our two remaining workshops have been postponed indefinitely.  But the planning committee for the Underground Workshop came up with a new idea.   Have either a writing, photography  or videography interest? The Crystal City Underground workshop planning group is planning an “Underground Challenge” to spark creative thinking and conversation about the future of this space. We will be announcing several different creative exercises during the month of June and perhaps a full CCCA meeting on Zoom to include the results of both the Housing and Open Space Workshops and the way forward.

Your President
Carol Fuller

May Newsletter Is Out!

Newsletter Masthead

1.  Share Your Thoughts on the Design for Met Park:What do you want Met Park to look like?  Check out the two new draft design concepts for the Metropolitan Park Public Space!  Watch a video presentation on what we learned from the first engagement opportunity earlier this year and take a look at the two draft design concepts your comments helped inform: The Social Gardens and The Forest Walk.  After you’re done, share your thoughts on features, park themes, recreational uses and more! Your feedback helps in the development of the Park Master Plan and design guidelines for this wonderful new community space.
GET STARTED NOW!  (Engagement open now through May 14)

2.  Share Your Thoughts on Crystal City Parks:  Do you care what they will  look like?  JBG Smith is beginning a virtual community engagement process for our Parks and Open Space redevelopment work in Crystal City. The Open Space plan includes the redevelopment of 5 parks in Crystal City, which aim to bolster the vibrancy and livability of the community, as envisioned in the Sector Plan. We look forward to continuing the momentum generated by the community dialogue at the 3 civic associations’ Open Space charette earlier this year.  As a part of this virtual process, they have created an online platform, CoUrbanize, to create a new community engagement experience by allowing everyone to directly comment and follow the conversation. 
Get involved.  Respond to the CoUrbanize surveyand make known what you want our parks to be.

3.  Elections: The June 9 Primary has been moved to June 23 by order of Governor Northam.  Arlington County is encouraging absentee voting to prevent exposure to COVID-19.  At this point, polling stations will be open, but the County is working on many preventative measures to protect both poll workers (of whom your President is one) and voters.  The Virginia Supreme Court established July 7 as the date for the Special Election to the seat vacated by the April 16, 2020 death of Vice-Chair Erik Gutshall.  On April 30, the County petitioned the Court to allow an extension of the July 7, 2020 special election to August 4 or later.   We should know more by the time our June Newsletter goes out.

4.  Census 2020:   Don’t Forget to Respond: 2020 Census Reminder Postcards Arriving starting April 27. 
The U.S. Census Bureau is beginning to send reminder notice postcards to an estimated 69 million households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census.  Arlington County’s response rate as of April 30 was 63.5%, but Crystal City was only 54.3%.  Our area is one of the harder to count areas in Arlington because of the nature of the multifamily buildings.  Those households that have not yet responded to the census will receive an in person visit by a census taker to collect their information later this summer.  It’s easy: Click  the link below to respond.  It includes information on “How the Census Bureau Protects Your Data,” and provides extensive guidance on “Who To Count” (such as foreign citizens, college students, the military, people who live or stay in more than one place, etc.).

5.  AFAC Food Drive:  Our food drive co-sponsored with the National Landing BID and supported by Flare Rides  continues every Wednesday.  Since February, the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) has seen the number of active referrals to AFAC increase by 30%. The BID is offering a pizza party to the multifamily building providing the most food during the campaign. Crystal Park (1805 Crystal Drive) is beating everyone hands down so far with a full box every week.

Your  President,
Carol Fuller

April Newsletter Is Out!

Newsletter Masthead

This has been a hard month for us all. But it’s times like these when we can truly pull together as a community–even if we have to keep six feet between us at all times.

Life in the time of Coronavirus:  The allusion to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ 1985 novel “Life in the Time of Cholera” is apt right now.  The news is all COVID-19.  I hope you are all keeping well in this time of crisis.  Will things ever be normal again?  We can expect that life will be different for us–just as it was after 9/11–once the first wave of the virus has passed.  But keeping in mind the flu of 1918, we need to prepare for the second wave (likely in Fall) and the third (likely next Spring).  Keep your guard and your hopes up.  By June, we may know better where things are headed.  Please note that we are keeping up a constant barrage of information about COVID-19 on our Facebook page and for Crystal City–which are much easier and faster than other means of communication.  Since many of you don’t follow either of these, the Newsletter this month includes a number of web sites and phone numbers for getting information and help during this time.

All CCCA Meetings and Workshops are canceled and will be rescheduled when possible  Please stay safe. We look forward to starting up our meetings and seeing you again on the other side of the crisis.

Just a few notes:

1.  Census 2020:  April 1 is the day for the count!  As of March 31, Crystal City was at a 36.6% response  rate, whereas Arlington County overall was at 43.8%.  If you haven’t yet responded, please do so ASAP–by internet, phone, or mail.  

2.  AFAC Food Drive:  Following on the great success of the three civic associations in gathering food for the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) on  March 21, we have partnered with the Crystal City (aka National Landing) BID, Flare Rides, and a number of property managers to participate in an indefinite collection of food.  All  multifamily apartment and condo building managers  were contacted a week ago and asked to put out AFAC food donation boxes and eight responded positively.  See the list in the Newsletter.  If your building isn’t participating, you might ask your property manager about doing so.  While many of us in Crystal City “may” be doing ok, a lot of others in the County are not.  Food donations to AFAC from grocery stores have dried up as folks have stocked up and emptied the shelves.  AFAC needs our help in order to help others who are not so privileged.

3.  GAO Surveys on Airport and Helicopter Noise:  The U.S. Government Accountability Office, the audit and review agency of Congress, is currently conducting two studies related to aircraft activity and potential noise in the D.C. area.  The first study focuses on Washington Reagan National Airport’s perimeter rule and is examining how this rule affects air service and at other local airports and aircraft noise, among other topics.  The second study is a review of helicopter activity and noise in the D.C. area, including an examination of potential strategies for addressing helicopter noise in the area.  They are interviewing a variety of civic associations and community groups on these topics and the impact in their neighborhoods, and have scheduled a teleconference for the CCCA on April 15 from 11-12 noon.  They have provided a questionnaire in advance to take a survey of concerns and experiences of Crystal City residents.  I would welcome anyone who would like to participate in this teleconference.  At a minimum, I would greatly appreciate receiving your input on this questionnaire which you can send to my email address directly by April 13:  [email protected].  

Your President
Carol Fuller

January Newsletter Is Out!

Welcome to the new world of the 20s!  Hey, didn’t we do that 100 years ago?  We have lots of plans for this year and we hope it will be a great one for all of us.

Remember that CCCA dues are paid annually on a calendar basis.  If you haven’t renewed yet for 2020, please do so by February 1 in order to remain a voting member and get this Newsletter and email updates.  You can renew on our website.

CCCA Meeting on Livability January 14:  Mark your calendars for our big joint meeting of the three 22202 civic associations (Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, Crystal City) on January 14 from 7-9 pm. Note the change of venue:  we’ll meet at The Westin Hotel, 1800 Richmond Highway.  This next joint meeting is a big one you really don’t want to miss.  We’re launching the Livability Framework and Action Plan we’ve been telling you about for the last 6 months and exploring how we can use it to work with the County and various partners.  The agenda is:

1.  Matt Mattauszek on “Beyond Amazon” with a PowerPoint on all the development areas in 22202.  This sets the stage so folks know where things will be happening in the next year.  

2.  Presentation of the Livability Framework and the Action Plan.  Mike Dowell of Aurora Highlands will present and Eric Cassel of Crystal City will Introduce.  The talk will be tailored to our residents in the 3 associations with more details on the Action Plan and implementation.

3.  Panel on Open Space as an example of how we can implement the LF Action Plan:  JBG Smith VP for Development Andy VanHorn on the Crystal City parks; Amazon’s new Community Affairs representative Brooke Overwetter to talk about community benefits in redesigning the Metropolitan Park; and BID President Tracy Gabriel on how the Livability Framework fits with the BID’s Strategic Plan; how they did the mapping of Open Space; and what the BID’s role is with implementing the LF for Open Space.  Brian Harner, our facilitator for development of the Livability Framework and Action Plan, will moderate.  There will be a Q&A period for feedback and guidance to our development partners.  The Open Space planning committee decided to focus at this meeting primarily on the Crystal City parks, plus Amazon and the Metropolitan Park, to keep this manageable time wise.  The charette which is being planned for February 22 will cover our larger OpenSpace issues.

December Newsletter Is Out!

Well, this is a particularly “newsy” Newsletter.  There are a number of articles here that needed to be reported in more detail.  But hey, we’re close to the holidays–more time to read, no?  Seriously, your Executive Board is working hard on a number of issues and we want to keep you informed.  This Newsletter is the best way to do it.  So read on, folks!

Here’s wishing you happy holidays and safe travels.

Your President,
Carol Fuller

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]

September Newsletter is Out!

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

1.  CCCA Meeting September 12:  Don’t forget to come have a conversation with Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey and Vice Chair (and Crystal City liaison) Libby Garvey.  We’ve asked them to give their vision for Crystal City’s future and also react to the Livability Framework that the three sister civic associations in 22202 have been working on, including some “asks” on community benefits  Check out the Livability Framework and come with your questions for this very informal meeting.  We’ll meet as usual in 1805 Crystal Drive, the Crystal Park Condominium community room.  

2.  County Survey on Crystal Houses Park:  The County is asking all of Arlington County for input on development of a community park on the border of Crystal City and Aurora Highlands by September 6. The proposed park is to be located on the Southwest corner of S. Fern and 20th Streets.  It is disappointing that the County has issued  this survey to the far regions of Arlington County when it is really a community park for our area.  We need to be sure that they hear from our area, since we will be most affected. There are questions to raise. Does a community garden really fit the nature of our multifamily area? What about children?  What will happen on S. Eads Street on the East?

3.  CCCA Elections in November:  We have not yet scheduled the date for our Annual Meeting in November though the topic is likely to be an update on development with a focus on livability and community “asks” for benefits. We will also have our annual elections for three offices (terms are two years):  President, Membership Liaison, Secretary.  The Election Committee will be reaching out shortly for volunteers to run for office, so stay tuned.  

4.  October and November Newsletters:  Your Editor is going to be out of the country for an extended period of time.  Depending on Wifi availability, the Newsletters may be sparse, late, or non-existent.  Here’s hoping.

August Newsletter is Out!

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

1.  National Night Out:  Don’t forget to join us August 6 from 6-9 pm for a great Crystal City community event. For all the information, check out our event page.

2.  Next CCCA Meeting September 12:  Mark your calendars now for our Annual Meeting with Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey and Vice Chair Libby Garvey.  We will have a conversation on “Livability in Crystal City” based on the new Livability Framework recently developed by the three civic associations in 22202.

3.  Development Plans and Planning Timelines:  Check the information on what’s happening about Met Park and what site plans and construction might be coming up in the near future.