BVSCA Newsletter January 2005

Jan 25th Meeting Agenda

  1. Executive session/committee updates (7:00PM-7:30PM)
  2. Police update - Ofc. Michelle Sagatov (7:30PM-8:00PM)
  3. Community Wildlife habitat Neighborhood Challenge - Marc Messing (8:00PM-8:45PM)
  4. Site plan for south side of Wilson & N Oakland intersection - Nan Terpak (8:45PM-9:30PM)

Time: 7:30PM

Place: BVSCA's community room located on N. Utah Street between Gaffney's Restaurant and the Windsor Plaza condominiums

Inside this newsletter

  1. Arlington's 2005 Real Estate Assessments
  2. Transportation Commission Proposes "Plenary" MTP Task Force
  3. Ballston Holiday Tree Lighting
  4. What Goes Up, Must Come Down?
  5. The Community Wildlife Habitat Neighborhood Challenge
  6. Winter Weather Preparedness
  7. Senior Adult Program in Arlington
  8. Four Mile Run Restoration Program
  9. Ballston Virginia Square Partnership
  10. Hayes Park Update
  11. Person of Vision Award
  12. Neighbor's Recommendation
  13. Levine School of Music
  14. Volunteer Opportunities
  15. Join BVSCA
  16. Membership Application
  17. BVSCA Officers/Representatives
  18. Calendar of Meetings

Arlington's 2005 Real Estate Assessments

Once again, strong demand for both single-family and commercial property in Arlington has driven the value of real estate up in the County. Assessments for 2005 show that overall real estate values in Arlington are up 18 percent. This reflects the strong growth in the Washington metropolitan area's real estate market in 2004, including Arlington.

The average single-family dwelling increased in value by 24 percent to $458,200. Residential condominiums, which are a subset of single-family dwellings, increased in value by 32 percent to $307,200. Multi-family residential properties (rental apartment buildings) increased in value by 15.5 percent.

As set forth in the Virginia Constitution, real estate is assessed at 100 percent of fair market value. The County's Department of Real Estate Assessments calculates property value annually using mass appraisal tech niques that are standard in the real estate assessment industry. By law, neither the County Board nor the County Manager can change property assessments.

The County's Real Estate Tax Relief program provides exemptions and/or deferrals for many of Arlington's elderly or disabled property owners. Owners who are 65 or older, or are permanently and totally disabled, are eligible to apply. In addition to age and disability status, there are income and asset limits for the program. In general, eligible property owners with a gross income of $62,000 or less AND assets of $240,000 or less (excluding their home) will qualify for exemption or deferral. For more information about this program, call the Department of Human Services at 703-228-1350 or visit and click on "Real Estate Assessments" under "Services."

Deadlines for assessment appeals are March 1 for a Department of Real Estate Assessments review and April 15 for a Board of Equalization review. More information about the assessment review process is available on line at Click on "Real Estate Assessments" under "Services."

Transportation Commission Proposes "Plenary" MTP Task Force

The Transportation Commission has decided to set up a task force with broad representation to play a central role in its two-year undertaking to update Arlington's Master Transportation Plan. At its January meeting held Jan. 19, the Commission chaired by Peter Owen proposed to invite transportation stakeholders to appoint representatives to a "plenary group" task force which will meet approximately monthly in an intensive process to get the MTP updated. The plenary group is expected to be headed by Owen, to have County staff participation (Rich Viola and Dennis Leach were at the Jan. 19 meeting), and to report to the Transportation Commission, which in turn reports to the County Board. The Board in a resolution last October authorized the Commission to handle the MTP updating job.

"Key" stakeholders are to be invited to name two individuals each to the plenary group. These major stakeholders, already identified in the County Board's October resolution, range from the Planning Commission to the School Board and include the Civic Federation and Neighborhood Traffic Calming Committee. Also invited to name one representative each is an array of other organizations, among them "all Civic Associations" and the Ballston Partnership. The stakeholder representatives are supposed to be individuals who are personally committed to full attendance and active participation in the plenary group's process.

Owen said the plenary group also could include self-identified stakeholders who are strongly interested enough to commit to full participation in the process. The invitations to participate will also ask for any comment on the process itself. Owen anticipated that after all the responses are in, the plenary group will have about 20-25 members. Decisions are to be made by consensus, not vote. For public outreach there also are to be public workshops approximately every two or three months beginning this April and running through June 2006.

The plenary group apparently will be starting pretty much at square one when it gets organized for its first session. An initial question: "what is the purpose of the Master Transportation Plan"? After that, what should be the MTP format and content, etc.? County staff has laid out an ambitious 26-item timetable culminating in a revised complete MTP draft by the fall of 2006 and presumably final County Board approval by the end of the year.

- by Lew Gulick

Ballston Tree Lighting Ceremony

This year, the holiday season began on December 1st with a beautiful performance at the Qwest building by "El Coro Infantilen Espa¤ol", an all county Spanish Children's Chorus directed by Cora Lee Khambatta. There are over 70 children in the program from 10 different County schools including Abingdon, Barrett, Carlin Springs, Claremont, Drew, Key, Oakridge, Patrick Henry, Randolph, and Science Focus. The children sang several songs in the Qwest building and then escorted County Board Chairman Barbara Favola to the Holiday Tree located behind the building in the Wellburn Center. Ms. Favola lit the tree and the evening ended with food, beverages and entertainment by another musical group, The Constituents. The event was sponsored by the Ballston-Virginia Square Partner ship. Arlington Independent Media, Channel 69 taped the event and aired it the entire month of December.

If you missed the opportunity to hear these angelic voices, you will have another chance to see them in our neighborhood. They will be performing at W-L high school on March 11 at 4 p.m. at the annual rolling "r" contest.

- by Denise Parks

The Community Wildlife Habitat Neighborhood Challenge

The Criteria: Does your yard provide wildlife with food, water, shelter & places to raise young?

The Challenge: As many interested people as possible in each civic association are encouraged to certify their property as a backyard wildlife habitat. Meeting the above criteria for certification by the National Wildlife Federation will help BVSCA win the challenge and will provide credit towards certifying Arlington as a Community Wildlife Habitat. This effort is part of the Arlington Community Wildlife Habitat project, a three-year initiative to educate and assist Arlingtonians in the creation of wildlife habitats to benefit its people, plants and wildlife.

What Do You Win? In addition to boasting rights of being the most wildlife-friendly neighborhood in Arlington, all civic associations that certify at least five new properties by September 30, 2005 will be recognized by the Arlington County Board. Prizes will also be awarded to civic associations certifying the most properties.

For more Information, please see www.arlingtonenvironme for more information on the challenge, prizes and additional resources avail able from the Arlington Community Wildlife Habitat project.

What Goes Up, Must Come Down?

On September 18, 2003, Hurricane Isabel toppled a mature oak tree onto the house located at 1212 N. Stuart St. After resolving a lengthy insurance dispute, the owner sold the property to M.L. (Marty) Smith, a local developer. Since then, the house has been gutted and adorned with a giant blue plastic tarp that is becoming as worn as the residence it drapes. Neighbors are wondering if the blue tarp will become a permanent addition to the neighborhood a year and a half after the house was damaged. According to Inspector Stubblefield of Arlington County's Code Enforcement Office, a case file has been opened on this property. The developer, who originally stated an intent to enlarge the existing structure, has now filed paperwork to demolish the residence. Because some permits are pending, the code enforcement officials have granted an extension to Mr. Smith to defer maintaining the property until it can be demolished. Let's hope Mr. Smith isn't getting any design ideas from the two "houses" down the block....

- by DeAndra Beck

Winter Weather Preparedness

Don't be caught off guard by severe weather this winter. Plan ahead and check out r/ for resources that will help you prepare for the snowy season. The web site has information on cancella tions/closings, transit status, snow preparation tips and many other snow related information.

Senior Adult Program in Arlington

Upcoming programs include "Telling your life story", "Feel the Heritage festival", "Great Decisions", "AARP's safe driving refresher course" and "Understanding annuities".

For more information call The Office of Senior Adult Programs (OSAP), a division of the Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources at 703-228-4721.

Various senior centers in the area offer exercise & strength training, golf lessons, chorale, blood pressure screening and many other social activities.

Four Mile Run Restoration Project

Arlington and Alexandria are beginning an exciting process to create a Master Plan for the lower section of Four Mile Run. Local resident input is needed to develop a vision for the future of Four Mile Run! A workshop will take place on Saturday, February 5th from 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM (snow date is Saturday, February 12th). Registration begins at 8:30, and refreshments will be served. The workshop will be at the Charles Barrett Elementary School, located at the corner of W. Glebe Road and Valley Drive in Alexandria. The address is 1115 Martha Custis Drive, and phone is 703-824-6960. If you are interested in finding out more about this process, please contact Aileen Winquist at 703-228-3610 or, or view the project web site at www.novaregion.o rg/restoration.htm.

Ballston Virginia Square Partnership

Upcoming meetings/events include Urban Environment Committee (1/27 & 2/17), Groundbreaking for Arlington Ice Skating Facility (1/29), Metro Customer Appreciation & Dialogue (2/16) and Board of Directors meeting (2/5). For more information, please contact the Partnership at 703-528-3527.

Hayes Park Update

The Hayes Park remodel/update funded through Neighborhood Conservation funds is coming along very well. Construction began in September and if the weather continues to be so cooperative, it is likely that the Park will reopen in February. An official grand reopening or ribbon cutting type ceremony would likely be planned for March or April when the weather would be more reliably warm.

- by Theresa Smith

Person of Vision Award

The theme for the 2005 awards is "Women Change America". The award will celebrate and honor women leaders who have made outstanding contributions to our community and have helped to "change America". Candidates may be nominated for exemplary leadership in their field or for serving the interests and needs of women and girls in Arlington. Please contact the staff liaison, Deborah Pow ers, of the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women at 703-228-3314.

Neighbor's Recommendation

The editor would like to start a list of businesses that have been recommended by our neighbors. Please send your recommendations directly to Inclusion on this list does not imply an endorsement by BVSCA. The opinions expressed here represent those of the individual BVSCA residents.

Beverage: International Wine and Beverage at 4040 Lee Hwy
Italian/Greek: Mom's Pizza Restaurant at the corner of Glebe and Columbia Pike
Dry cleaners: Old Dominion Cleaners on Lee Hwy
Towing: Cherrydale Towing

Levine School of Music

The Levine School of Music is one of the largest and most prestigious nonprofit community schools in the nation offering high quality instruction and performances for persons of every age, ability and background while encouraging love of music, fostering creative expression and promoting personal enrichment.

For adults in the community, they offer programs like beginner and intermediate wind/brass group classes, Senior Singers' Chorale as well as free concert of wonderful music geared toward senior adults in the community For more information, please call 703-237-5655 or email .

Volunteer Opportunities

For the volunteer needs/opportunities listed below, please contact Connie Francis, Coordinator, Arlington County Volunteer Office at or call her at 703-228-1026.

Articles for BVSCA Newsletter

The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association newsletter is published six times a year in advance of bimonthly meetings. Its purpose is to inform residents of issues concerning their community and to encourage them to participate. Anyone wishing to contribute short, informative articles of civic interest or neighborhood events please send them to Sujit Ray, 851 N. Glebe Rd #1001, Arlington, VA 22203 or e-mail to

Want to Join BVSCA's Yahoo Groups listserv?

If you are a BVSCA member and would like to be added to the listserv, please e-mail Ed Parks at

Join BVSCA Today - Stronger Homeowners' Association Guarantees Better Neighborhood!

One BVSCA goal for this year is to increase membership and encourage BVSCA residents to participate in their Civic Association. This includes new members just learning about BVSCA and all previous members who have lost touch. There are several of you - you know who you are. BVSCA needs you. Your experience, knowledge and voice are invaluable to the Association.

The purpose of BVSCA is "to take action to protect and promote the welfare and livability of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association's neighborhoods in particular, and in Arlington, in general" (By-laws of BVSCA). Only with a large, active and vocal membership can BVSCA be effective in its dealings with the County officials.

Residents can join by filling out the membership application and paying membership dues. You can do this either by 1) coming to a BVSCA meeting, or 2) by mail. The membership application is on BVSCA's web page and on the back of this newsletter.

Dues are $10 per person. Dues are payable when first joining and are renewable each year on or before the anniversary of that date. New members and members who have not paid their dues in the last three years must wait 30 days after paying their dues before receiving voting privileges. Dues are used to help fund the Association's activities and sponsored events. Join the BVSCA today!

BVSCA Membership Application

Date: ________________________Dues: $10 per year

Name: _______________________________________

Street: _______________________________________

City: _______________________ Zip:_____________


Send my newsletter via: _____ email or _____ mail.

Phone (optional):_____________________________

I'm interested in volunteering to help: ____ yes ____ no

Mail to: DeAndra Beck
BVSCA Treasurer
1301 North Taylor Street
Arlington, VA 22201

Please make checks payable to BVSCA.

BVSCA Officers

Dennis Burr (
1050 N. Stuart Street #314
Arlington, VA 22201

Vice President
Ed Parks (

DeAndra Beck

David Ryan

At Large Executive Committee
Jim Webster
Sandra Kyles
Jennifer Mulchandani

Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee

Representative Richard Layman
Alternate Dan Corts

BVSCA 2004-2005 Calendar of Meetings

Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are held at the BVSCA's community room located on N. Utah Street between Gaffney's Restaurant and the Windsor Plaza condominiums on the last Tuesday of alternate months. BVSCA Executive meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. Full Membership meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. Meetings adjourn at 9:00pm.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The BVSCA Home Page