At the meeting, GMU representatives gave a status of their building plans and milestone dates, as follows:
GMU representatives handed around a portion of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia's most recent planning document. It notes that funds anticipated for the three phases of the Virginia Square campus's development are a mixture of appropriated money and proceeds from local bond issues. The Committee expressed their strong desire that, no matter what fiscal situation may arise, the site never be left in a half-excavated state -- that appropriate interim landscaping, paving, etc., always be in place. Mr. Edwards noted that George Mason University is expecting contributions from local jurisdictions and noted that they are anticipating Arlington to put a Higher Education Bond on its 1996 ballot. It was noted that to make the case for voters to support this bond, the University would have to show their progress through building efforts, community relations, and having the parking situation in hand. The University responded that they understood this, and would work with the County.
As construction of Phase I means that there will be NO parking available on the Virginia Square site, the Committee was anxious to hear GMU's Transportation Demand Management and Parking Strategies plans.
GMU has contracted with Colonial Parking to use their garage facilities in the National Science Foundation (NSF) building on Wilson Boulevard at North Stuart Street. The University will have use of a portion of the facility 7 days a week, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. At least 505 spaces will be available to GMU students in the evenings and 410 spaces during the day. (The current on-site lot at Virginia Square has 332 spaces, and at times up to 375 vehicles have been parked on the site.) The University stressed that their contract with Colonial is flexible -- they will be able to add spaces as necessary, and no one with a valid GMU parking sticker will be turned away. Colonial will also be providing shuttle service between their garage and the Virginia Square campus every 10 minutes.
Currently, students may purchase a parking sticker for $110 -- this price applies to both the Fairfax and Virginia Square campuses. These stickers are issued annually for the year ending June 30th, therefore 1995-1996 stickers will be honored at the NSF site. It was noted that these spaces are for the use of GMU students only. Any other visitors/users of the Arlington campus -- other than employees of Arlington Access Channels and official visitors to the campus -- will NOT be able to use the garage spaces. Therefore people who attend special events at the site will have to use street parking or other commercial lot parking in the area.
The University will employ a full time Arlington Campus Parking and Information Services Coordinator who will be on board two months before the beginning of Phase I construction. The Virginia Square campus will also have a transportation information kiosk and will offer incentives for students to use the off-site parking as well as alternative transportation methods to reach the campus (e.g. incentive points may be awarded to those who sign up for carpool programs which may redeemed for prizes).
Mr. Stanley Taylor and other representatives of the University stressed that they will need the cooperation of the County in order to make their parking arrangements work. That is, they expect strong enforcement of parking zones. Ms. Nancy Iacomini, BVSCA's NCAC, pointed out, however, that it is not so much the County that needs to cooperate, but the neighborhood itself. Residents of Virginia Square (Lynnbrook Townhouses), Ashton Heights and Lyon Village will have to decide whether they want zoned parking and/or wish to extend the hours of already existing parking restrictions. The University was reminded that this will be a big decision for some residents -- and a decision that may be made after construction begins and the area sees a problem rather than being implemented before March 1, 1996. County representatives (David Dantzler and others) at the meeting were urged to be responsive to the neighborhoods if they decide to zone and to expedite and streamline such procedures. It was also urged that once (if) zones are in place, they be strictly and vigilantly enforced by the County. Also, the County is to provide street maps of the area adjacent to the Virginia Square campus and to indicate where students should NOT park. These "no parking" areas are to include all residential streets, whether or not they are currently zoned.
Ms. Carrie Johnson (Planning Commission) noted that businesses and public buildings in the area will also have to be vigilant. The already-crowded situation of the Giant parking lot was mentioned, and GMU representatives were urged to meet with Giant and discuss their plans with them. University officials noted that the shopping center near their main Fairfax campus is very vigilant about towing, etc., particularly at the beginning of semesters. Also, the parking lots that serve the Central Library and Quincy Park will have to be monitored closely by the County.
It was clear that while the University is willing to lease off- site spaces and provide incentives ("carrots") they will not be providing "sticks." They made clear that it is the responsibility of the County and private businesses to police parking in residential neighborhoods and lots dedicated for other uses. Therefore, the Committee strongly recommended to the Civic Association representatives present that they invite officials from GMU, staff from Arlington's Department of Public Works (DPW), etc. to a meeting of their respective associations in November, December, or January to discuss GMU's parking plan and to have staff outline what is necessary to get zoned parking (or expand the hours of a parking zone), and what may be done to help streamline a request for restricted on-street parking.
The Civic Association has invited County representatives David Dantzler, Office of Economic Development, and Elizabeth Diggs, Traffic Engineering to have a brief presentation at our next Membership Meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 1995, on what our community can do to minimize potential parking disruptions during the Phase I construction. This meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., at the second floor conference rooms of the Arlington Renaissance Hotel, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia. From approximately 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., we plan to briefly discuss what steps our community can take to minimize potential parking problems during this phase. If you have any comments or questions about the Phase I construction, we invite you to bring them to the Membership Meeting.
The next meeting of the GMU/Arlington County Joint Advisory Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, November 28, 1995, 7:30 p.m. at the Arlington GMU Campus. Everyone is encouraged to attend, and time for public comment will be part of the agenda. If you have any questions or would like any further information, please call Nancy Iacomini, 703-525-0788.
The erosion of dirt at the Virginia Square substation spills into the sidewalk during rain showers making walking there treacherous from the shifting and slippery mud. Also, the pathway between N. Monroe and Nelson Streets along the substation property line is often used by vagrants and those who have demonstrated inappropriate behavior, or drunkenness, passing from the Quincy Street Park over to the Giant. The Association has asked VEPCO and the County to help resolve this problem. In order to discourage activity in the pathway, perhaps more lighting can be provided in the area or the bushes in the alley way that is often used as a "shelter" by vagrants should be removed.
Also, the Association is concerned about the overall care of the grounds, especially the property adjacent to the small parking lot on the N. Monroe street side. In past years, maintenance of the grassy areas surrounding this parking lot had been handled by the same persons that cut the grass on the substation site. However, this is no longer the practice. Grass and weeds have grown to a height of several feet and trash has been collected in the area. The weeds and trash are habitat for rats and other undesirable rodents. Also, the grass height has sometimes obstructed the view of drivers exiting Monroe Street onto N. Lincoln Street near the Giant parking lot and the FDIC grounds. VEPCO has agreed on an interim basis to cut the grass around the parking area, but believes property owner(s) in that area will be expected to assume this responsibility.
VEPCO has responded to the Civic Association about the erosion problem on the northeast corner of the substation property and indicated this will be corrected. They are considering several options to address the erosion problem and will consider the citizens' input at our next Membership Meeting.
The Civic Association has invited representatives from the County's Park Services, Community Inspections, and the Arlington County Police to assist the community in resolving this longstanding problem in that area. Mr. Jeff Corbett, Director, VEPCO Customer Services, will discuss VEPCO's options. Mr. Tom Hutchings from the County's Parks Service will assist the community in identifying who is responsible for cutting the grass in that area and behind the townhouses on N. Lincoln Street across from the Giant parking lot. Ernestine Baker of Community Inspections will discuss her office's role in helping resolve this matter and a representative from the Arlington County Police will address the trespassing and the inappropriate behavior issue. We invite interested members and citizens to attend our next Membership Meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 1995, at 7:30 p.m., at the second floor conference rooms of the Arlington Renaissance Hotel, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia. At approximately 8:15 p.m., we will begin the discussion of these matters. Affected members and neighbors please plan to attend.
Dave Foster will answer your questions about the Federation. Celebrating its 80th year, the Federation is a nonpartisan, countywide affiliation of 70 civic associations that addresses tax, development, legislative, transportation, and other issues. The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association is an active member of the Federation and participates on Federation committees. The Federation invites all of our members (whether or not delegates to the Federation) to participate in its activities through its many committees. For more information, please attend our next Membership Meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 1995, at 7:30 p.m., at the second floor conference rooms of the Arlington Renaissance Hotel, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia. At 7:30 p.m., we will begin the discussion of the Arlington County Civic Federation's activities and answer members questions about the Federation. If you are unable to attend this session and have questions about the Federation, you can also call Dave at his office, which is (202) 662-4517.
Item 5d. Local Income Tax (Proposed) of the BVSCA 1995 Neighborhood Survey received the highest percentage of response and concern. This item was included in the survey based on a September 1995 work session involving the Arlington County Board and the Economic Development Commission on the County's new Economic Development Plan and other recent developments. Near the end of the meeting, Chairman Eisenberg indicated that sometime in the future there needs to be a discussion of an income based tax, along with a wealth based tax. The following is included to provide additional perspective into this possible emerging issue.
At the BVSCA Candidates night of September 26, 1995, Tim Wise of the Courtlands Civic Association inquired "Two weeks ago tonight, the Board held a work session with the Economic Development Commission and near the end of that session, Mr. Eisenberg, you raised the issue of whether the county needs to discontinue its reliance on a wealth based tax."
Mr. Eisenberg responded: "I'm sorry."
Tim Wise: "You brought up the issue near the end of the meeting on how much longer the County should continue being supported by a wealth based tax, property tax, and whether there needs to be a start toward an income based tax. Could you tell me what kind of income tax you support?"
Mr. Eisenberg responded: "I think you took my statement a little bit farther than in fact it went. The fact is that we do have pretty much a wealth based tax system. Comes from what you own, property whether its personal property or real estate. It basically comes from that source, predominately, not entirely, in terms of local financing and we don't have the authority to do anything else. But it is an archaic way of taxing. I think there is a healthy debate that could be entered into. George Allen started that debate to some degree but I think he headed off in the wrong direction. But it's always helpful to examine your tax authorities and see which ones works best.
The BPOL Tax for example, is a terrible tax. People hate it. It's burdensome, it's regressive. The problem is it also provides 10% of our general revenue fund and we have to figure out an alternative and we have very little taxing opportunities compared to cities."
Also, Board Member, Ben Winslow, at a recent County Board meeting, argued strongly for the elimination of the BPOL tax and recommended that the County study alternative taxes in order to eliminate this unfair and inequitable tax, which unfairly taxes gross receipts without regard to necessary and reasonable expenditures. The local income tax for local jurisdictions has been considered by the General Assembly, along with the meals tax, in recent years as potential new tax sources for increasing local revenue. It should be noted various cities have adopted the meals tax in Virginia, but only one county, the county manager plan of government, Arlington County, has adopted the meals tax to date.
Further, under Part Two of Arlington County's 1995 Legislative Package, Legislative Recommendations by the County Manager, Item D. titled Dillon Rule, Local Revenues and Mandates, the County Manager states that Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder's Advisory Commission on the Dillon Rule and Local Government completed its report in November 1992. The General Assembly should enact the Commission's recommendations, thereby relaxing the Dillon Rule, enabling the County to better meet its responsibilities, and granting the County the same taxing authority as cities to meet its financial obligations.
The cumulative effect of state and federal mandates has a significant financial impact on local governments and limits their ability to use local revenues most effectively. Arlington County supports adequate funding of all state mandates and greater state/local partnerships to fund mandates.
Item 5a. Real Estate Tax and Item 5b. Personal Property Tax appeared much higher as a category of concern in this year's survey than in the past two annual surveys. For example, 79% of the 1995 survey respondents indicated that local taxes-real estate was a concern (53.2%) or critical problem (25.8%). The real estate tax response this year is 17 percentage points higher in terms of concern or critical problem than the 1994 survey response. In the 1994 survey, 62% of the survey respondents indicated that local taxes-real estate was a concern (36%) or critical problem (26%). Also, based on the 1995 survey results, local taxes- personal property was almost 13 percentage points higher as a concern than in the previous year. Survey results showed that 77.8% of the respondents indicated that personal property taxes are a concern (42.9%) or critical problem (34.9%). The Civic Association received numerous comments about Item 5. Current Local Taxes. The following illustrates the concern of some of our members about current local taxes.
Bonus Density for Affordable Housing (see Section titled BVSCA Surveys and Bills for additional details), On-Street Parking, Local Taxes-Real Estate, and Local Taxes-Personal Property followed closely as issues that citizens identified as most troublesome out of a list of 39 questions, which were part of a questionnaire formulated by the Civic Association and inserted into the monthly Newsletter. Over 22% of the 294 active, dues paying members of the Civic Association responded, and listed their views in eight major categories: (1) Crime, (2) Land Use Development, (3) Parking/Traffic, (4) GMU Expansion, (5) Current Local Taxes, (6) County Government, (7) Quality of Life, (8) County Government's Neighborhood Services Area Team (NSAT), and (9) Topical Issues.
On-Street Parking was the fourth highest ranked issue area as a concern of the BVSCA members, based on the 1995 Neighborhood Survey. Eighty-one percent (81%) of the respondents marked the On-Street Parking category as a concern (43.1%) or critical problem (37.9%). The results of the 1995 survey for this category was 5 percentage points higher as a concern or critical problem than the results for this category in the 1994 Neighborhood Survey. The Civic Association received a number of comments and concerns about this item. For example, one respondent commented that "I live in Windsor Plaza Condo at 1045 N. Utah. There are no visitor parking areas for tenants. The few on-street parking spots are taken by restaurant patrons. No place for delivery or home-service people to park. We are not allocated zone parking stickers. What are we to do??"
Also, 68.5% of the survey respondents indicated that Off- Street Parking was a concern (40.7%) or critical problem (27.8%). The overall percentage for this category is consistent with the results of last year's survey, which showed that 66% of the respondents felt that Off-Street Parking was a concern or critical problem, a difference of 2.5 percentage points. Similarly, survey respondents indicated support for Off-Street Parking Requirements (2+ spaces per unit) by 68.4% in support to 31.6% opposed. Also, respondents supported increasing Visitor Parking Requirements (1 Space Per Unit) by 65.6% in support to 34.4% opposed.
The results of the 1995 survey showed that 73.1% of the respondents indicated that Item 1a. Crime (In my neighborhood) was a concern (51.9%) or critical problem (21.1%). This was the lowest percentage on crime since we began the annual neighborhood surveys three years ago. In the 1993 and the 1994 surveys, the percentage of respondents marking crime as a concern or critical problem totalled 76.5% and 86%, respectively. Nonetheless, the Association received many narrative comments from our members about this issue area, as follows:
In marked contrast, almost the same percentage of respondents (43.7%) recommended that the County cut Welfare spending. Only 6.3% of the respondents indicated support for increased spending on Welfare and only 4.9% indicated support for increased County spending on staff size or salaries. Over 27% of the respondents to the survey recommended that the County cut staff size/salaries. There was also strong sentiment against the County providing additional spending for subsidized rental housing and transition homes. Only 12.5 percent of the respondents indicated support for additional spending on transition homes, and even less, 5% of the respondents, indicated support for additional spending on subsidized rental housing. Over 40% of the respondents recommended a reduction in County spending for each of these areas.
There was almost an equally strong reaction against the proposed Day-Time Drop-In Homeless Shelter in our community described in the County's Human Services Commission Report with 83.1% of the respondents indicating that they would not support such projects. In the 1994 survey, 78% of the respondents indicated opposition to the Day-Time Drop-In Homeless Shelter in our community. Based on the results of the 1995 Neighborhood Survey, members continued to be opposed to Single Room Occupancy Units ("SROs") with 62.8% indicating no support for the concept and 37.5% indicating support.
The results of 1995 survey showed that our community was slightly opposed to the County opening the Emergency Shelter every night from November 1 to March 31, 1996, as recommended in the County's Human Services Commission Report, with 53.4% of the 58 survey respondents marking opposed to 46.6% of the respondents indicating support. Seven (7) of the 65 respondents chose to not mark "yes" or "no" concerning the possible opening of the Emergency Shelter every night from November 1 to March 31, 1996, because they were apparently undecided.
The highest percentage of support, among Item 9. Topical issues went to Item f. Aggressive Panhandling- Law/County Ordinance with 86.9% in support to 13.1% opposed. (See the next section on BVSCA survey and bills for additional details.) The next highest support response, among topical issues, was item d. Alternative Techniques to Sludge Incineration with 75% of the survey respondents in support to 25% opposed.
Also, 73.9% of the 46 survey respondents indicated opposition to the BVSCA neighborhood being included with the Buckingham service area in the County government's new Neighborhood Services Area Team 2 (NSAT-2). Twenty-four members indicated that they were not familiar with the NSAT concept.
Of those responding to the survey, 78.8% owned their own homes, 25% were from single detached homes, 29.7% were from townhouses, and 45.3% occupied condominiums or apartment buildings. At our next Membership meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 1995, at the 2nd Floor Conference Room of the Arlington Renaissance Hotel above the Ballston Metro Station, we will discuss the detailed results of our October 1995 Membership survey at approximately 9:00 p.m.
In the March/April 1995 Newsletter, the Association reported there had been considerable discussion in our community over State laws passed in the Virginia General Assembly that only affect counties which have adopted the county manager plan of government, exclusively Arlington County. For instance, in a December 1994 Arlington County Planning Commission Meeting, former President Bob Sherretta and former Secretary, and current President Ernie Ragland, while waiting to testify in support of the Arlington Blue Top Cab's proposed project, heard concerns expressed by several neighbors from nearby Cherrydale about the potential adverse effects of one of these new laws. These concerns were about a huge home addition that apparently was built in their neighborhood in response to a new Virginia law concerning group homes in counties having adopted the county manager plan of government. The neighbors expressed concern over the size of the recently built home extension, which is located between Stafford Street and Randolph Street, and is very visible as you come down 15th Street.
The Civic Association has researched the legislative initiatives that contributed to making the above home extension possible. Senate Bill No. 279, offered on January 23, 1990, patroned by Senators: Gartlan, Miller, E.F., Andrews and Miller, Y.B.; and Delegates: Plum, Van Yahres, Melvin, Glasscock, Cunningham, J.W., Cooper, and Arlington Delegate Mary Marshall amended the Code of Virginia by adding in Title 15.1 a section numbered 15.1- 486.3 (see below for details) and repealed Section 15.1- 486.2 of the Code of Virginia. House Bill No. 1640, amended and reenacted section numbered 15.1-486.3 of the Code of Virginia, relating to group homes for eight or fewer persons in areas zoned residential and established sub- sections A and B. This bill was patroned by Arlington Senator Ed Holland, Arlington Delegates Judy Connally, James Almand, and Karen Darner, and Delegates Hull, Keating, Puller, Scott, and Van Landingham. The following is House Bill No. 1640 that was approved March 19, 1993.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia: 1. That Section 15.1-486.3 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:
Section 15.1-486.3. Group homes of eight or fewer single-family residence. A. For the purposes of locally adopted zoning ordinances, a residential facility in which no more than eight mentally ill, mentally retarded, or developmentally disabled persons reside, with one or more resident counselors or other staff persons, shall be considered for all purposes residential occupancy by a single family. For the purposes of this subsection, mental illness and developmental disability shall not include current illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance as defined in Section 54.1-3401. No conditions more restrictive than those imposed on residences occupied by persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption shall be imposed on such facility. For purposes of this subsection, "residential facility" means any group home or other residential facility for which the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services is the licensing authority pursuant to this Code.
B. For the purposes of locally adopted zoning ordinances [in counties having adopted the county manager plan of government], a residential facility in which no more than eight aged, infirm or disabled persons reside, with one or more resident counselors or other staff persons, shall be considered for all purposes residential occupancy by a single family. No conditions more restrictive than those imposed on residences occupied by persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption shall be imposed on such facility. For purposes of this subsection, "residential facility" means any group home or residential facility in which aged, infirm or disabled persons reside with one or more resident counselors or other staff persons and for which the Department of Social Services is the licensing authority pursuant to this Code.
Another interesting bill that was written for the county manager plan of government, Arlington County, and approved by the Virginia General Assembly was House Bill No. 73, offered January 8, 1992. This bill was sponsored by Arlington Senators: Ed Holland and Janet Howell and Arlington Delegates: James Almand, Judy Connally, and Karen Darner. A portion of this bill reads as follows:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia: 1. That Section 687.13 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:
Section 15.1-687.13. Local housing fund and Voluntary Coordinated Housing Preservation and Development Districts.--The county board may establish by resolution a housing fund, the purpose of which will be to assist for-profit or nonprofit housing developers or organizations to develop or preserve affordable housing for low and moderate income persons. The fund can be used to assist the developer or organization with such items as acquisition of land and buildings, lighting, sanitary and storm sewers, landscaping, walkways, construction of parking facilities, water-sewer hookup fees, and site improvements, including sidewalks, curbs, and gutters but not street improvements. Developers assisted in this manner must provide a minimum of twenty percent of the units for low and moderate income persons as defined by the county for a minimum of ten years.
In recent years, other interesting bills were passed by the Virginia General Assembly primarily affecting the county manager plan of government. For instance, Delegates David Brickley (D) of Prince William County and the late Mary Marshall (D) of Arlington sponsored a bonus density bill in the General Assembly of 1990, which provides for bonus density in exchange for low and moderate income housing. Since the passage of this law, the Arlington County Board has approved at least one bonus density project in exchange for affordable housing. This project is the Court House Commons project, near the intersection of N 14th Street and N Rolfe St. The developer of that project is the Paradigm Development Corporation, which is currently building the commercial component of the bonus density project near the Meridian apartments that the owners of Paradigm also built.
The Court House Commons project involved the County's coordination with the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) and substantial tax-exempt revenue bonds similar to the Buckingham rehabilitation project. It should be noted that the Paradigm Development Corporation, in a joint venture with the Arlington Housing Corporation, was approved by the Arlington County Board in August 1995, to acquire, preserve, and rehabilitate 524 Buckingham rental apartment units. Twelve of these units will be demolished to accommodate a proposed extension of Quincy Street, which the Arlington County Civic Federation and the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association have long opposed. The County Board requested ARHA to issue up to $34.1 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds for the Buckingham project.
Based on the results of the Civic Association's Neighborhood Surveys during the past two years, our members continue to be concerned about bonus density for affordable housing. In the 1994 Neighborhood Survey, under Item 7, Topical Issues-Do You Support, item 7d. Bonus Density in Exchange for Affordable Housing, only 14% of the respondents indicated "yes;" whereas, 86% indicated "no." In the 1995 Neighborhood Survey, this topic was listed as item c. Bonus Density for Affordable Housing. Specifically, 81.2% of the survey respondents marked this category, Bonus Density for Affordable Housing, "concerned" (35.4%) or "critical problem" (45.8%); and 18.8% of the respondents marked the item "not a problem." This item was the third highest issue item of concern, based on the results of the BVSCA 1995 Neighborhood Survey.
The Civic Association received a number of comments in opposition to bonus density for affordable housing. One respondent stated "our neighborhood is much too overdeveloped. Recently, the County Board gave a developer bonus density for storage space." Another respondent writes "I am adamantly opposed to bonus density in exchange for affordable housing because of the adverse effects on the County's infrastructure, and the likely necessity for continued increases in Arlington real estate taxes." Additionally, among other comments reflecting opposition, a BVSCA member writes "It is a shame to give away this zoning for affordable housing."
Moreover, in the January/February 1995 Newsletter, the Association reported that the 1991 General Assembly of Virginia prescribed that a public referendum was required before a tax on food and beverages (known also as the "meals tax") could be adopted by a local jurisdiction. At this General Assembly, the Arlington County representatives requested by floor amendment an exception to the public referendum requirement for the meals tax for the County Manager Plan of Government, Arlington County. This exception was approved and the bill was amended by the 1991 General Assembly to exclude Arlington County from the public referendum requirement if the Arlington County Board members voted unanimously to adopt such a tax and one public hearing was held. Unlike Fairfax County and Prince William County, who have held public referendums on the meals tax which were soundly defeated by the citizens, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to adopt the tax. Each of the current members of the Arlington County Board, with the exception of Board member Ben Winslow, who was voted into office subsequent to the Arlington County's Board vote on the meals tax in the special election of April 1993, voted to adopt the meals tax and not allow the citizens of Arlington County to decide whether they supported such a tax.
Based on the results of the Civic Association's Neighborhood Surveys during the past two years, our members this year appear to be less concerned about the meals tax as a problem area. In the 1994 and 1995 Neighborhood Surveys, the meals tax was ranked 11th and 15th, respectively, among five categories of potential issues affecting our community. Specifically, 64% of our members in the 1994 survey indicated that the meal tax was a concern (29%) or critical problem (35%). In the 1995 survey, 57.4% of the respondents marked the categories concerned (24.6%) or critical problem (32.8%). In the 1995 survey, 42.6% of the respondents marked the meals tax category "not a problem."
At the work session, Elizabeth Cheyney, Chair, Human Service Commission, led the discussion about the report and its development. Ms. Cheyney stated, in its review of human services today, the Commission found a system driven by compassion and staffed by dedicated professionals who often go beyond their stated tasks in trying to help people in our community. Yet the system within which they work, in its efforts to be responsive to a rapidly changing urban community, has developed incrementally in a rather fragmented manner, trying to be too many things to too many people.
The Commission recommends the implementation of a major system-wide shift to focus Arlington's collective efforts on promoting a Self-Sufficiency and Independence strategy across all program areas. Most Arlingtonians will be able to meet their human service needs on their own with the help of an effective information and referral system; however, despite the County's future best efforts at prevention, many people in our community will still need to turn to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for assistance of various kinds. All such assistance provided by DHS, however, should be goal directed; that is, intended to achieve specific objectives with mechanisms established to determine whether they are being met. And, the key objectives should be to move people out of the system whenever possible. When a person enters the public human services system, discharge planning should begin at intake.
The Commission recommends that each program area examine its current structure and consciously and aggressively place an emphasis on prevention. In making this recommendation, the Human Services Commission states We recognize that it is difficult to understand the causal relationships between a condition and the services intended to prevent it, and the cost benefits of such efforts...These two guiding principles work together to build a system of greatest benefit in the most appropriate ways to the community. In order to ensure that these guiding principles are met, additional parts of the system need to be addressed. [The Commission] refers to these as strategies for implementing the guiding principles.
Also, a representative of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association has been invited to attend the Emergency Winter Shelter Advisory Committee meeting on November 13, 1995, at 7:30 p.m. in Courthouse Plaza, Meeting Room A, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard. The Committee is composed of representatives from the County, the Arlington Street People's Assistance Network, the Arlington Interfaith Council, neighborhood and homeowners organizations, local businesses and service organizations, homeless or formerly homeless citizens, and other concerned consitutuents. The Committee meets monthly from September to May. Please contact President Ragland at 703-525-6297, if you are interested in serving as a representative from the Civic Association on this Committee, and you are a BVSCA dues paid member in good standing.
NSAT-2's area coverage includes Ashton Heights, Buckingham, Ballston, Virginia Square, and the Lyon Park neighborhoods. This team is comprised of 12 Arlington County employees from all Departments who convene to coordinate and improve citizen access to the Arlington County government programs and services.
The purpose of a NSAT is to build partnerships with and among members of the neighborhoods -- residents, agencies, civic associations, County departments, and businesses -- to achieve these objectives: Enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of County service delivery, while maintaining fiscal reponsibility; Improve communication among all persons throughout the County and community; Enable persons in the community to develop skills for maintaining partnerships with the County. For more information about NSAT, please call (703) 358-4279.
As upcoming community event in which NSAT-2 will be participating, is the Buckingham Festival, scheduled for Sunday, November 5, 1995, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The festival will take place on North 2nd Road between North Glebe Road and North Thomas Street. Members of the NSAT-2 will be there to talk about the Neighborhood Services concept and to answer any questions you may have. The Buckingham Festival is sponsored by businesses and residents in the community. If you want more information about the festival, please contact Larry Romero, a member of the NSAT-2, at his voice mail number, (703) 358-6428. Leave him a message and he will return your call within 24 hours. Members of NSAT-2 include: (1) Tunji Atkiwowo, Department of Economic Development; (2) Neil Phelps, Arlington Public Library; (3) Larry Romero, Department of Parks & Recreation; (4) Gladis Arboleda, Department of Public Works; (5) Dennis Pike, Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court; (6) Felicia Russo, Arlington Public Schools; (7) Dotty Dake, Department of Human Services; (8) Debbie Powers, Department of Parks & Recreation; (9) Mary Schukraft, Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development; (10) Thom Dolinger, Arlington Police Department; (11) Preston Read, Department of Environmental Services; and (12) Bob Swarthout, Arlington Fire Department.
If the project qualifies through the Neighborhood Conservation petition process, Mr. Hill stated it would then be eligible for Neighborhood Conservation Program funding. Also, Mr. Hill stated that he would like to begin the process by sending petition forms to those property owners who might have an interest in the project.
According to Public Works, if property owners are interested in installing curb and gutters only or installing both curb and gutters and sidewalks, individual property owners would be required to pay around 50% of the installation of curb and gutter and sidewalks. The rates are (1) $14.575 per linear foot for curb and gutter; and (2) $12.25 per linear foot for sidewalk.
These prices are normally less than 50% of the actual cost of installation, which can be higher due to utility relocation, pavement replacement, etc. Given the small front yards on North Nelson Street, Public Works indicated that it would be possible to have only a curb and gutter project, with no sidewalk. However, the County prefers to do curb/gutter and sidewalk together.
This is to invite interested members and citizens to attend our next Membership Meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 1995, at 7:30 p.m., at the second floor conference rooms of the Arlington Renaissance Hotel, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia. At approximately 8:45 p.m., we plan to discuss whether the property owners in that area would like to install a sidewalk on North Nelson Street between Washington Boulevard and 13th Street North. If you are interested in this project or have any ideas for other projects, please call the NCAC representative, Nancy Iacomini, 528- 0788.
The free, biodegradable paper bags provided by Arlington County will be shredded and turned into mulch, right along with your leaves. The special bag also make it easy for collection crews to distinguish between bagged leaves and refuse. Leaves in plastic bags cannot be made into mulch and will only be collected on your regular refuse day. The special paper bags are to be used only for leaf collection in November and December.
The letter states that the Deputy Chief of Police is writing to address a specific issue that faces every business within the Clarendon area, the Police Department, and every citizen that utilizes the stores and restaurants. This is the continuous problem of inappropriate behavior by certain individuals that frequent the parks and streets along the Wilson and Clarendon Boulevard corridor. For many years the Police Department has attempted various programs to eliminate this type of activity from adversely effecting the community. Some have been successful, such as the alcohol interdiction program that focused on habitually intoxicated individuals, and others have accomplished little to alleviate the problem. However, the Deputy Chief states we must address the issues that adversely affect the right of persons to conduct business or utilize the various facilities in this area.
The Police Department is renewing its commitment to improving the quality of life in the Clarendon area by focusing on a program of strict enforcement of state and County laws that pertain to inappropriate and unacceptable behaviors such as public drinking, intoxication, littering, urinating in public, among others. This renewed effort can only be successful if it enjoys the full cooperation of each of you by taking an active interest in eliminating the problems and working with the police. As part of your role in this program, the Deputy Chief asks that you take the initiative and notify the Police Department whenever you notice such behavior in public. The Deputy Chief also requests that restaurants and any other business that sell food stop providing free food to individuals who have no means to pay for it or who are intoxicated at the time food is ordered. By taking a firm stand, this initial action will send a positive message to these persons that such activity will no longer be tolerated. Also, the Deputy Chief announced that he has designated Lieutenant Phil Beuchert, Commander of the Evening Patrol, as the Police Department contact and liaison in these efforts and he can be reached at (703) 358- 4097.
"Republican incumbent Benjamin H. Winslow Jr. and running mate Henriette Warfield say residents feel less safe in their neighborhoods because Arlington crime has increased during the first half of 1995. Democrats Albert C. Eisenberg and Paul Ferguson responded by calling the Republicans alarmists."
In their campaign literature, they say Arlington is one of the safest communities in the U.S., "based on FBI data." That is based on a 1993 "Money" article that rated Arlington one of the 14th safest cities with 100,000 or more people.
According to State Police 1994 statistics, for the seven most violent crimes, Ms. Whitley writes "Arlington crime rate is the highest among the 95 Virginia counties. These statistics include murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and car theft. Norma Poole, senior statistical analyst with the state police, says Arlington's crime rate is "pretty significant" compared to other counties. "Arlington in a way is more like a city...because it is such an urban area."
If compared to Virginia's 41 cities, the Journal states that "Arlington comes in 24th. But discussing Arlington's crime rate bases on population gives people a skewed picture, Eisenberg says. The county's 184,000 population rises by 80,000 during a week day but the crime rate statistics only consider Arlington's resident population. If the higher daytime population was taken into account, the county's crime rate would be much lower. Paul Ferguson referred comments on the state statistics to Eisenberg. He offered this comment: "You can always say you can do better and any crime is too many crimes...but it is my feeling that Arlington is a relatively safe community."