Tuesday, September 29, 1998
BVSCA MEMBERSHIP MEETING 7:15 P.M.
Meeting at the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA), 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia, 22203-1860, Ellipse Conference Center (Room CC1), Free Parking for Membership Meeting, Garage Entry Up to 8:00 P.M. (See Details Below)Membership Meeting (7:15 - 9:30 p.m.).
1. GFS Realty/Giant Food Proposed Site Plan Amendment. Representatives of GFS Realty/Giant Food met with the BVSCA Executive Committee on September 8, 1998, and presented a proposal that would replace the deteriorating parking area brick screening walls at the Giant/Virginia Square store along Washington Boulevard and North Lincoln Street. GFS Realty/Giant Food proposes to replace these brick walls with architectural precast concrete landscape planters which are approximately 8 feet by 24-30 inches wide by 30 inches high. The selected color and finish of the planters are to be architecturally compatible with the existing project. A potential added amenity benefit is that these planters would be planted with a shrub like Winter Jasmine, a late winter/spring yellow flowering plant, introducing landscaping along Washington Boulevard (where there is none). These planters have an expected life exceeding 50 years. Also, under its' lease requirements with the FDIC, GFS Realty/Giant Food has the obligation to maintain the premises and its required approved amenities.
GFS Realty/Giant Food seeks our Association's support to (1) replace the existing brick perimeter wall parallel to North Washington Street and Lincoln Street with the referenced planters and (2) decrease the sidewalk width on Washington Boulevard from 14 feet to not less than 12 ½ feet because the base of the planter is wider than the existing brick walls. This proposal will be presented to the County Board in the near future as an amendment to the existing site plan. The Association encourages interested members and residents to attend this Membership Meeting on Tuesday, September 29, 1998, and to express your views. Action Item 1. (7:15 to 7:45 p.m.).
2. Update on Proposed Arlington Gateway Project. The Association has invited representatives of the site plan applicant for the "Arlington Gateway" project to return for another presentation on their proposed project. At the Site Plan Review Subcommittee (SPRS) Meeting on August 18, questions and concerns were expressed about the design of the proposed buildings, the amount of proposed surface parking, and the number of proposed parking spaces. Also, discussed was the (1) redesign of the site to achieve better massing and placement of the buildings, with emphasis on pedestrian orientation, pedestrian connections within and around the site, and the relationship of the buildings to the streets; (2) ensure that retail is accessible from the street and interior retail space is functional; (3) relationship of residential/hotel building to The Jefferson - 40 foot distance between buildings must be maintained and provide interior trash collection; and (4) site is gateway to Ballston, focal point must be more prominent. In addition, SPRS members requested that the applicant provide the following for the upcoming Planning Commission meeting -- an enlarged perspective of the relationship of the site plan (and its connections) to the Ellipse park and the 9th Street Greenway; the potential redevelopment scenario for the Fairmont Building; and the perspective of site/gateway from Fairfax Drive and Wilson Boulevard.
In response, the site plan applicant will present a number of changes to the proposed project, including changes to the buildings' design. The proposed project is a site plan request for a mixed use office, retail, residential and hotel development in the "C-O-A" District in Ballston. The site is currently developed with the five (5) story Fairmont Building and associated surface parking, the American Service Center used car lot, and several retail uses. This proposal would redevelop the site to include three buildings - two 11-story office buildings and one 19-story building containing both residential and hotel units. Surface parking associated with the Fairmont Building would be replaced with 75 spaces included in the underground garage parking for the proposed site plan. In addition, a portion of North Vermont Street would be vacated to provide private vehicular access to the buildings.
The two office buildings would contain a total of 518,660 square feet of office and retail GFA (493,962 square feet of office and 24,698 square feet of retail). Parking for these buildings would be provided in five levels of shared underground garage containing a total of 992 spaces (883 spaces for the office and 109 spaces for the retail), for a total parking ratio of one (1) space per 523 square feet of office/retail GFA. The buildings would be situated on the site adjacent to Fairfax Drive and North Glebe Road, and would be separated by an auto court which connects to vacated North Vermont Street. The office garage would be accessed from North Vermont Street via Fairfax Drive. The third building would contain a total of 493,962 square feet of GFA, including 176,462 square feet of hotel GFA (306 hotel rooms) and 317,500 square feet of residential GFA (198 units). Parking would be located in five levels of underground garage and would contain 366 spaces for the hotel (1.196 spaces per hotel room) and 223 spaces for the residential component (1.126 spaces per residential unit. This building would be situated on the site adjacent to the rear of the office buildings, vacated North Vermont Street and the Fairmont Building. The residential/hotel garage would be accessed from vacated North Vermont Street. Also, the building is designed with a drop-off area adjacent to vacated North Vermont Street. Members are encouraged to attend and express your views on this critically important project to the Ballston Gateway and the design changes presented at the meeting. This proposed site plan is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on October 5 and the County Board on November 14. Action Item 2. (7:45 to 8:30 p.m.).
3. Announcement Regarding Further Review of SP #31-Library Courts Apartments at 1040 North Quincy Street. This item was presented before the Association last year (1997) and was presented in more detail to the BVSCA Executive Committee on September 8, 1998. The primary issue is whether or not housing is to be allowed at increased density within 500 meters (walking distance) to Metro. The site plan applicant, Mr. James H. McMullin, will appear personally to present factual analysis concerning the Ballston Sector Plan, together with a historical background, which gives rise to this important application.
Background: The Association has had extensive coordination on this proposed site plan application, excluding the September 1998 Executive Committee Meeting. For example, on June 23, 1998, the Association sent a letter to Mr. Thomas H. Miller, Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, concerning a Public Notice dated June 11, 1998, from Carlton W. Gilbert, Acting Zoning Administrator, and the first two cases described therein, to be considered by the Planning Commission on June 29, 1998, and by the County Board on July 11, 1998. Specifically, the first case was Z-2440-97-3 Rezoning: (Carry-Over & Amended): Request of J.H. McMullin, Trustee, by Wm. G. Carr, V.P., for a change in land classification. The property currently is zoned "RA7-16," Apartment Dwelling Districts, and "R-5," One-Family, Restricted Two-Family Dwelling Districts. Two alternatives are to be considered. The first alternative is to rezone the "R-5" parcel (1034 N. Quincy Street) to "RA7-16" and rezone the southern portion of the site to "R-C," Apartment Dwelling and Commercial Districts; premises known as a portion of 1020 North Quincy Street. This alternative would result in the southern portion of the property being zoned "R-C" and the remainder zoned "RA7-16." The second alternative is to rezone the entire site to "RA-H," Hotel District.
The second case was SP #32 Site Plan Amendment (Carry-Over & Amended): Request of J.H. McMullin, Trustee, by Wm. G. Carr, V.P., for a special exception to permit construction of a 127-unit, 10 story residential building and parking, which would be combined with an adjacent existing structure; premises known as 1020, 1034, 1040 N. Quincy Street and 4012 North 11th Street.
Excluding the September meeting, the Executive Committee has met twice previously on this proposed project. In the second Executive Committee meeting on the subject, all of the members voted against the project. Essentially, what our Association is most clear on at this time, is our opposition to "massing" density from an entire site plan into one small corner of the site with little or no consideration for the remainder, which makes up the majority. This was voted on by the BVSCA Executive Committee, based on a clear consensus of concerns expressed at our February 1998 Membership Meeting. Although the proposed site plan was not previously voted on by the Association's Membership because the proposed design was not finalized, our Executive Committee voted on this project prior to its presentation at the April 1998 County Board meeting. Mr. Tom Sawner, at the time our vice-president, was requested by the Executive Committee to represent our Association at this Board meeting. At the meeting, Mr. Sawner stated BVSCA's opposition to the proposed project. The Association has invited the site plan applicant to return to present any proposed design changes and his analysis of the issue.
At the County Board meeting of July 11, the Board approved the site plan applicant's request for deferral on their proposed site plan application for the Library Courts Site Plan, SP #32, until the County Board meeting of October 17. This item is scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission on October 5. All interested members and residents are encouraged to attend these meetings and express your views. This matter is an action item for our Tuesday, September 29, 1998 Membership Meeting and is scheduled to begin at approximately 8:30 p.m. Action Item 3. (8:30 to 9:15 p.m.).
1998-'99 Membership Meeting Schedule. Monthly Membership Meetings of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association are scheduled at the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA), 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia, Ellipse Conference Center (Room CC1 except as noted) for the following Tuesday evenings: 10/27/98, 11/24/98, and 01/26/99. For your information, NRECA provides free garage access for one hour at NRECA's underground parking garage for participants attending the BVSCA Membership Meeting (30 minutes prior, to 30 minutes following, the starting time of our meeting). The garage's automatic exit device allows exit-only traffic after the garage is closed. BVSCA participants should be prepared to state they are attending the BVSCA Membership Meeting in order to receive free parking. Members should be advised that the garage will be accessible only up to 8:00 p.m., 30 minutes following the 7:30 p.m. starting time of our Membership Meeting, and that once the garage closes vehicles will still be able to exit the garage. Access to the Conference Room will be provided at 7:00 p.m.; the room must be completely vacated no later than 9:30 p.m. Also, general cleaning of the room is the responsibility of BVSCA.
October 1998 Candidates Night Meeting. Make plans to attend the Association's Candidates Night Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 27, 1998, at 7:30 p.m., at the Ellipse Conference Center (Room CC1) of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) building, 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia. Our Candidates Night Meetings and Membership Meetings are open to the public. We have planned two candidate sessions this year, beginning with (1) the Arlington County Board candidates, at 7:30 p.m., and (2) the Congressional candidates from the Commonwealth of Virginia's 8th Congressional District, at approximately 8:30 p.m. Each candidate session will be limited to one hour. The candidates will have up to five minutes for opening statements, followed by questions from the audience. In order to promote increased public participation, individual questions will be limited to 45 seconds and candidate responses will be limited to 3 minutes for each question. The first three questions for each session will be from BVSCA members, followed by questions from non-members or members attending the meeting.
Coordination Update with Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). At our Executive Committee meeting on July 28, 1998, the Executive Committee members requested that BVSCA President Ragland follow-up with DEQ to request a public meeting concerning the status of actions taken since 1994 to remedy reported contamination of the soil and groundwater near the vicinity of the former Exxon station at 3444 North Washington Boulevard. (This environmental issue was previously reported in BVSCA Newsletters dated April 1994, July 1994, and October 1994. For details, please visit http://www.bvsca.org/april94.html, http://www.bvsca.org/jul94.html, and http://www.bvsca.org/oct94.html.) Representatives from DEQ and Exxon have agreed to make a presentation on the status of remediation actions at this site at our Membership Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 26, 1999.
BVSCA Announcements: Executive Committee Meeting on Wednesday, October 7, 1998. Our next Executive Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7, 1998, at 7:30 p.m., at the Ballston Park Condominium Community Meeting Room, 1050 N. Stuart Street, Arlington, VA. The first item is a presentation on a proposed minor site plan amendment by the American Service Center (ASC) at 585 North Glebe Road. The owners of ASC and the architect for the proposed site plan amendment will discuss ASC's proposed addition to the right side of their existing building. The addition is a total of 6,000+ square feet and would be temporary for a 5 - 10 year period. According to the architect's letter to the Association, Mercedes-Benz of North America has requested that ASC make this addition to accommodate their "Starmark" concept of selling previously owned automobiles. The long term goal of ASC is to infill the entire property.
The second item is a presentation by the legal representatives for two site plan amendment applications. This item is scheduled to begin at approximately 8:15 p.m. These applications were recently filed on Virginia Square Lots 1-A and 1-B by The Meridian Company (contract purchaser of Lot 1-A) and Virginia Medical Square L.P. (owner of Lot 1-B). The application property is located west of Nelson Street, between Fairfax Drive and 10th Street. It is governed by approved site plan number 176 (Virginia Square Plaza). One of the applications proposes the construction of a new office building consisting of approximately 160,000 square feet on Lot 1-A, which is currently improved as a surface parking lot. The other application proposes an addition of approximately 40,000 square feet to the medical office building located at 3801 North Fairfax Drive. Parking for the buildings will be provided below grade, with some surface parking as well. The streetscape are to be consistent with surrounding Arlington County standards. The applications will bring the overall density for the site plan area to 3.8 FAR, which is consistent with the property's C-O zoning and its designation by the General Land Use Plan as "High" Office-Apartment-Hotel. Because these proposed site plan amendments are scheduled to be heard by the County Board on November 14, 1998, the Association will allot some time at next month's candidates night meeting for a brief presentation on these items.
Community Environmental Health Assessment Survey. Arlington County's Department of Environmental Services has requested our Association's participation in a community environmental health assessment process. Arlington County, along with nine other communities in the U.S., was selected by the National Association of County and City Health Officials to pilot a community environmental health assessment tool. A Steering Committee consisting of Arlington County residents and representatives from various groups was formed to guide the process. In order to obtain a wide range of opinions the Steering Committee has developed a survey tool to be completed by September 30, 1998. Five copies were provided to our Association. Please see the Association's Secretary David Ryan at the Membership Meeting on September 29, 1998, if you are interested in completing one of our five survey forms.
Town Meeting. Association members are invited to attend a Town Meeting on "Crime and Punishment, Your Sheriff's Office in Action," to be held on Monday, October 5, 1998, at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School Theatre, 125 South Glebe Road. This Town Meeting is presented by the Arlington County Sheriff's Office and the Citizen's Crime Prevention Council of Arlington.
Community Policing Update. On September 21, 1998, the Association received its first copy of the Arlington Police Second District Newsletter via the BVSCA Mailing List. This is the first issue of the 2-D Dispatch. This publication is produced by the police officers and staff that serve the 2nd District. It will be a bimonthly newsletter designed to keep the residents, businesses, and concerned citizens of Arlington County informed as to the current and upcoming events that will impact us all. The 2nd District comprises police beats 23 and 24. The district includes the area north of Route 50, east of N. Glebe Road, south of Route 66 and the Spout Run Parkway and west of the Potomac River. The 2nd District has 1 Captain, 3 Lieutenants, 6 Sergeants, 13 Detectives, 3 School Resource Officers, 12 Corporals and 27 Officers who are assigned to it. Please use the following numbers to contact the 2nd District: District Commander, Captain Thomas Hoffmann at 228-4327. The District Two office number is 228-4150. To report general police/fire information, please call 558-2222. For Emergencies, please call (Police/Fire/Medical) at 911.
Bicycle Patrol. On June 10th, the Chief of Police, Edward A. Flynn, introduced a new way of doing business in the County through community policing. With the County divided into four districts the police department is able to address the concerns of each district in new ways. One way that has been gaining popularity across the nation and now here in Arlington County is the use of police officers on bicycle patrol. The officers trade their cars for mountain bikes then patrol the streets, parks and bike trails. The bikes offer many advantages such as allowing officers to be more in tune with their environment through sight, sound and smell, higher visibility to deter crime, easier communication between officers and citizens, cost effectiveness, and better officer fitness. All four police districts utilize officers on bike patrol. The Second District is currently the only one to have a full time team providing coverage every day, all year. The other districts compliment their patrol force with bikes as their staffing and needs allow. If you see officers on bike patrol feel free to stop them and share your comments or concerns.
Arlington Photo Red Light. The Arlington County Photo Red Light Program is now in affect. This program will help the Arlington County Police enforce traffic laws by automatically photographing the license plates of vehicles whose drivers run red lights. The camera systems are installed at intersections where chronic red light running causes frequent accidents and will provide 24-hour traffic surveillance. When a violation occurs, the camera records the date, time, speed of the vehicle, and the time elapsed since the beginning of the red signal. A citation showing a photo of the violation is then sent to the registered owner. The fine for running a photo enforced traffic signal is $50. More information can be obtained by calling the Violations Bureau office at (703) 739-5538 or write to P.O. Box 3400, Arlington, VA 22203-0400.
Special Events in October. October 3rd, 3:00 - 5:00pm. Neighborhood Day Parade - This parade will include high school marching bands and groups representing County civic associations and other community groups. It will start in the parking lot near the recycling bins at Clarendon Blvd. & N. Edgewood St. and finish at the Courthouse parking lot. October 24th, 9:00am - 3:00pm. Household Hazardous Waste Roundup - This free event will take place at the I-66 parking deck located on N. 15th Street between N. Quincy St. and N. Stafford St. (Behind the W&L High School). Bring old paint, household cleaners, automotive products, etc. for safe disposal and recycling.
The 2-D DISPATCH is published by the Arlington County Police Department, 1425 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA 22201. The Chief of Police is Edward A. Flynn. The Editor is Ofc. Jim Buchhofer, (703) 228-3600, ext. 9741. The Associate Editors include Cpl. Dan Gillenwater,(703) 228-3600, ext. 9697, and Cpl. Tom Dolinger,(703) 228-3600, ext. 9662. If you need more information about the 2nd Police District, or the Arlington Neighborhood Initiative Area D Team, please contact Lt. Michelle Peralta, at 228-4299.
BVSCA Mailing List. For BVSCA members, who would like to subscribe to the BVSCA Mailing List and receive the bimonthly Arlington Police Second District Newsletter, send the command "subscribe" to BVSCA-Lfirstname.lastname@example.org. After subscribing, detailed instructions will be sent concerning how to unsubscribe, how to change to digest mode, how to change to no-mail mode, how to post a message so everyone on the mailing list receives it, and other information. The Association's web site is "http://www.bvsca.org" and e-mail address is "email@example.com." Our back-up web site is: http://www2.dgsys.com/~bvsca."
Virginia Square Plaza Site Plan, SP #293 -- Update. At the County Board Meeting of September 12, Vice-President Ken Hughes represented the Association on the Virginia Square Plaza Site Plan. The County Board voted to approve the site plan, including the requirement for 30 visitor parking spaces in the garage and 4 short term surface visitor parking spaces.
Channel 9, Eyewitness News Forum. On September 23, 1998, Executive Committee member Mike Chircop represented the Association at the "9 Listens Forum," held at Arlington Hospital's John T. Hazel Conference Center. This forum was sponsored by Channel 9 News to help foster a better working relationship with the Arlington Community.
BVSCA Recommends Upgrades at Ballston-MU Metro Station. In response to our Membership Meeting on August 25, 1998, and members' recommended improvements to the Ballston Metro, BVSCA President Ragland sent the following letter to Board Chairman Christopher Zimmerman on August 29, 1998. "This letter is on behalf of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association (BVSCA). During the August 18 Site Plan Review Subcommittee meeting regarding the proposed Arlington Gateway project, several of our Association members learned that there are plans underway to modify the Ballston-MU Metro Station. Apparently, these plans are still formative and subject to community input, and as the civic association most directly affected by these improvements, we would like to be included in the planning process. Therefore, during our August 25 BVSCA Membership Meeting, we discussed neighborhood priorities for upgrading this metro station. We would like to convey these priorities to you for the Board's consideration during County planning efforts.
Attendees at BVSCA's last monthly meeting unanimously agreed that the highest priority for improving the Ballston-MU Metro Station is upgraded access via the north entrance at N. Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street, near the existing elevator. We recommend that both an escalator entrance to the station be added and that the existing elevator be replaced with a high speed elevator. If cost or construction concerns will not permit an escalator entrance to be added to the north side of Fairfax Drive, we request that a stairway entrance to the station be constructed at a minimum, in addition to the high speed elevator. The rationale for this recommendation includes public safety (a secondary egress from the station in the event of an emergency), improved access (a large percentage of residential users reside on the north side of Fairfax Drive), and traffic management (reduction of pedestrian crossings on N. Fairfax).
Further, we understand that LCI and The Nature Conservancy allocated resources to Arlington County for metro improvements. Focusing the allocated resources in the vicinity of these new buildings would maintain the spirit of agreements made and help provide increased incentives to the building occupants to use public transit.
As a unanimous second priority, BVSCA attendees supported building a second metro entrance on the west side of the station, near the intersection of N. Fairfax Drive and Glebe Road. There was not a clear preference for an entrance on the north versus the south side of N. Fairfax. Ideally, both sides of the street should have an entrance. Attendees emphasized that the north side improvements should begin as soon as possible.
Also, most attendees would like to see the existing entrance of the Ballston-MU Metro Station upgraded with better lighting and measures implemented to prevent birds from roosting in the rafters and soiling the escalators below.
We would appreciate your attention to our recommended metro station upgrades. We hope that County staff will consult BVSCA at an early stage of this planning process, so that our recommended priorities may be considered and addressed to the extent feasible...Thank you."