AHCA Newsletter November 2009

6:45 p.m.

. Guest speaker: Emma Whelan Marketing Manager of McGinty's Public House
. Election of Officers
. Membership Renewals (see page below for renewal information!)
. Discussion of the 40 year plan for Crystal City
. Reporting on activities (Boo Ha Ha, Missing Links and much much more!)

Childcare will be provided.

Nominees for elected positions of AHCA for 2010:
Mike Dowell - President (current 1st Vice President)
Nic Giacobbe - 1st Vice President
Cara Tenuta - 2nd Vice President
Gail Fleming - Treasurer (current Treasurer)
Jenny Lawhorn - Correspondence Secretary
Cory Giacobbe - Business Secretary (also, she will take over as writer and editor of the newsletter)

Other mentionable slots (non-elected):

NC Representative: Chris Mann (continuing)
Web Master: John Kriese (continuing)
Newsletter Ad Coordinator: Marty King (returning to help Cory on this aspect of newsletter)
Newsletter Distribution to Distributors - Robert and Helen Ann Phillips: (returning to help Cory on this aspect of newsletter)

December 5, 2009 (Saturday) 5:00-& 7:30pm (date and time to be confirmed): Holiday Potluck at new Fire House 105

We are hoping to do another holiday potluck with the Firehouse and hope you will join us for some fun and holiday cheer with our local fire fighters. Hopefully this year we will have clear weather.

Regular Advertising in the AHCA newsletter:

Marty King will be taking over coordination of the AHCA newsletter Advertising space and coordinate with Mike Dowell and Cory Giacobbe. For interest in Ad space, please contact me at brucecameronahca@gmail.com and I will pass you along to Marty.

Membership Renewal: SEE BELOW for details
Key points about membership, the more official members we show, the more we can demonstrate community concern on key issues with county leadership. Point two: like anything in life, having a decent size savings account helps has fight our battles and hold neighborhood social events and creates opportunities for us to leverage small amounts with scarce county resources for improvements we want.

2nd Annual Boo Ha Ha

Neighborhood superheros and villians, pirates and princesses, witches, vampires, clone warriers, bears, fairies and bumble-bees came out for the 2nd Annual Boo Ha Ha in Virginia Highlands Park on Halloween Saturday. The moonbounces, tot lot, popcorn stand and face-painter [Lynn from SparkleLynn Designs was amazing] were packed all afternoon. It was a great opportunity to chat with friends, make new friends, and marvel at the costumes.

Thanks to our local sponsors, let's do the role call
Crystal City Sports Pub
Louis Andors at Keller Williams
Athena Pallas
Crystal Brite Cleaners
Harris Teeter
Cafe Pizzaiolo
Cowan and Associates
Portofino Restaurant
Kabob Palace II
CVS Pharmacy
Cantina Mexicana
Crystal City Restaurant
the Aurora Hills Womens Club
and various individual neighborhood friends!

These DONORS not only gave in very tangible ways, but every day they contribute to what makes our neighborhood area a great place to live and on both counts we say THANK YOU!

Thanks to our Costume Parade judges (a very impressive group):
Barbara Favola, Chairman of the Arlington County Board,
Sergeant Pfieffer from the Arlington County Police Department,
and Katie Thomas from the Aurora Hills Li-brary!

And thank you to Sergeant Pfieffer and Katie Thomas, you two as individuals as well as the groups you represent, are yet more reasons we have such a great neighborhood area, bar none.

A special thank you to Barbara Favola for spending time with us (and helping pick the little chick costume) and continuing to engage with our neighborhood. While many of you may not realize it, she has been quietly assisting with our concerns and finding ways to make sure our concerns are factored into the county process.

And last, thanks to our volunteers: Alice Andors, Tom Boerger, Bruce Cameron, Greg Chaffin, Mike Dowell, Gail Fleming, Ann Garrison, Nick Giacobbe, Bill Gillen, Rob Hines, Giva Lester, Cheryl Mendonza, Van Newstrom, and Kimberly and Eduardo, our popcorn servers!

County Facing Serious Budget Issues--Neighborhood will be Impacted!

County and School Board budget situation for the upcoming fiscal year. Friends and Neighbors, if last year seemed tough, this year will be worse. We will face both a cut in services as well as a likely tax increase. You have a vital stake in this process and you need to be engaged. Aside from the big picture, let's consider neighborhood specific items at risk. Aurora Hills Library will be a target for a partial or full budget cut back. The Neighborhood Conversation Program, which funds neighborhood improvements, could be frozen, Wakefield rebuilding schedule could be pushed back further, Oakridge, Claremont and Gunston could face reduced services and functionality, park maintenance could be deferred. And we already have one of the least functional community buildings (aside from the Senior Program) in the county. Meanwhile, the Waste Water Plant expansion will continue with no neighborhood benefit and the Crystal City Plan continues on with little community set aside. So, let's just be clear, we WILL face reduced services, higher taxes, meanwhile while sitting next to the #1 commercial tax generator in the county and while sitting by the only truly county wide resource (that being the waste water plant) which has impacted our neighbors without benefitting our neighborhood with any neighborhood set aside. And before anyone questions me about using the #1 commercial tax generator reference, even a senior representative of a major property owner in Crystal City will make this point. WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING AT STAKE IN THE UPCOMING BUDGET CYCLES. We as a neighborhood need to be organized and thoughtful in our participation in the process. We have too much at stake not to participate. Neighbor Bill Gillen is a member of the Fiscal Affairs Committee for the County Budget process, Bruce Cameron is on the Budget Advisory Committee for the school system, Brenda Pommerenke is the Chair of the Budget Advisory Committee for the school system, Greg Super is on the Facilities Advisory Committee for the school system, and James Lander will be on the School Board starting in January. Also, note on Arlington Education Fund can be a great resource in these challenging times. The Mission of the Education Fund is to enhance the community by providing grants to educators and nonprofit organizations for innovative projects that supplement and enrich the learning environ-ment for preschool to adult students in Arlington. For more information about the Arlington Education Fund http://www.arlcf.org/

Aurora Hills Library:
Given the current budget climate, we need to be ready for a big fight to save our Aurora Hills li-brary again this year. Make no mistake about it. Please be in touch with Bill Gillen.

Recent Accomplishments for our neighborhood(s)

For all the issues facing our neighborhood area, over the past few years we collectively have made progress on many issues and have shown that we can make a difference in the County Process and in the quality of our every day neighborhood:
The tally references both the Arlington Ridge and Aurora Highlands area. None of this was done by one person or one group, but together we as neighbors have all made a difference and obviously there is more that could be on the list, especially if we include all the support for our schools

. Army Navy Drive curb improvements
. Ridge Road effort to reduce traffic speed and calm traffic.
. 26th Street NC Sidewalk project
. Meade Street NC light project
. Ives Street NC sidewalk project
. Current NC Program for AHCA
Renewed the AHCA NC plan after 30 years
600-700 of 19th is a funded NC project waiting to be executed in spring/summer of 2010. Spray ground in Virginia Highlands Park is funded and is waiting to designed and will be at some future date. Ives Street between 23rd to 20th. Concept Diagram is done and a meeting needs to be held with neighbors on that section of Ives. Fern west side between 19th to 22nd. Is the next project on wish list of AHCA and has been submitted to NC Program. . Missing Links: have been done on:
700 block of 22nd
800 block of 22nd
800 block of 21st
600 block of 19th
900 block of 18th
Fort Scott by Eads Park
And we continue to look at any other possibilities including 700 of 22nd and 600 of 21st and any others neighbors want to raise for consideration. . Improved parking situation regarding commercial trucks behind Giant next to Gunston.
. 4-way stop sign at Hayes/20th.
. Moved permitted paring away from corner at Hayes/18th for better sight lines.
. Also, improved signage and street painting at this key cross walk at Hayes/18th.
. Better turn lane markings at intersection of 15th/Eads
. Rediscovered developer money for Ridge Road /23rd Street and Joyce after 10 years, and trying to get those funds implemented.
. Convinced County Board to install two citizen reps into the Crystal City Business Improve-ment
District Board ­Cheryl Mendonsa from our AHCA and Jim Whittaker from Crystal City.
. Convinced the LRPC (Long Range Planning Committee of the Planning Commission) to include reps from AHCA and ARCA in their review of the 40 year Plan for Crystal City.
. Made sure county funded and implemented new equipment in Nina Park after county removed old wooden equipment with arsenic.
. New fence around child play area at Eads Park.
. Persuaded Costco and County do a better job of keeping Costco carts out our neighborhood.
. Convinced County Board not to allow a Pizza Delivery business in 700 block of 23rd Street.
. Convinced County Board to give some accommodations to neighborhood on CEA lighting package.
. Two new garbage cans along east side of Eads.
. Success in working with county staff to get people to take in their rolling cans after garbage day and to stop using the county right of way or front yards as the storage for the cans, including rolling dumpsters.
. Welcomed new Mormon meeting house that will be coming to 23rd Street.
. Won continued funding for Aurora Hills Library in the last fiscal year and the creation of Friends of Aurora Hills Library.
. Virginia Highlands Park:
. Worked with county staff to reopen one soft ball field for general use when not being used for softball games.
. New fill dirt where glass was in part of park.
. Water fountain at restroom by play area.
. New landscaping in walk area by the community building.
. Deferred volley ball courts and believe if they do happen in future, community voice will be included in the process.
. Future spray ground in corner of park through NC program.
. Many trees that have been planted throughout neighborhood thanks to volunteers and county staff.
. Personalized tours of our area for each of the sitting County Board Members as well as a small group meeting with County Manager at the Community Building.
. Continued highlighting of the connection between old Fire House 105 and 9-11 and its place in national history.
. Neighborhood Historic Designation for a large portion of Aurora Highlands including Restaurant Row
. The second annual Boo Ha Ha
. The 6th Annual Halloween Parade
. Substantially increased cash reserves of AHCA
. Holiday Potluck held at new Fire House 105 last year (and hopefully this year)
. Rebuild Wakefield coalition was formed
. Friends of Hume School amazing efforts
. Facilitated local neighborhood benefit (within overall community benefit) from the KIMCO re-development of the Costco site.
. Inputs on the Grammercy Signage Issues.
. Facilitation of discussion between neighbors and owners of the Tortoise and Hare Restaurant regarding live entertainment time slots and noise concerns.
. Inputs to county on the ART Bus Building
. Inputs to county on Waste Water Treatment Plant expansion.

Crystal City 40 Year Plan:

The LRPC (the Long Range Planning Committee of the Planning Commission) will be further discussing this sector plan on November 19th, 2009. Mike Dowell and Bruce Cameron are the two AHCA reps included in the LRPC for this discussion. Chris Mailander, Patty Joyce and Chick Walters are the ARCA reps to the LRPC for this discussion. This plan has potential long term consequences (good and bad) on our neighborhood areas. Please come and be part of the discussion [please, if you live in Aurora Highlands or Arlington Ridge please come] at our November 11th meeting, so that we be sure AHCA and ARCA reps carry appropriate comments back to the LRPC and County Board on this plan. Right now, while the goals talk about preserve and protect the neighborhood to the west of Crystal City and appropriate building heights for commercial buildings that will border the single family area, there is little other mention of our area. Nor does the CC plan (what is now being called a sector plan) recognize the historic designation the county spent staff time and tax dollars on to award to much of the Aurora Highlands (and Aurora Hills) part of the larger neighborhood. That designation includes Restaurant Row, which is now overlaid by both the CC Plan as well as the CC Business Improvement District (CCBID).

This is a complex discussion and worthy of your time, given its likely impact over the next 40 years on our area. We will review what the community as a whole has done to date to feed into the process. Go to http://www.arlingtonvirginiausa.com/index.cfm/11250 to see all the plan info.

Variance request:

[Editors Note regarding the following neighbor: We can discuss the request and decided whether to support or not support this request. However, it's one of those funny stories about our neighborhood I'd like to share. I do not know the Grenells, I only just met Burt at the October monthly meeting for AHC when he asked if we could put his on the agenda. What he didn't know, I had planned a few months earlier to give them a verbal °good neighbor°¨ award in the newsletter as they are the family at the corner of 19th/Ives that plants the beautiful flowers outside their fence along the sidewalk for the rest of us to enjoy. Now is my chance to recognize them. It's one of so many little stories in our area that makes us all love to live here. And so funny how life works that then for the first time Burt approached me about the variance request at the last meeting]

Dear Bruce,
We have filed a request with Arlington county Zoning for a variance (or is it called a use permit?) to build a 6 foot by 6 foot by 22 inch deep bay window off our kitchen, that is, on the West facing wall between our house and our side yard neighbors' home. The variance is required because the current setback is only 6 feet 2 inches, rather than the 8 feet that current code requires. The deepest part of the window (a 2 feet wide section) comes within 4 feet 4 inches of the property line. The only other thing in this side yard area is our AC compressor, a 3 foot by 3 foot steel box. We would love to have the support or at least lack of objection stated by the civic association. It will be a very pretty window- being constructed of Anderson Art Glass leaded glass panels (like stained glass, only this uses clear glass, prisims, and wavy antique glass with nickel caming. The window will not add floor space- only a shelf below the window. I gather that the proceess is to put something in the newsletter, and solicit coments at the next civic association meeting. I will attend, with my drawings and pho-tos. Thanks for your help- Burt and Marcia Grenell, 901 S. 19th Street.

(please be generous with your membership fees and additional donations):
We should have sent out this reminder sooner. Per our by-laws, as amended, we are supposed to renew our memberships by October 31. Current dues are $6 for families and $3 dollars for indi-viduals. However, I would encourage you to think in terms of $10 and $5. In addition, as we asked once before, I encourage you to go further, and give what you feel you can. These donations ALL go into the general savings accounts to be used for the many issues we face as well as the social events we are trying to hold on a more regular basis. The AHCA Bank Balance as of 10/30/09 was $7,547.99, however after we pay the bills for the Boo (using donations that were given specifically for the Boo) we may drop down to somewhere just over $6,000. I know times are tough, but the money you give to the AHCA savings account ALL goes back into the community. Even our newsletter (regular printing) is generously donated by SOC. So AHCA has very little in regular expenses, other than ad hoc flyer printings we do.

Which leads me to the next point: rather than providing return pre-addressed envelopes for the membership dues (and hopefully generous donations) which cost $250 even at a significant discount from SOC, we are asking you to please mail your checks to:
(Please include your name, address, phone, email and any special concerns)
Aurora Highlands Civic Association
P.O Box 25201
Arlington, VA 22202
(fyi ­this is at the Eads Street Post Office which will be moving in the future)

The Post Office will be moving in two years and is looking for a location for the retail function that will be relocated inside the AHCA boundary lines, and to the west of Route 1, most likely in Pentagon City area but USPS is open to creative suggestions.

Aurora Highlands Civic Association

P.O. Box 25201 - Arlington, VA 22202

"The Association is a non-partisan organization of community residents formed to work in the overall community interest in promoting civic pride, enhancing the quality of life in the community, preserving the character of the community and planning for the orderly, safe, and humane development of the community" (AHCA Bylaws, Article II). The AHCA meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month (unless specifically noted) in the Aurora Hills Recreation Center (735 S. 18th St.) at 7:00 p.m.

2009 Issues

  1. Library & Community Center & Old Fire House 105 & Virginia Highlands Park
  2. NC Projects: 19th Street (600&700 blocks) sidewalk & street lights, spray park in VHP, Ives Street (20th-23nd) sidewalks & street lights, 19th-22nd west side of Fern-street lights &sidewalk.
  3. Potential Dog Park
  4. Sidewalks & Street Lights
  5. Crystal City Long Term Plan as well as CCBID relationship to Aurora Highlands area
  6. Wakefield High School Capital Rebuilding.
  7. Waste Water Treatment Plant
  8. Social Events
    Holiday potluck at Fire House in December

AHCA account balance as of 10/30/09 was $7547.99; certain funds will be withdrawn that were donated to Boo

Association Officers & Committee Chairs
  • President - Bruce Cameron 703 892-5071
  • Vice President - Michael Dowell 703-521-7739
  • 2nd Vice President - Van Newstrom 703 683-5911
  • Treasurer / Membership - Gail Fleming
  • Business Secretary & Web Master- John Kriese 703 519-0961
  • Corresponding Secretary - Paul Mcaree
  • AHCA NCAC Rep: Chris Mann
  • AHCA CCBID Rep: Cheryl Mendonsa
  • LRPC CC Long Term Plan: B. Cameron & Mike Dowell
  • Aircraft Noise Liaison - Denis O'Sullivan 703-521-6425
  • Meeting Hospitality - Julie Ann Beveridge and Rosamunda Neuharth-Ozgo
  • Newsletter Distribution - Bruce Cameron
  • Newsletter Editor-Maria Cameron 703-892-5071
  • Police and Waste Water Treatment Plant Liaison -Brad & Louise Garris - 703-548-1944
  • Urban Planning Ted Saks 703-683-1312
  • Items for the newsletter: Send items in e-mail messages (not attachments) to the newsletter editor, Bruce Cameron at brucecameronahca@gmail.com

    SCO Enterprises invites you to
    Celebrate the Holiday Season
    Miracle on 23rd Street
    Tree Lighting Celebration
    Friday, December 4, 2009
    6:30pm - 8:30pm

    SOC Enterprises, Inc.
    750 S. 23rd Street
    Arlington, VA

    6:30pm Caroling with the Calvary Methodist Church Choir
    7:00pm Tree Lighting
    7:15pm Santa Arrives!
    7:15pm to 8:30pm Visit with Santa, Crafts, Music and Refreshments

    Bring the whole family to enjoy an evening of holiday
    festivities and a special visitor from the North Pole!

    SOC Enterprises is a community non-profit organization dedicated
    to helping adults with disabilities achieve their full potential through
    meaingful employment for 50 years.

    SOC can help with all your holiday card needs this year! See details.

    Plumbing: Master Service, LLC
    Lyman Stutzman:
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    Phone: 703.525.3399

  • Specializing in residential service, repair and remodeling
  • See our good references in Angie's List and Washington Checkbook.
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    Calvery United Methodist Church
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    Christmas Bazaar

    Saturday, November 14
    10:00 am. - 2:00 pm
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    AHCA Newsletter--Happy to support our local businesses and organizations! Please contact us for our low advertising rates.

    SOC Enterprises
    750 South 23rd St. Arlington, VA 22202
    703-920-9400 Fax: 703-299-3255
    "Business and Rehabilitation"
    We combine both to provide meaningful training and
    work for our community's disabled
    SOC for Printing, Mailing, and Fulfillment Services

    Our sincere thanks to SOC for their support of AHCA by printing our newsletter.