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Arlington County Civic Federation

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Letter to the Arlington County Board

Arlington Urgent Care Center

And the Board's Response

August 10, 2006

Arlington County Board
#1 Courthouse Plaza, Suite 300
2100 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22201

Honorable Chris Zimmerman, Chairman

Subject: Arlington Urgent Care Center

Dear Chris:

I am writing to express our concern about the possible termination of the Arlington Urgent Care Center and to request information from you about the actions the County is taking to ensure continuous operation when the current lease expires in December.

We are familiar with the history of the development of the Urgent Care Center in south Arlington by the Virginia Hospital Center as part of the Hospital renovation and expansion and with the need to find a new location. We are very concerned about the lack of public information regarding the County and Hospital plans for continuing the Urgent Care Center. This is compounded by conflicting reports provided to interested citizens such as the following:

  • Like other Urgent Care Centers, the Arlington Urgent Care Center it is not a profitable enterprise for the Hospital. The current lease is below market rates. Build out of a new location may cost about $1,000,000. Due to such cost considerations, the Hospital may take the position that it met the site plan condition to �implement� an Urgent Care Center and it is not required to do so again.

  • The current landlord, Cafritz, has made an offer to provide a new location for the Urgent Care Center in a new seven-story building to be built at Cafritz�s River Place. The Cafritz offer includes a 20-year lease at the center�s current rate, a temporary move into trailers while the building is constructed, a build out of the new space, and a move to the new space. Cafritz is willing to do this as a community benefit associated with the construction of the new building, which would house the center on the first two floors and doctors� offices on five above floors.

  • The Cafritz offer received initial support from County staff/officials and was expected to proceed but has now been rejected by the County. A reason given for the rejection was that Urgent Care is not an allowable use in the current zoning of the proposed site (RA 6-16). The County is exploring alternative South Arlington locations, for example Crystal City, but staff is not hopeful that there is an affordable location.

  • County officials are weighing current priorities and are considering discontinuation of the Urgent Care Center in exchange for the Hospital providing other services, such as additional psychiatric beds.

The Urgent Care Center offers an important service to Arlington residents, workers, and visitors. Therefore it is important that the County provide public information about the County�s objectives and actions on this important matter�and how the public will be informed about alternatives before any decision is made that results in the discontinuation of the Urgent Care Center.

I hope you and the Board strongly will consider this request. Please feel free to contact me via telephone at: 703-525-8921, or via email at; larrymayer@civfed.org.


Lawrence R. Mayer
President, Arlington County Civic Federation
3108 4th Street North
Arlington, VA 22201-1614

And the Response from Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman

Arlington County Board

August 25, 2006

Mr. Lawrence R. Mayer, President
Arlington County Civic Federation

Dear Mr. Mayer:

On behalf of the County Board, thank you for sharing the Arlington County Civic Federation's comments relating to the Urgent Care Center in south Arlington. I assure you that the Board's commitment on this matter has not wavered from our previous position, as shared in the attached letter to the President of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association dated January 17, 2006.

As an update, County staff are currently working with stakeholders to explore various options - both short- and long-term. Recently, I met with representatives of the community and staff to ensure them that we are committed to continuous service of this important resource for south Arlington and the community at-large.

Thank you for writing to share your support for continuation of the Urgent Care Center. We look forward to your continued active involvement in this and other matters that impact the quality of life in Arlington.


Christopher Zimmerman


The attachment

Arlington County Board

January 17, 2006

Ms. Cheryl Mendonsa, President
Aurora Highlands Civic Association

Dear Ms. Mendonsa:

Thank you for your email regarding the Urgent Care Center in south Arlington. This is a subject matter that I feel strongly about as I believe that maintaining health care in this area is critical to the health and wellbeing of our community.

Based on your questions, the County Manager's Office was requested to investigate and report back to the Board on this matter, and we received the attached report. When the Board adopted the site plan for the Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), we envisioned the operation of the Urgent Care Center to be continuous. After a review of the site plan conditions, the Zoning Administrator opined, in agreement with the Board and community, that operation of an Urgent Care Center was to be a long term commitment. However, VHC's legal counsel believes that the condition required only a one time start-up of a center.

Staff is still very much involved in discussions with the developer as the site plan proposal moves forward for Two Metropolitan Park. I have shared this report with my colleagues and assure you that we will continue to work with staff to find a way to preserve this important service for south Arlington and the community at-large.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with the Board. We look forward to continuing to work with the Aurora Highlands Civic Association on this issue.


Christopher Zimmerman

This page was last revised on: August 31, 2006.
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