Home Calendar Newsletters Meetings Committees Positions Officers Toolkit
New Minutes Documents History Arlington Links Feedback Search

Arlington County Civic Federation

You are viewing the archived Civic Federation site. For current information, visit www.civfed.org.

President's Mid-Summer Bulletin

Civic Federation and Zoning Changes,
and County Fair Information

Mid-Summer Update

Well -- I was hoping that I could make it to the end of the summer and get all the new news out in our September Civic Voice Newsletter. However -- there are a couple of hot items that I need to get the word out on -- so with apologies for adding to your email load -- here are couple of things I want to update you.

County Fair

The Civic Federation will have a booth again this year at the Fair. Our primary goal at this event is connecting citizens visiting the booth with our member organizations. For the Civic Associations -- we will have the big Civic Association map out again to ask folks to locate their home. Once we get them to do that, we show them web pages for their respective area or offer them information about their Civic Association like, how to join, who to contact, etc. In the case of other civic organizations -- provide them with information about them and who to contact.

The fair will kick off next week on Thursday afternoon. If you have old newsletter, flyers or brochures for your organization that you would like to have us pass out -- come on by the booth (E-16) as early on as possible and drop them off. We would be pleased to help boost our member organizations! If you have questions or want to drop off early, contact Pat Smaldore, our Fair Booth coordinator at "patricksmaldore@rocketmail.com". Remember - about 80,000 folks make this event --its a great outreach opportunity.

Infill Ordinance Changes

As most of you know there has been plenty of information and misinformation about upcoming proposed changes to the ordinances on such things as lot coverage, pipe-stem lots, height rules and what-not. The first set of changes proposed by the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee created quite a stir -- with ads being run in the paper, folks calling the Civic Federation concerned about future home improvements and such. One could say that there's lots of confusion on this issue.

To help clear some of this up, the Federation is planning on hosting a late September (3rd or 4th week) meeting on this issue. We are going to invite County Staff, the ZORC Chair and others (including the Concerned Arlington County Homeowners) to discuss this and begin formulating a Federation position. I'll let you know the exact date when we get everyone's schedule coordinated.

This last week I received the following email from the County Manager, Ron Carlee, asking the Federation to help get the word out on exactly what the County is contemplating and clear some of the air. There is a link in here for a letter from the County Board.

Here's Ron's note:

    From Ron Carlee, Arlington County Manager

    Could you please put the following through the Civic Federation's e-mail distribution? I want to assure people that I will not consider making recommendations that will kill reinvestment in our neighborhoods. That was never ZORC's intent nor the County Board's directive. We really are looking at how to control egregious development that is harmful to neighborhoods. At this point, research is still in progress and there is no recommendation from me to the Board. Also, people should see the Chairman's letter on the County Board's web site (http://www.co.arlington.va.us/cbo/lot_letter.htm). Thanks.

    County Manager Commentary in the Arlington Sun Gazette

    "I would like to clarify recent public discussions on the issue of residential lot coverage in Arlington County. Most importantly, I want to stress that there are no recommendations before the County Board to amend the zoning ordinance at this time. Any recommendations that may be developed in the future will be widely circulated in the community for review and a public hearing held before any consideration by the County Board. Arlington County has become such a desirable place to live that people are now willing to build houses on virtually every available vacant piece of property. The high price of the property frequently results in builders wanting to build the biggest house possible on a lot. This has even led to houses being demolished to build bigger, new houses.

    Much of the new development and redevelopment are appropriate and healthy for the sustainability of a mature urban community; however, some of the development has been significantly different than the scale and character of the surrounding neighborhood. Thus, we began an effort to deal with complaints from the community about the most egregious development � what some people refer to as monster houses or "McMansions." Our challenge is to define what is egregious development and how it can be limited while permitting and even encouraging continued investment in our residential neighborhoods. Through a community review process, issues already considered relate to set backs and height. Coverage and pipe stem lots are now under review.

    At this point, I have concluded that we do not have adequate data on which to base a recommendation on coverage. We need to have better data on actual existing coverage in our different residential zones under the existing ordinance. We then need to have a very clear understanding of the actual rather than the hypothetical impacts of any alternatives we may consider. Only after this work is completed will I bring forward recommendations for community and County Board consideration.

    The discussion that has occurred in the community has helped bring a greater awareness to this issue. Our job as County staff is to develop well researched alternatives that help us sustain the most desirable residential communities in the Washington area. I expect it to take several months to produce the quality product that is expected of us.

    Ron Carlee
    County Manager
    2100 Clarendon Blvd - Suite 302
    Arlington, VA 22201
    Telephone 703-228-3120
    Fax 703-228-3295"

Civic Federation Response:


I'd be very happy to help out.

First -- we'll post this note, if its okay on the Federation web site. Second, I'll email it to my distribution list for the Federation's organization presidents,

Ron, as I mentioned in July, I'm still planning on holding a meeting for the Federation on this issue. At last week's Executive Committee meeting, we decided to plan a special Federation meeting in the 3rd or 4th week of September, depending on when Monica Craven, Carrie Johnson and Staff (whomever you would like to participate) are available. I'd really like to clear the air of confusion and misinformation on this issue vis-�-vis impacts.

Will keep you posted on this.

Cheers. Jim Pebley

This page was last revised on: December 28, 2003.
Home Calendar Newsletters Meetings Committees Positions Officers Toolkit
New Minutes Documents History Arlington Links Feedback Search