Over the Fence - Summer 2008

2018 Meeting Schedule

All meetings are at Patrick Henry Elementary School Library
at 7:00 PM

Summer 2008



As I write, we are experiencing our first heat wave. I hope everyone is finding ways to stay cool in this heat. It is an exciting time in the neighborhood, with increased social events and many improvement projects completed or underway. Our Spring BBQ/Potluck on Neighborhood Day was a big success. We lucked out with a dry weather spell in the midst of days of torrential rain. Over 100 people attended, with lot of conversation, bike riding, game playing, one-legged racing, moonbouncing (courtesy of Mike and Claudia Webb), and of course eating. Our district police commander, Captain Michelle Nuneville made an appearance, along with other police officers and our local firefighters from Firehouse One. They let the kids explore the vehicles and helped us polish off a lot of cheeseburgers! Two County Board members joined us for the party: Barbara Favola and Walter Tejada. Special thanks to Chris Eremia for her help and Hudson Street residents who were happy to host. Many commented that they hoped we could do it again next year too, and I think we should.

Regarding improvement projects, a full write-up is included in a separate article due to limited space. But, if you were to ask, what can I do to help improve the neighborhood, other than volunteering time, you can help us with our fundraising efforts. Again this year at the Arlington County Fair, Merrifield Garden Center will be raising funds to improve TJ park, by selling orchids and gift certificates. A portion of the proceeds will go to park improvement. If you are planning a landscaping or gardening project, large or small, please consider purchasing a gift certificate during the Fair from Merrifield Garden Center. Also look for our Lemonade Stand fundraiser and membership drive again during the County Fair, at the corner of S. Irving St. and 2nd Street. To volunteer, please contact Chris Eremia at Christine_Rosner@stockpot.com.

We welcome our new First Vice-President, Martin Chadzynski, who was elected at our Spring meeting. The Executive Committee is pleased to have its ranks full once again, and we thank Martin for his willingness to volunteer again for this position, in which he has served previously. Also, thank you Adrienne Wood for volunteering to be our new Newsletter Distribution Coordinator!

Other important news is that our neighborhood is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A map of the historic district is on our website at: http://www.ahca.info/planning/2008/Historic_District. This means that you could be eligible for tax deductions when you renovate your home if you take certain steps prior to renovation. Please contact Michael Leventhal, Arlington County Historic Preservation Coordinator at 703-228-3813, for further information on how to plan your renovation effectively to obtain a tax deduction.

Another important issue for residents is the Accessory Dwelling proposal that is under consideration by the County. The current proposal would permit accessory dwellings in single-family homes only. This proposal has been controversial since it could potentially increase density in neighborhoods. Full details are available on the county website at: http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/CPHD/housing/hpp/page61595.aspx

I hope to see you around the neighborhood. 

  Juliet Hiznay

Neighborhood Improvement Projects

The mosaic project at the Fenwick Center has finally been installed. AHCA thanks Amy Vennett and Carole Lieber for their follow-up to complete this project. Two Missing Links sidewalk projects were just finished. These were to complete sidewalk around the length of the Fenwick building, and to replace of the driveway apron at TJ Park.

Our Neighborhood Conservation projects are moving forward too. The Garfield St. (Arlington Blvd. to 2nd St.) project is close to 100% design. Construction may be completed in 2008.  S. Fenwick St. (Arlington Blvd. to 2nd St.) will be the next project under consideration for funding (possibly as early as Fall 2008), to be followed by S. Irving St. (Arlington Blvd. to 2nd St).

Improvements are also in the works for TJ park, thanks to Kurt Louis, our park area manager for the county, and many others. The upper field grass replacement project was just completed, and the field will be playable in the fall. Please stay off the grass so the new turf can develop roots. The county also installed water so the blue stone field can be wetted more often to reduce dust. The county continues to replace old pedestrian lights along the running trail as they fail, and to upgrade trashcans throughout the park. The county also plans to improve the running trail at TJ, which has long had drainage problems. Work has also begun on the improvements funded through our park enhancement grant application. Water access has been installed. Two new benches for TJ park have just arrived, and should be installed prior to the Fair. The remaining component of the park enhancement grant is the information stand (aka kiosk).  The civic association will be coordinating with county staff on kiosk design.

Beautification work continues at the corner of 2nd and S. Irving. Our thanks to Patrick Wegeng of the Parks Department for the lovely mature holly tree, which replaced a dead hemlock that did not survive the demolition of the homes. Neighborhood volunteers have also worked hard with me to improve our park with an invasive plant removal project, and by donating plants, planting, mulching, and weeding.  Thank you very much to our green thumb volunteers: Rebecca Mashaw, Phil Mackall, Lynn Kristianson, and Kimberly Sumner.

The most significant project under way is the Pedestrian Bridge project. The pedestrian bridge is a vital pedestrian link to points north and was identified in our 2007 Neighborhood Conservation Plan as needing work. Updates regarding the project are available at http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/EnvironmentalServices/cpe/page63231.aspx The county designed the project in-house at significant cost savings. The project scope includes sandblasting the surface, painting, replacing decking with a non-slip surface, replacing chain link with new mesh, installing lighting and a roof, and improving railings, as well as ADA accessibility. The project will not replace the existing structure or ramps. The project will be contained during work so that no debris can fall onto the highway. An effort is being made to minimize traffic impact on Arlington Blvd. Lane closures will be necessary during the initial phases of the project, but afterward the contractor will be using a scaffolding structure above the bridge, thus minimizing the need to close lanes.

A related WalkArlington project is under design to install sidewalk on N. Jackson St. providing safer pedestrian access to the bridge. That project will also require a VDOT permit and is expected to be completed after work on the bridge is done.


Please join the civic association at its summer meeting on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 7 pm at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Classroom 111 (enter through Middle School on Old Glebe Rd.) Expected Agenda Items: Liaison Report on 2008 Arlington County Fair; Speeding and Other Pedestrian Safety Issues in the Neighborhood; Parking Pressures in the Neighborhood.

Parking Update

Many of you have probably noticed that the parking situation became very tough this spring in the south section of the neighborhood. As far as the civic association can tell, the added pressures come from three sources: enforcement of lot restrictions at the Career Center, a proprietary nursing school operating in the old Strayer University Building on S. Highland St., and additional visitors to Columbia Pike. During business hours, this became quite a headache for staff and visitors to Patrick Henry, the Career Center, Fenwick Center, and the Columbia Pike Library. The civic association set up a meeting with the county’s Parking Manager, representatives of each facility, the parking lot manager, and some residents and business owners. The meeting was held on May 12. What we learned is that there is simply too much demand for parking both in the lot and on neighborhood streets, while parking in private lots has not been fully pursued.

The civic association will continue to look at potential solutions to this problem. What seems clear, however, is that it is very likely this will continue to get worse if the issue is not addressed. Columbia Pike will get more business, not less, and new programs are also likely to begin at the Career Center, such as the evening High School Continuation Program. It will be up to each block of each street (through the petitioning process) to determine if there is interest in pursuing permit parking. The neighborhood may find itself needing to restrict parking in ways that has not been necessary in the past.


Virginia Grantors Tax Increase Repealed

Sellers in Virginia were recently given a nice gift! Actually a reversion back to the way it was in 2007, reducing the Grantor's tax back to 1%. The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled recently that the legislation creating the Northern Virginia Regional Transportation Authority and giving it the power to collect taxes was unconstitutional.

The related fee of interest in real estate was is the Congestion Relief Fee that charged the seller $4.00 per thousand of the sales price or assessed value whichever was the higher amount, together with the existing Grantor's tax of 1%.

With the new tax increase to 5%, a property owner selling a $500,000 home would pay a tax of $2,500 in 2008 instead of $500 prior to 1/1/08.

The Grantor's tax is now at 1% again, although watch out for paying tax on the assessed value if it’s higher than the sales price. The Northern Virginia market is experiencing many transactions where the sales price is lower than assessed value.

Affordable Home Solutions!

Low down payments from to 1% to 3% are possible the new FHA loan program which finances up to $729,750. Home buyers with little or no cash for down payments can use programs like Ameridream (www.Ameridream.com) and the Nehemiah Program ( www.getdownpayment.com), which offer gift funds up to 6% of the contract sales towards down payment and closing costs.

These two companies charge a nominal processing fee that may be paid by the seller, homebuyer, or lender. Gift funds can be used for both new construction and resale homes. There is no repayment of gift money required, no limits on income or assets, and no geographical restrictions.

If you are a buyer seeking attractive financing options, or a home owner looking for increased exposure to a larger pool of buyers, call me for information on how to optimize your situation!

FREE Report on How to Get the Price You Want and Need When Selling Your Home 1-800-895-1307 ID# 8016
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Associate Broker
RE/MAX Allegiance

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Re/Max Allegiance

Other NearbyNews

The Penrose Square Master Plan is nearing completion and will be presented to the County Board in July. Details about the proposal are available online at: http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/ParksRecreation/scripts/planning/InDesign/pdfs/page64016.pdf This is the public square portion of the Penrose project. Plans include a new updated Giant supermarket.

In related news, Giant has arranged for temporary pharmacy space next door to Rappahanock Coffee to serve existing customers. However Giant is still in contract negotiations, so the closing date for the supermarket is still unknown. The Halstead project (southwest corner of the Pike with Walter Reed) is on time, with retail space expected to open in November 2008. The Siena Park project (old Safeway site across from Bob & Edith’s Diner) is continuing to move forward. Owners of the Gosnell property (behind the Rite Aid between Walter Reed Drive and S. Edgewood St.) are working on design plans for a construction project to conform to the Columbia Pike Form Based Code.

Arlington Heights Civic Association - 2008 Officers


AHCA Summer Meeting, Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 7 p.m., Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Classroom 111

Arlington County Fair, August 6-10, 2008, TJ Community Center and Grounds

AHCA Fall Meeting, Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 7 p.m., Patrick Henry Elementary School Library

AHCA Annual Meeting, Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 7 p.m. -- Patrick Henry Elementary School Library

How to Make the Most of Our Yahoo Group

This is for those of you who have never visited the Yahoo Group on the web, or who are not aware of its full content.

Anyone who is interested can join the neighborhood Yahoo Group (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/AHCA). You can subscribe directly by sending an e-mail to ahca-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. But, did you know that you can tailor your membership so it works best for you?

Here is how, once you have subscribed, you can visit the website http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/AHCA. On the home page for the yahoo group look at the top left of the page for your profile name and e-mail address. Next to your profile is a link to “Edit Membership.” Click on this link and you will be able to control your delivery method (individual e-mails, daily digests, web access only). This may be a welcome feature for those who want to scan messages on the web rather than have them pop up in their e-mail.

Any member of the group should also check out the content files that are posted in the Yahoo Group. There are old newsletters and a number of other items of neighborhood interest posted in the files section (from home page, look at links on left side of page). These files are easier to post than our website, and the postings are often announced to the group. The files section of the Yahoo Group is not to be confused with the content available at our website at: www.ahca.info (although there is likely some overlap between the two).

Here is to happy Yahooing!

Free Your Trees; Cut Down the Ivy (Article Contributed by Mary Ann Lawler)


Arlington County ’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources has published a brochure called “Invaders in Our Backyards—Help Save Arlington’s Parks from Invasive Vines.”  It describes several invasive exotic species of vines, which are taking over many of the natural areas in parks throughout the county.  The brochure says that English ivy is the worst problem for parks, because it “can take over and destroy wildflowers, shrubs, and native groundcover in its path.  It eventually kills the trees it climbs.”  

Ivy is detrimental to trees for several reasons.  It can pull down small trees.  Vines climbing up tree trunks spread out and surround branches and twigs, preventing most of the sunlight from reaching the leaves of the host tree.  They keep the bark damp and make trees vulnerable to fungus and insect pests. The added weight of vines makes infested trees susceptible to blow-over during storms. Loss of host tree vigor becomes evident within a few years and is followed by death a few years later.  English ivy also serves as a reservoir for bacterial leaf scorch (Xylella fastidiosa), a plant pathogen that is harmful to native trees such as elms, oaks, and maples.  Furthermore, once ivy climbs trees, it produces dark blue berries, which fall or are eaten by birds further spreading the vines.  

To prevent its spread and to save your own trees, cut ivy at about eye-level and pull it away from the trunk.  The ivy above eye level will die and fall off.  After cutting, you can also paint the lower portions of the stems and foliage with an herbicide that contains the active ingredient triclopyr without wetting the tree bark. Follow label directions carefully. Because English ivy is an evergreen vine, and remains active during the winter, herbicide applications can be made to it any time of year as long as temperatures are above 55 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days. Fall and winter applications will avoid or minimize impacts to many native plant species. Repeat herbicidal treatments are likely to be needed.  

The County Cooperative Extension Office in Fairlington has copies of the brochure, which also provides information on controlling porcelain berry, mile-a-minute weed, and other invasive vines.   Alternative ground covers are listed in the brochure and will soon be on display at the Rock Quarry Garden at Bon Air Park.

OLD ARLINGTON GRILL at the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse

2903 Columbia Pike - Arlington VA 22204
703 486-2345 (box office)

Open daily 5PM to closing - Open weekends to 1AM

Old Arlington Grill is a new restaurant and lounge
located inside the Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse.

Owned and operated by the owners of the Drafthouse,
Old Arlington Grill specializes
in old-fashioned American grill classics with a modern twist
in an urban bar setting.

Join us after work and stay for a quality dining experience. Come early for a Cinema 'N' Drafthouse event or stay
after the event for desserts, drinks and coffee

Arlington Heights neighborhood special:
Bring this ad with you for a free appetizer!
Limit one per person
Valid for dining in Old Arlington Grill only

Do You Have Issues?

Arlington Heights is home to a number of county and school facilities – which offer many opportunities and benefits, but can also impact quality of life in less pleasant ways. Here are a few county phone numbers that could help you address these issues and others:

For drinking in public or other illegal conduct in parks: Call the Park Rover at 571-238-0265, or Arlington County Police at 703-558-2222.

For dust storms at TJ or other problems at any neighborhood park: Call our park area manager, Kurt Louis, at 703-228-7754 or 703-856-7366.

For code violations, such as overgrown lots or accumulation of junk: Call code enforcement at 703-228-3232 (be prepared to provide location address).

To pursue permit parking on your block: Call 703-228-3575.

To report a traffic light signal problem: Call 703-228-3575.