BALLSTON-VIRGINIA SQUARE

Civic Association Newsletter

April/May 1996 - Volume 19, No. 8



QUINCY SOCCER FIELD--UPDATE

The Civic Association has invited Pete Feheley, Program Sports Supervisor, Arlington's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources, to return to our next Membership Meeting on April 24, 1996, to discuss a proposed public-private venture between the County and Marymount University to upgrade the Quincy Park soccer/football playfield.

Mr. Feheley has discussed this proposed public-private venture at our prior Membership Meetings on Wednesday, February 28, 1996, and Wednesday, March 27, 1996. He agreed to return at the request of our members present at the last meeting, along with representatives from Marymount University, to discuss the University's proposed draft "Letter of Intent." This Letter of Intent is to set forth the expectations of Marymount University concerning the proposed public-private venture to upgrade the Quincy Park soccer/football playfield.

As of April 15, 1996, the Association has yet to receive any drafts of the proposed terms in writing. Although some questions about Marymount's coordination with other affected sports organizations, their soccer schedule for home games, and how many seasons this joint venture would entail, many questions about the proposal have not been answered. For example, Marymount has not finalized their intent concerning the use of the Quincy Park soccer playfield for practice sessions and the use of the playfield by casual users and other group users. Also, how many seasons will this joint venture entail? We have heard possibly 5 seasons, but nothing has been formalized. Another member has inquired what percentage of the cost of the maintenance of the playfield will be borne by Marymount University, other group users, and the taxpayers. County staff has estimated approximately $5,000 bill be paid by Marymount University annually for maintenance costs. What is the basis for that estimate--what percentage of use does that equate to?

Because the Association has not received requested information after two prior meetings, including the members' requests for both the draft Letter of Intent and the County's draft Memorandum of Understanding in response to Marymount University's draft, the Executive Committee recommends to the Association members that the proposed upgrade of Quincy Park playfield by Marymount University not be supported.

In our prior meeting with County staff and Marymount University representatives, our Association adopted a resolution to the effect that "We are pleased with the concept of improving a field that has been very badly deteriorated, but we would like in writing the assurance that access to that field would be maintained for the casual use by the community, as well as the long term users of the field like Washington Lee High School baseball, American Legion baseball, and other baseball groups." This motion was made by our NCAC representative, Nancy Iacomini, properly seconded, and unanimously supported by our members present.

Also, it should be noted that members of our Civic Association have been attending public meetings where this venture has been discussed. At the March 26 meeting of the Park and Recreation Commission, our representatives were given an opportunity to address the Commission after County staff had made their presentation concerning the proposed joint venture. Our concerns about continued access to the field by members of our community as well as the organized sports teams of all ages that have historically used the field were made known to the Commission. After much discussion, the Park and Recreation Commission decided to not vote on the issue and defer it to their April 23rd meeting. The Commissioners expressed a desire to have answers to various questions from staff, as well as drafts of agreements and policy statements to consider. They also asked that representatives from Marymount University be present to answer any questions that might arise.

BVSCA representatives also attended the March 28th meeting of the Sports Commission where they were also given an opportunity to speak. Although the Sports Commission had already endorsed the proposal in principle in February, they welcomed our additional comments. At that meeting, Commissioner John McCracken asked that the staff prepare a written policy statement on behalf of the County that would govern use of the Quincy Field after restoration. This policy statement would include unequivocal language stating that the traditional users of Quincy Field (e.g. baseball) would continue to have priority use of the Field in the Spring and Summer. This statement would also confirm continued casual community use of the field. Such a written commitment is, we feel, an essential County-produced element of this joint venture. We have not, however, seen a draft of such a statement.

Our NCAC Representative, Nancy Iacomini, raised the issue of the proposed joint venture at the April 11th meeting of the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee. As the item was not on the agenda, no formal vote was taken. However, several representatives from other Arlington neighborhoods expressed concern about the venture and raised the issue of access also. The Alcova Heights representative commented on the current GWU/Arlington Joint Venture involving one of the ball diamonds at Barcroft. While the field is beautifully maintained, the area is fenced and access is limited. Also, youth sports initially had a hard time gaining access to the facility, but, after contacting the then-Chairman of the County Board, this problem was partially remedied.

Latest County Staff Response #1

On April 14, 1996, BVSCA President Ragland received a letter from Janis B. Wood, Chief, Sports Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources, concerning the last Sports Commission Meeting held on Thursday, March 28, 1996, a representative from the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, requested that I put in writing the current system of scheduling for the athletic fields located at Quincy Park. In response to this request, I would like to provide the Civic Association with the following information that is shared with youth and adult groups requesting use of athletic fields at Quincy Park prior to the commencement of spring and fall sports seasons.

ACTIVITY BEGINNING CONCLUDING QUINCY FIELD W-L Baseball early March mid to late May #1 W-L Baseball early March mid to late May #2, #3 Youth Baseball mid March late June #2 Youth Softball mid March late June #3 Adult Softball late March early November #3 Youth Baseball early June mid August #1 Adult Baseball early June mid August #1 * W-L Field Hockey late August late October Playfield Adult Soccer mid August late October Playfield Youth Soccer mid August early November Playfield

* Currently W-L Field Hockey only practices at Quincy Playfield (located in the left and center field area of Quincy #1 and on most of the field that is identified as Quincy #2). They play their games in the W-L Stadium.
If any change in the field use is anticipated, the Athletic Facility Management Specialist or another designee from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources, informs the sports organization leadership who would normally use the specific site prior to the commencement of their season; in addition, alternative field sites are identified for their use.

Any major change in type of field use or the amount of field use would be shared with all current user organization leaders as well as the Sports Commission. Significant changes of specific sports use at Arlington County athletic fields has rarely been changed over the past fourteen years that I have worked for the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources. However, field designation categories have been refined in recent years by identifying three different categories of fields; these categories are "Permit Only," "Permit Takes Priority," and "Community Use." Additionally over the past two years, our Department has begun to identify levels of maintenance and renovation on athletic fields, as well as appropriate programmed use associated with those fields receiving more intensive maintenance and renovation efforts.

Latest County Staff Response #2

On April 15, 1996, BVSCA President Ragland received a letter from Janis B. Wood, Chief, Sports Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources, in response to the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association's request for further information regarding the three athletic field categories entitled "Play by Permit Only", "Permit Takes Priority" (in effect since the early 1980s) and "Community Use" (in effect since 1992). Please note also that these athletic field use categories as well as the list of athletic fields and their specifically designated category have been presented to the Sports Commission for their approval.

"Play by Permit Only" athletic fields are those fields located in Arlington County parks or on Arlington Public School grounds where only teams with authorized permission may conduct practices or games on an exclusive use basis on specified dates and at specified times.

"Permit Takes Priority" athletic fields are those fields located in Arlington County parks or on Arlington County public School grounds where teams with authorized permission have exclusive priority use these of these fields for practices and games during specified times and on specified dates. When "Permit Takes Priority" athletic fields are not scheduled, individuals, groups and teams are able to use them on a first come, first served basis. Users shall relinquish these areas within one hour when other persons or groups are waiting to use them.

"Community Use" athletic fields are located in County parks where individuals, groups or teams may use them without requesting permission in advance. Users shall relinquish these areas within one hour when other persons or groups are waiting to use them. In the event the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources (PRCR) schedules programs at community field locations, staff is required to issue the participating group a use permit designating the specific time(s) and date(s) for limited exclusive use of these fields. Activities such as mini soccer, drop in football or softball games, kick ball, kite flying and frisbee type activities are examples of appropriate activities for community field areas.

The PRCR Facility Management Specialist or designee either issues a written permit or receives an official game schedule for "Play by Permit Only" and "Permit Takes Priority" and in very rare cases "Community Use" athletic fields located in County parks. In addition, the Director of the Arlington Soccer Association currently assumes the responsibility for writing permits or official game schedules for all youth soccer practices and games in Arlington County. The specific date, time, name of the organization or team(s) and any restrictions are listed on these permits or game schedules.

On athletic fields located on Arlington Public School grounds, permission for use is requested on a biannual basis by PRCR through a Request for Use of School Facilities for Activities Sponsored by Arlington County Government form. The approval or disapproval to use athletic facilities on Arlington Public School property during the requested time period is indicated by each building principal, forwarded through the Assistant Superintendent for Finance at Arlington Public Schools and returned the PRCR Facility Management Specialist. The Specialist in turn will issue permits for exclusive use described in the above paragraph.

Normal hours for use and scheduling of athletic fields is from 9:00 A.M. to official sunset unless athletic field lighting is present seven days per week from mid March through the end of November unless otherwise noted. If fields are too wet for play, groups will not be permitted to use athletic fields regardless of the category. Groups should call (703) 358-4715 for a daily update on athletic field conditions.

The Civic Association has invited representatives from Marymount University and Pete Feheley, Program Sports Supervisor, from Arlington's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources, to discuss Marymount University's Letter of Intent and the County's proposed Memorandum of Understanding or preliminary response to the Letter. If you have any questions or comments about this proposed public- private venture, we invite you to bring them to our Membership Meeting on Wednesday, April 24, 1996, at the Arlington Renaissance Hotel, 2nd floor conference rooms. This item is scheduled for presentation from 9:30 to 10:15 p.m.

Also, the Executive Committee expects that the Association members present at this meeting will vote on whether or not to support the proposed public-private venture for Quincy Park. We invite all interested members to attend and express your views.



STUART PARK SITE PLAN UPDATE

On April 13, 1996, at the recommendation of the County Manager, the Arlington County Planning Commission, and the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to defer to May 11, 1996, the proposed major site plan amendment, SP #256 Stuart Park Apartments (Stuart Park Site: Stuart Street, Taylor Street and Wilson Boulevard in Ballston). Also, the County Board stated their recognition of the issues identified by the Planning Commission and our neighborhood.

The Arlington County Planning Commission identified the following issues: (1) that enclosed balconies should be counted as gross floor area; (2) that the garage entrance on Taylor Street should not be located opposite the entrance to the open space at the Ellipse and along the south side of the park; (3) that this site plan does not raise major new issues on parking in the Ballston area; and (4) that there should be walkways criss- crossing the interim park to provide direct access to Metro and other uses on either side of the park. It should be noted here that the Association's NCAC Representative, Nancy Iacomini, represented the Association at the Planning Commission meeting of April 2, 1996, and testified in support of deferral.

The following is BVSCA Vice-President Deem Gillmore's testimony provided at the County Board meeting of April 13, 1996.

Good Morning, I'm Deem Gillmore, Vice President of The Ballston- Virginia Square Civic Association and this statement is on behalf of the Association. We felt that the staff's memo's identification of the issues to be dealt with during the deferral period is inadequate and hope to get your guidance to the staff and applicant on resolving the issues that we identified in the Association's letter of March 28th to the Planning Commission which you should have in your packets attached to the Commission's letter to you.

The Civic Association Membership heard a presentation by the developer and its representatives at our full Membership meeting on February 28th. The developer's presentation to us indicated that they plan 437 apartment units and we feel that the proposed 437 parking spaces is insufficient for the needs of 437 apartment units, that's 557 bedrooms and anticipated long-term guests, short-term delivery and short-term guests needs. Therefore, the Civic Association would only support this Amendment with the addition of an additional 100 parking spaces to bring the number of on-site spaces up to 537. Without the addition of the necessary on-site guest parking spaces, the amendment is not supported.

The BVSCA does not support modification of use, to exclude from the density computations, the gross floor area committed to enclosed balconies, the health club use, racquet ball courts, and locker rooms. Gross floor area committed to those uses must be included in the density computation for the residential component of the site. Further, any density on the residential component which is above 3.0 Floor Area Ratio must be considered bonus density, and a deed restriction must be recorded such that the C-O-A ordinance's maximum 6.0 FAR limitation will be applied to the consolidated site in such a manner that the density of the commercial component be reduced by the bonus awarded on the residential component.

Another item, that a traffic light should be installed at the intersection of N. Taylor Street and Fairfax Drive. I understand that the people at the Jefferson are also asking for this traffic light and its been pointed out that traffic coming from the Windsor and coming from under the building that houses the Cafe Rio Grande Restaurant, all traffic from those places are coming down from the same intersection, Taylor and Fairfax Drive. And so a light is needed there, needed there right now.

It was the further understanding of the Membership that there would be no reduction on the planned park area between the residential and commercial components of the development, as that is a major component of the neighborhood's 9th Street greenway.

The Association is appreciative of the Board's recognizing that the lack of an adequate quantity of on-site parking has public safety considerations and the action that you took, in the last two site plans in our neighborhood, to include specific amounts of on-site guest parking spaces. As on-site parking is a continuing critical need in our neighborhood, we ask you to provide instructions to the staff to have them secure from the applicant another level of parking for this building.

We would also appreciate your guidance to the staff on conformity with the overall 6.0 FAR for the C-O-A zoning district which can only be achieved here if a restriction is recorded reducing the office density by any residential density which is above 3.0 FAR.



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