Tuesday, April 28, 1998
MEMBERSHIP MEETING 7:30 P.M.
Meeting at the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA), 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia, 22203-1860, Ellipse Conference Center (Room CC2), Free Parking for Membership Meeting, Garage Entry Up to 8:00 P.M. (See Details Below)Membership Meeting (7:30 - 9:30 p.m.).
1. 1998 Session Highlights. Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, representing the 31st Senatorial District of the Senate of Virginia, part of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, has accepted the Association's invitation to address the membership on the highlights of the 1998 Virginia General Assembly at our next Membership Meeting on Tuesday, April 28, 1998, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Senator Whipple has provided the Association a copy of the "1998 Session Highlights," which is a listing of significant legislation considered by the 1998 General Assembly as selected by the staff of the Division of Legislative Services. In her letter to the Association, Senator Whipple states that this was a most interesting session of the General Assembly, and legislation that was passed will have far-reaching consequences for the citizens of Virginia. Passed measures are still subject to the governor's veto. Based on the Association's annual neighborhood surveys conducted the past five years and e-mails received, BVSCA President Ragland has asked Senator Whipple to address five specific legislative items from the "1998 Session Highlights," and any other items that she believes may be of special interest and concern to Arlington/Falls Church residents. The five specific legislative items are as follows:
1) Constitutional Amendments (Passed). Five Measures passed for the second time and will be placed on the November 1988 ballot for voter approval. They concern the confidentiality of Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission proceedings, overseas voters, and local taxation and finance matters.
2) Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998 (Failed) and Sales Tax on Food (Carried Over).
3) Higher Education -- Scholarship Program (Passed) and Alcohol Use in Colleges (Passed).
4) Megan's Law (Community Notification), (Passed). Adds to the offenses for which registration is required: marital sexual assault; aggravated sexual battery where the victim is 13 or 14 years old, ....
5) Transient Occupancy and Food and Beverage Taxes (Failed). Authorizes all localities to impose a transient occupancy tax of up to 5.5 percent and a food and beverage tax of up to 5.5 percent. The requirement that counties approve a food and beverage tax at referendum is repealed.
The Association encourages members and interested citizens to attend this meeting and welcome Senator Whipple back from Richmond, and to hear the highlights of the 1998 General Assembly. (7:30 to 8:15 p.m.).
2. Draft Vision Statement of the Transportation Planning Board (TPB). The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Department of Transportation Planning has devoted two years to gathering ideas and preparing a Strategic Vision statement for the 21st century. The Vision Statement addresses today's traffic report and includes a forecast for 2020. For example, under the traffic report discussion, the cost of traffic congestion in our region -- as measured in wasted time and gasoline while idling in gridlock -- is the highest in the nation. The average commute time here is 30% higher than the national average. Under the Forecast for 2020, the TPB states that our region can "expect more than a 70% increase in the number of vehicle miles traveled since 1990 -- while road capacity is planned to increase only 20%." The Board will consider the draft vision statement at its May 16, 1998, County Board meeting. The Board comments will be forwarded to the TPB, which will use the community comments to revise the vision statement. For additional information on the TPB Vision Planning process, please contact the TPB through the Council of Governments (COG) web site at "www.mwcog.org," or leave an e-mail message for the Transportation Commission at: "atang2@co,arlington.va.us." (8:15 to 9:00 p.m.) (Action Item.).
3. Nominating Committee. Election of a three member Nominating Committee to report a Slate of Candidates for Election at our May Annual Meeting. (9:15 to 9:30 p.m.). (Action Item).
Adjournment (no later than 9:30 p.m.).
1997-'98 Membership Meeting Schedule. Monthly Membership Meetings of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association are scheduled at the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA), 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia, Ellipse Conference Center (Room CC1 except as noted) for the following Tuesday evenings: 5/26, 6/30, 7/28, 8/25 (Room CC2), 9/29, 10/27, and 11/24/98. These meeting dates are the last Tuesday of the month. For your information, NRECA provides free garage access for one hour at NRECA's underground parking garage for participants attending the BVSCA Membership Meeting (30 minutes prior, to 30 minutes following, the starting time of our meeting). The garage's automatic exit device allows exit-only traffic after the garage is closed. BVSCA participants should be prepared to state they are attending the BVSCA Membership Meeting in order to receive free parking. Members should be advised that the garage will be accessible only up to 8:00 p.m., 30 minutes following the 7:30 p.m. starting time of our Membership Meeting, and that once the garage closes vehicles will still be able to exit the garage. Access to the Conference Room will be provided at 7:00 p.m.; the room must be completely vacated no later than 9:45 p.m. Also, general cleaning of the room, including trash removal, is the responsibility of BVSCA.
1997-'98 Executive Committee Meetings. The Executive Committee meets as often as is necessary to attend to the issues which come up and need to be dealt with. For the 1997-'98 membership year, at a minimum, the Committee will meet following the end of the Membership Meeting or the first Wednesday of the month. The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for May 20th. The Committee's meetings are open to any dues paid member of the Association. At the next Executive Committee meeting on May 20th, the Association has scheduled a presentation on the proposed Arlington Gateway Project, at a site to be announced at the April 28th Membership Meeting. The presentation will be made by the legal representatives of the site plan applicant, the law firm of Walsh, Collucci, Stackhouse, Emrich & Lubeley. The law firm recently filed an application for Site Plan approval for approximately 3.78 acres of property located at the intersection of N. Fairfax Drive, N. Glebe Road, and N. Vermont Street. The application for the Arlington Gateway Project proposes approximately 493,692 square feet of office use, 493,692 square feet of residential and/or hotel use, and 24,955 square feet to be designated for commercial retail use. According to the letter to the Association dated April 15, 1998, from the law firm, the requested approval is consistent with the existing C-O-A zoning for the subject property as well as the General Land Use Plan's (GLUP) designation of "High Density Mixed-Use." The Association encourages members and interested citizens to attend the Executive Committee meeting on May 20th and express your views. The proposed site plan has yet to be scheduled with the Planning Commission and the Board.
BVSCA Announcements. On April 14, 1998, the Executive Committee initiated additional action to begin the updating of the Ballston-Virginia Square Neighborhood Conservation Plan. (The existing Plan was published by the County Board on October 4, 1994. This plan was previously accepted in general principle by the County Board on February 4, 1984, and won a citation by the Virginia Citizens Planning Association on April 30, 1984. The existing plan took seven (7) years to complete and recommended $2.1 million in neighborhood improvements including curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lighting, traffic management, parks, and beautification.) The Executive Committee heard a presentation on the County's current process for developing and revising Neighborhood Conservation Plans. The Association's NCAC Representative, DeAndra Beck, is currently coordinating with Staff to ascertain the status of the Association's previously recommended neighborhood improvements. The Association plans to resubmit to the County any outstanding recommendations from the prior plan. The Association encourages any interested BVSCA members or citizens, who would like to work on the revised NCAC Plan to contact NCAC Representative DeAndra Beck or the Association's Alternate NCAC Representative Jeff Green. Their phone numbers are listed on the last page. Also, at this meeting, the Executive Committee appointed DeAndra Beck, as one of the Association's Civic Federation Alternate Delegates for the remainder of the BVSCA 1997-'98 Association year, to fill the vacancy created when BVSCA Alternate Delegate David Ryan was nominated and approved as BVSCA Delegate by the Executive Committee at its March 1998 meeting to fill the vacancy created by Delegate Deem Gillmore's passing away the second week in January 1998.
Professional Baseball Stadium Update. On April 16, 1998, BVSCA President Ragland participated in the Fairfax County Federation of Civic Associations' program titled "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The program included representatives from the Virginia Baseball Authority, including Gabe Paul, Jr., who discussed various issues involved in the continuing efforts to place a stadium somewhere in Northern Virginia. President Ragland presented the survey results from the BVSCA 1997 Neighborhood Survey, the Association's Fifth Annual Survey, which showed that 59 of 67 (88.1%) of the BVSCA survey respondents were opposed to any public funding for a Baseball Stadium in Arlington. For additional information about the baseball stadium issue in Northern Virginia, please call Merrily Pierce, President of the Fairfax Civic Federation at 848-1924.
Virginia Partial Exemption Program. Given the concerns about the aging residential stock and the decreasing numbers of quality affordable housing described in the County's draft Consolidated Plan, BVSCA President Ragland recommended to the Board on April 18, 1998, that they initiate action to adopt the Virginia Partial Exemption Program for Renovated Residential Structures, Code of Virginia, Section 58.1-3220. The Code prescribes that the governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, provide for the partial exemption from taxation of real estate on which any structure or other improvement no less than fifteen years of age has undergone substantial rehabilitation, renovation or replacement for residential use, subject to such conditions as the ordinance may prescribe. Currently, thirty Virginia jurisdictions employ limited tax exemption to encourage property improvement or redevelopment. For example, the City of Fairfax has 55 houses in their program, including four that are pending application approval. Previously, the City of Fairfax used a 25% requirement to be eligible, but reduced the percentage to 15% to encourage more parcel owners to join the program. Under their current ordinance, the amount of the exemption is "no" tax on the improvement value for each of the first five years. Beginning in the sixth year, the improvement portion is taxed at 17% of assessed value, and each year thereafter an additional 17% is added. The exemption is phased out at the end of ten years. If adopted, this program could also help reduce the current market demand in Arlington for infill development and help protect the integrity of our neighborhoods.