The developer, Kevin Smith, has already built several custom houses in Arlington -- this will be his first townhouse venture. (The two houses in Virginia Square that sit at the corner of 13th Street North and North Lincoln Street, where the Lustron house once stood, were built by him.)
The proposal being put forth by Mr. Smith is for 32 luxury townhouses arranged in two U-shaped mews, one with 14 units and accessed from North Stuart Street, and the other with 18 units and accessed from North Stafford Street. Each unit would have approximately 2,800 square feet of living area spread over four levels. All units are accessed from front doors that are on ground level and face the street (or interior courtyard). The first level has a generously-proportioned two-car garage as well as space for a den or home office. The second floor will be the main floor with a living room, dining room, bathroom and kitchen/family room. (A deck may be built off of the family room area or living area, depending upon the preference of the owner.) The third floor will have a master bedroom suite with walk-in closest, full bath, and sitting area. The fourth level (and optional level) will have two or three large bedrooms as well as another bath. The units will have brick fronts and vinyl-sided rears and details. At this time, the developer feels that the units, depending upon their location in the development, how many levels will be built out, and how many options acquired (e.g., elevator at a cost of $35,000) will be priced between $300,000 and $500,000.
The land for the proposed project is currently zoned R-5, Residential Single Family. However, the land is designated at a higher density on the General Land Use Plan, and the townhouse zone of R15-30T is an appropriate one for the density called for by the GLUP. The developer's density is within the zoning requirements for R15-30T of 22 units per acre, as are the proposed setbacks. The side yard between the Summerwalk buildings and the proposed units will be an aggregate of approximately 14 - 15 feet. (The required setback is 7 feet for each development.) The site's coverage is 59.3% instead of 56%, but is consistent with surrounding projects.
The developer will also provide sidewalks on Stafford, Stuart and 11th Street. All of the sidewalks will be constructed of brick pavers, with the walks on North Stafford conforming to the existing new walks in front of Summerwalk (six feet in width with a four foot planting strip) and those on North Stuart being ten feet wide (conforming to the Ballston Streetscape Standards), and on 11th Street, eight feet. Trees and other plantings will also be installed in accordance with the Ballston Streetscape Standards. The developer also presented plans for a four foot tall wrought iron fence with brick piers along the North Stafford and North Stuart Street frontages. The 11th Street North frontage would have plantings only.
Under the R15-30T zoning category, each unit is to have two off- street parking spaces. The developer has provided for these in the garages of every unit. It has been pointed out to the developer at the Site Plan Review Subcommittee Meeting (held October 24) that the neighborhood requests that there be guest parking provided on the site. Our other recent development, further up on North Stuart and Stafford Streets, will provide 2.2 parking spaces per unit. The same parking spaces per unit ratio was suggested to Mr. Smith, who indicated that he understands the neighborhood's desire for additional off-street parking, given the nature of the neighborhood.
At the Executive Committee meeting of November 8, 1995, Mr. Smith provided drawings of his proposed project, answered members' questions, and indicated agreement to provide 2.2 parking spaces per unit. After reviewing the drawings and discussing the project in detail, the Executive Committee expressed support to Mr. Smith for his proposed project.
This proposal will be heard by the Planning Commission on December 18, 1995, and, tentatively, by the County Board at their January 6, 1996 meeting. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Nancy Iacomini, 703-525-0788.
The County Board, after considering the issues, should adopt one of the following options:
1. Option I (Incineration)
The County Board authorizes staff to request that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality proceed with the permit application that is currently on hold, and to proceed with the Phase IIIB upgrade and expansion of the biosludge incinerator, as originally planned.
2. Option II (Land Application)
a. The County Board endorses land application of sewage sludge and authorizes staff to proceed with redesign of the Centrifuge Dewatering Building, described as Option II in the report entitled, Sludge Management Alternatives Study and dated November 10, 1995.
b. The County Board authorizes staff to negotiate a contract amendment with Hazen and Sawyer, Inc., for the redesign of the Centrifuge Dewatering Building, for a cost not to exceed $550,000, and authorizes the Purchasing Agent to execute the contract amendment, subject to review and approval by the County Attorney's Office.
c. The County Board authorizes staff to negotiate a contract amendment with Danis, Heavy Construction Company, Inc., for initial modifications and purchase of equipment for the Centrifuge Dewatering Building, for a cost not to exceed $3 million, and authorizes the Purchasing Agent to execute the contract amendment, subject to review and approval by the County Attorney's Office.
d. The County Board authorizes the County Manager to inform the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that the County withdraws its application for an upgrade and expansion of its biosludge incinerator and plans to discontinue its operation once construction is complete on a modified Centrifuge Dewatering Building so that land application can proceed at the earliest opportunity.
The Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA) has requested community members to come out to testify on December 9 and to pack the Hearing Room and convince the County Board to do the right thing and shut down the incinerator. The County's incinerator is at the end of its useful life and the burners must be rebuilt. Now is the time to convert before more money is spent on this outmoded, toxic method of sludge disposal. ARCA has reported that on a national basis, sewage sludge recycling costs 50% less than incineration and that only 16% of the sewage sludge in the nation is still incinerated. Sludge recycling by land application or composting is an EPA preferred and beneficial use. If you have any questions about this subject, we invite you to call Rebecca Gray, President, ARCA, at (703) 271-4288, or David Jones, Newsletter Editor, ARCA, at (703) 549-3277.
At the County Board meeting of November 18, 1995, Agenda Item 10, the County Board initiated the County's 1996 legislative public hearing. The County's 1996 Legislative Package Draft #2, dated November 18, 1995, includes three parts. Part One of the legislative package includes legislative recommendations of the Arlington County Board. Part Two of the legislative package includes legislative recommendations of the County Manager and Part Three addresses legislative recommendations not recommended for inclusion in the 1996 Legislative Package by the County Manager.
For example, under Part One, Section F. Public Safety: Legislative Proposals, Chairman Eisenberg is recommending repeal of the administrative approval process for the issuance of concealed weapons as enacted in 1995. Also, under this section, the County is requesting an amendment to the Code of Virginia to permit Arlington County the authority to adopt an ordinance prohibiting people from begging or panhandling in an aggressive manner (approved by the County Board in 1995).
BVSCA President Ragland testified in support of the Association's legislative recommendations on aggressive panhandling and initiative and referendum, as follows: I would like to recommend that the Arlington County Board request enabling legislation to adopt an ordinance to make it unlawful for any person to panhandle in an aggressive manner, to panhandle within fifteen feet of an automatic teller machine, or to panhandle from any operator of a motor vehicle while standing in a roadway median or on a travel lane. It should be noted that the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association has surveyed its membership each of the past two years on aggressive panhandling and over 86 percent of the survey respondents from both surveys indicated support for a law or ordinance against aggressive panhandling. Also, at the Arlington County Civic Federation legislative meeting of November 14, 1995, members representing 70 non-partisan organizations from Arlington County voted to request the Arlington County Board to adopt such an ordinance against aggressive panhandling.
Also, I would like to recommend that the Arlington County Board request legislation to amend the Virginia Constitution to reserve power to the people to propose laws and amendments to the constitution and to adopt or reject any law or section of a state law. Required percentages to place items to referenda be 5 percent of the total vote cast for Governor in the previous gubernatorial election for statutory initiatives and referenda and 8 percent for state constitutional amendments.
Specifically, this recommended amendment is know as the Initiative and Referendum process. Initiative is the process by which voters may propose a law, constitutional amendment or ordinance and compel a vote of the electorate on its adoption. Referendum permits a designated percentage of the voters to place a law or ordinance enacted by a legislative body on the ballot for determination by the electorate whether it should go into effect or be repealed. Currently, citizens of the Commonwealth do not have the authority to place initiatives and referendums on the ballot. Only the Virginia Legislature has this authority. In contrast, 25 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted initiative and referendum rights for its citizens.
It should be noted that the Arlington County Civic Federation adopted Initiative and Referendum as part of the Federation's 1994, 1995, and 1996 Legislative Packages. Also, the Ballston- Virginia Square Civic Association voted on December 1, 1993, to join the United Virginians for Initiative and Referendum ("UVIR"), which is a non-partisan statewide coalition of citizen organizations that see initiative and referendum ("I & R") as the best means to take important issues to the people and bring them to a vote through the ballot process.
Also, for your consideration, in the last General Assembly, the P & E Committee [the Senate's Committee on Privileges and Elections] considered three joint resolutions; and the vote on Senate Joint Resolution 364, dated January 31, 1995, was very close with eight members voting to table this resolution ["Pass by Indefinitely"] and seven members, including both Democrats and Republicans, voting against tabling. The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association urges the County Board to support this bipartisan effort to enable citizens of Arlington and the Commonwealth to have direct democracy through the initiative and referendum process, the same process that gave our Country "Women Suffrage."
Item 5d. Local Income Tax (Proposed) of the Neighborhood Survey received the highest percentage of response and concern. This item was included in the survey based on a September 1995 work session involving the Arlington County Board and the Economic Development Commission on the County's new Economic Development Plan and other recent developments. Near the end of the meeting, Chairman Eisenberg indicated that sometime in the future there needs to be a discussion of an income based tax, along with a wealth based tax.
Also, we reported that in the discussion about a possible local income tax at the BVSCA Candidates night of September 26, 1995, Tim Wise of the Courtlands Civic Association had inquired of Chairman Eisenberg how much longer the County should continue being supported by a wealth based tax, property tax, and whether there needs to be a start toward an income based tax.
Mr. Eisenberg responded "I think you took my statement a little bit farther than in fact it went. The fact is that we do have pretty much a wealth based tax system. Comes from what you own, property whether its personal property or real estate. It basically comes from that source, predominately, not entirely, in terms of local financing and we don't have the authority to do anything else. But it is an archaic way of taxing. I think there is a healthy debate that could be entered into. George Allen started that debate to some degree but I think he headed off in the wrong direction. But it's always helpful to examine your tax authorities and see which ones works best. The BPOL Tax for example, is a terrible tax. People hate it. It's burdensome, it's regressive. The problem is it also provides 10% of our general revenue fund and we have to figure out an alternative and we have very little taxing opportunities compared to cities."
We reported that (1) the local income tax for local jurisdictions has been considered by the General Assembly, along with the meals tax, in recent years as potential new tax sources for increasing local revenue and (2) the County Manager is recommending, under Part Two of Arlington County's 1995 Legislative Package, that the General Assembly should enact Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder's Advisory Commission's 1992 recommendations to relax the Dillon Rule, to enable the County to better meet its responsibilities, and grant the County the same taxing authority as cities to meet its financial obligations.
Since the last Newsletter, the Executive Committee has researched the Code of Virginia and found that existing law ("Code of Virginia Section 58.1-540, Levy of the tax."), authorizes Arlington to implement a local income tax if the County holds a referendum to approve the tax. This authority to levy a local income tax was adopted by Virginia in 1989 in Section 58.1-540, Subsection A. Specifically, this subsection authorized Virginia counties havinga population of more than 500,000, and any county adjacent thereto [Arlington], and any city contiguous to such an adjacent county or city, or any city with a population of at least 265,000 is hereby authorized to levy a local income tax at any increment of one-quarter percent up to a maximum rate of one percent upon the Virginia taxable income as determined in Section 58.1-322 for an individual, Section 58.1-361 for a fiduciary of an estate or trust, or Section 58.1-402 for a corporation, for each taxable year of every resident of such county or city or corporation having income from sources within such county or city, subject to the limitations of subsection B of this section. The same rate shall apply to individuals, fiduciaries and corporations.
Subsection B states The authority to levy a local income tax as provided in subsection A may be exercised by a county or city governing body only if approved in a referendum within the county or city. The referendum shall be held in accordance with Section 24.1-165 of the Virginia Code. The referendum may be initiated either by a resolution of the governing body of the county or city or on the filing of a petition signed by a number of registered voters of the county or city equal in number to ten percent of the number of voters registered in the county or city on January 1 of the year in which the petition is filed with the circuit court of such county or city. The clerk of the circuit court shall publish notice of the election in newspaper of general circulation in the county or city once a week for three consecutive weeks prior to the election. The ballot used shall be printed to read as follows:
"Shall the governing body (...name of county or city...) have the authority to levy a local income tax of up to one percent for transportation purposes in accordance with Section 58.1-540 of the Code of Virginia?
if the voters by a majority vote approve the authority of the local governing body to levy a local income tax, the tax may be imposed by the adoption of an ordinance by the governing body of the county or city in accordance with general or special law, and the tax may be thereafter enacted, modified or repealed as any other tax the governing body is empowered to levy subject only to the limitations herein. No ordinance levying a local income tax shall be repealed unless and until all debts or other obligations of the county or city to which such revenues are pledged or otherwise committed have been paid or provision made for payment.
Further, the Executive Committee has identified that the late Arlington Delegate Warren Stambaugh and House Delegates Richard Cranwell and Lewis Parker patroned House Bill 1684 in the 1989 General Assembly, which was enacted to amend the Code of Virginia to add this local income tax authorization for the above localities. Also, it should be noted that Delegate Alan Mayer patroned a bill in the 1995 General Assembly to repeal the authority of any county or city to institute a local income tax if the locality does not hold a referendum approving the tax before January 1, 1997.
Moreover, members of the Association have recently contacted President Ragland and indicated increased support for initiative and referendum (I & R) rights, which has been supported by our Association since 1993. Members believe that Initiative and Referendum rights, if implemented, could help stave off possible attempts by our elected representatives from amending the existing local income tax law to eliminate the public referendum requirement for the county manager plan of government (Arlington), similar to that requested by our elected representatives and approved by the General Assembly in 1990, to authorize Arlington to implement the "meals tax" without a public referendum, if the County Board voted unanimously to adopt such a tax and held one public hearing.
According to the County Manager Anton Gardner's recommendation to the County Board of Arlington, the County received a request from Marymount University to change the name of the Ballston Metrorail Station to include reference to the University. A low-cost option, estimated at $85,000, has been developed that provides for installing in-station graphics of the new station name only on the Orange Line, thereby eliminating the need for updating printed materials until the system-wide change associated with the Franconia/Springfield extension in 1997.
The addition of "-MU" is consistent with university designations at five other stations in the Metrorail system. Four of these locations were added at system cost prior to 1980 adoption of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) station name add-on policy. Arlington County financed the addition of "- GMU" to the Virginia Square Station in 1985 as required by the add-on policy.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) endorsed the "Ballston-MU" proposal at its November 2, 1995 meeting, and the WMATA Board is expected to approve the proposal if Arlington County and Marymount University agree to finance it. Although there will be no cost for updating printed materials, there are more than 500 locations on permanent signs where "-MU" must be added. A detailed cost estimate has been prepared by WMATA and, upon approval of the station name change, a simple agreement will be established under which the County and Marymount will be responsible for the estimated cost of $85,000. This price is consistent with the cost of implementing the Virginia Square-GMU name change ten years ago.
Eisenberg: "Staff report please. No staff report, okay."
Whipple: "Mr. Chairman, do you want me to introduce the item?"
Eisenberg: "If you wish, please."
Whipple: "As you will recall about 10 years ago, Arlington County added the initials for George Mason University to the Virginia- Square Station. This is something that is done throughout many places in the metro stations in the metro system. Universities are identified and this has been one of the few things actually that have been added to the names of station areas to identify universities that are within the appropriate distance from the station.
Marymount University in the first place was just outside the distance for the Ballston Metro Station, the main campus. Now, however, that they have the other "Blue MU" at Ballston, they are very close to the station within the appropriate area. They approached the County about having their initials added to the Ballston Station name. This has been something that I've been working on for some months, trying to get an appropriate estimate of cost from the Metro Authority. And looking back to see how we handled it with George Mason University, and what is being proposed is that a number of the changes that have been made at this time, station names, pile ons, and identification at the station; and also, on the pile ons on the Orange Line but that the system maps would not be changed and the area maps, neighborhood maps at the station, but not the system maps that are going to be changed when the Franconia/Springfield station opens at that time. This change can be made on all of those maps at no cost. So this covers the cost of doing the items that I've described.
The proposal is basically is that Arlington County will pay the same amount of money but escalated current values from what we have paid for George Mason University. I don't have the figure with me but it's approximately $70,000 that would be the escalated comparable price what we paid for George Mason University; and thus, we're treating the universities equitable and fairly and Marymount University will pay the difference in cost."
Eisenberg: "Okay, further comments here? Alright, we have the Transportation Commission. Go ahead."
Nancy Iacomini, Transportation Commission: "Transportation Commission did consider this very late at their meeting of November 15. We had not seen the proposal prior to 11:00 that night. The vote I do not remember the exact count but it was against the renaming."
Whipple: "5-4, according to the report."
Transportation Commission: "5-4. There was discussion that indeed the Blue Goose Building is now owned by Marymount and is in the Ballston area. There was other discussion however that centered on the fact that this would be confusing to patrons because first of all "MU" doesn't mean Marymount to people and second of all people think of the main campus, and the main campus is not near the Ballston Metro Station. So we were concerned about confusion for commuters and for other folks. There was also the fiscal question raised about the amount of money that in the staff report was listed as $85,000 at which Marymount was to pay $25,000. We thought that since Marymount is a private university and not a public university like GMU perhaps they should pay more of the cost."
BVSCA President Ragland: These comments and request for denial are submitted by the Executive Committee of the Ballston Virginia-Square Civic Association, as we have received comments from our members who strongly oppose this proposed change. Also, all of our Executive Committee members oppose this proposed change, based on a wide range of reasons.
Before beginning the discussion of these reasons, the Executive Committee would like to first express its disappointment with Marymount University, who did not coordinate their requested name change with the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association. It should be noted that our Association's physical boundaries include both the Virginia Square and Ballston Metrorail Stations and any name changes to these Metrorail stations affect our community directly. Also, in light of Marymount University's recent request to join the Arlington County Civic Federation, we are especially disappointed that they did not communicate this requested name change with our Association.
The Executive Committee first learned about this proposed name change on November 15 by reviewing the meeting agenda for the County Board meeting this past Saturday and believes that this agenda item is indicative of an attempt to implement the requested name change with little or no public participation.
One of the most often cited member reasons for opposing the proposed name change is the negative fiscal aspects of the proposal. Marymount University is requesting the name change and yet the County Manager is recommending that Marymount University, a private university, only pay $25,000 to help offset the County's estimated $85,000 for installing in-station graphics of the new station name only on the Orange Line.
Other members have indicated opposition to the proposed name change because they believe the Ballston Metrorail Station name is very important to the identity of our community. The Ballston name is an historical name, and is the location of the National Science Foundation, the Arlington Renaissance Hotel and The Jefferson to name a few of the important landmarks in our Ballston community.
Some members have also asked will the County have to change the metro station name from Ballston-MU to Ballston-MU/UVA/VPI/VCU should these other universities open satellite campuses in our community. Members noted that the metro stop at the Virginia Square Metrorail Station is named Virginia Square-GMU which makes good common sense, because the home campus for the George Mason University Law School is located near the Virginia Square metro stop. To name the Ballston Metrorail Station "Ballston-MU" for one of the satellite campuses of Marymount University does not.
Finally, other members have recently recommended that none of the County's funds, including transit funds provided by Virginia be used for the proposed name change. Instead, members recommended that all County funds earmarked for the name change be used to demolish the unused buildings, which were acquired nearly six years ago by the County Board in March 1990, at a cost of over $3 million to widen Wilson Boulevard. By removing these unsightly county properties near the Ballston Metrorail station, it will add greater value to our community than your approving the Ballston-MU Station name change tonight. We urge you to oppose the name change. Thank you."
County Board Vote. The Board approved the name change and funding for the change with a 4-1 vote. Board member Ben Winslow voted to oppose the request, unless Marymount University agreed to pay the full cost of the name change.
Specifically, the Board authorized the County Manager to enter into a grant agreement with the Arlington Street People Assistance Network (ASPAN) to allow the Emergency Winter Shelter to be open nightly during the coldest winter months from November 28, 1995 through February 29, 1996, unless the continuous opening is determined by the County Manager or his designee to effect the community adversely. Also, the Board indicated that this change in the Emergency Winter Shelter operation be considered a pilot test and that the results of the pilot test be evaluated by the end of April 1996.
The Emergency Winter Shelter, located at 2049 North 15th Street, has been operated according to weather related criteria since its inception in the winter of 1991. The County's policy has been to open the shelter based on predicted low temperatures. The weather related criteria included predicted temperatures of 32 degrees or less, or 35 degrees or less with significant chance of precipitation. During the coldest months the shelter was opened for one week periods, unless there was a warming trend predicted to last at least three days.
While maintaining the shelter's primary mission as preventing death and illness from weather exposure, County staff recommended to the Arlington County Board at the Board meeting of November 18, 1995, Agenda item 6B, that the shelter be open continuously from November 28, 1995 through February 29, 1996, unless the continuous opening is determined by the County Manager or his designee to affect the community adversely. In the event that the shelter is determined to cause an adverse impact on the community, the policy would revert to weather specific opening. In addition to continuous monitoring monitoring to evaluate community impacts, at the end of the season, an evaluation will be conducted to determine whether the policy of continuous openings will be conducted in subsequent winters.
The modification of policy regarding the opening of the shelter was recommended by the Arlington County Human Services Commission and by the Emergency Winter Shelter Advisory Committee. Specifically, they recommended that the shelter be open for the entire period from November 1, 1995 through March 31, 1995. County staff indicated that they have been reluctant to propose a change because it did not want to change the mission of the shelter and because such a change could create problems in the neighborhood. Also, staff indicated that they have recently become convinced that there is potentially a greater harm to the community from not having the shelter open continuously during the coldest part of the winter season, from late November through February.
In a letter dated November 15, 1995 from Arlington Sheriff Thomas N. Faust to Chairman Eisenberg, Arlington County Board, Sheriff Faust writes On the agenda from the Board's scheduled meeting for Saturday, November 18, 1995, is the consideration for expanding operating hours for the Emergency Winter Shelter. I hope the Board will give this careful consideration before taking action.
As you know, the specific purpose of this shelter has been to serve as an emergency shelter, opening only when the weather is predicted to be 32 degrees or below, or 35 degrees or below with precipitation. I disagree with County staff's recommendation that the shelter be open continuously each evening. The shelter has been operated according to weather related criteria since its inception in 1991. I believe to change this is to change the original limited-scope purpose of preventing illness and death from weather exposure. I believe that having the shelter open nightly will create a situation of having shelter users congregating in the area throughout the day and making the Courthouse area their full-time location. I believe this will result in an increase, not a decrease, in loitering and other problems in County buildings and the Courthouse in the immediate area.
The intent of the Emergency Winter Shelter has been to provide shelter during emergency life-threatening conditions. This should not change. If the Board feels there is a need to expand services for the homeless, (and there may be), then that should be considered as a separate issue and not through an expansion of the "emergency" shelter. I urge the Board to keep the shelter operating under its original intended narrow scope and not approve expansion.
BVSCA President Ragland: "Our Association conducted a neighborhood survey of our members for a two-week period ending in October 1995. We included a survey question on this very subject. The results of the survey showed that 53.4% of the respondents to the survey indicated opposition to this proposed change in County policy, 46.6% indicated support for the change, so our neighborhood was nearly divided on this. The Association members and executive committee have talked about this considerably. We think in the long run the proposed policy change, if implemented, will have a detrimental effect on the community. We think it is going to lead to increased services and a possible day-time-drop-in homeless shelter. We would like the County Board to commit against the day-time-drop-in homeless shelter if the Board agrees today to extend the emergency shelter hours or program on a nightly basis. Recognizing Mr. Carlee's earlier statement that they have changed the window [of the proposed policy change] from the end of November to the end of February [as opposed to opening the Emergency Winter Shelter every night from the beginning of November to the end of March], I think that is an improvement. I am sorry that we did not get the benefit of our survey respondents on that change, but I would strongly argue against doing this [opening the Emergency Winter Shelter continuously each evening, regardless of weather conditions]."
Joe Rahner (former President, Courtlands Civic Association): "I'm not going to equivocate one bit, I'm diametrically opposed if you will to Lora Rinker, and from a philosophical standpoint and ideological standpoint, and just about any other standpoint you can think of. We just have to agree to disagree. I started out being concerned, because this whole thing concerning the Emergency Shelter developed and took place on my watch when I was either vice president or president of Courtlands. Just a little bit of history here Ron [Carlee], I remember a phone call back in November 1991, I got from you, and I told you then that I had an important engagement and could not contact anybody from Courtlands that evening to give you the green light to go ahead at least from that perspective. But I had confidence based on the discussions that had taken place in January about opening a shelter and I had confidence based on the fact that Courtlands had provided strong support about opening a shelter for a lot of Human Service facilities over the years because we had an agreement on the philosophy of how those facilities were supposed to operate.
A little more history. We just concluded the second worst summer in the Clarendon area as far as the impacts from our vagrant street people. September 14th, at the meeting at the Clarendon Alliance, very genuine, very sincere, very realistic suggestions, were made on the part of the attendees at that meeting. Do one or two things, either give us the parks back for the use of the citizens of this County because it has been taken over by a special interest group, or remove the benches, cut down the trees, and take out the public bath fountain so we don't have to endure this type of desecration that is going on. I wish you would have the opportunity, I tried to get some of the businessmen here today, Preston Curruthers said he knows what I'm saying, and I know exactly what his feelings are on it. He's got a number of tenants in the Clarendon area that are suffering terribly because of the impact of these people. The point I was trying to make in my discussion on Item 6A, had to do with, as Mr. Eisenberg pointed out, take individual responsibility. ASPAN is doing the exact opposite of what these people need. I think Ms. Amy Wyatt did a good job of pointing out that what is needed here is "tough love."
The most important thing that everyone has to remember, however, is what is the charter. What was the charter that was presented to us for this shelter? Very narrowly defined, it is an Emergency Shelter. It is there to prevent people from freezing to death, it is not there to provide a continuum of care. It is not there to provide anything of this sort. It cannot be that. Did Ms. Jones provide you with a handout to the Board there? Fine. Something else I want you to understand clearly we're not dealing with people that are merely a little bit on the down and out. We are dealing with a significant segment of the population that goes to that shelter that are common criminals, that have been arrested, and convicted for rape, and a lot of other dastardly acts. And my community, my neighborhood, has been the victims of some of those nefarious acts; and it is going on right now, as we speak today. I am so sick and tired of cleaning up their frapping trash that ASPAN and other people provide them with clothing, and it all winds dumped behind my back wall. I clean up I don't know how many dollars worth of clothing. I pick it up with a stick and drop it in a super can. There is just too much going here where the shelter is not intended to do these things that ASPAN has asked.
We had a commitment from the County that we would support that shelter in order to preserve life; we are not there to support that shelter for any other reason. The only way we are going to support shelters is if there is some way to truly constructively bring them up out of the depths in which they have sunk; and this shelter cannot do that, and it never will be able to do that. ASPAN has had enough contact with the [speaker time limit announced], alright let me be able to make another quick shift right quick and I'm going to conclude, Mr. Eisenberg.
This past two weeks has been a week of discovery for me. This is the original intradiction poster the police department put out. You see two pictures have been blotted out. I just found out last week and earlier this week that somebody from the ASPAN organization is making tours in the 7-11 stores, and asking, intimidating the managers, to have these damn posters removed so they are not in the public eye. The alcohol and intradiction program requires the cooperation of the public and as well as the purveyors. When ASPAN tried to use this same tact two years ago, we successfully beat it back, because the police department says anybody who provides spirits is subject to arrest under the interdiction law. They're undoing programs that we struggled and fought and sweated with the police department to set in place to provide some relief to our community. We do not appreciate that effort! And I will stop before I get any madder. Thank you."
Clarendon Businessman: "Mr. Chairman and the members of the Board, I own the "Budget Rent A Car" at Washington and Wilson Boulevard, and I'm probably the only one up here today, that doesn't have an agenda on this item. I think as I sat and listened all day to what had been discussed, there is a couple things that I would just ask you to focus on. And it's just words and it's all generated from one thing. A few months ago, Ms. Whipple, you and Mr. Eisenberg sat at the same table and judged the "Chili Contest." Within a 100 feet of that Chili Contest, my daughter, who is seven-years-old has witnessed acts that we will not describe here.
We have had to call the police on at least six different occasions for drug dealing, or suspected drug dealing, for public drunkenness, for public sleeping, but that's not the issue here today. The issue is not helping the homeless. To me the issue is the word "winter," the issue is the word "emergency," the issue is the word "facilitate." Now, I've sat here and listened to everybody and no one is against the shelters. We are right behind Clarendon House. We think that's the most wonderful thing. We've never had an incident there and never suspected an incident. I have personally had to take one of my employees to the hospital who has been beaten by an homeless person. I have personally had to be out there at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., because they have been in our trucks. We now put locks on each one of our trucks every night. But that again is not the issue. The issue to me in this whole matter is simply this, and that is it, "winter," is it an emergency, are you facilitating these people being attracted to this magnet in the winter time so they are on the streets during the day.
That's the decision and that's the item, that I think you have to judge in this matter. I don't think it comes down to anything more than this. I'm certainly not against homeless shelters, I'm certainly not against Emergency Shelters, I'm certainly not against Winter Shelters, but is this particular one facilitating the crime in the area, or is it not? If it's not, leave it open all winter, all year, but if it is and if it is the magnet that it seems to be, and I'm not the one to make the judgement, then you should decide accordingly."
Mr. Winslow: "Mr. Hunter suggested that this should be a pilot test of the open evening night policy, and that's what the change from 32 degrees to 35 to 40 degrees in the event of inclement weather, or rain, or precipitation, was. It's suppose to be a pilot test, the "5-day forecast" opening was suppose to be a pilot test. I'm still waiting for those reports for those pilot tests , but we've never gotten them."
Ellen Bozman: "Remember that those were tests."
Mr. Winslow: "Yes, they were but they were done on a pilot basis. We were going to try it this year, and if it didn't work, we weren't going to do it again."
Mr. Eisenberg: "ASPAN did produce a very substantial report."
Mr. Winslow: "I was trying to catch all of the reasons that people gave [in their public testimony] to why we needed to do this on a nightly basis. One was that this was the only service available, except that we have a host of other services available to the homeless. That this was a Winter Shelter, and wasn't suppose to be an emergency one anymore. But it is an Emergency Winter Shelter, and an emergency is weather related, and to open it continuously would "negate" the emergency requirement. Somebody said that it would prevent strangers from gathering along Wilson Boulevard corridor and I'm not sure that will happen at all. I think it might add to strangers that congregate along the Wilson Boulevard corridor, but I don't know, and I can't make that judgement. As somebody pointed out that this is to be opened on a continuous basis is the Republican thing to do, but the Republican thing to do is to give those people only those services they need at that time and not to give them more than they need in order to encourage them in becoming self-sufficient.
I think that the concept of tough love that was mentioned earlier, the need to encourage people to be independent on their own without providing them excuses for not being independent was "cogent" and telling. I heard too, that ASPAN wanted the openings on a continuous basis so they could better organize their staff, and provide continuity of service, and to be better able to provide scheduling for volunteers, etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately, these are administrative details and I did not know that the shelter was being operated for the convenience of ASPAN. I thought it was being operated for the convenience of the homeless, or the health of the homeless.
I've watched this shelter over 2 1/2 years go from 40 capacity, opened only when the temperature was 32 degrees to now it is up to 53 and we have overflows at the facility. Plus, we have a treatment center at the Unitarian Church and those are all flowing out of this particular facility. I think that the treatment that they can get at the offices that ASPAN has and the Unitarian Church are very, very good, and very useful. I voted for it. I did have some questions about communications that was accomplished between the day-care, the people that had children in day-care, and ASPAN; and I felt that they should do that, but I did vote for that finally. I think that all of what I have heard is not compelling reason to open that center, or open the Emergency Winter Shelter on a continuous basis at anytime. I think that we need to continue with exactly the policy that we have, which is weather related opening, because we are not in the business of providing another continuous homeless shelter. That should not be what this is. It should be an Emergency Winter Shelter, weather related, and I that's where I will vote. I will vote to oppose this recommendation."
Mr. Eisenberg: "Let me offer a few comments on my own. I have been here long enough, as Ms. Whipple and Ms. Bozman have, to see the evolution of the way this county approaches its homeless population. We've learned a lot over the last number of years. We've learned that this is an incredibly varied population, where you really can't have one size solution fitting all. It doesn't work like that. You also find that this is a tough group to love, in many respects, not all, but certainly some.
The population, the clients, that we are speaking about in this particular circumstance are probably among the toughest to find or to have warm feelings about, because they come to us with very rough edges in many respects. But in many respects, people who put themselves out on a daily basis to help the individuals who come to that shelter deserve a great deal of credit for being able to put all of that aside and go directly to the humanity that lies, I think, within each person, who comes to that shelter, even though it is sometimes hard to see. Mental illness, alcohol abuse, a combination of both, just plain ordinary characters, who for some reason are not able to make the right choices, things that perhaps they ought to have control over but they don't; and they come there to get out of the cold because we've provided a place for that to happen. We can't throw these people away. We believe in Arlington County that nobody is valueless, but in fact, that everybody does have value, and by closing doors these people don't disappear, they just go someplace else. And so we have to confront both the philosophy and the practicality here. And we have to also separate the issues. We can't lay the entire problems of homelessness in the corridor on the Winter Shelter and we really got to separate that out. I'll come back to that in a minute.
Secondly, we have to make very clear a separation between the notion of the Winter Shelter, and what it is set up to do, and what it can do. And this concern that there is a step by step progression from this to a kind of a round the clock, around the year maintenance facility, something I don't believe is appropriate. I haven't seen how something like that in fact can work except to maintain, which is something I don't think the community supports. We don't have the resources for it and I think philosophically it is not the right way to do things. Now there is a philosophy that says that if we punish people enough they will change their behavior. When people, in some cases, and in many cases, don't have control over that behavior, it's very hard to apply that. Maybe in some cases it is, but that's one extreme.
On the other side of it, and there's where the advocates of the day time, around the clock shelter, perhaps, lies the most. Maybe not entirely, there are some differences here but it's that if we make things much easier, if we provide really no real demands then perhaps we can reach them better. I don't happen to believe that either. We are and several speakers have eluded to this and couple of board members have, we're really talking about, now we're getting into the practicals, the 14, 15 days, scattered throughout, and I think again we can't load an entire community problem and the entire philosophy on the fact that we're talking really about the difference between what is available now and the additional days. I'm still faced again on a practical basis with the issue of if they're not here then where are they? If they're not inside, they're outside. If they're outside where are they and what are they doing? And we rather have them inside than outside, and one of the speakers, who came forward talked about what happens and what's involved to somebody who is outside at 40 degrees and it's raining and it's still cold at 40 and there's windchill factors and there are a variety of things. I don't know if that's something we would want to foster either.
We have in effect right now a shelter that is an emergency during the winter with some outreach on the side and part of the equation for me and this is where Ms. Rinker and I have focused our discussion and debate having do with the extent to which, well, the extent to which, you can provide some outreach to people who are in fact on a regular basis, very hard to reach. You want to provide some opportunity for that to occur and that happens now. So how can we make that happen more efficiently. It ought to happen, if we just have a shelter that asks no questions what so ever, and that simply allows a place for people to flop without trying to outreach, I think the shelter itself fails because we miss an opportunity and I don't want to miss that opportunity.
Now, what about the other side of the equation and that has to do with some of the things that Mr. Rahner mentioned. Quality of life issues, the things happened that you really can't load on the shelter but have to do with homeless, homelessness, and the condition of the street people within the "RB" corridor, the Clarendon Park, in some cases it's disgraceful, and I think what we've go to do here and I'll bring it down to this. I think we need to go ahead and take the recommendation of the staff in terms of opening the shelter. I think we want to provide that opportunity for outreach on a consistent basis that we might not otherwise have. I would rather have people inside than outside. The same time I think we're going to have to take a look at the standards under which the shelter is opened. What are the questions that are asked when people come in? What do we do about that? I'm not ready to make conclusions today, but I think that staff should take another look at that with ASPAN. Secondly, if the goal, in terms of providing the continuous opening on this limited basis from the end of November to the first of March is designed to reach out, I think we need some better performance measures and measurements of outcome. We've got to know what is going on and what the results of this change will be.
Thirdly, in moving back to the first point, there always have got to be continued press for responsibility. Obviously, people have to make a choice to leave their homeless condition. People have to make a choice in some degree about alcoholism or drug abuse. People have to make choices that are positive. What do you do to encourage that? I think that's got to be an underlying feature of the shelter even though if it is just an emergency and winter with outreach on the side. Third and lastly, I think we've got to step up the efforts with respect to the quality of life. I saw a mattress in the Clarendon Park there. I would think that is something we don't want. Perhaps, opening the shelter on a continuing basis, discourages that, but I think that is something that's got to be stopped. If there's disfacement of public property, we've go to have ways to enforce that. If there's public drinking, well Mr. Rahner I recognize your typing, I think this is yours providing us with some figures about the intradiction, repeated, repeated arrests. Well, that's an issue we've got to take a look at too. Perhaps, we need some better enforcement and maybe "quasi-police-park rangers" for the urban parks. But I think we have to do that and I'd like the staff to take a look at that and figure out how we can stop sleeping in that park, cut down on the public drunkenness, cut down on any of the things that really interfere with other peoples' quality of life without coming down on individuals in terms of their rights to congregate, even if they happen to offend peoples' sensibilities. So with that, I will join with what appears to be a majority to support the motion...." Motion carried 4 to 1 with Board member Ben Winslow in opposition.
Ron Carlee: "Thank you very much and thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a very challenging time to work in Human Services. The Chairman previously talked about what is happening with Federal Housing Policy. There are also really major and I would say even radical changes under discussion and almost certain of implementation to some extent around Medicare, Medicaid, welfare reform, many other block grants that effect innumerable categorical programs today. There are the growing needs of children at risk. There were significant changes being proposed in the mental health system at the state level. The employment system at the state level and two very major reports out on juvenile justice.
Alternately, whatever happens at the federal level and state level ends up at the local level. It is our responsibility whatever the policies are, whatever the mandates are, to try to deal with the real human needs in the direct service delivery at the local level. Question is, do we do that reactively in what the federal and state government does? Or do we try to establish proactively what our values are in our community and what direction we want to go with, trying to work around and through and with the other things that are required upon us. What you said two years ago as we sat here is that you want to do the latter. And you asked the Commission of 17 members representing a broad range of constituents and ideas in our community to come together and to advise you as to what human services should be about in Arlington County and how we should guide and direct our energy and our resources proactively.
The combination of that is this report from the Human Services Commission by most report standards for an 18 month report looks like a fairly thin report. What is important to know is that what is behind this. This is literally hundreds of hours and hundreds of additional citizens have participated in this process. Their work is supported by this volume of work which were special assessments and recommendations that they requested from staff.
They organized themselves into 7 subcommittees. We organized 7 staff committees to support that and these were the staff recommendations and background provided to the Commission and their communities at the beginning of their work. Their commissions then produced independently in the community their own subcommittee reports and these are 7 commission created committees that provided their independent judgement in the different policy areas that we are facing in human services. And then in addition to that, the Commission also compiled yet this third volume which were special studies and presentations and collections of all the public testimony that was provided directly to them during their 18-months of operation. And it was from this that they distilled what they think are most critical for us to deal with in this their final report.
Their report is organized into 3 areas. This is probably the most important thing in understanding what has been put before you by the Commission. The first area is what they're calling the guiding principles. These are the underlying values which the commission is recommending as a framework to guide all that we do in Human Services. And in the staff report, we have addressed those in recommendation one and recommendation two. And the essence of that is that the things that we do in Human Services in Arlington should be about ultimately only one or two things. Promoting economic independence and self sufficiency and preventing adverse social conditions. And that everything else should flow from those twin kind of values.
The commission then identified a series of recommendations cutting across all of their subcommittee reports as to what they think are the important strategies for implementing those guiding principals. And those are the recommendations as follows: Recommendations 3 on access, 4 on Technology, 5 on Evaluation, 7 on Monitoring and Independence, 8 on Housing and 9 on Collaboration. One strategy in there is a little bit different and it is one that is related to a creation of a new commission on children and families. Now, the way the staff has handled our recommendations to you with regard to these two categories of proposals is a recommendation that items one and two on the guiding principals be adopted by you as official County policy. And to say that this is the framework of which we will operate in the future. The other ones of which I have just identified, we are recommending that you adopt those as policy goals so that as specific recommendations come forward, as we look at the budget each year, we will report back to you and establish specific recommendations and time frames to work toward the strategies that are identified. The one that is different in that category is Item 6 on Commission of Children and Families.
We have provided to you in your report today a supplemental staff report that identifies some of the extraordinary complex issues around a commission on children and families. We do not have a specific recommendation for you on that today and we will request some additional guidance from you even if it's just in the form of additional questions that you have to guide us so that we may bring back a specific recommendation. So those are the first two categories of recommendations from the commission. There is a third category in the report as well and those are referred to as implementation measures related to independence and self sufficiency. What the commission did after they developed the overall framework is go back and look at specific ideas and suggestions would really result in achieving these goals. They did not fully staff out or work out or fully develop those proposals that identified them to you for guidance and future focus. What we will do is begin to bring those items to you either based on opportunities that present themselves or necessity or as part of the overall budget process.
The commission has identified those kind of detailed recommendations in two different ways of within the report. In one way, they have taken both of their guiding principals and the strategies and identified specific ideas there for us to look at and do additional work on and then they have also done this thing, they've also have reported their commission recommendations in each of the 7 policy areas. Two examples of things that you will see in this area following this agenda, the Emergency Winter Shelter, and then the Parent Education Initiative. Hopefully, at our December meeting, we will be bringing to you a major initiative around changing welfare in Arlington County into a self-sufficiency program. It is through that mechanism that's individual items that we will bring toward the implementing procedures of their report. That is the conclusion of our remarks at this time. We will be happy to respond to any questions that you have or to follow up with questions you may have after public comment."
BVSCA President Ragland testified on this agenda item on behalf of the Association. As President of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association ("BVSCA"), I would like to compliment the County Board and the Arlington County Human Services Commission for its comprehensive and thought-provoking review of the County's system of human services delivery. The "Report of the Human Services Commission" describes meaningful guiding principles and a framework to help establish a more effective, more focused, more realistic, more efficient, and a more fiscally responsible approach for providing human services for the future.
The Executive Committee of our Association has reviewed the draft and final reports and previously provided comments to the draft report as documented in Volume 3, "Background Reference and Resource Material" used by the Arlington County Human Services Commission. We would like to provide additional comments regarding the County Manager's recommendations to adopt the Commission final report recommendations as County policy goals. Our Executive Committee recommends that Arlington's Government Facility Siting Principles be included in the proposed framework. Although the Commission added narrative to the final report that recognizes and assumes that these principles, adopted by the County Board in 1993, will be used in carrying out the collocation of services plan, our Association requests that these principles be added to the proposed policy goal identified as Recommendation 3 - Access.
Briefly, these siting principles were adopted to improve the County's site selection process for locating government facilities. These siting principles should be included as part of the policy goal on Access to help assure that the most advantageous selection of sites for collocating DHS services, all factors considered, including: price, cost, public input, and the location of other facilities. The siting principles are needed to help guard against the over-concentration of facilities in anyone neighborhood and to assure a more fair and equitable distribution of facilities in the County than in the past.
Our Executive Committee supports the two guiding principles being recommended as policy goals for the County, Independence/Self- Sufficiency and Prevention, to help ensure that our local government is doing that which is essential for government to do to meet the most critical needs of the community. We also support the proposed goal on Technology to develop a comprehensive, flexible, and integrated management information system to modernize DHS' information collection process. Further, we support the other recommendations, as policy goals on Evaluation and Collaboration with the broader Arlington community.
We are troubled, however, with the recommendations on Monitoring Implementation and Housing. Under Monitoring Implementation, we agree that an annual report should be drafted addressing accomplishments and goals related to implementation of policies approved by the County Board. To help establish a more meaningful, independent, and objective process for measuring accomplishments, we recommend that the County Board establish a management advisory review process or audit committee process to conduct performance reviews of human services programs to ascertain that sums appropriated are expended for the purposes for which such appropriations were made and to evaluate the effectiveness of those programs.
Under Housing, we disagree with the Housing Services Commission's recommendations on Housing as a policy goal to implement strategies to provide affordable and stable housing in support of the principles of Self-Sufficiency/Independence and Prevention. Our Association members disagree with the County's Consolidated Plan for FY 1996-1998 and the County's continued emphasis on expanding assisted rental housing. Only 5% of the respondents to our 1995 BVSCA survey indicated support for additional spending on subsidized rental housing and over 78% of the survey respondents indicated opposition to any increase in funding of subsidized rental housing. Also, it should be noted that although 25% of our members indicated support for increased funding on subsidized home ownership, over 59% of the survey respondents indicated no support for increased funding or decreased funding for subsidized home ownership. Thank you.