BALLSTON-VIRGINIA SQUARE

Civic Association Newsletter

October/November 1996 - Volume 20, No. 2



LOCAL INCOME TAX (PROPOSED) AND NO FOR COUNTY FUNDING FOR A BASEBALL STADIUM IN ARLINGTON TOP ISSUES IN SURVEY

Concerns about a possible local income tax in the future and possible County funding for a baseball stadium in Arlington were the top two issues in the BVSCA 1996 Neighborhood Survey conducted for a two week period ending October 2, 1996.

1-Local Income Tax (Proposed)

Results of the 1996 BVSCA Neighborhood Survey showed that 93.7% of the survey respondents indicated that a local income tax (proposed) was a concern (31.8%) or critical problem (61.9%). Item 5d. Local Income Tax (Proposed) of the BVSCA 1996 Neighborhood Survey scored two percentage points higher than in the prior year's survey (see the Local Income Tax Background article that follows the discussion of the survey results for information about the local income tax law and recent developments). This item received the highest level of concern in the BVSCA 1996 Neighborhood Survey.

2-County Funding for Baseball Stadium in Arlington

The second highest percentage of response was another potential future issue -- County funding for a baseball stadium in Arlington. Ninety-three percent (93.4%) of the survey respondents indicated no support for this topical issue. Only 6.6% of the survey respondents indicated support of County funding for a baseball stadium. In the next BVSCA Newsletter, we will cover this issue in detail.

3-Aggressive Panhandling-Law/County Ordinance

The third highest percentage of response received and the highest affirmative "yes" vote of any topical issue was support for a County ordinance/law against aggressive panhandling. Under Item 8. Topical issue, Item f, 88.7% of the respondents in the BVSCA 1996 Survey indicated support for this longstanding critical issue in the Ballston-Virginia community with only 11.3% opposed. Similarly, in the BVSCA 1995 Survey, this item received 86.9% support with only 13.1% opposed.

History of Association Efforts to Obtain Ordinance Against Aggressive Panhandling: For your information, in the December 1995 Newsletter, the Association reported that BVSCA President Ragland testified at the County Board meeting of November 18, 1995, Agenda Item 10, the County's 1996 legislative public hearing. At that meeting, President Ragland testified in support of the Association's legislative recommendations on aggressive panhandling and initiative and referendum, and specifically recommended that the 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 3 years on aggressive panhandling and more than 86% of the survey respondents from each of these annual 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 65 non- partisan organizations from Arlington County voted to request the Arlington County Board to adopt such an ordinance against aggressive panhandling and to support initiative and referendum rights for the citizens of Arlington and the Commonwealth.

In the January/February 1995 Newsletter, the Association reported that BVSCA testified in support of an aggressive panhandling law/ordinance for Arlington County and Initiative and Referendum rights for Virginians at the Arlington County Board meeting of December 10, 1994, and the Arlington County Legislators' public hearing of January 4, 1995. Results of the BVSCA 1994 Survey showed that 86% of the total 70 responses received indicated support for an aggressive panhandling law/ordinance. Similarly, the results of the BVSCA October 1995 Survey showed that 86.9% of the total 65 responses received indicated support for a law/ordinance against aggressive panhandling.

For background purposes, this Newsletter previously reported that Arlington County Delegate Karen Darner (D) was opposed to the aggressive panhandling bill introduced in the 1994 General Assembly, Senate Bill 113, patroned by former Senator Edward Holland (D-Arlington) and former Senator Robert Calhoun (R-Alexandria, Arlington County, and Fairfax County) which was adopted by the State Senate on January 28, 1994. However, this bill could not get of the 1994 House of Delegates' Committee on Counties, Cities, and Towns, one of the Committees that Delegate Darner served on. This bill did not come up in the 1995 General Assembly and the 1996 General Assembly, although it was included in the County Board's legislative package last year.

4-Bonus Density for Affordable Housing

Based on the results of the Civic Association's Neighborhood Surveys during the past three years, our members continue to be concerned about bonus density for affordable housing. In the BVSCA 1994 Survey, under Item 7, Topical Issues-Do You Support, item 7d. Bonus Density in Exchange for Affordable Housing, only 14% of the respondents indicated "yes;" whereas, 86% indicated "no." In the BVSCA 1995 Survey, this topic was listed as item c. Bonus Density for Affordable Housing, under Item 2 Land Use/Development. Specifically, 81.2% of the survey respondents marked this category, Bonus Density for Affordable Housing, "concerned" (35.4%) or "critical problem" (45.8%); and 18.8% of the respondents marked the item "not a problem." This item was the third highest issue item of concern, based on the results of the BVSCA 1995 Neighborhood Survey.

Likewise, in the BVSCA 1996 Survey, this topic was listed as item c. Bonus Density for Affordable Housing, under Item 2 Land Use/Development. Specifically, 86.2% of the survey respondents marked this category, Bonus Density for Affordable Housing, "concerned" (43.1%) or "critical problem" (43.1%); and 13.8% of the respondents marked the item "not a problem." This item was the fourth highest issue item of concern, based on the results of the BVSCA 1996 Neighborhood Survey.

5-Use Permits for Used Car Lots and Crime

The results of the BVSCA 1996 Survey showed that two survey items tied for the fifth highest percentage of response received. These items were the topical issue "use permits for used car lots" and the general category of crime (Item 1. Crime). Support for use permits for used car lots received the second highest affirmative "yes" vote of any topical issue. Under Item 8. Topical issue, Item n, 86.1% of the respondents indicated support with only 13.9% opposed.

The results of the survey on the general category for crime (Item 1. Crime) showed that 86.1% of the respondents indicated that they were concerned (69.2%) about crime, or that it was a critical problem (16.9%). However, the specific items on crime received much lower ratings. For example, Item 1a. Crime (In my neighborhood) showed a total percentage of "concern" and "critical problem" of 77.1%. The results of the 1995 survey showed that 73.1% of the respondents indicated that Item 1a. Crime (In my neighborhood) was a concern (51.9%) or critical problem (21.1%). In the 1993 and the 1994 surveys, the percentage of respondents marking crime as a concern or critical problem totalled 76.5% and 86%, respectively. Nonetheless, the Association received many narrative comments from our members about this issue area (see members' comments about crime that follows the discussion about use car lots).

Longstanding Concerns About Used Car Lots: In the Association's Newsletter dated January/February 1995, former President Bob Sherretta asked in his President's Message "Are we becoming the used car capital of the region?" He stated at first you may have hardly noticed, but little by little used car lots appear to be taking over our neighborhood... We counted them -- not 5 or 10 but (at last count) 30 used car facilities right in our immediate neighborhood (if you include 10th Street and Wilson Boulevard two blocks to the Clarendon side of town). From Glebe Road down Fairfax Drive, along 10th Street, back up Wilson Boulevard, we are virtually surrounded by them.

On December 8, 1995, nearly one year after the Association reported in its Newsletter concerns about the proliferation of used car lots in our neighborhood, the Arlington Journal reported in a front-page article that U.S. agents raided car dealerships yesterday acting on a tip that drug dealers were using several Northern Virginia used car dealerships to launder money. According to this article, one person who walked by Eastern Motors during the search said for the past two years people have walked into the business with "a handful of cash" and driven off with a car. "That damn place has been a source of problems for the neighborhood since the last time it was raided," said one person who lives nearby but did not want to be identified. Most people interviewed said they were relieved the dealership was raided.

In a Washington Post article dated January 6, 1996, and titled "Virginia Car Dealer Faces Prison After Admitting He Sold to Drug Dealers," Charles Hall wrote that an Alexandria car dealer, whose lot was raided by FBI agents [in December 1995], pleaded guilty to tax evasion and money laundering, acknowledging to a federal judge that he regularly sold expensive cars to drug dealers. The article states that Mohammad Hajimohammad, 36, owner of Select Auto Imports, also agreed to forfeit 39 cars seized from his business in a plea agreement. In addition, he agreed to pay $465,000 in back taxes and penalties...Under the plea agreement, prosecutors returned 10 cars and said he could continue to operate his business if he took numerous steps to avoid doing business with drug traffickers.

In a recent Washington Times article titled "Arlington car dealers raided," by Rex Bowman, dated October 9, 1996, agents with the IRS, the FBI, and a U.S. Treasury Department task force raided two Arlington used car dealerships yesterday suspected of money laundering and tax evasion, according to federal law officials. The article states that agents in December seized 80 autos worth $1 million from Select Auto Imports of Alexandria and Eagle Motors [previously located in a trailer at 3911 Wilson Boulevard] and Eastern Motors of Arlington. Also, it states that an official with Select pleaded guilty to money laundering and violating tax-reporting laws. The president and co-owner of Eagle has agreed to plead guilty in U.S. District Court to money laundering.

In another article titled "Part 2 raids rack 2 dealers," Karla Hult of the Arlington Journal reported on October 9, 1996, that at around 11:00 a.m. and continuing into late afternoon, dozens of agents searched A&M Auto Sales located at 3275 and 3537 Wilson Boulevard, and Armani Imports at 1031 N. Highland Street. Also, she stated that Federal officials said unprincipled car dealerships often help drug traffickers by allowing them to turn large amounts of cash earned in drug deals into luxury automobiles that can be resold later. And dealerships may allow drug dealers to purchase cars under an alias, or may not file required IRS forms reporting cash purchases that exceed $10,000.

The Washington Post reported on October 9, 1996, in the article "Dozens of Cars Seized in Probe In Arlington" stated the vehicles were estimated to have a total value of $900,000 to $1 million that were taken from the two dealerships. Officials said agents from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury's Washington area task force also searched the homes of two Armani owners-Ali Reza Ganji, in the 8500 block of Raglan Road in Vienna, and Arash Nasserian, in the 7700 block of Marshall Road in Falls Church.

In response to our members overwhelming support for use permits for used car lots, and the longstanding concerns of our members, the Executive Committee plans to follow up on this matter and coordinate with the County on possible actions we can pursue.

Members Comments on Crime.

  1. Graffiti near schools is increasing. Panhandling near Ballston is intimidating. Safety on bike trails.
  2. Maybe too much vagrancy and panhandling in certain places such as Clarendon Park.
  3. The most important thing to me is to be able to walk around my neighborhood and feel safe.
  4. I have heard that there has been an increase in gang related crime. I think that there should be tougher punishments against teenagers committing crime. They should be given community work examples (sweep the streets in daylight with jail uniform), paint walls damaged by Graffiti, etc.
  5. Get rid of the panhandlers, they're nothing but bums!
  6. We're in pretty good shape so far but things could easily get worse considering the problem areas only a few miles away (South Arlington and D.C.).
  7. Residents can not use public parks at night to walk or walk their pets because non-taxpaying individuals use them and discard food, chicken bones, trash, etc., endangering health of pets. Persons from outside neighborhood-sleep and occupy benches etc.
  8. Particularly panhandlers in Quincy Park area.
  9. Neighborhood Watch-Programs should be strengthened.
  10. I have been approached with requests for money with the people giving fanciful stories about why they need it, ... The people have followed me onto my property while I was returning home from work in the evening.
  11. If current laws on Arlington books prevent fire department volunteers from soliciting on street corners, it certainly applies to panhandlers. If panhandlers are identified, their DHS benefits should be withdrawn due to undeclared income. All panhandlers should be taken to the homeless shelter, as that is what their signs say.
  12. Graffiti on bike path, SPC building on Quincy and car dealership on Washington Blvd. Also. concerned about derelicts in park by Central Library.
  13. Crime and parking are the two critical issues to me. I think we do OK on crime, but we must continuously improve. Violent crime is not acceptable and must be continuously reduced.
  14. Stronger enforcement of aggressive panhandling.
  15. Is there perchance a link between crime and panhandling and the exploding social welfare spending by the Arlington County government? I think so.

7-On-Street Parking

On-Street Parking was the seventh highest ranked issue area as a concern of the BVSCA members, based on the 1996 Neighborhood Survey. Eighty-five percent (85.5%) of the respondents marked the On-Street Parking category as a concern (46.4%) or critical problem (39.1%). The results of the 1996 survey for this category was 4.5 percentage points higher as a concern or critical problem than the results for this category in the 1995 Neighborhood Survey and 9.5 percentage points higher as a concern or critical problem than the results for this category in the 1994 Neighborhood Survey.

Similarly, On-Street Parking was the fourth highest ranked issue area as a concern of the BVSCA members, based on the 1995 Neighborhood Survey. Eighty-one percent (81%) of the respondents marked the On-Street Parking category as a concern (43.1%) or critical problem (37.9%).

Also, 71.6% of the BVSCA 1996 Survey respondents indicated that Off-Street Parking was a concern (38.8%) or critical problem (32.8%). The 1996 survey results for Off-Street Parking are similar to the results for the 1995 survey results. For example, 68.5% of the 1995 survey respondents indicated that Off-Street Parking was a concern (40.7%) or critical problem (27.8%). The overall percentage for this category is consistent with the results of the 1994 survey, which showed that 66% of the respondents felt that Off-Street Parking was a concern or critical problem, a difference of 4.6 percentage points between the 1996 and 1994 survey results.

Similarly, survey respondents indicated support for Off-Street Parking Requirements Increase to 2+ Spaces/Unit, topical issue 8.a, by 81.9% in support to 18.1% opposed. Also, respondents supported Establishing Visitor Parking Requirements--Residential Highrise Apartments/Townhouses, topical issue 8b., by 77.5% in support to 22.5% opposed.

Many comments were expressed about the need to improve parking and traffic management in our community, such as the following.

  1. Stop signs at intersections not effective. Need lights (Tower Villas, e.g., Oakland and 9th Streets).
  2. I am concerned about the fact that drivers frequently run the red light at Lincoln/Monroe/Washington Blvd. They don't stop at white lines by Uptown's westbound. I've been legally in the crosswalk and nearly runover. This needs police attention or better signs and lines for the cars.
  3. With all the development, parking has been more difficult recently for some of our guests. Will that get worse?
  4. Need for more surveys and attention to speeding cars not stopping at stop signs - i.e. 9th and Oakland - Very dangerous.
  5. Pedestrians need more consideration-at the least they should be given some consideration.
  6. With the GMU expansion on top of the Arlington YMCA and health club already turning my neighborhood's streets into a parking lot. It's just going to get horrendous as opposed to the already terrible problem it now is.
  7. The Ballston area has practically NO available street parking. Something needs to be done soon, especially with the new commercial and residential buildings currently planned.
  8. Too many unnecessary lights changing randomly at all hours.
  9. I am very concerned that Arlington is becoming D.C., now we likely will never be able to fix the problem. Cars are illegally parked on Wilson and Clarendon all day long causing problems for driving and walking, and the County does not enforce (fix the problem).
  10. Parking at Ballston Mall is not convenient. We need to be able to park on street. Nature Conservancy should provide parking on weekends and at night.
  11. As more multi-family dwellings are built (apts., townhouse complexes), Arlington County must insist developers plan and include sufficient realistic parking spaces for occupants (including 2-car families and roommates w/2 or more cars). Arlington County also must assure that businesses have sufficient parking to accommodate all businesses in area (Clarendon's becoming a parking nightmare).
  12. As with all more urban than suburban areas, parking is a terrible problem for those who live here (Ballston-Virginia Square) and those who visit.
  13. Need at least one more public parking garage in neighborhood. Also, need to make clear to visitors where parking is.
  14. The Ballston area is unfriendly to on-street parking. People should know that by now. Idea: During snowstorms, Zone 8 cars should be allowed to park free at Ballston Mall garage. It keep cars off streets so plows work better and would encourage people to use Metro.
  15. The arrival of the "Carpool" mega-bar has dramatically increased parking and litter problems on N. Randolph Street and other residential side-streets in Ballston. My family witnessed a fist fight over a parking space on "bar night," we also collect one garbage bag a week of beer bottles and cans on our block alone and I witnessed a Saturday night reveler urinating on the front gate to our townhouse.

8-Current Local Taxes

Item 5. Current Local Taxes was the eight highest marked item in terms of percentage response, as a concern (42.6%) and critical problem (42.6%), totalling 85.2% by the respondents in the BVSCA 1996 Survey; however, Item 5a. Real Estate Tax and Item 5b. Personal Property Tax appeared much lower as a category of concern in this year's survey. Based on the BVSCA 1996 Survey results, the primary concern of our members in this area is clearly the possibility of a local income tax in Arlington County (see the Local Income Tax Background article that follows the discussion of the survey results for information about the local income tax law and recent developments). Only 66.7% of the 1996 survey respondents indicated that local taxes-real estate was a concern (44.0%) or critical problem (22.7%). This is in marked contrast to the BVSCA 1995 Survey results that showed 79% of the 1995 survey respondents indicated that local taxes-real estate was a concern (53.2%) or critical problem (25.8%). In the BVSCA 1994 Survey, however, 62% of the survey respondents indicated that local taxes-real estate was a concern (36%) or critical problem (26%).

Under Item 5b. Personal Property Tax, the BVSCA 1996 Survey results showed that 70.8% of the respondents indicated that personal property taxes are a concern (41.6%) or critical problem (29.2%). It should be noted that the results of the survey on personal property taxes this year dropped seven percentage points from last year's survey. Survey results from last year's survey showed that 77.8% of the respondents indicated that personal property taxes are a concern (42.9%) or critical problem (34.9%). The Civic Association received numerous comments about Item 5. Current Local Taxes. The following illustrates the concern of some of our members about current local taxes.

  1. I strongly oppose a local income tax.
  2. Real estate and personal property levels if maintained are not severe burden. The meals tax is very difficult and especially or families. A local income tax would bring dire consequences to plans for continued economic development.
  3. We love Arlington and would like to retire here, but the real estate taxes are getting out of hand and a local income tax must not happen!! There's a limit to how much we'll endure to enjoy Arlington and income tax (and continually rising real estate taxes) are definitely our limit.
  4. Services cost money. Arlington's doing great compared to other jurisdictions in the metro area.
  5. Of course everyone wants to keep taxes down. Its ridiculous to add a local income tax on top of personal property tax. Arlington is well run--cut expenses instead of adding another tax.
  6. Arlington taxes are ridiculously high for the level of services we receive!
  7. Meals tax: If you don't like it - eat at home.
  8. Local Income tax: Just more money for the free spenders to give away.
  9. I am opposed to local income taxes, too much money is wasted with the brick sidewalks.
  10. Hold the line on taxes until spending is dealt with more efficiently. Tax cuts would aggregate debt situation.
  11. Forget a local income tax! Personal property tax too high - should have one assessment per car or "impact fee" in lifetime of car.
  12. I plan to retire in 4 years. If they continue to raise taxes, I will be forced to sell my home and move elsewhere.
  13. Additional tax is just an excuse to politicians to waste more money! Too much money given away - Politicians should give away their own money and land, not taxpayers.
  14. I think personal property taxes are unfair and should be eliminated. Older, gas guzzling, polluting cars are given the tax break.
  15. Key is to enforce the personal property tax which is unique and which is easy to evade.
  16. No increase in taxes! Let's get rid of the Meals Tax. No additional Taxes!!
  17. The meals tax only applies to one county in Virginia, Arlington. The meals tax legislative amendment that was sponsored by the Arlington County Delegation was approved by the General Assembly of Virginia for only the County Manager Plan of Government (Arlington). This enabled the Board to adopt, such a tax without an approved voter referendum if the Board voted unanimously and held one public hearing. A public referendum on the meals tax should be put before the Arlington voters to restore the integrity of the process.

9-GMU Campus Expansion

Item 4b. The GMU expansion-parking issue was the ninth highest marked item in terms of percentage response, as a concern (42.6%) and critical problem (41.0%), totalling 83.6% by the respondents in the BVSCA 1996 Survey. In last year's BVSCA survey, this item came in second place with a total percentage of 86.0%, as a concern (40.0%) or critical problem (46.0%). In the BVSCA 1994 Survey, this was the number one issue with 85% of the respondents in that survey indicating concern (33%) or critical problem (52%). Although the respondents view of this potential issue as a critical issue has declined by 11 percentage points since the BVSCA 1994 Survey, the Association continues to receive many member comments reflecting the need for the Association to continue to monitor closely developments in this area. Some of the members comments about the planned GMU campus expansion follow for your information.

  1. We can't absorb a 10,000 student campus in our neighborhood.
  2. Great for the community!
  3. In order to protect residents' parking, We need to implement 24-hour permit parking may be required. Already have problems with people parking on residential streets (permit parking 8-5 already in place) who go to Giant, metro, and FDIC and nearby condo.
  4. As long as its planned properly, the campus will be a welcomed addition.
  5. No problem that I see except for once again parking.
  6. The County has no business supporting a university that is supported through our state taxes.
  7. Require GMU to provide parking on its grounds. Demand preservation of green/open areas.
  8. Will have the most severe impact on parking.
  9. Great, we have a university in our mist.
  10. Neighborhood will greatly benefit if the campus is sensibly designed, including not only parking but access to nearby stores and small parks.

10-Residential Land Use/Development

Concern about Item 2b. Residential Land Use/Development was the tenth highest rated area in the BVSCA 1996 Survey with 76.4% of the respondents indicating concern (58.2%) or critical problem (18.2%). This contrasts with the BVSCA 1995 Survey results, when respondents indicated a total 65.5% response for this item in terms of concern (48.3%) or critical problem (17.2%).

Item 2a. Commercial Land Use/Development closely followed with 75.4% of the respondents indicating concern (57.9%) or critical problem (17.5%). In the BVSCA 1995 Survey, results showed that 72.4% of the respondents indicated concern (53.4%) or critical problem (19.0%). We received many comments from our members about this issue area, such as the following.

  1. We do not want affordable housing subsidies of any kind. Must stop bonus density for A.H.
  2. I appreciate the new residential highrises because they increase the Arlington tax base.
  3. Too many used car lots-we seem to be the national capital for this type of business.
  4. Development seems appropriate here-as long as builders have accurately estimated the market for new condo and townhouse sales. They're building so much. I hope what they build will be occupied before they start building more. Empty housing is a worry.
  5. The Stuart track purchase and sale must be investigated by an independent council. Who would not have brought that track for $300,000?
  6. While continued economic development and commercial building expansion is desirable, it is imperative that Ballston/Virginia Square remain primarily a residential area. Not another Rosslyn.
  7. I don't believe in higher density without parking garages in any way. Arlington has done very well--that is why I bought here. I am very concerned that we are going to screw it up by not requiring adequate parking. Other than parking I give the County an A in this area. I don't agree with the amount of subsidized housing on high value land (near metro stops.).
  8. We need to do a better job promoting highest and best-use land development near metro stations. Affordable housing needs to be reexamined.
  9. Insufficient on-site parking doesn't seem to be given adequate importance given the existing communities' layout-impact isn't considered the way it should be.
  10. The future of our community is largely depended on how we develop the space now open to the west and northwest of Metro Ballston. Learn from the successful Reston Center.

Other Comments About the BVSCA 1996 Survey

County Government

The results of the BVSCA 1996 and 1995 surveys suggest that the County's spending priorities continue to be flawed based on our members' views. For example, 52.8% of the respondents from the 1996 survey indicated support for increased spending on Public Safety and 40.3% indicated support for increased spending on Public Parking. Similarly, 64.1% of the respondents from the 1995 survey indicated support for increased spending on Public Safety and 43.8% indicated support for increased spending on Public Parking.

It should be noted here that the BVSCA 1996 Survey respondents said "yes" to increasing the retirement benefits for Arlington County Police and Firefighters (8. Topical issue o.) with 67.2% in support and 32.8 percent in opposition. Our members said "no" to increasing the salary of County Board members with a no response of 53.6%, but 46.4% said "yes."

In marked contrast, almost an equal percentage of those recommending increased spending for public safety in the 1996 survey, 52.2% of the respondents recommended that the County cut Welfare spending. Only 8.7% of the respondents in the BVSCA 1996 Survey indicated support for increased spending on Welfare. The percentage recommending that the County cut Welfare spending in the BVSCA 1995 survey was 43.7%.

More than 36% of the respondents to the 1996 survey recommended that the County cut staff size/salaries. Only 8.8% indicated support for increased County spending on staff size or salaries. Some of our members comments about the County government are as follows.

  1. How do government employees with excellent incomes qualify for low-income housing?
  2. Let's get on the welfare reform wagon. It will benefit the poor and give them accountability for their actions and make them self sufficient.
  3. Arlington County should stop completely any type of welfare.
  4. Have more staff enforce code requiring residents to clean-up after their dogs. It's becoming a public health problem for children and pets.
  5. County should spend more on greenways/parks/streetscapes-- that will attract more businesses. County should foster more outdoor cafes and restaurants.
  6. County appears to be well-run and responsive to citizen input. We could use less welfare and more safety.
  7. Our fire and police services have been severely neglected for years. They retire with full benefits after 30 years of service, not 20. (Note: 20 years is pretty much standard throughout the country.) How are we going to retain qualified personnel with the dismal voting records for many years on public safety by Board Members, Al Eisenberg, Ellen Bozman, and Jim Hunter?
  8. Welfare, public parking should be handled by private, non- profit sectors.
  9. Not knowledgeable enough to judge current levels of spending, but satisfied with what I've seen of those services.
  10. Arlington's budget can and should be slashed radically.

Quality of Life

This year's survey results also showed that our members continue to have strong sentiment against the County providing additional spending for subsidized rental housing and transition homes. Only 12.3 percent of the respondents indicated support for additional spending on transition homes, and even less, 7.3% of the respondents, indicated support for additional spending on subsidized rental housing. Over 50% of the respondents recommended a reduction in County spending for each of these areas, with 61.8% recommending less spending on subsidized rental housing. For your information, the following are some of the member comments received from this year's survey on the Quality of Life issue.

  1. Arlington should not subsidize anything.
  2. Arlington Public Schools spend $6,500 per student. Most local private and parochials spend half of that. Where is the money going?
  3. Why should my taxes buy someone else a home?
  4. No subsidized home ownership paid with tax money. Give responsible, hard working citizens a break.
  5. We spend $2K more per student than Fairfax County and our student scores are significantly lower on tests.
  6. I support spending on schools. I am concerned schools are wasting money however. I support subsidized housing; however, I think Arlington spends too much on it.
  7. The Washington-Lee High School's exterior hasn't been kept up well.
  8. Federal Housing Assistance payments are $26 billion annually. This is not a County program and should stop. 1982 Aliens Act prohibits the granting of housing or other cash benefits to undocumented aliens. Arlington does not even ask status of applicant.
  9. I am concerned about the propensity of the "enlightened" to socially engineer our community. Our County government should provide services the market won't, not decide who our neighbors will be.
  10. We are making a welfare state out of the County.
  11. The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association needs to investigate subsidized rental housing in Arlington, because they're obviously money makers for somebody!
  12. U.S. citizens only should receive these benefits! Seek federal subsidies for transitional housing for batter women.
  13. County/government bureaucrats do not have ability or right to select who is deserving and who is not of any such special supplements, using taxpayer monies!
  14. The voters should hold the County Board accountable for spending too much on Welfare and subsidized rental housing.

Board Issues

Additionally, our members said "no" to Arlington County Speculation in Land (topical issue 8j.) with a 73.8% negative response. Although 26.2% of the survey respondents said "yes" to Arlington County Speculation in Land, the Association has yet to find evidence in the Code of Virginia that the County Manager Plan of Government's current land speculation practices are authorized.

It is also interesting to note that our members reflected support for term limits for Arlington County Board Members (topical issue l.) with 71% indicating "yes," and 62.9%, indicating support for an Elected County Manager (topical issue k).

Other Issues for Survey

Under Item 8. Topical Issue p., are there other issues that should have been included in survey; if so, name them. The Association received the following suggestions for future surveys.

  1. County not enforcing site plan conditions, parking.
  2. Limit the number of used car lots.
  3. Who really has the best pizza in our area?
  4. A districting system for electing county board members.
  5. Need for stop light at Wilson and Oakland - No "U" turn at Oakland and Fairfax Drive - Crosswalks are dangerous because of "U" turn. This is needed because of the churches, subsidized housing, retail, 252 unit condo, private daycare-and much traffic at this intersection. This is an urgent need for over 20 years.
  6. Increased parking requirements for eating and drinking establishments near Metro Stations.
  7. Curfew for teens. Job opportunity and job training for kids who dropped out or not attending school. Recreation Planning for activities for kids and recreational centers. Retirement/Senior Center or Housing.
  8. Past public referendums denied Arlington County creation of a Public Housing Authority. Should not permit use of adjacent counties to circumvent.

Of the 78 survey responses to the BVSCA 1996 Neighborhood Survey, 87.5% of the respondents owned their own homes, 26.7% were from single detached homes, 32.0% were from townhouses, and 41.3% occupied condominiums or apartment buildings. In our next issue of the BVSCA Newsletter, we will continue the discussion of the highlights of the topical issues. For complete details of the survey results, please turn to pages 38 and 39 of this Newsletter.



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