Civic Association Newsletter

April/May 1994 - Volume 17, No. 7

BVSCA Receives Service Award

"For outstanding service to the community," the Arlington County Civic Federation awarded the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association (BVSCA) a Certificate of Appreciation, on April 16th. The Civic Federation is the countywide umbrella organization of over 65 civic and other community organizations in which the BVSCA is a dues paying member.

In presenting the Award to the Civic Association, the Chairman of the Civic Federation's Executive Committee cited the quality of the BVSCA's excellent newsletter, the consistent and active representation of the BVSCA at the meetings and on many of the committees of the Civic Federation, and the well informed and recognized forceful participation of BVSCA members in the public policy debate on County issues ranging from land use planning and zoning, to budget and education matters. In closing, the Chairman stated, "In short, they (the BVSCA) are the model of participation for our other members."

On behalf of the BVSCA's over 210 dues paid members, former Association President, Rohan Samaraweera accepted the Award at the Civic Federation's Annual Banquet. See page 19 for a copy of the Certificate. The Officers and the Executive Committee of the Association express the thanks of our membership to the Civic Federation.

Question Of The Month

In the November/December 1993 Newsletter, the Executive Committee reported the results of the written survey responses to eight issue areas of potential concern to the Ballston-Virginia Square neighborhoods. The total of 64 responses indicated that street traffic levels, in our neighborhood, was one of the top ten concerns of our members.

Because the written survey results reflected significant concern about street traffic levels, the May Question of the Month is: "Tell us your view of the best method or approach to controlling the potentially significant increase in traffic volume on our neighborhood streets given the development projects planned for the near future."

By May 15th, call the Member Information Line 528-1887, select menu option one, and record your survey response. When recording your survey response, identify yourself by name and home street address. Without disclosing personal identification information, we shall publish the results in the next issue of the Newsletter.

As background for this question, at our March 30th Membership meeting, several members expressed concern to our invited guests, Arlington County Board Supervisors, Mary Margaret Whipple, Chairman, and Benjamin Winslow, Member, about street traffic and on-street parking and the potential for these problem areas to become more critical in the near future due to upcoming projects in our neighborhood. These projects include the George Mason University Arlington Campus expansion (as reported in last month's Newsletter); the Quincy Street extension between Wilson Boulevard and North Glebe Road; and the consolidation of the Department of Human Services at one of three approved sites, two of which are located on Fairfax Drive in Ballston. Concern was also expressed about the potential spillover effect from Disney's America theme park to be located in Prince William County off of I-66. Details follow on the Disney project and some indications of traffic effects further away.

According to Arlington's Director of Public Works, R. S. Kem, in his Inter-Departmental Memorandum of March 17, 1994 to John Mausert-Mooney, Assistant to the County Manager, Disney's America is not just a theme park. The memorandum describes the County Staff's analysis of Disney's America's traffic consultant's report. The total plan as analyzed for the site is to construct, in three phases, a resort community that would include the theme park, 1340 hotel rooms, 300 campsites, a golf course, about 2300 homes, and about 1.9 million square feet of commercial space of which about 70% would be in retail. Because it is planned as a mixed-use project, Disney's America can be expected to exhibit a variety of trip patterns. The traffic consultant projected the total vehicular trips at 115,000 on an average day; however, the memorandum suggests that the figure is less in terms of traffic volume on streets outside the site because it is a mixed-use project. To provide a sense of scale of what this magnitude of traffic volume can mean, a 1993 draft airport ground access study estimated 67,500 vehicle trips a day in 1987 at National Airport.

The County memorandum states that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has programmed improvements to I-66 between U.S. 50 in Fairfax County and Route 234 at Manassas, to the east of the site, with much of the funding for the $160 million project already allocated. The project would continue the cross-section that has recently been constructed between U.S. 50 and the Capital Beltway (i.e., a total of eight lanes, with three in each direction plus one for high occupancy vehicle ("HOV") traffic during peak periods). Staff reports, however, that I-66 inside the beltway is not planned for expansion although it has fewer lanes than the segment west of the beltway. Also, staff reports that Disney's America traffic, whether great or, as in staff's judgment, "not very substantial here," is not going to help I-66 inside the Beltway nor will traffic from planned development anywhere along the I-66 corridor, from the District of Columbia on out. The staff report concludes that: "more extensive HOV management (more extensive hours) are about the only method to substantially reduce congestion, absent widening the road. Of course, traffic using I-66 generally means less use of other Arlington streets so unless the hours and number (HOV-2, HOV-3, HOV-4, etc.) are such that they draw extensive use, the advantage of an uncongested I-66 can be more than offset by the disadvantage of higher traffic volumes on other Arlington streets."

Parking Regulations For Restaurants Located Near Metro Stations

Currently, a working group of citizens, restaurant owners, and County staff members have been meeting since December 1993 to re-write the ordinance governing the amount of parking restaurants (and some other types of commercial entities) located within 1,000 feet of a Metro station need to make available for the use of their patrons.

The current ordinance allows restaurants (and some commercial enterprises) not to have to make off-street parking available for any of their patrons. The standard County parking requirement for restaurants is 1 off-street space for every 6 seats. However, for restaurants that are located within 1,000 feet of a Metro station, they do not have to provide any off-street parking. This "no parking" ordinance was implemented because it had been thought that customers would either walk from the surrounding neighborhoods and/or take Metro to the site, therefore, parking spaces for patrons would not be necessary.

However, over the past few years, this assumption has proven to be incorrect. The on-street parking in many of the residential neighborhoods in the Rosslyn/Ballston Corridor is currently being used not by residents, but by patrons of nearby restaurants, creating congestion, noise problems and trash problems for the residents. In the last few years, the number of restaurants in the Clarendon and Court House areas has increased greatly. Because of the number and popularity of these establishments, the supply of on-street parking in the commercial area is quickly exhausted. Patrons then park on the residential streets.

In the Colonial Village complex in the Court House area, the Bardo Rodeo, which has over 800 seats provides only a minimal amount of off-street parking. The lions share of its patrons park on the streets, and on the streets in Colonial Village, which, because of its age, has a parking ratio of less than one space per residential unit. Residential parking was already at a premium in this neighborhood and, with the advent of Bardo, it has become a nightmare. The County has acknowledged that restaurants in Metro areas do need to provide some parking for the patrons. The question is, how much? After 5 months of discussion, the working group is considering 3 options to address this question.

The working group members representing restaurant owners would like to have an ordinance with a threshold of 250 seats per restaurant before off-street parking would be required to be provided. Under that approach, a restaurant may have up to 250 seats, and still not have to make provision for any off-street parking. When a business would have more than 250 seats, it would only have to make provision for off-street parking, at the current County ratio of 1 space per 6 seats, for that number of seats over 250. County staff has proposed a threshold of 150 seats, with parking being provided for only the seats over the 150 threshold.

The citizens in the working group are advocating a threshold of 6 seats. That is, the ordinance would require any establishment with more than 6 seats to have to apply for a special use permit. To obtain this special permit, a restaurant would have to demonstrate that there is either a sufficient amount of on-street parking in the vicinity of their establishment for the use of their customers and/or they have enough off-street spaces to accommodate their patrons. The off-street spaces could be in a lot that the restaurant has contracted for the use of, or some other arrangement.

By having a threshold of 6 seats, and requiring a use permit, the County and affected neighborhood(s) could evaluate the impact of a restaurant on the community. This would help in areas that have little availability of on-street commercial parking and/or a clustering of businesses. If there is a good supply of on-street parking, and the restaurant is not competing with a large number of businesses for these spaces, a use permit could easily be granted. If the on-street supply is limited, the use permit would not be approved until sufficient off-street parking for the establishment could be guaranteed.

In addition to these three options for ordinance revision, the working group has discussed requiring site planned buildings to provide parking for any retail business in their building during the hours of operation of that business. Currently, the parking garage of Stafford Place (the building that houses the NSF) remains open in the evening, thus providing parking for the patrons of its two restaurants -- Pizzaria Uno and Kramerbooks. Also, there is garage parking available in the building that houses the Rio Grande Restaurant and D'Angelo's. By having these garage spaces available, the impacts on the adjacent residential neighborhoods may be somewhat mitigated. However, the full impact of the availability of these garages is as yet unclear because of the temporary availability of a large empty already site plan approved surface lot, on the block adjacent to Rio Grande and D'Angelo's, that is used at night for parking without charge.

Arlington County Planning Division staff will be at our April 27th meeting to discuss this proposal.

Overall Summary Of 1994 General Assembly Legislative Session

Assembly Legislative Session

On March 12, 1994, the regular 1994 session of the General Assembly adjourned for the year. Some 2700 bills and resolutions were introduced. Of these, 1561 passed and 540 were carried over for consideration in the 1995 General Assembly session. Briefly, the 1994 General Assembly was dominated by bills in three areas--crime, drunk driving, and Disney's theme park. The Omnibus Crime Act of 1994 provides that a person convicted of a violent crime for a third time will be sentenced to life without parole. Legislation was also passed providing for an enhanced penalty for "hate crimes" and legislation providing for enhanced protection of the identity and location of witnesses and victims of crime. The General Assembly will re-visit the crime and criminal behavior area in September 1994 when it convenes to consider the Governor's proposals for reforming the criminal sentencing system and the abolition of parole.

The 1994 General Assembly enacted legislation to: (1) lower the presumption of "driving under the influence" (DUI) from 1.0 to .08 blood alcohol; (2) establishes "zero tolerance" for DUI by a person under 21; and (3) permits both the revocation of a driver's license and impoundment of an automobile through a speedy administrative process. The Conference Committee Report in support of Disney America creating the I-66 Economic Development Program and transportation improvement bonds (with an estimated total value of $140 million) to fund certain roads, in and out of the Disney project was adopted on March 12, 1994.

Two significant resolutions on initiative and referendum and aggressive panhandling were carried over to the 1995 General Assembly. Due to our members previously expressed interest in those issues, the resolutions are discussed in detail in the accompanying article.

Two Significant General Assembly Resolutions Affecting Arlington County And BVSCA Members Were Carried Over To The Next Session

Initiative and Referendum Resolutions

At the December 1, 1993 Association Membership meeting, our members voted 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. Essentially, UVIR is proposing an amendment to the Virginia Constitution to give the people power to: (1) propose new laws by binding petition and the ballot process to accept or reject them as law; and (2) adopt or reject any law or section of a law enacted by the General Assembly. This would be done by obtaining petition signatures from 5% of the total vote cast for Governor in the preceding gubernatorial election for statutory initiatives and referendums and 8% for constitutional amendments.

Since that meeting, the Arlington County Civic Federation voted on December 6, 1993 to adopt their 1994 Legislative Package, which states under Section 8, General Government, (D) Initiative and Referendum, [that] "The Federation requests a constitutional amendment reserving power to the people, in addition to the legislative power vested in the General Assembly, to propose laws and amendments to the Constitution, and to adopt or reject the same at the polls independent of the General Assembly, and further reserving to the people, at their own option, to adopt or reject any law or section of a law enacted by the General Assembly. Required percentages to put items to a referendum would be 5% of the total vote cast for Governor in the last proceeding gubernatorial election for statutory initiatives and referendums, and 8% for constitutional amendments."

At the end of the 1994 Virginia General Assembly, two resolutions were offered for state constitutional amendments permitting voters to exercise initiative and referendum. Both resolutions were tabled for consideration next year when proposed constitutional amendments will be considered. The patrons came from both sides of the aisle and included Senator Charles L. Waddell (D-Fairfax) and Delegate Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Mclean, Great Falls, and Herndon). Co-patrons included Senator Janet D. Howell (D- Arlington, Mclean, Reston, and Vienna), Senator Robert L. Calhoun (R-Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County), Delegate Kenneth R. Plum (D- Reston), Delegate Robert E. Harris (R-Burke and Fairfax), and others. Also, supporting I & R are Governor George Allen (R) and Lt. Governor Donald S. Beyer Jr (D).

Aggressive Panhandling Bill

At the April 5, 1994 Arlington County Civic Federation meeting, the County's General Assembly Legislative Delegation reported on the 1994 General Assembly session. Representatives from our Association inquired about the status of the aggressive panhandling bill, Senate Bill 113, patroned by Senator Edward M. Holland (D-Arlington) and Senator Robert L. Calhoun (R-Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County). That bill permits Arlington County to adopt an aggressive panhandling ordinance and was adopted by the State Senate on January 28, 1994. However, at the request of the Chief Patron, Senator Holland, and the opposition of Delegate L. Karen Darner (D-South Arlington), the bill has been carried-over to the 1995 General Assembly. The bill proposes that "the governing body of any county operating under a county manager plan of government may provide by ordinance for the regulation or prohibition of aggressive begging or panhandling on public property or on privately owned property which is open to the public. The ordinance may include a provision permitting police officers to make arrests for violations of the ordinance not committed in their presence when any such arrest is based on probable cause upon reasonable complaint of the person who observed the alleged offense."

In response to the proposed bill, Delegate Darner indicated opposition for several reasons. She stated the concept of "aggressive panhandling" is open to many interpretations. Having lived in a country for two years that had many panhandlers/beggars everywhere, she indicated that her definition would be markedly different from most other people In addition, Delegate Darner indicated that she had a great deal of difficulty with the way Senate Bill 113 is drafted. Delegate Darner added the whole concept of "hearsay" is the foundation of the bill. She also believes that it can lead to many falsely founded charges, perhaps because someone looks, acts, or talks differently.

Because the crime issue ranked as the highest issue area in terms of concern or critical problem responses, in our prior written survey (which had been distributed through the October 1993 Newsletter), with several respondents indicating concern about the homeless and panhandling, the Civic Association's officers researched this area further to provide additional perspective. According to Ellen Perlman in her article entitled "Getting Tough on the Down and Out," in the Governing periodical dated April 1994, she indicates it's a troubling sight in cities across America -- the homeless, unable or unwilling to conduct their daily activities in the privacy of a home or shelter, use the city's streets, parks and benches. They sprawl in the business district with bedrolls and bags of belongings. They urinate in public, and they frighten people with aggressive panhandling. The article describes a number of cities from the West Coast to the East Coast, such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., which have passed or are enforcing existing nuisance laws to disperse street people, or prohibit public drunkenness, and/or prohibit aggressive panhandling. Also, it should be noted that Richmond, Virginia has also adopted an ordinance against aggressive panhandling.

The following is an example of an aggressive panhandling ordinance adopted by the Sacramento City Council on November 30, 1993 and a summary of background information provided by the staff of the Office of the City Manager on April 14, 1994 to the Association's Vice-President.

"Legislative Findings and Statement of Purpose (Section 10.05.700)--The city council does hereby find that persons have been soliciting alms and/or other items of value in the city in such a manner as to cause citizens to fear for their safety. There have also been instances where individuals provide unsolicited services and then demand alms or something of value. The public safety necessitates the exercise of the police power of the city, through the enactment and enforcement of this chapter, for the purpose of preventing such activities within the city. Section 10.05.701 Prohibited--(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to coerce, threaten, hound, or intimidate another person for the purpose os soliciting alms on any street or other place that is open to the public, whether publicly or privately owned. A violation of this section is an infraction. (b) It shall be unlawful and an infraction for any person to provide an unsolicited service and thereafter solicit or demand alms and/or other items of value. Section 10.05.702 Definitions--For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section: (a) "soliciting alms" shall mean asking for money or something of value, whether by words, bodily gestures, signs, or other means. (b) "coerce, threaten, hound, or intimidate" shall mean that: (i) the solicitor's conduct causes a reasonable solicitee to fear for his/her safety; or (ii) the solicitor intentionally blocks the path of the solicitee; or (iii) the solicitor follows the solicitee while the solicitor demands money or something of value after the solicitee informs the solicitor by words or conduct that the solicitee does not want to give the solicitor money or some other thing of value." According to Sacramento City staff, the reason why the City adopted the above ordinance is that with the escalation in panhandling, there have also been reports of an increase in the number of individuals who are harassing or using strong-arm tactics to coerce people into giving them money or other items of value. Commonly called "aggressive panhandling" or "aggressive solicitation," this type of panhandling goes beyond the simple request for money. Victims may be pursued, badgered, threatened or physically assaulted by the panhandler. Concern over being confronted by aggressive panhandlers has led some people into avoiding major shopping areas and created a backlash against people peacefully seeking contributions.

Police officials have stated that court rulings have reduced their ability to effectively address aggressive panhandling. The police can take enforcement action when the behavior crosses the line into the criminal realm such as battery or obstruction. However, these laws often cannot protect citizens from the fear caused by individuals who harass them for money or refuse to take "no" for an answer and continue to persistently demand money. The above ordinance adopted by the City of Sacramento attempts to remedy the local enforcement problem by specifically stating that coercing, threatening, intimidating, and hounding people for the purpose of collecting money or other things of value, is a violation of law. This part of the ordinance is patterned after ordinances adopted by the City of Beverly Hills in March 1993 and the City and County of San Francisco in November 1992.

In conclusion, the Civic Association's Officers researched the aggressive panhandling proposed Virginia bill and existing ordinances in response to our members request for additional information about reducing the effect of the day-time homeless drop in shelter that Arlington County staff have indicated, in the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy ("CHAS"), they would like to see placed in the Clarendon or Virginia Square areas. If you have any comments or questions about the aggressive panhandling bill or the problem of homeless street people in Arlington, we invite you to bring them to the April 27th Membership meeting for discussion with Arlington County Board of Supervisors Member, Jim Hunter.

County Board Action On Stafford Square Application

On April 9, 1994, the County Board again considered the Site Plan Amendment application of the Stafford Square Community Association ("SSCA"). The SSCA, which is a townhouse homeowners association in the BVSCA neighborhood, was requesting that the County approve their application to add dormers on the third floor of each unit and thereby create the opportunity to add an additional bedroom, bath, and some storage space.

SSCA representatives gave a presentation on their proposal to the BVSCA Membership on January 26, 1994. At that time, the representatives stated that they wished to increase the livable space of each unit in order to keep and attract more young families. (The units currently only have two bedrooms.) However, of the 60 townhouses, only 17 are currently owner- occupied. It was thought that if another bedroom were to be added to each unit, instead of getting a family, the neighborhood would instead get another adult sharing a unit with two other adults. And, it was felt, this new adult would have another car needing to be parked. Currently, Stafford Square has 69 off-street spaces. This is a ratio of 1.15 spaces per unit, and was the zoning requirement at the time the development was built. However, in 1986, the zoning requirements for the R15-30T area were changed to require two on-site spaces per townhouse unit. After the presentation, the BVSCA Membership voted to oppose Stafford Square's request unless they could increase their on-site parking to meet the current zoning requirement of two off-street spaces per unit.

The Planning Commission heard the application at their March 28th meeting. At that time, a motion to recommend approval of the request, only if Stafford Square could increase the parking to two on-site spaces per unit was defeated. A motion to recommend denial of the application was also defeated, as was a motion to defer the application. The motion to recommend the County staff report, which supported permitting the dormers, was also defeated.

The County Board, taking into account the Civic Association's concern about parking and the precedent setting nature of this application, and the Planning Commission's inability to recommend either approval or denial of the application, considered the item for an hour and a half. At the conclusion, the Board voted, 4-1, for a compromise that allows only 25% of the complex (15 units) to add the requested dormers before a review of the impact the additions are making on the parking situation in the neighborhood. The compromise also includes a provision that requires any household in Stafford Square with more than three cars to provide proof that the third car is being parked in a private lot. This proof is to be presented to the Stafford Square Community Association and will be monitored by their parking subcommittee. The Board instructed the SSCA representative to keep the BVSCA informed about the compliance with the parking provisions.

BVSCA'S Position On George Mason University Expansion, And Update

At the March 30th meeting, with a total audience of 55 of whom 43 were dues paid members, the Membership heard and acted on a recommendation by our Association's George Mason University Expansion Committee. The report was distributed with information about the proposed Virginia Square Campus expansion, and was presented by Committee Co-Chairs, Hayden Bryan and Nancy Iacomini, and by our Site Plan Review Committee Chair, Rohan Samaraweera.

The sources of information for the Committee's report were the following: GMU/Arlington County Community Forums, sponsored by the County's Higher Education Advisory Committee and held on 12/14/93 and 2/2/94) = "Forum"; Expanding the GMU-Arlington Campus: A Program for an Educating Community, (jointly published by Arlington County and GMU, February 20, 1992) = "GMU-Arlington Campus, 1992"; and, A Parking Study for the GMU-Arlington Campus, (Prepared for George Mason University by JHK & Associates, June 1992) = "JHK & Associates". The following is the report that was presented to the Membership.

  1. The expanded campus will house: the Law School; the International Institute; the Professional Center (program that arranges conferences, community events, and cultural activities); the Small Business Development Center; the Art Gallery and some undergraduate courses (GMU-Arlington Campus, 1992; and Forum).
  2. The current GMU facility has 2,000 students who use the 120,000 square foot former Kann's Department store (Forum). This site (3401 Fairfax Drive) is 5.2 acres in size (Forum).
  3. Building is currently set to begin in fall 1994, and the expanded enrollment is expected to be reached within 15 years of the commencement of construction. Construction will progress in three phases (Forum).
  4. The proposed campus complex, when fully built-out, will have three buildings totaling 750,000 square feet (Forum).
  5. In Phase I, the first building is proposed to be 150,000 square feet and 75 feet in height, approximately 5 stories, and is proposed to have 270 on-site parking spaces; Phase II is proposed to bring a 250,000 square foot building, 110 feet in height, approximately 7 stories, and is proposed to have 600 additional on-site parking spaces; and, Phase III is proposed with a 350,000 square foot, 7 story building and the total of 1,000 on-site parking spaces will be completed (Forum).
  6. Although GMU's architectural plans are not final, building massing is proposed to occur on Fairfax Drive, with the buildings being arranged around a central courtyard that would front onto Fairfax Drive (Forum).
  7. The student enrollment, after final build-out, is currently planned to be 12,700 (GMU-Arlington Campus, 1992).
  8. The campus will be utilized very heavily in the evenings, with peak occupancy time occurring around 7:00 p.m. During peak occupancy, according to the GMU-commissioned study by JHK & Associates, 40% of the student enrollment will be present on campus (approximately 5,080 students). Also, the JHK study indicates that 85% of the students drive (4,318 students) and that about 80% of the faculty and staff also arrive at the campus by car.
  9. GMU is currently proposing only 1,000 on-site parking space for this facility, when entirely built-out (Forum).
  10. $12.9 million will be needed to build the Phase I building of approximately 100,000 square feet -- this funding has been acquired in the statewide Higher Education General Obligation Bond approved in 11/92. To expand Phase I to the more desirable scale of 150,000 square feet, with two floors of underground parking, a minimum of $5 million of additional funds are required from such sources as the Arlington County Higher Education Bond, approved 11/93, and the issuance of State section 9(c) revenue bonds to be repaid from student fees. The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia intends to recommend that the General Assembly authorize GMU to allocate up to $5 million from these potential sources to finance the Phase I facility and an additional $1.5 million to plan the Phase II facility (Forum).
After a question and answer session, followed by full and fair debate, the Membership overwhelmingly adopted, with only two votes against, the following resolutions concerning George Mason University's expansion at Virginia Square:
  1. The access and egress points to the campus should be on Fairfax Drive and/or Kirkwood Road, not onto Washington Boulevard;
  2. The buildings should taper toward the proposed central courtyard, which should open onto and face Fairfax Drive. The highest building points should be placed up against the FDIC building to the west and the adjacent office building currently to the north of the building site;
  3. On-site parking spaces should be equal in number to the maximum percentage of students who are expected to drive to campus (as shown in GMU's own JHK and Associates, June 1992 Arlington Campus Parking Study) and be present at peak occupancy after complete expansion, plus 10% of that number to meet faculty, staff and community visitor needs. Based on current data of an expected enrollment of 12,700 students after full expansion, the number of required on-site spaces would be 4,749;
  4. If site constraints preclude additional on-site parking to meet the need identified in JHK and Associates's June 1992 study, GMU should downsize its planned 750,000 square foot expansion to fit available on-site parking; and,
  5. The project must have a State Environmental review that should include: a hearing in the Northern Virginia area; a site visit by State Environmental officials; and presentation of site specific mitigation measures.
The following is a brief update on GMU Expansion matters that have occurred since the Association's March 30th meeting.

At the Newsletter's production deadline, members of the Association's GMU Expansion Committee learned that GMU's Revised Parking Study is in draft form, and that Arlington County staff have helped GMU rewrite at least "two drafts" of the Revised Study. When the County staff representative who made that statement was asked to provide copies of GMU's draft Revised Parking Study, which Arlington staff were helping GMU rewrite, the Arlington County staff member refused to do so on the basis that the materials were "(I)nternal working documents." The question still remains why County staff are revising GMU's documents without review and input from the affected neighborhood.

Regarding the Virginia state statutory obligation for GMU to prepare and submit an environmental impact report of its expansion project to the state Department of Environmental Quality ("DEQ"), GMU's Vice-President for Institutional Planning and Research, Edward L. Delaney, was quoted in the April 14, 1994, Arlington Journal, as stating that, "Since this is a fully developed site ... I'm not aware of that need." Following-up on the Association members' action, the Executive Committee has written to the State DEQ requesting a hearing, in Northern Virginia, on GMU's expansion project.

Please remember, we need our members to attend and speak-out on this matter during the next phases of the County's GMU process which takes place before the County's Site Plan Review Subcommittee, the Planning Commission, and ultimately before the County Board. Check our Member Information Line, 528-1887, for dates, etc. If you would like to write a letter or call one of your elected representatives, or would like to help the Association in some other way call Hayden Bryan, at (703) 243-6070, or Nancy Iacomini, at (703) 525-7125, for ideas or suggestions, or with questions.

Leaking Underground Storage Tank Identified In Our Neighborhood

On Thursday, April 13, 1994, the Washington Post reported on a leaking underground storage tank in our neighborhood in an article entitled "Arlington's Angry Case of the Vapors" by D'Vera Cohn. The article described a low level of gasoline vapors turning up, in January 1994, at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp's L. Seidman Training Center basement (which is located next door to George Mason University's Virginia Square Campus) and added that the FDIC's sump pumps had pulled in contaminated water. Also, the article indicated that Virginia environmental officials believe that the former Exxon station (now Citgo) at 3444 North Washington Boulevard is the prime suspect.

In response, several BVSCA members contacted Lewis Hilder, senior geologist with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and inquired about the locations of the effected area. During the conversation, he stated that "there was no risk to health or safety to anyone located south of Fairfax Drive and west of Monroe Street," which would include the Wentworth Place Condominium building located at 3515 North Washington Boulevard and the townhouses located across the street on North Monroe Street.

Finally, the article indicated that Virginia officials expect a report from Exxon in the middle of May regarding their plans to prevent this problem from worsening. We will keep our members informed about any remedial actions in cleaning up the contamination.

Proposed By-Law Amendment

The Association's By-Laws require consideration of properly proposed amendments, once a year, at our Annual Meeting in May. Any dues paid member is eligible to timely submit proposed amendments for consideration. The By-Laws require that the Executive Committee review proposed amendments and provide a report to the Members.

Current By-Laws, Article III, Section 4, reads as follows: Section 4. Dues The amount of the annual dues for each member shall be specified by the membership at the annual meeting. a) Dues are payable when first joining, and are renewable each year on or before the annual anniversary of that date. b) Any member who has not paid his or her dues on or before their anniversary date shall be dropped from membership and may not vote. c) Former members, who have been members in good standing within any of the three immediately preceding Association years, may be reinstated as voting members by paying their dues for that year. d) New members, and members who have not paid their dues within the three preceding Association years, must pay their dues 30 days before they receive voting privileges. A member, who also maintains the Association's membership records, has proposed that Section 4. c) and 4. d) be amended to read as follows: "c) Former members, who have been members in good standing within the preceding 12 months, may be reinstated as voting members by paying their dues." "d) New members, and members who have not paid their dues within the last 12 months, must pay their dues 30 days before they receive voting privileges." The explanation for the amendments, provided by the proposer, is that currently the Association runs on a fiscal year which begins on June 1st and runs to the following May 31st. However, to provide twelve months of membership for a dues payment, membership expires at the end of the twelfth month in which the anniversary date of dues payment falls. This has resulted in cumbersome record keeping requirements for the Association's Treasurer to maintain and research an expired membership list which spans 48 months.

To review the proposed amendment, the Executive Committee formed a By-Law Amendment Review Committee consisting of Association President, Robert Sherretta; Vice-President, Ernie Ragland; and Executive Committee Member, Rohan Samaraweera. Based on the rationale provided by the Association's Treasurer in proposing the amendment, the By-Law Amendment Review Committee recommends to the Association Membership in favor of adoption of the above proposed amendments. The effect of the amendments would be that any one who renews their membership more than 12 months after it has expired would have to wait thirty days to regain their voting privileges as they would be in the same category as new members. As we now have over 200 dues paying members, this would considerably ease the burden on the Treasurer of the record keeping needs.

The proposed By-Law amendment will be considered by the Membership at the Annual Meeting in May.

Neighborhood Crime Report

  1. 300 Block North Glebe Road -- Abduction and Armed Robbery. A man approached a 65-year-old woman about 12 p.m. and said he was sick. The man's female companion asked the woman to drive the two home. The woman agreed. In the car, the man demanded money and jewelry at knife point. When the victim said she had none, the man forced her to drive to Crestar Bank and withdraw $3,000. Next, the man ordered her to cash her $1,500 check at First Virginia Bank. After the victim complied, she pulled into a parking lot across from the bank and fled. The two robbers tried to force the woman back into the car, but fled toward the Ballston Metro Station. Tuesday, March 15th.
  2. 4200 Block Wilson Boulevard -- Abduction/Robbery. A woman armed with a gun approached a 21-year-old woman and demanded money at 12:30 p.m. The victim said she did not have any money and was then forced into a four-door white car. Two men were in the car. An unidentified substance was sprayed on the victim's face but did not cause any discomfort. The robbers drove the victim to her residence and escorted her inside. The robbers took cash and jewelry. The robbers then drove the victim to her bank in the 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard and forced her to take money from an automatic bank teller. The robbers fled leaving the victim at the bank. Wednesday, March 16th.
  3. 701 North Glebe Road -- Robbery. A man robbed the Hecht Co. in Ballston Common at about 11:06 a.m. The man told the employee to give him all the $10, $5 and $1 bills in the second-floor women's department register. The robber took the money, about $49, and several clothing items and fled into the mall. Wednesday, March 16th.
  4. 1000 Block North Monroe Street -- A man snatched a woman's purse at 8:45 p.m. The robber was a black man, 5 feet 3 inches tall and 240 lbs, with brown eyes and black hair. He wore gray sweat pants and a red, blue and green jacket. Saturday, March 19th.
  5. 900 Block North Stafford Street -- Arrest. Police charged John Chandler Brashears, 29, of 5650 North 8th Street, with abduction at about 8 p.m., Monday, March 21st.
  6. 3900 Block Wilson Boulevard--Car Jacking. Police reported two male customers at Eagle Motors stole a two-door, silver 1988 Acura Legend at about 2 p.m. The two men were test driving the car with a sales associate when they put a hard object against his back, forced him out of the car. Monday, March 28th.
  7. 3901 N. Fairfax Drive -- Burglary. A thief stole a 1993 black Ford Taurus sedan from Arlington Funeral Home between 8 p.m. Friday and 9:35 a.m. Saturday, police said. Its Virginia license plate number is WKL-223. Friday, April 8th.

March/April Question Of The Month Response Summary -- George Mason University Parking Needs

Because the overall results of the Association's October 1993 written survey showed that the neighborhood parking needs was one of the top ten issues of concern to members, the March/April 1994 Question of the Month asked: "Tell us the amount of off-street, on-site, parking that you believe would be adequate and responsible for GMU to provide as part of its expansion project."

The Survey was run from March 26th through April 16th. Thirty-four (34) call-in responses were received during that period of which 30 members left the requisite identification verification information so as to be included in the results. The identified members' responses are summarized below.

All 100% of the respondents indicated that they felt that GMU's proposed expansion to a registration of 12,700 students with only 1,100 on-site parking spaces would be a severe strain on the neighborhood. Eighty percent (24) of the members responding to the telephone survey had not been in attendance at the Association's March 26th Membership meeting, but indicated that they had reviewed the detailed information about GMU's expansion in the Association's March/April 1994 Newsletter.

Two-thirds (20) of the respondents stated the number of parking spaces that GMU should put on-site as a percentage of the number of students that GMU expected to have on site at the time of peak occupancy. As more than 85% of the students drive to the GMU Campus, and there are about 40% of the enrollment on-campus during peak occupancy, the percentage response most frequently stated by this group was that GMU should have on-site spaces equal in number to 85% of their peak period occupancy of 40% of their expected student enrollment of 12,700. Taking into consideration faculty, staff and other growth needs, four respondents indicated that GMU should have spaces on-site for 100% of their expected arrivals by car.

A third (10) of the respondents stated their view of the necessary on-site parking in terms of a specific number of spaces. The low end of the numeric range stated by this group was 4,000 on site spaces. The high end of the range was 5,000 on site spaces. A majority (6) of those stating their responses as a specific number of spaces, expressed the view that the minimum number of required spaces is 4,500.

It appears to your Executive Committee that there is very minimal division of view among our Membership about the need for GMU to put at least a total of 4,500 spaces on the site of their 750,000 square foot project. The official position of the Association, as adopted at the March 26th Membership meeting, is that GMU should have a total of 4,749 parking spaces on the site of its Virginia Square Campus.

Instructions And Menu For Member Information Line Telephone Number

The Association's Member Information Line Telephone Number, a.k.a. MILTN, is (703) 528-1887.

Using a touch-tone telephone, the information voice bulletin board may be called at your convenience, 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week. When you call the Member Information Line, you first hear a brief announcement that tells you what the menu selections are. If you know which menu selection you want, you may select that option at any time. You may access one menu selection per telephone call.

To promote ease of access to the information and message capabilities of the MILTN, the Executive Committee has standardized the menu selections and they are listed below.

Menu selection: 1) is the Question Of The Month survey where the Association members may listen to a question and leave a recorded message to respond to the survey; 2) is an announcement only of upcoming Association Membership and Executive Committee meetings, agenda items, etc. Check this selection for postings on last minute updates and changes to Association meeting agendas; 3) is an announcement only summarizing significant actions taken at recent Executive Committee and Membership meetings; 4) is an announcement only of upcoming County-wide group meetings that affect our neighborhood; 5) is an announcement only of actions taken at recent County-wide group meetings that affect our neighborhood; 6) is the message box for the Neighborhood Crime Watch. Leave a message in this box if you would like to start a crime watch on your block and the Association will match you up with other members on your block; 7) is the George Mason University Campus Expansion announcement and message box. You may listen to a message about the most recent information we have on George Mason's expansion plans and leave a message for the Association's George Mason Expansion Committee; and, 8) is a miscellaneous announcement and message box about a particular topical matter that will need its own menu option for a limited period of time.

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