I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful fall weather. I love fall.
We had several items for our October board meetings. We approved the construction of Sunrise South Glebe, which will be a new four-story facility with a 99-unit assisted living facility and memory care units. The facility will replace a church at at 716 S Glebe Road in the Alcova Heights neighborhood, and overall be a good improvement to the site. While not going beyond LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification, the site will be much improved both in function and appearance with landscaping, permeable pavers and green roofs. It also will provide much-needed assisted living units. We are far behind in meeting the need for assisted living units in Arlington.
We approved advertisement of our Draft Forestry and Natural Resources Plan which is the first time we’ve combined our Natural Resources Management Plan and our Urban Forest Master Plan into one document that will be part of our Comprehensive Plan. Combining the two makes sense for a more ecology-focused approach to environmental planning which is needed in our era of rapid climate change. The Plan has an emphasis on equity and environmental justice which had not been there before and on reconnecting nature to daily life. One of the major issues generally, but not specifically, discussed in the Plan is what to do about our burgeoning deer population. Their overpopulation harms gardens and woodland areas. In the latter, too many deer seriously threaten our many birds, plants, insects and animals, since they destroy the understory, by eating brush, grass and young trees. Overpopulation is not good for the deer either. I expect the Plan to be adopted next month. Difficult conversations about what to do about deer overpopulation will likely come next year.
Approval of the advertisement of the Langston Boulevard Area Plan drew the most interest, which was expected. Langston Boulevard efforts were just beginning when I joined the Board in March of 2012. It began with resident advocacy and became a large staff effort which is much needed. The Plan establishes a Langston Blvd. planning district and looks at many elements: 1) what building heights and density should be allowed; 2) how stormwater should be managed; 3) overall, what should be the future supply, access and ownership of public spaces; 4) how much housing and affordable housing should there be; 5) and more. The Plan divides Langston Blvd into 5 areas. Two areas (East Falls Church and Cherrydale) already have area plans and are not included in what we advertised for adoption next month. In the map below, the dark grey is the Planning Area, purple is the core study area, blue represents the residential edges, orange is other areas of study and green is open space.
There were about 44 speakers regarding the Plan. Most speakers were concerned about the need for more housing and also issues about height and density in certain areas were raised. Overall the Plan’s reception was positive. I believe most Board members agree that East Falls Church and Cherrydale plans should be updated to align with the plans for the other three areas sooner than the 10 years or so in the future recommended by staff. With perhaps a few changes, I expect us to take the staff’s recommendations when we adopt.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7 and early voting is easy and has already started. Don’t forget to vote.
If you have any extra time or money, I urge you to donate them to Democrats in General Assembly races outside of Arlington. Many races are very close and I believe a Republican majority in either house in Richmond would not be good for Arlington or Virginia.
Link to early voting info: https://vote.arlingtonva.gov/Early-Voting
Link to VA Dems: https://vademocrats.org/
For lists of Dems running for VA House and Senate: https://vademocrats.org/2023-candidates/