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Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association

Minutes of the May 10, 2023 Meeting


The annual meeting of the Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association was called to order by president John Ford at 7:00 p.m. on May 10, 2023.  Board members present were Laura Stout, Irene Szopo, Sima Nasr, Michelle Winters, Matt Fleming, Bill Braswell and Eric Massant.  John Richardson was out of the country and could not attend.  Community members attending included Kym McMillan, Heather Salinas, Greg Perrett, Al Herman, Jon Ware and Ray Keaney.


Arlington County Elections Office Deputy Director Tate Fall appeared by Zoom to brief members on practical aspects of Rank Choice Voting, which will be employed by the county for the June 20 Democratic primary election for the two County Board seats that will be contested in November. 


Ms. Fall reported that:


  • Voters will be asked to rank order their top three preferences among the six contenders.  RCV will apply only to this year’s County Board primary election.  Ballots will be two sided:  One side will feature all except CB elections, to be conducted in traditional fashion.  The reverse side will explain and offer RCV.

  • No write-in votes will be allowed for the June CB primary election.  June 20 is also the deadline for declaration of candidacy for the November general election, by state law. 

  • Results of the June 20 primary election will take several days to process, but they should be published by no later than June 27.


In response to requests from Board members at the March meeting, Arlington County Civic Federation board of directors chair Jackie Snelling briefed on CivFed’s evolving role in the county and its relationship to individual civic associations. 


She emphasized that CivFed is avowedly non-partisan, and represents nearly 85 organizations, of whom two-thirds are neighborhood CAs and the rest are largely advocacy groups ranging from the Arlington Historical Society to the Arlington Tree Action Group.  CivFed is a “big tent” that aims to accommodate diverse ideas and opinions and to unite where possible to push for reforms in county government and process.


Jackie solicited and received from members feedback on a proposed flyer she is developing to explain CivFed to newcomers.  Among the suggestions for CivFed assistance to our CA were:  generic newsletter content; information on event planning details such as permit and alcohol requirements; access to newsletters such as ANNE, and practical advice on best practices among other CAs.


TLHCA’s annual elections were conducted.  Incumbent president John Ford, vice president Laura Stout, treasurer Irene Szopo and secretary John Richardson were reelected without opposition.  Current CivFed delegates Bill Braswell, John Ford, Laura Stout and John Vihstadt were relected for another term.  Board member Eric Massant expressed interest in serving as an alternate delegate and was elected without dissent. 


Treasurer Irene Szopo reported a healthy bank balance of just above $5,000, and after some discussion, the board authorized the September 30 Westover Day planning committee (Laura Stout, Matt Fleming, Sima Nasr and John Ford) to commit $1,250 (with a possible ceiling of $1,500) in support of this community-wide event.  Several big-ticket expenses were itemized.  Other sponsors will also contribute.  They include three other CAs, the Westover Farmers’ Market and the Cardinal School PTA. 


Minutes of the March 15 meeting and the May treasurer’s report were approved.  The next meeting was set for Wednesday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m., via Zoom.  . 


The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association

Minutes of the November 9, 2022 Meeting


1.      The Board of Directors of the Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association (TLHCA) met by Zoom at 7:00 PM Wednesday, November 9, 2022.  Directors present and constituting a quorum were John Ford (President), Laura Stout (Vice-President), John Richardson (Secretary), Irene Szopo (Treasurer), Bill Braswell, Eric Massant, Irene Szopo, and John Vihstadt.  Michelle Winters and Matt Fleming had advised their inability to attend.  No word was received from Alyssa Cowden, Pete Erickson, Mary Ann Frias, Jon Judah, and Dave McGowan.  Four guests also attended. 

2.      Minutes of Last Meeting:  The minutes of the TLHCA Board of Directors meeting of September 14, 2022 were approved as distributed. 

3.      Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer’s Report was approved as distributed November 1, 2022. 


United Bank

October 1, 2022 Bank Balance                                   $3853.82


Bank deposits ---------


Sima Nasr- TLHCA Zoom Renewal           $157.40 


October 31, 2022 Bank Balance                                 $3696.42                                                                    


October 1, 2022 PayPal Balance                                $1665.56

                                    Dues                $9.22

                                    Donations        ___



October 31, 2022 PayPal Balance                              $1674.78                      


Total                                     $5371.20 


Because of the current balance of $5,371.20, a question was raised about possible use of some or all of the funds for community purposes.  Mr. Ford described discussions underway among several civic associations and PTA’s about sponsoring a community celebration once the new stormwater vaults underground at Cardinal School are completed sometime next spring.  An assessment that the grounds will require time for recovery will push the date for the event beyond the opening of school next fall.  Mr. Ford said that the celebration would likely include games and hot dogs and welcomed volunteers willing to help with organization.  Invitees (no speeches) would include the County Manager, County Board members, and other Arlington figures in order to keep the County engaged on the stormwater issue.  There was discussion about whether alcohol would be permissible/encouraged.  Mr. Vihstadt reported County Board discussions about permitting alcohol consumption in designated public areas. 

4.    County Traffic Survey: Mr. Ford reported that the County has distributed a survey questionnaire about safety improvements to the Patrick Henry Dr./N. 18th St. intersection.  The survey is to be completed and returned by November 20.  John Ford, Sima Nasr, Matt Fleming, and John Richardson will meet at 10:00 AM Monday, Nov. 14, to discuss the issue.  

5.    Rank-Choice voting: Dave Schutz, representing the Civic Federation “Tiger Committee” on considering rank-choice voting in Arlington as part of voting reform, gave a report that went into considerable detail (John Vihstadt is also a member of the committee).  Local General Assembly Delegate Patrick Hope has introduced legislation in Richmond on the subject and is working with the Tiger Committee for the  next legislative session.  Mr. Schutz said that both the County Board and Arlington School Board, each with five members, would probably be increased to seven each.  Rank-choice voting – where multiple candidates are on the ballot for the same position – is currently practiced widely in other countries and to some extent in the United States.  It distributes voter preferences to all named candidates below one’s first choice and offers the opportunity for under-represented (e.g., minority, less popular) viewpoints to be represented in public bodies, whereas “first past the post” winners invariably represent the best-known candidates.  Mr. Schutz noted that there are a number of other questions under consideration, including converting County Board jobs to full time, raising their salaries, creating electoral districts vice at-large candidates (the current system), and lengthening terms of service. Certain County Board members currently favor implementing rank-choice voting for 2023 Arlington primaries, but no decisions have been made.  The current election system provides predictability.  Conversion to machine-readable ballots would speed the vote count.  Mr. Schutz reiterated that the goal of considering rank-choice voting is to increase representation of underserved Arlington communities and said that one application would see voting for election of two (three and four) tranches of rank-choice candidates two years apart.  Mr. Schutz noted that Arlington is required to follow the so-called Dillon Rule, by which the General Assembly sets our election guidelines.  Regardless of what the Tiger Committee proposes, there are several possible responses, including “all or nothing” implementation, partial implementation, or rejection by the Civic Federation before the County Board were to decide. 

6.    Other Issues:

a.     Laura Stout raised again the County survey of the Patrick Henry/18th St. intersection, due to be completed by Nov. 20.  It was agreed that it should be included in the December TLHCA newsletter.

b.   Condolence Card: Mr. Ford will send Michelle Winters a condolence card in the name of the Board for the recent passing of her mother.

c.    VHC:  Mr. Ford noted that recent meetings of groups concerned about the large-scale expansion of Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) have been less contentious than in the past, as most of the exterior construction is complete, even though it will not be ready by December 31 as hoped.

d.   Stormwater Vaults:  Mr. Ford said that Director Alyssa Cowden reports good coordination with the groups carrying out the effort.

e.    Holiday Event:  Laura Stout volunteered to host a holiday-time social event for the TLHCA Board, for which she received effusive thanks from the members.

7.   Next Board Meeting: Mr. Ford announced that the next Board meeting will be held January 11, 2023, whether in person or by Zoom to be determined.

8.   There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM. 

Respectfully submitted,

John P. Richardson, Secretary

Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association

Minutes of the May 12, 2021 Meeting

President John Ford called to order the 2021 annual business meeting of the Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association on May 12 at 6:30 pm, via Zoom. 


The minutes from the March 9 meeting and the annual Treasurer’s Report were unanimously approved. 


Nominating Committee chair Irene Szopo gave her report prior to the annual election of officers. Irene reported that no candidates had stepped forward for any of the officer positions. 


Accordingly, she and her committee reached out to John Ford and Laura Stout, who agreed to serve for a third year as president and vice-president respectively. Fred Blott noted that TLHCA bylaws permit three-year terms for officers and that the CA website should reflect this bylaw change that the board had approved six years ago.


Irene filled the treasurer vacancy by volunteering to serve in the position herself. The secretary position will remain vacant for summer until the board reconvenes on Wednesday September 8 at 7:00 pm, via Zoom.


Mary Ann Frias and Dave McGowan, who are retiring as secretary and treasurer respectively, agreed to serve new terms on the CA board of directors. All other directors agreed to new two-year terms.


Pete Erickson has agreed to join the board for a two-year term. Ray Keaney, who has ably served the board and his community for several years including as a CA officer, said he was stepping down from the board, which thanked him for his service.


All officer and board changes were unanimously approved.


Bill Braswell, John Vihstadt and John Ford were reconfirmed as TLHCA delegates to the Arlington Civic Federation. The CA presently has one vacant delegate position and four vacant alternate delegate positions.


In other actions, the board reaffirmed:


  • Its satisfaction with board volunteers hand delivering to members’ mail boxes and front porches a printed version of the TLHCA spring newsletter. Community feedback is consistently positive, the board saves postage fees and establishes personal contact with some members as a bonus. 


  • That meetings via Zoom offered distinct advantages and should not be discontinued after the pandemic ends. There was a suggestion to meet in person for the annual meeting and on other special occasions but to consider Zoom for other meetings, including the next, September, meeting.


  • A board committee will convene at least once this summer to review and consider consolidation and other amendments to the current TLHCA internal communications system. 


Several community members were recognized and welcomed to the meeting. They included Joe and Natalie Berg, Joseph Ferraro, Pamela Silberstein, Josh Brown and Lincoln McCarty. 


Reed Site Construction. 


The Arlington Public Schools project manager for the new Cardinal school at the Reed site in Westover, Aji Robinson, briefed the board and answered questions about the school, where construction should be finished by the end of June, and the large two-part stormwater detention vault that will be installed under the school playing fields beginning this fall. 


Mr. Robinson referred board members to the APS website for details and updates on the construction projects. He will remain as the overall lead for the stormwater detention vault project which is being funded by the County as a change order to the APS school construction contract with general contractor Gilbane. County DES staff will be active participants. 


There will be a community-wide meeting offered by APS and DES on Wednesday, May 26 at 6:30 pm. The four Westover area CAs will help to publicize this virtual event.


The many board questions focused on school transportation-related issues, neighborhood parking and entry and exit routes for the hundreds of anticipated dump truck trips necessitated by the stormwater vault project. Truck routes, frequency and potential associated problems like noise and dirt were all reviewed. APS and DES staff are hard at work on these and other practical facets of these large construction projects, and will do their best to keep the community informed on a timely basis. 


Neighborhood Conservation Projects. We are hoping for County Board approval in July to fund a long-developing project to install a sidewalk along the south side of N 15 St. between N Inglewood and N Kenilworth Streets. This sidewalk would fill in a current gap in sidewalk coverage and provide a safe pathway for kids walking to the new Cardinal school. Many approval hurdles have already been surmounted, and Pete and Sabrina Erickson, point persons for residential buy-in, reported to the board on their successful efforts to date. 


If the County Board approves funding, this project could be completed by the end of 2022.  


TLHCA NC coordinator Bill Braswell reported that some residents had approached him for support for installation of a sidewalk on N Harrison St northward from N 16th St to N 18th St. The CA will pursue this via neighborhood surveys this summer. 


Sima Nasr noted that residents on N Greenbrier St from N 16th St to N 18th St support installation of speed bumps or humps to slow traffic on three blocks of a residential street frequented by dozens of young children. The CA could support such a project through the county’s Complete Streets program. 


TLHCA – Cardinal PTA liaison. PTA president Jon Judah will seek a PTA chair for a coordinating group with TLHCA and Highland Park-Overlee Knolls CA to ensure residents are kept up to date and the organizations collaborate closely.


Plan Lee Highway. Michelle Winters briefed the board on the May 1 PLH-sponsored walk around the intersection of Lee Highway and N Harrison St., and reported that plans to develop and revitalize the Lee Highway corridor are moving toward a possible presentation to the County Board next year. 


The meeting was adjourned at 8:58  p.m.



Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association

Minutes of the March 9, 2021 Meeting

Board Members in Attendance:

John Ford, President

Jon Judah

Laura Stout, Vice President

Ray Keaney

Mary Ann Frias, Secretary

Sima Nasr, Communications

Fred Blott

John Richardson

Bill Braswell

Michelle Winters

Matt Fleming




June Gallagher, 17th Street, taught at Swanson. curious about Reed School

Lynne Lilly, 15th Street, grew up in Arlington, attended to Walter Reed, curious about Reed Project

Lynn Kelley, 18th and Lexington, children will be attending Reed.

Eric Karlinsky, 18th Street N., interested in Reed School

Richard Anton, George Mason. Created Greater Westover website with Matt Fleming



The minutes from the January 5, 2021 meeting were unanimously approved.




Newsletter & TLHCA Website

John Ford called for interest in including/writing stories for the spring newsletter. John Richardson agreed to do one article about The Italian Store. Matt suggested an update on the Farmers Market, and Laura volunteered to do a story. Michelle suggested including an article about the Lee Highway meetings. April 1 is the deadline for contributions. 




Missing Middle:  John Richardson reported on the February 2nd meeting involving all local civic associations. Discussions involved what housing would be built/available for service employees/municipal employees that is affordable and where. Arlington housing will soon be priced out of the market and there are currently no plans to address the “missing middle” (middle income). There will be 4-5 additional listening sessions to discuss this issue.  All participants agreed that there is a problem. Discussions ensued around the building of duplexes, the question is where to build them - one suggestion was building along neighborhood edges close to public transportation. Bill noted that the county has been working on this issue for about a year, and they hope to come to some resolution. Michelle added that the Missing Middle Study will be continuing for the next year. The study is divided into 3 phases. Michelle mentioned a website and a grant obtained to educate communities about the missing middle. Included on the site are visuals, a video, and a link to a webinar with AARP on 3/25 to discuss how it will be helpful for seniors in the community.


Greater Westover Website 

Other civic associations were pleased with the Greater Westover logo created by Sima.


Civic Federation Arlington County Civic Federation passed a resolution on stormwater management. John Vihstadt will brief the board on this at the next meeting.


Reed School-Alyssa and John Ford noted that machines were installed at the Reed site to pump out groundwater but are very loud. The pump runs 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  Some residents have complained to the county about the noise. Civic Associations have discussed creating a panel to handle complaints using the model created for the VHC expansion which has been successful. Any comments or concerns should be forwarded to John Ford who will forward them for the time being. Alyssa noted that once the project began, the communication from the county began to dwindle. Residents were concerned that they were not advised that the machines were going to be installed, and were not notified of early morning deliveries by large trucks deliveries with engines running and some blocking driveways. No changes have been observed in spite of these complaints. John will introduce Alyssa to Kathleen Trainor who may be of assistance. Bill noted that the residents most affected are those who need to be heard by the County.


Bill also remarked that there will be no parking for teachers on the site. A clause in the plan states that faculty will park in the neighborhood. He suggested that we need to help figure out how teachers can park without affecting residents.


Renaming:  Laura reported on the renaming of the Reed School. There is a committee including representatives from the neighboring civic associations - 14 members. There have been three meetings, and a survey on name choices that closes Friday, March 11th.  The School Board will make the final decision.  A straw poll was split between the names McKinley and Reed.  The survey includes five names: Cardinal (school mascot), Compass (continent theme), Exploration, Passport, and Kaleidoscope (arts integration at McKinley moving to new school). (The committee included a 5 year-old McKinley student). Jon Judah added that this is a sensitive issue. The survey was sent to approximately 400 families spanning the five civic associations. About 90 responses were received. The overwhelming sentiment was to keep the McKinley name. McKinley-Reed was also considered, but the committee moved away from names of people. Over 90% of students for the first 2 years are coming from McKinley.  APS is advising the committee. APS noted that they are moving away from naming schools after people. Matt asked about the process once the county gets all survey results and whether the board will go back out and ask. John Ford said our report to APS can include the feedback from the survey. Jon Judah believes we owe it to residents to present the results. Matt suggested another survey round to see what residents say and then present results to APS so residents feel that they’ve been heard. Students are also taking the survey. Jon will go back to APS with the suggestion. The School Board meeting is 3/16. John Ford suggested we could band together with the other CAs on the suggestion.


Neighborhood Conservation: The sidewalk project planned at Inglewood and Kensington Streets (3-3½ block stretch) was discussed at the county meeting in late February which Matt and Bill both attended. Matt reported that well-organized meeting presentations were given with schematics, etc.  The road width will be changed from 33 to 31 feet. Some of the sidewalk will be in the streetscape and not on the hill side. Parking will not be affected. Voting for the project is open from 4/1-4/30. The vote will be weighed by the amount of land owned by residents.  Bill noted that it will be taken up in late April; the County board will hear in July if 60% of residents have voted for it. Construction will take from 6 months to a year. The entire sidewalk is County land. If any trees are affected, the county has said they will plant new trees.  John Ford asked if there is any action needed by TLHCA, and Bill replied no, rather, it’s up to those  residents affected.  Bill said that formal residents’ notice go out 4/1. 


Officer Elections

Irene is the chair for the nominating committee and is reaching out to members for interest in serving.


Next Meeting

The next TLHCA meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, and likely virtual. 


The meeting was adjourned at 8:57 pm.


Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association

Minutes of the November 10, 2020 Meeting

Board Members in Attendance:

John Ford, President
Dave McGowan, Treasurer

Mary Ann Frias, Secretary
Fred Blott
Bill Braswell
Matt Fleming 

Meredith Judy  

Ray Keaney  

Sima Nasr  

John Richardson

Irene Szopo  

John Vihstadt     

Guest​: Eric Karlinsky, originally from Virginia and recently moved from California 

The minutes from the September 9, 2020 meeting were unanimously approved. 


New Board Member 
Sima Nasr was introduced as a board candidate. She has helped Jon Judah over the past  few years with formatting the TLHCA newsletter.  A motion was made to elect her to the  board which was seconded and unanimously approved. Sima will serve as  Communications Chair.  Meredith reported that Arlington Community Corps, an organization which connects  neighbors with other neighbors, has been helping those who need assistance accessing  groceries, medicine, etc. during the pandemic. This has recently been expanded to include  a diaper and food drives. 


Halloween & Winter Festival  
John Ford noted that on Halloween, residents put tables outside to distribute candy in a  safer manner due to the pandemic. After talking to residents, there will likely not be a  winter festival at Big Walnut Park due to safety concerns. Instead, smaller neighborhood  gatherings will be held. 



Newsletter & TLHCA Website 
John Ford has drafted a lengthy article on stormwater retention. There have also been  articles written about local schools redistricting. John Richardson has written an article on  the Arlington Neighborhood Village and offered to do a piece on the Westover Beer  Garden. Meredith will write one about the Arlington Community Corps. John Richardson  raised the idea of featuring one Westover business per newsletter. Bill suggested including  information on the biography of Walter Reed, and John Ford proposed an update on the  Lee Highway issue.  The goal is to get a newsletter out in December. 



Lee Highway Alliance - Renaming of Lee Highway 
The LHA task force began soliciting suggestions for a new name for Lee Highway. A month  ago they had over 100 names under consideration; the list was narrowed down to 20. It was  decided that the new name should not be an individual already recognized in some other  way in Arlington. The next step is getting input on the current list which will be used by a  subgroup to come up with a final list. This final list will then be submitted to the Arlington  County Board who will decide what to send to the Commonwealth board. Any other name  ideas should be sent to Bill. 


Greater Westover Website  
If any board members have content they would like to post on the website, they should  forward to Matt Fleming. 


Neighborhood Conservation 
No money was allocated from the recently approved $2,000,000 bond due to the need for  funds on priorities of stormwater and schools. Several projects will be completed in the  spring. Significant savings are expected on projects; 15th Street should be funded in the  spring funding (in the June time frame).  Bill has requested that a beacon flashing light be installed at the intersection of Patrick  Henry Drive and 18th Street North to increase safety for students walking to school. 


Civic Federation 
John Vihstadt reported that there will be a Civic Federation meeting on 11/17; the agenda  will include discussions about the following considerations by a recently formed  governmental reform task force: 1) whether the county should become a city, 2) possible  expansion of the number of County Board members, 3) whether there should be district/at  large elections, 4) an increase in Board member compensation, 5) and the extension of  term limits. Another issue to be discussed is the question of qualified immunity for police,  specifically, immunity from personal lawsuits for actions. Arguments have been raised to  remove this immunity; however, counter-arguments suggested this would negatively  affect recruitment/retention. This measure was defeated in the state senate but continues  to be an issue.  George Mason University - there are plans to construct Kahn's Department Store next to  the GMU law school at Virginia Square. A presentation was made by Steven Krim regarding  the impact on residential parking permit changes. It may become more expensive and  difficult for neighbors to take advantage.  CivFed has encouraged neighbors to participate in its meetings. 


Reed School 
APS believes that construction will be wrapping up in August 2021, with the summer work  focused on internal finishes. An organized group of McKinley parents are trying to come up  with a name for the school; however, this may be problematic for citizens of Highland  Park-Overlee Knolls. These residents are still unhappy with the changing of the name.  TLHCA may have a voice in naming the school. McKinley School will become Arlington  Traditional School. John Vihstadt noted that rather than making a decision among the  twelve members present, it may be better to invite people from the schools to give their pros and cons.  The time frame is not currently known, but John Vihstadt will try to find out  and invite representatives to discuss with the TLHCA Board at our January meeting.  There are some families at the planning unit near the intersections at George Mason,  Patrick Henry Drive, and N. 18th Street (a total of 42 children) slated for Glebe; is there a  consensus from those parents to move them to the Reed School? The deadline is in  December. If a solid majority favors moving to Reed, the TLHCA would issue a plea for  parents to move but grandfathering in those wishing to remain at Glebe. There should be a  provision that there will be no adverse effects on families having to leave the Glebe School.  Our CA should be represented at Reed.  Matt suggested surveying neighbors for their thoughts on the Reed School name change;  this would likely attract younger residents with children. A video of two people with  opposing ideas could be included with the survey.  Sima agreed that this is a good time to  try to get younger families involved as they are more concerned and at the same time  dependent upon their communities. 


Election/County Bonds Ballots:  
The Civic Federation overwhelmingly passed a resolution proposed by the stormwater  committee. There may be some good news about the mitigation of stormwater flow into  the Westover area. The issue is whether it is possible to have underground facilities that  can arrest the progress of floodwater under the Reed School playground. There has been a  lot of work on this and the neighboring four civic associations have contributed to this  effort. The county seems to take notice when four civic associations join together on issues.  Saving Westover businesses is one of the goals.  


Virginia Hospital Expansion 
Some residents near the hospital have found cracks in their ceilings and masonry faults in  foundations resulting from the hospital construction. These residents have filed Insurance  claims and the contractors have been reportedly responsive. 



John Ford noted that he receives questions from concerned neighbors  about things such as construction and the service at the George Mason Post Office. 


Next Meeting 
The next TLHCA meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, and likely virtual.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:48 pm. 


Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association

Minutes of the January 8, 2020 Meeting

Board Members in Attendance:

John Ford, President                                                      Jon Judah                               Fred Blott

Vice President Meredith Judy                                          Laura Stout                             Irene Szopo

David McGowan, Treasurer                                          Ray Keaney                            Bill Braswell

Mary Ann Frias, Secretary                                             John Richardson                      John Vihstadt     

Matt Fleming       


Guests: Ed Cole, Westover Village Civic Association

Patricia Krause

Frank Roberts



The minutes from the November 12, 2019 meeting were approved. The next TLHCA Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 7:00 pm in the Longfellow Conference Room at Westover Library.


Guest speaker-Ed Cole, Westover Stormwater

Ed is a member of a task force including members of all 4 civic associations regarding watershed. The goal of the task force is to help promote infrastructure improvements for preparedness for the future. The July 8, 2019 storm flooded all 6 rooms on his ground floor. Damages were not covered under his homeowners’ insurance. About a dozen homes in Westover were damaged from the storm. One family still has been unable to move back into their home. Ed noted that he has lived in his house for 34 years, and from about 2005 on, the stormwater began increasing. The Waverly Hills neighborhood was also hit hard.


John Vihstadt reported that CivFed had also separately passed, in November, a resolution to create a broader, county-wide civic association task force. He asked if the 4-CA task force had met with DES. There are various options to address the stormwater issue, and the most extensive would involve digging and be more expensive. He advised that there is no particular sequence required to approach DES, the county board, or staff; rather that they can be done simultaneously, but contacting the staff is an important next step.


The 4-CA task force has begun meeting with county board members and was pleased to see a stronger concern for stormwater. They are considering how best to approach DES and how critical it is to open dialogue with experts.


Meredith asked about whether the option of extending planting areas on medians, sidewalks, etc. was considered to help with runoff. Ed responded that he believes DES has been discussing that, but it would be a lower impact solution.


Lee Highway Alliance (LHA)

ill Braswell explained that in Lee Highway Alliance task force, members are appointed by the manager. He has been trying to get the TLHCA member changed from John Ford to himself. There are two upcoming meetings-January 31st and February 1st. John Vihstadt noted that LHA has a website; and suggested TLHCA include a link to the site on our webpage.



John Ford reported that an alley streetlight has been out for at least a year in his neighborhood with several attempts to get it replaced, to no avail. In the meantime, there have been car break-ins into locked cars in the alley. A TLHCA neighbor had planned to attend this meeting to see if the TLHCA board could offer some useful advice on getting the streetlight fixed, but just this week, a repair was finally scheduled.


Car break-ins

The number of car break-ins seem to have increased based upon NextDoor posts. Dave McGowan noted that there is a $250 device that senses motion in a car and sends the owner notification by text. Matt Fleming suggested creating a task force to address this issue. We will look at this issue again at the March 4th TLHCA board meeting.



Virginia Hospital Center expansion: construction is reportedly on schedule for the project. Citizen activists are very carefully monitoring contractor compliance with county mandates as to issues such as work hours, contract parking, and truck activity.


Reed School Construction: Geothermal lines were laid which explains the piles of dirt around the site. APS has factored in increased flooding risk and has come up with a better stormwater plan than previously existed. The 4-CA task force will try to get APS and the County to agree on installation of underground water diversion storage during or just after school construction is completed.


APS/School Reorganization: Jon Judah discussed the school reorganization plan. A school board meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night (January 9th). Jon serves on McKinley School Board. History of why reorganization is deemed necessary: the Rosslyn/Ballston corridor is projected to have a deficit of space needed for the estimated number of students, so the school board is planning to relocate students to account for this. Key Elementary School (Spanish immersion school) students will be moved to the Arlington Traditional School (“ATS”, option school) site; ATS students will move to McKinley School site; the majority of McKinley School students will move to the new Reed School with the remainder moving to Ashlawn Elementary School. There have been multiple meetings and lots of discussion. Many parents at ATS, McKinley, and Key Schools are concerned that no diversity consideration was given, and transportation issues are a concern. , Parents have put a lot of effort into coming up with alternate plans, and have proposed what may be a less expensive solution that would require no moving of students; however, APS has not agreed to the plan. At tomorrow’s meeting, McKinley and ATS representatives will present talking points. TLH resident have the least impact because the Reed School is walkable. The APS staff recommends building moves, and then boundaries will be redrawn later.


APS has consistently supported the notion of Reed as a walkable neighborhood school, and it was noted that while there is sympathy for the plight of McKinley parents disappointed that their children may no longer be able to walk to their own neighborhood school, there was strong sentiment expressed by several board members that TLCHA remain unambiguously committed to the establishment of the new Reed School as a neighborhood school. Also, we as a civic association need to remain vigilant until the new school actually opens in that format. Within our CA boundaries, this is the highest priority for the new school.


John Vihstadt pointed out the demand for space is increasing as a result from smaller houses being replaced with larger homes (i.e., more children), and the new Amazon building site.


There was a discussion around what requirements are imposed on developers in planning with respect to increased density and its impact on school needs.


NextDoor Post Reports: Most frequent reports - car break-ins


Treasurer’s Report: Dave noted that we ended the year with approximately $4,600. The greatest expenses are newsletter printing and copying. TLHCA also contributed to the Reed School picnic and the successful Halloween parade held October 26th at Westover Park. It was noted that contributions tend to spike after issuance of a written newsletter which is planned for late April/early May 2020.


Communications: Jon Judah reported that the TLH holiday newsletter was sent to 328 residents, and was opened by 243 residents. He suggested posting a quarterly online newsletter, and using a listserve every few weeks for announcements, with one hand-delivered newsletter using “block captains.”


A discussion ensued about the efficiency of sharing information among the four civic associations using a site such as set up by Matt Fleming. The idea includes posting information that concerns all (school issues, police reports, etc.) in one place, with individual CAs continuing to post their own information separately.


Several board members noted that there are good options available to streamline communication with our constituents, and we will work to present recommendations to the Board at the March meeting. Neighborhood Conservation Project: Bill Braswell reported that, regarding the 15th Street Sidewalk civic improvement project approved by our CA last year, a survey is in process with impacted residents, as well as a meeting that will likely be held in February. The goal is to hold a county staff vote in June, with an approval in August.


Civic Federation (“CivFed”): John Vihstadt reported that an organizational meeting was held January 2nd. TLHCA delegates are John Vihstadt, Bill Braswell, and John Ford. We also have four alternate delegates. The next monthly meeting will be held on February 18th. The main agenda is the school board. Another topic to be addressed is mental health. CivFed committees include: cultural, environmental, housing, legislation, parks/recreation, planning/zoning, public services, schools/administration, revenues and expenses. Committee membership is open to all residents.


Next meeting

The next TLHCA meeting will be held Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm.​



Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association Minutes

September 10, 2019


Board Members Present:

John Ford, President

Laura Stout, Vice President

Dave McGowan, Treasurer

Fred Blott

Bill Braswell

Alyssa Cowden

Matt Fleming

Meredith Judy

Ray Keaney

John Richardson

Irene Szopo


Other Community Members Present:

Sandy Newton, President, Arlington County Civic Federation

John Vihstadt


Communication Tools:  Matt Fleming and other board members will investigate electronic tools by which board members can better communicate and vote during periods between formal board meetings.  They are requested to report their findings at the November board meeting.


Security:  Residence security is a growing concern in the community.  John Ford will contact the police commander for District One and request that he or she address a future board meeting and recommend ways to improve home security.  It was noted that Arlington County is now working with the Ring home security company.


Halloween Event:  Meredith Judy has joined the board and will work on a neighborhood Halloween activity.  She would like volunteers to assist and will work with neighboring civic associations on the project.  Saturday, October 26 is the proposed date.  Westover Park on Kennebec Street, which has good facilities, may be an option for its location.


Dues:  Some neighboring civic associations collect annual dues of $15.  TLHCA may wish to consider an increase from our $10 annual dues to that amount.


Reed School Construction:  Ajibola (Aji) Robinson, the Project Manager for the Reed School construction project ( presented a slide presentation and update on its status.  Among the points highlighted:


  • The school will have spaces for 731 students, although that number could be increased by changes in the interior room configurations.

  • The building permit has been approved and the land disturbance permit has been approved, although not yet issued.

  • Final design approval by the School Board is expected September 19.

  • Construction will begin in late September or October, with a projected completion date of September 2021.

  • All construction workers will be required to park on the site and not on neighboring streets.  If there is evidence that this is not being adhered to, contact Aji Robinson.

  • The entire APS site will be unavailable during construction, but the library will remain open and the Farmers Market will continue.

  • The impervious areas of the school site (exclusive of county property) will increase from the current 39% to 45%

  • There will be no amphitheater but rather a bench area that accommodates 40 students.

  • 37 trees will be moved, although many new trees and other plantings will be added.  Because of concern about the tree removals, a meeting will be held at the site on Monday, September 16 at 6:30 pm.  Arlington’s Chief Arborist, along with other county representatives, will be there to discuss these issues.

  • A website is available for updates on construction:

  • Aji Robinson also maintains a group email list with which he will send out construction updates to the CA presidents and other interested residents.  Send him an email to be added to the list.

  • Aji Robinson noted that there are two ways the community can help with the construction:  (A) Be patient and understand there will be dislocations and problems during construction and that the neighborhood will be changed by virtue of the addition of a new school and (B) Provide feedback on the process, including a post-construction survey, which helps the school system in future building projects.


VHC Construction:  John Ford has been attending meetings on the VHC construction, which have been long and detailed.  Among the primary concerns raised are traffic, parking, and storm water management.  Destruction of the Edison Street buildings should begin very soon.


Stormwater Management:  Presidents of the neighboring CAs met on Sunday to discuss stormwater management issues.  A group will be organized to monitor the issue, and a public meeting is planned for October 17th at 7:00 pm at Resurrection Lutheran Church (on Washington Blvd.) at which stormwater experts from the county staff and county board members will be asked to speak on the matter.


Sandy Newton, President of the Arlington County Civic Federation, noted that the Federation is also planning a December meeting on the subject at which Mark Schwartz, County Manager, will be asked to speak.


County Housing Program:  The Civic Federation has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 15, during which a three-person panel will discuss a possible new county housing program.  Topics to be addressed include: authorizing multi-family dwellings by right in single family neighborhoods and possible changes to county housing policy that would help facilitate affordable housing.


Next Board Meeting:  Tuesday, November 12th.

Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association Minutes

 January 8, 2019 7:00 pm


Board Members Present:

Fred Blott                                                                   Bill Braswell

Matt Fleming                                                              John Ford, Vice President                 

Mary Ann Frias, Secretary                                         Ron Haron

Jon Judah, President                                                David McGowan

Laura Stout                                                                Irene Szopo                                       


Other Community Members Present

Peter Erickson


Minutes/Treasurer’s report

Bill motioned to accept an addendum to the minutes including additional information for the proposed community projects. The motion was seconded and approved.


Treasurer’s Report: report doesn’t include $855 postage/mailing of newsletter. Jon has received some emails regarding newsletter content, etc. Newsletter was mailed this week.


WETA Tower Radiofrequency test: Some residents had expressed concerns about risks from tower frequencies. Frequency tests were run on approximately 20 selected addresses and results showed frequencies are far below the FCC maximum. This will be posted on the website.


NextDoor: some residents had reported missing packages. The importance of contacting the police was stressed.


Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee

What is the NCAC?

The NCAC leads the development of neighborhood plans and recommends neighborhood-initiated capital improvements for funding by the County Board. Improvements can include sidewalks, street beautification, pedestrian safety projects, street lights and parks. There are 8 ideas for projects to consider. Projects must cost less than $500,000. Funding can be approved for 4 projects for the entire county over the next 5 years. TLHCA is at the top of the list of about 50 civic associations. There will likely be a funding session in April. DES will give approximate cost, so we should select a proposal within the next month. There is no veto power for any neighborhood resident if there is at least 60% approval from the neighboring community.


The 8 ideas are:


1) Install a sidewalk on south side of 16th Street- (facing Trinity Church) recommended by DES to provide for better pedestrian access to the new Reed School. An alternative plan is to expand the sidewalk on north side to 5 feet wide (currently 4 feet).


2) Another DES recommendation is to install a sidewalk along 18th Street on the south side of street from Patrick Henry Drive to N. 18th or widen the existing sidewalk on the north side from 4 to 5 feet. The county owns property where there are sidewalks from the curb up to 5-7 feet into yards.


3) Install a sidewalk along Harrison Street from Big Walnut Park which would greatly improve pedestrian safety on one of the busiest streets in Tara-Leeway Heights. The east side has smaller yards, while the west side yards have slopes which may require retaining walls that would be more expensive. The plan would likely be to extend from Big Walnut Park to 18th Street. This area is not in the walk zone for Reed School.


4) Install a sidewalk along the 1500 block of Harrison Street-a current active NC project (in the County docket); the sidewalk would run along 1500 block of N. Harrison St. turning the corner toward the west on 15th Street and connect with an existing sidewalk. This proposed project is in the middle school walk zone.


5) Add more safety measures (high visibility flashing lights) at Washington Blvd. at Frederick Street. This is a busy intersection with rapidly moving traffic; Frederick Street is often used as a shortcut to George Mason to avoid the traffic light at Washington Blvd.


6) Eliminate the speed hump on 16th and Harrison Streets between N. Harrison and George Mason (now that there is a 4 way stop at 16th & Harrison).


7) Add/extend the sidewalk on 15th Street below Trinity Church near Ivanhoe Street where there are lots of pedestrians and a blind corner so cars cannot fully see everyone on the street. Middle school kids walk there as well.


8) Improve safety for Washington Blvd. crossing: add a high visibility flashing signal or other improved pedestrian measure for students walking to/from W&L and Swanson along with metro walkers and commuters.


The candidates agreed upon for consideration are project numbers 1, 2, 3, and 7. Action will be taken by the end of the month, then a determination for what will be in the submission packet.


2019 Goals

  1. March 12th meeting - engage a featured speaker on DES/Washington Boulevard safety; we will reach out to the Bluemont CA

  2. Neighborhood Day planning

  3. Spring newsletter lead on printing-to include home safety, master project, free tree program, lawn maintenance items


The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm.

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