• nextdoor new2
  • Facebook Social Icon

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 (ajibola.robinson@apsva.us) 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: https://www.apsva.us/design-and-construction/new-elementary-school-at-reed-building/

  • 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.