Arlington, Va March Board meeting highlights

Items of interest that the Arlington County Board will consider at its March Board Meeting, on Saturday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 17. View the full Agenda, and staff reports.

Saturday, March 14 Regular Meeting

(Note: this meeting starts at 8:30 am with public comment. Agenda Items will be heard no earlier than 9 a.m.)

Parking tickets: The County Manager is recommending that the County Board amend the County’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Ordinance so that the County can establish a process that will make it easier to get a Court date if your parked car is cited for expired safety inspection, registration or personal property tax decals. Read the Report for Item #14 on the Regular Agenda.

Replacing Wendy’s and Wells Fargo Bank at 2026 and 2038 Wilson Blvd. (in the Courthouse area) with a 12-story office building that will feature ground floor retail, including a rebuilt Wells Fargo Bank. The County Manager is recommending that the Board approve the proposed redevelopment of the two parcels.

If approved, the redevelopment would provide a public plaza at the intersection of North Courthouse Road and Wilson and Clarendon boulevards. The developer has committed to making about $800,000 in contributions to the County’s Affordable Housing Fund (AHIF) and $557,000 toward open space in the Courthouse area, and toward public art. Development rights would also be transferred from the Wakefield and Courthouse Manor apartments, ensuring the historical protection of those apartments, built in the 1930s. Read the Report for Item #27 on the Regular Agenda.​

Tuesday, March 17 Recessed Meeting

At the 3:30 session

The County Board Chair, members of the County Board and the County Manager will report on items of interest.

The Board will honor businesses that have been named Transportation Partners Champions. Champions first launched in 2013, highlighting 31 employers in Arlington County and grew 265% in 2014 to include multi-family and commercial properties.

At 6:30 p.m., the Board will consider any items pulled from Saturday’s Consent Calendar.

View the full Agenda for the Recessed County Board meeting.

Media Contact: Mary Curtius, 703-228-7943

View this release in the County newsroom.


Like to Garden? Here’s an opportunity in Arlington

I love to garden. It’s the main reason I still live in a single family house. I’ve put in big mulch beds and filled them with lots of native and other butterfly and bird attracting plants. For those who don’t have a garden that they can get their therapy in, or who just can’t get enough of it, Arlington offers you an opportunity to assist them with the removal of invasive species (and boy do we have a ton of those).

Arlington, Va Invasive Plant Program-Volunteer opportunity Source: arlingtonva.us


Radon….To test or not to test

If you are buying a home in Virginia your realtor will let you know that you have the option of asking for a Radon test as part of the the contract. Here are some things you may want to know before deciding what to do.

According to the EPA Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year. Radon Gas comes from the naturally occurring breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It can enter a home through cracks in solid floors or walls, construction joints, gaps around pipes and other ways. Although it is more prevalent in some areas than others it can occur anywhere. And yes…it does occur in Arlington and Northern Virginia. I’ve had multiple instances on the buyer and seller side where radon came in over acceptable EPA guidelines.

I pulled this excellent summary of the Myths and Facts about Radon from the EPA website:

MYTH: Scientists aren’t sure radon really is a problem.

FACT: Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.

MYTH: Radon testing is difficult, time consuming and expensive.

FACT: Radon testing is easy. You can test your home yourself or hire a qualified radon company. Either approach takes only a small amount of time and effort.

MYTH: Homes with radon problems can’t be fixed.

FACT: There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs; check with one or more qualified mitigators. Call your state radon office for help in identifying qualified mitigation contractors.

MYTH: Radon affects only certain kinds of homes.

FACT: House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.

MYTH: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.

FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.

MYTH: A neighbor’s test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.

FACT: It’s not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.

MYTH: Everyone should test their water for radon.

FACT: Although radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If your water comes from a public water supply that uses ground water, call your water supplier. If high radon levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1 800-426-4791 for information on testing your water.

MYTH: It’s difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.

FACT: Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is some times a good selling point.

MYTH: I’ve lived in my home for so long, it doesn’t make sense to take action now.

FACT: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you’ve lived with a radon problem for a long time.

MYTH: Short-term tests can’t be used for making a decision about whether to fix your home.

FACT: A short-term test, followed by a second short-term test* can be used to decide whether to fix your home. However, the closer the average of your two short-term tests is to 4 pCi/L, the less certain you can be about whether your year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk. Radon levels can be reduced in most homes to 2 pCi/L or below.

So, should you ask for a radon test contingency when writing a contract?

The first answer is “yes” you should test for Radon. A radon test above the EPA guidelines of 4 pCi/L will allow you to ask the seller to remediate the radon levels or allow you to void the contract if you wish. In the 10 years I have bought and sold real estate in this area, no one has ever voided a contract because of radon levels. “Why is that” you ask. Two reasons. The first is that the seller really has to remediate the radon levels. If the seller refuses to remediate and the buyer voids the contract, the seller would have to disclose the high levels of radon in the home and that will make it harder to attract a buyer. Of course there are exceptions and if the seller refuses but you really, really, really want the home then you’ll have to do it yourself once you’re in the house. Second, remediation is relatively inexpensive. The most common method is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. They are very effective and will range in price from $500-$2000. 

The second answer may be “no“.  If you know you are going to be in a competitive situation (this does happen in this area) and you want to make your offer look more appealing, with one less contingency for the seller to worry about, you may make a personal judgement call to not ask for a radon contingency. Then, if you win the house, you will do a radon test as soon as you close and remediate at your own expense if radon levels are worrisome.

Virginia residents have access to inexpensive radon testing kits and information on that can be found here:

Radon Program:
Virginia Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology
Division of Radiological Health
Website: www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/radiologicalhealth/Radon


It’s snowing in Arlington

I guess I didn’t really believe it when they said it was gonna be a big one. It’s March 5th for crying out loud. Ok, ok, deep breath and repeat until calm….It’s Beautiful, it’s beautiful, it’s beautiful. Keep saying it as you pull on your waterproof boots once more and shovel the car out. Well, in fact…it really is beautiful. The view from my front door:

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Don’t miss this Art Exhibit at the Arlington, Va County Library

One of the many great community offerings of Arlington County, Va is the library system. I’ve previously posted locations and hours. Just so you know I do actually use the library, I was there to drop off a book yesterday and was astounded by the incredible artwork being produced by the county’s 7th-12th graders. On display is artwork that is part of a juried art show. The show has not “officially” begun but the artwork is up. I did not have alot of time but I am going to go back and look again. There is so much talent in our young folk. I snapped a photo of the show poster and a couple of the boards displaying the works. The address is 1015 N.Quincy Arlington, Va. It’s the central (main) library.

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It’s so important to foster this type of talent. So happy that our system encourages and supports the Arts.

As a side note, I was returning The Goldfinch, a Pulitzer Prize winner. Thoroughly engrossing and engaging. It’s long but worth every paragraph. I can highly recommend it if you are interested in character development, philosophical questions of good and bad, art and how it effects us. A really great read.