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Membership Meeting Minutes Jan 21, 2021

[ 0 ] January 18, 2021 |

ARCA: Arlington Ridge Civic Association

MINUTES: Membership Meeting, January 21, 2021

Recorded by Marlee Baucom (

Caroline Herre – Federal Realty

Federal Realty filed an application to update development conditions of Pentagon Row from the original 1998 site plan. The application is separate from the Pentagon City PDSP. It will be discussed at a County Board meeting on February 20th or 23rd. Federal Realty has owned West Post since it was developed and recently, the retail industry has been affected by the pandemic. While a location like West Post would normally have a 5% vacancy, it will be close to 30% vacant in the coming months. Federal Realty will be bringing in new tenants in an effort to rebrand the site, as there has been a recent migration of sales to online platforms. Harris Teeter will not be affected and still has time left in their lease.

The site plan amendment would include the following:

  1. More flexibility around grocery store requirements (size, location, what it means to be “full service”)
  2. Removing ambiguous language around the retail use category – language requiring a certain amount of retail to be leased to community/neighborhood retail (terms aren’t clearly defined)
  3. Explicit ratios of sizes and categories of tenants – not clearly defined

Federal Realty would also like to be able to lease second floor spaces to more offices, since second floor retail is no longer popular. They would like to keep Harris Teeter as a tenant. They also mentioned that medical offices and drug stores were potential new tenants.

Arlington Broadband Authority (Arl Fiber)

Arl Fiber is working to urge the Arlington County Board to establish a municipal fiber network to provide better and more affordable broadband access to residents and businesses in Arlington. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the reliance and use of internet for work and education purposes. However, Arl Fiber feels that there is insufficient competition in internet service range throughout the county. Comcast and Verizon are the primary service providers, meaning that high prices and a digital divide continue to exist. 16% of Arlington homes don’t have internet.

The Virginia Wireless Service Authority Act allows local jurisdictions to form broadband authorities and the broadband authority then becomes part of the local government but still maintains its position separate from the local government and is self-supported through user payments. The two most successful examples of this are in Roanoke County and the Eastern Shore. If Arlington had a broadband authority, residents could pay a lump sum or a fixed sum added to their utility bill over a long period of time. Affluent neighborhoods would be charged slightly more to subsidize lower income areas.

ARCA members shared their concern that the fees might be adjusted for inflation and increase over time. They also wanted to know if participants would lose their landline and the answer was not provided. It was mentioned that there are not other jurisdictions in Northern Virginia that have this service, though Alexandria may also be considering it.

Discussion on Current Issues

Mike gave an overview of the residential permit parking review process. The County is currently looking to make a decision during their February board meeting and are looking to increase the permit cost in order to make the program 100% self-funded. They will also reduce the number of passes that residents can receive and add two hour paid parking to all residential parking zones.

ARCA members in attendance were worried that the County is prioritizing the interests of commuters over the interests of homeowners who pay taxes in the area. It was determined that ARCA would send a letter to the County Board with their concerns on behalf of the Civic Association members.

There was a discussion of the affordable discussions and information has been disseminated on these meetings through ARCA’s Facebook page. The Missing Middle study was also discussed, which is an ongoing effort to identify missing middle housing with a focus on those who want to live and work in Arlington but can’t afford market rate housing.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.



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