Thursday, August 23, 2007

Clarification: HALRB Did Not Nix Faux Shingles

[Apologies go to the county’s Mike Leventhal; this notice should have been posted first thing this week. --ST]

The story last month about the redevelopment of the N. Pershing Drive and N. Glebe Road corner, reported that the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board did not allow faux slate roofs on the renovated Gates of Ballston apartments. That was not correct.

Mr. Leventhal, a historic preservation coordinator with Arlington County, wrote in an email shortly after the story was posted: “Fairly accurate reporting. Please note that the HALRB did approve the use of slate alternatives, but because this was a Federal and State historic tax act project the Fed and State reviewers requested real slate be used.”

Hi Steve,

The aforementioned "Company Redevelopment of Glebe & Pershing Corner" article explains the perhaps likely excuse for the delay of the County's reported target goal of upgrading and improving lighting, roads, parking lot entrances and exits.

I remember your feedback to my previous correspondence from the County representative in charge of the project, which was due to begin in the Spring of 2007. You were right.

Apparently the County has been delaying the renovation for some time now. It looks to me now like they're holding out for a perhaps more profitable deal - historic properties replaced by higher buildings.

However, are "they" (County employees with power and authority) holding out for approval to demolish CVS, Glebe market, El Paso Cafe, and Popeye's? If that’s the case, that decision actually does make sense. Clearly, funds would be squandered, and their work would be ruined, by any new development at the Glebe and Pershing Corner.

Perhaps they intentionally elected to stall, due to the prospect of gaining more tax revenue-and, as we all know-it's always about M-O-N-E-Y, and not about the quality of life of the tax-paying residents.

As you already know, the Glebe Market and CVS Pharmacy across the street from the Buckingham Post Office are valuable assets in our community.

Having and keeping the pharmacy and grocery store here is clearly environmentally beneficial to Arlington in general. It keeps a lot of gas burning cars off the road, and cuts down on traffic in our already congested streets, roads, and drives.

In addition, many residents from the Ashlawn and Buckingham areas walk there to independently do their own shopping. For many pre-baby-boomer seniors (many in their 80’s), as well as retiring baby boomers themselves, being able to walk independently to those stores provides a short but invigorating walk. Those outings are important for their overall health. In fact, the Post Office, Bank, Pharmacy, Grocery store, numerous ethnic restaurants (even the one Dollar store), Beauty Salon, and Law Office contribute to allowing us to be pretty much self sufficient.

OK, I admit it. I've been educated. The County's projected Spring target for improving our vital neighborhood has fallen by the wayside.

Here it is almost Labor Day. Next week summer will officially end. It's difficult, if not impossible, to fix the roads and lights in the cold, snowy, icy winter.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Meanwhile, I plan to put the renovation issue right out of my mind. I'll continue to pay my taxes while I wait for any new four story buildings to replace the establishments that have clearly and uniquely meant so much to so many of us.

OK, so I've been educated. Gone is naiveté. I refuse to be gullible in the future. In fact, since seeing is believing, I will neither t believe nor accept any empty promises from County representatives until I actually witness the ground breaking with my own eyes.

Take care, Steve, and may your children have a wonderful school year!

(A Concerned & Grateful Arlington Resident)

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