Wednesday, February 06, 2008

HeraldTrib Today: Feb. 6, 2008

I have a handful of stories in the hopper, but nothing new today (OK, that is not totally accurate—you’ll find Police Notes if you scroll down. Remember, posted below are stories and letters from earlier in the week; if you have not been checking in everyday, scroll down to see them).

One of the stories in the hopper, of course, will deal with results of the survey—67 of you logged on to give your opinion (I am quite happy with that number). The survey has been closed.

I will have something on that either tomorrow or Friday, so check back; it will probably be the first in a series of articles, so keep checking.

Also, the survey has been translated to Spanish; now I just am waiting for my friend Sarah Zoeller to translate an introduction to the survey, then I can send it out to the Spanish-speaking community. (Big shout out of thanks to Sarah who does this for me, for no pay, while watching her infant! You go girl!)

I can tell you that “Arlington County Police substation” was the biggest winner in the question of which county office should be in Buckingham. We used to have a substation in a Gates of Ballston second floor apartment, and AHC Inc., the owner/manager of The Gates, tells me they are looking again to house a substation.

“We would very much like to have a police substation again on the property, but we’re not in a position to offer them an apartment; we need to keep those units rented. However, we’re looking to identify another space that would be appropriate for their substation,” said Catherine Bucknam, an AHC spokesperson, in a voice mail. “It’s in the works.”

Ofr. Timothy Koch at the January BCCA meeting. (Click to enlarge the image.)

Officer Timothy Koch said in a recent Buckingham Community Civic Association meeting that the main concern is that the office be fully secured when police are not there. He said computers and files have classified information that must be protected.

When that Gates of Ballston apartment complex was emptied for renovation more than a year ago, the sub-station was lost. Police officers have said at civic association meetings and elsewhere how much they liked that substation. They liked having quick access to people in the community.

In an interview last fall, Ofr. Michael Lutz said that on occasion they even got anonymous notes, in Spanish, about crimes that had been committed. He admitted that the officers needed the notes translated, but he was happy that someone trusted them enough to tell them what was going on. That contact has been lost without the substation, he said.

A police substation in the community meant that the officers could hang out, see and be seen. Plus, it was nice to have a place outside the main headquarters where officers could take a break without the bosses right over their shoulders, admitted Ofr. Koch at the BCCA meeting.

He told stories of watching, lights off, from the upper floor window as people conducted illegal activity in the alleys around the apartment. The police were on the people before they could run, Ofr. Koch said.

Ms. Bucknam also confirmed a topic that came up during last week’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board meeting. Officials for Georgetown Strategic Capital, a developer that is planning to renovate the intersection of N. Glebe Road at N. Pershing Drive (see the related story here), said they were in negotiations with AHC, Inc. regarding the parking lot north of what is now the Glebe Market.

The parking spaces at the top of this drawing would be carved from a back courtyard on the Gates of Ballston property. Glebe road is on the right hand side. Pershing Drive is at the bottom of of this image. The trucks drawn here are at street level, but under a cover that separates the retail level from the apartments above. The building continues to the left of this image. (Image provided by Georgetown Strategic Capital. Click to enlarge.)

In design drawings, a new building, larger than the Glebe Market building, would have a parking lot entrance on Glebe Road. Most of the parking would run along the north side of the building and into the covered area in the middle of the multi-storied building.

To add more street-level parking, the developer is asking AHC to grant an easement that would take some space from a back courtyard on AHC’s Gates of Ballston Property.

“We have been in discussions with them,” Ms. Bucknam said in the same voice mail as earlier. “Nothing has been decided about an easement. It’s our understanding that their primary interest is to create an entrance and exit that his off Glebe Road." She said AHC is waiting to see more definite plans.

The Week’s Headlines…
As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

Today's Headlines:

  • Police Notes for Buckingham Feb. 6, 2008

  • Letters from Earlier in the Week:

  • Letter: Wilson Unsafe Walk to Ashlawn
  • Letter: Thanks for Field Coverage
  • Letter: Good Job on the Survey

    Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • Barrett Field Question Answered (a quick update on the field renovation)
  • Dams Can't Keep Bridge Deck Dry
  • McDonalds Reopens with WiFi
  • All is Quiet at the HALRB Meeting with NEW COMMENT--This covers Glebe/Pershing Redevlopment. I shot photos similar to the architectural drawings in order to show readers what to expect. Check it out.

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