December County Board Meeting Agenda Highlights

Published on December 05, 2020

The Arlington County Board will consider and act on dozens of items at its final Regular Board Meeting of 2020 on Saturday, Dec. 12, and its Recessed Meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15. To protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will be held virtually.  Visit the County website for information on speaking at County Board Meetings.

Watch it Live

County Board meetings are live-streamed on the County website, and on YouTube, and broadcast live on Arlington TV, the County's cable channel, with live captioning, on Comcast 25 & 1085 (HD), and Verizon FiOS 39 & 40. Videos of Board meetings are archived on the County website (with captions and staff reports) and on YouTube.

Saturday, Dec. 12 — Regular County Board Meeting

The Regular Meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. with public comment on non-agenda items. If you wish to bring a non-agenda item to the Board's attention, or to comment on a Public Hearing item at the meeting, register on the County Board website to speak.

View the agenda and read the staff reports. (Note: Some reports are posted closer to the meeting date). Highlights include:

New Residential Permit Parking program public hearing -- The Board will hold a public hearing on whether to advertise a public hearing for its January Meeting on a proposed new Residential Permit Parking (RPP) program.

Arlington adopted the RPP program in 1972 to prevent commuters from parking in neighborhoods. At least since the early 1990s, the County has not allowed residents of some apartments and condos to petition for RPP restrictions on the streets where they live, nor to obtain permits to park on those streets. During a lengthy review that began in 2017 and has included extensive public engagement, staff has studied possible improvements in the program's efficiency, user experience, and fairness.

The proposed new program is based on community input, analysis of the current program, and parking data collected in four study areas around the County that together cover 59 percent of all streets with RPP restrictions and surrounding streets without restrictions.

Proposed changes include expanding how many households would be eligible to petition for restrictions and join the program while continuing to restrict residents of site plan and use permit buildings from receiving RPP permits; linking the maximum number of annual permits a household in RPP zones can receive to whether the household has off-street parking, and reducing the maximum number each household can receive;  giving more options for short-term visitors and service providers; adding a limited number of permits for elementary, middle and high school employees, and employees of group homes; raising fees for permits and passes to end general tax support for the program, while offering a discount for low-income households; changing the petition process by removing the "out-of-area" test, while raising the thresholds for parking occupancy and the share of households supporting the petitions; and grandfathering only current RPP restriction locations and hours.

To read the staff report and learn more about the community engagement that informed the staff recommendations, scroll to Item No. 36 on the agenda.

Green Building Incentive Policy update — The Board will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the Green Building Incentive Policy. If adopted, the changes would strengthen Arlington's commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality. First adopted in 1999 and last updated in 2014, the policy is the County's main tool for encouraging the private sector to voluntarily reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in new construction to help achieve Arlington's long-term carbon emission goals.

Changes proposed include requiring the achievement of LEED Gold certification as the minimum required to receive bonus density in site plan projects. Other proposed new prerequisites include the use of renewable energy; supplying electric vehicle charging stations; and other social equity, energy, and community sustainability criteria, including considering allowing higher levels of bonus density for those who commit to exceptional energy performance standards, such as passive house or zero-carbon certification.

If the changes are adopted, site plan projects accepted by the Manager before March 31, 2021, would be allowed to continue to use the 2014 version of the policy. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 35 on the agenda. (UPDATE: The Board voted 4-0, with Ms. Cristol absent on medical leave, to advertise the public hearing for February, 2021).

County-APS agreement on enhanced stormwater infrastructure on Reed Elementary School site — The Board will consider approving a funding agreement with Arlington Public Schools to design and build the first phase of a stormwater detention vault under the new Reed Elementary School's fields. The proposed project, which would maximize the use of public space to improve Arlington's flood resiliency, would be the first such partnership between the County and APS.

The stormwater structure would help reduce flooding in the Westover neighborhood., which experienced devastating flooding in the July 2019 storm. Under the agreement, the County would fund the project. The school, at 1644 N. McKinley Road in Westover in the Torreyson Run watershed, is one of five key watersheds the County has identified for a new blended engineering approach to address flooding.

The proposed project would include the first detention facility under this new approach. If the agreement is approved, an APS contractor would design and build Phase I and the County would supply $1.54 million in funding. The project will not delay the scheduled August 2021 opening of the new school, now under construction. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 37 on the agenda.

State funding to prepare for COVID-19 vaccinations -- The Board will consider accepting two state grants, totaling $660,000 to help prepare for the mass distribution of COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. If accepted, the money would be used to hire temporary medical and non-medical staff, cover travel costs and costs of renting facilities and operating clinics, and other costs associated with vaccinating Arlingtonians. To read the staff report, scroll to Item Nos. 22 and 23 on the agenda. (NOTE: The Board voted 4-0 to accept these grants).

2021 General Assembly Legislative Priorities — Following November's public hearing on the County's Proposed 2021 legislative priorities, the Board will consider adopting its legislative priorities for the General Assembly session, which begins in January. (The Board voted 4-0 to adopt the legislative package).

Priorities include requesting for more state funding for localities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; seeking full funding for K-12 education, including ensuring state funding for Arlington Public Schools reflects pre-pandemic levels; protecting existing Northern Virginia Transportation authority revenues and fully funding Community Services Boards.

Other priorities include allowing individual retail customers to buy 100 percent renewable electricity from any licensed competitive supplier of electric energy; establishing a Virginia Bank for Energy and Resilience; supporting legislation to provide greater incentives for tree canopy preservation and planting; enacting authority for a local option to develop incentives or regulations to decrease or regulate the distribution and sale of polystyrene food-service containers, and increasing the state Stormwater Local Assistance Fund to at least $50 million annually. The public hearing on this item is closed. To read the staff report and full list of legislative priorities, scroll to Item No. 34 on the agenda.

Renaming Henry Clay Park "Zitkala-Ša Park" -- The Board will consider endorsing the Park and Recreation Commission's recommendation to rename Henry Clay Park, at 3011 7th St. North, in the Lyon Park neighborhood, "Zitkala-Sa Park." The proposal was put forward by the Lyon Park Citizens Association and is supported by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee and the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board. This renaming comes as the park is undergoing extensive renovation. When it reopens in early 2021, it will reopen with its new name. (The Board voted 4-0 to endorse the new name for Henry Clay Park).

Zitkala-Ša, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a nationally recognized Native American author and activist, and a vocal proponent of citizenship rights for Native Americans. She and her husband, Raymond Bonnin, lived in Lyon Park from 1925 until her death in 1938. Their home still stands at the corner of 3rd Street N. and Barton Street.

A member of the Society of American Indians, Zitkala-Ša became their secretary and then editor of their journal. She spearheaded the fight for Native American rights and reform on behalf of several organizations. In 1926, Zitkala-Ša founded the National Council of American Indians which advocated for Native American rights and representation before the United States government. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 18 on the agenda.

Tues. Dec. 15 — Recessed County Board Meeting

The virtual Recessed Meeting will begin at 3 p.m. with reports from the Board Members and the County Manager. To view the agenda, visit the County website.

The meeting will be live-streamed on the County website, and on YouTube, and broadcast live on Arlington TV, the County's cable channel, with live captioning, on Comcast 25 & 1085 (HD), and Verizon FiOS 39 & 40. Videos of Board meetings are archived on the County website (with captions and staff reports) and on YouTube.

Public Hearings

No earlier than 6:30 p.m. the Board will hold a public hearing and consider items pulled from the Saturday Consent Agenda.

Regular Public Hearing

More outdoor seating during pandemic -- The Board will hold a public hearing and consider changing the County's Continuity of Government Ordinance to allow the temporary expansion of seating areas on private or public property not already included as part of a retail business operation, including elements -- such as tents, canopies, and heating elements -- that would allow operating the areas in all seasons and weather conditions. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 38.

If you wish to comment during the Consent Agenda Public Hearing, or on a Regular Public Hearing Item, register on the County Board website.