September County Board Meeting Agenda Highlights 

Published on September 05, 2020

The Arlington County Board will hold its September Regular Meeting on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, and its Recessed Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the County Board is holding virtual meetings, as allowed under Virginia law. Board members, staff, applicants, and the public will participate remotely. Members of the public who wish to speak at public comment at the start of the Saturday, September 12, Regular Meeting, or who wish to speak on an agenda item, should visit the County Board website for information on how to register online to comment virtually.

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. The meetings also are live-streamed on ATV's YouTube channel. Videos of Board meetings are archived on the County website (with captions and staff reports) and on YouTube.

Saturday, Sep. 12 — Regular County Board Meeting

The virtual Regular Meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. with public comment. View the agenda and read the staff reports. (Note: Some reports are posted closer to the meeting date.) Highlights include:

COVID-19 Community Testing — The Board will consider accepting $320,287 in funding from the Virginia Department of Health to increase COVID-19 community testing. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 34 on the Consent Agenda.

COVID-19 grant for two full-time peer recovery specialists — The Board will consider accepting a $140,000 Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Emergency COVID-19 grant for two full-time peer recovery specialists. These specialists will help us expand our Peer Recovery Support services for Fiscal Year 2021. The two contractors will provide crisis support and outreach and engagement in the County's emergency services and outpatient programs, to expand services to persons with serious mental illness and substance use disorders who have been impacted by COVID-19. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No.35 on the Consent Agenda.

Bridges agreement with the City of Alexandria — The Board will consider authorizing an agreement between Arlington and the City of Alexandria to split the costs of maintaining, inspecting, and rehabilitating or replacing five bridges across Four Mile Run. The bridges include the West Glebe Road, Arlington Ridge Road, Shirlington Road, Route 1, and Potomac Avenue bridges over Four Mile Run. Two of the bridges, the West Glebe and Arlington Ridge, were found in 2018 to have suffered irreversible deterioration. Both need major rehabilitation in the short term.  If the agreement is approved, Arlington will pay to install a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge adjacent to the Shirlington Road bridge, with the use of state grant funds. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 27 on the agenda.

 18th Street North/North Glebe Road/North Wakefield Street intersection improvements -- The Board will consider approving the award of an $804,540 contract to Ardent Company LLC to make pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements at the 18th Street North intersection with North Glebe Road and with North Wakefield Street. The project would implement the recommendations of a Safe Routes to School safety study to provide a safe, practical walking route toward the entrance to Glebe Elementary School. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 31 on the Consent Agenda.

Selling, refinancing bonds — The Board will consider authorizing the sale of up to $172.32 million of General Obligation Public Improvement Bonds for new County and Schools projects, and $14 million of Industrial Development Authority Revenue Bonds to finance FY 2021 projects approved as part of the County and Schools short-term finance programs.

The Board also will consider authorizing General Obligation Refunding Bonds and IDA Revenue Refunding Bonds to achieve a lower interest rate on existing County debt. The projects for which General Obligation Bonds will be issued have been approved by voters in prior bond referenda. Over the past eight years, the County has refinanced more than $590 million of County, Schools, and Utilities Fund general obligation debt, saving taxpayers more than $36 million. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 26 on the Consent Agenda.

ART Maintenance Facility Contract — The Board will consider approving a $3.89 million contract with Stantec Architecture, Inc., for planning, design, and construction administration services for a new ART Operations and Maintenance Facility at 2631 and 2635 Shirlington Road. The project will be built under a Construction Manager at Risk process to control costs. The new facility will include permanent operations, administration, parking, and maintenance facilities to support ART, the County's local bus service, now and in the future. The project will achieve at least Silver LEED Building Design + Construct Certification and will include sustainable materials and systems. The County will solicit community comment in fall 2020 and winter 2021 during the concept design and advanced design phases. The total project budget is $81.2 million, which includes land purchase, construction, equipment, and soft costs. Funding is from a combination of state, regional, and local sources. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 28 on the Consent Agenda.

Public Hearings

Metropolitan Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines  — The Board will consider adopting the Metropolitan Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines developed by the County's Department of Parks and Recreation in partnership with JBG Smith, the developer, Amazon, their tenant, and Amazon's landscape design firm, James Corner Field Operations. The planning process included public engagement and the review of several County advisory commissions. The proposed master plan and design guidelines offer a vision for the comprehensive realignment and addition of new park amenities to meet the growing demand for casual use recreation, cultural resources, and the preservation of natural resources.  The plan calls for the expansion of the park and the reduction of street areas. Amazon would fund the $14 million transformation of the 2.37-acre park at the center of the Met Park Phase 1-8 site plan development areas where Amazon is building its new headquarters.  The redesign is meant to provide equitable access to green spaces, park amenities, and other natural elements for nearby residents, office workers, and visitors. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 44 on the Consent Agenda.

By-right expansion, additions to duplexes — The Board will hold a public hearing and consider adopting an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that would allow owners of nonconforming duplexes in multiple-family districts across Arlington to expand or make additions to their duplexes by right. Currently, owners of duplexes in multiple-family districts must apply to the Board of Zoning Appeals to make such changes. If adopted, the ordinance would apply to 432 existing duplexes in Arlington. The proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance would further the goals of the Affordable Housing Master Plan by allowing for reinvestment in existing housing stock that contributes to the overall diversity of housing countywide while maintaining the character of the neighborhoods where these duplexes are found. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 45 on the agenda.

Firearms Ordinance — The Board will hold a public hearing and consider adopting a firearms ordinance. The Board's proposed ordinance was authorized by the 2020 General Assembly session, which enacted a bill permitting localities to ban firearms on their property.  If adopted, the ordinance would prohibit the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms in County buildings, facilities, and public rights of way. Buildings and other property would be posted to notify the public of the restrictions. Violations would be a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Staff has been coordinating with the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, which have adopted similar ordinances, on language for Arlington's proposed ordinance and to develop similar signage among the neighboring jurisdictions, should Arlington adopt its ordinance. The Board also will consider allocating $172,000 from the County Manager's Contingent for the cost of building and temporary signage, should it adopt the ordinance. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 47 on the agenda.

Arlington Boulevard Safety Improvements, from Glebe Road to Fillmore Road — The Board will hold a public hearing and consider adopting a resolution of support for Arlington's request that the Commonwealth provide $25.1 million in funding to improve a .6-mile stretch of Arlington Boulevard. The project would be funded through the Commonwealth's SMART SCALE transportation funding program.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), owns and maintains Route 50, known as Arlington Boulevard within Arlington's boundaries. VDOT evaluated operations and safety conditions along Arlington Boulevard from Glebe Road to Fillmore Road, with community input, and developed a preferred alternative for changes meant to decrease the high rate of crashes and improve safety.

If funded by the Commonwealth, the project would divide the roadway with three lanes in each direction; a raised median; shared-use paths on both sides of the roadway; new dedicated left-turn lanes and traffic signal heads at Irving Street; an extended left turn lane westbound at Fillmore Street, and other improvements. VDOT would carry out the project. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 46 on the agenda. Visit the VDOT study website to read the VDOT study and recommendations.

Tuesday, Sept. 15 — Recessed County Board Meeting

The virtual meeting will begin at 3 p.m. with reports from the Board Members and the County Manager. To view the agenda and read the staff reports, visit the County website. Visit the County website for information on speaking at a virtual County Board Meeting.

No earlier than 6:30 p.m. the Board will hold a public hearing on any item pulled from the Saturday Consent Agenda. The Board will then hold a  Regular Public Hearing on:

Sidewalk Physical Distancing Ordinance — The Board will hold a public hearing and consider making permanent an Emergency Ordinance it adopted on July 31, 2020, prohibiting groups of more than three people from congregating on streets and sidewalks that have been posted with the restrictions, and requiring pedestrians to maintain at least six feet of physical separation from others on the posted streets and sidewalks. The ordinance is intended to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Arlington by keeping large groups of people from gathering, without appropriate distancing, on public sidewalks and streets. Violators could face a fine of up to $100. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 48 on the agenda.