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Letter from the President – December 2017

YCA Sets Attendance Record; Meets Alliance

Join us at our next YCA meeting: December 13 at 7:30 p.m. Each member of the YCA board is bringing cookies to share; extras will be given to residents who attend! It’s also our annual election.

In September, more than 60 residents (a record!) attended the YCA meeting. Our main topic was teen drug use. Speakers included Captain David Giroux (ACPD First District Commander), Captain Tom Trumble (ACPD Drug Enforcement), Corporal Andrew Nucelli (Yorktown Schoool Resource Officer), and Ms. Mila Vascones-Gatski (Yorktown’s Substance Abuse Coordinator).

An informative and eye-opening presentation was followed by a spirited Q&A. Captain Giroux asked the residents to help reduce teen drug use in Arlington. Residents should look out for drug paraphilia and suspicious activities. If you see something, say something.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) held a Board Meeting in September at their new office space at 4620 Lee Highway (Suite 208).

The Arlington County Planning Department has interviewed candidates for County Planner who will lead the upcoming re-planning of the Lee corridor. The process will include a Community Forum (task force) with 40 members, and a working group of 8 participants, who will meet with staff and consultants to re-plan the corridor. The County has agreed that LHA, civic associations, and advisory groups will be represented on the task force. The process is likely to begin in early 2018.

The County is also in the early stages of planning the design of Fire Station #8. Many LHA board members feel that some space in the station should be made available for community
needs. I encouraged the Board to focus on core emergency management functions of the Fire Station.

I continue to engage with the business and property owners at Garden City Shopping Center to try to improve site conditions and better engage them. One idea being discussed is creating a Merchants’ Alliance. There are a number of issues common to both the businesses and the neighborhood, including trash removal, code enforcement, snow removal, and parking.

The YCA Executive Committee is deciding if we should incorporate the Yorktown Civic Association as a 503c4. Incorporating will reduce personal liability for Executive Committee members and add clarity to the annual elections, finances, and record keeping. We plan to engage in a transparent process as we move forward, and bring information to the December meeting. Please join us!

By Mike Cantwell

President, Yorktown Civic Association

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Letter from the President – September 2017

It has been a busy summer! We are continuing to track issues related to school capacity, high water bills, traffic and pedestrian safety, the Lee Highway Alliance, and the Garden City Shopping Center.

I recently attended a meet-and greet session with the new Yorktown High School Principal Bridget Loft. YHS parents expressed their concerns about teen drug use and their perception that the Yorktown High School staff was not doing enough to address it. I met with Ms. Loft privately and expressed the community’s concerns about overcrowding at Yorktown High School, traffic and parking. We discussed how the common areas in Yorktown High School (gym, cafeteria, sports field, etc.) are significantly smaller than similar areas at Washington & Lee and Wakefield.

Throughout the summer months, local homeowners continued to post replies on Nextdoor and Facebook related to unusually high water bills. Several homeowners wrote letters to Sun-Gazette editors, Arlington County Staff, and Board members. The Department of Environmental Services is refusing to conduct a thorough investigation into the unusually high water bills. Homeowners experiencing this should continue to contact DES and County Board Members and call for an independent audit of the water meters and water billing process.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) continues to make steady progress. LHA has a budget, leased office space, and an updated website. Google “Lee Highway Alliance” for more information. We have some improvements at the Garden City Shopping Center (GCSC), but we continue to see issues. The LHA, YCA Executive Committee, and the County Staff are working together to encourage property owners and tenants to form a Merchants Association. Ideally, the merchants will work together to improve trash/garbage removal, paving, sidewalks, landscaping, parking, and snow removal.

The guest speaker for our next YCA general membership meeting will be Captain David Giroux. Captain Giroux was recently selected to be First District Police Captain. He will address teen drug use, traffic safety, and violence in our community.

We need your help! We can match your passions, skills, and time constraints to the right “job.” Email me with “I want to help the YCA” in the subject line. Please get involved with the political process. You can’t move the ball forward if you are sitting on the sidelines. Stay engaged Arlington!

By Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association
mtcantwell@msn.com

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Letter from the President – Winter 2017

The Yorktown Civic Association Executive Board (YCA EC) has been busy tracking local issues and communicating with key stakeholders. Issues related to high school boundary changes, unusually high water bills, dangerous intersections, street lights, Lee Highway revitalization, Garden City Shopping Center, and graffiti have filled my inbox the last full months.

On October 27th, I sent a letter to the School Board stating the Yorktown Civic Association position on the high school boundary refinement proposal. In the letter, I stated that we were opposed increasing enrollment at Yorktown High School. I mentioned that the Yorktown High School building, common areas, gymnasium, athletic fields, parking lots, and the overall footprint were significantly smaller than Washington & Lee and Wakefield High Schools. We also felt that increasing the enrollment at Yorktown would have negative effects on parking and traffic in our neighborhood. Please go to the Yorktown Civic Association website (yorktowncivic.org) to view the letter. On December 1st, the School Board decided to refine the high school boundaries which will result in more students at Yorktown High School. For more information about the boundary changes, please go to the School Board website.

Over the last few months, hundreds of local homeowners have complained on Nextdoor and Facebook about their unusually high water bills. Some water bills were three times higher than a similar period a year ago. Several residents contacted the Utility Service Office to complain about their high water bills. After receiving unsatisfactory responses from the head of the office, the residents contacted the county ombudsman (Robert Sharpe), and County Board members. The highest levels of the county government are now aware of this issue but, unfortunately, utility bills have yet to be adjusted.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) is now incorporated in Virginia as a non-profit 501(c)(4). The purpose of the Alliance is to [promote] revitalization and community development through civic engagement of the residential and business communities and interests along Lee Highway. I was selected as a board member and participated in the first official board meeting on January 7th.

Several residents expressed their concerns about dangerous intersections in our neighborhood. Harrison Street and 26th Street and North George Mason Drive and Yorktown Blvd are the
two intersections at the top of most resident’s list. I contacted Arlington County Transportation and Engineering and Operations Division and received an e-mail stating that neither intersection
meets the threshold for a traffic light. I will continue to work with the county to try to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in and around these intersections. Finally, please prepare for
the next snow event and do your best to clear your sidewalks. If you, or someone you know, needs help shoveling snow, please post a request for help on Nextdoor Yorktown or on Facebook.

Sincerely,
Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association
mtcantwell@msn.com