Scheduled for Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The next meeting of the Yorktown Civic Association has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 6, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Yorktown High School, Patriot Room (enter from door 8 near the athletic field parking lot). Here’s the agenda:

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.

Chestnut Hills Park on North Harrison Street is about to undergo a major expansion and improvement, thanks to the just-completed demolition of two adjacent homes acquired by the County during the past 15 months. The parkland expansion will soon be complemented by a frontage improvement project that was sponsored by the Yorktown Civic Association and funded through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program to install new entrances, fencing and pathways.

The park expansion has been made possible through the use of funds from the County’s Park Land Acquisition program. The County acquired the first property in September 2015 for $728,000, and the second in March 2016 for $820,000. The County Board approved an additional $50,000 per property for deconstruction and site restoration. The addresses for the homes where 2827 and 2833 N. Harrison Street, respectively. The first of the homes was owned by long-time Civic Association Treasurer Bob Littell and his family. The combined size of the two lots is about one-half acre, but the removal of the homes opens up access to land behind those properties which was already owned by the County. Due to the recent loss of other open space in the County, the current intention is to simply maintain the additional property as open space parkland. For example, this expansion helps to offset the significant loss of green space on the Williamsburg school site with the construction of the new Discovery Elementary School.

The frontage improvement project was actually funded back in December 2012, but implementation has been delayed twice – which has actually been a good thing! First, those improvements were postponed due to the 2014 playground renovations. Then, those improvements were delayed again when the first of the two homes was acquired in 2015. Those improvements have finally gone out to bid, and assuming that process goes well, a contract will go to the County Board for approval at its February 2017 meeting. The park improvements will include a new solid steel fence recessed 1’ behind the existing sidewalk; four recessed gates to provide stroller passing zones; a new enclosure and location for the portable restroom; pervious circulation pathways; and new benches and trash cans flanking the new walkways. The delay in this project ensures that the planned fencing and entrances will now include the recently acquired adjacent properties. The improvements are expected to take up to four months, and work is expected to begin fairly quickly after contract approval by the Board. It is expected that the Park will stay open during the work, although disruptions in access could be expected.

The County has a dedicated web page for the improvement project at: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/chestnut-hills-frontage/.

This past summer I was fortunate to be able to provide a tour of Yorktown Civic Association to Harriet Edlesom, a Washington Post reporter. The goal of Harriet’s article was to learn about the different types of architecture that can be found within our association’s boundaries, see the mix of new homes and old, and to ascertain what characteristics draw families to our neighborhood?

Don Purka, who along with his wife Christine, and two sons, moved here this past summer tells me that one of the reasons they choose to live within the boundaries of Yorktown Association was the feeling of a strong family and community feeling- almost like a throwback to the times when kids were able to run/bike to their friends’ homes without any parental worry. Don goes on to tell me that they could have chosen a large home, in a different Arlington neighborhood, but they put a priority on a neighborhood that they felt would be welcoming to their two boys- and after meeting with neighbors during their home buying process and confiding with other friends- felt Yorktown fit their needs perfectly. In addition, Don is able to walk to local bus stops to take public transportation to his job in the District.

In addition to bus stops, conveniently located throughout our neighborhood, which bring passengers to Ballston and/or Rosslyn Metro’s, most of Yorktown’s more trafficked streets have bike lanes, providing its residents a safe option to driving to work or taking public transportation. Arlington County has over 100 miles of trails, onstreet bike lanes and designated bike routes. Unlike parts of Fairfax County, our residents don’t have to worry about “slugging” to work! During my time with Harriet, it became apparent that she was also intrigued by the prevalence of “raze-rebuilds” going on throughout North Arlington and how this growing trend may be affecting the Yorktown area. More to the point, is the increased prevalence of construction having an adverse effect on the aforementioned “community feeling?”

New construction can bring with it a myriad of problems to the neighborhood, most notably, road damage, parking issues, environmental concerns and added stress to our overcrowded schools. But these new homes also bring newer/higher quality homes and increase existing property values. The pros and cons of the razerebuild trend will continue to be debated in our neighborhood, but I feel the trend is, overall, a net positive. Finally, Don Purka’s sentiment resounds perfectly with me when he said that they chose Yorktown because they felt it was a community that was welcoming- a testament to each of you, its residents!

By Craig Mastrangelo
for Civic Pride Newsletter
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

Be a Good Neighbor: Snow Removal

 

Snow and Ice Removal – All property owners (private residents and businesses) are required to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent
to their property:

  • Must be removed from the entire width of the sidewalk up to a maximum of 36 inches (to accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, etc.)
  • Must be removed within 24 hours after the snow stops falling, when accumulations are less than 6 inches, and within 36 hours when 6 or more inches of snow accumulate.
  • Noncompliance could result in a civil penalty and fine of $50 for sidewalks less than 200 linear feet in length or $100 for more than 200 feet.

If you know of a resident who is unable to clear their sidewalks because they are physically unable to shovel snow, please contact a member of the YCA Executive Committee. If you are just tired of shoveling, try connecting with your neighbors on the Yorktown Civic Association Facebook page or on Nextdoor Yorktown.

Scheduled for Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The next meeting of the Yorktown Civic Association has been scheduled for Wednesday, February 1, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Yorktown High School, Patriot Room (enter from door 8 near the athletic field parking lot). Here’s the agenda:

Arlington County Ombudsman Robert Sharpe

Meeting Set for Monday, October 17 2016

On October 6, the Arlington School Board approved the process for the rapid adoption of high school boundary changes intended to increase the enrollment at Yorktown High School by at least 200 students. When the high school was rebuilt, the building was designed to hold 1600 students. The fall 2016 enrollment is just under 1900 students. The proposed changes would bring the enrollment to 2200 students or more.

APS will discuss the proposed boundary changes at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 17, in the YHS cafeteria. The final plan is scheduled for presentation to the School Board on November 3, 2016, with implementation of the new high school boundaries starting with the 2017-18 school year.

Join the YCA on Saturday, October 22 from 10AM to 2PM for a Neighborhood Day event at Chestnut Hills Park on Harrison Street.

The event will feature food trucks, musical entertainment (for both children and adults), a bounce house, arts and crafts, and a meet-and greet with great Arlington community organizations! More details, will be posted to the Yorktown Civic Association Facebook page.

Contact Amelia (amelia.i.frenkel@gmail.com) if you have any questions or would like to volunteer.

In December 2012, funding was approved for frontage, safety and beautification improvements to Chestnut Hills Park through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program. That funding was in addition to maintenance funding that resulted in the rebuilding of the park’s “tot lot” playground area. That work was completed in late 2014. The Parks department determined it was best to complete that work prior to performing the improvements funded through the Neighborhood Conservation program.

Information on the now-completed tot lot playground improvements can be found at: Chestnut Hills Park Preschool (2-5) Playground Redesign

A meeting was held on Thursday, August 13, 2015, to review the plans for the additional improvements.

Updated plans May, 2016

As approved by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, the scope for the additional improvements is as follows:

Implement frontage and beautification improvements along the existing Chestnut Hills Park to promote pedestrian safety, increase curb appeal and unify the entire park. Improvements to the frontage of the site include: a new, set-back fence encompassing the lots on either end of the park with gated entrances as well as improved ADA accessibility to the site.

Pedestrian improvements could potentially include crosswalks with nubs for traffic calming, 3-5 Carlyle lights between the fence and the sidewalk and pervious paving along the edge of the sidewalk in certain areas to provide a wider surface.

Interior improvements include: new bences, an accessible pathway for the portable toilet, a new enclosure for the portable toilet and walkways connecting the lots on either end of the park with the central playgrounds.

The civic association has been notified by Arlington County that both the football field and track at Greenbrier Park/Yorktown High School will be closed from June 13 through August 1, 2016, for replacement of the synthetic turf and other improvements.

The $1.6 million improvement project was approved by the County Board on April 16, with the cost being split between FY 2016 Pay-As-You-Go Parks maintenance capital funds and funding from Arlington Public Schools. $674,000 of the total was awarded to Fieldturf USA Inc for installation of an EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and silica sand replacement field, which is expected to be “softer than crumb rubber and is less abrasive on turf fibers than rubber,” according to a press release from Arlington County.

In addition to installation of new turf, the project includes the addition of new inlaid game field markings (including mid-field logo and end zone lettering), replacement of corner flags, combination football/soccer goals, and discus cage, as well as necessary repairs to the field base. The total approved by the Board also includes expenses related to design, survey, construction and project management.