Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bondi Is Controlled by Zimmerman, Developers

Hello, Yupette,

I received Melissa Bondi's slick brochure in the mail the other day. I've been observing her for several years because I'm concerned about gentrification along the Pike. She's another of Zimmerman's pro-mega development ward heelers.

She's served on the Economic Development Commission and Housing Commission. Responsible for rubber stamping East Falls Church, Crystal City, and Columbia Pike mega-development. Responsible for rubber stamping mega-development close to her own neighborhood, Lyon Park. Endorsed by Inta Malis and James Lander. Need I say more?

I don't want another Zimmerman on the County Board. Only Democrat who is more under Zimmerman's control is Inta.

fed up Dem

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Citizens Share County Board's Skepticism About Artisphere's Finances

Hello Yupette,

I generally support the performing arts and I'm happy to see the County Manager's Office reorganized the Artisphere's management and implemented a new business plan. But I can't understand why the performing arts community can't make the Artisphere totally non-profit and self-sustaining. These are the same upscale people who raised $60,000 in one evening for dogs and cats.

It's my understanding that at least two more large live theater buildings will be constructed in North Arlington, one in the area near Courthouse Plaza and the other on the site where the Arlington Funeral home is presently located.

If the County Board is skeptical about the Artisphere's long-term viability why not ask the performing arts community to give the Artisphere the financial assistance it needs to succeed? That's only fair to the taxpayers who have endured several years of poor Artisphere planning and management.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Zimmerman Mis-Characterizes Shirlington Re-Development


I and other Fairlington residents were dismayed by County Board Chairman Zimmerman's mis-characterization of Shirlington redevelopment at the County Board's ceremony yesterday honoring Fairlington resident Nancy Hunt on her retirement from the Planning Commission. Ms. Hunt is also retiring from FDIC and moving from the cul de sac where she lives in Fairlington "to the country" near Charlottesville. Another prime mover in Shirlington redevelopment was former County Member Paul Ferguson, who moved on to become Clerk of the Arlington County Circuit Court. According to several Fairlington residents Mr. Ferguson "avoids visiting Shirlington".

Shirlington is a prime "dumb growth" example of how commercial areas should NOT be re-developed, according to many in the planning community, including several planning consultants who are responsible for "smarter growth" revitalization planning. There is no affordable housing in redeveloped Shirlington, there is massive parking, massive commuting by drivers of single-occupant vehicles (SOVs), no public sports, recreation, or community infrastructure, and "public space" consists of a public plaza next to restaurants and retail. The only "traffic mitigation" concomitant with Shirlington re-development was the installation of asphalt speed tables on South 31st Street between Shirlington and Fairlington, which are crumbling because of increased SOV traffic.

As has been mentioned before, in this blog and elsewhere, Chris Zimmerman is all for massive "dumb growth" redevelopment, as long as that doesn't include the wilderness area across the street from his home in Douglas Park.

Susan, Fairlington

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homeless Facility to Be Included in County Board Mega-Deal for Courthouse Plaza

Hello Yupette,

So, people think County Board decided to build a year-around homelessness treatment and prevention facility in a building the County wants to acquire at 2020 North 14th Street?

Wrong. The County Board wants to make a new homelessness prevention and treatment facility a minor part of a mega-deal for the massive redevelopment of older buildings around Courthouse Plaza and the parking lot between Courthouse Plaza and Courthouse Road (which the County owns). Another Shirlington. Another live theater. Hundreds more units of unaffordable housing. Big underground garages. Cost to the taxpayers? At least $150 million.

Big beneficiary in the short term will be a foreign REIT, Brookfield Asset Management, which will reportedly sell 2020 North 14th Street to the County for close to $30 million. Building is worth maybe $17 million. County Board will also tear down the County-owned Court Square West office building on North Uhle Street and move County employees to a renovated 2020 N. 14th Street. Most of that building's current small business tenants will be forced to relocate. But, unlike working class minorities who live along the Pike, the County Board will give tenants of the North 14th Street building a generous relocation allowance.

As for the homeless, it will be years before they see any benefits from the County Board's wheeling and dealing. And, as usual, Barbara Donnellan and other non-residents in the County Manager's office were and are the key players in the corporate welfare deal making.