Comments At Arlington County Board Meeting, 5/21/2019
I came down with Potomac Fever when I acquired a brand new Folbot folding kayak in 1997, and I’ve been paddling on the Potomac ever since. While there is no cure for Potomac Fever, paddling alleviates the symptoms. So I was enthusiastic about National Park Service (NPS) plans to construct a boathouse in Arlington.
Nevertheless I’m concerned about the health of the Potomac,
specifically the impact of dredging the channel between the proposed dock and
Teddy Roosevelt Island and traffic congestion in the nearby. The Gravelly Point
alternative has neither of these impacts. Yet NPS rejected it because of occasional
strong river currents and lack of access to public transportation at that
An experienced rower recently advised me that the Rosslyn location
is unsuitable for rowing teams, because the channel between the Rosslyn site
and Teddy Roosevelt Island is too narrow to maneuver large boats. Also, while
river currents are a factor for small craft at Gravelly Point, they have little
impact on large sculls. Likewise since high school rowing teams would be
transported to Gravelly Point by bus, the lack of immediate access to transit is
immaterial, and ample parking already exists for anyone who drives.
The Rosslyn alternative will put an ancillary administrative
facility on a wooded area at the intersection of Lee Highway and Lynn Street near
Key Bridge. This facility, the need for which has never been demonstrated, will
exacerbate both congestion and runoff in a resource protection area and turn
Key Bridge into a traffic nightmare during rush hour.
Today’s vote to approve an agreement with NPS to construct the Rosslyn facility is strictly pro forma. The train has left the station, but only because Department of Parks and Recreation never saw a park it didn’t want to pave over, and County Board never saw a boondoggle it didn’t want to buy. Nevertheless I think that those who live and work in Rosslyn should know that there was a reasonable alternative to more traffic congestion at Key Bridge and further degradation of the Potomac River.
Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting On June 16, 2018.
At the April 21, 2018 County Board meeting, civic activist Suzanne Sundburg blasted the County for misrepresenting the health of Arlington’s tree canopy. She said:
“Arlington’s claim of a 1 percent tree canopy increase between 2011 and 2017 is not statistically valid”—due to the wide 6 percent margin of error in the reported statistic.
Christian Dorsey dismissed Sundburg’s criticism of the County’s 2017 tree canopy study that reported this number. He said: “Getting into a misunderstanding about data points of a percentage point or two are not really useful for our public policy.”
Yet the District of Columbia Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) is embroiled in a controversy right now with Forest Service (USFS) researchers over a similar difference in reported statistics. (more…)
Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting on December 16, 2017.
While I generally support the Framework Plan for Benjamin Banneker Park, I oppose the widening of the multi-use trails from 8 feet to 12 feet with a ten foot minimum.
First, most of the park lies within a resource protection area (RPA) defined by the watershed created by Four Mile Run. Four Mile Run Trail runs close to the stream throughout the park—as close as three feet from the stream bank in some areas. (more…)
Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting, 09/16/2017.
Staff’s presentation demonstrates a robust process of community engagement in the redesign of Lubber Run Community Center (LRCC), including all relevant stakeholders—except Mother Nature.
These remarks, delivered at July 18 Arlington County Board Meeting, are excerpted from a message sent to County officials on July 17 by long-time civic leader and environmentalist Suzanne Sundburg.
I request that you defer taking action on item 52 (Lubber Run Community Center – Endorsement of the Conceptual Design) for the following reasons: 1) flawed process, 2) environmental impact and 3) cost.
Remarks given on behalf of long-time civic leader and environmentalist Suzanne Sundburg at Arlington County Board Meeting on July 15, 2017.
Please defer a vote on this agenda Item 50 (Updated Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map). A vote today is premature because agenda Item 52 (endorsement of the design and contract award for Lubber Run Community Center) — which will not be heard until the Board’s July 18 recess meeting – includes a geotechnical engineering report indicating the presence of a significant amount of water on the LRCC site. (more…)
Comments at December 10, 2016 Arlington County Board Meeting on lifting restrictions on S-3A zoning districts, which County Board voted unanimously to adopt.
I want to associate myself with a recommendation sent to County Board on November 1 by longtime CivFed leader Suzanne Sundburg. In asking County Board to defer action on County staff’s request to rezone S-3A zoning districts, i.e. schools and parks, Sundburg said: (more…)
It was recently revealed that County Board has agreed to trade county parkland to developer Penzance in exchange for a fire station to be incorporated as part of a mixed use office development at the WRAPS site in West Rosslyn. This deal was done in a secret Letter of Intent (LOI) in January 2013, the existence of which WRAPS itself had been ignorant till a couple of months ago. (more…)
County Board member John Vihstadt questioned the priorities of the WRAPS planning process for west Rosslyn at the February 21 County Board meeting. He said:
“The [WRAPS] charge also very clearly specified that the desire is to accommodate: a new school, new affordable housing, a new fire station, private redevelopment and green space . . . and we may be faced with the issue ‘something’s got to give’.”