PRESS RELEASE: Infill Development a Factor in July 8 Flood

In the wake of the catastrophic July 8, 2019 flood that inundated neighborhoods throughout Arlington, County government responded proactively. The County:

  • declared an emergency;
  • cleaned up debris;
  • posted information for affected residents and businesses on its website; and
  • pledged to re-prioritize needed investments in storm water infrastructure.

These measures were welcome and necessary. Yet my Arlington County Board opponents refuse to acknowledge that massive infill development contributed to the flood by destroying mature tree canopy and increasing runoff-inducing impervious surface.

In fact they actively dispute the loss of tree canopy throughout the County and attribute increased impervious surface to by right developments that they can’t stop.

Westover Park Area Ravaged by Runoff Induced Flood

What my opponents don’t tell you is that they won’t conduct a public hearing on a 2016 citizen petition to preserve the remaining Westover garden apartments as historic. Their refusal to do so has resulted in the demolition of dozens of apartments and surrounding trees in Westover.

Anyone who believes that tree removal and exposed surface at these construction sites did not contribute to the flood should look at this submerged vehicle adjacent to Westover Park downhill from the denuded development site on July 8.

Also neither County Board nor the School Board acknowledge that their own construction activities contributed to massive flooding on July 8. Community activist Suzanne Sundburg has documented that in just 9 development projects on public land between 2014 and 2018, the County lost over 900 mature trees. Clear cutting has occurred at virtually all school construction sites, Lubber Run and Donaldson Run. More is on the way, as the County pushes for infill development and overbuilt parks.

If elected to County Board, I will lobby to stop clear cutting County and privately owned land by insisting on strict adherence to the Arlington Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, which bars runoff-inducing developments near Potomac River tributaries.

In addition, if elected, I pledge to:

  • Say NO to more tax rate increases and a recently authorized County Board pay grab.
  • Preserve green space and emphasize basic services like: streets, schools, libraries and public safety.
  • Promote transparency by requiring publication of official documents at least 72 hours before board and commission meetings.
  • Provide a voice on County Board for all taxpayers.

As a 15-year Westover resident, long-time civic activist and current member of the Transportation Commission–I have both the experience and independence to promote these reforms.

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