• Please Join the Arlington Greens on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Community Room of the Arlington County Fire Station 2 Ballston, 4805 Wilson Blvd Arlington, VA 22203

November 29, 2016

Arlington County holds public hearing on historic designation of Westover Village, Wed, Nov. 30, 6 PM at Swanson Middle School

The Arlington County Historic Affairs Board (HALRB) will hold a public hearing at Swanson Middle School, Arlington, on Wednesday, Nov. 30 starting at 6 PM to allow the public to speak about local historic designation of Westover Village of Arlington. A local historic designation would prevent or delay further demolition of moderate income rental apartments being bulldozed for million-dollar townhouses. Arlington Greens support historic designation and preservation of apartments for modest income renters.
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We urge Arlington residents to attend and support historic designation. Supporters will wear stickers with “Save Historic Westover” and speak in favor. About 70 apartment units have been or shortly will be demolished. Local historic designation will add to the U.S. historic listing of Westover Village made in 2006 by the National Park Service, and will impose significant barriers to demolition of existing buildings.

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https://arlingtonva.s3.dualstack.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/11/Westover-Staff-Memo.pdf

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November 27, 2016

Greens meet on Wed, Dec. 7, 7:30 PM

Arlington Greens will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 PM at the community room of the Arlington Ballston Firehouse (George Mason Drive and Wilson Blvd). Special guest Tim Dempsey of Revolution Now will speak about socialism, particularly as highlighted by Bernie Sanders during the past election, including single payer healthcare, Fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage.

The public is invited to attend.

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November 4, 2016

Rents of subsidized garden apartments in Arlington were the same as private market units in 2013

Rents charged in 2013 in subsidized committed affordable (CAF) garden apartments in Arlington were compared to rents charged on average in county-wide, market-rate apartments in Arlington in 2013. The subsidized garden apartment CAFs rented in 2013 for about $1,300 per month for a one bedroom, and $1,760 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment. In 2013, there were about 6,500 CAF units in Arlington.

The CAF rents were not significantly less than what a tenant could get from a private, market-rate landlord in that year. This is disturbing and counter intuitive since the county government provided about $10 million (roughly $100,000 in AHIF funding per new CAF unit), but the tenants did not receive lower rents.
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The county-wide market rents in garden apartments in 2013 were $1,369 and $1,667 per month, respectively, according to Arlington County Housing division. Thus, a one bedroom CAF unit rented for about $70 per month below the market rents, and a 2-bedroom CAF unit for about $100 above market rents. The combined average rent for one and two bedroom CAFs was about the same as the market rate for unsubsidized, market-rate units. Thus, the housing subsidy to the tenant in the CAF was zero.

The CAF rents were derived from a sample of two large CAF projects, the Gates of Buckingham (348 units), and the Westover Apartments (115 units), both operated by AHC, Inc. The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Westover Apartments was $1,197 per month and $1,550 per month for a two-bedroom unit. At Buckingham, a one bedroom unit rented for $1,391 and a 2-bedroom unit for $1,849 per month. Averaging these two complexes (prorated for the number of units) the average rent for a one bedroom was $1,294 per month, and for a 2-bedroom, $1,764.

The Arlington County Housing Division annually surveys private landlords for rents charged countywide, and publishes these data in the Annual Housing Targets Report. For 2013, the average rent in Arlington charged for a -one-bedroom garden apartment was $1,369 and for a two-bedroom unit, $1,667. The average rent for all types of apartments in elevator apartments and garden apartments in 2013 was $1,780 for a one bedroom unit and $2,324 for a two bedroom unit, averaging $1,977 for all units.

In summary, one bedroom CAF apartments in Westover and Buckingham rented for about $70 per month less than a private market rate one bedroom ($1,300 versus $1,369). A two bedroom CAF rented for about $100 per month more than a private unit ($1,764/month for the CAF and $1,667 for a private unit). Combined, the two principal types of CAF units rented at nearly the same as private market units, and thus provided virtually no rental subsidy to tenant living in the CAFs.

Transparency of the CAFs thus indicates that there is little or no financial gain to tenants living in the 6,500 CAF units in Arlington. In fy 2013, Arlington County provided nearly $10 million in local funds for the affordable housing investment fund (AHIF) that goes only to maintain and build new CAFs. The benefit from these $10 million spent in only terms of lower rents for low income tenants was zero.

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November 3, 2016

Kimberly Lowe, Green-endorsed candidate for Congress in Central Virginia speaks to Arlington Greens on Nov. 2

Kimberly Lowe spoke at the Arlington Greens November meeting about her uphill campaign for Congress in the open Congressional seat in central Virginia, the 5th District, that stretches over hundreds of miles from north of Charlottsville to the North Carolina border.

Kimberly Lowe, front left and seated, speaks to Arlington Greens

Kimberly Lowe, front left and seated, speaks to Arlington Greens

Kimberly is a farmer, mother, and scientist who lives outside Charlottsville, Virginia and has many creative ideas for improving economic conditions in her area, based on sound ecological programs, such as allowing Virginia farmers to grow hemp. This is her first campaign for public office. She was endorsed by the Virginia Green Party and the Central Virginia Greens as well.

Her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Kimberly-Lowe-for-Congress-805726636229988/

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October 31, 2016

Arlington Greens meet on Wed, Nov. 2 at 7:30 PM

The November meeting of the Arlington Greens will occur on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 pm at the Community Room of the Ballston Firehouse Station (located at N. Washington Blvd and Wilson Blvd).

Special guest Kimberly Lowe, the Green Party endorsed candidate for Congress in the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia (Central Virginia including Charlottsville area down to the North Carolina border) will speak at the beginning of our meeting. Kimberly is a first time candidate for Congress and running in an open seat against a Democrat and Republican candidate.

Other topics to be discussed is the Westover historic preservation effort to preserve moderate income rental apartments; reports on the film to be shown later this year, and other items on the pending election.

The public is welcome to attend.vote-ballot

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October 22, 2016

Saving Westover Affordable Apartments: Establishing a Local Historic District is the Necessary First Step

With the demolition of about 70 apartment units in Westover over the past two years, it is clear what the fate of the remaining market-rate affordable units will be in the near future: a bulldozer. For this reason, community activists in June 2016 filed a petition to the county government to designate Westover Village as a local historic district, thereby providing some protections against any further demolitions. The county HALRB is to hold a public hearing on November 30 to evaluate this petition.

Developers and some Westover homeowners argue against the historic district, and suggest other affordable housing tools be used to preserve the 400 units at risk. Unfortunately, the county has no other ways to stop demolition so this is disingenuous. In any event, the county cannot compel apartment building owners to sell to them or to a nonprofit. A nonprofit housing group APAH with county funding was able to buy 68 units, but 400 unprotected units remain under bulldozer threat.

The Arlington County Board approved in September 2016 an $11 million loan to APAH to purchase these 68 units in Westover for preservation as affordable units, amounting to $161,000 per unit. Then APAH says it will remodel the units at a cost of $188,000 per unit, raising their cost to nearly $400,000 each. This leaves 400 units at risk.

If the owners of the remaining 400 units were provided the same financing per unit, the county would need another $62 million in AHIF loans. But, the balance of AHIF funds is only $21 million currently after the latest APAH project, and thus the county is $42 million short. Thus, the county could not immediately finance the additional 400 units even if its owners wanted to sell right away.

Some affordable housing supporters say that historic preservation will not solve the affordability problem, but in fact this is disingenuous. If the apartment buildings are demolished, there is no possibility of keeping historic affordable rental apartments at all, whereas with historic preservation and the buildings preserved at least short term, then there is time to find means to keep affordable rents.

Longer term with a historic district in Westover, the county and nonprofits would be likely to finance gradual purchase of buildings as their owners decide to sell. The local historic ordinance requires that the owner of an historic building must first offer it for sale for one year at a fair market price before it can be demolished. Thus, a nonprofit or the county housing agency could purchase such a building.

Thus, designating all Westover apartments as a historic district under local Arlington County ordinance is the necessary first step if the Arlington County Board sincerely wishes to preserve affordable rental housing. The later and necessary second step will be to provide financial resources to later purchase units or to subsidize their owners who will agree to permanently keep them as affordable rental units as has been the case in Westover for the past 75 years.Digital Camera

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October 19, 2016

Greens and Libertarians Host Congressional Candidates Debate, Mon. Oct. 24, @ O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, Arlington

Events,political campaigns — @ 4:03 pm

On Monday, October 24th from 7-9 PM, the Arlington Greens and the Arlington Libertarians are hosting an AMA style Town Hall for congressional candidates Charles Hernick (Republican) and Julio Gracia (Independent), and Don Beyer (Democrat and incumbent Congressman) have been invited.

O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (located at the corner of Washington Blvd & Wilson Blvd, two blocks from Clarendon Metro)
3207 Washington Blvd, Arlington, Virginia 22201

You can RSVP here if you want: https://www.facebook.com/events/1847005425541116/

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September 13, 2016

Two more apartment buildings in Westover Village scheduled for demolition

Two more apartment buildings in Westover Village are scheduled for demolition in the near future as the owner submitted a request to Arlington County for demolition permits. The buildings contain at least eight apartments rented at moderate levels; some of the current tenants were previously evicted from an adjacent apartment building demolished earlier this spring.

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The two buildings are located at 5718 and 5724 N. 10th Road, Arlington VA, next to the Westover Park. This developer was also the one who demolished six buildings earlier this year to make way for luxury townhouses, selling for in excess of $800,000 each.

So far about 62 apartment units were demolished this year, and these two buildings would add 8 more demolished apartments and evict these families. The building owner did not offer relocation and moving expenses to these tenants.

Community activists and Greens have petitioned the Arlington County Government to designate the entire Westover Village as a local historic area and thus bar the demolition of these historic buildings which are in good condition. The county government has not yet officially begun the historic designation process. Greens previously petitioned the county board to bar the temporary demolition of any buildings until the historic review process is completed within a year or two. The county board refused to do so.

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Westover tenants picnic celebration of Greens and Tenants for Preservation of Affordable Apts

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The picnic of Greens and Westover tenants was a fun event with about 100 people attending, and enjoying food and good music from Westover Beer garden musicians. Over 30 tenants signed up to be part of the new tenants association and to be part of the effort to keep existing apartments in Westover from demolition. Digital Camera

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August 27, 2016

Biophilic Cities: Incorporating Nature into Arlington’s Urban Landscape, Thur. Sept. 15, 5:30 PM, 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington

Development,environment — @ 10:08 am

Biophilic Cities: Incorporating Nature into Arlington’s Urban Landscape

How do humans benefit from being close to nature? How can we foster connections with nature as Arlington County becomes more urbanized? How will these connections improve livability and quality of life?

Join us to learn about the benefits of a Biophilic City and how Arlington can participate in this movement on Thurs. Sept. 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Navy League Building, 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington. Learn from Timothy Beatley, Professor of Sustainable Communities at University of Virginia School of Architecture and Stella Tarnay, Urban Planner and Co-founder, Biophilic DC.

Registration and networking are from 5:30-6 p.m. with light refreshments.
Sponsored by Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Environmental Services.
For information E-mail: hreinecke-wilt@arlingtonva.us

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