June 10, 2014

ATTENDEES: G. Rovder, C. Aly, K. Mattos, D. Hughes, M. Haynes

  1. Mattos and C. Aly called the Task Force to order at 7PM.
  2. Quality Information

Carla and George reported on an informational presentation at the Civic Federation by the Planning Commission about the streamlining Site Review. BCA attendees raised a question about a process of streamlining that could cut out civic association/public comment since the proposal allows for a preliminary meeting at which the developer does not have to have a proposal, and after which a developer could work directly with County offices without any requirement for public comment/ input. At this time, there is no BCA position, and Task Force members see this as an appropriate issue for the Civic Federation.

  • Action: The Task Force is monitoring developments.
  1. Membership

Carla and other members reported on the recent BCA meeting at which the Task Force made a presentation on its activities. Members are interested in knowing how best to do an economic analysis that leads to a better understanding of commercial development possibilities and also wanted to know of Safeway’s plans.

  • Action: The Task Force will continue to gather information from various development experts and sources.
  • Action: Kate will post the power point presented to the BCA on the Task Force website.
  1. Outreach

The Task Force reviewed how the Rosslyn-to-Ballston density zoning is to stop east of N. Glebe Road. Given the development on the old Peck/Staples corner, Wakefield Street is now the outer edge of this area. The County helped set up the Ballston Improvement District to spur development.

George reported that he and Craig attended the Lee Highway President’s meeting.

While the Task Force continues to be in touch with Safeway, there is no new information.

  • Action: The Task Force will keep in mind neighborhood attitudes toward development, as presented in the approved Bluemont Neighborhood Conservation Plan.
  • Action: Carla will contact T. Serie about being an informal advisor to this task force.
  • Action: While information-gathering should continue, efforts to assemble a study (as planned earlier in the year) will be suspended pending more developments. Mark will discuss this with Craig.
  • Action: A meeting is scheduled with County Board member John Vihstadt, the final Board member to meet.
  • Action: Kate will seek a meeting with A. Howze.
  • Action: Kate will create a to-do list, including who to contact per Board member suggestions, to further discuss by-right development.
  • Action: Kate will attempt to schedule a meeting of this Task Force over the summer.

The Task Force was adjourned at 9:10 PM.



ATTENDEES: C. Aly, K. Mattos, C. Deering, D. Hughes, M. Haynes

K. Mattos and C. Aly called the Task Force to order at 7:10 PM.

  1. Quality Information

Dave presented photos of the Safeway under construction at Bradlee and completed in Georgetown.

Kate, Carla, and Craig presented the status of the study.

  1. Outreach
  • Action: George will send Kate the letter sent to Safeway for posting on the website.
  • Action: Kate will follow up with W. Tejada re possible suggestions of examples of development.
  • Action: Per W. Tejada’s suggestion, the Task Force will schedule a meeting with Arlington County Planning director Robert Duffy.
  • Action: Kate will contact M. Hynes re a meeting, and will try to coordinate a meeting with another Board member on the same day.
  • Action: M. Haynes will contact the Arlington Forest Civic Association re their interest in the development.
  • Action: Carla will contact Greg Muckle again near Memorial Day.
  • Action: Kate, Carla, and Craig will continue work on the study.+

Kate and others reported on the meeting with W. Tejada.

Mark reported on interest in development issues by various civic associations.

Carla reported on her conversation with Safeway regarding the letter sent by George to the division president, and there is no new information.

  1. Membership Outreach
  • Action: Task Force members may take photos and send to Kate Mattos to include in the PPT
  • Action: Kate will draft the PPT with Craig’s and Carla’s help; this must be completed by May 24, since Kate is going out of town
  • Action: Carla will make the presentation to the BCA membership meeting on May 28

Following discussion, Task Force members agreed to present at the May 28 meeting of the BCA membership a 10-15 minute presentation of work done thus far. This may include:

  • How Task Force was guided by NCP, votes, surveys
  • What is by right
  • Uses that go with C-1
  • Visuals that help show what 35 feet looks like
  • Major elements that members have said via the NCP they want in the “village”
  • Examples of features that would not be acceptable

The Task Force was adjourned at 9:10 PM.




Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Home of G. Rovder

Attendees: G. Rovder, C. Aly, C. Deering, M. Haynes, D. Hughes, K. Mattos, and guest Alex Topchy

Meeting convened at 7 PM.

  1. Minutes of January 14 meeting approved by acclamation
  2. Presentation by Alex Topchy and Discussion

As an expert in the field, Topchy described how a developer approaches opportunities such as the local Safeway. He discussed a variety of issues with the Task Force, such as expectations on returns; equity; debt ratios; taxes, including the possibility of the tenant paying real estate taxes; lease relationships between Safeway and a potential developer; and air rights. Mixed use financing can be difficult. He observed that the store’s location was financially complex as it is neither evidently urban nor suburban.

Task Force members affirmed that Safeway can now build 50K square foot by right with below grade parking or other configurations. Members shared that recent Food Marketing Institute reports noted a recent trend to smaller format stores.

  • Action item: Members of the Task Force will visit other area stores, including at Bradlee and in Georgetown.
  1. Quality information—Reports

Safeway developments: Carla Aly reported that Safeway representatives told her in a telephone call that Safeway should have something concrete to share with this group in 60 days. He said that Safeway had not chosen a developer and were conducting due diligence and talking at the CA headquarters about choosing a developer.

  • Action item: Kate Mattos will draft a letter for George to send to the local area Safeway president to indicate our interest in a refurbished Safeway and in maintaining communications.

Status of the study: Craig reports that he is proceeding with the document, and requested photographs for the texts. He needs specific information, such as names and addresses of business. He noted that the property around Two Chefs has four different owners, posing difficulty in development on that side of Edison. The development will focus on the Safeway lot and what can be done by right.

  • Action item: Dave will assist in getting the names of businesses. 
  1. Outreach

Kate reported that a meeting with J. Fisette was arranged on February 20.

  • Action item: Kate will arrange other meetings.
  1. Membership engagement

The Task Force will report to the February 26 BCA General Membership meeting of its actions to date.

  • Action item: Carla, Craig, and Kate will prepare the report to that meeting.

The Task Force meeting concluded at 9:10 PM.


(approved) Minutes of the Meeting of the Bluemont Center Task Force
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Attendees:  C. Aly, C. Deering, M. Haynes, D. Hughes, K. Mattos, G. Rovder

  1. MINUTES—minutes of the previous meeting were approved, as amended
  2. II.              QUALITY INFORMATION

K. Mattos handed out Task Force actions to date and will maintain that record.

G. Rovder reported that Avis Black of Safeway has failed to respond thus far to outreach.  There have been unconfirmed rumors that Safeway was in talks with JBG, but no agreement was reached.

C. Deering presented the first draft of a two volume student; he started with Part “B,” the assessment.  The volume is designed to be part of a larger document or stand alone. Craig explained the fact-based approach of the study will reflect what development is possible by-right and reviewed how the study will be organized.

Action Items

  • K. Mattos will keep updated the action record.
  • G. Rovder will continue to reach out to Safeway management.
  • K. Mattos will talk with the current manager of Safeway
  • D. Hughes will obtain County tax assessments for designed commercial areas.
  • M. Haynes will take required photos for the assessment, vol. B of the study.
  • K. Mattos will ask the Zoning office for site plan records of 2 C.1.0 sites.
  • C. Aly, K. Mattos, & C. Deering will prepare a short update for the next BCA meeting.
  • C. Deering will work with C. Aly and K. Mattos re bringing in a CFO of a local shopping center operator to the next Task Force meeting.

M. Haynes and K. Mattos reported conversations with several civic associations, which are interested in sharing observations and information about development.  Task force members agreed to schedule an additional conversation with these groups.

The task force agreed to schedule meetings with County Board members.

Especially given the current interest of Penrose in the Ballston area, the task force agreed to schedule a meeting with Penrose to get a developer’s opinion.

Action items

  • K. Mattos & M. Haynes will follow up with G. Rovder re a meeting with civic associations.
  • K. Mattos will work with C. Aly and G. Rovder re meetings with County Board members.
  • G. Rovder will contact Penrose re an informational meeting, to include Craig, Kate, & Carla schedules permitting.
  1. IV.             MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

Task Force members affirmed that its study will aim to accurately reflect neighbors’ views by drawing from the now approved Neighborhood Conservation Plan, as well as the more recent BCA Safeway Task Force data.

The Task Force will also maintain its website, announce meetings in advance, and report regularly to the BCA membership meetings.  In addition, the Task Force affirmed it will meet with individuals, including in-between regularly scheduled meetings, particularly those most affected by any potential development.

  • Action Items—K. Mattos will post meeting notices on the website and approved minutes.
  1. NEXT MEETING—will be on Tuesday, February 11, at 7 PM



Attendees: Task Force members Carla Aly, C. Deering, D. Hughes, K. Mattos, and G. Rovder;  BCA member E. Fendley

  1. I.               Agenda:  Attendees approved the agenda.
  2. II.             Quality information


  • Craig—will have draft outline by the next Task Force meeting.
  • George—will follow up with Safeway.
  • Kate—will schedule the meeting with Zoning.

Craig continues to work on the draft of the Village concept outline.

  • Dave Hughes sent Craig the sections of the Neighborhood Conservation Plan the section pertaining to the Village concept
  • Carla provided some ideas of possible development photos; these include 2-4 story tall mixed use development.
  • Also, the group considered information on new Safeway development in Petworth in Washington, DC, which is similar to Tenley development.

Craig welcomes additional photos, especially those of the Bradlee development of Alexandria.

Craig pointed out that development discussions are reportedly underway, and therefore he is focusing on the development analysis of the comprehensive assessment.  This will include available input from one or more developers.

Craig hopes to have documents completed by the end of the month.  He might be asking the Task Force members to photograph locations to assist with this. At the next meeting, he will have assignments.

While there are rumors that Safeway might have been in talks with other developers, it is not certain there is an RFP out. George has sent an inquiry to Safeway, but has not heard back yet.

George and others discussed the meeting with Tom Miller and the Planning office.   Additional meetings could be scheduled with Zoning and Justin Falango, the Chief Architect/Urban Designer for the County Planning Commission.

Zoning Office.  The Task Force should ask the County Zoning office about the impact to properties across the street if the Safeway property is re-zoned.

  1.  Outreach
  • Kate & Mark—will prepare summary of reactions from other civic associations.

Civic Associations.  Kate reported that she and Mark are in the process of completing conversations with various civic associations.

Bluemont Forward.  The Task Force asked  Ed Fendley, a BCA member attending this meeting, about developments at  with Bluemont Forward (independent and not affiliated with BCA).  Ed is a BF representative and encouraged others to check the BF website http://www.bluemontforward.org/index.html.  (Note:  To receive the BF newsletter, one must be a BF member by signing on to its views.)

Ed described some of the conversations BF has had County Board members.  BF has also had discussions with Safeway, as well as JBG and another Arlington smaller developer.

Those attending discussed how the Planning process is not fully predictable, pointing out that the County found a “gap” in the Peck site plan.

Those attending discussed the need to keep calling for a western entrance of Ballston-MU Metro, although the current capital improvement plan does not have sufficient funds for such an improvement, having transferred $20 million away from that possible entrance to needs in Rosslyn.

  1. IV.            Member Engagement

The task force discussed how community engagement should be structured in two phases.

Phase I—Education

This phase is to help neighbors know the facts about the develop process and its possibilities.  Document to be shared with BCA members should be factual, unbiased, and informational and be designed to seek members’ (and Bluemont neighbors’) input and views.

Initial documents should offer an explanation of what the documents are and how to use them.  For example, documents should be clear about:

  • what is the current zoning
  • what can be built by right next to your property
  • what is financially viable
  • what process must a developer follow to use or change the zoning or codes

Phase II—Consensus-Building

  • Carla—will check with Dave Van Wagner about whether, based on the NCP work, he has lists of business owners in the area’s commercial areas.
  • Craig—will send the County’s GIS link to the Task Force members.

Phase 2 aims to develop a majority view of what the community could support.  To achieve this, Craig suggested a number of community forums, perhaps starting with those who live closest to the Safeway and then moving out.  He suggested a separate forum with business owners.

To determine which neighbors are considered as being in the “immediate” vicinity of Safeway, Craig will use County definitions.  Note that homes that are “touching” the property are different than those immediately affected, such as the homes along Emerson.  Carla noted that owners immediately next to Safeway should have more “standing” or weight.

  1. V.             Timetable

The Task Force agreed to this timetable:

  • December 18—Carla will report about the Task Force Work to the BCA General Meeting
  • January 7 (tentative)—next meeting of the Task Force; draft document to be ready
  • January 22—report to the BCA General Meeting

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.





Attendees:  Carla Aly, Craig Deering, Mark Haynes, David Hughes, Kate Mattos, George Rovder, Larry Smith, and attending neighbor Glenn Villacorta.

  1. I.               Agenda:  The Task Force members approved Agenda as presented by K. Mattos
  2. II.             Quality Information

Action items:

  • Ø  Craig—will draft a note for George to send to Miller for a GIS file, a photographic survey and base file
  • Ø  George—will contact Safeway to affirm BCA/Task Force commitment to working with the company and to learn about current plans.
  • Ø  Mark—will write a 2 page summary from previous Task Force
  • Ø  George—can provide official BCA letter sent to the County
  • Ø  Craig & Dave—will provide a short excerpt on neighborhood Conservation Plan, referencing the neighborhood survey
  • Ø  Kate—will check on APS Boundaries & Capacity planning documents and seek ratios of children to housing
  • Ø  Task Force members agreed to meet with Norma Cozart, Administrator, Zoning Administration, Arlington County
  • Ø  Task Force members agreed to meet with individual County Board members


Meeting with Tom Miller, Current Planning Supervisor, Planning Division, Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development Arlington County.  Co-chair Carla Aly and other Task Force members reported on the update meeting with Tom Miller and staff.  Miller affirmed the staff commitment to the site review and planning process.  While County staff indicated that their sense was that Safeway would aim to build an “urban lifestyles” store of some 60,000 square feet with a multi-floor residential development, staff also noted that they had not received any further communications from Safeway since the developer, Silverwood, had been removed from the process.  County staff:

  • ·       was supportive of the new BCA Bluemont Village Center Task Force
  • ·       noted that property owners may develop by-right (Safeway is a property owner)
  • ·       stressed the value of public participation in site review
  • ·       sees the Safeway parcel as separate from west end of Ballston, and as such would be viewed as a separate development
  • ·       suggested that the Task Force talk with potential developers to further inform its work
  • ·       indicated that Safeway might choose not to own the property, but instead sell it and lease space back from the developers.

The Task Force also discussed with staff:

  • ·       form-based planning;
  • ·       that staff mentioned that Walgreens was negotiating going in the area of Pershing at Route 50; but after negotiations stalled, the County Board approved an amendment, over staff objections, to permit a day care center to occupy space reserved for a grocery; staff noted that Walgreens with its grocery market option counts as a grocery for county zoning benefits while a 7-11 or similar store would not;
  • ·       That the County’s big box ordinance requires special scrutiny and Board approval for  the development of a single space in excess of 50,000 sq. feet and 200 parking spaces even if otherwise permitted by-right ; that same ordinance would permit a development of  49,999 square feet and 199 parking spaces;
  • ·       the value of meeting with County Board members one on one.

 Other discussion.  The Task Force also discussed the current status of Bluemont Foreword and how best to involve the community in the Task Force work.  After its December meeting, the Task Force will determine the best timing and method to inform BCA members of its progress to date, tentatively aiming for a January briefing.

Table of Contents for Development Assessment and Recommendations.  Craig presented a Table of Contents (TOC) for Task Force approval.  The Task Force members agreed to the TOC and for planning purposes agreed to treat the “village” as existing from N. George Mason to Jefferson Street, along both sides of Wilson Blvd, ending on the south side after the veterinary hospital at Harrison and on the north side at Jefferson. 

The Task Force agreed to engage adjacent homeowners in discussions of the process of the Task Force and invite input.

The Task Force aims to explore possible “development paths,” or visions, that could make economic sense.  This will include recognizing what the GLUP and zoning allow, as well as comport with the Neighborhood Conservation Plan.

Craig noted the assistance he will need to complete this research, and Task Force members volunteered to take on assignments.

  1. III.           OUTREACH

 Action Items:

  • Ø  Mark and Kate—will continue contacting other civic associations.
  • Ø  George—will have a follow up conversation with Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association

 Mark and Kate reported on initial outreach and discussions with other civic associations.  Also, it happened that the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association had contacted BCA regarding a development move that violated its Sector Plan.  The County did approve that development.  The outreach to learn from other civic associations will continue. 

 Mark reported that Chris Zimmerman is hosting a series of talks of increasing density as the smart growth vision, and Mark will circulate information.


Action Items:

  • Ø  Kate—will create website

Task Force members agreed that its findings and any recommendations should be from an informed position drawn from facts within stated policies (C-1, NCC Plan).   Kate advised the group that a website should be up within a few days. 

         IV.           MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

A BCA member offered to work with the Task Force on a petition, but the Task Force declined since such advocacy is not in its purview.

  1. V.             NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Task Force will be in the first half of December.  To better meet members’ schedules, a Tuesday night option will be offered.




November 3, 2013

Attendees:  George Rovder, Mark Haynes, Kate Mattos, Carla Aly, Craig Deering, David Hughes (by phone)

  1. Charter

Attendees unanimously approved the charter, attached.

  • Action:  As soon as possible, this will be posted on the BVC Task Force website, which will be linked to the BCA website.
  1. Officers

The Task Force elected two co-chairs, Carla Aly and Kate Mattos.

  1. Members

The group agreed that the Task Force will be open to other members, as long as it remains a reasonable size in order to meet effectively and conduct work.

  • Action:  Mark Haynes is seeking a member/s who lives on the north side of Safeway. 
  1. Reports 

Quality Information.  Craig discussed the process of compiling an economic study to better understand the fundamental requirements of successfully developing the Safeway property within C-1 requirements.  The group agreed to make this part of the BVC effort.

Action:  Craig will begin the work now, with the aim of completing it by January 2014.  He will have a Table of Contents by the next meeting.

  • Carla and Dave will conduct online research about County positions, including regarding the Peck Staples discussion.
  • Kate will check with her contacts about getting commercial property sales data.
  • The group agreed to consider what should be the geographic dimensions of the “village” concept, including what is walk-able, and discuss this at the next meeting.
  • The group agreed that it would host a community work session once the economic study is completed to inform the community and obtain input, with the aim of having that by February 2014.

Outreach.  George reported on his meeting with Tom Miller of the Arlington Planning Board.  Miller said that there had not been any meetings with developers or Safeway regarding the site.  Miller agreed to a meeting with the Planning Board staff.

Mark and Kate reported on a discussion with Maureen Ross, president of the Cherrydale Civic Association, who had been involved in three different development issues and who shared observations about the pro-development interests as well as development concerns of neighbors.  The group agreed to learn from some other civic associations and explore whether information exchange can continue.

Action: George will arrange a meeting with BVCTF and the staff.

  • Mark will talk with 3 other civic associations, and Kate will talk with 2.

Open Communications.  The group discussed the importance of sharing information and gathering input from the community.  Kate suggested that our theme be “Quality Bluemont: Together, Improving Our Community.”  This emphasized the group’s commitment to working with neighbors on a shared vision.  She also suggested that we keep our values in mind as:

  • Welcoming, inclusive
  • Listening
  • Transparent
  • Commitment to shared vision
  • Strength to act  (with “strength” from an engaged community)

The group agreed to establish a website.

Action: Kate will talk with a neighbor with web skills about her willingness to help set up the site.

Member Engagement.  Kate urged that start now to talk with neighbors to begin getting ideas and input into the process and outcome.

  1.  Next meeting

The next meeting will be either November 17 or 24.

  • Action: a doodle poll will go out.

2 thoughts on “Minutes

    November 20, 2013 Minutes Posted « Bluemontvillage said:
    November 24, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    […] Minutes […]

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