FYI Alexandria - January 24, 2018

Page archived as of February 5, 2018

Alexandria's Official Resident Newsletter • January 24, 2018

Welcome to FYI Alexandria!

In this issue, see how you can make a change in a child’s life by mentoring; learn about the upcoming Stormwater Utility Fee Open House; vote for Alexandria’s 18th century ship; and make plans for George Washington’s Birthday and Black History Month. To learn more about FYI Alexandria, visit alexandriava.gov/FYI, or email fyi@alexandriava.gov.

In this Issue:

Top News

City Council Approves Affordable Housing Development Application

A co-application between AHC, Inc., a non-profit local affordable housing developer, and the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection was approved by City Council on at its public hearing on January 20. On recommendation from the Planning Commission, City Council approved plans for construction of a mixed-use building with up to 114 affordable dwelling units and a 5,000 square-foot church, to be located at 2280 N. Beauregard St. The development will help create new affordable housing opportunities in Alexandria. Site improvements include a buffered pedestrian sidewalk, installation of planted terraces to replace a hillside of invasive species, a shared 10-foot, multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists along North Beauregard Street, and undergrounding of utility lines along N. Beauregard Street.

The development will be competing for Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) federal tax credits. If awarded, it is anticipated that the project will begin construction in late winter 2018, with building occupancy by 2021. The City will also be providing a low-interest affordable housing loan of up to $9 million to AHC.


City Council Approves Master Plan Amendment for Eisenhower East Small Area Plan Including Wegmans Grocery Store

On January 20, City Council approved a master plan amendment for the Eisenhower East Small Area Plan that will provide support for attributes of proposed development in Hoffman Blocks 4 & 5 of the Plan. The approved Stage I Development Special Use Permit covers the overall mass, scale, uses, and density of the development, which includes three residential towers to be constructed atop a 5-story podium building that will contain the retail and parking for the project. The project attributes include a planned 85,000 square-foot Wegmans grocery store (the first in Alexandria), more than 125,000 additional square feet of retail uses, up to 800 residential units, structured parking, and the provision of a large public plaza. At a subsequent hearing, the City Council will review the architecture of the development for the Stage II portion of the Development Special Use Permit.


City Council Establishes an Ad Hoc City Council Compensation Study Committee

City Council approved the establishment of an Ad Hoc City Council Compensation Study Committee, appointed by the City Manager, to examine and provide recommendations to City Council regarding appropriate compensation levels for the Mayor and other members of City Council. The earliest any resulting change could take effect is 2019.

The Study Committee will be composed of five members with experience in government policy setting, business or governmental management, or organizational governance, including at least one former member of City Council.

The Study Committee will review the compensation of mayors and chairs, as well as elected members of major local governing bodies in Northern Virginia, and provide their recommendations to City Council by May 1.

The last increase in compensation for the Mayor and City Council occurred in 2003, and their compensation is now significantly below that of other major Northern Virginia jurisdictions.


Your Vote Counts Today! Alexandria’s 18th Century Ship Eligible for Conservation Grant

The City of Alexandria encourages the public to vote for its 18th century ship today to receive a conservation grant of up to $5,000. Online voting is open at alexandriava.gov/Archaeology and ends today, January 24.

The ship, which was excavated at the site of the new Hotel Indigo in Old Town Alexandria, is a finalist in the Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Competition held by the Virginia Association of Museums. A highly regarded and diverse group of artifacts is competing for several conservation grants based on online voting, including items from across the state and spanning Virginia’s extensive history from the 1700s to the 20th century.

The ship is the only archaeological artifact in the Top 10, and is the oldest and by far the largest on this year’s list. The archaeological remains of the vessel’s hull are a rare example in Virginia and on the east coast of a documented and excavated 18th-century merchant ship. The artifact lay in a damp environment for more than 200 years and requires constant monitoring and care to prevent irreparable damage from desiccation, shrinking, and warping. The ship is currently undergoing a multiyear documentation and conservation process at Texas A&M’s Conservation and Research Laboratory, before it returns home for display.

To “Save Our Ship,” cast your vote online at through January 24, at alexandriava.gov/Archaeology.


Stormwater Utility Fee Open House – January 29

On January 29, the City will hold an open house to provide information and answer questions about the new Stormwater Utility Fee. The event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the large conference room at Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library (5005 Duke St.).

The purpose of the fee, adopted by City Council in 2017 to take effect this year, is to provide an equitable, dedicated source to fund the increasing costs of state and federal Chesapeake Bay protection mandates. Single-family residential property owners will be billed flat fees based on the types of property they own. The fees for nonresidential properties will be billed based on each property's total impervious area. Impervious area includes only hard surfaces on which rain falls, and does not include the interior square footage of buildings.

The open house will also include information about a credit program launched in 2017 to recognize stormwater mitigation efforts by nonresidential property owners. The credit program will be expanded in 2019 to include residential property owners. The City will solicit public input on residential credits this spring.

Property owners can find their estimated 2018 fees on a map viewer available at alexandriava.gov/Stormwater. The webpage also provides an application for nonresidential property owners (including businesses, apartment buildings, houses of worship, and nonprofit organizations) who provide stormwater management to receive credits that may lower the fee. Complete applications received by February 15 will be considered for credits in 2018.


Alexandria Deploys New Traffic Signal Technology

Alexandria now has the distinction of being the first city on the East Coast to use a hydrogen fuel cell as a backup power source for traffic signals. This summer, the City modernized the intersection that connects King Street, Quaker Lane and Braddock Road, with the installation of a hydrogen fuel cell backup generator and other improvements.

The fuel cell turns on the instant utility power fails and allows the traffic signals to remain in operation without interruption, which helps prevent crashes during power outages. The fuel cell installed in this location provides up to eight hours of backup power. In addition to improving road safety during power outages, the cells are a safe and green technology -- pure water vapor is the only byproduct they produce. The cells also require less maintenance and offer cost savings and increased reliability compared with traditional battery backups.

The hydrogen fuel cell installation is part of a pilot project. The King/Quaker/Braddock intersection was chosen because it connects three major traffic arteries serving roughly 3,500 vehicles per hour during peak periods. As fuel cell costs continue to decrease and the technology becomes more common, the City expects to expand the pilot and install hydrogen fuel cell backups at additional intersections over the next several years.


DCHS Community Impact Report

The Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Community and Human Services Community Impact Report is now available. The 28-page report highlights the work of the Department and its impact throughout Alexandria.


Mentor One Child. Change Two Lives.

January is National Mentoring Month, and the Alexandria Mentoring Partnership is seeking dedicated, caring and enthusiastic adults to serve Alexandria’s youth. A New Mentor Information Session will be held on Saturday, January 27, from 1 to 3 p.m., at The Lyceum (201 S. Washington St.). The event provides an opportunity for potential mentors to meet, network, and learn about mentoring and mentoring programs in Alexandria. The information session is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to RSVP.

Learn more about mentoring programs in Alexandria by visiting alexandriava.gov/Mentoring. For more information, email mentoring@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.4455.


Stay Warm, Stay Safe: Using Space Heaters

With midwinter’s frigid temperatures and the brutal cold weather the East Coast has experienced this winter, people are turning up the heat in their homes or using alternatives such as space heaters.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters account for one-third of all home fires and 80 percent of home heating fire deaths, so paying close attention to safety is a must.

If you’re using a space heater in your home to help keep yourself and your family warm this winter, here are some safety tips to help during this winter weather:

  • Plug your space heater directly into the wall outlet.
  • Buy a unit with an automatic shut-off in case the unit tips over, or you forget to switch it off.
  • Keep your space heater in low-moisture rooms.
  • Keep your space heater at a safe distance (at least 3 feet) from kids, pets and flammable items.
  • Always follow the directions and take a broken space heater to a qualified appliance service center or replace it with a new one.

When using a space heater, never leave it unattended and always unplug it before leaving the house or going to bed. To avoid a tripping hazard or causing the heater to overheat, don’t use an extension cord to plug in your space heater. Avoid placing your space heater near curtains, clothing furniture or bedding, and don’t put your space heater in your bathroom. The moisture can damage the unit, which could cause it to malfunction. Follow the link below for more tips and resources for keeping warm and safe, and for information on helping others during dangerously cold weather.


Alexandria’s Academies Want YOU!

The City of Alexandria invites the community, business owners and City employees to learn more about their City and take an in-depth look at City government through the upcoming City Academy, Commonwealth’s Attorney Community Academy, Community Fire Academy, Community Police Academy, and Senior Academy.

The City, Fire and Police Academy sessions all begin in early March and are now accepting applications. Sessions for the Senior Academy and the new Commonwealth’s Attorney Community Academy will begin in April.

These programs are open to residents, Alexandria business owners, and City employees. A graduation ceremony is held at the end of each academy program session.

Class sizes are limited. For more information, including deadlines, age requirements and application forms, visit alexandriava.gov/Academies.


Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday

In honor of the 286th anniversary of his birth, the Office of Historic Alexandria celebrates Alexandria's most famous resident with five unique events. On February 1, 8, and 15, learn 18th century English country dancing from expert instructors for fun, or in preparation for the sold-out Washington’s Birthnight Ball on February 17. Visit Historic Fort Ward for Revolutionary War Day on February 18 to learn about army life, visit a Colonial encampment and witness a tactical skirmish between British and Colonial troops. The next day, February 19, the same day as the George Washington Birthday Parade, enjoy Parade Day Open Houses, when several Historic Alexandria sites will be hosting special tours with free admission.

Finally, remember that story about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree? On February 22, learn about that story and other myths surrounding our First President with a lecture, I Cannot Tell a Lie: Myths about George Washington that Should be Discarded.


Historic Alexandria Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual recognition and celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of African Americans and persons of African descent in U.S. history. The City of Alexandria invites the public to celebrate Black History Month through special events and activities throughout February.

The following events will be held at the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St.:

For a calendar of Black History Month events and activities, visit the Alexandria Black History Museum page.


Alexandria Library Offers Wintertime Fun

The long, cold days of winter are perfect for reading, writing, creating, and exploring history. The Alexandria Library is offering two fun reading and writing opportunities for young people, and a panel display about a crucial event in Alexandria’s history.

  • Teen Winter Writing Contest. Tweens and teens in grades 6 through 12 are invited to join a “free write” competition, where they can write anything from poetry to short stories. This program is in two parts: a teen writing contest for grades 9-12, and a tween writing contest for grades 6-8. Each group will be judged individually. First prize for each age level is $100, second prize is $50, and third prize is $25. To enter, complete the Alexandria Library Teen Winter Writing Contest Entry Form .The deadline for this contest is January 31.
  • Youth Winter Reading Contest. Escape the cold this winter curled up with a good book! Youth are encouraged to read five books by January 31 to get a sticker! All books that are logged into Beanstalk, a free personalized service designed to help families discover books and apps based on the child's age and interests, will go toward meeting Alexandria Library's reading goal. If all participating libraries meet one nationwide reading goal, " Shark Tank" investor Mark Cuban will donate $35,000 to the organization "First Book," which provides new books, learning materials and other essentials to children in need. Learn more at the Alexandria Library. For more information, visit the Alexandria Library Winter Reading Program webpage.
  • 1939 Sit-in Panel Display. In February, as part of Black History Month, the Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library (5005 Duke St.), will host a 16-panel display on the 1939 Library Sit-In to commemorate this landmark event. Visit www.librarysitin.org to learn more about the sit-in.

Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week

For ten days and two weekends, Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week features $35 three-course dinners for one or $35 dinners for two at more than 60 restaurants. Several restaurants will also offer $10-$20 lunch specials from January 26 to February 4. Explore the vibrant and diverse neighborhoods of Old Town, Del Ray, Carlyle and the West End and savor the flavors of Alexandria's distinctive collection of eateries, from fine dining to casual favorites. Presented biannually by Visit Alexandria, Alexandria Restaurant Week serves as an economic driver for local restaurants and bolsters the city's reputation as a culinary destination. Learn more about participating restaurants and make reservations at www.AlexandriaRestaurantWeek.com. (Photo credit: K. Summerer for VisitAlexandria)

News Releases

1/24 - Historic Alexandria Celebrates Black History Month

1/23 - Celebrate Washington's Birthday with the Office of Historic Alexandria

1/22 - Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities to Hold Community Meeting on the Alexandria Titans Youth Football Program

1/22 - City of Alexandria Academy Programs Accepting Applications for Spring 2018

1/19 - Police Arrest Two Teens for School Bomb Threats

1/17 - Vote for Alexandria’s 18th Century Ship to Receive Conservation Grant

1/17 - City of Alexandria Launches Short-Term Residential Rental Registry for Home Sharing Operators

1/17 - Smoke Alarm Installation in the Old Town Community

1/16 - Chinquapin Recreation Center Delayed Opening January 17

1/16 - National Mentoring Month: Mentor a Child, Change Two Lives

1/12 -   City to Dedicate Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center on January 19 (Date Correction)

1/12 - Alexandria Police Captain Graduates from FBI National Academy

1/11 - Al’s Pals Reaches Thousands of Alexandria Children Through Early Childhood Prevention Education

1/10 - SAPCA Celebrates Alexandria’s First Permanent Prescription Drug Drop-Off Box

1/10 - Rescheduled: Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities to hold community meeting on the Dale Street Garden

1/10 - Alexandria's 18th Century Ship Selected as one of Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts

1/9 - Main Breaks in Alexandria Affect Residential Water Service, Traffic

1/9 - City of Alexandria Announces Schedule of Services for 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 15

1/8 - Police Investigate Home Invasion Robbery on Executive Avenue

1/8 - Alexandria Provides Information for Candidates for Local Elected Office

1/5 - City of Alexandria Urges Caution During Dangerously Cold Temperatures

1/4 - City to Host 45th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Program

1/3 - OCA Announces New Mental Health Initiative

1/2 - Alexandria Earth Day Call for Entries - 2018 Earth Day Artwork Student Competition

1/2 - Sarah G. Taylor Named City of Alexandria’s Legislative Director

12/29 - City of Alexandria and Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority Launch Public Consultation Process on Affordable Housing Policy

Upcoming Events
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