NORTH ROSSLYN CIVIC ASSOCIATION
16 November 2003
The president called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm.
All of the attendees introduced themselves and expressed appreciation for Officer Gleason participating in our meeting.
Stephanie Benefield moved and Mark Antell seconded the motion to approve the Minutes from the last General Meeting as posted on the website.
Paul Derby gave the Treasurer's report. We have 80 members and will try to increase the number to 100 or so during the next year. We will be able to cover our expenses for this year.
Officer Gleason is our liaison from the Arlington County Police Department, and his primary mission is to come to crime scenes. He also trains new officers.
Total Police force is about 360 people
The biggest problem in this area is breaking into or stealing cars. 19 cars were broken into during the last month, including the Quincy Street apartments parking garage. Robberies occur, 4 in one day recently occurred. Robberies will increase because of Christmas. Transient crime occurs from people driving in the District or taking the Metro. Homeless population is substantial. The County maintains a homeless shelter across from the jail and dinners are given out across from the Metro.
Arlington has low murder rate, maybe three or four a year. Arlington generally is safe, but everyone should be aware. 66 and Glebe and on the Bike Path are somewhat dangerous.
The County police maintain 2 officers 24 hours per day in our district. Tonight, there are 15 people in total working in the County.
There are two telephone numbers, 911 and a non emergency number. Officer Gleason passed out a list of the people responsible for our District.
John Seal asked about credit card theft. If the card was lost in Arlington County, let the police know. You can file the problem on the website, the FTC website, or at least keep the records by yourself.
Noise violations are criminal violations, but the police officer must hear the noise. If they get a ticket, they can lose their permit.
Stephanie Benefield asked about the noise generated by the Safeway delivery trucks. The Code Enforcement representative, Janet Pernell, and her associate, Gary Green, said that the back up beeping noise is exempt from the County regulations. If the site plan for a particular location had a condition added, then the Code Enforcement group would have a right to pursue the trucks, but under the current conditions, they can not. She suggested that we contact the Safeway management and complain, and/or ask the County Board to add the noise regulations to the Safeway site plan.
If the Code Enforcement group were fully staffed, they would have 10 inspectors, and by 1 December she will be operating with only one vacancy. They enforce four codes: property maintenance (existing structures with Certificate Of Occupancy.), private property (tall grass, junk cars), noise control (shared with the police outside of normal business hours), and zoning (use of land, overcrowding, illegal signs, use permits, Certificates Of Occupancy). Abandoned and junk vehicles on the street will be tagged and pulled off the street.
Receive a lot of calls, but email, direct meetings, anonymous complaints are all acceptable. Inspectors are also out looking for violations.
There are different ways of enforcement"”criminal and civil (usually zoning violations). Usually, double up the civil with the criminal because sometimes people continue doing something after paying the fine.
Paul Derby expressed appreciation for Ms. Purnell's enforcement of the 19th Street problem which has been vastly improved.
Paul Derby mentioned the Wilson School lighting, and whether or not public property has to meet Code. Yes, all public property maintenance for the school is done by the school maintenance. Ms. Purnell said that usually they contact the school directly.
Shannon at 1622 Colonial Terrace asked by the trailer on her street. Ms. Purnell said she would have to check with the Transportation Department and recontact her. Paul Derby said that a formal complaint has been filed with the County Board. Shannon also mentioned the crumbling steps at her unit which were rebuilt by the owner after the Code Enforcement group put a notice on her door.
Ms. Purnell pointed out that no one should fail to call for fear of retaliation because it is considered discrimination by the Landlord-Tennant office in the County. Be sure to document.
The County Board adopted the authority to enforce the code for severely problem properties, the blighted properties. The County can take over the property, repair it, and return the property to productive use. Six or seven of the properties have actually been demolished. They are trying to take the buildings down or put them to good use. The County sends out contractors to fix the properties, assess a lien against the property so that it will be paid when the property is sold. There is one blight property at 1601 Colonial Terrace.
Ms. Purnell is trying to get the first group of blight properties addressed by the County Board before the end of 2003.
Ms. Purnell Department is also responsible for visiting all of the apartment buildings for code enforcement so she continues to request more people.
Ms. Purnell pointed out that going to court is a last resort because it sometimes drags out the process.
John Seal asked about sinking sidewalks with cracks. Ms. Purnell said that the County has taken more responsibility for building the sidewalks, but she was unsure about the upkeep of the sidewalks. Code Enforcement is responsible for the trees and branches that grow out of the land onto the sidewalks.
Paul Derby asked about Chapter 10, Garbage Refuse, Article 2 is the responsibility of Code Enforcement. Article 1 states that trash cans can be put outside on the evening of the pickup and put away by the next evening. If an inspector happens to visit a property and sees a situation, he will report it. Code Enforcement does not have responsibility for dumpsters.
Ken Marcus said he would post her contact information on our website and link to the online form.
Ken Marcus pointed out that we need to fill a position on the Board and the Civic Federation at our next General Meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 pm.
Excellent minutes, as always. The one thing I would add -- and this is a small point -- is that the motion to approve the minutes from the prior meeting was approved. The current draft states only that the motion was made and seconded.
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