Association Minutes for January 11, 2007

The regularly scheduled membership meeting of the North Rosslyn Civic Association was called to order at approximately 7:00 pm on January 11, 2007 at the Atrium. President Mark Antell, Secretary Anne Spiesman, and Treasurer Paul Derby were present, along with fourteen voting members (a quorum of 10 was required) and several guests.
1. Secretary's Report: The Nov 15, 2006 meeting minutes were read; Antell moved and Derby seconded a motion to approve the minutes; motion carried.
2. Treasurer's Report: The report was summarized. The Association's current assets totaled $309.38. Dues income in 2006 totalled $410 and 2006 expenditures totaled $401.95, of which $50 went toward NRCA membership in other organizations and $351.95 went toward internet hosting service for the Association's website. 16 members were on the roster before the meeting began; after the meeting, a few renewals and new memberships were added.
3. Election: Ballots for the meeting's forthcoming election of Directors were issued to members in good standing.
4. Rosslyn Metro Station Update: Derby updated the group on current Metro-related activities. WMATA (aka Metro) has recently appointed an Orange-Blue Line Manager, Paul Bumbry. Arlington County's council member Chris Zimmerman has helped NRCA pressure Metro to undertake maintenance activities. At a recent 2 am walk-through, Derby and Metro staff identified problems with broken tiles, lighting, elevator issues, which Derby is tracking. Metro is now conducting monthly inspections and furnishing a report, which is posted on NRCA's website.
Derby noted that to alleviate current and future train traffic congestion in the Rosslyn Tunnel, known as the Orange Crush, Metro is considering diversion of half of the Blue Line trains to the Pentagon, thus bypassing the Rosslyn station. The result to local residents would be half as many Blue Line trains serving us.
5. Rosslyn Development Resolution: Antell had proposed a resolution at the November 15, 2006 meeting as follows: "NRCA's top priority in development around the Rosslyn Metro Station is the convenience and safety of users of the area as a transit hub." Antell temporarily turned control of the Jan 11, 2007 meeting over to Derby so that Antell could participate in additional discussion of this proposed resolution. Various commenters noted that:
a. Rosslyn is the golden egg of the Metro system, and the hub of transportation to the rest of Virginia.
b. Other issues besides Metro issues may also be high priorities for NRCA, such as building height, open space, crosswalks, etc.
c. Metro issues are well supported by WMATA and are ancillary to downtown Rosslyn development.
d. Other issues may have higher priority for the NRCA membership.
e. It may be too simplistic to state that Metro trumps all else.
f. The current bus parking and escalator systems are effective.
g. Cecilia Cassidy/Rosslyn BID/ Rosslyn Renaissance stated that an Urban Land Institute study of Rosslyn Central Core, not yet released by the County, exists. She said that RR lobbied for a transportation study and that RFPs were due by the end of the month. Therefore, transportation issues are already being emphasized.
h. NRCA should focus on what is important to Rosslyn citizens vis a vis Metro (rather than what's important to all users of Rosslyn station).
i. The concentration of buses is an important issue for NRCA.
j. Derby recommended that interested parties consult the Association's website (www.northrosslyn.org) to read up on Rosslyn Metro/NRCA issues and further the dialogue via the web forum. He tabled the issue for consideration at the next Association meeting and returned control of the meeting to Antell.
6. Washington Vista Update: Antell stated that this affordable housing unit at the corner of Key and Nash is slated for development into a 6-story condominium housing 42 units. Near this development is a public right-of-way, frequently used by Colonial Terrace pedestrians to get to Key Blvd and the Skywalk. NRCA needs to take a stance on the future of this alley way. Contact Antell with any feedback or suggestions.
7. Wilson School Update: Antell summarized information on the Wilson School's history. Built in 1910, it was originally called Ft. Myer Heights School. It is the oldest elementary school in Arlington. Antell approached the County Historic Preservation Committee to determine whether they might have an interest in historic preservation of the Wilson School. Antell facilitated a discussion with the meeting attendees about this possibility. Discussion points included the following:
a. What restrictions would be put on the school/site if historic preservation status were achieved? Antell noted that the Maury school was preserved and now serves the community as an arts center.
b. Can we assume that the property would also be preserved if the school were to achieve historic status?
c. Does historic designation preempt the sale of the property by Arlington Public Schools (APS)?
d. Famme moved and Pratt seconded that the Association be authorized to get the school declared a historic site. Motion carried.
e. Further discussion occurred: If the site is declared historic, this would preclude the possibility of turning the entire site into a park.
f. The County has expressed interest (at least informally) in acquiring the site from APS for future development, possibly in connection with adjacent County parcels.
g. Antell and Mulligan went to the APS Board to request disfavoring sales of public property (in connection with Arlington New Directions); they did not succeed in this effort. [However, NCRA, led by Antell, was successful in amending the charge of APS's Multi Site committee, which is studying the potential sale of sites including the Wilson school, to consider community impact. Read more at http://www.arlington.k12.va.us/facilities/planning/mss.shtml.]
h. An Arts Coalition including the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and Classika/ Synetic Theater made a presentation about a potential future use of the Wilson School. The coalition is working with the Arlington Arts Coalition and Arlington Consumer Affairs to develop a proposal (due to County in mid February) that would include the use of the school building for the following:
1. school for dramatic arts school that is relocating from Georgetown (40 actors per year in 3-year program)
2. theatre space for Classika Synetic, which is losing its Shirlington space
3. site space for community use
4. artists in residence
5. some arts classes (but not an arts school)
8. Election: Joe Famme, Paul Derby, and Jennifer Zeien had been nominated for the two open NRCA board positions. Famme withdrew his name for consideration. By acclamation, Zeien and Derby were elected to the Board.
9. The meeting was adjourned.
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