1999 January

Rock Spring Civic Association's

The Rock Springer
January 1999
The Rock Spring Civic Association met on Friday, January 29, at 7:30 p.m. The meeting was held in room 227 (the music room) at Williamsburg Middle School, 3600 N. Harrison Street. 
• Discussion of the Levine School of Music’s application for a use permit at Rock Spring Church. 
• Report on the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance TaskForce.

Note: We had to try to get along at this meeting without RSCA President John McCracken, who was in Arlington Hospital recovering from a serious fall on the ice. We wish him a most speedy recovery. 

Committee on Traffic Calming Issues Final Report

In 1996, the Arlington County Board established the Ad Hoc Committee on Neighborhood Traffic Calming to review the County’s traffic management policies and to suggest a new Neighborhood Traffic Calming (NTC) Program. The Board approved the committee’s final report in December.

The NTC Program provides a process for identifying and addressing speeding, cut-through traffic, and safety problems in neighborhoods and for prioritizing projects based on the severity of the need. It also describes an array of traffic-calming measures that neighborhoods might use, including a number of methods that are new to Arlington. Among them: gateway treatments (such as a change in street width or added landscaping), rumble strips, flat top speed humps, raised crosswalks, slow points (small islands placed at intersections or mid block), and truck restrictions. Other measures already in use include street closure, roadway markings (crosswalks, stop bars, parking lanes, etc.), multiway stop signs, curb extensions (nubs), and one-way street designations.

If you have questions or want a copy of the report, call Richard Best, Department of Public Works Planning, at 228-3689. 

 Use Permit Application for the Levine School of Music Goes to County Board on Feb. 6


The Levine School of Music has requested a use permit to operate a music school for approximately 300 students a week at Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ, 5010 Little Falls Road. A hearing before the County Board, originally scheduled for October, was postponed several times to allow time for two other uses in the church building (a ballet school and a tai chi class) to file for use permits as well. Because those two uses still have not applied, only Levine’s application will be considered by the County Board on Feb. 6. All three uses have been operating for at least a year without the required permits.

At the Oct. 27 RSCA meeting, Levine School staff stated that the Rock Spring Church Council had decided not to continue their contractual relationship after June 30, 1999. (Now, however, the church reports that it may seek to extend Levine’s stay.) County planner Marcia Smith explained that a use permit still would be necessary for Levine and the other non-church-related uses. Neighbors raised concerns about the increased traffic, parking and noise, especially because the church has no off-street parking. (It uses parking areas at Yorktown High School on Sunday mornings.) Rev. Charles Wildman offered to meet with neighbors, and an informal discussion was held at the church on Nov. 8.

Concerns continue about the cumulative effect on neighbors of non-church-related uses of the church building. We will discuss these issues at the RSCA meeting and decide what recommendations to make to the County Board.

Some Facts about Use Permits

The County’s Zoning Ordinance distinguishes between uses permitted "by right" and uses allowed only by "special exception." The use permit is one form of special exception. The use permit provides a process for considering and approving a proposed use to ensure that it will not adversely affect health, safety, or property in the neighborhood. In granting the permit, the County Board can impose conditions of operation, and the Board can revoke the permit if those conditions are not met.

The Zoning Administrator has ruled that the following church uses do not require a use permit: chapel; minister’s residence; church offices; music and choir rehearsal; counseling; meetings of church-based organizations such as parish counsel and church committees; social activities for members such as dances, dinners, youth groups, and weddings; nursery for use during services; fund-raising activities such as yard and bake sales; Scouts; and community outreach activities such as "Meals on Wheels," food bank, clothing distribution, ESOL and literacy classes (but not overnight shelter).

The following church uses do require a use permit: nursery school or day-care center (the Rock Spring Preschool does have a use permit); private school, K-12; shelter for the homeless.

Both Arlington and Alexandria classify churches as by-right uses in all zoning districts. Fairfax County requires a use permit for churches located in residential zones. 

New Home for Priests Near Missionhurst

An institutional home to provide assisted living for six elderly priests is planned at 4675 25th Street, N., abutting Missionhurst. The County Board approved a use permit for the home at its meeting on January 23. The existing house on the site would be demolished and replaced with a two-story facility that would resemble a single-family house. The first floor would contain common areas, including an entry atrium, a living room, a kitchen, a dining room, a lounge, a library and a small chapel. An office and living quarters for a live-in caregiver also would be located on the first level. The second floor would contain six one-bedroom independent living units, each having a kitchen, living room, dining area and bathroom.

Missionhurst, located in the Old Dominion Civic Association, serves as the administrative headquarters for missionary efforts undertaken on behalf of the Catholic Church.


WMS Art Club Needs Help

Do you have old furniture that needs a new home? The Williamsburg Middle School (WMS) Art Club is looking for donations of chairs, stools, end tables, small bookcases or wood-framed mirrors. The club plans to paint and sell the furniture to raise money for the WMS Art Department. If you have a donation, call Ms. Stroik at 228-5450, or drop it off at the Art Room (Room 127). 


Chesapeake Bay Task Force Meeting Now

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance Task Force began meeting in December. Its 13 members, including Rock Springers Sharon Simkin and Gary Kirkbride, are charged with reexamining the County’s 1992 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance and the state statute and with recommending how to better implement the statute. The task force welcomes citizen input. Call Joan Kelsch of the County’s Environmental Planning Office at 228-3599 for more information.


"Arts Up the Street" at Madison Center

Madison Community Center, 3829 N. Stafford Street, is offering a series of "arts up the street" evenings designed for families with school-age children: 
• March 5, 7-8 p.m., Jane Franklin Dance. Through movement and word, Franklin turns the mundane into humorous scenarios, drawing on common occurrences. This Arlington-based troupe’s innovative work is sure to make you laugh -- in spite of yourself! • April 9, 7-8 p.m., Classika Theatre. Arlington’s Classika Theatre introduces its audiences to international classics through the vitality of live theatrical productions and creates an intellectual environment that challenges, stimulates and nurtures young imaginations.  Cost: $5.00 per person per event.  Advanced registration is requested but not required. Call 228-5311.


Columbia Pike Initiative

In January 1998, the County Board established the Columbia Pike Initiative, designed to create a vibrant, clean, safe and competitive Columbia Pike community. As part of the initiative, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) held community discussion groups and in October 
produced a report: "Columbia Pike: A Vision for the Future."

Among its recommendations: 
• Develop a comprehensive plan for the length of Columbia Pike, addressing land use, marketing, housing, traffic, infrastructure and other issues 
• Create an innovative transportation system for the Pike community 
• Find reliable funding and other resources for economic and community development 
• Create a plan to identify and address "quality of life" issues that negatively impact the Pike community

For a copy of the report, call CPRO at 703 892-2776. 


Arlington Reunion: Fairlington and Shirlington

Fairlington, built in 1942-44 to house the large influx of defense workers and their families, was the largest garden apartment complex in the nation at that time. Are you one of the many hundreds of Arlingtonians who once lived in Fairlington? Do you remember Shirlington in the ‘50s and ‘60s? If so, come share your memories at Arlington Reunion, Thursday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m.-noon, at the Arlington Central Library Auditorium, 1015 N. Quincy Street. It’s free, sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society and the Virginia Room. Bring a bag lunch. Have coffee, donut holes, and reminisce. Call 228-5966 for details. 


Calling All Arlington Authors!

If you live or work in Arlington and have published a book, Arlington’s Cultural Affairs Division wants to include you in a directory of Arlington authors. They are planning a number of programs in 1999 to celebrate authors and promote their books. Send your name, address, phone number, book title, publisher and publication date to: Kim Roberts, Ellipse Arts Center, 4350 N. Fairfax Drive, 22203. 


The Rock Springer

The Rock Springer is published periodically by the Rock Spring Civic Association (RSCA) and is mailed to all dues-paying members. The RSCA comprises 1,150 homes and is dedicated to keeping residents informed of issues that affect the neighborhood. It also represents neighborhood interests before the County Board and the Planning Commission. 

Rock Spring Civic Association Officers
President - John McCracken
3811 N. Albemarle Street
1st Vice President - Jack Sawicki
4879 Old Dominion Drive
2nd Vice President - Paul Michl
5118 N. 33rd Street
Treasurer - Lou Ella Ingram
4774 33rd Street, N.
Secretary - Judy Wheat
4879 Old Dominion Drive
Newsletter Editor - Gail Baker,
4924 Little Falls Road
Members at Large
Suzanne Gartner,
3420 N. George Mason Drive
David Wahl,
4805 Rock Spring Road
John Roberts,
4906 N. 34th Road
Virginia Stitzenberger,
4810 Rock Spring Road
Laura Meeker,
4839 Rock Spring Road
Arlington Civic Federation Delegates
Carl Cunningham,
3417 N. George Mason Drive
Judy Guerrero,
4836 Rock Spring Road
Jack SawickiPaul Michl
Alternate Delegates
Charles Denny,
5318 N. 36th Street
Lillian Ulmen,
3706 N. Albemarle Street
John McCrackenNancy McCracken
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