1998 September

The Rock Springer 

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
Winifred Pizzano,
3421 N. Edison Street
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

Country Club Wants to Demolish the Babcock House

The Washington Golf and Country Club has made known its desire to demolish the Babcock House, located on Old Dominion Drive next to the club's indoor tennis facility. RSCA has vigorously opposed any changes to the property's residential character.

The house, built in 1929 in the Tudor Revival style, evokes fond memories of its longtime owner, Dudley Babcock, who played an active role in church and community organizations. The club acquired the house from the Babcock estate in 1985.

In the 1970s, the club built the indoor tennis facility next to the Babcock home. Acquisition of the house heightened concern about the club's continued expansion into the neighborhood, and RSCA formed a committee to oppose the club's use permit.

Finally, the club and the RSCA reached an agreement, which was ratified by the County Board on April 16, 1988. It included the stipulation that the Babcock house would be retained in perpetuity, with the outside maintained to resemble an occupied residence. (For more information, see the Rock Spring News, February 1997, p. 3.)

Community Policing -- Wave of Arlington's Future?

By Carl Cunningham
In early July, the Arlington Police Department invited a diverse group of civic association, business, and other community representatives to join Arlington police officers in attending a nine-hour workshop on "community policing." Sponsored by five national police associations with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Community Policing Consortium argues that community policing is not only the most successful method of reducing crime but perhaps the only enduring one.

Four key elements characterize community policing:· Increased visible police presence at the neighborhood level.

· Increased problem solving--solving crimes and reducing chronic crime conditions rather than focusing primarily on making arrests.
· Partnership between police and communities in addressing problems.

· An emphasis on prevention rather than just responding to crimes after they occur.

Community policing starts from the premise that maintaining order is a community, not solely a police force, responsibility. The police are viewed as part of, not separate from, the community. Partnerships between police officers and community leaders can prevent and reduce crime through targeted problem solving. Coordinated action plans can address chronic crime and nuisance conditions, such as open drug traffic, speeding, graffiti, double parking, public drunkenness, etc. The workshop taught police and community leaders techniques for working together in identifying, analyzing, and devising potential solutions for such problems. Small groups at each table then tried out this "problem-based policing" approach on actual neighborhood problems.

Ed Flynn, Arlington's new police chief, obviously believes in community policing and thinks it fits the participatory "Arlington Way." He also is restructuring the Police Department into six newly formed districts, so that officers assigned to them will be more visible, better known and therefore better able to work with neighborhood leaders in solving problems.

The Rock Spring Civic Association area is part of District 1. Officers attending the workshop said that District 1 is by far the county's largest geographic district, but also has the lowest crime rate. About 50 officers are assigned to District 1 under the leadership of Captain James Younger. Younger specifically asked to meet with civic associations to begin working with neighborhood groups on their problems.

By decentralizing, Chief Flynn also hopes to offset the tendency towards impersonal, sometimes tense, relationships between police officers and citizens. We citizens were pleased to discover that the police officers at our tables were open, interested and personable individuals. Some of the police officers were in turn surprised that we would sacrifice a Saturday to attend this workshop, thus undermining their stereotype of citizens who "don't want to get involved."

Flynn's other objective is to reduce the "fire horse" mentality among police officers, who often are judged more by their response times to 911 calls than by their success in reducing crime. He thinks they can use some of the time now spent waiting for such calls to address the underlying causes that trigger them.

To accomplish his goals, Flynn needs us to participate in the process along with his police officers. In the coming months, RSCA will offer you opportunities to meet the officers of District 1 and to work with them on any problems arising in our neighborhood.

Old Dominion Drive Study Group

The Old Dominion Drive Study Group met earlier this summer. Arlington County Department of Public Works presented a plan involving a combination of sidewalks and widening of the roadway. While the overall proposal is for Old Dominion from Lee Highway to the Fairfax County line, the Study Group focused on the portion from Glebe Road to Fairfax.

The plan calls for a continuous sidewalk system on one side of Old Dominion or the other, or on both sides, from Glebe Road to N. 37th Street. The location of the sidewalk in some areas was selected to preserve trees. Also, there was discussion concerning a suitable building material for the sidewalks--asphalt, concrete, or a pervious material.

In general, the roadway widening is from two to three feet in each direction. Public Works is not proposing to do anything over the ravine between 37th Street and Edison Street because of budget constraints.

Because the Old Dominion Drive residents were concerned about the exact placement of roadway and sidewalk, Public Works will present engineering drawings at the next meeting. The RSCA will notify people of the date of the next Study Group meeting by door-to-door flyers and a mailing. Anyone who wishes to be on the mailing list, please call Paul Michl at 534-6205.

Marymount Renovations Under Way

In mid July, the Arlington County Board approved the renovation and additions to Marymount University's student activities center. Work on the project began in late July and is expected to be completed in summer 1999. Changes in landscaping, lighting, and construction processes were made in response to requests and comments from neighborhood residents.

A "Tree Ordinance" for Arlington?

By Josephine Thorpe, Chair, Arlington Urban Forestry Commission
When the Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) was appointed by the Arlington County Board in 1990, one of our charges was to create a "tree ordinance." Having that ordinance was one of the requirements for being named a "Tree City USA," another charge for the Commission.

Because Arlington has a county manager form of government, our legislation must be approved by the state legislature. Although the UFC, County staff, and our state representatives tried to have language passed for a tree ordinance, we were not successful. We then looked at the County codes and found that we could add the word "tree(s)." This was accomplished in 1996.

Although Arlington does not have a tree ordinance, we now have codes that proect and include trees. The National Arbor Day Foundation found our efforts satisfied their requirements and granted us "Tree City USA" status in 1997 and 1998.

Celebrate Neighborhood Day, October 3

Have a Block Party
Need an excuse to have a party? If cooler days and the start of another school year aren't good enough, there's Neighborhood Day, Saturday, October 3. Why not join with your neighbors and plan a block party on your street? Arlington's Department of Public Works will help you. Here's how:

At least a week before the festivities, call Traffic Engineering, 228-3575. Give them the time and date, and the name and address of a contact person. Barricades to close the street will be delivered the day before the party and picked up the day after. Neighborhood consensus is required, and there is a $10 charge. Alcohol and loud music aren't allowed.

RSCA invites you to celebrate Neighborhood Day with your neighbors! If you're planning a block party, please let RSCA president John McCracken know (538-5685).

The Saga of Rock Spring Creek Continues . . .

In the May Rock Springer, we noted that the County had approved development plans for six new houses near Rock Spring Road and N. Dickerson Street. The site now has been partially cleared and leveled, the creek has been enclosed in an underground pipe, and the road has been installed.

On May 2, a number of Rock Spring residents attended a memorial service for the creek. Speakers included the Rev. Charles Wildman and former resident Steve Dryden. The memorial was organized by Friends of Rock Spring Creek, and that group has continued to investigate the county and state approval processes for the subdivision.

One question has to do with the County's method of designating areas that require protection under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and Regulations. In response to a letter from a Rock Spring Road resident, the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department in Richmond wrote on June 23: "The Department is concerned that the County's approval of the proposed subdivision...may be based upon assumptions and interpretations that, in the Department's opinion, are not consistent with the spirit and intent of the Act and Regulations."

The County responded by letter on July 16, pointing out that the State had approved Arlington's ordinance in 1993 and asking for clarification of a number of issues.

On August 7, some 25 Rock Springers met with County Board members Chris Zimmerman and Barbara Favola to discuss their concerns about the County's handling of this issue. No written reply has been received. County Board members have said, however, that legally there is nothing they can do.

It is expected that the Board will form a committee to review Arlington's Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.

For more information about Friends of Rock Spring Creek, call Peter Neil at 536-4766. A petition is available for signing.

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.

For more information about Friends of Rock Spring

    Rock Spring Civic Association 
    Arlington, VA 22207