Meeting Minutes: September 2015

Columbia Forest Civic Association

Septmeber 30, 2015


7:12pm Call to Order


7:13 – 8:16 Columbia Hills Presentation

7:13pm Introduction of Michael Chiappa, Ted Calorese, Jeff Belgium and brief overview of APAH


Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) was formed 26 years ago.  They currently have 14 projects and a total of 1218 Units equally disbursed between North and South Arlington.  APAH has 756 units wither planned and under construction with ½ in North Arlington and ½ in South Arlington.  


7:14pm Mike Chiappa gave a brief construction schedule overview.  He has informed CFCA, that there will be more public meetings in the future, as they still don’t have all the details nailed down as far as construction logistics.  He is happy to follow up by email or phone (703-801-1187).


7:15pm The Columbia Hills (CH) Project is located on the Columbia Grove Property, on South Frederick, South of Columbia Pike.  The current 14 buildings were constructed in 1954.  In 2003 APAH acquired the buildings and made renovations in 2008.  Currently Columbia Grove has 208 (1) and (2) bedroom units.  78 of these units are market rate, and 130 are affordable.  The new Columbia Hills project will have two buildings that connect and look and act as one building, but divided into two for financing purposes.  Physically the two will be connected on the interior and exterior.  These two building will be 229 units at a mix of 40-60% AMI comprised of 13 Type A fully accessible units, 28 (3) bedrooms, which are not currently available at Columbia Grove and an unknown number of studios, (1) and (2) bedrooms.   


The other three areas that will be under construction during this phase are part of the Columbia Grove Property where surface parking lots will be added.  


The playground will also be relocated.  




  • Construction will begin in February of 2016 and run through April 2018.


  • The first phase will be the relocating the playground and expand parking lots to create more breathing room for the rest of the projects.


  • The construction schedule has been posted online by John Acker, and is available as an addendum to the minutes.  




  • Excavation for the main portion of the building will begin.    


       OCTOBER – JUNE 2017

  • Work with the structural concrete.  



  • The Façade and Interior will be completed.  


  • The last (2) months is a close out period on the interior.  


      APRIL – MAY 2018


  • Estimated end date.  


7:19pm Interim Parking for the project


  • 217 parking spaces will be created


  • The demolition will render 70 spots out of service


  • Surface expansion will add 26 spots.  


  • The remaining 44 cars will park in leased spaces off site.  
    • At the time, it is not sure where they will be located, but it will be within 1 – 1.5 mile of CH.


  • Interim parking can accommodate everyone’s 1st car on site and the offsite parking will be for the 2nd car.  


7:21pm Floor is Opened for Questions


  • What are the construction hours?
    • They are restricted by county, but the use permit is for:
      • 7am – 6:30pm Weekdays
      • 10am –  3:30pm Weekends
    • If you have complaints about work happening outside of those hours, contact the superintendent, Michael’s cell and then zoning.  
      • This includes things like trucks showing up and idling earlier in the am.
      • We are asking that you also make it known to contractors and superintendant as well.  
    • Hours will be posted in (2) locations on the construction fence with the superintendent’s number and Michael’s cell.  The county would ask that you call those numbers 1st.  
    • While they are allowed, it is not typical to work on weekends because of the short day restriction.


  • Do the weekends include Sunday Hours?
    • Yes, Sundays are used as a makeup day or a small crew discrete day.  


  • What will be done about dust intrusion?
    • We are running an irrigation line up the haul road (Alley)
    • During the excavation, water will be more of an issue than dust.
    • The dust is mainly from the haul road
    • We will wet the road periodically to make sure it stays as dust free as possible
    • Additionally, making the road a gravel base verses a dirt base should help cut down on potential dust.  
    • It was proposed to the Carlyle House, that  as we strip off top soil and grass, we treat the nude area within 24 hours.  If it is going to sit more than 48 hours, we will straw and seed those areas. If we are actively working in the soil, this time limit will not apply.
      • This will help in making sure any area that is demitted can stay compact
      • The actual requirements are more lax, requiring this to be done in 30 days,but we want to be good neighbors.


  • Will the trucks hauling away dirt and bringing concrete be using the haul road exclusively or will they be requiring space on Frederick Street?
    • We plan to cycle dump trucks in and out of site
    • However, we do have a challenge with the tractor trailer.  
      • It is purposed to county that they come in S Frederick and exit towards George Mason.  They are unable to pull into the site and back out, nor can they turn around on the site.  
      • Of course this would have to coordinate with pedestrian walk site.  
      • The current traffic circulation plan is to come from East of 395, down Columbia Pike, make a right turn onto Frederick, come into site, and back out onto Frederick headed towards George Mason.  


  • Has the tractor trailer time been worked around the bus schedule?  Art buses too?
    • That is something that still needs to be looked into.  
    • The School System is good about working around and relocating bus stop, so we should be able to work together.  
    • As for the Art Bus, there was discussion about moving the art bus up the street.  


  • How will the traffic affect the Carlyle House Residents Exiting the Garage?
    • The tractor trailers will typically come 1 at a time and spread out, and there will not be that many total.
    • The heavy traffic will be with the excavation and concrete truck.


  • Will the concrete and excavation truck be queuing up and blocking driveways?
    • We hope not.  We do our best to try to keep them off site so they aren’t queuing up.  


  • Are you going to create alley?  It doesn’t currently exist.  
    • It is going to be done with the excavation and before the concrete phase, when the trucks will be using it.  


  • How will street parking on Frederick be affected?
    • There will be times when one side or the other parking will be taken for utility work.
      • The construction will provide an opportunity for the county to upgrade water lines on the frontage as well as work for Comcast and Verizon.  
    • It will be phased into the construction so we won’t have heavy truck traffic while doing this.


  • How will the street be repaired due to use?
    • We have a maintenance agreement with county that we will maintain the road on an ongoing basis.
      • The site inspector comes out and determines condition of road before we begin.
      • At the end of construction will have to repair any damage that we caused.
    • At a minimum we will have to mill and overlay the frontage. If there is any damage caused by us, and not normal wear and tear, then we will have to fix that too.


  • What about any damage done to George Mason from the tractor trailers, as it was just redone?
    • It is not likely we will be responsible for that damage, if there is any.  
    • A lot of your damage will be adjacent to patches of where work was done for the utilities.


  • Can you set the backup alarms down so we don’t have to listen to them all day?
    • Due to OSHA regulation, we cannot.  
    • There are special night provisions, that they have to be at a lower decibel.  
    • There will be some back up alarms, but not likely that we will have a lot.  
      • The excavation trucks will use a pull through system where they come in one ramp and exit off another with no three point turns.  


  • Bailey’s Branch Creek Runs parallel to 10th street south, for that stretch between Frederick and Columbus it is above ground.  Was there any consideration of what you needed to have with that being above ground?  Is that being impacted by construction?  
    • We are doing some reparation work within the street and buffer zone.  The county wants us to do some reforestation in that area as mitigation set of procedures.  
    • From the stand point of construction: The July 2014 VA Storm Water Management requires etholyn and phosphorous removal.
      • This strategy involves low impact and green methods.  
      • We have porous concrete, a detention tank in the building which detains the water to prevent an increase of run off at the site and lets it off through a structure called a jelly fish, which is like a giant  pool filter.  
      • We are also amending soil to decrease the amount of runoff from site.  
    • As for the dust effecting Bailey’s Branch Creek, that is the purpose of the irrigation system.


  • What are the alley dimensions?
    • Off of memory 25’wide  long 450’


  • Is it possible to get a schedule of trucks?
    • We have talked about providing a weekly schedule to Carlyle House board.  
    • When we run trucks it is going to run from 7:30am -3:00pm in the afternoon.  
      • During the excavation phase it is going to be a constant flow of traffic.  
      • WE WILL NOT block the driveway of the Carlyle House.  
        • The one condition would be the utilities.  And even then, they generally have to leave an entrance and an exit.  
    • We can also get a schedule to the Civic Association to post online.
  • What is your traffic plan for the back to school bus issue?
    • We have submitted our plan to the county and we are just waiting for them to get back to use about the bus stop across from the construction site.


  • The Multimodal Project is happening at the same period of time.  How are you coordinating with them and road closures on Columbia Pike in order to get trucks to the site?
    • They don’t have a complete design yet.  
      • They are awarding contract in April of 2016, so as of now, we haven’t had the opportunity to meet with the contractor to see what they are doing.  We will once it is awarded.
      • Our biggest concern in that the turning radius is kept for turning onto Frederick.  


  • How many trucks will be coming in and out the alley on a daily basis?
    • When were excavating probably 20 trucks will be running at various places on the road.  
      • So, as many as 80 entrances in a day.  That is, 20 trucks looping 3-4 minutes to load truck then 2 hours to drop and then come back and get another load.  
    • The biggest congestion can be expected in the am.  
      • Everyone wants to do the first run at 7:30am.  


  • How many trucks can we expect to be stacked up?
    • Approximately 4-5 trucks at a time.  However, you could see 10 trucks or more at a time.  


  • The intersection of Columbia Pike and Frederick can be a nasty intersection to make a left turn.  To avoid a bottleneck, can you make it so they have to make a right turn?
    • I have to check the MOT plan.  The county will tell us what way they want us to circuit.  


  • Is the MOT public?  
    • It is.  You have to make a FOIA.


  • Are trucks going to start lining up at 5/6am?
    • No.  They can not show up until 7am.  
      • I can guarantee that Dennis Washington and several other people will be on site to check that trucks are not there until 7am.  


  • Will the stacked trucks be idling?  
    • Yes, so will the construction vehicles.


  • So we have talked about all the congestion, where are all your employees going to park?
    • We have to provide them with off site parking .


  • They won’t be all up and down 10th street, etc?
    • That is something that zoning comes out and does.  
    • We have even asked on some jobs for parking to come out and ticket.  


  • How would you know if it was an employee that was parked on the street?
    • If you see someone walk from the sight to a car parked on the street.  
    • We ask that you report it, as they will be told to use offsite parking.  
    • If the problem persists we can threaten to toss them off the job


  • Is that not public parking?  For Wakefield we had a lot of the workers parking in the neighborhood.
    • It is public parking, but the county does not allow us to have parking on the street
    • So, as you can imagine, it is a challenge for us, which is why we are asking for you help.  If you call a superintendent and let us know, we will deal with it.  


  • The 10 trucks that are idling, are they in compliance with the noise and pollution standards?  
    • Whether they are here or two blocks away the pollution is still going into the atmosphere.  The pollution and noise standard is different for a diesel.   


  • With 10 trucks lining up, the concentration is different than if they were two blocks away spread out.  Why is that not taken into consideration?
    • It is, but it is better to have them stacked up then driving around.


  • It is better for whom?
    • It is better for the residence, from a safety and traffic stand point.


  • Can you just turn of the trucks while they wait?
    • No.  
      • They are diesel trucks, which you don’t turn on and off.  
      • Also, this is not efficient because the truck has to pull forward every few minutes.  


8:13pm John Acker asks to begin wrapping up the Q&A.

  • How do we find a copy of this presentation online?
    • It will be posted on the CFCA website


  • Will there be a visual barrier between Columbia Hills and the Carlyle House during construction?
    • There will be a green mesh construction fence with a screening on it.  


  • What is the nosiest period of work and when do things get enclosed?
    • It will be enclosed towards the end of the timeline.  The Façade phase is the enclosing, after getting the façade on and the windows installed is when it will be enclosed.  
    • The nosiest operations are generally in excavation and concrete.  The noise caused by concrete is lesser as the crane is pretty quiet.  The noise during this phase will mostly be from the street perspective, with trucks coming and going.


  • There is a lot of underground water in the neighborhood underground.  What are you doing to keep the water draining into the surrounding area?
    • We are creating a big hole lower than the Carlyle House.  
    • We have to pump the water that collects there to a detention tank.  
      • Then it has to pump clean water before leaving the tank.  
        • Any water that comes from the site has to go to a detention tank and settle out until it can pump out clean water.  
      • The county is very stringent about this.  
    • We can’t power wash streets anymore because of runoff.  
    • The registered land disturber does a report twice a week on the jobs.  
      • Those reports are systematically reviewed by EPA and constantly reviewed by the county.  
      • The county comes out to visit sites, occasionally the EPA comes out.  
      • There are a lot of eyes looking at discharge in water courses.  
      • There are also people in the neighborhood who will call in if they see brown water.  


  • Do you anticipate you will need to do any blasting?
    • Yes, we are right about at the rock interface.  
      • Until you excavate you don’t know the quantity.  
      • We have a total of 40K yards of earth to remove.
      • Maybe 5k yards that needs to be blasted.  
      • We will limit the hours and provide a weekly schedule and then give secondary advance notification about when the blasting will occur.


  • How loud is it?  Will it shake a building?
    • There will be a horn and then the blast will commence.  
    • It will feel like a mild earthquake.  


  • How far will the trembling travel?
    • It depends.  That is not something that we will know until we start excavation.  


  • Are you moving trees, especially the old oaks for the parking being created?
    • I’m not sure.  


  • What is being done for run off tracks into road?
    • We have a wash hose to wash tries off.  
    • The General Contractor also requires people sweeping the street with heavy duty brooms all day.  
      • This mostly impacts mud, not dust.  
    • We can’t water the road due to regulations, but we do use a vacuum truck.


  • Is it even possible for an 18 wheeler to go up Frederick?  
    • This is something that we will need to look into.  


  • Is there security on site during off hours?
    • We do not have a service, but use residence as a watchdog/neighborhood watch type thing.  
    • From a construction standpoint, we are concerned with people stealing stuff.  
      • The site will be fenced and locked off.  So who ever is trying to get on the property will be trespassing.
      • It won’t be available for someone to wonder on to. You will have to physically break into the site and trespass, so accidents are not high on the concern level in regards to security.  


  • How will the site be lighted?
    • There will be lighting along S. Frederick Street as well as security lighting.  


  • Will the alley be lit?
    • Eventually it will be lit, following the light bleed requirements.  However, there are no plans to light it for construction.


We will have another meeting with the community prior to construction and will go through additional information.  The location and time has not been decided.  We will contact county staff and they will send police, county staff and site manager there to document minutes and answer any questions.  We are targeting for mid November.  This meeting will also be hinged with a review of the drawings that will be resubmitting in 2 or 3 weeks as the county typically won’t schedule the meeting until the drawing review process is complete.


8:16 – 9:00 Minutes & Committee Reports


8:16pm Minutes:  

John Acker made a motion for the minutes of the last meeting of the CFCA to be approved.  Diana Baron seconded the motion.

Motion was approved unanimously.  


8:17pm Treasurer Report:

The CFCA currently has $3,452.00

63 Households are represented in the membership body of the CFCA.


8:19pm SAWG/Abingdon Elementary School Update:

  • A new school needs to be built by 2019.  


  • The two locations that are being decided between are either Thomas Jefferson (TJ) or Drew Elementary.  
    • TJ received the most votes, with Gunston coming in as a distant third when sites were chosen.  
      • Out of all the sites, TJ looked the best because it has had more studies  and more time developed into researching if it could work.  
    • There has been a lot of vocal opposition to TJ regarding construction among other things.
      • If TJ is chosen, they will have to build a parking garage.  
      • There is some discussion about trying to spare some green space and have some underground parking, but that will not be able to accommodate everything, and some above ground parking will be necessary.  
    • The field at Drew has the old foundation on it, so it will present its’ own challenges for building.  


  • Regardless of site, taxes will have to be raised.  


  • Next Wednesday, the plans will be presented to the county board for consideration.  


  • Looking forward, past 2019, there is some discussion that the Aurora Hills site is being looked at for development.  


  • As it stands now, the Immersion Program will be staying at Claremont.  
    • Though, down the line, there may be a need for Claremont to eventually become a neighborhood school.  


  • Patrick Henry has been talked about as being in option for Montessori Program.  
    • Montessori is not particular about where they are located, but they do want a place of their own.  


  • Expanding at Barcroft in lieu of TJ had been looked at.  Even though they are leaning heavy towards TJ, it looks as though they will still do expansion on Barcroft.  


  • As for our neighborhood school, Abingdon’s expansion, it is needed and the drawing looks good.  
    • They will expand the parking lot a little bit and put a stop sign to make it safer for the kids.  To accomplish this, some space from the track and the dog park will be taken.  


8:28pm NCAC Update:

NCAC allows neighborhoods like ours to have gutters, sidewalks and curbs done.  There is a process where we as a Civic Associations can pick out projects.  The county then comes out and does a study, costs it out, then another petition is sent around and if we vote to continue with the project, we compete with other projects in the county to get it done.  Every spring and fall, a project gets 5-10points each. By 40 points you get to a competitive level.  You need 60% of residents on affected street to agree.  


  • CFCA Projects
    • Our current project is the Edison Street light project.  It has been in the works for 5 years.  
    • The current priority project is street lights for Buchanan Street.  Ellen is the block captain coordinating the project.  
      • While projects do take a long time, we hope it will not take another 5 years.  The Edison projects took a while because of coinciding with the county switching from incandescent lights.  
    • Our backup project is the better fence for Baileys Branch.  
      • Right now it is a car rail. Our desire is a continuation of the brick fence from Columbia Grove.  
      • However construction could change that, so there is room for another back up project to be suggested.  


    • The best process to make suggestions for future projects would be at a CFCA meeting.  
      • While this was not a formal meeting for nominating ideas, several were tossed around to include:
        • altering the green space in front of 7-11
        • traffic calming measures on 11th Street such as curb nubs and speed humps.


In an effort to speed things up, the NCAC has put together a proposal, which places a greater burden on a Civic Association.  


  • The current process:
    • An initial petition with approval from 60% of residents on effected street  
    • The county does the survey and puts the plans together.
    • Then another petition with approval of 60% of residents on affected street.


  • Highlights of the new proposed process:
    • In the current proposal there is no weight between community and primary stake holder.  
      • All owners and renters in the civic association will have equal voting.
        • In past the people with a weighted voice were the people whose properties fronted that affected area.  
        • A Civic Association has the burden of responsibility to notify all owners and renters in the civic association 30 days prior to the vote.
      • In the proposed process, a primary stake holder is allowed an absentee vote.  
      • In the current situation if you are silent, you are a yes vote.  In the proposed process if you are silent, you are a non vote.
      • For a vote to succeed people voting do not have to be civic association members.  A simple majority vote of more than 50%, as defined by the CA, is necessary.  
      • New method doesn’t require a door to door survey.  But, it also does not preclude the Civic Association from conducting one.   


  • This new method brings up some questions:
    • What about neighborhoods that don’t have active CA.  Does the county look out for them?
      • In short, yes.  We did have some participation from residents that don’t have active CA.  Some noted that because they don’t have a CA they don’t have a Neighbor Conservation Plan.  
    • Is there room in this, where the principal stake holders have to have a higher percentage of approval than the general public?
      • That doesn’t exist in the new plan, other than the ability to cast an absentee.  
      • The reason it was not reflected was that the weighting tended to lead to projects failing to be passed that the community at large wanted.  


  • Once NCAC votes to approve the new plan, we will have our own vote to determine how we handle things with in the CFCA.    
    • What would we define the burden of responsibility to be?  
      • The way maybe would be hand delivered newsletter 30 days before the meeting.  
      • If projects are known before the meeting, has the group talked about having a different notification for principals?  
    • Deciding if we want to say that a quorum has to present.  

Update on Sidewalk Requirements


  • History: There was a lot of angst that the prior standard that sidewalks be 5’ caused projects to fail.


  • Current Standards: Sidewalks must be 5’ wide, with the exception that you can build a 4’ sidewalk if you have a regular bump outs to accommodate buildings, trees, etc.


  • After some tense discussion and a close vote, 17-14 NCAC is recommending that the standard be lowered from 5’ to 4’.  


Updating our Neighborhood Plan


  • The basis of becoming a member of the NCAC is to have a Neighborhood Plan.  Our last neighborhood plan was done in 2000.  
  • We had begun the initial steps for updating our plan, by compiling survey questions 3 years ago, but then it stagnated.  
  • We would like to begin again and call for volunteers to help us in this process.  Please feel free to contact either of us at:k_guernsey@gm and  JCkirkpatrick91@gmail


9:22pm– 9:36pm Old Business/New Business


  • It was felt that the Board overstepped their authority regarding newsletter.  
    • The board explained its reasoning behind the decision to produce a hard copy newsletter except by request to dues paying members
      • The reason steamed from the desire to have more meetings, and a more regular drum beat, where the association met every few months on a set day.  
      • It had become apparent that the production and distribution of the newsletter was a barrier to meetings.  
      • Other Civic Associations do not do it across the board nor have it as a mandatory requirement.  
    • It was suggested at the next meeting that the decision should be presented to the entire association for discussion and a vote
      • As the bylaws don’t give the board decision making authority, just recommendation and supervision authority.


  • It was discussed that we look into resurrecting the community sandwich board for meeting announcements.  
    • We have 4, and this would aid in decoupling the newsletter and the meeting.  


  • Two rumors were dispelled and clarified.  
    • The first that CFCA had sent a letter to the board about the AH Master plan.  
      • In fact, the letter was circulated by a member personally, not the association.  


    • The second was that the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) was moving their office to the west end of the pike.  
      • In truth, nothing definite has been decided, but there is talk about trying to pivot to the west.  


9:36 Call to Adjourn

John Acker made a motion to adjorn the meeting of the CFCA.

Diana Barron seconded the motion

It was approved unanimously