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News Roundup

95 affordable units approved; Nauck community revitalized; Arlington and Alexandria connect.

<b>95 Affordable Units</b>

A loan up $1.8 million will help generate 95 affordable housing units near the Rosslyn Metro Station.

On Saturday, July 11, the County Board approved a project by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, a non-profit housing developer.

Under the proposed Rosslyn Ridge II — a 15-story, "L-shaped" building shaped to be located near the corner of 16th Street North and North Pierce Street — 40 percent of the 238 rental units will remain affordable for 60 years, meaning they will be guaranteed at rates at 60 percent of the area median income.

The 95 affordable units will replace 22 existing affordable units. Of these, 34 units will be family-sized — two-bedroom or larger — 6 will be efficiencies and 55 one-bedroom units will be available. Five units will be accessible for people with disabilities.

The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) acquired and rehabilitated the original Rosslyn Ridge project in 1994 with the assistance of a loan from the county, which was repaid fully in December 2002.

The County Board on Saturday also approved a loan to APAH up to $1.8 million from money designated to affordable housing from the Arlington Housing Investment Fund and the Rosslyn Fund.

Primary financing for the project is expected to be provided by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, according to the County web site.

Construction is estimated to begin in 2005 and to be completed by early 2007.

Rosslyn Ridge II was recently recognized by the Washington Urban Land Institute's Smart Growth Alliance Recognition Program.

<b><sh>Revitalize Nauck Community</b>

<bt>Plans for The Nauck Community, one of Arlington's oldest historically African-American neighborhoods, were solidified Saturday.

The Arlington County Board approved Saturday the Nauck Village Center Action Plan, which will guide public and private investment to revitalize the neighborhood's commercial core, according to the County's web site.

The Action Plan will also recommend guidelines and incentives in the areas of land use and zoning, housing, transportation and open space.

This is the first phase of the two-part study process for the larger Nauck, Shirlington Road and Four Mile Run area.

The plan includes the intersection of Shirlington Road and 24th Road S. — site of a proposed Nauck Town Center.

THE BOARD also designated a Nauck Village Center Revitalization District, which will make properties within its boundaries eligible for the special regulations and incentives recommended in the plan.

The Nauck Village Center Revitalization Plan includes several recommendations including:

* Developing and implementing the Town Square Project Plan — the Town Square will be a focal point for the village center that will support private investment

* Adopting partial property tax exemptions — this will lower the cost of development within the Nauck Village Center Specialized Revitalization District by exempting the value of future improvements for certain projects from taxation.

* Establishing a infrastructure funding assistance program — this will provide funds for infrastructure improvements, potentially including sidewalk, curb/gutter, parking and public spaces, to lower cost for the developer.

The Nauck Comprehensive Action Plan was approved by the County Board in 1998. The Action Plan recommended that County staff work with the community to conduct further study of the Nauck commercial area.

In 2002, staff held visioning sessions with the Nauck community and a planning consultant, to clarify goals for the revitalization of the neighborhood commercial corridor along Shirlington Road.

The process led to the creation of the Shirlington Road Revitalization Study, which generated a vision and goal statement that was adopted by the Nauck Civic Association in April 2003. This formed the basis for the Nauck Village Center Action Plan.

<b><sh>Virtual Connection</b>

<bt>Arlington County will soon be connected by a high-speed fiber optic interconnection to the City of Alexandria.

The connection, approved by the County Board last Saturday, July 10, will allow Arlington County and the City of Alexandria to share government data, more efficiently.

During a 120-day pilot period, the counties will test a number of initiatives, including a video arraignment connection between the Arlington County Sheriff's Office and the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center. During the pilot period, the county will also test using the fiber optic connection to process payroll for the City of Alexandria, which it currently does by using a T-1 line.

Future applications may be added during the pilot period if both Alexandria and Arlington agree.

The fiber optic connection could be proven to be useful in many ways in the future. Uses could include:

* Integrated computer-aided dispatch systems to reduce dispatch times in emergencies where multiple jurisdictions are involved.

* Backup capability for public safety radio systems.

* Video conferences for regular meetings and for coordination of emergency response.

* Joint use of emergency operation centers, network operations centers and remote data storage facilities to support an inter-jurisdictional unified command infrastructure for emergencies.

* Sharing of public, educational and governmental programming.

A link is planned to also connect Fairfax County to create a multi-jurisdictional "network of networks." The Fairfax connection awaits the completion of the construction of Fairfax Institutional Network, according to the county web site.