<b>County Names First Blighted Properties</b>

On Saturday, June 12, the County Board officially named the first blighted properties to be seized by the county, following passage of a Blighted Properties ordinance last September.

Two properties, 620 S. 20th St. and 2712 Arlington Blvd., are among 78 chronic, problem sites identified last July. Under the blight ordinance, the county can — after providing proper notice, followed by the owner’s inaction — acquire and improve the property. Since the blight initiative was announced, 39 properties targeted by the County have been demolished, sold, renovated or cleaned up by their owners.

The blight ordinance came as a result of late Board Chair Charles Monroe’s focus on addressing blight during his chairmanship year, cut short by his death in January 2003. The goal of the initiative is to address blight and preserve the County’s safe, attractive neighborhoods.

Factors considered in determining whether a property is blighted include:

* Condemned structure – a structure that has been continuously vacant for at least one year and has been condemned as unfit for human occupancy; Rodent infestation – evidence of rats/rodents;

* Previous citations – owner has been cited three times or has refused to address violations;

* Inadequate sewage, septic, plumbing, well or heating facilities;

* Inadequate precautions by owner to prevent trespassing;

* Danger to children, such as an abandoned well;

* Fire hazard – any condition that is identified as a fire hazard;

* Dilapidated buildings or structures.

<b>ART Fares to Rise</b>

To coincide with the increases in Metrobus fares effective on June 27, Arlington Transit (ART) will also adjust its fares that day. ART fares will rise by the same amount as Metrobus, going from $1.10 to $1.25 for regular fares, and increasing to 60 cents for seniors and people with disabilities.

Other systems in the region, including Fairfax Connector, Virginia Railway Express and Montgomery County, Md.’s Ride-On system, also have proposed fare increases.

The changes in ART fares, approved at the County Board’s Saturday, June 12, meeting, were endorsed by the County’s Transit Advisory Committee and the Transportation Commission in May. The ART fare increase will help to offset rising operating and maintenance costs and generate $15,000 to $25,000 in additional revenue annually, reducing the net tax support for ART service.

Discounts with Metro transfers and Flash Passes remain in effect, and the fare for ART’s Crystal City Rush Hour Service remains 50 cents.

For more information and schedules, visit <a href=></a> or call 703-228-RIDE.

<b>Virginia Square Project Approved</b>

At their Saturday, June 12, meeting, County Board members approved plans for the Amelia Residences at Virginia Square, a 108-unit mixed-use project to be built at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Oakland Street.

The Board approved developer Amelia 1, L.C.’s site plan amendment and its request to rezone the property to apartment dwelling/commercial. The Amelia Residences will be an eight-story building with more than 4,100 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and 147 underground parking spaces.

The developer’s “community benefits” proffer includes a $500,000 affordable housing contribution to the county’s Housing Reserve Fund, $50,000 for the County’s Public Art Fund, undergrounding of utilities and bus stop improvements on Wilson Boulevard.

No construction start date has been set; however, according to the developer, it would not begin before January 2006.

<b>Board OKs Garfield Park Plans</b>

Garfield Park at Clarendon Village, a mixed-use development proposed at 2900 N. 10th St., got County Board approval on Saturday.

When completed, the five-story Garfield Park building will have 149 residential units, more than 20,000 square feet of retail and nearly 4,100 square feet of office space.

As a proffer for Board approval, the developer will contribute $214,000 to the County’s affordable housing fund, $50,000 for traffic-calming measures in Lyon Park and $17,500 to the Lyon Park Community Center for capital improvements. Unlike most projects that come before the board, this was a “proffered rezoning,” not a site plan. The property originally had been proffered for an office building.

In addition, outside of the proffer agreement, the developer has agreed to donate trees on the site to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). APAH may recycle those trees on its project sites or sell them to raise funds. There are 32 trees, valued at an estimated $11,000, on the site.