<b>County OKs Pike Project

Under Form-Based Code</b>

Last week, County Board members approved the first project to be built along Columbia Pike under the form-based code that was approved as part of the Pike Revitalization Initiative.

At a June 15 recess meeting, Board members approved the Columbia Station project, the first new development on the Pike to be built according to form-based code, which gives developers specific building forms and locations in exchange for a faster approval process. The project lives up to the form-based code’s “Main Street” concept, intended to create a more pedestrian friendly environment while adding new commercial space to the street.

Columbia Station will feature a U-shaped complex combining shops, condominiums and shared parking. A pedestrian walkway through the complex will provide access to stores, parking, and the street, as well as to transit that could run along Columbia Pike in the near future. The historic Arlington Hardware building will be preserved as a historic façade, and the Arlington Free Clinic will own its own condominium, giving it a permanent home and enabling it to provide free and low-cost medical services to Arlington residents long-term.

The six-to-eight-story project will include 257 condominium units and 42,350 square feet of retail space. Estimated cost for the project is $85 million, and completion is projected for 2006.

As envisioned by the Form Based Code, this project provides shared parking. The developer and the County are jointly funding the 128 shared parking spaces. These spaces will be available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, the Columbia Station project is convenient to a number of bicycle trails and routes. On-street bike lanes are proposed for most of Columbia Pike, and the developer is providing 62 bike storage spaces and 10 sidewalk bike racks. Recently, Arlington won an award for a “bicycle-friendly Columbia Pike” from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

<b>Police Warn of Impersonator</b>

Detectives with the Arlington Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery and Burglary units are investigating two incidents where a man impersonating a police or security officer robbed victims of cash. The incidents in Arlington may be linked to several others in Northern Virginia.

In the first incident, according to police, the man approached a 55-year-old woman in the 1300 block of South 28th Street at 4:30 p.m. on June 11. The suspect flashed an ID or badge and asked for the victim’s wallet. When he returned the wallet, the woman’s cash was gone.

In the second incident, the suspect approached two men in their early 20s in the 4200 block of Columbia Pike at 3 p.m. on June 13. The suspect again flashed an ID or badge, asked for the victims’ wallets, and removed cash.

All of the victims are Latino and were robbed as they were walking home from a retail area. The suspect spoke to the victims in Spanish, possibly with a Bolivian accent, according to police.

The suspect is described as Latino in his late 20s or 30s, approximately 5-feet-6-inches tall. The suspect was wearing plain clothes — not a uniform — and approached the victims in a beige or gray Honda or Toyota sedan. In the first incident, the suspect was alone; in the second, a Latino woman was driving the car.

The Arlington County Police Department offers the following tips for anyone stopped by someone in plain clothes claiming to be a police officer:

* Ask to see both a badge and an identification card. All Arlington County police officers have both a badge and an ID card with them at all times.

* If uncertain about whether the person is a police officer, respectfully ask them to call for a uniformed officer.

* If the person refuses to call for a uniformed officer, use a cell phone to call 911.

* Do not become confrontational with anyone claiming to be a police officer.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents should contact detective Lisa Roosa at 703-228-4169 or detective Tammy Celestini at 703-228-4166. Information can also be given in English or Spanish — through Crime Solvers at 800-673-2777. Crime Solvers offers a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Callers to Crime Solvers do not have to give their names and do not need to testify in court.

<b>Painting Stolen From Airport</b>

Officers from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department seek public help to recover a painting stolen from a display at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport early on the morning of June 3. The painting, a 30-inch-by-40-inch acrylic on canvas, was last seen on the bag claim level in Terminal B on June 2.

The painting is by a Wisconsin resident who is participating in the 2004 International VSA Arts Festival. VSA arts is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide a venue for people with disabilities to learn through, enjoy and participate in the arts. This year, the Festival was held in many locations throughout Washington D.C., including Reagan National Airport where 23 works of art are on display through Sunday, June 27.

Surveillance photographs show two men exiting the Terminal with the painting. The suspect seen carrying the painting is described as a black male, between 6-feet and 6-feet-2-inches tall, with a heavy build and a mustache. He is reported wearing a blue baseball cap, gray sweatpants, prescription eyeglasses and a light colored shirt or jacket over a blue basketball jersey with “Orlando” and the number "1" on the front.

The other suspect, who served as a lookout is described as a black male, between 5-feet-8-inches and 5-feet-11-inches tall with a medium build. He is reported as wearing a light-colored shirt or jacket over a gray T-shirt with a black collar and dark pants.

Anyone with information regarding this incident, or regarding the location of the painting, is asked to contact Arlington County Crime Solvers at 800-673-2777 or the MWAA Police Department at 703-417-8540.

Crime Solvers offers a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Callers to Crime Solvers do not have to give their names and do not need to testify in court.