- First update since 1999
- 22 recommendations
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Arlington County Board today accepted the Alcova Heights Neighborhood Conservation Plan Update. The plan outlines residents' vision for the future of their neighborhood, and allows the Alcova Heights Citizens Association (AHCA) to seek funding for neighborhood improvements.
In the plan, residents say they want to improve the appearance of Alcova Heights, preserve the neighborhood's character, improve pedestrian safety and protect their neighborhood from speeding and cut-through traffic.
“Who better to put together a blueprint for preserving their neighborhood than the people who live there?” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “Alcova Heights is one of the many lovely neighborhoods along Columbia Pike, and this updated plan will help ensure that it continues to thrive as the Pike develops.”
Alcova Heights, named by a real estate developer in the early 1920s, is home to 1,900 persons living in 745 households. Situated near the center of Arlington, the neighborhood is bounded by four of Arlington's major thoroughfares: Arlington Boulevard (Route 50), S. Glebe Road, Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.
Most of the neighborhood is zoned for residential housing and largely consists of single-family homes and other low-density housing. The neighborhood, with its businesses, churches, fire station and three parks and recreation areas, has a small-town feel. It boasts historical buildings such as Arlington Hall and Alcova House, a pre-Civil War structure.
First plan published in 1968
The neighborhood association first published its Neighborhood Conservation Plan in 1968, and updated it in 1999. This is the second update to the original plan.
The neighborhood association launched a planning effort in 2010 with a survey sent to each household in the neighborhood. AHCA used the survey results to draft and review its Neighborhood Conservation Plan in March 2013. The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) reviewed the plan in January 2014 and recommended the County Board approve the plan. The plan was also reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission on February 10, 2014.
The Board voted 3 to 0 to accept the plan.
Residents offer 22 recommendations in their plan update for achieving their goals for the neighborhood. Among those:
- Parks and Recreation Areas — Encourage the County to consider developing a long-range plan for Alcova Heights Park and the S. Oakland Street Park. The plan would outline improvements to safety, playground equipment, invasive plant control, path and bridge maintenance, trash control and stream cleanup.
- Land Use and Zoning – Encourage the County to support the development of commercial businesses that meet the needs of residents, while operating in a clean, safe and respectful manner. Request that the County continues to consult with and include AHCA in decisions related to development on Columbia Pike that impacts Alcova Heights.
- Infrastructure and Capital Improvement — Support burying underground all utility lines connected with new neighborhood construction and connected to Columbia Pike redevelopment.
- Traffic Management — Encourage Arlington County to identify and pursue multiple strategies for improving pedestrian, bicycle, vehicle and public transportation traffic flow on Columbia Pike.
Neighborhood Conservation program background
This year is the 50th anniversary of the County's Neighborhood Conservation Program. The Arlington County Board created it in 1964 to encourage residents to work together to come up with ideas for improvements to their neighborhoods. The program is a unique grass roots effort that uses voter-approved bonds to fund neighborhood improvements.
The program includes preparing and updating Neighborhood Conservation Plans for each participating civic association, which qualifies that neighborhood to seek Neighborhood Conservation funding for projects. Projects typically fall into the categories of street improvements, street light projects, parks and open space beautification, neighborhood signs and missing link projects.
The Neighborhood Conservation Plans serve as guidelines when prioritizing resident suggested projects. The projects are reviewed and approved by the NCAC, and then ultimately forwarded to the County Board for approval. After Board approval the projects are designed and constructed using the funding from voter-approved bonds.
Communities around the country follow the Neighborhood Conservation Program's citizen-focused standard.
To read the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #24 on the Agenda for the February 25 Arlington County Board Regular Meeting.