I hope everyone has been enjoying the beautiful fall weather we have experienced in the last few weeks. I know we are all savoring the ability to be outside for as long as we can before cold weather closes in.

There are a couple of things I want to bring to your attention at this time.  First, the City is asking residents to participate in a survey to give feedback on their draft strategies for the update to the 2008 Transportation Master Plan. This update is entitled the Alexandria Mobility Plan (AMP). While this may not sound like the most exciting thing on which to spend time, I want to encourage all of you to go to the city's AMP webpage at www.alexandriava.gov/MobilityPlan and read the Draft Strategies. Then click the link to take the survey. It is plans and documents like this AMP that govern transportation decisions in the years ahead. Concepts such as Complete Streets have been introduced and codified in such plans and then they are applied in situations throughout the city. If residents don't pay attention to these plans and offer input, then we have no role in shaping our city's transportation future.  The draft strategies in this plan are Transit, Smart Mobility, Streets, Supporting Travel Options, and Curb Space and Parking. I think you will perhaps note, as I did, the preponderance of attention to mass transit, and the minimal attention to travel by car, despite the fact that cars remain the overwhelming method of transportation within our city.

The survey contains a number of unexplained phrases like "criteria based traffic mitigation" and incorporating "current design practices" to our street design guidelines so respondents have little or no idea what they are potentially agreeing to.  Fortunately, there are comment boxes after each strategy where respondents can add our own comments, whether or not they exactly correlate to the draft strategy. This is your opportunity to agree or disagree with the assumptions and conclusions staff has brought forward. I encourage you to use this opportunity to comment on the City's overall traffic plans for you in the years ahead. We have seen regional emails from lobby groups urging members to take this survey in order to influence and direct policies that affect the residents of our city, and city staff welcomes such non-city participation. The deadline to respond to this survey is November 8th, so please find time to engage in this survey before it closes.

Seminary Hill Association will hold its Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 12th at 7:00 p.m. Unfortunately, we are still in a virtual meeting mode, so we cannot gather together. Here is the Zoom information for the meeting.

Topic: Seminary Hill Association Annual Zoom Meeting
Time: Nov 12, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 894 8795 5820
Passcode: 502667
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We have made the decision not to invite a speaker for this meeting, so it will be a business meeting with several items on the agenda. We will receive the Treasurer's Report, approve the Minutes of the 2019 Annual meeting, and approve an addition to our bylaws that allows for virtual meetings.  The SHA Board approved this language to our bylaws in June and the membership will be asked to ratify that action at the Annual Meeting.  This language will be inserted in Article V, Section 2:

In the event that the local, state, or federal government has declared a state of emergency that bans or limits in-person group meetings, the Seminary Hill Association may hold virtual meetings on a media platform that allows public participation during open session meetings. In the absence of a declared state of emergency, the President of the Seminary Hill Association may request that a virtual meeting be held if circumstances warrant. A majority vote of the Board will be necessary to approve such a virtual meeting if there is not a government-imposed ban in place. Minutes will be taken during all virtual meetings. Any votes taken require that a quorum of the Board be present electronically. The results of all votes will be recorded in the minutes.

In addition, a member of the Seminary Hill board may request that the President grant permission for virtual/telephonic participation at an in-person board meeting if they are unable to physically attend due to circumstances determined to be justified by the President.

The Election Committee will present the following slate of officers and area representatives for approval by the membership.

President:  Carter Flemming, Vice President: Tom Fulton, Secretary: Kathy McAfee, Treasurer: Nancy Jennings, Area 1:  Frances Terrell,  Area 2: Bill Goff,  Area 3: Bill Rossello, Area 4: Richard Hunt, Area 5: Jack Sullivan, Area 6: Babette Smith, Area 7: Jim Rowley, Area 8: Frank Putzu, Area 9: Paul Judge.  The At-Large positions will be voted upon by the board at our December meeting. There will be brief remarks summarizing the activities of SHA during the past year. As always, we encourage residents to participate in the Annual Meeting.

SHA continues to follow up and be active in efforts to modify the city's plans for the Taylor Run and Strawberry Run Stream Restoration Projects.  Both projects will use the same "natural channel design" and will involve the removal of hundreds of mature trees, to be replaced by planting several thousand tiny tree "saplings" and native plants. Many concerned residents and environmentalists are urging the city to use a less drastic approach to achieve its goals for pollution reduction in the Chesapeake Bay.

Finally, there will be a Virtual Open House put on by ACPS for The High School Project (the rebuilding of Minnie Howard) on Thursday, November 19th from 6-8 p.m. I would urge you to go to the ACPS website and sign up to participate in this meeting. One of the issues on the agenda is the colocation of other facilities on the school site.

Thank you for your interest in Seminary Hill Association.  I hope to see you at our virtual Annual Meeting on November 12th.

Carter Flemming, President, Seminary Hill Association