Happy February to all! Do we actually believe the groundhog’s prediction that we will have an early spring? Let’s hope so after this cold winter.
Seminary Hill will host its monthly meeting virtually this Thursday, February 10th at 7:00 p.m. Our guest speaker will be our brand-new City Manager, Jim Parajon. We look forward to hearing from him on a range of topics. The board of Clover College Park Civic Association will be on the Zoom, and a few other civic association presidents are likely to join us as well. We are very pleased that he accepted our invitation, as I think this is the first civic association meeting he will appear before. After he speaks, we will have our normal business meeting, and the agenda will be posted on our website later this evening. I will provide everyone with a written summary of what Mr. Parajon said after the meeting is over. The link for our Zoom meeting is:
Topic: Seminary Hill Zoom Meeting
Time: Feb 10, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 833 4632 0478
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+13017158592,,83346320478#,,,,*993016# US (Washington DC)
Since our last communication, we had a virtual meeting with the developer of the Karig Estates property, Mr. Ibrahim, on January 25th. While Mr. Ibrahim stated he was ready to begin construction, there are still several city permits involving demolition and hauling that he must obtain before clearing can begin. Mr. Ibrahim indicated that he expects the land clearing/development to take 3-6 months. Then the construction of the first house will begin at the rear of the site. Each house will take 8-10 months to build. Mr. Ibrahim expects to be totally out of the project in 2-3 years. Construction employees will park on the site, so there should be no neighborhood impacts with parking. The haul route will be Seminary Road to Quaker Lane to Duke Street to the Beltway. The construction hours will be 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Saturday hours will be 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. No work will be done on Sundays, or federal holidays or religious holidays, due to the proximity to the Beth El Hebrew Congregation.
We are in Week 6 of the Duke Street Traffic Mitigation Pilot. Hillary Orr, of T&ES, has provided updates to us on what they are seeing. She encourages all of us to submit comments and feedback on our experiences on Duke and the side streets using the feedback form that you can find at https://www.alexandriava.gov/tes/info/default.aspx?id=124460. Ms. Orr reports that travel time using Quaker to Duke is consistently lower than if drivers use the side streets. She reminds us that the pilot hours are only from 4-7 p.m. on weekdays. While we all experience other problems on Duke outside of those hours, the feedback they are seeking from us should be limited to what you observe during the weekday 4-7 hours.
The City Manager will present the FY 2023 Proposed Budget at 7:00 p.m. on February 15th. For more information go to: http://apps.alexandriava.gov/Calendar/Detail.aspx?si=38097. Given the Mayor’s recent comments about how hotel revenue is substantially down and that will have to be made up in other ways, I think all of us should pay close attention to the budget process. Our assessments have apparently gone up about 6%, so that increase combined with the predicted pay increases required for our public safety employees, will clearly mean tax increases for all of us.
Finally, I want to provide you with an update on the stream restoration plans at Strawberry and Taylor Run. The city has hired a mediation firm from the University of Virginia to set up a civic engagement process. There are 7 residents who have been appointed to what is being called the Advisory Group for the City of Alexandria Stream Health Improvement Projects. The role of this group is not yet clear, but the first meeting will be held this Thursday morning, February 10. I have been asked to serve on this group, and have accepted. I will provide updates to you as I learn more about our purpose and responsibilities. From what I know now, we are not providing any technical or scientific input, but rather assisting the firm in setting up the engagement process. After that, I hope that there will be others who will work with the city to find alternatives to Natural Channel Design, which is the city staff’s preferred option. It would be a wasted effort if we go through this whole process, and in the end, the city staff continues with its plans to change these forested resources into meadows, given that the soil samples showed far less levels of pollutants than the city had asserted were present in the streams.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all. As always, thanks for your interest in Seminary Hill. Please do not hesitate to contact me or other board members with any issues you would like the Association to address. Thanks to all who have made contributions to SHA. If others wish to do so, please go to the homepage of this website and find the button to donate.
Carter Flemming, President, Seminary Hill Association