DRCA Membership Meeting Minutes: Feb 10, 2014 meeting

Feb 6 Shooting Briefing/Safety Update
By Captain Scott Ogden
David Huckler – Dept Chief
Ashley Hildebrant – public information officers
  • Brief update on crime
  • Review of composite sketch: Older white male with balding head and gray salt and pepper beard, possibly wearing tan jacket.
  • PD has invested resources into trying to solve crime, keep community safe – parks and law enforcement support, neighbor agencies have assisted – ffax county helicopter during forensic investigation. FBI helping as well through 100s of tips and leads – triaging, sorting and cataloguing
  • Continued request for leads & tips: contact Sgt. Michael Kochis at (703) 746-6864 or via email Michael.Kochis@alexandriava.gov. Will take voicemail, every single lead is followed up o. Reviewing if more investigation is needed. Composite drawing (assist from Ffax police) done by sketch artist.
  • PD passes along condolences to families and friends, grieving with them.
  • Tips have tripled in amount since composite was posted. Putting out updates/leads through social media releases, alexva.gov/police – informing all sources. Keeping community update nothing getting held back. 
  • Safety: crime prevention/safety tips include:
    1. Cautious around home about keeping lighting, front and car doors locked.
    2. Don’t open door for strangers.
    3. Do not be afraid to go into community. Always call police to report something suspicious.
  • No factual or forensic evidence that ties this crime to any other crime in neighborhood, but looking at it as a possibility along with other ideas on motive/connections. Forensic lab comparing ballistics, analysis not completed yet.
  • Braddock road camera on trailer – used for crime prevention. They take pictures of vehicles, people, use them if series of crimes have happened. Collects data. Extra amount of resources to community.
  • Will be recanvasing neighborhood to get more info, ask for more information. Keep media interested in the case to ensure it is top of mind.
Part I crime stats – Calendar year stats
  • DRCA down 6.7% in crime
  • Up larceny/theft offenses up 3
Citizens police academy – coming in March. 
  • Go to alexandriava.gov/police – search for police academy. No cost, meets every Wednesday. PD presentations on what units do, equipment, local businesses donate food, very educational/informative. No update on Safeway crime, mail carrier, Mt Vernon post office but can get for us – they believe was not connected, isolated incidents.

Announcements:

  • New board member – Meg Schiffman, Secretary (me!)
  • Jay, VP – big thank you for successful chili cook-off and everyone who helped, Danielle, Sean Crumley, others.
  • Del Ray Artisans – Feb show: Reincarnations – artwork made of recycled materials. Runs through march 2. Open thurs 12-6, fri 12-9, sat 12-9, sun 12-6
  • Heart of Del Ray award online –nominees: 1). DRP, 2). Holy cow/Pork Barrel BBQ, 3). MTM, 4). St Elmos, 5). Taquiero Poblano
  • Land Use committee meeting – this Thurs, yoga/resto/juice bar Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth on first floor of apartments in empty space. Site next to farmers market – new restaurant. Trying to set up meeting with Oakville developers.
  • Transportation Pedestrian Committee meeting – Leslie crosswalk, Glen Dale access to Potomac Yards, Monroe Ave bike plan, Proposed improvements at Simpson Park (Eugene Simpson Stadium)
  • 19 recommendations, $3.9-5.1M estimated
  • Plan will go to park & rec commission on Feb 20 – if endorsed, will then go to city council, deliberations will begin to figure out funding.
  • Big deal for neighborhood. Write in letters to show support or to city council.
  • Started with two fields: big and little Simpson. Everything else built around it. Soccer fields were opened last spring. Deterioration over time, improvements needed. Dog park, tennis courts, gardens, passive open space. Working on new entrances for soccer fields. Lighting has been approved for dog park but not funded yet. Playground reno in fiscal 2016 (begins July 2015). Improvements planned, $ is in capital improvement budget. When playground is redesigned, passive area can be designed to go with it – natural/imaginative play features.
  • Other short-term improvements: resurface basketball courts, dog park. New trees in dog park. Trying to improve how you get around park, making it more attractive. Make it more of a neighborhood park. Try to consolidate maintenance areas to improve aesthetic appearance. Exploring soccer fields for general/public use.
  • How can DRCA help? Green alley to include new trees – we have a tree planting fund and we may be able to help fund.
SPEAKER
City councilmember John Chapman – elected in 2012
Hot issues:
Budget
  • Will be released to council on Friday
  • Proposal included no increase in tax rate, service cuts will come – will be important to focus on what should be kept/not – challenging city staff to find the dollars that are needed to make cuts
  • Council will seek input from citizens – what they want to see in the city, what services are they willing to go without, what is high priority – will be a year when package reflects vision of government.
  • Schools: 3-4 school additional buildings in next 10 years, expanding/redesigning another 2
Bike lanes
  • Highly contested on King St, engaged a lot of new residents
Food trucks
  • Small task force appointed by city manager – monthly meetings for past 6 months
  • Food truck regulations, safety, where do we put them
  • Have tackled each neighborhood asking residents/restaurateurs to share concerns
  • West End doesn’t have many options (Clydes only), food trucks appropriate for that location
  • Task force will make recommendation in next few weeks
ARHA Redevelopment
  • 7 sites up for RFP – in next 20 years, many will be redeveloped
  • Andrew Atkins closest, 5-6 blocks across from Braddock metro
  • Leverage existing land to improve and create more units of affordable housing, mixed use
  • Strategic plan component
  • RFP broad, submissions will come back in March to help create future vision for ARHA
  • Not city owned, 3rd guidelines set out by city, city provided $5M loan.
 Oakville triangle
  • Industrial buildings on Rt 1 between gas station and Afghan restaurant
  • Mix of commercial/residential on top
  • Still looking at scale/mass
  • Rt 1 West plan? Will be part of Potomac Yards conversation.
Questions from DRCA membership
  • How avoid Braddock/Beauregard situation (private developer – less leverage) – city workgroup working with ARHA to ensure we don’t make same mistakes, can timing allow for citizens to be moved/relocated and party entity – gets govt funding. Must follow planning then moved back in
  • No mechanism for adding workforce/artist housing in Del Ray
  • Oakville – connectivity for pedestrians concern – work with city to add pedestrian crossings in new plan into the neighborhood. Currently a topic of conversation. Community planning process – can Del Ray be integrated into plan, what are general feelings. Would like to find ways to integrate properties. No proposed drawings yet, not sure on total size of development (20-25 acres). More than one property owner. Blackstone owns large chunk of it.
  • Food Trucks – restaurants want it to be a level playing field (signage, permits, etc) – make it fair for small businesses. Task force is looking at this.

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