The Chamber showed support of the Arlington Public Schools plan to hire a Partnership Coordinator for Fiscal Year 2022. The Chamber believes that this individual will be well-positioned to identify work-based learning opportunities and would provide leadership in developing comprehensive career pathways for students. The educational return on investing in this position will be significant.
The Chamber sent a letter to Arlington Public Schools suggesting that the reconfiguring of school spaces for social distancing provides a unique way to support the community through expanded child care. An expanded child care plan can phase expansions based on families’ child care needs, for example, prioritizing children of healthcare workers and children of parents whose jobs do not allow them to telework.
The Chamber sent a letter to the County Board expressing concerns regarding the new Arlington County Ordinance Requiring Physical Distancing on Public Sidewalks. The hastily developed ordinance has led to confusion, presents enforcement challenges, and has left the community unclear on how it will be applied.
The Chamber asked the County Board to reject a proposed change in how the Noise Control Ordinance is enforced. Although Arlington County staff have assured the business community that it plans to take steps to engage businesses before enforcing penalties, the proposed text does not provide any guarantee against the ordinance being used in a more punitive manner.
The Chamber encouraged Arlington County to streamline the process for permitting and deploying small wireless facilities, including allowing providers for file location permits during a technology pilot phase, to avoid delays in enhancing Arlington's digital infrastructure.
The Chamber wrote a letter to the Arlington County Board commending the Board on its efforts to serve the Arlington community during the coronavirus pandemic and to make specific policy suggestions. To further support the community during this time, the Chamber requested that the Board allocate more funds to Arlington Economic Development’s grants for small businesses, defer tax payments, and extend deadlines for permits and plans. The Chamber looks forward to working with the Board on these matters and to continue its strong partnership with the Board to see the community through this crisis.
The Chamber is asking the County Board to delay holding a hearing on a change to the Arlington County Noise Control Ordinance. The County has not sufficiently engaged with affected stakeholders, such as restaurants, to learn about possible consequences of this action and so it is not yet ready to consider the change. The Chamber will support moving ahead with a hearing once the County does the necessary engagement with stakeholders, including businesses.
The Chamber sent a letter to the County Board expressing concern that Arlington County government is not offering a faster turn-around time for permits filed via the new Permit Arlington online system, despite an increase in technology fees with the system’s launch.
The County Board is poised to take the next step in the process for deploying small wireless cells in Arlington. Small cell facilities support wireless coverage and demand for mobile data in dense areas, and are essential in preparing Arlington for the next generation of technology. In October, the Chamber sent a letter to the County Board that called for County staff to create a process for small cell deployment. This letter builds on that note, encouraging the Board to advertise of a public hearing on small cell deployment process in July. At that July hearing, the County Board will be able to remove the current restrictions on the installation and maintenance of small cell facilities on streetlight poles.
Building on the success of the Chamber’s February letter to keep open Special GLUP Study applications, the Chamber sent another letter to the County Board calling for continued engagement on developing a new Special GLUP Study process. The Chamber asked the County Board to direct continued work between County staff and business stakeholders on developing the new process and for a guarantee that the new process will be adopted only with the County Board’s approval. We hope with continued engagement to arrive at a process that ensures that all Special GLUP Study applications are guaranteed a full review in a timely manner to deliver the best development outcomes for Arlington.
In a letter to Long Range Planning Committee Chair Nancy Iacomini, the Chamber encouraged the committee to reject County staff’s proposed revisions to the Special GLUP Study Process. Special GLUP Studies are necessary for development projects that require an amendment to the County’s General Land Use Plan (GLUP). The proposal, which has been made with insufficient input from the business community, will likely have the unintended consequence of hindering economic development in Arlington. Consequently, the Chamber encourages the County to continue the current Special GLUP Study process, and to add resources to conduct them in a timely manner.
In a letter to County Board Chair Katie Cristol, the Chamber encouraged Arlington County to take a proactive approach in finalizing the process for the deployment of small cell wireless antennas. Small cells antennas are a low profile, compact, and unobtrusive technology that will provide a better experience for enhanced mobile networks, including 5G. Streamlining and standardizing the permitting process for the installation of small cell wireless antennas will ensure that Arlington remains a leader in the use of new technology.
In a letter to the Arlington County Board, the Chamber expresses its support of the proposed changes to both the site plan review process and the permitting process that are being implemented by the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD).