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Arlington's suit to force impact studies allowed to proceed

A lawsuit aimed at slowing the HOT lanes project planned for Interstates 95 and 395 in Northern Virginia has received an early vote of confidence.

A U.S. District Court ruled that a lawsuit filed by the Arlington County Board against the Virginia, the U.S. departments of transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration can proceed. The suit alleges that the agencies should have performed environmental and health studies, as well as traffic analysis, before moving forward with planed HOT lanes on Interstates 95 and 395.

Local homeowners will benefit from a swift resolution to the suit. Traffic congestion is an ongoing problem in Arlington, making it less desirable to commuters shopping for new homes.

Arlington homeowners to pay more taxes

The Arlington County Board has approved a nearly $956 million budget for 2011. Increased taxes and fees will cost the average homeowner an additional $346.

The new tax rate of 95.8 cents per $100 of a home's assessed value represents an 8.3-cent increase. The board also approved a rise in utility fees and a motor vehicle decal tax.

Chairman Jay Fisette said the general fund budget increased by 1%, the second smallest increase in 25 years. The smallest increase was last year.

Read more in The Washington Post....

Reserve rebates for energy-efficient appliances starting Wednesday

Virginians planning to purchase high-efficiency appliances should hop on the Web April 28 to reserve rebates of up to $300. Appliances must be Energy-Star qualified to be eligible for the rebate.

Other limitations: program participants must be Virginia residents, and the appliances must be purchased for residential use. The new appliance must replace an existing appliance.

Northrop Grumman just weeks away from choosing location for new headquarters

Officials say that Northrop Grumman is just weeks away from deciding where to establish its new headquarters. Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are all under consideration. The company plans to open the new 300-person facility in about a year.

Fairfax and Arlington Counties are both in the running to be the defense contractor's new home town. Landing Northrup Grumman would be a significant economic boost for either county - to the benefit of local homeowners, who could see a bump in property values along with the creation of highly paid jobs.

Read more in the Richmond Times-Dispatch....

Hampton medical facility awarded $7.9 million

The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute has been awarded $7.9 million by the Department of Defense Naval Health Research Center. The money will be used for equipment, research, and increasing staff levels. More than 2000 patients will be treated annually at the center, which is located off Magruder Boulevard and scheduled to open this summer.

The award is likely to spur growth, and in turn benefit local property values.

Read more in The Virginian-Pilot....

Hampton eliminates 78 positions to balance budget

The city of Hampton will eliminate 78 permanent full-time positions to make up for its $19 million budget shortfall.

About 55 of those positions are currently filled. City officials will try to move employees in those jobs to current openings. "We do have plans to try to place as many of those people as possible. We have over 106 positions that are vacant and open to try to place those folks into," said City Manager Mary Bunting.

Read more at the Daily Press....

Virginia Manager's Council Committee Meeting

April 20, 2010 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Conference Call

Blue crab baby boom in the Chesapeake Bay

photo by chesbayprogramThe number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay is up 60% over last year, according to scientific estimates released Wednesday. Experts say the Bay crab population in 2009 rose to more than 658 million, the most crabs counted since 1997.

Challenge to Arlington County affordable housing project dismissed

An affordable housing project built above a church sanctuary in Arlington County is nearing completion. The project has been contentious from the start, with residents of nearby neighborhoods objecting for six years to its placement atop a Baptist Church.

The latest attempt to halt the project was stymied on Monday, when Judge Claude M. Hilton said Peter Glassman failed to prove that the county, by partnering with the Church, is advancing religion or enriching the church.

Glassman, who lives a block from the church, plans to appeal the ruling to the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. "We are confident that once the dealings between the county and the church see the light of day, the entanglement and preference will be apparent, he said.

Virginia Beach developer nailed with $24,000 fine after state and local agencies make conflicting demands

When a Virginia Beach developer was asked to mow an overgrown 1/3 acre wetlands field by the local government, it complied. But the State Water Control Board considered the tract of land a protected wetland, and by mowing it, they say the developer altered and degraded the wetland, which should have been preserved as natural and open space.

"We had the state saying, 'Don't touch the site,' and the city saying, 'Mow it now,' " said Carl Eason, an attorney representing Glenwood South and its affiliate, Warner Construction. "I felt like I was in 'Alice in Wonderland.' "