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How it gets paid for (and by whom) perhaps is a question for another day, but the three candidates in the July 7 Arlington County Board special election voiced support for increased stormwater-management efforts.

“We need to be making a generational investment,” said Susan Cunningham, one of three candidates on the ballot seeking to fill the seat of the late Erik Gutshall.

Cunningham, an independent, was joined by Republican Bob Cambridge and Democrat Takis Karantonis during a recent 90-minute online candidate forum sponsored by EcoAction Arlington and partner organizations.

Arlington’s aging stormwater infrastructure was put to the test – and did not fare well – during a brief but walloping rainstorm last July. Over the past year, county-government officials have been working to determine how to address the situation and how to pay for improvements.

Cambridge said a (perhaps the) only silver lining of the 2019 deluge was that the flooding that resulted “at least told us where the water’s going to go and where the problems are.” He urged county officials to “use that insight to attack the problem.”

Karantonis said addressing the large amount of impervious surfaces in Arlington is key, since those surfaces force the water into sewers and can overwhelm the system.

It is “a huge problem and deserves our attention,” Karantonis said.

County Manager Mark Schwartz recently proposed a $50 million bond referendum in November to start tackling stormwater issues, but given that much of the county’s infrastructure is approaching the 100-year mark, that may be just a down payment on a much larger bill.

At the forum, candidates were asked about a host of issues, including how the county government should encourage, or mandate, developers to create more energy-efficient buildings. Specifics were hard to come by, but in what has become a hallmark of the campaign, generalities were in abundance.

Cunningham said the current County Board has “given a rubber-stamp” to recent development. Karantonis said there should be incentives offered for efficient development and that “every single site plan that comes to the County Board has to be scrutinized.”

Cambridge said the county government’s Community Energy Plan has fallen out of date and needs to be revised constantly as situations evolve.

“Try to make it better,” he said. “Don’t try to make it perfect – make it better.”

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(2) comments


More Fire-Aim-Ready from New Urbanism Adherents. Pack more mixed-use infill into an already densely populated County, pave over open space, refuse to purchase scarce open space when it comes on the market, make neighborhood parks, sports fields, community centers on Arlington's borders into regional facilities, destroy the mature tree canopy to accommodate more infill (but not in the Board of Supervisors Chair's and County Manager's back yards). Nothing mentioned about accelerating the replacement of the County's antiquated water mains. How much of the CIP funds will go to constructing new and renovating existing bicycle lanes instead? Face it. New Urbanism is Arlington's State Religion and Non-Believers are ignored, dismissed, disparaged, abused, and even threatened by the Believers who completely control every aspect of our lives, from the County Board to the neighborhood condo boards.


Rubber Stamp for Development? Like the Form Based Code for Redeveloping the Pike, aka Revitalization Through Gentrification? Approval of more middle class gentrification provoked such an angry citizen response at the last Arlington Board meeting that the Board had to defer consideration of what was to be a rubber-stamp consent agenda item until October.

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