The 367-unit residential development The Rutherford is headed to Planning Commission review tomorrow and makes use of a relatively recent new policy that codified an older trade.
The project is a multifamily building set on a 4.5 acre site at 5000 Seminary Road, next to the Hilton Mark Center. Of those 367 units, 25 will be committed affordable units. The developer is also contributing $811,547 to the Housing Trust Fund.
The staff report noted that The Rutherford is the first application within the Beauregard Small Area Plan to use the increase in density in exchange for housing approved back in 2020. The practice was a longstanding one for developments in Alexandria, but The Rutherford is the first in the Beauregard area to use the new official guidelines.
“The applicant noted that the proposed project is the first application within the BSAP to involve an increase in density following the adoption of the 2020 Housing Policy Update and underscored its efforts to maximize the total affordable housing contribution,” the report said. “Pursuant to the BSAP, developer contributions are charged on net new development and are intended to offset plan-wide and neighborhood-specific impacts to infrastructure, public facilities, affordable housing, and other city priorities by new development.”
The project is also set to have 405 parking spaces in two levels of underground parking. A presentation on the project notes that city staff are currently recommending approval of the project.
The project’s development special use permit, coordinated sign permit and transportation management plan are scheduled for review on Tuesday, June 6.
New French restaurant Josephine is opening at 109 St Asaph Street in Old Town this week and folks are already losing their heads over it.
According to the website, the new restaurant has classic French cuisine like trout amandine and beef bourguignon along with some original creations from Matt Cockrell, described by Washingtonian as a staple of the DC French restaurant scene .
The menu also features an extensive bar with “an expertly curated cheese list devoted exclusively to French offerings.”
On the wine side, Josephine offers a collection of 350 French wines ranging from traditional vintages to more modern wines.
Josephine is scheduled to open on Wednesday, June 7, but a few locals had a preview of the menu at an event this weekend.
The restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m. with the bar open until 11 p.m., and open Friday and Saturday from 5-11 p.m. with the bar open until midnight.
Bonjour from Josephine! Tonight, I had the opportunity to preview the amazing food from Chef Matthew Cockrell at this lovely new restaurant in Old Town. #alexandriava #smallbusiness pic.twitter.com/DbcSexyZvD
— Alyia Gaskins (@Alyia4ALX) June 5, 2023
Image via Josephine Old Town/Instagram
This reporter’s already noted that Alexandria bears a passing resemblance to the province of Skyrim* and that Nordic connection is only getting stronger: the Landmark neighborhood is getting a new axe throwing bar.
Bad Axe Throwing is opening a new location in Van Dorn Station at 617 S Pickett Street.
The location was originally listed as opening this spring, but staff at Bad Axe Throwing said estimate is now at the more nebulous “soon.” The alcohol license for the location is still listed as pending.
“Our axe throwing coaches will teach you how to throw an axe while helping you improve your axe throwing technique and make you into an axe throwing pro in no time,” the website said. “We offer fun & unique axe throwing games as well as individual and team-based tournaments for an unforgettable experience.”
Bad Axe Throwing is an international chain with nearby locations in Washington D.C. and Fairfax.
Image via Bad Axe Throwing/Facebook
*Technically the only thrown weapons in Skyrim are Riekling spears
Last week, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) was blasted by parents and teachers at a School Board meeting over a decision to spread specialist teachers across multiple schools.
Music, art and physical education teachers are classified as encore teachers in ACPS. Currently, those teachers are assigned to individual schools, but under the new system some of those teachers could be made to float between different schools.
ACPS Executive Director of School Leadership Pierrette Finney and Executive Director of Instructional Support Carmen Sanders told ALXnow in an email the decision was based on declining enrollment at schools.
“The changes were made due to current enrollment numbers for this school year and the actual school enrollment numbers for next year,” the email said. “Currently, during this school year, some encore teachers across the division are not teaching full teaching assignments in their area of certification, while others are doing so. To ensure that all schools equally receive the benefit of encore instruction, some, but not all, encore staff will be shared with one other school.”
Enrollment has stagnated at ACPS over the last few years since the Covid pandemic and projections indicate that trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Finney and Sanders said in the email that this is a “typical practice to ensure full-time employment” when teachers do not have a full teaching assignment. The email said teachers affected by the change will share their time between two schools and more than half of ACPS’ encore teachers will work in one school for the whole school day.
Teachers that travel between schools will be financially reimbursed, ACPS leadership said. The email said a review of enrollment led to a conclusion that some less populated schools were overstaffed while more populated schools were understaffed.
At the meeting last week, teachers said the change would mean many teachers who lead after-school activities for students would have to cut those programs under the new schedule. Others noted that, even when the teachers aren’t leading classes, they are assisting in other classrooms to help fill in the gaps, but ACPS said those roles are secondary considerations.
“The non-instructional duties of encore staff do not supersede their instructional obligations,” the email said, “and it was important to ensure that all ACPS students across all schools within our division have access to high quality encore instruction during the school day.”
Another issue with the change that came under fire from the community was the timing. The change was announced just days before teachers were supposed to receive new contracts for the upcoming year and the decision occurred with no public meetings or School Board discussion.
According to the email:
The timing of staff notification was contingent upon when principals conveyed the information and shared the one additional teaching location to their encore staff. Principals are in the best position to support staff questions and any potential concerns that can be expected when a change is made in schools. In keeping with our current practice of notifying staff of any changes prior to sharing with families, principals shared adjustments with affected staff. Typically, staff adjustments are confirmed over the summer and this year we took a proactive approach to inform teachers prior to contract distribution and the end of the school year.
The full response from ACPS is posted below the jump:
Good Monday morning, Alexandria!
⛅ Today’s weather: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.
⛅ Tomorrow: Slight chance of showers after 2 p.m.
🚨 You need to know
A 33-year-old man died while in custody this weekend at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center.
Both the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department are investigating the death of Glenn W. Eubanks III, 33. A release from the city of Alexandria said Eubanks collapsed in the dayroom of a housing unit after suffering an apparent medical emergency.
According to a release from the City of Alexandria:
The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department are investigating the in-custody death of a local inmate at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center.
On June 4, just after 4 p.m., an inmate collapsed in the dayroom of a housing unit after experiencing an apparent medical emergency. A deputy immediately called for assistance from the jail’s medical staff and both initiated life-saving measures. Medics from the Alexandria Fire Department responded and continued treatment, but the patient was pronounced deceased at 4:56 p.m.
The deceased is Glenn W. Eubanks III, a 33-year-old Alexandria man. He has been in custody since April 12, 2023.
Because this is an in-custody death, the Alexandria Police Department is conducting the death investigation. The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a review of the incident to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.
In some ways, it wasn’t a great week for shops around Alexandria.
Three Alexandria stores had drivers crash into them this week. At the Bradlee Shopping Center, a driver was hospitalized after she drove her car into Robcyns. The next morning, a driver crashed into Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato in Old Town.
But while both of those incidents seem like accidents, would-be thieves crashed a truck into a CVS in Del Ray and tried, unsuccessfully, to steal the ATM.
On the bright side, things seem to be going well at Chadwicks in Old Town, so we’ve got that going for us.
The most-read stories this week were:
- Pump the brakes: new speed cameras issuing tickets starting today
- Here’s how the former manager of Hank’s Oyster Bar in Old Town allegedly stole $600K
- JUST IN: Driver crashes car into Bradlee Shopping Center store
- UPDATED: Power mostly restored after widespread outage
- Burgers and beer: Chadwicks owner says the Old Town restaurant will never change
- Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company on S. Quaker Lane gets robbed at gunpoint
- Car strikes Old Town gelato shop in rash of vehicles crashing into buildings
- Truck repeatedly crashed into Del Ray CVS and thieves tried to steal ATM
- Notes: Alexandria ranked as sixth wealthiest Virginia locality
- Two injured after more than a dozen shots fired on Richenbacher Avenue
Westbound drivers may want to avoid Duke Street near Landmark next week as construction will shut down part of the road.
The closures will affect the westbound lanes on Duke Street between the off-ramp to Van Dorn Street and South Walker Street. The westbound lanes are scheduled to be closed from 10 p.m. on Tuesday to 10 p.m. on Friday.
According to a release put out by the City of Alexandria:
The westbound lanes of Duke Street, between the Van Dorn Street off-ramp and South Walker Street, will be closed to vehicle traffic for 72 hours beginning at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6. The ramp from southbound Van Dorn Street to westbound Duke Street will also be closed during this period.
During this construction-related closure, westbound Duke Street traffic will be detoured onto Van Dorn Street, then onto Stevenson Avenue and South Walker Street, before rejoining westbound Duke Street beyond the work area (see map below). Traffic traveling southbound on Van Dorn Street will also be directed by the detour. All businesses along Duke Street will remain open during the road closure.
The westbound lanes are scheduled to reopen at 10 p.m. on Friday, June 9, after the completion of the work, which includes demolition of the existing fly-over into Landmark Mall as part of the Re-Development of Landmark. Working hours and dates are subject to change due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances. The developer will provide written notification directly to Residential Properties within a 3 block radius and/or high-rise buildings visible from to the work area; as equipment will run the full 72-Hours.
(Updated 6/5) Parents and teachers at a School Board meeting last night said the rollout of a new plan to split specialist teachers across schools has been an unmitigated disaster.
The change affects Alexandria City Public Schools’ (ACPS) encore teachers: teachers who run classes like music, art and physical education. A new change announced in an email earlier this week, without public discussion or meetings, would split these teachers across multiple schools throughout the district.
The Washington Post also noted that the change came just days before teachers were supposed to receive contracts for the upcoming school year.
“Taking us away to go to other schools is going to dramatically change the situation at our school,” said Luisa Tio, an art teacher at Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School. “We just found out 48 hours ago that this was going to happen. None of this was in our contract. All of this is a complete shock to us.”
Meg Ziemann, PTA secretary at Cora Kely School for Math, Science and Technology, said the change was alarming both for how it would affect teachers and for the way it was handled:
No public comment was sought [and] the School Board did not have an opportunity to vote on these changes… The clandestine nature of this decision-making process, the fact that parents have not been alerted, and the fact that there is no mention of the significant staffing changes anywhere on the ACPS website raises major concerns about district communications, transparency, and erodes trust between the district and the community they serve. The impact of this adminsitrative decision cannot be understated.
Ashley Bender, the ACPS 2020 Teacher of the Year, said the change was heartbreaking.
“I stand before you today completely torn apart because of the trust and love that has led myself and encore teachers through the hardest parts of education,” Bender said, “not just by the decision to reallocate encore teachers, but consistent disappointments from ACPS leaders on the day-to-day scenarios in schools.”
Bender said the changes impacting already overworked teachers will have a significant impact on the quality of education for students.
“At our title one school there is a student that needs are because they cannot speak English,” Bender said. “There is a student that needs music because their trauma causes a loss for words, and there is a student that needs physical education because they’ve never had a pair of sneakers.”
ACPS leaders said the change will expand the reach of encore teachers to new and underserved schools. School Board member Ashley Simpson Baird said on social media (there was no discussion of the topic at the meeting) there has been public misinformation about the change to encore teachers. As of 1:20 p.m. on Friday, there remains no official information about the change on any ACPS website or social media channels.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out over the past two days to share concerns about Encore teachers. I hear you. I also hear a lot of misinformation. Here are a few points I want to clarify. More to come. pic.twitter.com/txUvhwrUYi
— Ashley Simpson Baird (@ASBforACPS) June 2, 2023
A popular tour at Alexandria’s Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax Street) is making a comeback next month: Poison at the Apothecary Museum.
The tour, recommended for ages 18 and older, explores different types of poisons and their application throughout history.
“Come explore the sinister side of medicine on the Apothecary Museum’s Poison Tour,” the city’s website said. “This tour explores several different types of poisons, their historic uses at the Apothecary, and what we know today.”
The tours are scheduled for June 11 and 18 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $15 per person.
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is looking for suggestions from the public on how it should update its Student Code of Conduct.
The Student Code of Conduct — an 83-page document for this past year — governs everything from attendance and student rights to the expulsion of students.
“We value and actively seek input from our students, staff and families,” said Michael Diggins, executive director of student services for ACPS. “Alexandria City School Board policies as well as the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) also regulate changes to the Code of Conduct.”
Diggins said public input will be considered, along with changes made from the School Board and the VDOE, when ACPS drafts the new 2023-2024 Student Code of Conduct.
The revisioning of the Student Code of Conduct comes at a time when some voices are calling for greater liberties and opportunities to be granted to students. Earlier this year, students organized a large-scale walk-out protest against ACPS administration curtailing opportunities for students to do extracurricular activities or studies at lunch.
At the same time, the schools struggle with high levels of absenteeism and violence from “crews” of students.
The feedback form asks the public about the strengths and weaknesses of the current Student Code of Conduct as well as other comments or suggestions for ACPS.