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Dominion Power, VDOT and Trees

Penrose has an environmental committee and we are always looking for ways to save our trees. We have had ongoing concerns regarding the way Dominion Power prunes our trees, and also concerns about the way VDOT unnecessarily clears wooded areas.

Many homeowners are upset by the severity of the pruning. They would come home from work to find their trees sheared in half or pruned so badly that it could damage the trees. Poor pruning invites disease that can weaken or kill trees; and one-sided pruning to protect electrical wires can destabilize the weight load, making it easier for trees to topple over in strong winds or wet soils.

Alfonso Lopez has taken up the cause with us. His aide, Jason Stanford, was able to arrange a meeting with these parties on November 16th.  Both VDOT and Dominion sent officials from Richmond.  We had a tree steward, a master naturalist an urban forester, a representative from Department of Environmental Services (DES) from the county and representation from the Penrose Civic Assn. Here is a summary of what we learned.

VDOT has a new design/build liaison who tries to save trees before and during construction. Our Urban Forester, Vince Verweij asked VDOT to make the areas around the Columbia Pike bridge project no-mow areas to allow the area to re-forest over time and to plant only native trees in the area.  VDOT was very receptive to his suggestions. We hope these changes will bring in a new way of designing Northern Virginia infrastructure projects, but we need to keep applying pressure to keep them on the right path forward.

Dominion's primary concern are the costs of pruning and avoiding power failures. They have allocated 2 billion to underground power lines in Virginia. Dominion supports policies making it worthwhile for homeowners, multi-family dwellings and commercial interests to go solar. However, they are also in the process of applying for new routes for pipelines that would cut large swaths through national and state forests, cross streams and rivers to supply more energy to all of us. Dominion is regulated by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) and it is most helpful when they hear from Virginia residents. If you have concerns about any of their plans, don’t hesitate to contact your delegates, state senators and (SCC)

So what does this mean for Penrose? We need to keep applying pressure to both VDOT and Dominion to keep them from destroying our trees. Hopefully VDOT’s new approach will improve their tree retention. We did not get any assurances from Dominion Power, however, as mentioned above, don’t hesitate to report any concerns.

Terri Armao

Chair, Environmental Committee

By Terri Armao at 20 Dec 2015

Hello from your newly elected president

Hi everyone!

I’m the new Penrose Neighborhood Association President. New to the role, I want to get a feeling about where our association should focus. Our Constitution says:

“Generally, the purpose of the Association is:

  1. To stimulate and encourage good citizenship.
  2. To promote better physical conditions in the community.
  3. To stimulate the improvement of property.
  4. To foster closer community spirit.
  5. To promote the collective interests of the residents and property owners of the community.
  6. To assist the community in obtaining information, services, and improvements from the County and State.
  7. To represent the community in relations with the County Government.”

If you want to read the Constitution, it’s here: (So much grander than Bylaws, right?)

Having been a member of the association for the past 5+ years, I think we are true to our purpose. The thing I am hearing the most is a desire to focus on number 4 and to increase participation in the association. There are really interesting things going on in Arlington and we can use the association to keep abreast and also participate in county groups. Since I’ve joined we’ve brought lots of new trees to private homes and apartment complexes, we’ve worked with the county to prepare the bike path plans, street updates, evaluate school issues, and more. We’ve hosted social events, like the picnic, social meetings in Penrose restaurants, etc.

An association is only as good at those who participate. What could we do that would generate your interest? Do you have any specific interests that you could bring to the association? I’d sincerely appreciate hearing from you. Drop a comment or a reply to the listserv or Facebook or comment on this blog.

 Oh, and we need a treasurer. Easy job, really.

Yours truly,

Maria “Pete” Durgan

6th St. S

By Maria Pete Durgan at 8 Nov 2015

Welcome to the Penrose Neighborhood Association Blog

In March 2011, I moved back to Penrose, the neighborhood where I grew up. The Safeway and Giant were gone, Penrose Square was being built and there was all kinds of buzz about a streetcar. Defense Communications was gone, and the Navy Annex was moving in. So many changes were happening, and I wanted to meet some new people. I visited the Penrose Assn. tent at the Columbia Pike Blues Festival and learned about some issues they were facing. I decided I should attend a meeting.

And I found a terrific group of people who really care about their neighborhood, neighbors, schools, and county issues that affect us all. I attended meetings and got involved in the advocacy around the bike path that will pass by my house and other issues. Good things happened. I’m glad to be a part of the Association, and on behalf of the Association I’m inviting you to join us.

At a recent meeting we decided to move into the digital age and start a blog. We want to reach out to our neighbors but realized that a paper newsletter is passé these days. We decided to put a flyer together to announce the blog, you should be seeing that soon.

This blog will be dedicated to issues that affect our Penrose neighborhood. Please join our listserv and we’ll let you know about new posts.

A neighborhood association is only as good as the people involved. We hope you’ll join us to make our little place in Arlington as good as it can be.


By Maria "Pete" Durgan at 12 Sep 2015

How do I post to the blog?

So glad you asked! We have a blog master, Maria Pete Durgan, Vice President of the Association. Send her an email at

We will accept articles on issues that affect our Penrose neighborhood. Think local rather than national. It’s pretty open, feel free to pitch a topic or just send a post for consideration. We may edit for grammar and punctuation.

Let’s go! Send us your articles.


By Maria "Pete" Durgan at 12 Sep 2015

Coming soon...

Out with the paper, in with the electrons!  Penrose Tracks is going full-on-digital!

More to come!

By Chris Slatt at 18 Aug 2015
There are 5 items on 1 pages.