Arlington County

The following were among actions taken at the May 19 meeting of the Arlington County Board. For more information, call 358-3130.

CLARENDON -- The board approved in concept guidelines for revitalizing the Clarendon Metro area, including restrictions on the height of building fronts and incentives for developers to preserve 11 of the area's oldest buildings.

The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed guidelines on July 7.

Last year, the board endorsed a plan for redeveloping the neighborhood -- bounded by 13th Street North, North Fillmore Street, 10th Street North and North Jackson Street -- known about 50 years ago as Northern Virginia's "downtown" and more recently as "Little Saigon" for its number of Asian-owned restaurants and businesses.

The redevelopment plan calls for preserving neighborhood businesses by providing space for small shops and restaurants while allowing office buildings up to 10 stories. The plan also calls for creating a park and pedestrian walkways and creating a retail-oriented street between 13th and 11th Streets North.

Now the board is in the process of determining zoning restrictions and land use guidelines for developers to implement the plan. To that end, the board agreed that the facades of multi-story buildings in the main corridors of Clarendon, including Wilson Boulevard, Washington Boulevard and North Highland Street, should not be more than 30 feet tall to keep the area primarily small scale. Retail businesses would be encouraged on the lowest floors.

The board also gave preliminary approval for providing incentives for developers to preserve the facades of 11 buildings dating back to the 1930s and 1940s, such as by allowing denser office or retail developments.

As the redevelopment unfolds, the board will address details such as how to compensate local owners whose businesses suffer during construction periods and managing traffic through the area.

Fairfax County

The following were among actions taken by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at its May 21 meeting. For more information, call 246-3151.

DIVESTING FROM SOUTH AFRICA -- The board postponed a decision on halting further county investments in companies that do business with South Africa and delayed phasing out existing holdings until action can be taken when the full board is present. Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee) was absent from the meeting and three supervisors left the room when the vote was to be held.

Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder this month directed all state agencies and institutions to refrain from investing in companies that are not "substantively" free of interests in South Africa and to begin divesting of interests in companies with such connections, in protest of the country's policy of apartheid, or racial separation.

Supervisor Katherine K. Hanley (D-Providence) made the request and was supported by Board Chairman Audrey Moore and Supervisors Martha V. Pennino (D-Centreville), Gerald W. "Gerry" Hyland (D-Mt. Vernon) and Lilla Richards (D-Dranesville).

Supervisors Elaine McConnell (Springfield), Thomas M. Davis III (Mason) and Sharon Bulova (D-Annandale) were not in the meeting room when the vote was to have been taken. After the meeting, the three board members said they needed more time to consider what economic impact divesting may have on the county. The board will reconsider the issue at its June 25 meeting, when all members are expected to be present.

CENTREVILLE ROAD WIDENING -- The board unanimously recommended that the Virginia Department of Transportation delay widening a section of Centreville Road from two lanes to six, recommending instead that it widen the roadway to four lanes and buy land that, if necessary, could be used to widen the roadway to six lanes in the future.

Centreville Road extends from Herndon in the north to Chantilly in the south, just east of Route 28 near Dulles Airport. At issue is a section from Frying Pan Road south to Route 50.

The board also recommended that the state highway department relocate the proposed alignment of the road from the east to the west and that all intersections along the road be designed for six lanes.

For nearly a year, residents who live near the proposed project have argued against widening the road to six lanes, saying such a plan violates the county's comprehensive plan and that environmental and safety issues have not been adequately addressed.

Final decision on the proposal rests with the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The board meets monthly in Richmond and is expected to consider the issue in late summer or early fall, a VDOT spokesman said.

SECURITY ALARMS -- The board directed county staff to consider fining businesses or people with security alarms that are repeatedly activated unnecessarily.

Last year, more than 98 percent of security alarm calls that the Fairfax County police responded to were unnecessary, according to county officials. Of 37,383 alarms that were activated, police were needed in only 439 cases. The county spent more than $1 million and 15,000 hours on such calls last year, according to Richard A. King, deputy county executive for public safety.

County officials said they plan to meet with citizens and members of the business community to discuss the proposed ordinance, which would apply to alarms that are activated unnecessarily more than five times a year.

GYPSY MOTHS -- As part of its continuing effort to battle gypsy moths, the county will spend $4,600 to buy an additional 90,000 pieces of burlap for citizens' use in combating the pests. The request was made by supervisor Hyland, who noted that the county was expected to run out of burlap sometime this week.

The burlap strips are available at government centers, and the county has already purchased 180,000 pieces of burlap this year. The county's extension office is encouraging residents to wrap the material around trees to help detect and control the leaf-eating insects.

The caterpillars, which feed at night, take shelter under the burlap during the day. Residents can then pick them off and dispose of them in jars of soapy water or diluted bleach.