Reston, VA

The county plans to close on a long-awaited workforce housing development in Herndon this fall.

Construction on the 274-unit project, which is located south of the Dulles Access Road, will be completed in the summer of 2022.

The apartment building is located in the Arrowbrook Centre, a mixed-use project that includes Arrowbrook Centre Park, for-sale townhomes and condominiums and office buildings.

Once construction is completed, roughly $7.7 million in Housing Blueprint funds will be issued.  The Fairfax County Housing Redevelopment Authority will also issue roughly $22 million in bonds for the transaction this summer. Closing is expected in the fall.

“We’re really excited about this one,” said Tom Fleetwood at a Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s housing committee meeting earlier this week.

The rental community targets households with incomes at or below 30, 40, 50 and 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). The county will provide 14 units using state and federal vouchers that target households at 40 percent of the AMI. Half of the remaining units will be financed through Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

Units will vary between 422 square feet for studio sand 1,305 square feet for three-bedroom units.

A Feb. 2019 market feasibility analysis noted that Arrowbrook Centre is located in a market area. That is “younger, affluent section of an equally affluent county.” Roughly 40 percent of the primary market area’s renters are young adults under the age of 35, according to the report.

Image via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Last night’s town hall with Fairfax County’s police chief covered a variety of issues related to police reform, from progress on the demands made by Fairfax County NAACP to body-worn cameras.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn hosted the meeting last night to give locals a chance to provide input and ask questions. The conflict-free town hall mainly focused on Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. answering questions from audience members and explaining FCPD’s policies in detail.

Roessler highlighted the reforms made by FCPD since the shooting of John Geer, an unarmed Springfield man, in 2013. They have shifted towards a “co-production” method of policing, which emphasizes the importance of community engagement by bringing in advocates to review issues and discuss police report narratives.

A big goal of the police department is to increase diversion of tasks, including sending mental health or substance abuse cases away from the police. Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who is the chair of the county’s Public Safety Committee, also emphasized that the current range of issues diverted to the police is “too much to ask of them” and is in support of the Diversion First model.

The chief addressed terminology that the public wanted to be defined, including the FCPD’s definition of the use of force as “anything beyond a guide or escort, or above putting handcuffs on.” Roessler said that anything beyond that is subject to investigation. Additionally, he clarified that chokeholds are prohibited in Fairfax County.

Roessler also touched on the development of body-worn cameras. He said that the idea has been in the works since June 2015, and he wants to adopt the co-production model of community engagement in this development.

He says they are making “great progress” on this project and that the policies regarding the cameras are addressed online in an American University pilot program testing the same model of body camera policies. They plan to evaluate the body cameras again in-person in September to ensure the policies are exceeding community expectations.

Roessler discussed the evaluation and promotion process of officers, saying that evaluation begins upon application. He described a thorough path of training that officers go through before assignments. Additionally, they value community engagement when evaluating candidates for senior staff positions to ensure officers “embody the spirit of what the community needs for the future.”

“We want our officers to engage with the community members in a positive fashion, not just calls for service,” Roessler said in describing what they look for upon officer evaluation.

Other issues covered included the presence of the MS-13 gang, to which Roessler said they “will be relentless on gang activity in Fairfax County.”

When asked how the police department addresses domestic and sexual violence, Roessler said they use the Lethality Assessment Program — Maryland Model to assess the situation and connect victims with immediate help, such as counselors, attorneys or volunteers from the community.

Photo via Youtube Live

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Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

LA Fitness finally opened its doors in Herndon Center yesterday (July 1).

The fitness gym was expected to open in early January, but permitting issues and the COVID-19 pandemic delayed opening day. The gym is located at 494 Elden Street.

Kristhian Reyes, the general manager of the location, said he is excited to welcome patrons to the facility.

“In all honesty, we are just glad to be open and be able to actually show everyone what they’ve been waiting for. So far the opening has gone great members are excited to see the facility and be able to finally get in and use it,” he said.

For now, LA Fitness will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Photo via Kristhian Reyes

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Walmart Labs is expanding its presence in the Reston area.  The announcement comes as a growing number of technologies — including Microsoft — expand their footprint in the community.

The company’s technology arm has signed to lease establish a new technology center at 2245 Monroe Street, according to the Washington Business Journal.

WBJ also reports that the company will take up roughly 162,300 square-feet of a building owned by an affiliate of Barings Real Estate.

The building, which is located near the Herndon Metro Station, was recently renovated. The company already leases spaces at 10780 Parkridge in Reston.

The move would bring more than 100 jobs to Reston.

Photo courtesy Transwestern

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Back in March, a couple of weeks after the 2020 General Assembly session had adjourned, I wrote in my weekly column that while the annual meeting of the state legislature had been “historic, transformative, and consequential” there was also as I entitled the column “More Work Left to be Done.” At the time it was expected that many of the issues that had not been addressed would be taken up in future legislative sessions. There was no way to know the explosive nature of subsequent events that now make it clear that we must get back to work without delay.

The indelible photo of a policeman choking the life out of a black man without provocation or cause made it clear to me and others that there are injustices in our society that cannot wait to be addressed. The Black Lives Matter movement has made the need crystal clear. The stories of black persons who have come forth to tell what it is like to grow up black in this country make my heart weep. Fellow delegate Don Scott made the case clearly in an opinion piece he wrote last week: “The daily indignities of being black can be burdensome. If we respond to it all, we would have riots daily. Black people, for the most part, have always been tolerant. Even with all of our progress, President Barack Obama and all, we are reminded that George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery could have been any of us. That is why we are outraged and, truth be told, very afraid.” We cannot have a just society when so many of our citizens live in very real fear.

I am pleased that leadership of the House of Delegates and Senate have announced that the special session of the General Assembly, expected to be held in late August to deal with budgetary adjustments that must be addressed with the current economic depression, will be expanded to include proposed legislation to address injustices in our criminal justice system and in our policing. The Legislative Black Caucus of the General Assembly has proposed an extensive agenda that includes declaring racism a public health crisis, creating a civilian review board of policing action with subpoena power, ending qualified immunity for police officers, expanding the use of body cameras, defining and restricting excessive use of force including banning the use of chokeholds and restricting the use of tear gas and militarization tactics and weapons against civilians, passing “Breonna’s Law” to end no-knock warrants, reducing police presence in schools and replacing them with mental health professionals, reinstituting parole, passing cash bail reform, and more.

At the beginning of the session earlier this year the Speaker of the House of Delegates changed the name and mission of the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee to be the Public Safety Committee. I am pleased to have been named a member of that committee. With the Courts of Justice Committee we will be having three virtual public hearings on a schedule to be announced. In the meantime, your suggestions on getting this work done would be appreciated.

File photo

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The Closet of the Greater Herndon Area, Inc. has awarded 22 local high school students $45,000 worth of college scholarships. The students span across five high schools in the community, according to a statement released by the organization. 

“We are so proud of these youth and their families and are happy to continue supporting this important educational need in our community,”  said Gene Wiley, The Closet’s board president

According to the statement, The Closet thrift shop has awarded more than $500,000 in college scholarships to more than 500 students since 1974. They have also distributed almost $3 million in direct cash grants to local service groups.

A breakdown of the awardees is below:

  • From Herndon High School, the recipients are Lucilla Antwie, Karen Ayala-Bonilla, Caleb Calderwood, Sean Frias, Maryum Khan and Judith Velasquez.
  • From Mountain View High School, the recipients are Doris Alvarado, Abonesh Tadese and Tenzin Tsering.
  • From Oakton High School, the recipients are Olohi Anteyi, Monica Alexandra Castellanos and Maria S. Rivera.
  • From Park View High School, the recipients are Ebanneh Atabe, Charlotte Edwards, Kimberly Fuentes-Galvez, Kimberly Molina Rivas, Kaitlyn Smith, and Melana Washington.
  • From South Lakes High School, the recipients are Rhema Ebna Konadu, Nicol Katherin Salinas Perez, Daniel Mebratu Tolessa and Nia Jordan Winston.

 

The thrift shop is a non-profit group based on faith-based congregations. They hold a small staff, with volunteers helping out the store as well.

Those looking to donate can drop off clothing and small household items on Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Additionally, those interested in volunteering can contact the store owner, Patricia Rhodes, at 703-437-7652.

Photo courtesy of The Closet of the Greater Herndon Area, Inc. 

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New Purple Bin for Reston — Reston officially has two purple glass recycling bins. The newest addition is located in the parking lot of Baron Cameron Park in Reston. [Fairfax County Government]

Stolen Car Recovered After Arrest — Local police have arrested a drive and passenger after they discovered that a car involved in an accident appeared to be stolen. The incident occurred on June 30 at 2431 Fox Mill Road at around 4 p.m.  [Fairfax County Police Department]

Gradual Reopening of RECenter Planned — “The Fairfax County Park Authority’s nine RECenters will reopen to the public over the next several weeks as the region moves into Phase Three of Gov. Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia Blueprint. This will be a phased reopening starting with Lee District, Oak Marr and Spring Hill RECenters on Monday, July 13, 2020.” [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax Connector to Operate Saturday Service — “Fairfax Connector Bus Service will operate Saturday service on Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, 2020, in observance of the Independence Day Holiday.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehll/Flickr

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The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce has elected its 2020-2021 Board of Directors.

Dee Kakar, vice president at M&T Bank, will begin his term as board chairman. He replaces Maggie Parker, senior vice president of community relations  at Comstock, who ended her year of leadership. Tom Madden of Visual Impact Productions will take over as chair-elect. Parker will continue in to serve on the board in her new position as secretary.

“The 2020 – 2021 year will be a challenging yet defining year for businesses and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce,” Kakar said. “I am committed to the challenge of furthering the conversation on diversity, social injustice, and inclusion. We will invent new ways of promoting business and continue our history of being a leader in the Dulles Corridor.” 

A complete breakdown of this year’s Board of Directors is below:

  • Matt Clary, law offices of Matt Clary
  • Kendal Coleman, CST
  • Charles Kapur, GRCC
  • Joe Becker, Not Your Average Joe’s
  • Matt Brennan, Brennan and White
  • Iris Britt, Iris Britt Consulting
  • Steve Coniglio, Hidden Creek Country Club
  • John Deardorff, Reston Hospital Center
  • Michael Delpierre, Conversion
  • Bailey Edelson, JBG Properties
  • Jame Estep, John Marshall Bank
  • Mike Franz, SOSi
  • Leila Gordon, Reston Community Center
  • Bob. Hicks, Bean Kinney & Korman
  • Mike Jennings, BEI
  • Andy Klaff, Newmark Knight Frank
  • Alex Lane, Northwest Federal Credit Union
  • Hank Lynch, Reston Association
  • Jeff Makhlouf, Sheraton Reston
  • Colin May, KME.digital
  • Mike Misleh, Veatch Commercial
  • Shane Murphy, Reed Smith LLP
  • Andrew Painter, Walsh., Colluci, Lubuley & Walsh
  • Chris Pharo, Leidos
  • Kenyetta Price, Boston Properties
  • Anne Rosenblum, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
  • Laura Siko, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Kevin Taylor, CDB-X
  • Gordon. Thrall, ,Geurnsey Office Supplies
  • Monica Tressler, Sandy Spring. Bank
  • Tyson Warren, Hyatt Regency Reston
  • Carrie Welch, Comfort Works
  • Charlene Wheeless, Charlene Wheeless, LLC
  • Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones

Charles Kapur, president and CEO of GRCC said the chamber has been “blessed with corporate citizens” who accepted nominations to serve as members of the board.

Each year, the chamber’s membership elected the chair-elect and new and re-appointed members of the Board of Directors. This year’s slate was unanimously approved by GRCC’s membership, Kapur said.

Photo via Myers Public Relations, LLC

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A forensic analysis by Ernst & Young (EY) has flagged concerns with past financial practices and decision making by the Lake Anne Reston Condominium Association.

LARCA President Senzel Schaefer said she initiated the review following a board vote after last year’s election brought a new slate of board members who committed to “change and fiscal responsibility.” In-fighting and contention over finances have marred the board leading up to and following the election. Schaefer said she hoped the review would shed light on financial mismanagement, ultimately putting the board on “a new path to financial solvency.”

The review calls on LARCA to establish better internal controls and accountability practices. E&Y reviewed spending and other activities of the previous LARCA board over the last three fiscal years.

Schaefer said the report — which she characterized as an audit — is critical to improving the financial standing of the association. She says she’s been targeted by a “small but vocal group” of people seeking to halt the audit and her work. A lawsuit has been served against her, she said.

“I repeatedly pointed out to these individuals and still believe that good governance starts with transparency of operations and finances and following our bylaws, which were not adhered to in the past, so I will not stop the audit because we need to know where operations broke down and how to fix them,” she said.

“The question should be: in light of our financial irregularity and operational failures; why would anyone be so opposed to an audit which would give us answers and a path forward?” she added.

Others contend the review offers an incomplete and misleading picture of LARCA’s past financial practices. They also state Schaefer acted unilaterally by approaching E&Y with strong allegations against the previous board. Schaefer denies those allegations, saying she acted with the consent of the board.

Karen Jarvis, a property owner at Lake Anne who stepped down from her role as chair of LARCA’s finance committee, said a request for significant additions, corrections, and retractions is in progress. Jarvis, who is a procurement compliance manager and a former finance manager, says that the report is based on limited documentation to E&Y — some of which she says is accessible in LARCA’s administrative office.

“We are still working with E&Y to get a final version signed off with corrections,” Jarvis said. “There were huge amounts of information that were not provided but are readily available.”

The draft report — which was posted publicly by a community advocacy group — was released on May 29 and presented to the membership in mid-June. The Fairfax County Police Department also expects to release a report about its investigation of LARCA by the end of July, according to Second Lieutenant Erica Webb.

When analyzing $2.68 million dispersed to the top ten vendors, EY found “limited written policies and procedures at LARCA,” including the lack of written bidding, contracting or payment requirements. It suggested considering rebidding for large vendors to ensure the most favorable market-competitive rates were secured.

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