81°Mostly Cloudy

by Dave Emke — February 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm 10 Comments

ParkRTC sign in Reston Town CenterA group planning an organized protest of Boston Properties’ paid parking initiative at Reston Town Center continues to grow.

More than 300 people have indicated on Facebook that they plan to participate in the event, while more than 800 others have shown interest. Guarang Shah, one of the group’s organizers, said he is confident there will be a strong turnout for the event. A large number of commenters on the Facebook page have shown their support for the cause and/or announced their intention to attend.

Shah said the protest won’t take place on Reston Town Center property, as Boston Properties did not grant permission for the group to do it there. The group will “march a route provided by the Fairfax County Police,” according to the Facebook page.

Elizabeth Krial, another event organizer, said she has spoken about the group’s concerns with Raymond Ritchey, Boston Properties executive vice president.

“The protest is not about an opposition to Boston Properties, the protest is to bring them to a conversation about how this parking model could be improved so it actually works for the demographic,” Krial said. “[Ritchey] definitely seemed like a part of him was open. I think it was a good positive first step. He said he is personally and professionally invested in the Town Center.”

The protest is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. Saturday.

by Dave Emke — February 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm 14 Comments

Reston Transit Area/Fairfax County

At their meeting last week, the Reston Association Board of Directors officially took a position against a residential tax related to the $2.27 billion Reston Transportation Funding Plan.

Saying that RA has historically not taken a stance on county tax issues, the original recommendation to the board from land-use attorney John McBride was to not do so. Director Sherri Hebert (Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District), though, said she believes there should be no special tax and that it would behoove the board to go on record with that stance.

“Are we going to let this happen? There are so many things that come along with this tax for the residential units within the [Transit Station Area],” she said. “We hope that every cluster that starts to pop up in the TSA we’re going to bring into RA, so I would think that we would want to make a stance that this needs to be paid for by the developers.”

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) agreed with Hebert’s assessment.

“As we seek to make in-roads into what’s becoming more residential within that corridor, it’s important that we not be short-sighted in our anticipation of addressing those concerns,” she said.

The tax would be on all types of real estate, not just residential, McBride clarified.

The motion passed by RA directors Thursday states that while they recognize the improvements are needed to keep pace with development, they do not want the proposed service district tax applied to residential properties within the TSA.

“I think we need to have a longer-term strategy… that takes these issues into account,” Michael Sanio, RA Board vice president, said. “We should not be silent, we should not just have these events happen and us not have a voice in them.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the plan today at 4:30 p.m.

Map of Reston Transit Station Area via Fairfax County

by Eve Thompson — February 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm 5 Comments

Reston Real Estate column banner

There are some new apartments in town, and they’re called BLVD Residential at Reston Station. One guess where they’re located. I have to say, they look very nice based on those pictures in the development’s web gallery.

Here are some more details on them:

The developer is Comstock. This mixed-use development has 450 apartments and is located directly adjacent to the Wiehle-Reston East station. Units are luxury studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom plus den apartments. All feature top-of-the-line amenities like gorgeous wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. Click here to see the floor plans.

In addition to the gorgeous apartments, the building includes:

  • Rooftop pool and terrace, demonstration kitchen, bar and game room
  • Rooftop fitness center, weight room and yoga studio
  • Pet-friendly and smoke-free environment
  • A Starbucks (which is very handy on that short walk to the Metro station)

RA ACCESS

While the building does not fall within Reston Association’s covenanted land, BLVD Residential is one of the first buildings in the TSA (Transit Station Area) to be brought into Reston Association through a supplemental declaration. What this means to residents is that they will have access to RA programs and services at alternative rates compared to other members. And design review for the property will be conducted with support from Reston Association staff using urban design guidelines developed for Reston Station.

by RestonNow.com — February 28, 2017 at 12:40 pm 2 Comments

Becky McCleskey/US Park Police(Edited 2:35 p.m. to clarify McCleskey was from Arlington)

The United States Park Police says a body recovered Friday in the Potomac River is that of a woman who went missing three weeks ago in Great Falls.

Becky McCleskey, 56, was reported missing Feb. 6. Her vehicle was found in the parking lot at Great Falls National Park. An extensive air, land and water search was conducted by the United States Park Police and the Montgomery County fire and police departments.

The body was discovered at about 5:50 p.m. Friday in the water near Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, Maryland.

ARLnow reports McCleskey lived in Arlington and had a high school-aged son.

Officials say there is no indication of foul play.

Photo courtesy U.S. Park Police

by Dave Emke — February 28, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

11111 Sunset Hills Road/The Meridian GroupArlington-based Rooney Properties has plans for a large residential project at 11111 Sunset Hills Road, the Washington Business Journal reports.

Unlike other development Rooney has planned in the area, however, this will not include destruction of the current property. According to the report, Rooney will buy only a portion of the 222,000-square foot office building, owned by The Meridian Group, which it plans to redevelop into living spaces.

The site is currently zoned industrial, and is the home of businesses including IBM and Akamai Technologies. Rooney has filed to rezone it to planned district commercial, for a mixed-use development to include the construction of up to 175 multi-family units and 13 townhouses.

The residences are planned for the western portion of the existing site, according to the statement of justification, “closest to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and proximate to the residences planned just to the west.”

The adjacent property to the west is 1831 Michael Faraday Drive, also owned by Rooney Properties. The firm is seeking rezoning of that property, which currently is home to a single-story office building it has plans to demolish to make room for new residences there as well.

The Fairfax Newsletter recently reported that the plans for the Sunset Hills Road property propose “an urban, walkable” development while “retaining and incorporating the existing office building and an extension of Reston Station Boulevard through the site to Sunset Hills.”

The statement of justification also reports that public open space planned for the property would integrate with public open space on the Michael Faraday Drive property “to create a large combined public park.”

Meridian purchased the property in 2015. According to its investment strategy, it “intends to benefit from the nearby redevelopments to the neighborhood, which will connect the property to the Metro via retail-oriented, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes as the area transitions to a mixed-use, 18-hour environment.”

Rooney Properties is also the owner of the property where Sekas Homes is developing Sunrise Square, as well as the Sunrise Valley Drive property where a six-story office building is scheduled for demolition to make way for residential development.

Photo via The Meridian Group

by Dave Emke — February 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Police lineA home in the 1000 block of Harriman Street in Great Falls was burglarized last week.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, the report was made at 5:20 p.m. Friday. A resident reported that someone had entered the home and taken property.

Other incidents reported by the FCPD’s Reston District Station in the past week include:

LARCENIES:

12000 block of Edgemere Circle, coat and sunglasses from vehicle

1800 block of Jonathan Way, medication from residence

13600 block of McLearen Road, cell phone from school

11800 block of Triple Crown Road, wallet from residence

2300 block of Hunters Woods Plaza, alcohol from business

1100 block of Walker Road, credit cards from business

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, bicycle from residence

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

Anyone with information about any of these incidents should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

by Dave Emke — February 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes

Citizens Advisory Committee Meets Tonight — Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler is scheduled to speak at the Reston District Station’s Citizens Advisory Committee meeting tonight. The committee will meet at 7 p.m. at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive). [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

Devyn Jones/SLHS AthleticsSLHS Indoor Track Records Set — Senior Devyn Jones (pictured) set a school record in the 55-meter hurdles (8.31 seconds) during the state indoor championships last weekend in Hampton. In addition, the team of Sophie Halkett, Aly Rayle, Jordan Anderson and Olivia Beckner set a school record in the 4×800 meter relay (9 minutes, 20.2 seconds). All five record-setters earned All-State honors, as did Sean Casey, Jack Eggeman, Mary Gregory, Stevie Jones, Alex Loukili, Timiebi Ogobri, Peter Sepulveda, Jack Watkins and Don’ta Whitley. [South Lakes High School]

Magnet Program Lottery Registration Underway — Parents wishing to enroll their students in the magnet program at Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, or other magnet programs in the county, must register their intention online. The lottery process began Monday and will end March 27, with the lottery itself to be held in early April. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Running Women Welcome in Group — Registration is now underway for the 2017 Reston Runners Women’s Training Program. The group will meet every Monday from April 24 to June 12. The Reston Runners Women’s 5K is set for June 17. [Reston Runners]

Photo of Devyn Jones courtesy South Lakes High School track and field/Mary Ann Magnant

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — February 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Legal Insider

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Plaza America that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement, and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Virginia employees are protected by Occupational Safety and Health laws from retaliation and discrimination if they report safety and health issues in the workplace.

In Virginia, an employee shall not be discriminated against or terminated in retaliation for filing a safety or health complaint, testifying or exercising a right under Virginia Code Ann. § 40.1-51.2:1 concerning employee safety and health.

Examples Where Law Might Apply

Here are some examples where the Virginia law against retaliation might apply. Keep in mind that this particular Virginia law is focused on dangers reported that could affect an employee or other employees in the workplace.

  1. An employee reports to the fire department that there is a gas leak in the office. The fire department finds the cause of the leak and the employer is required to upgrade the gas lines. The manager gets upset at the cost to fix the leak and fires the employee.
  1. An employee informs her manager that work vehicles are unsafe and not maintained properly. The manager, rather than fix the work vehicles, decides to fire the employee as a means to keep her from complaining or exposing the issues.
  1. An employee reports a severe mold problem in the workplace. As a result, the employer is forced to spend a significant amount of money to fix the mold problem. The Employee is fired as a result of reporting the issue.

Process for Filing a VOSH Complaint

A Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) complaint of retaliation or discrimination must be filed within 60 days of the discriminatory action with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. If not, the complaint is likely to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Following the filing of a complaint, a VOSH investigator will contact the complainant and/or his/her counsel and will initiate an investigation if all of the requirements for jurisdiction have been met.

An investigation may lead to a settlement for the employee or could lead to sustained findings. There are also civil court remedies for an employee if a sustained violation by the investigator is not found.

If you believe that your employer has treated you differently for reporting a safety and health issue or need assistance with another employment law issue in Virginia, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

by Dave Emke — February 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm 10 Comments

Reston Association Central Services FacilityAt its meeting Thursday, the Reston Association Board of Directors unanimously approved the release of just over $200,000 in funds previously allocated to the Central Services Facility renovation, to begin the architecture and engineering phase of the project.

According to Garrett Skinner, RA’s capital projects director, the funds will be used to develop detailed design and construction plans, further “value engineer” the project for cost savings, prepare permit application documents, receive detailed construction bids, and prepare the report for the Board of Directors to consider for the project’s next phase.

The project was put on hold in June 2016 when the board recommended such large-scale projects be paused until the Tetra/Lake House independent review was conducted. The board approved in December the release of funds to have staff work with project managers on an updated estimate of project cost.

Before the project was placed on hold, $87,000 was expended in the planning and design phase.

The project will include upgrades to the facility’s main building, shop area and warehouse:

  • bathroom in warehouse building for environmental staff
  • additional exit and ADA accessibility for warehouse office area
  • replace all windows in main building
  • add to bathroom capacity in main building to meet volume needs
  • address leaking roof
  • improve reception area for staff and RA members
  • provide HVAC system for shop area
  • install security system
  • upgrade LAN connectivity
  • provide adequate workspaces
  • provide modular training space

RA staff says the cost of the project may increase by about 10 percent because it has been on hold, owed to increased demand for construction in the Dulles Corridor and greater Washington region. Skinner said at Thursday’s meeting that staff is “working hard” to try to stay within the projected cost of the renovation, which had been set at $1,553,185.

by Dave Emke — February 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm 30 Comments

Lake Newport Pool/Credit: Mike CollinsIn an email to Reston Association directors last week, CEO Cate Fulkerson said a new policy requiring photos to be submitted with pool-pass applications is being altered.

A number of RA members have spelled out their concerns about providing photos, particularly of children, that would be stored in an online database to verify membership when using a pool. In response, RA will make exceptions to the requirement.

In the email, Fulkerson said RA is “absolutely sensitive” to residents’ concerns:

“For those who do not wish to have their photo on file, for example, due to custody-related matters or other concerns, we ask that they contact our Member Services Department so that we may assist them. Persons without a photo on file will be required to present a current state or other government-issued photo identification evidencing a physical address matching their household information each time they visit a facility.”

The new entrance system works similarly to that of a membership-based gym, Fulkerson said. Photos would not appear on the physical pass; rather, they would solely be on the WebTrac account accessible by staff members with scanning devices at the entrances to each facility. In her email, the CEO said only two pools will be equipped with the scanning technology this year; others will be upgraded “in the future.”

The photo requirement was added to the policy in the attempt to stop people from sharing their passes, Fulkerson said.

“Unfortunately in the past, we have had individuals give their pass to a neighbor or friend in lieu of purchasing their own,” she said in the email. “We believe [requiring photos] will better protect the value of our members’ assessments by improving the way in which we verify the identities of patrons using RA pools.”

Fulkerson said she plans to provide an overview of the new pass system during the March 23 meeting of the Reston Association Board of Directors.

by Dave Emke — February 27, 2017 at 11:30 am 7 Comments

Sunrise Square plan/Reston Association

At its meeting last week, the RA Board of Directors unanimously approved the addition of a planned Sunrise Valley Drive community into Reston Association.

Sunrise Square developmentSunrise Square, at the site of the former American Press Institute headquarters (11690 Sunrise Valley Drive), is being developed by Sekas Homes. Its plans consist of 34 townhouses and 10 condos.

A public hearing on the addition of property request was held Jan. 26, at which time the board determined comments from the community warranted further discussion.

With its membership in RA, Sunrise Square will be subject to various terms and conditions, including:

  • The entire property will be subject to the Reston Deed
  • The establishment of a cluster association — Sunrise Square
  • Full payment, per unit of the RA annual assessment
  • The grant of a fee simple dedication for RA common area or easement for RA common area (use and maintenance)

“I think this is a no-brainer,” said Jeff Thomas, At-Large director, prior to the vote. “I think it’s a good investment in Reston, because it provides us a foothold in all the development that’s going to happen around there, and it’s going to help create more contiguous properties that we can tie amenities into.”

The property is located in the corridor that was originally part of the Reston Center for Industry and Government (RCIG).

“We’re injecting residential where it was never planned,” said John McBride, RA’s land-use attorney. “In order to keep Reston Reston, it needs to be subjected to the Reston covenants through a supplemental declaration, and the new residents should be RA members.”

Sunrise Square plan illustration via Reston Association

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — February 27, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

This is a promoted post by Towns of Lansdowne Square.

  • 19345 Diamond Lake Drive, Leesburg, VA 20176
  • Homes priced from the mid-$500s
  • Sales gallery and model residence open Saturday-Wednesday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • LiveLansdowne.com

Join us at our Phase II Model Grand Opening, March 4-5, to explore what makes the Towns of Lansdowne Square a perfect new home for any buyer.

With Phase II just released, now is the time to discover the Towns of Lansdowne Square, a collection of 23 luxury urban townhomes that is reshaping the heart of the Lansdowne Town Center. These spacious townhomes feature three- and four-bedroom multi-level floorplans with the following modern touches to enhance your daily life:

  • 5-inch hardwood flooring and two-piece crown molding
  • Granite countertops and KitchenAid appliances
  • Pella windows and solid core doors
  • Private elevators available
  • Expansive outdoor terraces
  • Community pool and fitness center amenities

If you are looking to live in the center of a truly walkable community, these new townhomes are surrounded by shops and restaurants such as Harris Teeter, Panera Bread and BlooMoo Yogurt, in addition to convenient staples such as the Hair Cuttery, CVS Pharmacy, Shell Gas Station and Lansdowne Dry Cleaners. You will never have to venture too far to run errands or enjoy an evening out, especially as the town center expands, introducing Not Your Average Joe’s and Ford’s Fish Shack to the mix.

Phase II is released and sales are underway. To learn more, contact Will Richey, sales manager, at 703-763-2721 or [email protected].

by Dave Emke — February 27, 2017 at 9:00 am 10 Comments

Morning Notes - Winter

Officer’s Name to Be Made Public — The Fairfax County Police Department has been informed by the FBI that there is no credible threat to the officer who shot and killed a Herndon man Jan. 16, ending a chaotic barricade/hostage situation. Police Chief Edwin Roessler says the officer’s name will be released. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Community Council on Land Use Meets Tonight — The group, chaired by former county planning commissioner Walter Alcorn, aims to produce a set of recommendations that would improve Fairfax County’s public outreach and community engagement in the land use and development process. It plans to meet every other Monday at 7:30 p.m., through April 24, at the Fairfax County Government Center. [Fairfax County]

Robin McGreer/FCPDPolice Say Man Bites Another’s Face in ‘Bias-Related’ Attack — Robin McGreer (pictured), 35, of McLean, faces a charge of maliciously causing bodily injury after police say he used racial slurs while threatening a man before biting him, resulting in a “significant facial wound.” The incident took place in a Tysons Corner Center parking lot. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Australian Company Takes Full Ownership of Greenway — Macquarie Atlas Roads last week became full owner of the Dulles Greenway. The company’s chief executive said he hopes to boost revenues by improving entry and exit points. [Australian Financial Review]

Reston Native Working to Defend Against Cyber Threats — Cmdr. Nick Shur is serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a member of Space and Warfare Systems Command, which works to improve cyber war-fighting capability and enhances technology on surface ships, aircraft and submarines. [Fairfax Times]

Herndon High Grad Is a Diamond Star — Ky Parrott, of the Herndon High School Class of 2013, has been named to the preseason first-team all-conference baseball team in the Colonial Athletic Association. A senior at James Madison University, Parrott has started the season strong as well. [JMU Breeze]

by Dave Emke — February 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Reston Parkway underpass on W&OD Trail

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here is a sampling of what’s available in Reston:

  • At the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Road), children can learn about gourmet treats for birds on Saturday from 11 a.m.-noon. For the grown-ups, a “Wine and Design” painting event is slated for Saturday night, 6:30-9.
  • Events at Reston Town Center this weekend include Girl Scout cookie sales, a cooking class at Il Fornaio (11990 Market St.) and special skating events at the ice pavilion.
  • At the Reston Community Center’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609A Washington Plaza N.), “For the Love of Color” remains on display.
  • At CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road), Irish musicians Lúnasa return to the stage tonight at 8. This show is sold out, but patrons are invited to the box office after 7 p.m. to get on the waiting list.
  • Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) will host events for kids including a “Minute to Win It” game show event (Saturday, 11 a.m.), chess club (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.) and YA book club (Sunday, 2:30 p.m.). For adults, cinema classic “Il Postino” will be shown Saturday (2 p.m.) and the lecture series on World War I continues Sunday (2 p.m.).
  • Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) will have the reception for its February art exhibit, “From the Heart,” on Saturday from noon-1 p.m.
  • Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have music from the Holly Montgomery Band tonight and DJ Kram on Saturday night.
  • Spectrum will be performing tonight at World of Beer (1888 Explorer St.) beginning at 10 p.m.
  • Dewey Animals is planning an animal adoption event at Pet Valu (11160 South Lakes Drive) Saturday from 1-3 pm.

by Dave Emke — February 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm 36 Comments

Eve Thompson/Reston Association Board meeting/Feb. 23, 2017A complaint from a community member asking for a director to be removed from the Reston Association board was the source of lengthy debate during the board’s Thursday meeting.

Ed Abbott filed a Common Interest Community Board Complaint against At-Large Director Eve Thompson on Feb. 4. In his complaint, Abbott pointed out that Thompson’s Conflict of Interest form on record does not disclose her ownership of the Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar, as well as her husband’s status as president of the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association. Because of this, he said, Thompson’s actions during the board’s Jan. 22 meeting — where her husband presented on Lake Anne capital improvements and she spoke in favor of them — were imprudent.

Board general counsel Ken Chadwick said he did not believe there was any violation of COI policy because no action was taken on the subject at the meeting. He cited Virginia law in adding that even if it wanted to, the board does not have authority to remove Thompson, as Abbott requested.

Chadwick recommended to the board that they vote to deny Abbott’s complaint, at which time he would be able to take it to the Virginia state ombudsman for further review. That motion was made, but it failed after directors Lucinda Shannon and Sherri Hebert voted against it. Shannon said she wanted the board to go against Chadwick’s recommendation and ask Thompson to resign.

Shannon said that as Thompson checked a box on her COI statement saying falsifying information would result in resignation from the board, that is what should happen.

“If we don’t follow what we say we’re going to do in writing on our policy documents that we sign, then what good is our word?” Shannon said.

A vote on Shannon’s motion to ask Thompson to resign also failed, with Shannon casting the only assenting vote.

In response to the discussion on the matter, Thompson said it was never her intent to deceive anyone.

“This is so dismaying, not to be called out on incomplete documentation, but to have that used to basically be accused of integrity issues,” she said. “I most definitely, last month at the board meeting, should have re-disclosed — I have disclosed it before — my interests in Lake Anne. It’s been so well-documented that it’s always a surprise to me [that people don’t know]. … That doesn’t mean that I’m excluded from filling out the paperwork completely, and for that I do apologize. I should have been more careful.”

Thompson’s ownership of the coffee house along with her husband was reported in the media, including on Reston Now.

Director Ray Wedell said he is concerned that directors will begin to take a “defensive mentality” when they face continued attacks from the community.

“We need to be proactive, we need to take more chances, we need to address community issues without fear of somebody coming behind us with all sorts of ‘You did this, and I want you fired, and you’re a terrible person,'” he said. “Everybody in here lives in glass houses, everybody in here has flaws.”

Thompson said she is discouraged that discussion on a proposal that would be beneficial to all the residents of Lake Anne devolved into personal attacks against her.

“Instead of, ‘Wow, here’s an opportunity to do something awesome in the community that would benefit the entire community,’ it became a personal vendetta,” she said. “That’s really tragic [and] I feel really badly about that.”

×

Subscribe to our mailing list