by Dave Emke September 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 20 Comments

Three community advocacy organizations have combined efforts to plan an informational forum about Fairfax County’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district.

Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association will present the forum Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). This is being held in advance of the fourth public meeting on the proposal, being presented by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive).

The proposal from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC from 13 to 16. (The density is currently about 11.9 people per acre. The ordinance amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in TSAs within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations.

“We will share with you why these changes are being proposed and the impact on our open space, traffic, schools and other public facilities. We invite you to ask questions, and share your views and concerns,” reads an invitation being distributed for the forum. “Let’s come together to ensure we can continue to say ‘Reston is a planned community,’ and NOT ‘Reston was a planned community.'”

Information was first shared by the county with the community in three public meetings in May. At May’s meetings, residents expressed their concern that the county was trying to rush the amendment through the approval process. They were especially upset when the third meeting was held in an open-house format rather than as a question-and-answer session.

The DPZ had originally hoped to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors in July, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October. It now has those projected dates pushed back to November, December and January, respectively.

For more information about the Sept. 20 informational meeting, contact members of Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and/or the Reston Citizens Association.

by Dave Emke September 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 16 Comments

A Lake Anne-area resident had a big surprise early Friday morning after he heard noises in his kitchen.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, a man was in his bedroom at about 1:20 a.m. Friday when he heard the sounds in his home in the 1500 block of Northgate Square. When he investigated, he found a woman sitting on a counter. His refrigerator was open and a box of pizza was out on the table.

When the man said he was going to call the police, the woman left his home. Responding police officers, however, were able to locate her.

The suspect, 45-year-old Blanchee Smith, was arrested and faces a felony burglary charge.

Mugshot courtesy FCPD

by Dave Emke September 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm 37 Comments

A public hearing on redevelopment at 1831 Michael Faraday Drive will take place at this week’s Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting.

In July, the county’s Planning Commission voted to recommend to the Board that the 3.85-acre property be rezoned to residential, with an option for 10,000 square feet of non-residential uses. Rooney Properties has plans for the property include 13 single-family attached and 283 multi-family dwelling units. The property owners say the multi-family structure would have seven stories, approximately 85 feet in height. In addition to residential units and parking, the first floor of the multifamily building would include retail space, a bicycle storage room, and a loading area with two loading spaces. The attached parking structure would be designed with seven parking levels.

Rooney hopes to begin construction on the project in the first half of 2018.

The adjacent 11111 Sunset Hills Road property, which is also up for rezoning, would have mirrored townhouses and courtyards. In addition, it would include an extension of the open space at the southeast corner of the Michael Faraday site to create a “more extensive and coordinated park” on the southern portion of the properties. That site has a Planning Commission hearing scheduled for Nov. 16.

At the hearing on 1831 Michael Faraday Drive, scheduled for about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Board will discuss the recommendation from the Planning Commission that they approve the rezoning and the conceptual development plan. In addition, the Planning Commission has suggested the Board go along with waivers on the setback from the Dulles Toll Road, the requirement for 200-square foot privacy yards for single-family attached dwelling units, the barrier requirement and more.

The project is just one of many sets of redevelopment plans on the table for the Wiehle Avenue/Michael Faraday Drive area. Numerous developers are working together to turn the property east of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station into what they call the “gateway to Reston.”

by RestonNow.com Sponsor September 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

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.

We thought it might be helpful to submit an article on leave laws and rules that cover Virginia employees. Leave issues always come up either during the course of an employee’s employment or immediately following the end of employment. Leave laws and regulations also vary by the type of employer. For instance, federal, state, county and private sector employers have different laws and rules governing leave. Virginia has not codified many areas of employee leave as of yet, but that may be changing as other states enact improvements.

Virginia is one of those states where most forms of employee leave are not mandatory, but I suspect that may change in the future as Northern Virginia grows larger with more employers. Some jurisdictions, like the District of Columbia, have moved toward expanded paid leave. Fortunately for most Virginia employees, many forms of leave, while not mandatory, are typically provided by employers in order for them to remain competitive in retaining employees. I will go through each form of leave in Virginia below:

Vacation Leave / Annual Leave

In Virginia, private sector employers are not required by law to provide employees with vacation/annual leave, either in a paid or unpaid status. This is different for federal, state and county employees in Virginia. For instance, federal employees accrue a certain amount of annual or vacation leave each pay period and can then use this leave for vacation or taking days off. When a federal employee leaves the federal government, they are paid out for the remaining balance of annual leave. While payout of accrued vacation or annual leave has not been mandated for private sector employers, if it is pursuant to a consistent company practice or policy, the employer in Virginia may be required to pay such leave out to departing employees.

Sick Leave

In Virginia, there is also no state requirement that employers provide employees with sick leave benefits. Virginia is different in this respect when compared to many other states. However, if an employer chooses to provide sick leave to employees, it must follow the established policy. There are some other notes on sick leave. First, federal, state and county employees are generally given sick leave in increments. Furthermore, under federal law, private sector employees of larger Virginia companies (more than 50 employees) are entitled to sick leave when given under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Under the FMLA, private sector employees in Virginia may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This type of leave renews every 12 months as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements set out above. Employees may also take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a family member who was injured on active military duty.

Administrative Leave

While there is no entitlement to administrative leave for employees in Virginia, it can and is often granted. Typically, this type of leave is granted for reasons related to misconduct or equal employment opportunity investigations or other miscellaneous issues that arise. Federal, state and county employees have their own unique policies for administrative leave, which vary.

Holiday Leave

Additionally, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. Additionally, a Virginia employer does not have to pay an employee premium or enhanced pay for working on a holiday. Again, different standards apply for federal, county and state employees, depending on position (e.g., law enforcement), who may receive holiday pay for their work and/or premium pays.

Voter Leave

In Virginia, an employer is not required to give leave for an employee to vote. However, Virginia does require an employer to accommodate an employee who has been appointed as an election official. Some federal and other public employees have policies of permitting some administrative leave for voting where necessary.

Jury Duty Leave

In Virginia, an employer is not required to provide leave for jury duty, but cannot discharge or retaliate against the employee if they have given reasonable notice to their employer. Additionally, an employer may not charge a private sector employee vacation or annual leave for jury duty service. An employer that violates these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor (VA Code. §18.2-465.1).

If you need assistance with an employment issue, 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 September 11, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

For the fourth year, Public Art Reston will present ChalkFest this weekend on Market Street in Reston Town Center.

Professional artists and sponsor will kick the weekend off, getting their work started from noon to 11 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the event will be open to everyone.

Prizes will be given in several categories, and there will also be “Audience Choice Awards” given to the favorites of event visitors.

According to information provided by Public Art Reston, “the festival is one of the area’s most unique and fun events” and it “attracts a diverse and motivated audience and promotes public art in Reston”:

The festival draws a wide range of participants and even larger group of visitors to witness their amazing talent. In 2016, over 2,000 visitors participated in the festival’s programming, exceeding the expected visitor goals for the three-year-old festival. The festival”s visitor profile reflects highly desired market segments like: families, young professionals, community leaders and local government officials and the area’s growing “creative class.”

Categories for participants will be amateur ($15 registration fee), families and kids ($15), and professional ($20). Registration can be done online through Friday, or at the event Saturday morning.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 703-467-9797.

File photo from 2015 event courtesy Chip McCrea

by RestonNow.com September 11, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

The 34th annual Reston Triathlon is in the books, and here are the winners from Sunday morning’s event.

Overall winners in the male division were:

  • First place: Jacob Gilden (29, Arlington) — 2 hours, 5 minutes, 16 seconds
  • Second place: Sean Pinkney (33, Reston) — 2:09:47
  • Third place: Brady Dehoust (42, Reston) — 2:11:05

In the female division, overall winners were:

  • First place: Rachel McCarthy (41, Vienna) — 2 hours, 22 minutes, 12 seconds
  • Second place: Theresa Ferry (38, Vienna) — 2:23:12
  • Third place: Bev Dobrenz (24, Vienna) — 2:33:09

In individual age groups, winners were:

  • Male, 15-19: Ryan Luczek (16, Herndon) — 2:26:20
  • Female, 15-19: Jennifer Zheng (15, Herndon) — 2:37:25
  • Male, 20-24: Noah Kennedy (20, Arlington) — 2:15:06
  • Female, 20-24: Amanda Presgraves (23, Leesburg) — 2:38:15
  • Male, 25-29: Teagen Miller (26, Reston) — 2:31:07
  • Female, 25-29: Jennifer Dipp (27, Oak Hill) — 2:46:35
  • Male, 30-34: Mike Schulz (34, Ashburn) — 2:35:37
  • Female, 30-34: Anna Cadin (33, Reston) — 2:55:16
  • Male, 35-39: Thomas McWalters (35, Hartford) — 2:20:57
  • Female, 35-39: Joleen Catania (35, Gainesville) — 2:35:49
  • Male, 40-44: Andrew Adamson (41, Alexandria) — 2:22:24
  • Female, 40-44: Erika Carlson (40, Reston) — 2:40:48
  • Male, 45-49: Matt Gentile (45, Great Falls) — 2:18:01
  • Female, 45-49: Nicole Rayson (46, Herndon) — 2:34:48
  • Male, 50-54: Theo Haast (50, Lansdowne) — 2:27:37
  • Female, 50-54: Juda McGannon (51, Scottsdale, Arizona) — 2:40:41
  • Male, 55-59: Jean-Paul Martin (57, Oakton) — 2:18:45
  • Female, 55-59: Linda Kennedy (57, Alexandria) — 2:47:43
  • Male, 60-64: Jeff Oxman (60, Rockville, Maryland) — 2:34:05
  • Female, 60-64: Justine Goodman (63, Reston) — 3:01:25
  • Male, 65-69: Joseph O’Gorman (69, Reston) — 2:48:55
  • Female, 65-69: Rachel Muir (65, Arden, North Carolina) — 3:32:48
  • Male, 70-74: David Breese (71, Reston) — 3:12:16

In the Athena division, first place went to Lisa Sechrest-Ehrha (57, Reston) with a time of 3:34:25. In the Clydesdale division, first place was won by Michael Skeele (42, Arlington) with a time of 2:39:27.

Full results from each division are also available via Amazing Race Timing.

The event’s 381 competitors swam 1,500 meters in Lake Audubon, biked 40 kilometers on area roadways and ran 10 kilometers on Reston pathways.

Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) was on hand to help present the awards for each category.

All photos via Reston Triathlon on Facebook

by Dave Emke September 11, 2017 at 9:00 am 5 Comments

Never Forget — Today is the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Be sure to take a moment to reflect on those lost that day in Arlington, New York and western Pennsylvania.

Virginia Task Force Goes to Virgin Islands — After staging in Puerto Rico, responders from Fairfax County are in the Caribbean conducting search and rescue activities on the island of St. Thomas following Hurricanes Irma and Jose. [Fairfax Fire and Rescue]

Community Center Board Preference Poll Voting Open — Voting in the poll for three seats on the Reston Community Center Board of Governors is open through Sept. 29. All residents of Tax District 5 can vote. Three incumbents are all seeking re-appointment. Board seats are filled by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, with guidance from the results of the poll. Voting can be done by mail, in person or online. [Reston Community Center]

Political Protester Gets Married in Reston — In 2013, Mohammed Soltan was jailed in Cairo for political dissidence and went on a 16-month hunger strike while he was psychologically tortured. On Aug. 19, he and his bride were married at the Hyatt Regency in Reston. It wasn’t all happiness, though: Soltan’s still-jailed father could not attend, nor could a longtime friend who was recently released after two years in prison. [New York Times]

Dogs Splash at Water Mine — Check out photos and videos from the “Dog Daze” event Sunday at The Water Mine at Lake Fairfax Park. [Aimee Cho/Facebook]

Herndon Woman’s Photo Hangs in JFK Library — Yvonne Kauffman, 84, met soon-to-be President John F. Kennedy in 1960 while he was on the campaign trail in her hometown of York, Pennsylvania. She recently learned a picture of that encounter, taken by a Life magazine photographer, is on display at the Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. [Fairfax Times]


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