South Lakes High School’s Homecoming week culminated in a public celebration on Friday as the annual Homecoming Parade marched from Hunters Woods Village Center to South Lakes High School.
The parade included students from the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, which is allows students with academic potential to take challenging courses that lead to four-year college enrollment. The first AVID class at the high school will graduate in June 2018.
Photos courtesy of Sherry Evans and David Cordts
Lake Anne Brew House, Reston’s only brewery, returned from the Great American Beer Festival, the world’s largest commercial beer competition in Denver, without any medals but plenty of high hopes for next year.
The brewery submitted two beers to the festival, which hosts more than 2,200 breweries with nearly 8,000 entries in 98 categories of competition. The contest, which is run by the Brewers Association, took place over three days and was judged by more than 250 beer experts from 13 countries, according to a release.
Competition was stiff this year, according to Melissa Romano, the brew house’s co-owner.
“We are extremely proud of our beers, and know that they showed well in competition. We’re looking forward to returning next year, with more entries and another shot at bringing [a] GABF gold home to Reston,” she said.
Other breweries in Virginia also struggled to bring medals home. The Dulles-based Ocelot Brewing Co. was the only local brewery to bring back a bronze medal in the state in the baltic porter category, according to Romano.
Romano said she was especially impressed by the collaboration between breweries in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. Several local businesses shipped beers for judging to Denver in a single shipment.
“It’s a pretty cool thing in an industry where we’re all competing together and yet we all ship together. A win for one is a win for all,” Romano said.
Since opening in April last year, Lake Anne Brew House has won several competitions, including three awards during the Virginia Craft Beer Cup in June, which is presented by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. Its Lord Fairfax EPA and Reston Red Ale were honored with second and third-place awards in the 2016 Craft Beer Cup, just months after the brew house opened last spring.
Next year, Romano said the brew house plans to submit more entries to increase chances of a win.
“We all had a great time for sure. It was just fun to be there with brew houses from all over the country and learn from each other. We hope to bring back a gold for Reston next year,” she said.
The storm was downgraded over the weekend from a hurricane to a tropical storm and later to a tropical depression, but it will still send a wave of rain across the East Coast. Nate sped through the Gulf Coast over the weekend as a Category 1 Storm, leaving more than 100,000 customers without electricity in the region. The hurricane was also the first to make landfall in Mississippi since Katrina in 2005.
In Reston, the National Weather Service expects a break from the rain on Tuesday, followed by back-to-back showers on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
— Melissa Nord (@MelissaNordWx) October 9, 2017
On Tuesday, the chance of rain is 20 percent, with temperatures hovering in the low 60s in the evening. On Wednesday and Thursday, the chance of showers is 50 percent. Skies will remain cloudy through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
The Weather Channel provides a 10-day snapshot of the forecast here.
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 Kimberly H. Berry
It can be very difficult for an employee to be called into a supervisor’s office or to the human resources office unexpectedly and be informed that his/her employment has been terminated. Following the notice of termination, usually the employee is escorted out of the building and is faced with a sense of shock and loss.
It is important to know that termination proceedings in Virginia are at will, which generally leaves significant discretion to employers in decisions to hire and fire employees.
However, if the employer has violated a state or federal law in terminating the employee (e.g., discrimination, whistleblowing, retaliation), the termination can be considered wrongful and potential avenues to challenge the termination may be available.
One step that a Virginia employee can do following an involuntary termination is to make an appointment with a Virginia employment attorney to review the issues related to the termination action in order to determine whether it can be considered a wrongful termination.
An attorney can also help evaluate what steps may be taken to minimize the career damage that has just occurred and whether the action taken may be appealable.
Employees often have more options following a termination action than is apparent to them on the day of termination. The employer may have broken federal or Virginia laws with respect to the termination action.
If so, then it may be possible to negotiate a resolution, such as through a separation or severance agreement, on behalf of the employee with the employer. This generally happens when the employee retains an attorney to contact the employer about the inappropriate nature of the employee’s termination in violation of applicable employment laws.
Following an employee’s termination, many Virginia employees ask our firm whether they should also apply for unemployment compensation. The answer as to whether an employee should apply for unemployment compensation depends on the factual circumstances of the termination.
Even if an employer terminates an employee in Virginia for alleged misconduct, the employee may still be able to seek and obtain unemployment compensation.
In addition, in Virginia the employer has the burden of proof if they want to argue that the employee was terminated for misconduct. The employer essentially has to prove that the employee violated a significant company rule (and it usually must be a clear rule).
In addition, it is often the case that an employee, through wrongful discharge negotiations, may obtain a resolution where the employer agrees not to contest unemployment.
Finally, an employee should keep in mind that if the employee is terminated for poor performance, as opposed to misconduct, unemployment compensation is generally granted. However, any separation or severance compensation received by the employee will typically delay receipt of unemployment compensation.
So, while a lot depends on unique factual circumstances in each case, and each case should be discussed with an attorney, it may very well be worth it to consider filing for unemployment compensation in Virginia even if the employer has alleged misconduct or egregious performance issues in the termination.
While our firm principally represents employees in wrongful termination proceedings (as opposed to representing employees in the actual unemployment compensation hearings), we often advise them on issues involving their unemployment compensation matters and factor these issues into separation or severance negotiations as they can relate to their wrongful termination cases and factor these issues into separation and severance agreement negotiations.
When facing wrongful termination issues in Virginia it can be helpful and important to obtain the advice from and representation of an attorney.
Our law firm advises and represents individuals in wrongful termination matters, including separation and severance agreement matters, in Virginia and other jurisdictions. We can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at (703) 668-0070. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.
Restonians turned out in droves two weeks ago for a County-organized community meeting on its proposed Reston PRC zoning ordinance amendment. The essence of the proposed language change is to increase the cap on Reston’s population from 13 to 16 people per acre, but that ignores several other factors including station area development, affordable housing and “bonus” market rate housing for developers. The crowd was so large that Supervisor Hudgins was forced to cancel the meeting. Those hundreds of people were there because, contrary to what the County keeps telling the community, the proposed zoning change opens the door for an overall tripling of Reston’s population.
But that is only part of the story.
An important element of the zoning amendment proposal is the residential development it would not only allow, but is already planned, in our Village Centers. The Village Centers–North Point, Lake Anne, South Lakes, and Hunters Woods–are currently our neighborhood shopping centers and intended to be “neighborhood gathering places” in Bob Simon’s vision. They are where we buy our groceries, purchase our prescriptions, dine out in locally-owned restaurants, and meet many of our other family needs.
Here is what the Reston Master Plan has to say about the role of our Village Centers:
The general vision for Reston’s Village Centers addresses the fundamental elements necessary for any Village Center to achieve the desired goal of becoming a vibrant community gathering space. The Village Center general vision is an elaboration of the Reston Vision and Planning Principles. Recognizing that each Village Center faces unique circumstances, redevelopment proposals should take advantage of this to creatively interpret the general vision to provide a unique, vibrant community gathering space:
• Enhance Village Centers as vibrant neighborhood gathering places.
• Advance excellence in site design and architecture.
• Strengthen connectivity and mobility.
• Protect and respect the surrounding residential neighborhoods. . . .
(The) Central Public Plaza should (h)ighlight the Village Centers as neighborhood scale gathering places, in contrast to the regional scale gathering places in the Town Center or the community scale gathering places in the other TSAs.
In short, our Village Centers are meant to be our hyper-local “gathering places” to live, work, and play with our families, friends, and neighbors. Nothing in the whole section of the Comprehensive Plan on Reston’s Village Centers suggests they should be anything other than neighborhood serving and, indeed, the plan suggests the opposite.
But that is not what the proposed Reston PRC zoning ordinance would allow and, indeed, what is already being planned according to the County’s data. The county’s table of proposed redevelopment sites, which provides the county’s justification for raising the population cap, projects huge increases in dwelling units and population that are totally out of character and will overwhelm North and South Reston.
Approval of the PRC zoning amendment to raise the population cap to accommodate such growth will allow developers to add nearly 13,000 residents to our Village Centers, including new affordable and bonus market rate housing that could be added under the county’s rules but is not included in the county’s table. In the worst case example, North Point Village Center, the PRC re-zoning proposal shows a potential twelve-fold increase in dwelling units (DUs), an increase of nearly 1,700 DUs and 3,600 residents. At the low end of the spectrum is Lake Anne Village Center whose redevelopment plan has already been approved with a near tripling of the number of residents to more than 2,600. Across Reston’s four Village Centers, population would be allowed to nearly quintuple.
Another way to look at this planned increase in our Village Center population is through the County’s official PRC metric: dwelling units per acre (DU/A). Here’s the potential development if the PRC zoning ordinance is amended:
- South Lakes Village Center will see a quintupling of density to 72 DU/A.
- North Point and Hunters Woods Village Centers will be close behind with residential density potentially increasing to more than 60 DU/A.
- Lake Anne Village Center, whose plan was updated in 2014, has less density at 39 DU/A–and many Restonians think that is excessive given the limited access to this lakefront Village Center.
- Overall, the average number of dwelling units per acre would increase to 61. The current average residential density in our Village Centers is 10 DU/A.
The potential increase in our Village Centers’ density under the proposed Reston PRC zoning amendment would destroy them as “neighborhood scale gathering places.” Instead they would become four more Reston Town Centers in a community that already has one.
If redevelopment of our Village Center is not constrained to “neighborhood scale,” the implications of the proposed residential redevelopment are obvious, astounding, and consistent with all that we have said earlier. Streets will be clogged (even with County nods to transit, bikes, and walking), nearby elementary schools will be jammed, open space will increasingly be overcrowded since the County is doing little to assure its protection, the air we breathe will be more polluted, etc. And, of course, the County has made absolutely no commitment to the concurrent development of needed infrastructure and amenities, even those called for in its own policies. To the contrary, it appears to shirking its responsibilities to Restonians, disregarding its own infrastructure policies and standards, and ignoring the spending that goes with providing these improvements.
Our Village Centers are a cherished element of Bob Simon’s vision for our planned community, serving neighborhoods across Reston. If we let the county cram this Reston PRC zoning proposal down our throats and let the village centers be redeveloped at the county’s proposed levels, we will soon be overrun by development undercutting Simon’s vision in our Village Centers and elsewhere.
Before any action occurs on the county’s proposed population cap increase, the county must reexamine its plans for runaway growth in the village centers, and throughout Reston. The Board of Supervisors should refuse to even authorize the population cap review until county staff reduces planned growth levels to realistic levels. Only then can the county properly evaluate the need for a population cap increase, and select a more appropriate level, if any.
We need all Restonians to step up and tell the County, and Supervisor Hudgins’ in particular, that its Reston PRC zoning plans are totally unacceptable. Your best chance to do so will be at the community meeting held by Supervisor Hudgins at South Lakes High School cafeteria on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, at 7 p.m.
Terry Maynard, Co-Chair
Reston 20/20 Committee
According to the Plaza’s website, scheduled activities will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will include a live DJ, a pet costume contest and more. Live music by the Holly Montgomery band will begin at 4 p.m., and live music will follow at 6 p.m. at venues including Lake Anne Brew House, Kalypso’s Sports Tavern, and Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar.
Other fun will include pumpkin painting, pet treats and goody bags. Restaurants in the plaza will also offer beer gardens during the event.
According to a poster for the event, visitors are encouraged to “dress to scare, spook or trick!”
For more information about this and other upcoming events at Lake Anne Plaza, follow it on Facebook.
RA Offices Closed Today — Reston Association offices, including the Nature House and Central Services Facility, are closed today in observance of Columbus Day. [Reston Association]
North Shore Drive Sidewalk Project Planned — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a community meeting about the North Shore Drive sidewalk project Wednesday in the cafeteria of Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). Plans are to expand the sidewalk on the south side of North Shore Drive from Sycamore Valley Court to the existing sidewalk east of North Shore Court. [Fairfax County DOT]
Reston’s Tree Canopy Shown Off — Reston has a 49 percent urban tree canopy, RA Environmental Resource Supervisor Patricia Greenberg explains in Reston Association’s latest “Reston Today” video dispatch. In the video, Greenberg explains the benefits of the canopy and how to take care of it. [Reston Association/YouTube]
Why Reston is ‘One Better Than Ashburn’ — A recent Money magazine list named Reston the 29th-best place to live in America … and nearby Ashburn the 30th. A local blogger compared the communities in a tongue-in-cheek fashion and determined just how the magazine came to the conclusion that Reston is “Ashburn plus one.” [Restonian]