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by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

One of my favorite things about this time of year are all the lights everywhere. It is so cheerful and festive! Of course Lake Anne and Reston Town Center put out the lights and it’s lovely. But there is nothing like a lights show to really make you smile. We are lucky to have three great ones nearby, and each is worth the trip. I suggest going to all of them.

Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

This is my favorite, and it happens to be closest to Reston — just a 15 minute drive over to Vienna. Fodor’s named it the #1 Botanical Garden with “Wow-Factor Winter Transformations.” The garden is magical any time of year, but for this, it is transformed into a half-mile, animated walk of lights. There’s the Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights and the Holiday Nature Walk, along with new displays each year. At the end of the walk, you can gather around the bonfire and roast marshmallows while sipping hot beverages.

It actually started in November, and it will run until Sunday, January 7, 2018. It’s open every day from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (last tickets sold at 9:30 p.m.) and it’s only $13 for adults if you buy your tickets online. Children under 3 are free and ages 3-12 are $8. Timed tickets are required, so that’s another reason to purchase your tickets online. Use promo code SOCIAL17 for $2.00 off admission January 1-7.

Bull Run Festival of Lights and Holiday Village

This is another annual favorite and is great for people who want to stay in their car as they enjoy the lights, which on cold winter nights is very appealing. The Bull Run Festival of Lights is 2.5 miles of illuminated glory. You turn off your headlights and follow the magical glow and the variety of displays. When you’re done, stop by the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments and photos with Santa Claus.  Monday through Thursday you can get discounts and avoid the long weekend waits.

It’s open every night until January 7: Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and Friday-Sunday & Holidays, 5:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. The cost of driving through the light show varies from $20-$25, depending on the day you attend (note: vans w/ 15-34 people and motorcoaches cost extra — visit website for details).

Winter Lights Festival at Seneca State Park

This one is a little more of a drive (it’s in Gaithersburg, Md., which means you have to cross the bridge) but it’s worth it. It’s a 3.5-mile drive through the enchanted setting of Seneca Creek State Park. There are 380 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes. So many lights! Themes include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole and much more. This one runs until December 31, so get there soon.

The hours are Sunday-Thursday: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday: 6 p.m.-10 p.m. It’s closed Christmas. Price is $12 per car Mon-Thurs; $15 per car Fri-Sun. Cash only. See the website for van, bus and limo rates.

by Fatimah Waseem December 5, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

On Thursday, the Prince William County Police Department arrested a suspect in connection with the attempted rape of a 21-year-old woman of Herndon. The suspect, Joshua Mark Testa, 39, was charged with attempted rape, abduction with intent to defile and malicious wounding.

According to police, the suspect allegedly grabbed the victim when she attempted to leave from a residence on the 13800 block of Greenwood Drive in Woodbridge earlier in the morning. The accused, an acquaintance,  grabbed the woman when she attempted to leave, knocked her to the ground and attempted to remove her clothing. As a struggle ensured, the suspect punched the victim in the face multiple times and fled the residence, police said. Minor injuries were reported.

He was arrested later in the afternoon without incident at Woodbridge hotel.

In a separate incident, a victim woke up to a man standing in his bedroom on the 1800 block of Wainwright Drive on Thursday at around 3 a.m. The suspect fled the house on foot when he was confronted, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Electronics and banking information was taken from the inside of the home. The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic man between 40 and 50 years old, weighing around 200 pounds and wearing dark clothing.. The victim was not injured and the case is ongoing.

FCPD’s Reston District Station also reported the following crimes this week:

LARCENIES

2200 block of Stirrup Iron Lane, rings from vehicle

11500 block of Rolling Green Court, bicycle and scooters from residence

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, license plate from vehicle

12500 block of Cross Country Lane, laptop computer from business

900 block of Locust Street, cell phone from school

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, property from residence

2300 block of Colts Neck Road, shoes from business

STOLEN VEHICLES

None reported.

On Monday, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office arrested Karla Severiche, a 32-year-old Reston resident in connection with a shoplifting incident on the 21200 block of Signal Hill Plaza in Sterling. Severiche was charged with grand larceny, larceny with intent to sell or distribute, possession of burglarious tools, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A juvenile involved in the incident was transported to the Loudoun County Youth Shelter, the sheriff’s office said.

The Herndon Police Department reported no major incidents this week.

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

by Fatimah Waseem December 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm 70 Comments

A proposal to build 20-story luxury condominiums to 1801 Reston Ave. will go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission tomorrow with an unfavorable report from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning.

In a Nov. 22 staff report, the department raised concerns that workforce housing does not appear to be “a vital element” of the proposed development, which will include up to 150 units and 294 parking spaces on 1.5-acres of land currently zoned for office uses.

Renaissance Centro, the developer, is seeking one market-rate unit for each workforce dwelling unit —  an incentive allowed by the county to encourage inclusive, affordable housing — while also creating a condition would allow the developer to convert unsold workforce housing to market rate units under certain conditions. Plans include 24 workforce dwelling units, allowing 24 market rate units in bonus density.

The developer also opted out of a proffer that requires bonus market rate units to remain similar in size to workforce housing, possibly allowing the developer to sell significantly larger market rate units while only building small efficiency units for workforce housing.

“The county would only receive a monetary contribution at a loss of affordable housing provided onsite. The monetary contribution is not likely to be sufficient to purchase comparable affordable units,” according to the report.

Additionally, staff said the developer is not providing enough money to fund athletic field construction in the Reston area, a developer contribution given to the county’s park authority based on the impact of the new residential development.

The county is seeking $406,668, a figure calculated from the gross floor area of the building. The developer, however, is seeking to provide a reduced amount based on the square footage of the residential parts of the building, a calculation method that staff said was ambiguous and would not meet the need for athletic fields.

If approved by the county’s Board of Supervisors, the project will join neighboring residential developments like the Harrison Apartment and the Stratford Condominiums. In late November, the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee rejected the proposal by a slim 6-5 vote.

A public hearing on the project is set for tomorrow at 8:15 p.m in the Fairfax County Government Center board auditorium. An online stream is available on the county’s website.

To sign up to speak, register online. For more information, call the planning commissions’ office at 703-324-2865.

Renderings via handout

by Fatimah Waseem December 5, 2017 at 11:30 am 7 Comments

Nando’s PERi-PERi, a South African-Portuguese restaurant chain, raised $12,711 for two local public high schools at its grand opening in November.

To celebrate its new location on 2120 Sunset Hills Road, the chain donated 100 percent of all sales, excluding alcohol and taxes, to the two schools. In 2019, Herndon High School will use funds to send the marching band to represent the United States at the 75th Commemoration of D-Day in Normandy. South Lakes High School will use the donations to send their marching band to Hawaii to perform at the 2017 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade, in addition to supporting other program needs.

Though the two schools are traditionally rivals, Nando’s said students from the two bands happily came together to raise money through the fundraiser.

“Nando’s likes to be good neighbors, and we couldn’t be happier with the community turnout in Reston,” said Sepanta Bagherpour, Nando’s vice president of marketing. “Students and parents at both high schools worked so hard to spread the word in their community, and to show support for their schools.”

Photo courtesy of Seven Oaks Media Group

by Del. Ken Plum December 5, 2017 at 10:15 am 75 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

If there are any impartial observers left listening to the debate in Washington, D.C. on tax reform, they must be left scratching their heads over what they are hearing. When the wealthy have never had as much money as they have today, leadership in Congress is considering a tax bill that will cut the taxes of the very richest.

When income of the lowest to the middle classes has been stagnant or falling for decades, the latest tax reform proposals would raise their taxes. Under the guise of simplifying taxes, we are about to simply raise the taxes of those least able to pay and to enrich those who already have more money than they can spend in a century. Aren’t there enough sensible members of Congress left who have not sold out to the monied interests to put a stop to this craziness?

Members of Congress may tell me to tend to my own knitting at the state level, but actions at the federal level do impact state budgets. Virginia has been particularly dependent on federal spending even though there has been an effort to reduce that dependency in recent years. While Congress can approve an unbalanced budget like the one being discussed that will add more than $1.5 trillion to the national debt, states cannot afford that irresponsible luxury.

Virginia must pass a balanced biennium budget in 2018; the task will not be easy. A recent report by The Commonwealth Institute found that “Virginia’s current revenue system isn’t keeping up with changes and growth in the overall economy, and that’s putting the future prosperity of families and businesses at risk.” (The Commonwealth Institute, “A Tax System for Yesterday: Slow Revenue Growth amid Economic Change, November 13, 2017).

The Institute found that “the way the current revenue system works was designed decades ago, with provisions that no longer work for today’s economy…” For example, the shifts in consumer spending and growth in e-commerce nearly doubling in the last decade have contributed to a decline in state sales tax revenue relative to the total economy as internet sales mostly are not taxed. Likewise the shift of consumer spending from goods to services that are not taxed in Virginia added to the decline. There are opportunities in the tax code to update its corporate tax system to reduce opportunities for tax avoidance, according to The Institute.

The usual method of balancing the budget by simply dividing revenue among programs will no longer work in Virginia as the pace of growth of needs has out-stripped the growth in revenue. Some programs and services will once again be left under-funded. Shifting costs to local governments for things like public education has been resorted to in recent years, but that is a well that has largely dried up.

Virginia is going to need to do a serious accounting of its unmet needs with the public and the legislature deciding what we are going to seriously fund and what needs will go unmet. As the federal government plays with reforming the national tax structure, it is past time for Virginia to get serious about our own tax reform.

by Fatimah Waseem December 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Protecting the Homeless This Winter — Fairfax County officials are encouraging people to call the county’s non-emergency phone number if they see someone at night who unsheltered and may be at risk of hypothermia. Police can be reached at 703-691-2131 where they will work with the individual and temporary shelter facilities to provide overnight shelter. [Fairfax County Government]

UPS Store in South Lakes Accepts Donations — The store on 11160 South Lakes Drive is taking tax deductible contributions for Wreaths Across America. Wreaths will be purchased that will be laid on the graves of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery and across the region. [94.7 FM]

Reston Association’s Elections Planning Begins — RA’s elections committee will meet today to plan the layout of next year’s Board of Directors election from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). Four of the nine-member body’s seats are open in the election. [Reston Association]

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