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by Fatimah Waseem January 11, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

A plan to expand Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road) heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission today at 7 p.m.

The commission will vote on a proposal by the Fairfax County School Board to add three new buildings to the current site. The school is operating at 115 percent of its capacity, according to current capacity utilization rates,

Plans, reviewed by the county’s Dept. of Planning and Zoning in late December, call for a 3,500-square-foot art studio with a canopy at the front of the school.

A two-story building would be attached to the back of the building, with classrooms and administrative offices on the main level and library and science labs on the second level. A courtyard will rest between the school and the two-story building. Another one-story building will include about 1,350 square feet with an expanded cafeteria.

The number of parking spots will increase from 115 to 153, including new parking that will replace existing multi-purpose courts and 38 spots along Seahawks Drive.

The project is expected to cost roughly $41.7 million in construction-related expenses.

At the meeting, the commission will also hear public testimony on a plan to reduce the age requirement for McNair Senior Apartments (13430 Coppermine Road), which houses 139 independent living units on roughly three acres.

The applicant wants to reduce the minimum age of residents from 62 to 55 and change the project’s official classification from “housing for the elderly” to “independent living facilities.”

The meeting (agenda here) will begin at 7:30 p.m in the board auditorium of Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Pkwy). A livestream will be available online.

by Fatimah Waseem January 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm 23 Comments

Founding Farmers plans to open its Reston Station location in early 2018.

The opening of the restaurant, originally set for summer 2017, was delayed due after plans to the 10,000-square-foot location (1901 Reston Metro Plaza Drive) were revamped.

No firm opening date has been made public, although the company has begun hiring for all positions and expects to open in the first quarter of this year. In August, a company representative told Reston Now the restaurant will open next month.

A spokesperson for Comstock Partners, the owner of Reston Station, said the company went back to the drawing board to improve the design and layout of the restaurant after opening a new location — Farmers & Distillers — in the District.

“After opening their downtown D.C. restaurant a year ago, they decided to make some major changes to better improve operations,” said Maggie Parker, vice president of communications and community outreach for Comstock Partners. “They can’t wait to open.”

The Reston restaurant rests on the ground floor of a planned 200-room hotel at Reston Station and on top of the 3,500-space Reston Station Transit Facility. A large mezzanine is planned at the site, which sits next to the 45o-unit BLVD at Reston Station.

The farmer-owned restaurant include a full-service menu and bar with breakfast, lunch and dinner and a Farmers Market buffet brunch on weekends. A “First Bake” menu will offer takeaway breakfast and coffee on weekday mornings, according to the restaurant’s website.

Founding Farmers is owned by more than 47,000 family farmers of the North Dakota Farmers Union and is supplied by hundreds of family farms, according to its website.

No update was available on when Sweet Leaf, a locally owned cafe chain scheduled to open next to Founding Farmers will open. Signage on the store front indicates an opening in the winter of last year.

(This post was updated on Friday, Jan. 12 at 10:29 a.m. to include background about Founding Farmers). 

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

by Del. Ken Plum January 11, 2018 at 11:30 am 13 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.

The General Assembly convened for its annual session on Wednesday. Hopes that the historic election results of November brought forth have dimmed somewhat as the drawing of lots to settle the results of the final district race gave the Republicans a one-member advantage to control the House of Delegates. Many wonderful people have been at work on the terms for a power-sharing agreement. 

Now the incentives for such reform have diminished with the acceptance of a disputed ballot that led to the Democrats losing a seat that would have made for a partisan tie in the House and much more likelihood of a power-sharing arrangement. There is likely to be some reform of the process but not a change of one-party dominance that has thwarted efforts to deal with some major issues.

I continue to be impressed with the make-up of the House of Delegates as the new members are reflective of the people of Virginia. For the first time in our history women will make up half the membership of the Democratic caucus. The new members bring wonderful backgrounds, expertise, and life experiences that will bring a greater sense of reality to legislative debates. We will make progress on more issues for sure but maybe not as great as I led people to believe when election results were announced.

One of my greatest concerns is that the thousands of men and women who chose to take part in the electoral process for the first time in ways other than just voting not become disillusioned with the process and retreat from it. Make no mistake about it: the outcomes of the legislative and state-wide races in Virginia in 2017 were historic. Voter turnout in these races was greater than in any other year with the same seats to be filled. The solid Republican majority of 66 to 34 was reduced to 51 to 49. Senior members of the majority with more than adequate monies to finance their races lost to a public uprising. All involved in this process can rightfully be proud. All that activity has been focused on campaigning; now we must turn to governing. 

I hope that all those who campaigned so hard for candidates will identify one or perhaps several issues upon which they can focus their attention and with the same techniques of phoning, social media, door knocking, rallying and more can help persuade members of the legislature to vote responsibly on the issues. Just as we sold voters on candidates, we need to sell legislators on important issues. Such campaigns can make a difference in the outcome of legislation.

Political parties on both sides will be eager to take credit for the outcomes of elections in which they participated. Without a doubt, the success of elections this cycle came from the women and men who volunteered–sometimes in organized groups or acting as individuals–that made the difference. Political parties can learn from these people. Please do stay involved, for your participation can make such an important difference as the General Assembly lumbers along.

by Fatimah Waseem January 11, 2018 at 9:00 am 5 Comments

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