Hudgins Praises Frying Pan Farm Park for Land Use Award

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins lauded Frying Pan Farm Park for its clean water efforts, which recently earned the Herndon park a land-use award.

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) selected the park for the 2018 Fairfax County Clean Water Farm Award because of “its implementation of effective agricultural best management practices and diverse educational and outreach programs, as well as its close interactions with NVSWCD,” according to Fairfax County.

“It’s a fabulous park,” Hudgins said at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday (April 9). “It’s really exciting to be able to recognize them for the stewardship they do.”

Located at 2739 West Ox Road, the park preserves and interprets farm life of the first half of the 20th century. For the last two decades, the park has been working to comply with the Fairfax County’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Program by following the Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan, according to the county.

Chairman Sharon Bulova also added to the praise of the park. “That is pretty impressive,” Bulova said about the farm earning the award. “It is a working farm with lots of animals.”

Hudgins asked that the Frying Pan Farm Park staff get invited to the board for recognition, along with representatives from the county’s Park Authority and NVSWCD.

0 Comments

Cell Tower Proposed on Herndon High School Property

The county is considering a proposal to bring a new telecommunications facility with a 124-foot monopole and a fenced 91-by-35 foot compound to Herndon High School.

Milestone Communications Inc. is working with Fairfax County Public Schools to build the telecommunications facility on school property and lease space to wireless providers in the county, according to an application accepted by the county on April 4.

If approved, the monopole and compound would sit on the north side of the football field, just west of the visitors’ bleachers and between two existing stadium light poles. Spring antennas will be located on a platform on top of the monopole and a six-foot tall rod will extend from the tower.

It’s not the first time Milestone has worked with FCPS to build a cell tower. The company has similar projects at South Lakes High School and Herndon Middle School. Len Forkas, the company’s president said the company is committed to informing the community about the project in a transparent manner.

“We’re super excited about being able to improve services and we look forward to the whole process to obtain necessary approvals,” Forkas told Reston Now.

The compound area will be closed off by a 10-foot tall chain link fence in an attempt to create “a solid visual barrier,” according to the application. To go forward, the county must rezone land designated for general public use to the proposed public use of telecommunication facilities.

“The proposed use is benign and will not generate noise, light, dust, glare, vibration, fumes or odors. The traffic generated will be very minimal. The proposed use does not present a threat to the public health, safety or welfare and will not impact radio, television or telephone reception. It will have no negative impact upon the air and water quality, nor will it impact any existing environmental features on the subject property,” according to the submission.

Forkas also said football fields are ideal locations for cell towers because they already have tall lights.

The company says the new facility is necessary to boost coverage along Dranesville Road, Wiehle Avenue, the Fairfax County Parkway and residential communities around the high school site. Currently, Sprint’s coverage in the area is “weak,” according to the application. The tower will also accommodate up to five telecommunications carriers.

The administrative office of FCPS has approved the location on the site, according to the application.

A hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is set for Oct. 2.

Photo of equipment on Lake Braddock High School property via Len Forkas

0 Comments

Help Name Reston Town Center’s Peregrine Falcons

A joint effort between Reston Now and Boston Properties wants readers’ help naming the two falcons, who call Reston Town Center home. 

The story of Reston Town Center’s peregrine falcons started in June 2015 when two chicks were found on Market Street.

The pair was taken to the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia, where they were rehabilitated and released, Steve Potts, a raptor biologist who monitors the falcons, told Reston Now.

“That was the first indicator that we had nesting peregrine falcons in Reston Town Center,” he said. Fast forward to 2019, and the birds are still calling Reston home.

“This is our fifth year of breeding and that’s a really high rate of having chicks,” Potts said.

While most peregrine falcons used to live near coastal plains, Bryan Watts, the director of the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Va., told Reston Now that he has seen more move inland recently as bridges, buildings and towers mimic cliff faces overlooking a wide vista of landscape for hunting and have updrafts for flying.

“They are one of the most spectacular bird species we have on the planet,” Watts said.

Here are some peregrine falcon fun facts Potts and Watts shared:

  • wild peregrine falcons can live up to about 18 years of age
  • females are larger in size than the males
  • eggs are usually a brick red color and about the size of a small chicken egg
  • chicks fly for the first time at about 42-45 days
  • juvenile peregrine falcons wander and the chicks from the RTC pair may go up to Canada to the Gulf Coast

“The pair up there is incredibly productive,” Watts said. “The hope is that they will be there for a long time.”

Potts said that he saw four eggs in the nest earlier this week. (Reston Now isn’t divulging where the nest is to protect the falcons.)

“It’s in a really remote little spot,” Potts said. “It’s a perfect spot hidden from the rain and sun, and it faces south.”

About 20 days after the chicks are born, Potts plans to return to help band them, which will take place sometime in May.

While Potts said that some people are against banding birds, he argues that annual medical exams made possible by the banding help keep the birds healthy and also allow birders and conservationists to track nest changeover.

The parents — both around 7 years old — have been identified. The dad hails from Maryland while the mom came from Pennsylvania. Reston Now readers will get the chance to name the pair.

Between now and next Friday (April 19), comment below this story and on the Reston Now social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) your name suggestions. On Monday, April 22, readers will be able to vote for the two names out a list of the most upvoted and liked suggested names.

The winning names for the mom and dad falcons will get announced at the end of April.

Photo courtesy Boston Properties

0 Comments

Del. Ken Plum: Cleaning Up the Code

This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

While I would never recommend reading the Code of Virginia for pleasure, as it is filled with legalese intended for trained lawyers and judges to debate its intended meaning, it can be a useful document to understand the history of an era.

Because court decisions at the state and federal level can change the application of a law, the words that are in the Code may have been superseded by such a decision or by later enactments of law.

If all that is not enough to confuse us non-lawyers, there are the “notwithstanding” clauses that effectively say that whatever else the law may provide the effective meaning follows the clause.

Laws can be read to help understand the community mores and values of the past. This session saw a meaningful number of bills passed that reflect a cleaning-up of the Code to reflect changing community values.

Some of these include repealing remnants of Jim Crow laws of racial oppression of the past. Thanks to Del. Marcia Price and State Sen. Lionell Spruill, the provisions in Code that exempted Virginia’s minimum wage requirements for newsboys, shoe-shine boys, babysitters who work 10 hours or more per week, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and cashiers in theaters, all of which were occupations that were most likely held by African Americans, were repealed. The old law made it legal to discriminate through wages. A new law will require employers to provide pay stubs as a way to assist low-wage workers to manage their money and be treated fairly.

Up until action of the General Assembly this session, if you owed court fines and fees in Virginia, your driver’s license could be suspended unless you established a payment plan. As the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy that advocated strongly for a change in the law explained it, one in six Virginia drivers (approximately 900,000 people) has had his or her license suspended because of owing court fines and fees. Almost any poor person who has interacted with the criminal justice system owes some court fines and fees.

Essentially, by taking away someone’s license and therefore likely preventing the person from finding or keeping a job, the state denies the person opportunity to escape from poverty (and ever pay back those fines and fees). This policy was a “debtors’ prison” approach. There is no evidence that suspending people’s licenses increases the rate of payback for fines and fees. The issue disproportionately affected low-income workers, and its repeal this year was past due.

Virginia has historically had one of the highest rates of rental evictions in the country. Laws that disproportionally favored landlords over tenants caused this situation that was disruptive to families. A series of revisions to create a better balance in the law and that provides more options for tenants should make the laws operate more fairly.

Virginia has also had a very bad record in the management of its foster care program. Children were shifted from family to family with limited stability in their lives. Major changes in the laws related to foster children should greatly improve the situation.

It is critically important that we clean up the Code from time to time.

File photo

0 Comments

Reston Real Estate: Just Listed

This is a sponsored post by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate.

The Reston market is moving at a really brisk pace.

It’s a great time to sell, if you’re buying it’s a little more challenging. In either case the key to success is being ready. If you’re selling do all that you can to get your house ready. If you’re buying get your paperwork in order with your lender so you can get qualified quickly.

Here are a few newcomers to the Reston real estate market:

0 Comments

BREAKING: Police Find Weapons, Drug Stash in Reston Brothers’ Home

Two brothers from Reston are facing multiple felony charges after local police found weapons and drugs worth $80,000 in their home.

Fairfax County police arrested Jonathan Dailey, 27, and Timothy Dailey, 22, after a rifle, shotgun, handgun, body armor, and narcotics were found in their home, the police department reported today.

The investigation started when police discovered information about drugs being sold out of the home, police said. After receiving a search warrant, a SWAT team found seven pounds of marijuana and 250 hash oil cartridges along with the guns.

Jonathan Dailey, 27, was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possessing a gun with drugs. Timothy Dailey, 22, was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and distribution of hash oil.

Photos via Fairfax County Police Department

0 Comments

Great Falls Preschool Program Seeks to Expand Programs

Village Green Day School, a private preschool in Great Falls, is expanding its infant care programs in celebration of its 40th anniversary this year.

The school will offer a new infant program this summer in response to growing parental demand for expanded programs, according to Jason Lody, the Executive Head of School.

“As we reflected on our current community’s needs, we also identified a growing need for infant care in Great Falls and its surrounding communities. Because of this we will start a dedicated infant care program with an environment inspired by the Montessori philosophy and use of the Creative Curriculum to support the child’s development during their time here,” Lody told Reston Now.

Although county approval is pending — the school must modify its special exemption with the county — the expanded program is expected to open its doors on August 26.

No changes to occupancy or the number of on-site employees are proposed. But the school is seeking to restrict the enrollment age from two months to three months. The school does not enroll children who are older than one year.

Lody offered the following description about the program:

Village Green’s Infant Program is designed to provide a stimulating environment where each child is provided an individual routine that supports physical, literacy, language, health, and social/emotional learning.  Guided by standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) our infant program allows for each child to experience relationship with caring adults who are specially trained teachers with experience in infant care.

The school’s application is set for a hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 17, followed by a vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on July 30.

Photo via Jason Lody

0 Comments

Reston Association’s Board of Directors Elects New President

Reston Association’s Board of Directors elected Catherine Baum to the position of board president Wednesday night.

In her candidate statement, Baum, a former real estate executive who currently advocates for people with dementia residing in memory care, addressed a controversial debate around the Planned Residential Community — Reston’s primary zoning district.

“Let me state clearly for anyone concerned: I am not now and nor will I ever be for unfettered development throughout the PRC,” Baum said. “I supported and will continue to support every motion made and seconded relative to RA dealings with Fairfax County on this topic.”

While the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted in March to “indefinitely defer” the consideration of a proposed zoning amendment regarding the PRC, the hotly debated issue will likely resurface in the future.

Baum also outlined her priorities as the board’s president.

“Our most important job this coming summer and fall is to pass a 2021 biennial budget,” Baum said, adding that the board must support the new Chief Executive Officer Hank Lynch and use data.

“We will have to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions made on facts,” she said.

Baum was the only candidate nominated to be president. After South Lakes District Director Julie Bitzer nominated Baum, At-Large Director Ven Iyer urged the future president to improve the board’s inclusivity.

“I would like to say I am disappointed in the way my colleagues have conducted discussion in the past year, and it’s because whenever there has been a dissenting or an opposing view, it has often been ridiculed. It has often been cut short,” Iyer said.

Iyer said that he has seen board members aim to form a majority to win motions.

“My request to the future president is to try to be inclusive and to make sure that all board members seem to be heard,” Iyer said. “These board discussions are not about proving your point. They’re about making progress.”

In response to Iyer’s concerns, Baum said that “each of you holds yourself accountable to everyone else on this board.”

The other officers chosen are:

  • Vice President Julie Bitzer
  • Secretary John Mooney
  • Treasurer Eric Carr

Photo courtesy Reston Association

0 Comments

Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association Volunteer Service Awards Next Week — “Two individuals were named as Volunteers of the Year. Doug Britt, who has been instrumental in collecting environmental data, and Cindy Metcalf, who coordinates and leads class instruction on how to start a garden, both won the top honor.” [Reston Association]

Penzance’s Plans for 555 Herndon Parkway — The District-based developer is out with new renderings for its planned development just one tenth of a mile away from the entrance of Herndon Metro Station. [Town of Herndon Government]

Community Emergency Response Guide — The new guide offers tips on how community partners and neighbors should collaborate during an emergency.  [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Joe Heflin

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list