County Takes ‘Short Breather’ After PRC Proposal Deferral

It’s been a quiet two months since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to indefinitely defer the consideration of the hotly debated Planned Residential Community district proposal in early March.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the county’s planning staff plan to discuss future steps in an internal meeting by early May, according to a legislative assistant for the Hunter Mill District. The office deferred questions on the proposal and next steps until discussions have taken place and new leadership for the Planning and Zoning Department are updated about the process thus far.

The proposal, which would have increased the maximum allowed population acre in PRC  from 13 to up to 15 people, was put on hold on March 5 at the request of Hudgins. She said she wanted to work with the community to address concerns about the redevelopment of village centers, managing growth with infrastructure improvements, and misinformation in the community.

County officials will likely examine the future of Reston’s village centers before reconsidering the PRC proposal — a plan suggested by the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Hudgins also concurred with the suggestion.

No other information about the future of the proposal was released as the county takes “a short breather,” the legislative assistant told Reston Now.

File photo

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Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout Set for Sunday

In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative, the Reston District Station is encouraging residents to safely dispose of unused or old medicines.

“Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout” is set for Sunday (April 28) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents can drop off medications at any of Fairfax County’s eight district police stations. Only pills and liquids will be accepted, not pressurized canisters or needles.

The event is made possible by partnering with local businesses and Fairfax County government departments, including the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and Neighborhood and Community Services.

Organizers say the disposal is free, confidential and safe. Promotional materials say that safe handling of unused or expired medications can prevent accidental poisoning, protects the environment and prevents drug abuse.

The Reston District Station is located at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive.

 

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Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival Returns to RTC for 28th Year

More than 200 fine artists from across the country will come for Greater Reston Arts Center’s 28th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

The outdoor festival will take place at Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street) on May 17 through May 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

On Friday (May 17), town center merchants will offer “Festival Friday” deals. A “Festival Party” on Saturday (May 18)  from 7-10 p.m. will feature this year’s awards of excellence. Food is catered in-kind by Not Your Average Joe’s and the event is sponsored by M Group Architects. The party is free for GRACE’s sponsors, supporters, and all festival artists, according to event organizers.

A movement installation by Heidi Latsky will celebrate the beauty of differences. The performance is sponsored by Reston Community Center and will take place on Saturday (May 18) at 7 p.m. during the party and at Reston Town Square Park on Sunday (May 19) at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Artists featured in the festival were selected by an independent panel of professional jurors, with some help from GRACE’s curatorial staff. Sofia Blom, GRACE’s gallery and communications manager, said the following about the selection process:

The three highly qualified jurors for the 2019 Festival are Nehemiah Dixon III, a widely exhibited native Washingtonian artist; Lauren Hilyard, a Washington-based art advisor with 20 years of experience working for the Guggenheim Museum and Christie’s Auction House among others; and Laura Roulet, an independent curator and writer and frequent contributor to Sculpture Magazine. These three jurors will also judge each artist booth on Friday and Saturday to select the ten Awards of Excellence. Each winner will receive a $500 cash prize, a blue ribbon for booth display, and automatic acceptance into the 2020 Northern Virginia FineArts Festival.

Over 500 volunteers are needed for the event. Signup is available online.

Photo by Charlotte Geary

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Legal Insider: When to Consult with a Security Clearance Lawyer

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

We meet with federal employees and government contractors who are facing issues in the security clearance process.

They often ask our attorneys at what point they should consult with a security clearance attorney to assist, advise or represent them. The usual response is that an individual with a potential security concern should do so as soon as possible. Generally, the earlier that a person with possible security concerns consults with a security clearance lawyer, the better the odds become in avoiding a potential adverse outcome.

What Does a Security Clearance Lawyer Do?

There are a number of ways that an experienced lawyer in security clearance law can help someone with security concerns. It is often the case that they can advise an individual regarding potential strategies before a security clearance problem develops.

We have found that most individuals have a good sense as to whether or not they may have a security concern (e.g. recent drug use, bankruptcy, foreign contacts) as they prepare to complete their security clearance forms like the e-QIP, SF-86 and/or different various of the SF-85. The earlier advice is sought when there is an issue, the more that can be possibly done to mitigate the concern.

Clearance lawyers also advise individuals during the investigative process and during any security clearance responses or appeals.

Delays Can Hurt the Ability to Mitigate Security Concerns

One of the major issues that we see in the clearance process is where an individual has waited too long to consider or in starting to address a potential security clearance concern until it may be too late.

Sometimes, individuals who have had financial issues which could have been explained or refuted initially, wait too long thinking that if they lose during the clearance hearing or personal appearance that they will just retain an attorney further on in the appeals process. This is usually the worst strategy.

When people with serious security concerns have waited too long to address them, or gone through an in person response without representation, it is usually too late to do much on further appeal. One example I remember is a case where a government contractor had an alleged debt that was overdue, didn’t respond with evidence that it was not his debt thinking that he could appeal it after the administrative judge had ruled.

The debt was clearly not his, but because the clearance appeal could only be based on the evidence already presented, the clearance could not be saved.

Early Advice Can Save Embarrassment and Help Career

It is not uncommon that we anticipate a serious issue with someone obtaining a security clearance, i.e. recent arrest or recent drug use and recommend backing out of the process before a final decision is rendered. In serious cases where it looks like a security clearance may not be granted, a clearance lawyer can advise an individual about whether or not to accept the position and move forward or quietly decline and try later.

It can be the case that an individual can withdraw from the process, wait a bit more time to go through the clearance process and potentially resolve the issues later. This helps them avoid the embarrassment of taking on employment and leaving their current position only to be terminated a short time later when their clearance is not approved and they are left unemployed.

It can also help them potentially avoid having to declare a negative clearance outcome on future forms. A security clearance lawyer can also help to put an applicant’s mind at ease if they are concerned about an issue.

Legal Representation in Clearance Denials or Proposed Denials

If an interim or permanent security clearance is at risk or is denied, an individual will definitely need a security clearance lawyer. Each federal agency uses the same adjudicative guidelines but have unique procedures to that agency for processing and appealing an outcome. This is the case even though all federal agencies fall under the same Executive Order 12968.

It is also important that the individual consult with experienced counsel where they can explain any issues that individual federal agencies are particularly sensitive to. For instance, the FBI is more sensitive to prior drug use by applicants or employees and many intelligence agencies are sensitive to the potential for foreign influence; each federal agency varies.

Each federal agency usually has a written and personal appearance stage (or hearing) for those who need to appeal a denial or proposed denial in the security clearance appeals process. While different, each federal agency will provide some form of a Statement of Reasons (SOR) or Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOI) which explains, to varying degrees, the security concern(s) at issue.

An experienced security clearance lawyer will be versed in the latest agency rules governing responses and appeals before the individual agency involved and will be able to assist a person in preparing their written submission and representing them during the hearing process.

Conclusion

If you are in need of security clearance representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Señor Ramon Taqueria to Open New Location in Reston

A new Mexican restaurant is coming to the former location of Hibiscus Thai Cuisine, which closed late last week after six years of business at 11790-A Baron Cameron Avenue.

Señor Ramon Taqueria, a street-style Mexican restaurant, will open in the first or second week of May, the business’s general manager told Reston Now. Items on the menu include tacos, empanadas, Mexican street corn, and sliders.

The Reston location is similar to other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, and Chantilly, a company representative said. Señor Ramon Taqueria first opened in Leesburg in 2016 to bring “authentic, street-style Mexican food to Northern Virginia,” according to its website.

The restaurant has three other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, and Chantilly. The company’s general manager told Reston Now the Reston location will be similar to other locations.

Photos via Señor Ramon Taqueria; hat tip to Joann Miller

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Poll: Pick the Names for 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.

Last week, Reston Now asked readers for their name suggestions for the two peregrine falcons that call Reston Town Center home.

The pair are both around 7 years old and are expecting four chicks. The dad hails from Maryland while the mom came from Pennsylvania.

About 60 people commented with name ideas below the profile last week and on Reston Now’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

From today (April 22) to the end of the week, readers can vote for the two names from this list of readers’ suggestions.

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

Photo courtesy Boston Properties

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Monday Morning Notes

Herndon Planning Commission Meets Tonight — The commission takes another dive into establishing regulations for Airbnb-style rentals and creating new architectural guidelines for the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core. [Town of Herndon]

Tips on How to Sell Your Home — Mark Sierakowski, a realtor with Long and Foster, offers tips on how to sell your home in this free workshop at Reston Regional Library today from 7-8 p.m. [Reston Regional Library]

Kiddar Investors Gain Control of Herndon Office Building The investor group that backed Kiddar Capital’s acquisition of a Herndon office building entangled in a larger securities fraud case has been granted control over the 4.8-acre site.” [Washington Business Journal]

Earth Day with the Walker Nature Center — Celebrate Earth Day by sprucing up the nature center with new plants and fresh woodchopper tails. The event is organized by the Walker Nature Center and Reston Association. [Walker Nature Center]

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