Fairfax County Planning Commission Denies Plan for 13-Story Building

The Fairfax County Planning Commission struck down a plan to bring a 13-story building with 58 residential units near Reston Regional Library.

During a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) night, Commissioners noted that the plan by NS Reston would exceed the density and guidelines allowed for the area, which is known in planning jargon as “Part 5.”

In a report, county staff noted the property has been “marketed as a park for over 20 years.” Staff also stated that the plan was not in conformance with Reston’s comprehensive plan.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said that the commission cannot simply approve plans that do not conform with land use and density requirements. If the parcel is to be developed, it should be consolidated with the Reston Regional Library parcel to the north.

“I can’t imagine that we just disregard the comprehensive plan,” Carter said.

NS Reston is seeking to build a 180-foot residential structure on the site with a partially underground parking garage. An urban park will include public art, a wall bench and a recreational lawn.

John Hart, the commission’s vice chairman, stressed that it is within the purview of the commission to assert that a development area is too small and that maintaining the location as open space is too important to allow development at the intensity proposed.

John McGranahan Jr., the applicant’s representative, said that the development history on the site was complicated.

Despite this, McGranahan said changes between recent approvals of the comprehensive plan indicate that the proposal could be allowed.

He also disputed the way the county calculated whether or not Part 5 would be pushed beyond its development capacity if NS Reston’s plan was approved.

The project is located on the north side of New Dominion Parkway roughly 300 feet west off of Fountain Drive.

The developer did not indicate if they will appeal the decision.

Renderings via NS Reston/Fairfax County Government

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Augmented Identity Firm Officially Opens in Reston

Global firm IDEMIA, a company specializing in augmented identity, officially opened today (Thursday). The company moved its North America & Security headquarters from Billerica, Mass. to Reston Town Center.

The move brings 90 new jobs to Reston. Gov. Ralph Northam announced IDEMIA’s move to Reston in December last year.

IDEMIA develops, manufactures and markets security technology products and services for the telecommunications, payments and identity markets.

It defines augmented identity as “identity that ensures privacy and trust and guarantees secure, authenticated, and verifiable transactions.”

Photo via  IDEMIA/Facebook

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A New German-Style Christmas Market is Coming to Herndon

Herndon residents are banding together to host the first-ever “Herndon WinterMarkt,” a traditional German-style Christmas Market with a family focus.

The event, which is set for Dec. 14 from 12 p.m to 8 p.m., will include vendors, food, crafts and entertainment linked to European traditions.

Kevin LeBlanc, an event organizer, said the idea was inspired by the large number of German and Austrian natives living in the area. Discussions to organize the event quickly gained momentum after residents partnered up with the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce to launch the event.

Organizers say Herndon’s historic downtown area naturally lends itself to community gatherings typically held in small grounds and villages.

“Historic Herndon lends itself to that kind of an atmosphere, both because of the historic town center and a strong sense of community that the town house.”

So far, the event will include Gluhwein and German beer. A majority of vendors and entertainers are German or Austrian. and the event will also coincides with the Herndon Model Trail show.

It will take place at the Herndon Depot Museum (717 Lynn Street).

More information will be available on the event’s Facebook page.

Photo via Herndon WinterMarkt/Facebook

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Del. Ken Plum: The Speaker of the House

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis 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.

The Speaker of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain, the Right Honourable John Bercow M.P., spoke in the chamber of the House of Delegates in the State Capitol in Richmond recently. His speech was not to the members of the House of Delegates specifically although I and several other members were in attendance. He was addressing persons participating in the events as part of American Evolution, Virginia to America 1619 – 2019, the celebration of the 400th anniversary of historic events in the Virginia colony including the meeting of the first representative legislative assembly in the Western Hemisphere at Jamestown in 1619.

Speaker Bercow lived up to his reputation of being a very entertaining speaker with lots of stories and humorous details of his service in Parliament with its centuries of traditions and customs. Many routines in the House of Commons or the House of Lords can be explained by happenings centuries ago and by interactions with the British monarchy. Speaker Bercow clearly knows his history and uses it to create a context for understanding the operation of Parliament today.

Ironically the Speaker of the House of Commons — who clearly loves to speak — has a role that does not require him to speak often or engage in debate in the House. He explains his role as being obliged to be impartial in debate and to be a kind of referee to ensure that debates are held fairly for all participating parties. While he is a member of Parliament and is a member of a political party, he sets aside partisanship in his role as Speaker. His success in the role is evidenced by his continued unanimous re-election as Speaker by the members of the House of Commons.

In the earliest years as the parliamentary system of government evolved in Great Britain the speaker’s role was to be the person who spoke in the Parliament on behalf of the monarch. He made the king’s interest known to the law makers. As the form of government evolved, however, and with the decline in the power of the monarch, the speaker became the person to make the views of the members of Parliament known to the king. It was a bit of a role reversal as Parliament gained power with the ministers of government as part of its membership and the monarch assuming more of a ceremonial role.

The Founding Fathers writing the constitutions for the colonies as they became states and for the United States as a nation rejected the strong monarchical and parliamentary system of government in favor of separation of powers and checks and balances.

Speaker Bercow is a strong believer in the necessity of his being impartial in his role as Speaker of the House. At the same time he makes clear that he is in no way impartial in his support for representative government and is passionate about liberal democracy. Certainly the Speaker of the House of Delegates in Virginia could lead to more effective government in the Commonwealth were the person occupying the position an impartial leader and not the leader of the majority party.

File photo

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Police: Former Herndon HS Teacher Recorded Illicit Videos of Students in School

A former Herndon High School teacher recorded dozens of illicit videos of students with hidden cameras around the school for more than a year, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

During a news conference on Wednesday (June 19), police said Raphael Schklowsky, 36, of Reston will face additional charges in connection with filming multiple students. Schklowsky is currently in jail due to previous charges for unlawful filming and possessing child pornography.

Maj. Ed. O’Carroll, commander of FCPD’s Major Crimes Bureau, said that FCPD has not determined the new charges yet. He says female students were filmed while undressing.

“The case remains active. Detectives have been working diligently on this case and our other important cases to bring justice and closure,” he said.

So far, police contacted nine people after identifying them from photos of videos taken by the former drama teacher. Videos were taken between May 2017 and June 2018, according to O’Carroll.

Some photos were taken outside the area, including New York, O’Carroll said. Authorities in other jurisdictions are conducting their own investigations.

Charges against Schklowsky have slowly built up as police discover new details about the investigation. Previously, police discovered over 3,500 videos on various devices.

At a hearing in May, he was charged with 20 felony counts of possession of child pornography and one felony charge of unlawful filming.

He has been on leave since his arrest, according to a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools. His next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6.

Any individual who think they may have been recorded by Schklowsky should call the police at 703-246-7800.

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Thursday Morning Notes

Summer Food Service Program Kicks Off — County schools are participating in a program to ensure that students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals continue to receive meals when school is out of session. Meals will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Foster Care Information Meeting — Learn more fostering or adopting a child in during this information meeting at Reston Regional Library from 6:30-8 p.m. The meeting will be led by Patricia Aviles-Cubillos from the Fairfax County Department of Family Services. [Reston Regional Library]

Take a Break Concert Tonight — Bad Influence takes the stage today at Lake Anne Plaza from 7-9 p.m. The blues and roots performance is open to audiences of all ages. [Reston Community Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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