Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Exclusive: Rolls-Royce Considers Relocating Regional Headquarters in Reston Town Center
  2. Night Construction Begins on Reston Roadways
  3. Silver Line Phase Two Test Trains Begin Running to Ashburn
  4. Great Falls Then and Now: Lockmoor Farm
  5. New Glass Recycling Rules in Effect in Fairfax County

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Campus Commons Proposal Gets OK From Fairfax County Planning Commission

A major mixed-use development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station is barrelling its way towards the county’s approval.

In a unanimous vote last night (Thursday), the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved TF Cornerstone’s Campus Commons project, which would redevelop 12 acres of land into two residential towers with 656 units, an office buildings, and several parks. The plan preserves two office buildings currently on the site.

The proposal — which is the last major block of developable land near the Metro station that is in the books — has attracted community concerns for its scale, impacts on traffic, compatibility with adjacent neighborhoods, and pedestrian connectivity.

In response to feedback from the commission at a previous meeting and community criticism, TF Cornerstone removed roughly 86,550 square feet from an office building fronting Sunrise Valley Drive, reducing the massing of the building from 12 to seven stories. The developer shuffled most of the removed square footage to the residential towers, which sit deeper within the site. The setback along the curb of Sunrise Valley Drive was also increased to a minimum of 50 feet.

Preliminarily, TF Cornerstones is proposing to add an at-grade crosswalk at Wiehle Avenue near the off-ramps to the Dulles Toll Road — a component of the plan that residents warned poses safety concerns for pedestrians.

The developer also agreed to embark on an up-to-three-year study to explore options with the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation for a tunnel or a pedestrian bridge.

“This is the first applicant to take this on,” said Hunter Mill District Planning Commission John Carter.

Carter said the developer did a good job of amending its plans in response to feedback from the county and residents.

The plan heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote on Tuesday (Oct. 15).

Image via Fairfax County Government/handout

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Reston Pumpkin 5K and More This Weekend in Reston

Although Flavors of Fall will not be happening this year, residents can still enjoy the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s Reston Pumpkin 5K and Kids Pumpkin Dash on Sunday (Oct. 13). The race kicks off at 8:15 a.m. at Reston Town Center and the pumpkin dash kicks off at 9:15 a.m.

Participants are encouraged to debut their Halloween costumes. Today (Friday) is the last day to take advantage of the early registration rate $30 per person. Prices rise to $35 per person over the weekend.

Participants in the pumpkin dash — which is open to children age 14 and under — are divided into heats based on age. Distances vary from 20 to 100 yards based on the age of participants.

Tomorrow (Oct. 12)

  • Indie Author Day (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) — Drop by and meet local writer sin the community at Reston Regional Library. Books will be available for sale and signing.
  • ArtSplash for Adults (2-4 p.m.) — Create your own masterpiece in this workshop led by artists from Abrakadoodle Northern Virginia.

Sunday (Oct. 13)

  • Bird Walks (7:30-10:30 a.m.) — Search for birds in some of Reston’s most beautiful areas at this walk, which is co-sponsored by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder store.
  • History of World War II (2-4 p.m.) — Harry Butowsky, a George Mason University professor, continues his six-part lecture series on the war at Reston Regional Library.
  • Book Launch Party with Sen. Janet Howell (2 p.m.) — Howell and her daughter-in-law, Theresa Howell, will introduce their new book, “Leading the Way: Women in Power,” at Scrawl Books.
  • Sunday Afternoon Dance (2:30-4:30 p.m.) — Dancers of all skill levels are invited for an afternoon of dance at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. Each session is $5 for Reston residents and $10 for all others.
  • Country Western Dance (5:30-7:30 p.m.) — Western dance is the focus of this evening session at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. Each session is $5 for Reston residents and $10 for all others.

Photo by Chip McCrea 

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Reminder: Sign Up for Reston Now Email Subscriptions

Since 2013, Reston Now has been reporting news about the Reston and Herndon areas. Recently, we started providing additional coverage of Great Falls.

Keep up with our coverage by signing up for our email subscriptions.

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Columbus Day: What’s Open, What’s Closed

Columbus Day, a federal holiday that is also a workday for some, is on Monday. Here’s a look at what is open and what is closed for the holiday.

Fairfax County government offices and public schools are closed. Local libraries will also be closed on Monday. No in-person absentee voting will be offered at the Fairfax County Government Center. Reston Association offices, including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility, will also be closed in observance of the holiday.

Reston Community Center Hunters Woods and Lake Anne are open, but check if your individual class or event is scheduled. Fairfax County parks and RECenter are also open.

Meanwhile, Metro will run on a Saturday schedule and Metrobus will operate on a modified Saturday schedule. MetroAccess and paratransit services will operate on a regular schedule.

File photo

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Reston Association Looks to Increase All Staff Salaries Amid Staffing and Retention Issues

Reston Association’s 2020-2021 budget, which would increase member assessments by five percent, will likely include across-the-board salaries increases for all staff. The move, which allocates $1 million over the next two years for salary and benefit increases, comes in response to unprecedented turnover last year and ongoing concerns related to staff recruitment and retention.

Last night (Thursday), RA’s Board of Directors also voted to approve reclassifying the positions of four staff members — whose names and salaries were not disclosed — because their positions were misclassified by RA. Board member Ven Iyer — who frequently challenged matters discussed by the board throughout the meeting — was the lone dissenting vote.

The board’s decisions were guided by a compensation study authorized by RA CEO Hank Lynch and conducted by Archer Company, a South-Carolina based firm that offers human resource management.

The study provided the basis for a one-time salary increase of 2.6 percent for all employees to “offset [the] recent below market merit pool,” as well as an increase in retirement match contributions and ensuring salaries are at or above the market rate within five years of service.

In 2020, the draft budget calls for nearly $227,594 in merit increases, $166,547 for a one-time salary increase, $132,277 to elevate salaries to the market midpoint, and $74,832 to match benchmarks by adjusting 401k matches. In 2021, roughly $445,960 in salary and benefits-related increases are also planned.

The board also expressed support for a documented compensation philosophy that aims to attract talent and offer salaries and benefits that are similar to comparable entities.

Board member John Mooney said the proposed compensation philosophy was “very balanced” and ensures RA is competitive with other similar employers, including the staff in municipal or county-level government positions in Fairfax and Arlington counties.

Iyer questioned if the comparison of RA to public entities with significantly larger budgets and resources was appropriate.

He also challenged the labeling of several documents received by the board with disclaimers like “RA board’s eyes only” and “extremely confidential” — a move that he said violates members’ trust because the materials were unrelated to contractual or business matters. RA declined to release the materials referenced by Iyer to Reston Now.

RA’s general counsel, Anthony Champ, said the documents were provided as background information to the board and their confidentiality could be assessed if an RA member requested the materials.

The organization’s fiscal committee was not consulted about the salary and benefits increases, Iyer, who is the board’s committee liaison, also stated.

The majority of the board, however, concurred with the need to increase salaries in accordance with the Archer study’s recommendations.

Board President Cathy Baum said the proposed salary and benefits increases were “logical” — challenging Iyer’s assertion that the board was acting based on emotion, not fact.

Iyer, however, said the Archer study was not prescriptive and instead pitched broad recommendations that were subject to the scrutiny of the board.

As the budget heads for adoption in November, Lynch said he hopes RA’s new outlook on compensation and benefits will provide market-based incentives to recruit and retain top talent.

Photo via YouTube/RA

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Friday Morning Notes

Reston Association to Hold Public Hearing on Budget — RA’s Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on the 2020-2021 biennial budget on Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters. The budget is set to be approved by the board in November. [Reston Association]

Mentoring Program at South Lakes High School Kicks Off — “DIAMONDS (Determined, Intelligent, Ambitious, Motivated, Original, Nifty, Dazzling, Strength) is a mentoring program for young minority women-led by Angel Scott and Lisa Girdy. The program’s mission is to inspire, transform, and educate young ladies on how to be successful in every area of life. DIAMONDS kicked off its second year with many returning students, some new students, volunteers from the community, and dedicated South Lakes staff members who serve as mentors.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Reston-based Company partners with Leading Cloud Security Company — “FireEye, a publicly traded cybersecurity company with an office in Reston, Virginia, is partnering with cloud security company iboss to provide a joint tech solution for cloud-based cyber threat protection.” [Technical.ly]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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