Normandy Farm Owners Seek Rezoning for Equestrian Center

The new owners of Normandy Farm in Great Falls want to expand the current equestrian center on the property — with permission from Fairfax County.

The Youngkin family bought parts of the Normandy Farms property (681 Rossmore Court) in 2015 and 2019 before applying for the roughly 31 acres of land to be reclassified as an agricultural and forest district.

The family claims the land has no historical significance for the area but they hope to preserve the nine acres of forest on the property and enhance equestrian infrastructure on the property.

The land includes barns, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, boarding and training facilities, horse pastures, meadows and a pond, which is home to Canadian geese, a blue heron and turtles, according to county documents. The documents also noted that the family plans to maintain the natural importance of the land.

“The proposed application is in conformance with plan goals of preserving the rural character of this environmentally sensitive area,” the application said.

The Youngkin family requested a public hearing with the Fairfax County Agricultural and Forestal District Advisory Board and the Fairfax County Planning Commission to review their application, according to the documents, which likely won’t happen before spring 2020.

The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to consider the application in February.

Image via Google Maps

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Veterans Day Celebrations and Closures Around Reston, Herndon

Monday is Veterans Day — a chance to celebrate the servicemen and women who currently or previously served in the United States Armed Forces.

Across Herndon and Reston, certain businesses or offices are altering hours in remembrance or even offering perks for veterans.

The Town of Herndon will host a remembrance ceremony on the Town Green at 11 a.m. in coordination with the American Legion Post 184.

Founding Farmers (1904 Reston Metro Plaza) is offering a 50% discount on brunch, lunch and dinner for those who bring along a military ID or wear their uniform. The Department of Veterans Affairs compiled a list of other chain locations offering discounts or free things for servicewomen and men.

The Herndon Community Center will operate from 6 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and also offer free admission for retired veterans and active military personnel with military ID.  The Reston Community Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to its website.

The Fairfax County government offices and Fairfax County Public Libraries will be closed in remembrance, according to their website.

Fairfax County Public Schools will be open and teachers are encouraged to lead students in Veterans Day oriented activities.

Across the county, all neighborhood and community service centers will be closed.

Trash collection from the county will run on a normal schedule, although the offices will be closed, according to the website. Locals are advised to put their trash and recycling out by 6 a.m. for timely collection.

Fairfax County animal shelters are closed on Mondays, the website said.

Some Fairfax Connector routes will operate regular weekday service, while others won’t run at all.

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New Book Aims to Educate Kids on Herndon History

An upcoming book about Herndon wants to teach kids about the town’s history and culture.

A Day in Herndon” is a mixed-media book that walks the reader through a day of personified farm animals from Frying Pan Farm Park who take a field trip to Herndon.

The book will be available on Saturday (Nov. 9) at a book signing celebration at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) from 10 a.m. until noon and is also on sale online for $15.95.

Readers will notice photography and illustrations from co-authors and friends Jill Vinson and Watt Hamlett, who met each other when they were neighbors in Reston. Vinson said she has since moved and now lives in Herndon.

Each animal featured in the story is excited to see something different around town, according to Hamlett.

“We have a pig who wanted to check out the art around Herndon,” Hamlett said. “We wanted to take kids on our tour through the community.”

Hamlett and Vinson published their first book — “Reston A to Z” — three years ago.

When they were selling the book at the Lake Ann Farmers Market, people suggested that they write another book together about Herndon.

“There are so many people within the community who are really excited for this,” Vinson said.

In the future, the authors hope to sell the book around town and allow organizations to sell it for fundraising purposes. They already have a deal with Green Lizard Cycling, which plans to sell the book and donate some of the proceeds to an organization of their choice, Hamlett said.

Photo courtesy Watt Hamlett

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Demolition of Old Fire Station Expected to Start in December

As work gears up on the new fire station in Reston, construction crews will soon tear down the current one.

The demolition on the old facility (1820 Wiehle Avenue) is expected to begin early this December, William Delaney, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said.

Construction is underway for a temporary station at 1800 Cameron Glen Drive to serve the community until the new facility is completed in 2021.

The existing location is too small and does not suit the needs of the community anymore, another spokesperson previously told Reston Now.

The new station will cost $14.8 million, double the size of the station and feature two stories with room for administrative offices, a dayroom, kitchen, storage and bunk rooms.

“I am sure there will be a grand re-opening ceremony when new station up and running,” Delaney said.

Image via Google Maps 

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Here’s Where to Vote in Reston, Herndon Today

Fairfax County voters are headed to the polls today.

In the Hunter Mill and Drainsville districts, there are several seats up for election including the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fairfax County School Board positions and Board of Supervisors seats.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and voters can swing by anytime throughout the day.

There are several options for anyone wishing to monitor turnout and results. Fairfax County’s Twitter account will be posting updates at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.

There are around 20 various polling locations, which will be open throughout the area. Voters can find their designated polling location using the My Neighborhood Map or through the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Below is a map of all the voting locations throughout Reston and Herndon.

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YMCA in Reston Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Fundraising Gala

The YMCA Fairfax County Reston is hosting a fundraising gala in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

This year’s annual gala will be held at the YMCA (12196 Sunset Hills Road) from 6-11 p.m. next Saturday (Nov. 16) and feature a dinner party, silent auction and after-party, according to the event page.

“Our mission ensures that no one is turned away from access to ‘Y’ programs and membership,” the page said.

Last year, the gala raised $280,000 for the center, according to the  YMCA’s website.

Individual tickets start at $150 and sponsorships start at $1,000.

Image via YMCA Fairfax County Reston

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‘Matilda’ Coming to NextStop Theatre in Herndon

A production of “Matilda” is coming to NextStop Theatre in November.

“Matilda” will debut on Thursday (Nov. 14) beginning around 7 p.m. at 269 Sunset Park Drive. Performances will run through Dec. 22.

“Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, ‘Matilda’ is the story of an extraordinary little girl who decides to fight back against tyrannical adults,” a press release said.

Tickets typically range from $40 to $55 dollars. Event organizers suggest that people get their tickets in advance because they are expected to sell out.

Image via NextStop

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Reston Environmental Study Wins Fairfax County Award

Reston environmentalists received an award from Fairfax County last week.

The Reston Annual State of the Environment (RASER), a report compiled by nine people, won an Environmental Excellence Award from Fairfax County.

The report covers air, water, forests, meadows, wetlands, landscaping, urban agriculture, wildlife, hazardous materials, light and noise pollution and education in the Reston region, the Fairfax County website said. RASER was founded in 2017 and consists of professionals and citizen scientists who volunteer their time to synthesize the 325 data sources, the website said.

From the 2018 report, the group said Reston should focus on improving urban forests and community access to nature, which they say improves wellbeing for people in the area. The group sent in an application for the Biophilic Cities Network Program and drafted a pledge that residents can take to become more nature-friendly.

Based on other findings, they followed through on a biological diversity study in the area, called a BioBlitz, which cataloged more than 600 species of plants, animals and organisms.

“Through these and other actions, the RASER Working Group has established a strong foundation for the assessment and enhancement of Reston’s ecological resources and helped to create well-connected urban landscapes where nature and community members can thrive,” the Fairfax County website said.

In total, the report took volunteers more than 2,000 hours to complete, according to the website.

The nine members primarily responsible for compiling the report were invited to a ceremony on Tuesday (Oct. 22).

Photo via Fairfax County

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Hunters Woods Clean-Up Day to Improve Neighborhood Appearance

A new volunteer tradition aims to keep the Hunters Woods neighborhood clean.

The first annual Hunters Woods Clean-Up Day will take place on Sunday (Nov. 3) beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Hunters Woods Fellowship House (2231 Colts Neck Road). Volunteers will improve the appearance of the neighborhood, according to the event’s Facebook page.

The event is sponsored by the Hunters Woods Neighborhood Coalition, which will provide the supplies for volunteers including gloves and trash bags.

During the event, volunteers will clean neighboring areas ranging from Hunters Woods at Trails Edge to Hunters Woods Village Condominiums.

All community members are welcome to swing by help the cause.

After the event, snacks and hot drinks will be provided for volunteers, according to the event page.

Image via Google Maps

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Non-Perishable Food Items Needed in Reston and Herndon

With the holiday season approaching, organizations are setting up campaigns to help those in need.

The Reston Community Center teamed up with the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones to collect food and basic necessities, while Food For Neighbors is sponsoring an online fundraiser to provide meals for those struggling with food insecurity.

On the Food For Neighbors’ website, anyone can donate money to help feed families. They are asking for amounts in $50 increments, which will provide a meal for one family.

Under the RCC, there are more than a dozen locations where people can drop off non-perishable items, including food, paper towels, plastic bins and hygiene items.

They are looking for food items that are unopened, unused and unexpired, including coffee, tea, canned products, oatmeal, dry beans and rice, peanut butter, jellies, flour, sugar, condiments and cooking oil.

Volunteers can sign up online to sort the items.

Below, is a list of locations where people can drop off new items.

  • RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road)
  • RCC Lake Anne (1609-A N. Washington Plaza)
  • Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (1886 Metro Center Drive, Suite 230)
  • Atlantic Union Bank (1800 Robert Fulton Drive, Suite 105)
  • Hunter Mill District Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive)
  • Guide Post Montessori Herndon (13251 Woodland Park Road)
  • Long and Foster Realtors (2100 Reston Pkwy, Suite 102)
  • Reston Association — HQ (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive)
  • Reston Associaton — Central Services Facility (12250 Sunset Hills Road)
  • Reston Association — Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive)
  • State Farm Insurance (11868 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200)
  • Tall Oaks Assisted Living (12052 North Shore Drive)
  • The Harrison at Reston Town Center (1800 Jonathan Way)
  • Washington Hilton Dulles (13869 Park Center Road)
  • YMCA Fairfax County Reston (12196 Sunset Hills Road)

Photo via Facebook

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Reston Town Center Ice Rink Reopening for the Season

The Reston Town Center ice rink is set to return next week.

Next Friday (Nov. 8), the public will be able to enjoy the seasonal rink once again. The rink is located near the Reston Town Center Pavillion and will be open until March 15, 2020, according to the rink’s website.

The hours of operation are Monday-Tuesday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Admission prices range depending on age.

  • Adult admission: $10
  • Youth (under 12)/senior (55+)/military admission: $9
  • 10-person admission pack: $85

Skate rentals are available on-site and cost $6 on top of the admission price.

For those who don’t know how to skate, the center offers lessons throughout the season on Saturdays and Sundays for $125.

Photo via Facebook

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Chicken Rico Coming to the VY at Reston Heights

A new chicken restaurant coming to the VY at Reston Heights will serve up food with a Peruvian flair.

Chicken Rico plans to open a new location at 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive, according to Fairfax County records.

It is unclear when the location will open for business since a company spokesperson declined to share any details, but those curious about the chain can check out the other location in Herndon (1254 Elden Street).

The chain offers customers fast food options including baked chicken, fried plantains, rice, various grilled meats and more, according to its Facebook page.

Chicken Rico is one of several eateries coming to the apartment building, including My Home Thai, Reston Kabob and California-based chain BurgerIM.

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Cat Care Clinic Looking to Expand in Reston

After five years in its current space, a cat-specific care center in Reston plans on expanding.

Just Cats Clinic (1601 N. Washington Plaza) outgrew its original office and decided to take over an empty space next door at Lake Anne Plaza, Elizabeth Chapman, the owner and head veterinarian, said.

Chapman said the expansion will include three more exam rooms — allowing the center to double its cat boarding capacity. In addition, the center plans to offer cat ultrasounds.

With more than 4,500 clients, Chapman said the center is currently at capacity.

“We are busting at the seams really,” she said, adding that the clinic will also look into hiring another veterinarian eventually.

Once the expansion is complete, the vet clinic will be roughly 5,000 square feet, Chapman said.

The center is waiting for permit approval from Fairfax County before kicking off construction. Chapman hopes the expansion will be finished by spring 2020.

Photo via Just Cats Clinic

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Upcoming Fundraiser to Benefit Indigenous Amazon Population

An upcoming fundraiser in Reston will help save the Amazon Rainforest.

There will be family fun activities including a yard sale, a ranger station, live music and crafts for kids at the Pony Barn Picnic Area (Steeplechase Drive and Triplecrown Road) on Sunday (Oct. 27) from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., according to a press release.

Admission is free but all of the donation funds from the event will go towards the Amazon Conservation Team, an organization that preserves indigenous communities and natural ecosystems, the press release said.

“The Amazon Rainforest supplies 20 percent of the oxygen we need to live on Earth; however, the size of three football fields are being deforested every minute at the Amazon, according to latest government data,” the press release said.

The event is sponsored by several local businesses around the Reston community.

All are welcome to attend. Anyone wanting to sponsor a yardsale table can email the event organizer.

Photo via Reston Association

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Reston Community Center Unveils New YouTube Series

The Reston Community Center is expanding its online presence as part of its 40th-anniversary celebration.

The RCC created a series of six YouTube videos that cover local history and growth since the community center’s founding in 1979, according to a press release.

The first episode was posted last Thursday, Oct. 17, and featured the Reston Community Players, a community theatre group.

“The short videos were produced and directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and Reston resident Rebekah Wingert, principal of Storycatcher Productions,” the press release said.

As an introduction to the mini-series, the center highlighted last spring’s production, Annie. The video takes viewers behind the curtain and shows them how to production was created.

Future episodes will highlight other aspects of outreach programs and various programs sponsored by the center.

New episodes are expected to make their debut every other week.

“By using our YouTube platform, we will share how RCC connects to our partners and patrons in these compelling videos,” RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon said.

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