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Police Searching for Man Who Robbed Sunoco in Herndon Last Night

Police are searching for a man who robbed the Sunoco in Herndon yesterday night.

A man wearing a mask entered the gas station at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) and “displayed a handgun to the cashier,” according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The man then took an unspecified amount of cash and fled the gas station at 13470 Coppermine Road.

Police said there were no injuries.

The suspect was described as a 6-foot, 200-pound black man, according to police.

Image via Google Maps

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Flood Watch Issued for Fairfax

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Watch today (Dec. 13) from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon for Fairfax and much of the D.C. region.

NWS anticipates 1 to 2 inches of rainfall — possibly up to 3 inches.

NWS encourages locals to monitor later forecasts and to stay alert for possible Flood Warnings.

Residents should prepare to take action if they live in areas prone to flooding.

More from the National Weather Service:

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a

* Flood Watch for portions of Maryland, The District of
Columbia, and Virginia, including the following areas, in
Maryland, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Central and
Southeast Howard, Central and Southeast Montgomery, Charles,
Frederick MD, Northern Baltimore, Northwest Harford, Northwest
Howard, Northwest Montgomery, Prince Georges, Southeast
Harford, Southern Baltimore, and St. Marys. The District of
Columbia. In Virginia, Albemarle, Arlington/Falls
Church/Alexandria, Culpeper, Eastern Loudoun, Fairfax, Greene,
King George, Madison, Nelson, Northern Fauquier, Orange,
Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park, Rappahannock, Southern
Fauquier, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Western Loudoun.

* From Friday evening through Saturday afternoon

* Moderate rainfall is expected with locally heavy rain possible.
Rainfall amounts around 1 to 2 inches are most likely with
locally higher amounts around 3 inches possible. Runoff from the
rainfall may cause creeks and streams to rise out of their
banks as well as the potential for flooding in urban areas.

Photo via Bahmad Farzad/Flickr

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Virginia Tire and Auto to Replace Closed Bank Branch in Herndon

Virginia Tire and Auto may open next year at 199 Elden Street — the former Cardinal Bank branch spot.

The Herndon Town Council approved on March 13 the construction and operation of the vehicle service center nearly one year after Cardinal Bank closed its branch there during its merger with United Bank.

The vehicle service center aims to open next summer, an employee told Reston Now. Phoenix Steel Erectors’ work on the site is scheduled to begin in February, according to a Facebook post.

Virginia Tire and Auto has been expanding recently, with two other locations set to open in Richmond and Vienna. The new locations will bring the total number of dealership locations to 16.

Maps via Google Maps

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Retirement Community at Hunters Woods on Track for Spring Opening

Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, a senior living community under construction near the Hunters Woods Village Center, is on track for its spring opening next year.

When complete, the IntegraCare facility will have 210 senior-living units — including 90 independent living units, 81 for assisted living, 24 for memory care and 15 for special needs.

“We believe that it will [open] in May, but have not set a specific date as projects of this nature are always subject to the timeline of county agency approvals,” Cissy Nickel, the community integration director for IntegraCare Corp., told Reston Now.

The exterior shell is finished, and the first floor is almost complete, Nickel said. Drywall, trim, flooring and appliance installation still need work.

Located on a 4.3-acre lot at 2222 Colts Neck Road, the retirement community took the former site of the United Christian Parish. The $72 million project aims to address the shortage of senior housing in the Reston area. 

Reston Now previously reported that construction started in May 2017.

A temporary office and showroom opened in July in the Hunters Woods Shopping Center (2254B Colts Neck Road) to provide more information. 

An open house is set for Dec. 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the showroom. 

Rendering by Moseley Architects

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‘Gingerbread Man’ is Coming to Scrawl Books This Saturday

Kids can meet the Gingerbread Man at Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center this coming weekend.

Author Laura Murray will read and sing from her Gingerbread Man books from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 15) at 11911 Freedom Drive.

Murray’s books include “The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas,” “The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School” and “The Gingerbread Man Loose at The Zoo” — all of them illustrated by Mike Lowery.

Murray, a McLean resident, is former school teacher-turned-writer, and Lowery is a professor of illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design who lives in Atlanta, according to their Scrawl Books bios.

Photos via Scrawl Books

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Virginia Lawmaker Unveils Bill to Lower Dulles Toll Road Hikes

Del. Elizabeth Guzman unveiled a bill yesterday that would lower the tolls on Dulles Toll Road, one month after the toll hikes were approved for next year.

The bill would offset some of the upcoming toll increases by ending United Airlines’ jet fuel tax exemption and directing that roughly $4 million per year toward the Silver Line project, which is currently funded largely by tolls.

That revenue could cancel almost 9 percent of the scheduled 2019 toll increase, according to a press release from UNITE HERE Local 23.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors voted Nov. 14 to increase rates on the Dulles Toll Road for the first time since 2014 to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road, according to the MWAA. Starting in January, the hike will raise the toll from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps.

The bill responds to community concerns about the increasing tolls, which are expected to rise to more than $11 by 2043 without alternative funding, the press release said.

“Virginia continues to face a transportation infrastructure funding crisis,” Guzman said. “But Virginia commuters should not be asked to accept higher tolls to fund transit projects that benefit United Airlines, while the airline receives millions in state tax breaks.”

Dels. Kaye Kory and Lee Carter, who are co-patrons of the bill, Virginia AFL-CIO, UNITE HERE Local 23 and CASA in Action, joined Guzman by the windows outside the United Airlines ticketing counters on Wednesday (Dec. 12) at 5 p.m. for the announcement about the bill.

Dels. Marcus Simon, Hala Ayala, Alfonso Lopez and Mark Levine have also signed on as co-patrons of the bill.

Supporters of the bill argue that the Silver Line project will redirect more of the consumer air traffic market to Dulles International Airport, bringing an additional $66 million to United Airlines with 1 percent more of the regional passenger airline market.

Similar efforts in New Jersey are also underway. In September, the New Jersey Senate passed similar legislation to end United’s jet fuel tax break there to fund aviation-related transit projects.

“Commuters and every other business along the Dulles Corridor are already paying their fair share for the Silver Line. United Airlines should too,” Doris Crouse-Mays, president of the Virginia AFL-CIO, said.

Photo via Nova Labor/Facebook

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Thursday Morning Notes

Tinsel ‘n Tinis — Don your cocktail or business attire and head to the Signature at Reston Town Center tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the annual holiday celebration, which will include food, martinis, casino entertainment and a raffle. A portion of the casino proceeds will benefit an educational foundation. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

FABB holiday party — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) is hosting a party at 7 p.m. at The Bike Lane (11150 Sunset Hills Road). Expect finger food and a cash bar. Bike Lane Brewing will donate $1 from every beer sold during the event. [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling Facebook]

More problems for the Silver Line’s second phase — Hundreds of concrete rail ties installed at track crossovers along the second phase of the Silver Line are flawed, according to officials. The problem could further delay the project, which is already 13 months behind schedule. [The Washington Post]

Reston company didn’t land Marine Corps contract — The Marine Corps chose BAE Systems as the amphibious combat vehicles (ACV) prime contractor over competitor Science Applications International Corporation. Both companies had received separate contracts worth a combined $225 million in late 2015 to develop prototypes. [GovCon Wire]

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Locals Can ‘Adopt’ Fire Hydrants in Fairfax County

Residents and business owners can help firefighters potentially save lives by “adopting” fire hydrants.

Fairfax County’s “Adopt-A-Hydrant” program helps combat obstacles created by snow and ice during wintertime and weeds, leaves and shrubs in warmer weather.

Locals who adopt a fire hydrant pledge to keep it clear for firefighters to access in case of an emergency. For snowy weather, locals may need to clear a three-foot area around the hydrant and make a path to the road to ensure visibility and accessibility.

Locals can submit an online application to get one close to their home or business. A crew from the participant’s closest fire station will then deliver an “adoption certificate” identifying the hydrant.

The county encourages locals to take pictures with their adopted fire hydrants and share them on social media with #FCFRDHydrant. Because they are the property of the Fairfax Water Authority, people cannot paint, personalize or change the appearance of the fire hydrants.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Reston Association Set to Oppose PRC Zoning Amendment Tomorrow

Reston Association is set this week to take up contentious proposed zoning changes that would increase the population density in Reston.

This upcoming meeting will focus a motion to oppose the zoning proposal and also consider approving $22,500 from its cash reserves to increase next year’s staff training budget at the public meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. at RA’s headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The proposal would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons up to 15. The current density is roughly 12.46 people per acre.

County planning officials have argued that the change is needed to put into action Reston’s Master Plan, which allows for future growth over the next 40 years.

Several community groups, including the Coalition for a Planned Reston and Reston 2020, are fighting the move. They argue that the proposed amendment is rushed through and under-explained.

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors clashed over community input on the proposed zoning changes at their Dec. 4 meeting, before authorizing public hearings on the proposal for 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 and 4:30 p.m. on March 5.

On the heels of adopting the 2019 operating and capital budgets for next year, RA’s Board of Directors will also consider whether or not to use $22,500 from the operating reserve funds for 2018 to expand the 2019 fiscal year budget for staff training and development.

The homeowners’ association also will consider revisions to the third draft of the election schedule and receive the treasurer’s report. RA is also set to approve Sharon Canner as the chair of the 55+ Advisory Committee and Nancy Malesic as a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee.

The draft agenda for the meeting is available online.

Photo via Reston Association/Reston Today

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Paid Parking Under Consideration for Reston, Tysons

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is gearing up to study parking management options, which could add paid parking in Reston and Tysons.

FCDOT hopes to hire a professional parking consultant to explore parking management, which FCDOT says would fulfill the vision of the Comprehensive Plan for each area.

It would also reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions from drivers circling blocks to find free street parking and create a new revenue stream, FCDOT argues.

Henri Stein McCartney, a transportation planner for FCDOT, updated the county’s Transportation Committee yesterday (Dec. 11) on the proposal and gave examples of managed parking: pay for parking and time restricted parking.

The paid parking model can support different technologies — space occupancy sensors, space finding systems, smartphone apps, kiosks, etc. — that can help people find a spot, while also assisting enforcement, she said.

The other option is time restricted parking, which can limit parking during certain times of the days or set a certain allotted time for each car. While FCDOT expects the second option would pose more enforcement challenges, license plate readers, street cameras and space occupancy sensors can assist with policing the parking.

The consultant could measure existing on-street and off-street parking supply and demand in Reston and Tysons and then model future parking supply and demand. The consultant could also recommend appropriate strategies to the board and also put forward implementation and outreach plans.

McCartney highlighted one potential challenge: designing a parking plan that does not push cars into nearby neighborhoods with free parking. “That’s a scenario we want to avoid,” she said.

With the project in its “preliminary stages,” McCartney said the study — which FCDOT estimates will cost $100,000 — will help figure out what the projected revenue could be from paid parking and citations from parking tickets.

“I’m sure there will be interest in what kind of money it makes,” Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth said at the meeting. “We need to keep that in mind.”

Some of the supervisors raised concerns about the proposal.

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook cautioned against spending the money on the study without a “functional purpose we are clearly stating.”

“We need to be clear about why we want to do this,” he said, noting that urban areas may need parking management. “I don’t think you get the consultant to come up with the reason.”

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity stressed that parking availability and fees drive behavior, mentioning the “angst,” loss in revenue for businesses and the complexity surrounding Reston Town Center’s paid parking system.

“It does have an impact on businesses,” Herrity said, adding that he supports hiring a consultant to conduct the study. “You have some good ideas in here.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins responded by saying that the “problem in Reston” stemmed from unclear goals. “I think the mistakes that were made in the past can be a helpful learning process,” she said.

She stressed that the purpose of the “needed proposal” should not focus on collecting money, but instead on helping transportation in an urban setting, especially Tysons.

FCDOT plans to update and consult with the board as the process continues.

While the plan does not have a timeline yet, McCartney said FCDOT “would move fairly quickly” to hire a consultant for the study acquires funding.

After board approval, FCDOT would work with stakeholders — the Office of County Attorney, Fairfax County Police Department, the Office of Community Revitalization, the Department of Planning and Zoning, Land Development Services and others. Together, they would update ordinances, set meter rates, select vendors and begin outreach efforts to businesses and the community.

“The last thing you want is employees and Metro riders parking on the street during the day, but short term-term customers don’t have a place to park,” the board’s Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “I think we’re doing the right thing starting out with a study.”

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Lotte Plaza Market Opened in Herndon Centre Last Friday

Ethnic grocer Lotte Plaza Market officially opened last Friday (Dec. 7) in Herndon Centre.

Located at 490 Elden Street, Lotte Plaza Market joins a growing number of grocery options in Herndon Centre.

The shopping plaza is also home to MOM’s Organic Market. Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store is expected to take over part of the former Kmart space.

Lotte Plaza Market describes itself as “the premier source for Asian groceries in Maryland and Virginia.” It has seven locations in Maryland, five in Virginia and one “coming soon” to Orlando, Fla. — with plans to open 50 locations by 2020, according to its site.

Reston Now previously reported that Lotte Plaza Market was set to open earlier this year.

Photo via Lotte Plaza Market/Facebook

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Accident on Route 602 Causing Delays

Updated at 11:09 a.m. — The previously closed northbound lanes of Route 602 are now open, Fairfax County police confirmed.

An accident involving two vehicles on Route 602 by Bowman Towne Drive is causing lane closures and delays.

Both northbound lanes on Route 602  (Reston Parkway) are closed at Bowman Towne Drive.

So far there have been no reports of serious injuries.

Map via VDOT

This story has been updated

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Watch the ghosts from Christmas Past, Present and Future — Join the Reston Association on a chartered bus trip at 12:45 p.m. to see the performance of “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre. RA members pay $60, while non-members pay $70. [Reston Association]

Town hall with Del. Ken Plum and Sen. Janet Howell — The two politicians will host a town hall from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne. [Del. Ken Plum]

Herndon real estate startup aims to be the “Credit Karma of homes” — UpsideDoor decided to trash the brokerage model it launched in 2015 and instead gather data about homeowners to help match them with companies providing home services. The company is also embarking on a new fundraising effort. [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Hospital Center acquires second Mazor X System — The Virginia Institute of Robotic Surgery at Reston Hospital Center is the first in the nation to have two of these robotic spine surgery systems at one hospital location. [Reston Hospital Center]

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Crime Roundup: Herndon Man Arrested for Public Intoxication

Loudoun County police arrested and charged a Herndon man with public intoxication yesterday (Dec.10).

Deputies arrived at SpringHill Suites at the 22000 block of Shaw Road in Sterling at 10:07 p.m. in response to reports that a man had struck a woman and was refusing to leave the premises, according to the Loudoun County’s Sheriff Office.

Deputies arrested 23-year-old Muhammad Aatif of Herndon. Aatif was released from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on an unsecured bond.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARECENIES:

2100 block of Astoria Circle, property from vehicle

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cell phone from location

2400 block of Centreville Road, liquor from business

13300 block of Cleeve Hill Court, license plate from vehicle

2500 block of Cornelia Road, tires from vehicle

2500 block of James Madison Circle, license plate from vehicle

1400 block of Kingsvale Circle, property from vehicle

11500 block of Leesburg Pike, merchandise from business

13100 block of Parcher Avenue, merchandise from business

11700 block of Sunset Hills Road, merchandise from business

12800 block of Tournament Drive, property from residence

STOLEN VEHICLES:

2200 block of Cocquina Drive, 2016 Honda CRV

File photo

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Electrical Malfunction Ignites Reston Townhouse on Fire

A fire broke out in a Reston townhouse on Sunday evening after an electrical malfunction with the wiring leading to a ceiling heat lamp fixture in the bathroom.

The four people in the house saw smoke appear from a vent in the bathroom, shortly after 8:35 p.m. on Dec. 9, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Firefighters extinguished the fire, which had spread to the walls and the attic, but because of the damage, the four people were not able to stay in the house.

More from a fire department press release:

On Sunday, December 9, at approximately 8:35 p.m., units were dispatched for a reported townhouse fire in the 11100 block of Saffold Way in the Reston area of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on scene of a two-story, middle unit townhouse and observed fire showing from a vent in the roof. Crews entered the home and quickly located a fire in the walls and attic. The fire was extinguished. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries.

Four occupants were in the home at the time of the fire. The occupants called 9-1-1 when they saw smoke coming from a vent in the bathroom. Smoke alarms were present but did not activate due to the location of the fire. The occupants safely self-evacuated prior to fire department arrival.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the attic space above a second-floor bathroom. The cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction with the wiring circuitry to a ceiling heat lamp fixture in the bathroom.

Four occupants were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted. Damage as a result of the fire is estimated to be $92,500.

Map via Google Maps

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