Amidst Community Concern, County Board Approves Campus Commons Project

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Campus Commons on Tuesday — the first major redevelopment project in a transit-oriented area in Reston near established neighborhoods.  Although community criticism pushed developer TF Cornerstone to amend its plan, citizens and resident groups remained concerned about the scale and impact of the 12-acre development.

TF Cornerstone plans to redevelop 1900-1902 Campus Commons Drive with two residential towers with 656 units, an office building, and seven public parks. Two office buildings will remain on the site.

The scale of the project — as well as a controversial proposed on-grade pedestrian crossing at Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road — prompted the eruption of community consternation and the formation of Rescue Sunrise Valley, a community group that pushed the developer to scale back the site.

Last month, TF Cornerstone shifted roughly 86,550 square feet from an office building near Sunrise Valley Drive to a residential building and reduced its height from 12 to seven stories. The setback along the curb of Sunrise Valley Drive was also increased to a minimum of 50 feet.

The approval of the project highlights the challenge of transitioning the community to mass transit. Community planners rely on the hope that transit-oriented developments like Campus Commons will reduce the number of vehicles — a transition that will likely happen over time and raises questions about community impacts in the interim.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, residents said the project adds additional congestion in an area that already has high traffic volumes.

Although the developer’s plans show an on-grade crossing at the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and the toll road, TF Cornerstone will work with the county to explore three options for a pedestrian bridge. The study group, which will also represent local residents, will work for up to three years to explore the best way forward. TF Cornerstone committed to constructing the bridge of contributing $1.5 million to help finance any alternative.

Michelle Kimmel, a member of the Coalition for a Planned Reston, said that while she supports transit-oriented communities, Campus Commons does not hit benchmarks for well-planned development, especially because it is not harmonious with existing residential areas.

“We got people ending up on a pork chop in the middle of the toll road,” Kimmel said. “It’s just beyond me how this project can succeed.”

Reston Association President Cathy Baum said the project illustrates the association’s longstanding concern about high densities planned for transit station areas and the inadequacy of transportation to keep up with development.

Baum also encouraged the board to remove the on-grade crossing at Wiehle Avenue from plans “as an assurance to our members that it is truly not an option.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins thanked residents for their involvement in the project and said she hopes the county will work diligently to ensure the developments like Campus Commons reduce traffic in the long-term. Hudgins also noted that the county’s planning documents call for redevelopment projects like Campus Commons in the corridor of Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset. Hills Road.

Hudgins also said she hopes the developer will continue to work with residents as the project is built.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Annual Run to Support South Lakes High School’s Food Pantry This Sunday

The South Lakes High School PTSA is sponsoring a 0.5k run to help support the school’s food pantry this Sunday. From 3-5 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go directly toward the pantry, which provides students in the SLHS pyramid food and toiletries.

The run is titled, “The Best 650 Steps You’ll Ever Take.”  The run begins and ends at the Lake Anne Brew House, with a stop in between for donuts and water.

To prepare for Halloween, organizers will be offering medals for the biggest team, best costume, most exuberant, best-dressed team and any other categories the judges “deem worthy,” according to organizers.

Registration is open online. Individuals can register as a student, adults, teams or families.

Raffle prizes include a diamond necklace with a value of $1,500 that was donated. Aspen Jewelry Designs. Other prices include a gift basket from Custom Ink, peanut putter basket, gift cards and a massage by Meg Donnelly.

The race is sponsored by Lake Anne Brew House, Reston Community Center, Restoration Church, Century 21 Redwood, CustomInk, Aspen Jewelry Designs, Dev Technology, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Del. Ken Plum, OmMade Peanut Butter, AKG Designs, and Friends of Lake Anne.

Photo via Roberta Gosling

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New Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce CEO Looks to Maintain Reston’s Value in the Evolving Marketplace

Charles Kapur, a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia and a banking industry professional, is now at the helm of the Greater Reston of Commerce. As Kapur begins his position as president and CEO, Reston Now discussed his upcoming priorities and goals for the chamber.

What are your top three goals over the next year?

The goals that I have in this role over the next three years will be principally guided by the strategic plan that was recently adopted by our Board of Directors.  This plan represents the culmination of a strategic process that was conducted by special committee of board members earlier this year. The plan consists of three overarching pillars.

First, we aim to raise awareness of Reston’s position as a regional leader in this market and a premier destination for business leaders seeking diversity of resources and connectivity to top influencers.  Second, we will increase value to our members by evaluating how our membership models can best attract and engage businesses seeking to leverage the mission-driven marketing, business networking and educational opportunities we provide.  Lastly, the Reston Chamber will grow in promoting workforce development to meet the pressing needs of the region’s employers. We will work with respected partners, along with enhancing our existing program offerings, to help shape a more nimble and capable workforce that will best support the entrepreneurial infrastructure of our region.

As more businesses come to the area, how do you think the chamber should evolve to meet the needs of the growing business community?

The activities of a truly effective chamber of commerce are those that most accurately reflect the business goals and objectives of its membership.  As the composition of the surrounding business community evolves, so, too, must the Greater Reston of Commerce evolve our programming to continue to serve as a catalyst for entrepreneurial growth in our region.  There are a number of ways this is accomplished. We must continue to empower the members who lead our various committees and councils to enhance the events they produce throughout the year. We’re also constantly securing member input from a variety of local, economic sectors to confirm we’re hitting the mark on the value of our programs.  We’re also improving the methods we employ to connect with our membership – developing a more well-defined strategy of using the latest social media and communication channels to keep current, and prospective members, fully aware of the benefits we provide.

In what ways do you plan to bring creativity and innovation to your position and the chamber’s position within the business community?

Creativity and innovation born in isolation will not allow the Greater Reston Chamber to be as effective as we want to be.  My goal is to be able to engage with as diverse a mix of our members early and often as I transition into the role of the CEO.  I’ve been a member of the Northern Virginia business community my entire professional career. I’ve engaged with numerous business development and networking platforms in that time.  I’ve also, at one time or another, participated with events many of the chambers of commerce in our region. My goal is to incorporate the feedback I receive from our membership, my own past professional experiences, and the relationships I’ve built with my neighboring chamber colleagues to develop new events that highlight the diversity of the industries we support, promote regional collaboration with neighboring organizations and better reflect the changing ways in which business professional engage with each other.

What is the top challenges faced by the chamber in the next 3 – 5 years and how do you plan to address it?

The top challenge facing the Chamber over the next 3 – 5 years is maintaining our value to an increasingly diverse and evolving marketplace.  Economic development in this region is exploding. We’ve seen, over the last few years, the impact of organizations like Nestle, Amazon and Micron growing their presence.  We’re seeing greater entrepreneurship as other businesses migrate to this region to be a part of that growth. These businesses will continue to evolve the methods they employ to grow their networks, develop their workforce and meet their business development objectives.  The Chamber’s ability to adapt our programs, our communications and our delivery channels will be critical to our success in maintaining relevancy in the marketplace. My plan is to consistently, and strategically, evaluate how we deliver those mission-driven activities throughout the year and be reactive to identified opportunities for improvement.  In a market as dynamic as we have, there is no such thing as maintaining the status quo. You are either moving forward with a goal of continued improvement or you are preparing to recede in your ability to serve your constituents.

Photo via Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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Thursday Morning Notes

Light the Night Set for Tomorrow — The Leukemia  & Lymphoma Society hosts the annual walk at Reston Town Center tomorrow (Friday) from 5-9 p.m. [Reston Town Center]

Supervisors Consider Reston Town Center in Parking Meters Decision in Loudoun — Loudoun County supervisors are thinking about allowing on-street parking meters — a move that some said is not comparable to RTC b because Boston Properties reversed longstanding free parking to paid parking. [Loudoun Now]

Lanes Reopen After Downed Power Pole Prompts Closure — Lanes reopened Wednesday night after a downed power pole at Herndon Parkway and Dulles Place changed the traffic pattern. [Herndon Police Department]

Photo via Dario Piparo/Flickr

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Crime Roundup: Herndon Man Arrested in Aggravated Assault Case

A Herndon man was arrested in connection with an aggravated assault of a victim, according to police.

Police believe Irving Lazarus Duncan, 33, assaulted a victim that was known to him on Oct. 6 while the victim was released.

The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Reston Hospital. Duncan was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center where he was held without bond.

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

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, wallet from location

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cell phone and gun from location

11800 block of Barrel Cooper Court, purse from vehicle

11900 block of Barrel Cooper Court, clothing from residence

Reston Station Boulevard/Wiehle Avenue, property from vehicle

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, battery from vehicle

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, pants from vehicle

2400 block of Centreville Road, cell phones from business

10100 block of Clover Glen Drive, lights from residence

2300 block of Colts Neck Road, bicycle from location

1800 block of Discovery Street, electronic device from location

2200 block of Monaghan Drive, cash from vehicle

1800 block of Presidents Street, cash from location

1900 block of Reston Metro Plaza, construction material from location

1700 block of Seagull Court, cell phone from location

2400 block of Southgate Square, license plate from vehicle

1800 block of Sycamore Valley Drive, wallet from location

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

Photo via FCPD

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With Finalized Locations, County to Double Bikeshare Stations in Reston by 2020

Bikeshare in Reston is set to get a boost by early 2020.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to install 21 new stations in Reston. The stations, which are currently in the design phase, will connect denser residential neighborhoods with transit and aim to improve access to retail, community resources, and recreational opportunities, according to the county.

The program is funded by a $1 million federal grant. All stations are expected to be installed by the end of next year.

  • Green Range Drive & Glade Drive
  • Charterhouse Circle & Glade Drive 
  • Olde Crafts Drive & Cartwright Place 
  • Ridge Heights Road & Seahawks Drive 
  • Baron Cameron Avenue & North Hampton Avenue 
  • Wainwright Drive & North Shore Drive  
  • Fairway Drive & Hook Road
  • South Gate Community Center 
  • Links Drive & Wedge Drive
  • North Village Drive & Park Garden Lane
  • Great Owl Drive & Great Owl Circle
  • Lake Newport Rd & Autumn Ridge Circle
  • Reston Parkway & Bennington Woods Road
  • Vantage Hill Road & Wainwright Drive
  • Inlet Court & Wiehle Drive
  • Ring Road & North Shore Drive
  • South Lakes Dr & Reston Parkway
  • Golf Course Square & Golf Course Drive
  • Soapstone Drive Convenience Center
  • Ridge Heights & Owls Cove Lane
  • Becontree Lane & Goldenrain Court

County transportation officials are also looking into the possibility of adding a bike share station at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.

As of last year, the stations at Wiehe-Reston Metro East and the Reston Town Center Transit Station were the most popular. Although ridership saw a dip earlier this year, the opening of phase two of the Silver Line is expected to boost ridership.

File photo

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Parcher Avenue Closed Due to Gas Leak in Herdon

A natural gas leak has prompted the closure of Parcher Drive between both intersections with Springer Drive as local crews handle a gas leak in the area.

The leak was reported earlier this afternoon at the. 2200 block of Chamblee Place. Several townhouses have been evacuated.

The road closure is expected to last between six to eight hours.

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Now Open: Virginia Tire & Auto in Herndon

Virginia Tire & Auto is now open at 199 Elden Street in Herndon.

The company, which has 16 locations and first opened up shop in 1976, offers automotive maintenance, repair and tire services.

The 11-bay facility will be Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. It includes a kids’ play area, free WiFi, refreshments and a waiting area.

Mike and Julie Homles, CEOs of the company and also husband and wife, say they’re excited about expanding their footprint in Fairfax County.

Here’s more from Virginia Tire & Auto:

One of Virginia Tire & Auto’s hyper-local community initiatives is an automotive internship program for students at Fairfax County Public Schools. They also run Wheels for Work, a program offering free automotive repair service to low-income families through Shelter House, a Fairfax County-based non-profit organization that offers services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence.

Virginia Tire & Auto is also committed to keeping its youngest customers safe through hosting monthly Car Seat Clinics. During the clinics, certified Child Passenger Safety technicians inspect car seats and teach parents how to properly install and use child restraints.

Virginia Tire & Auto plans to host its next Car Seat Clinic at Virginia Tire & Auto of Herndon on November 12, 2019. The clinic is by appointment only. For more information about the Car Seat Clinic or to make an appointment, email [email protected]

To celebrate the opening of the Herndon location, the company is offering $20 off oil changes through Nov. 30 using the code HD20LOF.

Photo via Virginia Tire & Auto

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County Board Appoints New Members to Reston Community Center Board

Two incumbents and a newcomer will join the Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors for a three-year term that begins in early November.

Incumbents Beverly Cosham and Paul Thomas, as well as newcomer Laurie Dodd, will begin their terms on Nov. 4. The candidates earned the most votes in RCC’s annual preference poll, which is used to guide board appointments.

At the request of Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed the three Reston residents to the board.

Michelle Moyer will leave the board after serving two three-year terms.

RCC wrote the following about the winning candidates:

Beverly Cosham is the current Chair of the RCC Board of Governors. She has served on RCC’s Board for six terms. She has been a resident of Reston since the 1960s and is active in many other civic and arts organizations, including the Reston Community Orchestra, the Reston Chorale and the Reston Community Players. She has served three terms on the Advisory Board of ARTSFAIRFAX. 

Laurie Dodd has lived in Reston for more than 20 years. She is an attorney in private practice. She has served on the boards of Reston Swim Team Association, Reston Children’s Center and her church. Dodd has been an active volunteer with Coalition for a Planned Reston, Rescue Reston, Reston Runners and the Embry Rucker Shelter, among others. 

Paul Thomas will serve his second term on the RCC Board of Governors. He grew up in Reston and has served many community organizations, including Reston Association, the Reston Swim Team Association and the Reston Historic Trust. He also served on the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, and is currently president of the South Lakes High School PTSA.

Thomas received the most votes (1,637), while Dodd came in second with 1,384 votes. Cosham earned 1,337 votes while Moyer received 1,219 votes and Robert Petrine received 1,143 votes.

Photo via RCC

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Wednesday Morning Notes

A Guide on How to Handle Peer Pressure — “Everyone has peers. Peers can be your friends who are about your age and have similar interests and experiences. Peers can also be other kids who are about your age and are involved in the same activities with you or are part of a community or group you belong to. You may not consider all of your peers to be friends, but they can all influence you.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A Legacy to Live on in Reston — “Commissioned by Public Art Reston, Volta took calculated measures during the production phase of the community-inspired project finalized in 2019 to protect the mural panels against sun and element damage as well as vandalism. A few days before the Oct. 17 unveiling of the Public Artwork at Colts Neck Road Underpass, Volta shared, in a one-on-one interview, key processes and materials essential in the successful creation of the paneled mural, and safeguards he took to protect the investment.” [The Connection]

Volunteers Sought for Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail — Reston Association is looking for volunteers over 15 years of age for its annual event. An orientation Is set for today (Wednesday) from 6-7 p.m. at the Walker Nature Center. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Capital Bikeshare Ridership Dips in Reston This Year

Capital Bikeshare ridership has dipped in Reston this year.

Between January and August, bicyclists took 11,476 — 4,705 fewer trips than last year’s total. Ridership dipped ever so slightly between 2017 and 2018 — decreasing by 222 total trips.

The data are presented in the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s latest status report. The status update will be discussed on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s meeting today (Tuesday).

Currently, there are 16 stations in Reston. Staff are currently finalizing the locations of the second phase of stations in Reston, which would add more than 20 stations to the area. Most of the stations will be located outside Reston’s transit areas, according to the county.

File photo

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Family-owned Weird Brothers Coffee Opens Second Location in Herndon

A local coffee shop has something exciting brewing. Weird Brothers Coffee has opened a second location in Herndon (12825 Worldgate Drive). The first day of business is today (Tuesday).

The community-based and family-run coffee roaster and coffee shop is the first coffee roaster in Herndon (321 Sunset Park Drive). 

Brothers Paul and Kenny Olsen, who describe themselves as “weird brothers,” first began serving fresh-roasted coffee from a mobile coffee truck along major commuter routes.

When the coffee hit off, the family opened a location at Sunset Park. Although Kenny passed away soon after the coffee bar opened at the roasting factory, the family continued the business.

Paul, an army veteran, drew his inspiration for quality coffee after traveling to Ethiopia and its ancient city of Harar.

Photo via Weird Brothers Coffee

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Public Art Reston to Unveil Colts Neck Road Underpass Project

Public Art Reston is hosting an unveiling of public art on the Colts Neck Road Underpass project — a project that is the amalgamation of hundreds of drawings by community members.

The public unveiling is set for Wednesday (October 16) from 6-7 p.m. The free event will also includes ice cream.

The underpass is accessible from Hunters Woods Village Center and from Hunters Woods at Trails Edge. Parking is available at Hunters Woods Village Center.

The piece is titled “Thoreau’s Ensemble.” Ben Volta, the Philadelphia-based artist behind the work, was inspired by poet Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reference.”

Volta asked community members and residents to draw a path and add components that make Reston stimulating and worthwhile. 

The final design was by approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board earlier this year. The project is made possible through a partnership with Public Art Reston, Atlantic Realty Companies, and RA.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Hudgins Reflects on 20 Years as Supervisor — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who has been a supervisor for 20 years, fears Reston has lost its welcoming spirit for newcomers. [Washington Business Journal]

CoreSite Announces Opening of New Data Center — “With over 100MW of expected capacity for the Reston Campus Expansion, and the multi-cloud capabilities of the CoreSite platform, we are in a position to deliver the maximum degree of scale, operational flexibility and performance throughout the entire lifecycle of customers’ digital transformation journey,” writes Juan Font, CoreSite’s senior vice president of general management. [Data Economy]

County Offers Held to Prevent Opioid Overdoses — “According to the latest statistics from the Virginia Department of Health, there were 324 fatal overdoses caused by opioids in January-March of 2019 in the commonwealth. Unfortunately, those are the highest first-quarter numbers ever recorded. Twenty-two occurred in Fairfax County.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Monday Morning Notes

New School Board Policy on Cannabis-Derived Oil in Schools — “The Fairfax County School Board has approved a policy on the storage, dispensing, and administration of cannabidiol oil and THC-A that aligns with Virginia law that became effective on July 1. The policy states that no school nurse or employee of a local health department who is assigned to a public school can be prosecuted for possessing, storing, or distributing cannabidiol (CBD) oil or tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THC-A) oil that has been prescribed via a valid, written certification by a medical professional.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Self-driving Shuttles in Suburbs Like Reston — “A Boston-based startup called Optimus Ride has launched a new self-driving vehicle service in the Washington, DC suburb of Reston, Virginia. On Monday, I traveled to the site, a 45-minute drive from my home in the nation’s capital, to see it first-hand. Since August, the company has been ferrying passengers between a Fannie Mae office building at the site and an overflow parking lot a few minutes’ walk away. But Optimus Ride has much larger ambitions for the site.” [Ars Technica]

Development Surges Along the Silver Line — “While acknowledging the need for housing and concerns about the area’s already high cost of living, Northern Virginia business leaders see the impending arrival of the Silver Line and its surrounding development as critical for the economic future of not just Fairfax and Loudoun, but the region as a whole.” [Fairfax County Times]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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