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Weekend Discussion Topics

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

  1. Planning Commission Approves RTC West Expansion
  2. Police: Herndon Man Arrested After Exposing Himself to 10-year-old
  3. Cleanup Underway After Trash Truck Fire on Dulles Toll Road
  4. What’s Going On This Weekend in Reston?
  5. Developing: Bullets Fired Inside Home On Kettering Drive

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. We’re also looking for photos of Reston submitted by readers.

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

Photo via Handout/Fairfax County Government

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Bluegrass Barn Concert Series Returns to Frying Pan Farm Park

The Bluegrass Barn concert series, which celebrates bluegrass music, will kick off next month at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon. Concerts are held on Sundays from 7-9 p.m.

Season passes for all eight shoes and reserved seating are available online.

The series is sponsored by the Friends of Frying Pan Park, Vienna Hardwoods and Eastman Guitar and Mandolins in cooperation with Fairfax County Park Authority. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door.

The program breakdown is below:

  • October 21: The Plate Scrapers, a traditional bluegrass band from western Maryland
  • November 4: Gina Clowes Project, featuring Gina, who was raised in Virginia and has taken a national role as the banjo player for Chris Jones and the Night Drivers
  • November 11: Donna Ulisse, a veteran songwriter and singer who was named Songwriter of the Year in 2016 by the International Bluegrass Music Association
  • January 27: Only Lonesome, a band nominated by the Washington Area Music Association as the Best Bluegrass Group from 2013-2016
  • February 10: Laurie Lewis, a Grammy Award-winning musician and international renown singer and songwriter who has recorded nearly 20 albums since her debut in 1986
  • February 24: Nothin’ Fancy, a band based in Virginia
  • March 24: Highland Travelers, a new band formed after The Boxcar and Ramblers Choice combined

The series will close off with a final show by the Becky Buller Band on April 14. Buller was the first person to win in both the instrumental and vocal categories at the International Bluegrass Music Awards.

Photo via Frying Pan Farm Park

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Forest Edge Cluster Turns 50

Forest Edge Cluster, one of the oldest clusters in Reston will celebrate its 50th anniversary tomorrow (September 22), bringing together anyone who has ever lived in the cluster.

The anniversary event will be held at Findley Hall in St. Thomas à Becket Church, the church next to the cluster. Previous celebrations have been held at Reston Community Center.

Over the last 50 years, the cluster has evolved from eleven houses known as flat tops due to their flat roofs, according to Belly Sullivan, who lives in the cluster. That style transitioned into a composite design for the 96 remaining homes on Forest Edge Drive and Greenmont Court. The cluster gets its name from the buffer of trees and creeks surrounding the neighborhood.

Two families live in the cluster from the first day: Jean Rich on Forest Ridge Drive and Bob and Lila Ensign on Greenmont Court. Other residents have stayed for more than 40 years, Sullivan said. Former residents include Emory Rucker, after whom Reston’s homeless shelter is named, and U.S. Sen. Angus King.

In past years, Robert Simon cut the cluster’s celebratory cake. After his passing, a cake donated by Edibles Incredible Desserts will be cut, ushering in another era that Sullivan hopes will “enhance the cluster’s community spirit”

Photos via Jill Silton

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BGR The Burger Joint to Open in RTC West Next Week

As signs have foretold for several weeks, BGR The Burger Joint will open its newest location in Reston on Monday (Sept. 24), the company announced today. 

The restaurant, which sells burgers grilled over an open flame and hand-spun milkshakes, is the latest retail tenant to join JBG Smith’s RTC West development at 12120 Sunset Hills Road.

The restaurant company  did not respond to a request for comment from Reston Now, although an announcement by the company was posted online.

BGR has locations in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, the District, Tennessee, and Utah. The restaurant is also located in Arlington, Springfield, and Tysons Corner. Two locations are also in Kuwait. It’s currently celebrating its 10th anniversary since it opened the first location in Bethesda, Md. in 2008.

Other businesses that are scheduled to open at the development include The Black Squirrel, Forever Nails, and Punjabi by Nature.

More retail tenants could be on the way if the county approves an application by JBG Smith for expansion of the existing development, which is mostly office buildings and ground floor retail so far. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on the expansion project next week.

Photo via BGR The Burger Joint/Facebook

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Friday Morning Notes

Absentee voting begins today — Voting begins today at the Fairfax County government center and ends on Oct. 13 at nine additional locations. Absentee votes can also be cast by mail. The ballots for Town of Herndon residents will include options for mayor and town council members. [Fairfax County Government]

How about some hairspray — Reston Community Players will kick off its 52nd season with the musical Hairspray. It opens on October 19 and runs through November 10 at Reston Community Center. [Reston Community Players]

Missing endangered man found — Patrick Brown, 74, an endangered man who went missing yesterday, was found and is safe. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo by Kit Allgaier

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Updated: Police Find Missing Endangered Man Last Seen in Reston

Updated at 8:55 p.m.: Patrick Brown was found and is safe, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Earlier:

Local police are looking for a 74-year-old missing man who was last seen this morning near Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road.

The Fairfax County Police Department said Patrick Brown is considered endangered due to mental or physical health issues. His height is 5’10” and he weighs roughly 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing a grey sweatshirt, a green T-shirt and black shorts.

If you have any information, call  703-691-2131 w/ any info.

Photo via FCPD

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Redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center Held Up by Garage Size Requirement

The team behind the redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center is asking the county to amend garage size requirements so it can proceed with the redevelopment of the failing village center.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the owner’s plan to redevelop the retail center into a mixed-use project with 156 residential units, community space, 8,500 square feet of retail and 6,000 square feet of office space. Jefferson Apartment Group purchased Tall Oaks Village Center in December 2014 for $14 million. A mix of townhouses, two-over-two townhouses, and multifamily buildings are approved for the 7.5-acre site.

Site development is expected to begin in March next year. Home construction will likely begin in October next year and be completed by the end of 2021.

In an Aug. 21 proposal submitted to the county, Stanley Martin, the contract purchaser of the property, says the county’s requirements for the size of garages, which are included in original entitlements, are too generous and create a “design challenge that is inconsistent with the planned site layout.” The county requires personal garages to have a minimum width of 11.5 feet for single-car garages and 20 feet for two-car garages.

Truett Young, vice president of land for Stanley Martin Homes, told Reston Now the following:

“There was an error in the original entitlements that created a requirement that the garages have an interior dimension that could not be achieved with the size of homes that were planned for the community.  The county has standards regarding the size of parking spaces and the revised proffer language is consistent with those standards as well as the commitments that have been made on more recent projects of this type.”

Instead, the developer wants to remove the size requirement and add a commitment advising future purchasers of units to review the unit’s garage space. Covenants would also restrict the use of garages for parking, storing trash and other uses. Stanley Martin says it has received approval for garages as narrow as 10 feet in width at the Dulles Technology Center site. If the county approves the change, the development would “finally come to fruition,” wrote Mark Looney, the applicant’s representative, in a statement.

The Planning Commission will review the requested amendment on Nov. 15, followed by a public hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 4.

In 2007, Giant Foods, the center’s longtime anchor, closed, slowly pushing the center to slip into suburban malaise. The center’s location on a dead end and with a lack of visibility from a main street has also long remained a challenge.

Rendering via Jefferson Apartment Group

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Police Seek Help Identifying Armed Suspect in M&T Bank Robbery

The Herndon Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify an armed man suspected of robbing M&T Bank at 1025 Herndon Parkway earlier this month. Photos of the incident were released by the department today (Sept. 20).

On Friday, Sept. 14 at around 5:05 p.m., the suspect entered the bank, presented a handgun, and handed the teller a note demanding cash. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken.

The man fled on foot, eastbound down Herndon Parkway. Anyone with information about the incident should call the police department at 703-435-6846.

Photos via Herndon Police Department

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Thursday Morning Notes

Stay away from Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau — A toxic algae bloom spotted at the lakes two weeks ago remains, so Reston Association staff are encouraging residents to avoid contact with the water. Pets also shouldn’t swim or drink from the lakes. [Reston Association]

Silver Line investigation continues — Metro’s Office of the Inspector General announced Wednesday that it’ll take over an investigation into flawed concrete in phase two of the Silver Line extension project. The effort is currently overseen by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. [The Washington Post, WMATA]

A natural recovery at Sunrise Valley Elementary School — When a renovation project at the school required the removal of trees to maintain line of sight for pedestrians and drivers, Reston Association, the school system and two design firms partnered to restore a natural area at the school. The area is now a natural habitat for birds, butterflies and other animals. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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County Completes $14 Million Renovation Project of Reston-Herndon Bus Garage Facility

Ahead of the completion of phase two of the Silver Line project, a nearly $14 million renovation project of the Reston-Herndon bus garage facility on 268 Spring Street is complete.

County officials said the facility will help support Fairfax Connector bus operation in Reston and Herndon as the Silver Line project brings more demand to the area.

The project was funded through revenue from the commercial and industrial tax and general obligation bonds. A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new facility was held today (September 19).

Staff now have a working environment that is safer, more efficient, and more comfortable than before,” county officials wrote in a statement.

The renovation project includes the following:

  • An existing bay was closed to create a new drive-through bus wash
  • Addition construction for exterior tire storage
  • Upgrades to vehicle lifts and service equipment
  • Creation of automated parts storage system
  • Modernization of drivers lounge and administration areas
  • Addition of new fueling station
  • Replacement of bus parking lot surface with heavy-duty concrete
  • New parking lot for staff

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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New Preschool Prep Program to Begin at Reston Community Center

A new preschool preparation program is coming to Reston Community Center on Tuesday mornings from Oct. 2 to May 14. Children can attend the free program with a parent or guardian and learn more about the tools, skills, and confidence needed to transition from home to school.

The program is made possible through RCC’s partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, a national program that partners with parents to help children transition to school. Adults will receive training and materials for reading, writing, language, math and motor development. Materials will be available in English and Spanish.

RCC’s executive director Leila Gordon said the program is a “vital resource” for area families. “The transition from home to kindergarten is a big leap into a brand new world. Preschool Prep will take the fear away and make sure that leap has a happy landing,” Gordon said.

During weekly meetings, adults and children will meet a HIPPY instructor to learn new skills and chart progress. Registration is open online.

Sessions will take place between 9:30-10:30 a.m. for three-year-olds. Two slots are offered for four-year-olds between 10:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. and between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

File photo

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Private Contractors Likely to Operate Silver Line’s Second Phase

Private contractors are likely to operate and maintain the six new stations that are part of the Silver Line extension project that runs from Wiehle-Reston East into Loudoun County

In an announcement on Tuesday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said it has issued a request for proposals in order to seek private contractors who can operate and maintain the new stations, trains, and facilities.

WMATA said the move was necessary in order to control operating and maintenance costs, including future pension costs, which it says have “grown to unsustainable levels.”

“We are leaving no stone unturned as we look for opportunities to maintain transit service for the region and protect jobs, all while living within our means in light of what our funding jurisdictions can afford,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. 

Bids are due on Jan. 15 and a contract will be awarded in the spring.

Officials said the move will not result in job losses for Metro’s current workforce. They also noted that transit agencies in Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, and Beijing have had success in contracting some or all rail services through public-private partnerships, resulting in “improved on-time performance, reliability, operating efficiencies and cost savings.’

The Silver Line extension project is tentatively scheduled to open in 2020.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Give transit a try — Fairfax County officials are encouraging residents to go car-free for a day and try an alternative to drive-alone commuting. If you take a pledge to take transit during the week, you could win a year of free transit service from a participating Virginia transit operator. [Fairfax County Government]

A special text from the president for Oct. 3 — A national alert test originally set for Thursday has been postponed to Oct. 3 due to the ongoing response to Hurricane Florence. It’s the first-ever national test of the country’s Wireless Emergency Alerts system. [Fairfax County Government]

Housing affordability meeting postponed — Tomorrow’s meeting on ways to boost housing affordability in the area has been postponed. A new date has not been scheduled yet. The meeting concerns phase two of the Communitywide Strategic Plan. [Fairfax County Government]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Police: Herndon Man Arrested After Exposing Himself to 10-year-old

A Herndon man was arrested and charged with taking indecent liberties with a child after exposing himself to children during two separate incidents, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police believe Allen Williams, 28, exposed himself to a 10-year-old boy who was playing in the driveway of a home on the 12600 block of Builders Road on September 8.

A family member recognized the suspect based on a description distributed by police in reference to a different exposure incident on September 5.

Williams was charged on Friday with taking indecent liberties with a child. Further charges are pending as police continue their investigation. 

Photo via FCPD

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Tonight: ‘Art Reveal’ at Founding Farmers in Reston Station

Artists behind the artwork of Founding Farmers in Reston Station will offer explanations of their work at an “Art Reveal” tonight from 6-8 p.m.

The interior of the restaurant includes work by local and regional artists, all centered around the theme of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello. Featured artwork includes a North Dakota Farmers  Union Laundry line, which hangs from the restaurant’s ceiling.

The piece was made from pieces of cloth from farm owners that were hardened into place with glue and paint.

Other pieces include colorful farm animals dispersed on the wall of the restaurant and an image of Sally Hemings, an enslaved women who had a relationship with Jefferson.

Co-owner Dan Simons and creative director Leah Frankl will be on-site to answer questions about the art in the restaurant. Tickets are available online.

Photos via Gina Carroll

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