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Friday Morning Notes

Fox5 comes to town — Fox 5 DC is broadcasting their morning show live from 6-11 a.m. at Reston Town Center Pavilion. The feature is part of a weekly Friday series that highlights communities around the D.C. region. [Visit Fairfax]

Hats off to Alianza Red — The Herndon Youth Soccer girls team participated in the 43rd annual Virginian Elite Soccer Tournament over Memorial Day weekend and came back with some wins. [The Connection]

Stateside: Virginia’s new Medicaid coverage — Roughly 28,000 Fairfax County residents will be newly eligible for Medicaid next year. Here’s what you need to know about the expansion. [Fairfax County Times]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Construction on New Office Building in Reston Station Begins

Comstock has begun construction on the next office building in Reston Station, located on the southwest corner of the plaza. The eight-story structure, which has not yet been named, is a Class A office building with 180,000 square feet of office space and 8,300 square feet of retail space on the plaza.

The building is designed by HKS Architects with steel and glass structures. The company’s portfolio includes the design of Urumqi International Airport in Xinjiang, China and the King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, Jordan.

Office space will be restricted to six floors, which sit atop an eight-story, above-grave concrete parking deck. It will also include a private patio with a sky garden and gym.

Construction prompted Comstock to close four of eight kiosks on the plaza. According to Maggie Parker, vice president of communications and community outreach for Comstock, the kiosks were intentionally designed to be temporary. Some vendors will relocate into vacant kiosks.

“They’ve given many budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to test their business models and have added a lot of vitality to our emerging development,” Comstock wrote in a statement.

Photo via Comstock

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Series of Citations Draw Ire from Residents in Birchfield Woods Cluster

A series of citations about the design and maintenance of homes in the Birchfield Woods Cluster, a townhouse community built in the late 1980s, has some residents concerned.

Residents say the citations are inconsistent with past inspections and were implemented in a confusing manner, especially given some homes were cited for issues and others were not. One citation concerns changing a backdoor that has been on the property for 25 years.

The inspection of Birchfield properties and common areas was conducted by Reston Association on May 4. Residents were notified of the inspection on March 5 and given 90 days to address violations.

Shellon Copeland, a cluster resident, said the financial burden of correcting citations on the single parent’s home on Poplar Grove Drive is concerning and that requests for deadline extensions have not been met.

“It’s not just the financial part,” Copeland said, “It’s the added time and stress [from[ getting estimates from reputable roofers, etc.”

Joanna Simon, a Reston resident since 1971, said she was concerned RA’s Design Review Board “overstepped the bounds.”

“The process is confusing, take[s] time, [and] requires photo and other technology skills unavailable to some of Reston’s residents,” said Simon, who is also on the cluster’s board and was speaking as a resident only. She was cited for having a dark brown finish on her deck and installing a new light fixture.

The cluster board was also cited for mailboxes that are not approved and old signage at the entrance of the cluster. Residents said most homes in the community were given at least one citation.

At the request of residents, a meeting at Armstrong Elementary School with the cluster board was held on June 18. Residents have requested extensions to correct citations, which must be corrected by August 24.

Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, said RA’s advisors are working with homeowners to get violations fixed.

“Homeowners will not get escalated to RA’s Covenants Committee if they are showing progress in fixing violations,” Leone wrote in a statement.

The walkthrough request was made by Birchfield Cluster Board President Marcelo Borda. Inspections are intended to ensure properties are kept in good order and repair in order to ensure the appearance is consistent with RA’s design guidelines and in conformity with nearby properties.

Residents said they were irked the cluster board was not involved in the decision to conduct inspections.

Borda said concerns will be discussed with an RA representative. A response about why the inspections were requested and how the board is working with the community to address concerns was not immediately provided.

Inspections occur “no more than once every five years, or as time and resources permit,” Leone wrote.

Photos by Shellon Copeland

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Thursday Morning Notes

Take note, Metro users — Two summer capital improvement projects will disrupt service on the Red, Orange, Blue and Silver lines. During a 10-day period, riders are encouraged to use Metro only if absolutely necessary. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

If you have Verizon — An outage is affecting 911 and ten-digit dialing. County residents should text 911 from a Verizon phone as an alternate. [Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department]

Savor the flavor — A local news outlet offers a recap of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Reston event, the largest outdoor food festival in the area. [The Connection]

And then savor this flavor — Reston Association will host a wine tasting at the Lake House on Saturday from 3:30-5 p.m. [Reston Association]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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To Close Funding Gap, County Board Approves $40 Million for Route 7 Widening

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will contribute up to $40 million to help close a funding a gap in the widening of Route 7.

The $278 million project, which will widen Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive from four to six lanes, will cost roughly 95 million more than what engineers’ originally estimated.

The board unanimously voted to approve additional funds on Tuesday (June 19). The Virginia Department of Transportation is expected to also contribute up to $40 million.

Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said cost overruns were linked primarily to how the contract was bid. The state is currently negotiating between two offerors who offered bids above the estimated price. The contract is a design-to-build, which is costlier than design-to-bid projects and would allow the project to begin two years earlier than originally anticipated,  Biesiadny said.

Officials hope to reduce the expected costs of the project by negotiating with the two offerors. Final bid offers must be in by early July.

Most funding to meet the gap will be taken from dollars allocated for Tysons projects. A plan to widen Frying Pan Road will also be deferred, Biesiadny said.

Biesiadny said bicycle and pedestrian improvements are also planned along the seven-mile stretch, which he said connects Reston and Tysons.

It provides benefits to both of those areas by allowing traffic to move more quickly through those areas, reduc[ing] congestion, but also provid[ing[ bicycle and pedestrian improvements and bus stop improvements,” he said.

File photo via FCDOT

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Wednesday Morning Notes

A local ‘dream house’ – This millennial couple used eBay, Craigslist and Ikea to design their dream house in Reston. The 29-year-old photographer and her 30-year-old husband transitioned from a group house in Herndon to a modern house that one Washington writer says “looks like a million bucks.” [The Washingtonian]

Opening celebrations — Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market officially opens on Friday. Special tastings and chef demonstrations will be offered this weekend. [Reston Town Center]

STRETCH for it — Five local artists have been selected to participate in the art invitational, which challenges selected artists to create new work based on the prompt, “If you could do anything, what would that be?” [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Burglary reported in garage — Someone entered a garage on the 9700 block of Lindsay Blake Lane on June 18 and stole a bike. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning in Effect for Fairfax County

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Fairfax County until 3 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour are possible. Damaging winds may cause trees and large branches to fall. Localized power outages are also possible.

Residents are encouraged to remain indoors and avoid areas where trees may be downed due to damaging winds.

 

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Fairfax County Commits $1.2 Million for Downtown Herndon Redevelopment

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted today (Tuesday) to contribute $1.2 million for the redevelopment of downtown Herndon — an effort being led by Comstock and the Town of Herndon.

The funding commitment is the largest dollar contribution for economic development to date. Funds are drawn from a funding category designed for one-time, seed money for projects that provide direct economic benefits for Fairfax County. Roughly a quarter of $5 million in available funding has been committed to downtown Herndon.

County officials hope to recoup their investment within the first two years after the project is complete. Estimates suggest the redevelopment will generate $800,000 annually in new property and sales taxes for the county, according to an independent analysis commissioned by the town.

The 4.67-acre property, which is owned by the town, is currently tax-exempt. The new town center would pay real estate taxes and generate additional sales tax from retail elements.

The project includes an 18,000-square-foot arts center, which will serve as the centerpiece of the downtown area. Overall, downtown Herndon will include around 281 apartments, 17,600 square feet of ground floor retail and a 761-space parking garage.

Fairfax County will release its funds only when the Town of Herndon contributes $1.2 million of its own funding. The town plans to pitch in $3.6 million for the public-private partnership.

In prepared statements, local elected officials reacted to the funding commitment:

“I am pleased that funding from the County’s Economic Development Support Fund will help make the Herndon Arts Center a reality,” said Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who chairs the Fairfax County Economic Advisory Commission. “Activities around the arts create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity in Fairfax County. The Herndon Arts Center will also contribute to the success of a redevelopment project that will significantly increase the tax base of the town and the county. Projects like the Herndon Arts Center also contribute to the county’s economic success by creating a community that will attract a 21st century workforce.”

“Allocation of this grant funding to the town is a tangible, impactful demonstration of Fairfax County’s commitment to economic development in Herndon,” said Mayor Lisa Merkel. “Redevelopment of Herndon’s downtown creates a new and exciting destination at the county’s western edge, and we greatly appreciate the spirit of partnership symbolized by this grant.”

Photo via Comstock

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Board to Consider Dulles Toll Road Rate Increase for 2019

Commuters on the Dulles Toll Road could pay 75 cents more at the main toll plaza and 50 cents more at each ramp. The proposal will be presented to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s Board of Directors on Wednesday (June 20).

If approved by the board, tolls would increase from $3.50 to $4.75 for most one-way trips beginning in January. Rates would be higher for larger vehicles.

In 2019, tolls are expected to generate $198.7 million in revenue, nearly 30 percent more than the currently generated revenue. Despite projected increases in revenue, the number of toll transactions is expected to decrease by 6.4 percent next year due to declines in road usage during weekends and off-peak hours.

A nearly 1.5 percent increase is expected until 2023 when the next planned toll increase is scheduled to take effect.

Public hearings on the proposal are set for July 11 in McLean, July 17 in Reston and July 19 in Ashburn. During the meetings, attendees can discuss their thoughts with authority officials, as well as whether or not the board should switch to electronic-only tolling.

The board is expected to vote on the final proposal in October. Plans to increase tolls have been in the works since 2009. Revenue generated from toll transactions would cover debt tied to the Silver Line.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Crime Roundup: Break-Ins Reported at Two Local Businesses

Local police continue to search for a man suspected of robbing a purse a woman and her five-year-old son as they walked home along a wooded path on June 11. The suspect was described as a 35-year-old black man with a mustache.

In a separate incident, a break-in was reported in a business on the 13200 block of Woodland Park Drive on June 14. An employee reported that someone entered the business through a window, but nothing was reported missing.

On the 45000 block of Dulles Eastern Plaza in Sterling on June 14, two Herndon residents were arrested for stealing items from a store. According to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Jacquiline M. Genato Hermano, 29, and Romeo Petilla Jr., 38, were arrested.

Hermano was arrested and charged with grand larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny. Petilla was arrested and charged with grand larceny, embezzlement and conspiracy to commit larceny. Both were released from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on an unsecured bond.

The Fairfax County Police Department also reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

2200 block of Astoria Circle, money and credit card from car

12900 block of Highland Crossing Road, merchandise from business

1200 block of Hunter Mill Road, purse from car

11600 block of Lake Newport Road, purse from car

11200 block of Roger Bacon Drive, wallet from car

11800 block of Spectrum Center, merchandise from business

1500 block of Cameron Crescent Drive, registration stickers from car

1400 block of Lake Fairfax Drive, wallet from vehicle

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

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Combined Properties Purchases Apartment Complex in Reston

Combined Properties, a D.C.-based company, has acquired Homestead at Reston, a 200-unit apartment complex at 12265 Laurel Glade Court. The deal was closed for $41 million and the company has renamed the complex to Reston Glade.

The complex could be upgraded in the future, although no plans are definitive, according to the company.

“Reston Glade will become a community known for its location and amenities, while still providing value for its residents,” said Ronald Haft, chairman of Combined Properties.

The property was formerly known as Homestead at Reston. In a statement, Combined Properties touted Reston as “one of the most desirable submarkets in the Washington, D.C. region area.”

Gary Scott, the company’s vice president of national acquisitions, said Combined Properties is positioning itself to acquire more residential complexes in the future.

The company has nine mixed projects in its portfolio. Nearby, it owns Sugarland Crossing in Sterling and McLean Plaza in McLean.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

First Look: Wegmans — Wegmans is coming to Brookfield Properties’ four million-square-foot redevelopment of the 36-acre Reston Crescent site. In a recently submitted proposed to Fairfax County, The first new building will feature an urban-style Wegmans resting underneath 380 apartment units. [Washington Business Journal]

Dump the pump — Local officials want drivers to dump the pump and hop onto public transit on Thursday. Are you up for the challenge? [Fairfax County Government]

Artificial intelligence 2.0 — “NCI Inc. is pushing to bring more artificial intelligence to government customers to help them boost efficiency and save money. The Reston contractor is starting to sell Shai, or Scaling Humans with Artificial Intelligence.” [Washington Business Journal]

Ken Plum fundraiser — The state delegate is raising money for his campaign. A breakfast-style fundraiser is slated for tomorrow with tickets ranging from $35 to $1,000 each. [Ken Plum]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Delays Expected at Entrance of Wiehle-Reston East Garage

Commuters using the Wiehle-Reston East garage should expect delays this week.

Construction equipment is being delivered to the site from today through Friday (June 22), causing delays of up to 10 minutes.

Delays are only expected to impact the entrance and exit of the Wiehle-Reston East Park & Ride garage.

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Reston Association Working Group Kicks of Meetings on Lakes, Docks and Boats

A Reston Association working group created to analyze rules governing lakes, docks and boats kicked off it meetings on June 13 (Wednesday).

RA’s board of directors formed the group on March 22 in response to residents’ concerns about outdated boating policies, enforcement issues and overall usage of local lakes. The group will provide recommendations to the board in November.

During the first meeting, members received information on Reston’s lakes, as well as the type and number of boats and docks currently allowed.

The group’s objectives include identification of the environmental impact of docks and boats, a review of current rules and policies and whether or not rules infringe on lakeside property owners’ use of their properties.

The presentation given to the working group is linked here.

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Taste of Reston Festival Brings Food and Fun to Reston Town Center

Taste of Reston, Northern Virginia’s largest outdoor festival, took place on Friday and Saturday, bringing food and visitors to Market Street.

The 28th annual event is a fundraiser for Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce‘s INCspire Education Foundation, which aims to help businesses grow by providing educational opportunities.

“This is the best-attended ‘Taste’ we’ve had in five years, thanks to our participating organizations, community turnout, and great weather,” said Mark Ingrao, CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s Best of Taste restaurant winners are as follows:

  • First Place: Choolah Indian BBQ
  • Second Place: Agora
  • Third Place: Guapo’s Restaurant

Organizers plan to conduct a debrief on the event to determine how to enhance the festival.

Photos by Don Renner

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