Cirque du Soleil’s Big Top tent is set up at Lerner Town Square in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)
Lawsuit Seeks to Disqualify School Board Candidate — The Fairfax County Republican Party and three residents argue Marcia St. John-Cunning should be removed from the Franconia District race, saying six signatures on her campaign petition are invalid. Endorsed by local Democrats, St. John-Cunning is competing against GOP-endorsed Kevin Pinkney to succeed Tamara Derenak-Kaufax, who isn’t seeking reelection. [Patch]
Singer Challenges Wolf Trap’s Merchandise Sales Commissions — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts has drawn some criticism after acoustic singer Sarah Beth Tomberlin told fans that the venue was seeking a 41% cut of all her merchandise sales. Tomberlin instead opted not to sell merch when she opened for Ray LaMontagne on Sunday (Sept. 17). [DCist]
Rep. Jennifer Wexton Won’t Seek Reelection — Updated at 4:45 p.m. — The Congresswoman representing Virginia’s 10th District announced yesterday (Monday) that she won’t pursue a fourth term next year after getting diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurological disorder with no cure. Wexton’s decision opens up a “vulnerable” seat that’s mostly based in Loudoun County but includes a portion of Fairfax County around Clifton. [Washington Post]
French Bistro Opens in Vienna — “Acclaimed Chef Roberto Donna, executive chef at Roberto’s Ristorante Italiano, opens his newest dining enterprise, Le Bistro, Tuesday…Le Bistro replaces what used to be Blend 111, at 111 Church St. NW. Donna posted a menu for the restaurant’s September 15 soft opening on the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook page.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
FCPD Makes Arrests in Drugs Investigation — “Detectives initiated their investigation in March of 2023, following a tip regarding a narcotics distribution ring operating in the Mount Vernon District. Through their diligent efforts, the detectives gathered substantial evidence and successfully apprehended four individuals, who now face multiple charges.” [FCPD]
Classes Set to Begin at New Reston University — “Trine University will begin offering classes at its new Reston, Virginia, education center in October. Located at 1881 Campus Commons Drive, the center will offer four master’s degrees in a hybrid format,” including business, engineering management and information studies programs. [Trine University]
Long-Awaited Park Finished on Route 1 — “Fairfax County officials held a ribbon cutting Sept. 16 to mark the opening of North Hill Park, a 12-acre public park located on the eastern side of Richmond Highway between Groveton and Hybla Valley.” The site includes trails, a playground, a fitness area, pickleball courts and a basketball court. [On the MoVe]
It’s Tuesday — The weather forecast for today indicates a sunny day with a high temperature near 76 degrees. As for tonight, expect mostly clear skies and a low temperature of around 56 degrees. [Weather.gov]
A new concept for Ebbitt House — a suburban remodel of the District’s Old Ebbitt Grill — and changes in Reston Row — a mixed-use neighborhood near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station — are officially moving forward.
Comstock, the developer behind the project, sought to reallocate 280,000 square feet of unbuilt but previously approved office space from its Reston Station neighborhood to Reston Row, increasing the height and number of residential units in a building in Reston Row. Comstock also removed above-grade parking and a private, elevated sport court.
Jeff Owens, chief financial officer for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, said the use of the Old Ebbitt Grill brand was a big move for the company. Clyde’s of Reston closed in Reston Town Center roughly one year ago.
“We’re really anxious kind of get back to Fairfax County again and we wanted to do in a big way,” Owens said.
Jill Parks, an attorney with Hunton Andrews Kirth, said Comstock also reworked the location of some parks and overall landscaping.
The issue of park space drew concern at a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting in June. Although the commission ultimately recommended approval of the application, members said they worried it doesn’t meet urban parks standards.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said the county is in the midst of discussions on how best to calculate the amount of park space required in applications.
“We’re literally moving 280,000 square feet of approved [space], 175 units from here to there,” Parks said, describing the simplicity of the proposed changes.
She said Reston Station and Reston Row represent “two of the most significant mixed-use developments in Reston, resulting in the creation of a dynamic, one-of-a-kind transit-oriented neighborhood.”
At the meeting, Reston Association board president John Farrell restated the board’s concerns about Comstock using amenities managed and owned by RA, like Lake Thoreau, for marketing its residential projects. Farrell also urged the developer to join RA — a move that Parks said Comstock was uninterested in.
Parks noted that Comstock provided $650,000 to Reston Association as part of its development proposals.
The nearly 4,000-square-foot restaurant — which serves bread, pastries, desserts and French-style sandwiches — will open at Arrowbrook Centre, a mixed-use development located at 2324 Silver Arrow Way.
The Herndon location features a new “3.0 design,” which includes a mural, a company spokesperson tells FFXnow. The mural will feature local landmarks. The store will also have a patio.
The international brand has locations in Tysons and Centreville. Items on the menu include sandwiches, packaged roll cakes, salads, breads, cakes and seasonal specials.
One Injured in Herndon Vehicle Crash — Yesterday afternoon (Sunday), Herndon police shut down “two lanes into town and one lane out of town on Sterling Rd…due to a crash investigation. Light pole blocking 3 lanes. Dominion power responding. One patient has been transported w non life threatening injuries.” [Herndon Police/Twitter]
Fairfax City Opens Addiction Recovery Center — “With a ribbon cutting held Friday, the city’s new 6,700-square-feet addiction recovery center run by the Chris Atwood Foundation stands to help those in the community fighting the disease and looking for resources, particularly low-income families.” [WTOP]
Three Arrested for Fraud at Tysons Galleria — “Officers found 36 fictitious driver’s licenses, 32 stolen credit cards, a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier’s uniform and stolen mail in a rental car outside Tysons Galleria on Thursday after surveilling two men for credit card fraud, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.” Two men and a woman found in the rental car were arrested. [Patch]
Virginia Gives OK to African American History Course — “After more than six months of review…Virginia students will now be able to take the College Board’s Advanced Placement course covering African American studies. The Virginia Department of Education determined that the class did not conflict with Governor Glenn Youngkin’s controversial first executive order.” [WTOP]
Metro Proposes Simplifying Bus Route Names — “Trying to figure out the various Metrobus routes can be a puzzle with a mix of letters, numbers, and street names, express or limited-stop service…For the first time in its 50-year history, Metro is looking to revamp the bus system and simplify routes with its Better Bus, Better Names campaign.” [WMATA]
County Jail Program Trains Inmates as Chefs — The Fairfax County Adult Detention Center has partnered with the food service company Aramark on a culinary program that provides chef training to inmates, who cook food for the jail. Once they finish their sentence and get out of jail, participants are guaranteed a job. [NBC4]
Starbucks Gives Grant to Help Lake Accotink — “The Starbucks Foundation awarded the Friends of Lake Accotink Park (FLAP) $1,000 from its Neighborhood Grants program, the Fairfax County Park Authority announced. A local Starbucks employee nominated FLAP for the grant in recognition of its work to protect the natural and cultural resources and support projects and programmatic opportunities at Lake Accotink Park.” [Annandale Today]
Regional Transportation Group Hits Funding Milestone — “In one decade, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) has distributed $1 billion to its nine member jurisdictions and five towns, supplying the region’s localities with critical funding to address their unique transportation needs. To celebrate this milestone, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held during the September Authority meeting.” [NVTA]
It’s Monday — The forecast predicts partly sunny weather with a high temperature around 75°F and a north wind ranging from 7 to 11 mph, gusting up to 18 mph. Monday night will be mostly clear with a low of approximately 58°F and a northwest wind around 8 mph. [Weather.gov]
A senior at Langley High School, a county planner who helped craft an environmental plan for Reston, and a local business dedicated to reducing waste are among the recipients of this year’s Fairfax County Environmental Excellence Awards.
Handed out annually since 2000, the awards recognize residents, county staff, businesses and other organizations “who demonstrate extraordinary leadership within the community and exceptional dedication to the preservation and enhancement of the county’s natural resources,” according to the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination.
Announced at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 12), the winners were selected by the Environmental Quality Advisory Council, an advisory group appointed by the board. The council administers the awards with OEEC’s support.
“By giving their time, passion and expertise for the betterment of our environment, these awardees are true climate champions,” said Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, who chairs the board’s Environmental Committee. “We applaud them for leading by example and helping to ensure that our county residents and visitors can enjoy a healthy and beautiful Fairfax County for decades to come.”
The lone winner in the individual county resident category was Mei Torrey, a rising senior at Langley High School who “promotes and actively seeks opportunities to increase awareness of, and take action on, local sustainability issues,” the OEEC says.
Now president of her school’s Saxons Go Green environmental club, Torrey has organized fundraisers and worked with the nonprofit Clean Fairfax to design and distribute reusable bags to local retailers and low-income communities, according to the county.
The 2023 award lineup features three winners in the “county employee” category:
Hugh Whitehead, an Urban Forester with the Urban Forest Management Division. In 2016, Mr. Whitehead initiated a tree planting program in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools. Since 2016, a total of 494 trees have been planted at twenty-one different K through 12 schools including seven Title 1 schools. This program not only supports the Board’s Sustainability Initiatives, reforestation goals, and recommendations from the Joint Environmental Task Force, but furthers educational opportunities throughout the county.
Joe Gorney, a Planner with the Department of Planning and Development, Environment and Development Review Branch. Mr. Gorney works collaboratively with other county agencies on a diverse range of environmental review topics, working to create a sustainable future for residents and employees. He was the staff lead for the Environmental Plan guidance update for the Reston planning study, designating Reston as “biophilic” community.
Craig Carinci, Director of Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Stormwater Planning Division. Mr. Carinci provides excellence in leadership through monitoring and improving stream health. During his tenure as Director, Fairfax County has restored over 100,000 linear feet of streams, facilitated by his open-minded leadership and business acumen that fearlessly encourages his team to push forward on initiatives and collaborate with partners to achieve cost savings.
The Environmental Excellence Awards for organizations and businesses went to Trace the Zero Waste Store, which can be found at 140 Church Street NW in Vienna, and the grounds committee of the Montebello Condominium Unit Owners Association.
Launched in fall 2021, Trace sells entirely plastic-free household and personal care products, including towels, cutlery, lotion and bags for food storage and waste.
“The store’s owner, Mala Persaud, goes above and beyond to educate residents through the Zero Waste Store’s website and community events,” the OEEC said. “There is always a good turnout whenever Ms. Persaud co-hosts a ‘Recycling: Ask Me Anything’ event with the Fairfax County Solid Waste division.”
The Montebello condo association’s grounds committee consists of 14 members tasked with helping preserve, maintain and enhance the residential property at 5905 Mount Eagle Drive in Huntington.
“Members put in many hours each year to develop and advocate for projects, identify and address threats to the grounds, introduce new approaches, undertake citizen science projects, host resident engagement programs, communicate through newsletters and materials, and much more,” the OEEC said. “Their impact benefits the residents, the neighborhood and the county.”
All of the award winners will be honored at a ceremony this fall, though an exact date and location haven’t been announced.
“We are fortunate to have these leaders working tirelessly in our community to preserve and protect the natural world we all share,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “Their contributions make a significant impact and inspire others to join in the effort to build a more sustainable future.”
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a motion on Tuesday (Sept. 12) by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn asking the county executive to move forward with a real estate exchange agreement with Inova.
The step — which has been contemplated for years — would facilitate the construction of a new Embry Rucker Shelter, affordable housing and Reston Regional Library.
The expedited review comes as a task force has assembled to analyze the proposed public uses at Reston Town Center delivers its final recommendations this fall. Alcorn assembled the task force in April 2022.
If the project goes through, the Embry Rucker Shelter will be replaced with a new facility. Built in 1986, the 10,500-square-foot shelter would be expanded with medical beds, day-use services for training and workforce development, and permanent supportive housing units.
Alcorn noted that the replacement of Reston Regional Library is also a critical need.
“As recently noted by the County Executive, this library has numerous critical systems that are nearing the end of their operational lives, and the timing for the replacement of this popular County facility is also becoming critical,” Alcorn wrote in the board matter.
An interim real estate exchange agreement was approved in September 2015. That concept worked toward a grid of streets and a one-to-one land swap, which would provide the county and Inova with developable blocks.
The future of RTC North was muddied when developer Foulger-Pratt scrapped its plans for a public-private partnership to redevelop the site in February. The unsolicited proposal would have included up to 350 affordable apartments and a new 40,000-square-foot library at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway.
RTC North is a hodgepodge of irregularly shaped parcels owned by the county, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and Inova. The Fairfax County Park Authority conveyed a 5-acre parcel to the county in exchange for 90,000 square feet of development rights.
The land currently hosts the library, the shelter, the North County Human Services building, the Reston Police Station and the North County Governmental Center.
At a Tuesday (Sept. 12) meeting, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors announced public hearings on a proposed regulation that would limit outdoor lighting within a half-mile of the observatory at 925 Springvale Road.
A hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is set for Oct. 18, followed by a Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Nov. 21.
If approved, the amendment would apply to 525 lots near the observatory.
The Fairfax County Police Department “has advised that proper lighting can be a deterrent for criminal activity, but over-lighting is not needed to facilitate a safe environment,” according to a staff report in the board agenda.
Staff say light pollution interferes significantly with the ability to complete astronomical observations at the observatory. For example, a single light bulb located one half-mile from the observatory has the same impact as four bulbs one mile away or almost 200 bulbs in Tysons, which is roughly seven miles away.
According to the draft proposal, motion-activated lights must be 1,500 lumens or less — a drop from the current limit of 4,000 lumens or less. Additionally, all lights need to be fully cut off, which is currently not required.
Still, an exception will remain allowing lights at a door or a garage of up to 1,500 lumens per fixture.
The regulation would also set limits on the number of up lights or spotlights allowed. Currently, any number are allowed as long as they are fully cut off or shielded to confine light. The changes would limit each fixture to 300 lumens.
The draft text was developed after several town halls and an online community survey. The scope of the proposal was changed after discussions with stakeholders.
For example, the current version lets legally existing lights remain until replaced, superseding a previous version that required existing lights to comply within five years of the policy’s implementation.
In a statement to FFXnow, a Great Falls Citizens Association representative said the introduction of the proposal represents a milestone after eight years of works.
“This has special significance for the Turner Farm, where the Fairfax County Park Authority made a major investment in a roll-top astronomy building,” GFCA said in a statement. “If adopted, the proposed amendment will affect the brightness of future outdoor lighting of homes within a one-half mile radius of the county’s observatory.”
GFCA also acknowledged that, while not all residents in the affected area will agree with the county’s plans, county staff made “significant changes in the proposed requirements.”
“GFCA believes that the amendment offers reasonable measures to address concerns while preserving dark skies near the observatory,” the association said.
Fairfax County officials are exploring ways to crack down on the illegal use of fireworks.
At a meeting Tuesday (Sept. 12), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to consider expanding the enforcement powers of the Fairfax County Police Department related to fireworks.
Currently, FCPD officers don’t have jurisdiction to issue citations for individuals using fireworks illegally — a problem that Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who introduced the proposal, says “stifles” the county’s ability to prevent and end unlawful fireworks displays.
Around Independence Day, the office lacks bandwidth and staff to respond to calls for service and on-site safety protocol, according to Lusk.
The change was sparked by an increase in the number of fireworks-related incidents tackled by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, particularly around the Fourth of July.
According to the board matter, Deputy Fire Chief John Walser has said that this July 4 had “the most significant number of incidents of any [day] in the time I have been in the Fire Marshal’s Office.”
Between July 1 and 4, the police department received 60 calls of service related to fireworks displays in the Franconia District station alone. Just on July 4, county firefighters responded to 12 fires, “almost all of which were certainly related to fireworks,” Lusk said.
Staff will now work on drafting language for an ordinance that will be considered by the board before the end of the first quarter of 2024. A renewed interagency public awareness campaign on fireworks rules and safety is also planned.
Photo via FCFRD/Twitter
Virginia Reps Raise Alarm Over Potential Federal Shutdown — “The fractious, divided House of Representatives has until the end of the month to approve the funding needed to keep the federal government open. If…the government runs out of money, it’ll likely have dire consequences for the D.C. region, which is home to hundreds of thousands of federal workers, contractors, and military service members.” [DCist]
Lee Chapel Road Hill Removals Fully Funded — State Sen. George Barker shared on Wednesday (Sept. 13) that the state will provide $4 million to eliminate two hills along a stretch of road where two teens were killed in a crash, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity confirmed yesterday. Fairfax County has already allocated $5 million to the project. [WTOP]
Downtown McLean Design Guidelines Approved — “The Board of Supervisors endorsed new design guidelines for downtown McLean on Sept. 12…This marks a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to rejuvenate the downtown area and give it a more attractive and vibrant look.” [Fairfax County Government]
Reston Technician Named Firefighter of the Year — “Technician Julie Tomesheski, assigned to Reston Fire Station 25 has been named the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Firefighter of the Year. This is the highest honor given to a firefighter by the department…She will be presented her award by Fire Chief Butler in a ceremony at the county’s Public Safety Headquarters on Oct. 30.” [Hunter Mill District News]
County Leaders Urge Preservation of Merrifield Cemetery — At a public hearing Tuesday (Sept. 12), Fairfax County supervisors stressed the need to protect the Thompson Family Cemetery, as developer Federal Realty seeks to revamp the adjacent Pan Am Shopping Center. A ground survey is recommended, but the lot isn’t part of the proposed redevelopment. [Gazette Leader]
Lorton Realtor Plans Temporary Homes After Morocco Earthquake — “Last week’s deadly earthquake in Morocco claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people and left many homeless and displaced. The images of the devastation…are motivating members of the D.C. area’s Moroccan community to help, and that includes an ambitious plan to build temporary villages coming from a Lorton, Virginia, man.” [WTOP]
Vienna Kid Competes in National Go-Kart Race — “Lucas Palacio zooms down the pavement at 65 mph, maneuvering tight turns likely better than you can, except he’s 4 feet, 5 inches tall, still seven years shy of getting a driver’s license — and in a go-kart…This month, Lucas will race in the GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge in North Carolina.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Halloween Haunt Set for Lorton Return — “The Workhouse Arts Center’s immersive scare-inducing outdoor haunted trail is returning this fall for its 10th year. This year’s Workhouse Haunt event, titled “Haunt: Game Over,” will run on weekends from Friday, Oct. 6, through Saturday, Oct. 28. Haunt will also perform on Halloween night, Tuesday, Oct. 31.” [Inside NoVA]
It’s Friday — This Friday’s weather forecast predicts a sunny day with a high temperature near 76 degrees . Later in the evening, the sky will remain clear while the temperature drops to a low of around 55 degrees. [Weather.gov]
(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) A new batch of COVID-19 vaccines is on the way, as the disease appears to be surging once again.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday (Sept. 14) that it recommends everyone 6 months and older get the shots, which have been updated to provide improved protection against the variants fueling the current rise in illness and hospitalizations.
Slated to become available this week, the new vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are rolling out in time to coincide with the annual fall flu shot season, an approach that the Fairfax County Health Department supports.
“People are able to get the flu shot and the updated COVID-19 vaccine together and this fall (September or October) is a good time to be protected against these illnesses as people spend more time indoors and viruses may be more apt to spread,” FCHD spokesperson Lucy Caldwell said by email.
With Covid no longer considered a federal health emergency, the updated vaccines are the first ones not being allocated by the government. Instead, doctor’s offices, pharmacies and other providers must order them directly, making it less clear when they’ll become available.
The FCHD advises residents to check vaccines.gov or contact their doctor, pediatrician or local pharmacy to see if they’ll have the vaccine. Retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have said that appointments will become available through their websites this week.
The cost of the vaccines is covered by private insurance, along with Medicare and Medicaid. The roughly 7% of Fairfax County residents who aren’t insured should be able to get the shots for free from providers participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access program, according to the FCHD.
The county health department also anticipates obtaining a vaccine supply later this month, Caldwell says. Residents of the Fairfax Health District, which also includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, will be able to make an appointment by calling 703-246-7100.
Caldwell noted that the health department’s supply is typically reserved for individuals who don’t have a primary care provider or another option for getting vaccinated. It also doesn’t accept private insurance as payment, though it’s in-network for Medicaid.
“Staying up to date and getting the new, updated vaccine is important,” the FCHD said. “The virus continues to evolve and protection against it from previous vaccination decreases over time. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer, more reliable way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19. Getting vaccinated also reduces your chances of getting long COVID, which can last weeks, months, and even years, after initial illness.”
About 80% of Fairfax Health District residents 6 months and older — or 942,180 people — completed their initial round of vaccinations, according to FCHD data. About 50% of that population has received at least three doses, but just 25.7% got the most recent booster.
People should wait two months after their last Covid shot or two to three months after an infection before getting the updated vaccine, according to the FCHD.
After a relatively quiet spring and early summer, Fairfax County has seen an increase in Covid since July, including upticks in hospitalizations, emergency department visits and outbreaks, the health department says.
As of Sept. 2, the county admitted 52 new hospital patients with Covid over that week, a 15.6% increase over the preceding week for a hospitalization rate of 2.6 people per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC.
As of Tuesday, the Fairfax Health District was averaging 111.7 cases over the past seven days — case levels not seen since February, per Virginia Department of Health data.
The FCHD says it has been “closely tracking emergency department visits and hospitalizations from COVID-19 and identifying and investigating clusters of cases in schools, long-term care facilities, and other settings.”
“FCHD has the ability to scale up resources if necessary,” Caldwell said. “But the optimal situation is for people in our community to get the updated COVID-19 vaccine and take other measures that reduce the spread of illness, like good handwashing, so that we can prevent or mitigate a possible surge.”
In response to concerns about noise, Reston Association has scaled back plans for pickleball courts at Barton Hill.
At a Sept. 6 community meeting, staff said they reduced the number of pickleball courts planned for the facility at 1901 Barton Hill Road from six to four and removed blended lines between tennis courts that allowed both tennis and pickleball uses.
The move was in response to concerns about increased noise from the pickleball facilities, according to Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects director.
RA conducted two types of noise studies on June 1 — one for continuous noise and one for instantaneous noise. In both cases, RA found that the average noise levels — measured in weighted decibels (dBAs) — were below the limits enforced by Fairfax County’s noise ordinance.
The average for continuous noise was 54 dBA, and the average for instantaneous or impulse noise was 57 dBA.
Staff also plan to install a sound attenuation product called Acoustiblok, a technology that could reduce decibels by 25 and 30 units.
“We feel pretty confident that we can mitigate the noise at Barton Hill,” RA Chief Operating Officer Peter Lusk said.
According to Schumaker, RA has submitted a request for the Virginia Department of Transportation to install a crosswalk over Barton Hill Road at the Sunrise Valley Drive intersection to address safety concerns.
The request was bolstered by a May 20 traffic study that found a high number of pedestrians using the crosswalk.
Staff also said that pickleball and soccer events could be staggered to limit impacts on the street.
RA’s Board of Directors will consider the project at its Sept. 28 meeting. The project will then go to the Design Review Board for review and approval, likely in November.
A contractor would be selected in February or March, depending on the board’s input. The contract will then head to the board for final approval after that point.
At the meeting, residents’ feedback fell on both sides of the fence. As pickleball has grown in popularity, concerns about the noisiness of the sport have mounted nationwide.
Laura David, who serves on the board of Reston’s Harpers Square Cluster, noted that the noise study took the average noise level from the center court and not from the boundary. She said that neighboring residents remain concerned about high levels of noise from the whacking of pickleballs.
“Sound still continues to be a major concern,” David said.
Others said RA should continue to support pickleball and asked for the original number of planned pickleball courts to be restored.
“There’s a shortage of [facilities]. There’s a real shortage,” said Reston resident Carol Dickey.
Some questioned if it made sense for RA to invest money in the project if it yielded only four pickleball courts.
“You’re talking like it’s something bad. It’s not,” said Carol Shepherd, a Reston resident of 46 years and a pickleball player.
Photo via Joan Azeka/Unsplash
A green iguana is reportedly on the loose in Reston.
The reptile was spotted at Lake Newport around 4:30 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 11), according to Restonian Nicola Shelley.
“We did a double take because we couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing,” Shelley said.
She scoured NextDoor and community lost pet pages to determine if the creature was an escaped pet.
An animal protection officer says it’s likely the iguana was a pet or deliberately released by someone.
The animal was seen suspended in a tree over water, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
“The animal is not inherently dangerous,” the FCPD wrote in a statement to FFXnow. “Due to the location of the iguana at the time of the call, no attempt to review the animal was made.”
The FCPD encourages residents to call the non-emergency number if they see the animal.
“I told my neighbors as it might give someone one heck of a surprise if they were out gardening and he was hiding in their yard. Poor guy!” Shelley said.
FCPD Shares Results of Vehicle Crime Crackdown — “Throughout…August, officers from our 2023 Summer Crime Prevention Initiative made over 50 felony arrests and over 50 misdemeanor arrests in an effort to take dangerous drugs out of our communities and hold criminals accountable. In August, our officers focused on vehicle-related crimes.” [FCPD]
Amazon to Fund Housing for First-Time Owners — “Working with the nonprofit National Housing Trust (NHT), the company said it will give housing developers or local organizations grants to come up with strategies on how to create ‘affordable homeownership’ opportunities. Then, the housing trust and Amazon will offer those organizations loans to build or preserve housing units set aside for low- and middle-income families.” [Washington Post]
Pakistani Clothing Store to Open in Tysons This Year — “Cushman & Wakefield announced today that the firm represented global retailer Khaadi in leasing 5,491 square feet at Tysons Corner Center…Khaadi will occupy its new space by year end and plans to open as many as 30 stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as distribution and eCommerce centers, said CEO Rehan Syed.” [Cushman & Wakefield]
FCPS Enlists Teachers From Other Countries With New Program — “For the first time ever, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) welcomed dozens of international teachers through a global teacher program…This year, the county welcomed 31 global teachers from eight different countries, including Yanique Thomas from Jamaica.” [WJLA]
Day Spa Coming to Groveton Development — “The Beacon of Groveton…is getting a new retail tenant. The 4,690 square-foot space previously occupied by a mattress business is being transformed into the Aesthetics Day Spa, which will offer a variety of nail, massage and other services, according to the store manager.” [On the MoVe]
Vienna Accounting Firm Acquired — “Raleigh accounting firm Cherry Bekaert…announced Wednesday that it has acquired Vienna accounting and staffing firm Cordia in a deal that closed Sept. 7. The companies declined to disclose the deal price. The acquisition roughly doubles Cherry Bekaert’s head count in Greater Washington” [Washington Business Journal]
Closure Planned for I-495 Ramp in McLean — “The ramp from southbound I-495 to southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway is scheduled to close during overnight hours Thursday, Sept. 14, and Friday, Sept. 15. The ramp will close between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., and traffic will be detoured to the next exit to access the George Washington Parkway.” [VDOT]
Mosaic Elementary Teachers Pull Plane for Charity — “Mosaic Elementary School is pulling with a purpose! Over the weekend, Mosaic ES staff members came together to pull a plane at Dulles Airport in an effort to raise money to support the Special Olympics. Mosaic ES is the first elementary school to participate in the plane pull.” [FCPS/Facebook]
It’s Thursday — Thursday’s weather will be sunny and pleasant with a high temperature close to 77 degrees. Moving into night, the sky will remain clear and the low temperature will be around 57 degrees. A north wind will continue at a slightly slower pace from 7 to 9 mph. [Weather.gov]
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) A new mental health program is taking shape for women who have recently given birth at Reston Hospital Center.
The perinatal and postpartum program at the hospital will help women adjust to motherhood or develop an attachment to their baby while maintaining their current level of function.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the program is planned for tomorrow (Thursday) prior to the official grand opening on Sept. 25.
“This perinatal/postpartum mental health program stands as a testament to HCA Healthcare, Dominion Hospital and Reston Hospital’s commitment to comprehensive healthcare that addresses the unique needs of women,” Dominion Hospital CEO Ben Brown said. “It’s an initiative that recognizes the importance of women’s mental health and seeks to provide a nurturing environment for healing, growth, and empowerment.”
Women will be treated by a team of clinicians who specialize in perinatal mental health through the voluntary treatment program. It is open to women 18 years or older who are pregnant, have given birth or are one year postpartum.
The program will be open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in suite 561 of pavilion two at RHC (1850 Town Center Parkway)
Postpartum depression effects roughly 15% of women, according to Reston Hospital Center. It is often treated by therapy or medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also recently approved Zurzuvae, a postpartum depression medication that claims to reduce symptoms by as early as day three.
“The significance of this program extends beyond individual well-being,” Brown said. “Research has consistently shown that investing in women’s mental health radiates positive effects throughout families, workplaces, and entire communities. By nurturing the mental wellness of women, we contribute to creating a ripple effect of strength and positivity that reverberates far beyond the walls of any single facility.”
A three-year-long planning effort has culminated in the adoption of a new comprehensive plan for Reston.
At a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an overhaul of the Reston Comprehensive Plan, setting into place new guidance on affordable housing, community health, equity and other issues.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn kicked off the overhaul of the plan in January 2020. After more than 50 task force meetings with community stakeholders, county staff and county officials pared down a task force’s draft into a revamped plan. Some called it ambitious, while others worried it was too prescriptive.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said the plan safeguards existing neighborhoods, while bolstering transit and positioning Reston as a major economic development center in the county.
“The adoption of the Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment is a momentous achievement for Reston, ushering in a new era that ensures Reston’s continued success,” McKay said.
Unlike the previous plan, the new plan includes dedicated principles that define Reston as a new town. Those principles include community health, equity, preservation of neighborhoods and affordable housing.
Alcorn thanked Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter for his work in producing the final proposal.
“After much deliberation by the Planning Commission and my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, I am proud to say that Reston has an updated comprehensive plan that is much more than a land use document,” Alcorn wrote in a statement. “It is also a blueprint for the next phase of what Reston has always been – an inclusive community that values our green open spaces and a vibrant economy.”
Alcorn said the plan aims to maintain Reston’s fidelity to founder Robert E. Simon’s original vision while meeting today’s challenges.
“This plan and process proves that even in times of the highest levels of community concern and anxiety about growth and development, this is a consensus community plan. Focusing growth around Metrorail is not only possible, it is the reality in Reston,” Alcorn said.
At yesterday’s meeting, supervisors continued to massage language in the plan.
For example, Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross argued that it was unrealistic for the plan to say the future relocation of Reston Regional Library should not impact service.
“The community will anticipate that its going to be smooth sailing,” Gross said, adding that “disruption” is an in inherent part of the process.
Several pending issues may be ironed out in future updates — including the approval of several applications for zoning changes in Reston.
Alcorn introduced several follow-on motions. Two topics — community health and equity — may be explored in a future update to the county’s overall plans.
Alcorn directed the Fairfax County Park Authority, Reston Community Center, Reston Town Center Association and Reston Association to develop a strategy for the long-term maintenance and upkeep of community facilities in Reston.
He also asked staff to improve safety at Sunrise Valley Drive and Fairfax County Parkway, as well as along Reston Parkway from the Dulles Toll Road to Sunrise Valley Drive.
The planning commission also wants the county to develop and implement design standards for better pedestrian and bicycle access to Metro stations.