Developer Appeals Denial of Proposal for Apartment Building Near New Dominion Parkway

The developer of a proposed 13-story apartment building near Reston Town Center has filed an appeal against the county’s decision to deny the project earlier this year.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission denied the project in June due its size and scale. NS Reston is proposing to build a 58-unit residential building on the north side of New Dominion Parkway.

The site, which is currently vacant, is next to the Paramount Condominium building and the Winwood Children’s Center, which is approved for a mixed-use building with 125 dwelling units. The county’s planning documents place a 746 unit cap on the two sites, including NS Reston’s project area.

Planning Commissioners said NS Reston’s proposal would exceed the planned density in that area, which is known in planning jargon as Reston Town Center Park 5. The site was also previously marked as a park for more than 20 years.

“There’s some density left, but not 58 units worth,” said Planning Commissioner John Carter at a June 19 meeting, adding that the proposal does not promote circulation and access in a congested area with a major intersection.

The appeal request heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct 15.

Renderings via NS Reston/Fairfax County Government

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Nominees for Hunter Mill and Lee District Supervisor Pitch Plan to Promote Emerging Technology

Two incoming county board members who won the Democratic nomination launched a policy platform on Tuesday (Oct. 1) to attract and increase technology development in the county.

Walter Alcorn, the Democratic nominee for Hunter Mill District Supervisor, and Rodney Lusk, the Democratic nominee for Lee District Supervisor,  pitched the plan at a public event in Tysons.

In their first year of office, both Democrats say they want to establish a technology accelerator on the historic Richmond Highway Corridor that focuses on creating technology for governments and commercial markets.

They also want to forge partnerships with colleges, universities and governmental research firms to identify emerging technology markets.

By doing so, they hope Fairfax County will become a “test bed” for demonstrating new technologies like last mile delivery systems and self-driving cars.

“Over the years we have done a terrific job of diversifying our economy and ensuring that we remain on the cutting edge of innovation. However, as new technologies continue to emerge at an ever-increasing rate, it’s critical that as a county we not only work to keep pace, but also leverage the economic opportunities created by these developments to address the many needs and challenges that still exist in our region,” Alcorn said.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) lauded the incoming supervisors for their work.

“This is an area that’s new, it’s exciting, and my hope is that through partnering with Walter and Rodney my office can help move this forward,” Warner said.

Both Alcorn and Lusk are running unopposed in the Nov. 5 general election. They expect to release more details on their plans early next year.

Photo via Walter Alcorn

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Fairfax County Board Approves Plan to Redevelop Old Reston Avenue Properties

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan to redevelop a three-story office building on Old Reston Avenue into two, three-story office buildings and a campus-style setting.

American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association will redevelop its headquarters, which are located at 1856 Old Reston Avenue. The 5.2-acre site is home to a historic A. Smith Bowman Manor House.

A 45,000-square-foot office building is planned on the north end of the property and a 94,000-square-foot office is planned on the southern end. Both structures will be connected by an underground parking garage and a shared conference facility. A 6,600-square-foot rooftop terrace will also run between the two buildings.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the plan was a good balance of “old and new.” She also said the new buildings would complement the historic structures that are already on the site.

“I think it’s a great application,” Hudgins said at a board meeting earlier this week.

AAFMAA is working with DBI Architects to design the project. Modern-looking buildings will act a backdrop to the historic manor house, which was built in 1899 and is listed on the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites.

It was originally constructed to be the Wiehle Town Hall and was used as a church, general store, and distillery.

AAFAA is a nonprofit organization that offers life insurance and survivors services to the U.S. Armed Forces communities.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Planning Commission Approves Isaac Newton Square Redevelopment Plan

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved a plan to redevelop Isaac Newton Square Thursday night, green-lighting another major mixed-use development near the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station.

APA Properties is seeking to rezone nearly 32 acres of land from industrial use in order to accommodate up to 2,100 units, including around 300 hotel rooms. Ten blocks of development are proposed, with 260,000 square feet of office and around 69,000 square feet of retail space.

Unlike other developments, an athletic field proposed along the southern edge of the property. Parking garages are planned throughout the development, but single-family units will have surface parking.

The project is located north of Sunset Hills Road and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail between Wiehle Avenue to the east and Hidden Creek Country Club to the west. Planning commissioners approved the project after ensuring it complied with current stormwater management guidelines — not old regulations the developer sought to retroactively apply to the current project.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter also noted the athletic field will be composed of synthetic turf. Crumb rubber was dropped in favor of other materials.

APA Properties plans to construct a southbound, right-turn lane from Wiehle Avenue onto Isaac Newtown Square North. An eastbound right-turn lane is proposed exiting the property onto Wiehle Avenue. Isaac Newton South, a two-way roadway that runs across the southern portion of the property, is the only public. Road proposed on the property.

In a recent report, the county’s planning and zoning staff recommended approval of the project. The proposal heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote on Oct. 15.

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Fairfax Officials Question Budget Implications of Police Body Cameras

Fairfax County officials want to take a closer look at the costs linked to adding body worn cameras to the county’s police department.

After studies observing the impact of police officers wearing body cameras while on duty, several members on the Board of Supervisors came out in support of the new proposal draft. As body worn cameras get closer to receiving the board’s approval, two supervisors want more information to determine the fiscal impact of the project.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity kicked off the discussion of the body worn cameras at the Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday (Sept. 17) by asking what the fiscal impact would be.

The program would cost about $6.2 million by fiscal year 2022, Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer told the board.

“That includes the Commonwealth Department of Information Technology, the police officers, the cameras, the storage and equipment,” Rohrer said. “It’s an all-in number.”

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said that if Board of Supervisors approves the action items on the body worn cameras at the meeting next Tuesday (Sept. 24), he will request a report on how it could affect the budget for the Public Defenders’ Office.

Cook noted that the presentation about the pilot program included information about costs for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Photo via Fairfax County Police Department

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Fairfax County Board Expected to Vote on Police Body-Worn Camera Program This Month

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a body-worn camera program for the Fairfax County Police Department later this month.

If the board’s public safety committee votes in favor of the program today (Tuesday), the board will likely vote on the project on September 24.

Earlier this year, American University researchers analyzed the effects of body-worn cameras on the use of force, changes in policing activities, community members’ assessments of police legitimacy, and the number of community complaints. The report detailed mixed findings. While residents supported the adoption of the program, there was no evidence the cameras directly impacted community member’s satisfied with FCPD.

The program, which would be phased out over three years, will cost $4.3 million next year — a sum that will be covered from the county’s reserve funds. In 2021, the program is expected to cost $5.5 million and roughly $1.1 million in 2022.

If approved, more than 1,200 camera will be deployed to all district stations. Overall, 34 new full-time employees will be hired, including five staff members for FCPD, 23 staff members for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, and six positions with the Department of Information Technology.

Police officers at the Reston District Station — which was included in last year’s pilot program — would be the first to receive the devices if the program is approved.

School Resource Officers are also expected to receive body-worn cameras. However, the committee cautioned that decisions to deploy the devices will be made in concert with the Fairfax County School Board and the Board of Supervisors.

The county contracted American University researchers to study the effects of the pilot program after FCPD Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. recommended implementing the program in June 2015. A six-month pilot began in March last year in the Mason, Mount Vernon and Reston district stations.

At a committee meeting in June, board supervisors largely expressed support for the program.

Photo via FCPD

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Del. Ken Plum: Elections Are Annual Events in Virginia

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Labor Day is the traditional time that election campaigns get underway, but in Virginia with an election schedule different from that in most states election campaigns seem to be continuous. Voters in most states have the year off, but Virginia voters this November will face ballots filled with candidates for local and state elections. And next year when all states have federal elections for members of Congress and the presidency Virginians will have those elections too. If the outcomes were not so important people in the Commonwealth could grow weary over all these elections. Some of the low turnout at the polls on election day could probably be attributed to voter fatigue.

If someone has not yet knocked on your door or sent you information in snail mail or social media, you need to get ready for the flurry of campaigning that is about to happen. On November 5 voters will elect all 100 members of the House of Delegates and the 40 members of the Senate. In addition to the many critical issues facing the state, the elections this year will determine if the Republicans maintain their razor thin majorities in both houses or whether the Democrats will take one or both houses. Polling indicates that the Democrats are in a very strong position for a coup. Find out your election district if you have forgotten by going to Voter Information.

At the local level in Fairfax County voters will elect their representatives on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and on the Fairfax County School Board. In addition voters will elect three at-large members of the School Board. The election also includes the sheriff and the Commonwealth’s attorney. That’s a lot of candidates to be knocking on your door, calling you on the phone, and sending you dozens of slick brightly colored post cards touting their strengths and sometimes alerting you to the weaknesses in their opponents. As has been observed many times the system may seem to have its abuses and flaws, but no one has been able to come up with a better system.

As a change-up to traditional campaigning I sponsor a free family picnic to get entire families involved for everyone is welcome and as a way to reduce the costs of campaigns to constituents who are expected to contribute at most events. Bring your family and join us at Temporary Road Park in Reston at the corner of North Shore Drive and Temporary Road on Saturday afternoon, September 7, 4 to 6 pm. Let us know you are coming at [email protected] so that we have enough food prepared. Other candidates are expected to come.

We can enjoy the end of the summer holiday season and the beginning of the fall campaigns in a relaxed environment. The issues before us are too important to not participate in the process regardless of your political persuasion. Our outdoor social can get us in the mood for yet another round of voting in Virginia.

File photo

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Construction on New Fine Arts Academy in Herndon to Begin The Summer

A new fine arts academy that was approved by Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors three years is set to transform the rural nature of land adjacent to Frying Pan Farm Park.

The Floris Conservatory of Fine Arts is expected to break ground sometime this month, bringing a 48,000 square foot conservatory with a 300-seat auditorium and music, dance, creative and visual arts classes.

The project is located at the intersection of Centreville Road and West Ox Road, south of the Town of Herndon.

The developer, Scimores Academy LLC, successfully received the county’s blessing to rezone the property, which is located within the nationally listed Floris Historic District, in June 2017. The approval came after more than two years of negotiations with landowners, historic preservation organizations, and educational entities.

Roughly six acres from the eight-acre project were rezoned to allow the project to move forward. Three existing structure on the site will be incorporated into the development.

The academy will be placed at the lowest point of the site in the southeastern corner in order to minimize its visual impact on neighboring areas.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Local Committee OKs Isaac Newton Square Proposal

The Reston Planning & Zoning Committee voted to approve the the redevelopment of Isaac Newtown Square.

In a 12-1 vote, the committee motioned that the Fairfax County Planning Commission and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approve the plan for the urban neighborhood.

Peter Lawrence Companies is seeking to bring 3,200 residential units to the site, as well as up to 260,000 square feet of office, 66,000 square feet of retail, and a full-size athletic field.

The committee directed the applicant and the county to take environmental concerns voiced by the community into account as they develop the proposed athletic field.

The committee asked that they make the field the best field possible, one that is environmentally sensitive, and a field that is open, useable, reliable and dependable in all seasons,” said chairman Rob Walker.

The committee, which meets on a monthly basis, also recommended that the commission and the board approve plans for block D of the Halley Rise Development.

Decisions on Block 6 of that development and Reston Station Promenade

Photo via Andrew Painter

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Now Open: Candidate Filing for Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors

Candidate filing is now open for Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors.

RCC is seeking to fill three seats on the nine-member board, which oversees policies, programs and financing planning for the center.

Residents from Small District 5 who are age 18 or older are eligible to run. Candidates must complete a candidacy statement for names to be placed on the preference poll ballot.

The filing deadline is August 15 at 5 p.m. Forms are available online.

Voting will run from September 6 through September 27. The deadline for mailed ballots is September 26 at 5 p.m. and September 27 at 5 p.m. for online or walk-in ballots.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will appoint members to serve on the board after voters indicate their preferences in the annual poll. Each member will serve a three-year term.

Logo via Reston Community Center

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Plan for New American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association Headquarters Moves Forward

A plan to redevelop the headquarters of the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association — which includes the historic A. Smith Bowman Manor House — is underway.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the redevelopment plan on Thursday night. Members praised the developer, AP Reston Campus LLC maintaining manor house — which is currently on the county’s inventory of historic places — while incorporating new architectural and forward-looking elements.

AAFMA is looking to replace two existing buildings on the site with two Class A office buildings and continue to reuse the manor house as office space, primarily to receive visitors. The plan will preserve the existing gazebo and stormwater management pond.

The manor house, which was built in 1899, was the home of A. Smith Bowman, who owned more than 7,200 acres of land in what now includes Reston.

Bowman also owned the adjacent distillery, which originally served as the Wiehle Town Hall and was used as a church, general store and distillery.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said the redevelopment plan was “an adaptive reuse of the 19th century house.”

“It will allow a valued existing employer to expand in Reston,” Carter said.

The plan includes an underground garage, a 6,2000-square-foot terrace that connects the two office building.

Andrew Painter, the attorney representing AAFMA, said the development designed the project so that the manor house — which is located in front of the two office buildings — would “pop” in front of the new office buildings.

The developer plans to construct a sidewalk along Old Reston Avenue and provide a connection to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Mary Ann Tsai from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning , said the developer also agreed to connect the two planned sidewalks at the request of the county.

Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder encouraged the applicant to consider adding the manor house to the state and national registry of historic places.

AAFMA plans to preserve four parking spaces on the northern property line of the development plan. The county asked the developer to remove the buildings in order to reduce the amount of impervious service.

Painter said the developer plans to use the redeveloped site as their future home “for the next half century of longer.”

The project heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for approval on September 24.

AAFMA is a financial solutions provider that offers military life insurance, wealth management and survivor assistance and mortgage services.

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With County Approval, Great Falls Village Green Day School to Expand Enrollment Ages

Great Falls Village Green Day School, a private preschool in Great Falls, is expanding its enrollment ages in order to address the growing need for child care in the area.

The school, which has operated in the area for 40 years, has received the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s approval to enroll babies as young as three months. Previously, the child care center only provided care to children as young as two. The cap on ages — children of 12 years — remains the same..

At the board’s meeting on Tuesday (June 30), Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said the change offers a much needed service in the area.

Foust noted that the special exemption sought by the school to expand enrollment ages was a minor decision and did not require much discussion.

No changes to existing hours of operations, restriction on activities at the school or physical changes to the site were proposed.

The expanded program is expected to open its doors on August 26. The school is located at 790 Walker Road.

Photo via Jason Lody

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Tweaks to Long-Planned Arrowbrook Centre Development in Herndon Proposed

Tweaks to Arrowbrook Centre, a mixed-use development approved in 2005 for more than two million square feet of development, are being proposed.

The developer behind the project, which is near the intersection of the Dulles Toll Road and Centreville Road, is seeking to shuffle residential units from one building to another and the change the shape of one building from a L-shape to a U-shape. Roughly 78,000 square feet of footage will be reserved for a future application.

Other proposed changes include adding up to 32 multi-family units and 10 single-family units to a second building. Changes only apply to a 3.4-acre section of the 54-acre site.

“This change would create a more cohesive community and better respond to market demand in this Metro Station area,” according to the proposal, which was submitted in mid-May.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the project in 2005. Roughly 280,000 square feet of development were added to the site with the county’s approval in 2015.

Overall, no increase in the total gross square footage or buildings heights isis being proposed.

The Fairfax County Planning Comission will review the project in January next year.

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County Moves to Get Land Rights for Glade Drive Walkway Construction

Fairfax County officials are in the process of obtaining land rights to build a walkway between Glade Drive and Freetown Drive.

A public hearing on the project is planned for Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m., if the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors decides to continue with the planning process tomorrow (Tuesday).

So far, the county has obtained land rights from four of the five property owners impacted by the construction of the project.

Although negotiations are pending with one remaining property owner, the board will likely need to use its eminent domain powers to obtain land rights and avoid further delays on the project.

Improvements include the addition of a five-foot wide concrete sidewalk with ADA-friendly ramps, as well as curb and gutter improvements along the north side of Glade Drive from Colts Neck Road to Reston Parkway and along the south side of Glade Drive from Reston Parkway to Freedom Drive.

The project, which was originally on track for completion in January 2020, will cost roughly $650,000.

File photo

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County Board OKs Changes to Woodland Park Plan

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan Tuesday (July 16) to scale back residential development at Woodland Park Crossing.

The mixed-use development, which has been proposed by NVR, Inc., is located near the future Herndon Metro Station. The developer sought to break up a previously approved 148-unit residential building into four condominiums.

The multi-family building, which had been approved for 210,715 square feet of development, would be divvied up into four, five-story condominiums with 185,000 square feet.

The county board first approved the project in March 2017. The site borders the Dulles Toll Road to the north and Monroe Street to the east. It is owned by Tishman Speyer.

Woodland Park Crossing is currently under construction.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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