59°Overcast

by Dave Emke — March 2, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Rhonda VanLoweA Reston woman is one of nine citizens who have been appointed to Fairfax County’s new Citizens Police Review Panel.

Rhonda VanLowe was appointed Tuesday to a one-year term on the panel. She is a member of the Governor’s Taskforce for Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response and served on the Public Safety workgroup.

According to a news release from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors:

“[VanLowe] has devoted much of her community service work to serving those with unique physical, mental, emotional, intellectual or cognitive backgrounds. Ms. VanLowe practiced law in law firm and corporate settings, served as Board Chair of The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, Inc., and received the National Women of Color Special Recognition Award at the 2008 STEM Conference. Ms. VanLowe is a 36-year resident of Fairfax County and looks forward to working together with members of the Panel to develop procedures that will set the foundational tone and tenor for the work of the Panel.”

According to her LinkedIn page, VanLowe has served as legal counsel for Rolls-Royce North America Inc. since 1999. She is also a member of the Board of Visitors at the University of Mary Washington.

The Citizens Police Review Panel was created in December by the county Board of Supervisors. Its goal will be to look over police complaints and internal probes as part of a new effort to increase transparency in the area’s law enforcement.

The county’s Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission called for the panel in an October 2015 report to the Board of Supervisors. While the commission was established in the aftermath of a fatal police-involved shooting in 2013, the new panel won’t handle matters concerning potentially criminal uses of force.

Members of the panel can serve up to two three-year terms. The inaugural members of the board were randomly assigned one-, two- and three-year initial terms so that term expirations would be staggered, supervisors said Tuesday.

The full makeup of the panel is listed below:

  • ONE-YEAR TERMS: Hansel Aguilar (Fairfax), Hollye Doane (Oakton) and VanLowe
  • TWO-YEAR TERMS: Randy Sayles (Oak Hill), Jean Senseman (Lorton) and Adrian L. Steel Jr. (McLean)
  • THREE-YEAR TERMS: Kathleen Davis-Siudut (Springfield), Steve Descano (Springfield) and Douglas Kay (Fairfax)

Steel will serve as the panel’s first chairman.

Image via University of Mary Washington

by Dave Emke — March 2, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes

No Increase to Property Tax Rate — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday to advertise a property tax rate for FY2018 that is equal to the FY2017 rate. [Washington Post]

‘Epiphany’ Returning to NextStop — Herndon native and South Lakes High School graduate Derek Jasper is a magician, mentalist and deception expert. His show, “Epiphany,” returns to NextStop Theatre in Herndon (269 Sunset Park Drive) next weekend. [Connection Newspapers]

Herndon Police Led on High-Speed Chase — A traffic stop Sunday near the intersection of Crestview Drive and Herndon Parkway turned into chase when the driver fled. Herndon Police later found the vehicle, but not the driver. [Herndon Patch]

FCPD Gang Unit Involved in Search for Remains — Acting on recently received information, Fairfax County Police Department homicide, gang unit and crime scene detectives have been looking for human remains in Holmes Run Park and Lemon Road Park, near Falls Church. This follows an earlier investigation in which 10 people (including a Reston woman) were charged with gang activity in connection with the killing of a 15-year-old whose body was found near Lake Accotink Park in Springfield. [Fairfax County Police Department/WTOP]

by Dave Emke — March 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

Woodland Park Development/Fairfax County

A development project just west of the future Herndon Metro station has been given the go-ahead by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who approved it at their meeting Tuesday.

Woodland Park Development/Fairfax CountyThe mixed-use Woodland Park East development will include 678 residential units: 74 single-family attached homes, 90 two-over-two stacked townhomes and 515 multifamily dwelling units within two buildings. Two office buildings — 16 stories and 14 stories — that will include 20,000 square feet of optional ground-floor retail are also part of the plan. The property will also include 6.1 acres of public parks and 2.8 acres of private open space.

The county Planning Commission recommended the project for approval in January.

The development is planned to provide affordable housing, with 12 percent of the total units (approximately 81) set aside as affordable or workforce housing.

“It really does reflect the opportunity of need, if you think about the development that has come forward with the workforce there and all of the housing,” said Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District). “How do we meet the needs of work and living throughout the tiers of incomes? I really do appreciate working on that. I think this is a very good project.”

The property, which borders the Dulles Toll Road to the north and Monroe Street to the east, is owned by Tishman Speyer. Development will be done by NVR Inc.

Illustration and map via Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — March 1, 2017 at 2:45 pm 32 Comments

Reston Transit Area/Fairfax County

At its meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the $2.27 billion Reston Transportation Funding Plan.

Included in the plan is a 2.1 cent/$100 of assessed value tax assessed to properties in the Reston Transit Station Area (pictured). Under the agreed-upon plan, current homeowners in the TSA will be responsible for up to $44.6 million of the estimated cost. The remainder of the tax funds (totaling $350 million) will be collected from commercial/industrial properties and from residential properties built in the future.

The rest of private funds, about $716 million, is expected to be collected through in-kind contributions to the grid by developers.

The residential tax issue was a concern of several of the speakers during a public hearing before the vote.

“FCDOT implicitly declares that Reston homeowners must be taxed because the County cannot move any current tax revenues in its $4 billion budget to improve Reston’s streets, the County can’t use any future station area property tax revenues to invest in Reston’s streets [and] the County can never raise the rates on any countywide taxes that would help generate billions in future tax revenues,” said Terry Maynard of the Reston 20/20 committee, who has been an outspoken detractor of the tax. “To insist on these assumptions is an outright falsehood, and FCDOT and [the Board of Supervisors] know it.”

Reston resident Tammi Petrine also addressed the board with similar concerns about forcing residents to pay for needed infrastructure. In addition, John McBride, land-use attorney representing Reston Association, addressed the board to share the RA Board of Directors’ stance against the residential tax.

Representing the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group, chairman Andy Sigle said the “alternative funding sources” beyond the in-kind developer contributions were necessary.

“Following much discussion and additional community input, a majority of the advisory group voted to endorse staff’s recommendation,” Sigle said. “While the vote was not unanimous in regard to the specific road fund and service district contribution rates, the advisory group was in agreement regarding the general structure of the funding plan.”

Maggie Parker of developer Comstock Partners, who was also a part of RNAAG, said the group’s meetings were “informative, inclusive and impactful.”

“This funding plan is burdensome; however, after dozens of meetings, revision of scope and countless financial models, it is what it is,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s an investment in our community and the citizens who live and work here.”

In addition to the grid, private funds are slated to be used for upgrades to intersections. Public funds — from local, state, regional and federal sources — totaling $1.2 billion are to be used for roadway improvements including the construction of a bridge over the Dulles Toll Road at Soapstone Drive and a Town Center Parkway underpass of the Toll Road.

Two supervisors abstained from the vote. Supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield District) said he continues to have concerns about the overall cost of the project, and Supervisor Linda Smyth (Providence District) said she could not support the plan when she has continually opposed a similar tax in Tysons.

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) said she understands taxes are unpopular, but she believes the impact is outweighed by the benefits.

“I think the relative point is that the majority of [the plan] is being paid for by public dollars and by developers,” she said. “It is a difficult ask, but we think it is an important ask. As Reston continues to grow, we have congestion — very bad congestion — and these infrastructure improvements need to get started.”

by Dave Emke — February 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm 14 Comments

Reston Transit Area/Fairfax County

At their meeting last week, the Reston Association Board of Directors officially took a position against a residential tax related to the $2.27 billion Reston Transportation Funding Plan.

Saying that RA has historically not taken a stance on county tax issues, the original recommendation to the board from land-use attorney John McBride was to not do so. Director Sherri Hebert (Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District), though, said she believes there should be no special tax and that it would behoove the board to go on record with that stance.

“Are we going to let this happen? There are so many things that come along with this tax for the residential units within the [Transit Station Area],” she said. “We hope that every cluster that starts to pop up in the TSA we’re going to bring into RA, so I would think that we would want to make a stance that this needs to be paid for by the developers.”

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) agreed with Hebert’s assessment.

“As we seek to make in-roads into what’s becoming more residential within that corridor, it’s important that we not be short-sighted in our anticipation of addressing those concerns,” she said.

The tax would be on all types of real estate, not just residential, McBride clarified.

The motion passed by RA directors Thursday states that while they recognize the improvements are needed to keep pace with development, they do not want the proposed service district tax applied to residential properties within the TSA.

“I think we need to have a longer-term strategy… that takes these issues into account,” Michael Sanio, RA Board vice president, said. “We should not be silent, we should not just have these events happen and us not have a voice in them.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the plan today at 4:30 p.m.

Map of Reston Transit Station Area via Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — February 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm 13 Comments

Proposed Fairfax County FY2018 budget

Residents of the Hunter Mill District will have their chance on March 4 to weigh in on the proposed Fairfax County FY2018 budget.

County Executive Edward Long presented the $4.1 billion proposal to the county Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday meeting. Each supervisor is holding local meetings to get community input on its details.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will hold her summit Saturday, March 4 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Frying Pan Farm Park visitor center (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon). In addition to the budget presentation and a speaker, the event will also include a “build-a-budget” workshop that Hudgins said would help residents understand what has to be done with the funds available.

In her response to Long’s proposal to the board Tuesday, Hudgins said the state has made it difficult for Fairfax County to “control [its] own destiny.”

“It is troubling when we have to return our value to the state in the way that we do,” Hudgins said. “When you think about that, it is daunting to have our citizens look to us and think that we actually do control it, and we don’t.”

Hudgins said a lack of diversity of revenue for the county, caused by an “inability to break through the stronghold that is in the general assembly,” is forcing some residents to be priced out.

The cost of living here, it does increase, and many of those seniors that I talked with at a senior group [Monday] are saying, ‘I have to move if I want to stay in a place that is affordable for me,'” she said. “We are going to have a lot of discussion from people on that conversation.”

Following their community meetings, supervisors plan to present their changes to the executive’s recommendations on April 25. The budget is scheduled to be adopted May 2.

Hudgins will be joined at the March 4 budget session by Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and Vienna Mayor Laurie DiRocco. Residents interested in attending are asked to RSVP to [email protected].

Chart via Fairfax County FY2018 budget presentation

by Dave Emke — January 26, 2017 at 11:30 am 9 Comments

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins/Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

A Fairfax County Board of Supervisors public hearing on Reston transportation projects set for Feb. 28 will address the projects’ funding plan. Questions asked about the project Tuesday prior to the board’s vote to approve the hearing, however, concerned design issues.

Supervisor Pat Herrity (Springfield District) raised a number of questions for Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, regarding concerns he has with the plan itself.

“If you take some of the costs out of the project, the impact on both the citizens and the new businesses would be less,” Herrity said.

The overall project — which includes road widening and upgrades to intersections and interchanges, in addition to construction of new Dulles Toll Road crossings — is estimated to cost in excess of $2.2 billion.

Reston Transportation Funding Plan

Herrity asked Biesiadny about a proposed Town Center Parkway underpass of the Toll Road, projected to cost $170 million. Herrity inquired why an underpass was determined to be more cost-effective than an overpass.

“Because of the topography, the Toll Road actually sits above the intersection of Town Center Parkway and Sunset Hills,” Biesiadny explained. “You would be starting below the Toll Road and having to go up and over it, as opposed to tunneling under it.”

Herrity also had a number of concerns about the proposed Soapstone Drive overpass of the Toll Road, among them the structure of the lanes in the proposal. The plan calls for two driving lanes on each side of the bridge with a two-lane left-turn area, becoming four lanes of traffic across the overpass.

The idea is that we would only want to go over the Toll Road once, so you would provide some additional capacity should you ever need it in the future,” Biesiadny said.

The four lanes over the Toll Road would be a total of 36 feet wide. The plan calls for 33 1/2 feet of space for pedestrians and bicyclists, another figure that Herrity questioned.

“So we’re going to have as much room on that bridge for bikes and pedestrians as we are for car traffic,” he said, asking for data to back up the need.

Biesiadny said projections have shown there will be a large amount of foot and pedal traffic across the connector.

Given its location adjacent to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station, we do think there is going to be a significant number of people using bikes and pedestrians to access the station, as well as the development that will be occurring around there,” he said.

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) said the community has decided that increased walkability and access for bicyclists is important to the future of transportation.

“What you will see in this project, and I think what the community has been stressing, is the compactness of the transportation infrastructure. That is, you see fewer turn lanes because, guess what, pedestrians require attention from those on the road in order to safely traverse those areas and make the connectivity. I think the most important part about it is… the value that this returns to the overall community in the way that we build the transportation infrastructure and land owners can actually construct the development. If we make a mistake there, it becomes not well used and thus not a return in value to the community and those who own the land.”

The public hearing on project funding was approved by the board and scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Screen capture of Supervisor Cathy Hudgins speaking at Jan. 24 meeting, via Fairfax County website

by Dave Emke — January 20, 2017 at 10:30 am 6 Comments

Graphic via Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will discuss a proposed February public hearing on the funding plan for Reston transportation projects.

County Executive Edward Long has recommended the board hold a public hearing on the plan Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 4:30 p.m.; the board will vote at its meeting next week (Tuesday, Jan. 24) whether to do so.

According to information provided in the agenda for the Jan. 24 meeting:

The Board of Supervisors (“the Board”) authorized the Reston Master Plan Special Study on May 18, 2009, and directed staff to initiate Phase I of the study, which is a review of Comprehensive Plan recommendations pertaining to the areas around the three planned Reston Metrorail stations: Reston Town Center Station, Wiehle-Reston East Station and the Herndon Station (Reston Transit Station Areas).

In Fall 2009, a community Task Force of 41 members (25 primary and 16 alternate) was appointed for the Phase I effort by the Board of Supervisors (Reston Master Plan Special Study (Phase I)), which included representatives of Reston resident groups, owners of commercial property in the study area and other interested members of the community. Working with staff, the Task Force was charged with evaluating existing Comprehensive Plan recommendations and identifying changes to guide future transit-oriented development (TOD) in the vicinity of the three Reston stations.

The Task Force and several sub-committees met regularly from 2010 through 2013 to consider approaches to further TOD development at the stations. Subsequently, the Task Force worked with staff to finalize their recommendations which were finalized at their meeting on October 29, 2013.

On February 11, 2014, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan for Reston, based on the results of the Reston Master Plan Special Study (Phase I). When the Board adopted the Comprehensive Plan amendment for Phase I of Reston, it also adopted a follow-on motion to address funding of associated transportation projects. The funding follow-on motion requested that staff and the Planning Commission develop an inclusive process to prepare a funding plan for the transportation improvements recommended in the Reston Master Plan and return to the Board with its recommendations at an appropriate time.

Staff not only recognizes the significance of the Reston Transit Station Areas (Reston TSAs), but also recognizes that improvements in the Reston TSAs must be balanced with needs in other areas of the County. Staff has taken this need for balance into consideration in staff’s recommendations to the Board.

The project is expected to cost in excess of $2.2 billion.

Table via Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

A community meeting to discuss the plan was held Thursday evening.

The recommendations to fund the project include the following:

a) Allocate public funds through future board actions such as endorsing a funding plan, a future transportation priorities plans, or other actions of the board.

b) Create a Reston Transportation Road Fund over the Reston TSAs with the following rates that is intended to collect approximately $211 million (as adjusted for inflation).

a. Residential per Dwelling Unit Rate: $2,090

b. Commercial per Square Foot Rate: $9.56

c) Establish a Transportation Service District over the Reston TSAs that is intended to collect approximately $139 million (as adjusted for inflation).

a. Service District Rate per $100 of assessed value: $0.021

d) Adjust the Reston Transportation Road Fund rates and Transportation Service District rates in a manner that is consistent with the Code of Virginia, the County’s budget cycle requirements, and cash flow need.

e) Prioritize projects periodically; and,

f) Evaluate the Reston Transportation Funding Plan on a periodic basis to ensure that the funding contribution levels are sufficient, the funding available is being allocated effectively, and projects are proceeding on schedule.

g) Establish a Reston Transportation Service District Advisory Board to provide input on the annual tax rate for the proposed Service District, the transportation project priorities for those projects funded all or in part by the tax district, and project implementation schedules. In addition, the Reston Transportation Service District Advisory Board may also provide input on the annual adjustment of Road Fund rates related to the Grid Network and Intersection Improvements.

h) The Service District and Road Fund will both have sunset provisions to ensure that once the projects identified in the Reston Phase I Comprehensive Plan Amendment are completed, any debt has been paid in full, and any other obligations incurred by the Service District or Road Fund have been satisfied, the Service District and the Road Fund will terminate. Staff will establish the sunset provisions accordingly for each fund and as allowed by state code.

Specific public revenue source and associated revenues may vary over the life of the plan, according to information provided by the board, but public revenues from existing sources are projected to be available to fund the total amount of improvements.

Table courtesy Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Private revenue sources are expected to include $716 million in in-kind contributions, $211 million from the Reston TSA Road Fund and $138 million in service district contributions.

According to the board agenda item:

The proposed Reston Transportation Funding Plan addresses the $2.27 billion (in 2016 dollars) need for infrastructure improvements to support the recommendations in the Reston Phase I Comprehensive Plan Amendment. The proposed plan allocates roughly $1.2 billion of the improvements over 40 years from public funds – federal, state, local, and regional funds that are anticipated for countywide transportation projects. Approximately $1.07 billion of the improvement costs will be raised from private funds – sources of revenue that are generated within the Reston TSAs and used exclusively for transportation projects in the Reston TSAs; this will require creation of a service district fund and County road fund project for management of revenues. It is anticipated that a fund for the service district will be created in FY 2018, and a new project will be created in Fund 30040 (Contributed Roadway Improvements) for the management of these Reston road fund contributions.

The next Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 9:30 a.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax).

Graphic and tables courtesy Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm 12 Comments

Vornado's Wiehle Reston East development, photo via KTGY Group and Studio Landscape ArchitectureThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the rezoning of nearly 12 acres of office space near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station along with Vornado Realty Trust’s plans for its transformation.

The area, adjacent to the Metro station at Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive, will be redeveloped by Vornado into 1.5 million square feet of residences, hotels, restaurants and retail. Washington Business Journal first reported on the approval yesterday.

The nearly 12 acres have long been zoned as industrial. With Vornado’s redevelopment plan, three existing six-story office buildings will remain, but the rest will be transformed into a live-work-dine-shop destination for those who want to be close to Metro and Reston’s busy business corridor.

The development will include a seven-story building that will fit up to 200 residences, another 24-story building that will fit up to 300 residences, a new 22-story office building of more than 350,000 square feet, and a new 14-story hotel that will feature around 175 rooms, according to Vornado’s application as reported by the county.

These new buildings will be among some of the tallest in Reston.

Occupants of the new development will have access to both the north and south sides of the Metro station, from Sunrise Valley Drive via Commerce Park Drive. Retail and dining businesses would be on ground floors of the buildings and would aim to minimize car use.

The plans also include a total of 1.5 acres of open space, with small parks, bicycle tracks and a promenade along the businesses, and will feature public art including a water feature.

Residents of the development will also be Reston Association members, and therefore would have access to the pools, tennis courts, event and recreation opportunities that come with membership.

by Andrew Ramonas — December 6, 2016 at 4:15 pm 3 Comments

Fairfax County Police The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will appoint a group of residents to look over police complaints and internal probes as part of a new effort to increase transparency in the area’s law enforcement, according to local officials.

In a 9-1 vote today, the board approved the creation of an independent Police Civilian Review Panel, which will receive Fairfax County Police Department misconduct allegations from the public and examine FCPD internal investigations. The panel will have nine appointees, who can serve up to two, three-year terms.

“Establishing a Police Civilian Review Panel is a historic step in the right direction toward increasing trust and transparency between police and residents,” board chairman Sharon Bulova said in a statement.

The board’s vote came after the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission called for the panel in an October 2015 report to county supervisors. Although Bulova established the commission following a fatal police-involved shooting in 2013, the new panel won’t handle matters concerning potentially criminal uses of force by cops.

Supervisor Pat Herrity, who was the only board member to vote against the panel, said it creates “a lot of serious problems,” including an “uncertain fiscal impact” and police staffing issues.

“The creation of this panel will take our police off the streets at a time when they are in high demand already,” he said in a statement.

by Jennifer van der Kleut — October 31, 2016 at 11:30 am 1 Comment

Lincoln at Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyTwo major projects near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station are up for discussion at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow.

The proposed Lincoln apartment complex at Commerce Park Drive and the Lofts townhomes at Reston Station are on the agenda for about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Wiehle Station Ventures LLC is seeking to redevelop a surface level parking lot across the street from the Sunrise Valley convenience center and, beyond that, Reston National Golf Course, into a 260-unit Lincoln apartment building at Commerce Park, Association and Sunrise Valley drives. The property is also close to Soapstone Drive, where a future toll road crossing is planned.

Lofts at Reston Station/Credit: Fairfax County

The Board of Supervisors also is set to consider the design concept for the Lofts, in which Pulte Homes would redevelop a one-story industrial building at 1825 Michael Faraday Court into 44 residences.

The parcel is about one-third of a mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The development and the Metro stop eventually will connect through interior streets, including an extension of Reston Station Boulevard, plans show.

Though the Planning Commission has recommended approval to the Board of Supervisors, the concept has not been without issues.

Hunter Mill planning commissioner Frank de le Fe said he feels the project attempts to jam too many residences into too little land, as the plan calls for fitting 12, two-by-two townhouses into less than two acres.

Other issues brought up had to do with the configuration of open space, the amount of surface parking, the design of a pocket park and the lack of landscaping connecting to public space.

Images via Lincoln At Commerce Park, Lofts at Reston Station, Fairfax County.

Save

by Karen Goff — October 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm 18 Comments

Crane at new residential construction in RestonReston is changing at a fast clip — with several large development projects in progress and more than a dozen new applications in the pipeline.

Concerned Reston residents say they want to know about those projects in an equally speedy manner.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and representatives from the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning held a public meeting at Reston Association Monday in which they spelled out how the development process works, from application to final approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Even though the development process can take years, the citizens in attendance complained about a lack of opportunities for community engagement earlier in the process.

“The planning process is making me crazy,” said longtime Reston resident Tammi Pettrine. “In reality, citizens have no power against the county.” (more…)

by Karen Goff — September 16, 2016 at 10:00 am 6 Comments

Planned location of RP 11720/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe Fairfax County Planning Commission has recommended for approval a plan to tear down a 1980s office building at 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive and replace the building with 54 townhomes.

Rooney Properties’ plan now moves on for final approval by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, most likely in October.

The decision came at the planning commission’s Wednesday meeting, about two months after a public hearing on the project. The commission said then had some concerns with driveway size, garage size and delivery accessibility for Rooney Properties’ plans.

Office building at 11720 Sunrise Valley Dr.Since the 11720 project’s July hearing, the applicant went back and updated the development plan to show designated delivery area in the southwestern corner of property.

The planning commission and the county planning staff also had an issue in July with Rooney’s lack of proffers to provide transportation demand management (TDM) such as traffic lights.

The proposed project sits just across Roland Clarke Place where another Rooney property, the Marcel Breuer-designed former headquarters of the American Press Institute. That building, also owned by Rooney, is in the process of being torn down to make way for way for 34 townhouses and 10 condos.

Photos: Location of project, top; Existing office building, bottom.

by Karen Goff — July 27, 2016 at 10:00 am 44 Comments

Former API Building

After a campaign by architectural archivists and historians to save and repurpose the Marcel Breuer-designed former American Press Institute building in Reston, the building learned its fate Tuesday night.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to allow developer Sekas Homes to demolish the 42-year-old Brutalist building and construct in its place 34 townhomes and 10 condos.

Interior of API BuildingHunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said while she appreciated the efforts to save the building at 11690 Sunrise Valley Dr., the building did not have historical designation and was not in a historical overlay district.

The supervisors’ mission is to stick to judging an application on “meeting the criteria set forth in the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance for this area and supported by recommendation of approval by Department of Planning and Zoning,” she said.

While a DPZ staff report recommended approval for the redevelopment, the Fairfax County Planning Commission did not. (more…)

by Karen Goff — July 27, 2016 at 8:35 am 20 Comments

Farewell, Tall Oaks Village Center as a retail spot. Welcome, Tall Oaks Village Center as a mostly residential neighborhood.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors took an unprecedented step for Reston development on Tuesday when it unanimously approved Jefferson Apartment Group’s (JAG) proposal to rezone, rebuild and transform the smallest of Reston’s village centers.

JAG will now go forward with plans for 156 homes (a mix of townhomes, 2-over-2 townhomes and multifamily buildings), community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space.

“We are very excited about the approval and the chance to rejuvenate a shopping center that has been fallow for a number of years,” said JAG CEO Jim Butz. “This will be one more nice neighborhood for Reston.”

Butz said he estimated the retail site plans and permitting will be processed in the next nine months. Because the retail space will be located in existing free- standing buildings on the property, that will enable a smooth transition for current retail tenants who desire to stay at Tall Oaks.

The residential permitting process will take about 12-14 months, Butz said. Construction would begin sometime after that.

Tall Oaks’ longtime challenges have been a location on a dead end and lack of visibility from a main street. Its longtime anchor tenant, Giant Foods, moved out in 2007 and vacancies have been mounting since.

JAG representatives have said the property was marketed to retailers in the last several years but there was little interest in locating there as more than five major retail centers featuring a grocery anchor are located within a few miles.

More recently, the developer conducted a market study that showed large retail was not viable at Tall Oaks, which is now only 13 percent occupied.

“This has been a very difficult center to remodel or upgrade,” said Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who lives in the Tall Oaks area. “The hope I have is JAG is able to provide what is necessary to provide that.”

JAG paid $14 million for the property in 2014 and has held numerous meetings with the community since then. After noting community concerns, JAG has added green space and additional retail space to its original plan.

But many in the community were still not in favor of a complete overhaul for Tall Oaks. Some residents still maintain that retail would thrive at the center if it were properly managed. (more…)

×

Subscribe to our mailing list