Herndon Teacher Charged with Unlawful Filming Previously Recorded Woman — “The Herndon High School teacher charged with the unlawful filming of a woman inside his home had previously recorded another woman under the same circumstances. Court records obtained Thursday by ABC7 show that the 19-year-old woman, an au pair, said she went to police after finding out about the hidden camera inside an air conditioning vent at the home when a former au pair who worked there said the suspect did the same thing to her.” [ABC7]
The Value of Moscow Tonight — A new comedy about three adult sisters who are forced to live together after their lives have fallen apart takes the stage at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) tonight. Registration is open online. But beware: the show contains strong language and what the organizers call “comedic violence.” [ArtSpace Herndon]
County Workers Push for Cost of Living Standards — “Some county workers are batting an eyebrow at the county’s proposed Market Rate Adjustment which acts as a cost of living adjustment, and the county’s proposed budget isn’t going to fully fund. With it not being fully funded, this could cost workers to lose out on hundreds of dollars annually. Some workers say it will impact them largely.” [Local DVM]
Beacon Roofing Supply Branches Out — The company, which is headquartered in Herndon, opened five new branches in the first half of its fiscal year. Fun fact: it’s the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials in the country. [Citybizlist]
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins lauded Frying Pan Farm Park for its clean water efforts, which recently earned the Herndon park a land-use award.
The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) selected the park for the 2018 Fairfax County Clean Water Farm Award because of “its implementation of effective agricultural best management practices and diverse educational and outreach programs, as well as its close interactions with NVSWCD,” according to Fairfax County.
“It’s a fabulous park,” Hudgins said at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday (April 9). “It’s really exciting to be able to recognize them for the stewardship they do.”
Located at 2739 West Ox Road, the park preserves and interprets farm life of the first half of the 20th century. For the last two decades, the park has been working to comply with the Fairfax County’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Program by following the Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan, according to the county.
Chairman Sharon Bulova also added to the praise of the park. “That is pretty impressive,” Bulova said about the farm earning the award. “It is a working farm with lots of animals.”
Hudgins asked that the Frying Pan Farm Park staff get invited to the board for recognition, along with representatives from the county’s Park Authority and NVSWCD.
The owners behind the major Halley Rise want the county to approve a reshuffling of the square footage on what they say is a crowded block in the project.
Right now, work is underway on the portion of the 4 million-square-foot mixed-use development that will bring Reston its first Wegmans in June 2020. Halley Rise will be adjacent to the Reston Town Center Metro Station, occupying the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive.
One Reston Co. LLC and Two Reston Co. LLC want to redistribute some of the square footage from three denser blocks to two different blocks, “which still have [the] capacity for additional development,” according to the application.
The proposed changes would shift the hotel from block G to block E. Block E also would have a significant chunk of its retail space shifted elsewhere, along with moving all of its residential units to a different block. Meanwhile, block H would shave off about 150,000 square feet of office space.
The largest change would make block D the densest in the development with 100,000 square feet of office space, in addition to 391 residential units and four times more retail square footage.
The proposed changes were spurred by the realization that retrofitting the existing parking structure on block E with more than 400,000 square feet of development “would be more challenging than [the applicant] initially anticipated,” the application says.
“As a result, the applicant’s plan began with redistributing some of the square footage that had been concentrated on block E in order to relieve pressure from its planned over-development.”
The application, which stresses that the proposed changes do not adjust the project’s mix of uses or density, calls the proposal “modest improvements” that will allow for a new pedestrian promenade.
In early March, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ requested the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors speed up the review process for proposed plans that would adjust the grid of streets and accelerate construction of the streets to coincide with the opening of the grocer.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission is set to take up the proposal with a public hearing on May 22.
Photos via Fairfax County and Halley Rise/website
Maggie Parker, an executive with Comstock Companies who played a role in helping to bring the Silver Line to Reston, is joining the increasingly crowded Democratic field for Hunter Mill Supervisor.
Parker, who last month was honored with a Cornerstones of Our Community Best of Reston award, has lived in Fairfax County since 1986. She says she’s running our of a sense of civic duty and a “passion for responsible, collaborative dialogue.”
As a Vice President for Comstock, the Reston-based real estate developer, she handles areas including communications, government relations and community relations.
“She has been helping Comstock integrate its new neighborhoods, Reston Station and Loudoun Station, into our regional community since 2010,” according to a press release. “She has spent her time listening to and engaging with regional authorities, jurisdictions and citizens to find thoughtful connections and integration.”
She stands out from the current field of contenders for Cathy Hudgins’ Hunter Mill District Supervisor seat by being a real estate developer in a field that has expressed varying degrees of opposition to or concern about continuing development in Reston and Vienna.
“Maggie believes in quality development in appropriate places and diligence in providing timely and multi-modal transportation solutions,” the press release said. “She strives to protect an environment that is sustainable, and that allows all in our community to live, work and prosper.”
She also “supports sustainable growth in the right places, economic development, continued pursuit of transportation solutions — all things that work in concert to improve equity opportunities for our community.”
Four other Democrats have entered the race for her seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors, including:
- Former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn
- Lawyer Laurie Dodd
- U.S. Air Force veteran and community advocate Shyamali Hauth
- Recent Roanoke College graduate Parker Messick
Fairfax County is looking into who should pay for and manage a community-based performing arts center set for Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a feasibility study with private and public entities at its meeting last week on Tuesday, March 19.
“The community has demonstrated strong interest and support for such a facility,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins wrote in her motion, which Chairman Sharon Bulova read due to Hudgins’ absence.
The 60,000-square-foot performing arts center is slated for the mixed-use project, which includes nearly 2 million square feet of office space, two hotels with 570 rooms and 162,300 square feet in retail and restaurants. Located on the north side of Sunset Hills Road between the Reston and Town Center parkways, the project will connect the future Reston Town Center Metro station to the border of Reston Town Center.
Block J has been identified as a possible location for the performing arts center, according to Hudgins’ motion. The feasibility study aims to assess if the county or another entity can finance, construct, maintain and program the performing arts center.
Before the board voted, Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth cautioned the board about the upkeep the performing arts will require.
“Having worked through a lot of this sort of thing with the Cap One project in Tysons, we found that operating and maintaining some sort of arts center is costly,” Smyth told the board. “It requires the right people to do it.”
At Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ request, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday (March 5) to speed up the review process for proposed changes to the development bringing Reston its first Wegmans.
The proposed plans would adjust the grid of streets and accelerate construction of the streets to coincide with the opening of the grocer in June 2020, Hudgins said.
The applicant is not proposing any significant changes, Hudgins said, adding that expedited processing of the zoning applications and the road site plans concurrently will help construction start.
Known as Halley Rise, the nearly 4 million-square-foot mixed-use development will be adjacent to the Reston Town Center Metro Station, occupying the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive.
The county staff will now expedite scheduling the public hearings on the zoning applications.
The board also approved directing the Land Development Services to accept and review site plans to speed up the application prior to the board taking them up.
Rendering via Halley Rise website
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ motion to “indefinitely defer” the consideration of a proposed zoning amendment.
The zoning ordinance has been a hotly debated issue among Restonians.
It would have increased the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons to any number up to 15, along with allowing residential development at a density of up to 70 dwelling units per acre in certain areas.
“There are those in the community who do not support this change to the PRC density because they do not support redevelopment of the village centers and are concerned about future growth in Reston,” Hudgins told the board before the vote. “There is also concern that this PRC amendment will somehow support residential development on one or both of the two golf courses in Reston.”
Hudgins also said that misinformation has plagued the push to update the zoning ordinance and thanked the staff for their work educating the community.
“I had hoped that we could have found a way to provide the necessary zoning tool to implement the adopted Reston Plan,” Hudgins said.
Hudgins said that she will work with staff and community representatives to outline a process and timeframe to reexamine the plan for the village centers before reconsidering the PRC amendment — the Planning Commission’s suggested solution.
The vote came shortly after noon on Tuesday (March 5) during the board’s meeting.
Chairman Sharon Bulova told Hudgins that she understands the PRC amendment has been difficult for her and the Reston community.
“This is not easy, and I know that folks have asked for the opportunity to maybe step back and try to revisit the process that will allow things to move forward in a way that has more community engagement and more community support for a path forward,” she said.
Photo via Fairfax County
Updated at 4:45 p.m. — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is expected to “indefinitely defer” the decision tomorrow, according to emails obtained by Reston Now. A reason was not given.
Updated at 4:30 p.m. — A public hearing on a Reston PRC zoning ordinance that was slated for tomorrow will not be held, a Fairfax County staffer told Reston Now.
Earlier: The agenda for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting tomorrow (March 5) just got lighter now that it doesn’t plan to hold a public hearing on a hotly debated issue among Restonians.
The public hearing, which was scheduled to take place after 4:30 p.m. and be the last item on the agenda, will not be happening, a Fairfax County staffer told Reston Now. The staffer was not aware of the reason.
Back in February, Fairfax County’s Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors deny the specific proposal, which would have increased the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — in certain areas.
The board is set to authorize advertisements of a public hearing for an ordinance that would establish Economic Revitalization and Redevelopment Zones (ERRZs) throughout the county.
The zones stem from a bill passed by the General Assembly in 2017 that “provides for regulatory flexibility and financial incentives to encourage the private sector to assemble property for economic development purposes,” according to county documents.
The proposed amendment would offer expedited processing of development applications and other regulatory and economic incentives to private sector developers.
The commercial revitalization area of the Lake Anne Village Center would be one of the zones established, along with others including McLean and Springfield, Baileys Crossroads and more.
Photo via Fairfax County Government/Facebook
Former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn is the latest Democrat to join a crowded race to replace Cathy Hudgins as the Hunter Mill District Supervisor.
Hudgins revealed late in January that she won’t seek re-election to theFairfax County Board of Supervisors, joining a growing list of board members retiring, including current Chairman Sharon Bulova.
Alcorn, a self-described environmental professional, announced his campaign last Monday (Feb. 11). He is running on a broad platform that ranges from supporting revisions to Reston’s comprehensive plan in 2020 to reviewing school funding.
His top issues on his campaign website are the following:
- public safety
- affordable housing
Alcorn has a mix of experience in the private sector and county government.
He is currently the vice president for environmental affairs and industry sustainability at the Consumer Electronics Association, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he worked at Alcorn Consulting and at SAIC for about 10 years.
In 2015 Alcorn was appointed by Bulova to the county’s Park Authority Board. His term expired at the end of 2017. Prior to that, he had served on the county’s Planning Commission and worked as a policy aide in the Providence District supervisor’s office, Reston Now previously reported.
On the community level, he was a former president of the Herndon High School PTSA.
Alcorn has received endorsements from Bulova; Democratic State Sen. Jennifer Boysko, who used to represent Herndon in the Virginia House of Delegates; and U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was the county board chairman before Bulova.
Alcorn plans to hold a campaign kickoff event on Saturday (Feb. 23) at 2 p.m. in the new community room at the YMCA Fairfax County Reston (12196 Sunset Hills Road).
Alcorn will face the three other Democrats — Parker Messick, Laurie Dodd and Shyamali Hauth — vying for the seat at the June 11 Democratic primary.
Photo via Walter Alcorn/Facebook
It’s snow joke — Heavy snow can be a health risk. The fire department has safety tips for shoveling snow. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Blockchain investment — “Fairfax County Retirement Systems has released details about its investment in a blockchain fund, seemingly to quell fears about the Virginia municipality’s two pension funds taking on exposure to cryptocurrency.” [CoinDesk]
Profile of a Restonian — “A Reston native and 2008 McLean High School graduate is serving at the U.S. Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific (NSTCP) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.” The Fairfax County Times profiled Lt. Michael Hughes, who is a Navy submarine officer within the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. [Fairfax County Times]
County chair contender — Alicia Plerhoples announced on Friday that she suspended her Fairfax County School Board campaign to run for the Board of Supervisors’ chair instead. [Mailchimp]
Clarabridge nears revenue goal — “In the two years since the veteran software executive took over as the third CEO of the Reston company, [CEO Mark Bishof] has reorganized the workforce, reached profitability and topped $80 million in revenue on the way to $100 million — buoyed by what he said is the recent strength in the customer experience industry.” [Washington Business Journal]
Theatre nabs nominations — Herndon’s NextStop Theatre Company received two Helen Hayes nominations — the James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Jacob Yeh in “East of Eden” and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for Mary Myers in “45 Plays for 45 Presidents.” [Washington Theatre Guide]
Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter
This month marks the beginning of Fairfax County’s fiscal year 2020 budget process. Locals in the Hunter Mill District can attend a town hall in Herndon on the first Saturday of March to get more information on the proposed budget plan.
Projections expect the county’s revenue to grow by 2.9 percent, generating more than $156 million in additional revenue for FY 2020, according to the county.
The town hall is set to take place from 8:30-11 a.m. on March 2 at Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center (2709 West Ox Road).
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, County Executive Bryan Hill and Fairfax County Public Schools staff will give the presentations, according to Hudgins’ newsletter.
After coffee and a conversation starting at 8:30 a.m., the elected officials and county staff will be available to answer questions.
The next steps in the budget process include posting the proposed tax rates, followed by public hearings in April held by the county’s Board of Supervisors.
The FY 2020 fiscal year begins on July 1.
Image via Fairfax County
Fairfax County’s Planning Commission finally weighed in on a controversial zoning ordinance proposal for Reston by recommending that the county’s Board of Supervisors deny the specific proposal, yet take steps to resolve PRC issues with the use of a taskforce.
The zoning ordinance would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons to any number up to 15, along with allowing residential development at a density of up to 70 dwelling units per acre in certain areas.
Vice Chairman and At-Large Commissioner James Hart, the main person leading the proposal, gave a lengthy speech before the commission voted and approved his motions on the proposal. “We are close to the PRC cap, but the level of pushback we have received has confirmed to me it’s the wrong way to do this amendment,” Hart said. “We owe it to the citizens to try.”
Hart added that inflexibility around the PRC cap “is highly problematic.” His vision for resolving the PRC issue involves recoupling the planned number of village centers and the density cap.
The Planning Commission approved all of Hart’s recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, which include directing the board to:
- deny the zoning ordinance proposal at this time
- withdraw authorization
- direct staff to do a Comprehensive Plan amendment
- establish taskforce with representatives from the community and industry to work on recommending a plan amendment to the board and Planning Commission
If the Board of Supervisors follows the Planning Commission’s recommendations, Hart said he sees two options for future development once the cap is hit on PRC: if applications want to be zoned as PRC, the staff can ask for incremental increases to the PRC cap on a case-by-case review with analysis of each application or applications will zone out of PRC and will need to come in as similar categories — such as Planned Residential Mixed-Use (PRM).
“Either way, those applications can continue,” Hart said.
Hart also tried to tackle the controversy surrounding the proposal, saying that “an unusual amount of misinformation and confusion” from freelance experts helped fuel the concerns. “All of that antidevelopment frustration was focused on this particular amendment,” he said.
He took the time to debunk some of that misinformation he had heard, which included saying that the proposal would not increase the density for Reston overall. He also pushed back on criticisms that said there are no plans for infrastructure to support the proposed PRC changes, reminding locals that because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, the process of securing infrastructure requires an ongoing basis. “It’s rude to claim that nothing is being done,” he said.
Hart said that he wants to see locals stay engaged in the land use process, which he argued keeps the process grounded in reality. He also thanked the citizen groups and individuals who testified at public hearings and have sent in comments on the proposal.
The PRC decisi0n was the last one the commission tackled before the meeting ended shortly before 9 p.m. with a round of applause from the audience.
Photo via Planning Commission
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins used her newsletter this month to give a glimpse into her “difficult decision” behind her decision to not run for re-election to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999. Her retirement announcement came during the Board of Supervisors meeting last month, adding to the list of supervisors who have also said they are leaving.
Now in her 20th year on the board, Hudgins used the newsletter as an opportunity to share her priorities for a “vigorous” year, including renewable energy and Silver Line Phase 2’s progress.
Here is her full note:
Dear Hunter Mill Friends,
On Jan. 22, during the first Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting in 2019, I was struck by the thought: I am beginning my 20th year as Hunter Mill Supervisor with the mixed emotions of excitement and joy in serving the community and the reality that even good things must end. At that moment, I felt compelled to speak and share my intention not to seek reelection to be the Hunter Mill District representative. Believe me it was a difficult decision and an equally difficult announcement. However, I do intend to have a vigorous 20th year and continue to enjoy the kind of work that we’ve been able to do with this board.
One thing that will greatly contribute to a vigorous year is an improved public transit system, connecting the Metrorail system to Dulles International Airport and points in Loudoun County. I am excited to share that the first trains rolled along the Silver Line Phase 2 tracks around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The test train traveled from Wiehle-Reston Station to Innovation Station at a speed of about 15 mph! There is an interesting story behind that spectacular speed. Because the third rail is not yet electrified for this test, the trains were pushed by a small diesel locomotive. Once the rail polishing phase — necessary to remove rust that can accumulate on unused rails — is complete, additional trains, equipped for Safe-Braking and Control-Line Communications trials, will begin the “dynamic testing” process. This is required before the rail line begins commercial operation.
This testing work, is a significant milestone and will continue for several months before public service commences in 2020.
Another area of significant relevance and impact is the environment. In 2017, the BOS adopted an Environmental Vision “to promote and encourage energy efficiency and conservation efforts and renewable energy initiatives by county employees, employers and residents.” In 2018, the board adopted an Energy Strategy for county operations with the goal of
reducing “fossil fuel consumption through the application of innovative concepts & technologies.” In 2019, the BOS is raising awareness of its achievements already made — two Solarize campaigns conducting free on-site solar assessments that led solar panel installations, totaling 398 kW — and the county commitment to a third campaign in the spring of 2019. With the assistance of the SolSmart program, we will do just that. SolSmart is a national designation program for solar friendly communities, their commitments, and their accomplishments.
Moreover, Fairfax County is committed to improve solar market conditions, making it faster, easier and more affordable for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems. Currently, the county is considering the creation of a local Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. Depending on the ordinance language, a C-PACE loan
could finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on industrial, commercial, agricultural, multi-family and non-profit/religious properties. So as you can surmise, it will be another busy year.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge that representing the Hunter Mill District continues to be challenging and thrilling and I am looking forward to a dynamic 2019 indeed. It is an ongoing honor to serve and I fully intend to continue being engaged with the work of the community.
— Cathy Hudgins
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says there’s a clear need around Reston for new streetlights.
Hudgins believes residents are currently dissuaded from taking pedestrian paths through Reston because the sidewalks are poorly lit, she said during a discussion about new lighting across Fairfax County in an Environmental Committee Meeting today (Tuesday).
“There are dark skies in parts of Reston, but now there is a greater demand for light,” said Hudgins. “Now, people are walking [around Reston] and there are no lights.”
The topic of streetlights in Reston emerged from a discussion of Fairfax County’s arrangement with Dominion Energy to begin replacing existing lights with LEDs. Fairfax County will be responsible for the costs to convert functioning streetlights, though any that are damaged or fail prematurely will be converted to LED at no cost to the county.
“If the poles get hit by trucks, that’s on Dominion,” said Kambiz Agazi, environmental and energy coordinator for Fairfax County. “I’m not suggesting we go out and hit these poles, but if a snow plow hits the poles, Dominion will cover the cost of replacing them.”
While Agazi said the county would reduce $1.4 million in annual costs if all of Fairfax’s 58,000 streetlights were replaced with LEDs, some of that savings would be offset by the cost of adding new streetlights throughout Reston. Hudgins said more research needs to be done on how many lights would be needed and what advantages it would bring to the community.
Streetlights are not a new topic of discussion in Reston. In 2017, the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee expressed concerns that increased lighting could have an adverse effect on wildlife.
Agazi said staff will begin working on a report on the possibility of adding streetlights to Reston.
Photo via Fairfax County
Great Falls residents will be able to get their questions about a proposed assisted living facility answered at a community meeting tomorrow (Feb. 12).
The 62-unit assisted living facility would open in 2020 at 1131 Walker Road and be run by IntegraCare, according to the Great Falls Citizen Association (GFCA). The site is above the Leesburg Pike and close to Colvin Run Mill.
IntegraCare is seeking a special exception to the county’s zoning laws. For the exception to be granted, the plan must satisfy several zoning requirements, such as showing that the application aligns with the Comprehensive Plan. Public hearings are also required before the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust is holding the meeting in coordination with citizens association to give locals in the area the opportunity to ask questions and express their opinions on the proposal. County staff from the Fairfax County Department of Zoning Evaluation will be on hand to answer questions.
“Before deciding whether to approve deny the application, the Board of Supervisors will consider whether the proposed use is compatible with existing or proposed developments in the area,” according to Foust’s newsletter to his constituents, adding that the board “may impose conditions and restrictions to address any negative impacts.”
The community meeting, which will include a presentation by the applicant on revisions to their proposal, will start at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Great Falls Elementary School (701 Walker Road).
County staff reviewed the application and suggested approval of the special exception in the staff report released last week. The Planning Commission will consider the proposal at its Feb. 20 meeting.