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Tuesday Morning Notes

Cast your vote — Primary elections in Virginia and Fairfax County are today. The county’s 243 precincts will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters are encouraged to cast their ballot before or after school hours, if possible, as schools are still in session. [Fairfax County Government]

Junior day camp — School is almost out and Reston Association is offering four-week camps this summer for kids between the ages of 5 and 7. Several sessions for the Junior Day Camp are open. [Reston Association]

Settling a new score — ComScore, Inc, an audience measurement company that faced recent leadership challenges and investigations, is now under the leadership of Bryan Wiener. The new CEO lays out strategies for the coming year. [Washington Business Journal]

Family history research this afternoon — Research your family history with a library staff member using local history and genealogy resources. The event is geared towards adults and teenagers. [Reston Regional Library]

Photo by Wade Gilley, Sr. 

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Free Medicare 101 Workshop to Take Place Friday

Medicare experts from the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program will discuss Medicare plan options tomorrow for the coming year.

The event will take place at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road).

To receive one-on-one Medicare advice, participants are encouraged to call Fairfax County’s VICAP at 703-324-5851. The event is free.

For more information, visit VICAP’s website.

File photo

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New Residential Building Proposed Next to Paramount Condominiums

A developer is seeking to build a 128,000-square-foot multifamily residential building on the north side of Dominion Parkway.

According to plans submitted to the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning on May 14, the multifamily building is planned between the Winwood Children’s Center and the Paramount condominiums on Fountain Drive. 

Preliminary plans include 59 multifamily dwelling units, serving roughly 124 people, on the 0.8-acre site. The developer, NS Reston LLC, also plans to build a three-level underground garage with 131 spaces and six surface parking spaces near the main entrance of the property.

The proposed multifamily building will be an attractive addition to the perimeter of the Town Center Urban Core and provide additional residential units to reinforce the live, work, play environment of the Town Center and the surrounding area,” wrote John McGranahan Jr, who represents the applicant.

Proposed amenities include a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool and 0.25 acres —  thirty percent of the property — will remain as open space.

Access to the property is planned from two entrances along New Dominion Parkway. The application has also requested a waiver to reduce the number of required loading spaces from three to two.

The application has not yet been accepted for formal review by the county, said Brian Worthy, a spokesman for Fairfax County government. Once accepted, applications are scheduled for public hearings and other steps of the planning and zoning process.

Photos via Google Maps

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Friday Morning Notes

The jobs forecast — Unemployment remains below three percent in Fairfax County. [Fairfax County Government]

Thoroughly Modern Millie — Dive into the height of the jazz age in New York City with “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Reston Community Players’ next play. The performance, based on the 1967 award-winning film, will run from April 20 through May 12 at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage. [Reston Community Center]

Pet sitting galore — Pooch Pros officially celebrating its grand opening yesterday. The business offers pet sitting services in the local area, including in Reston. [Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce]

No kidding — Registration for the 8th annual Reston Kids Triathlon is now open. The event is set for August 5 at 8 a.m.. [Reston Kids Triathlon]

Photo by Gail Crockett

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Fairfax County Takes Part in Emergency Alert Test Tomorrow

Residents in Fairfax County will receive an alert on their cell phones and other mobile-enabled devices tomorrow (April 5) morning.

Fairfax County is participating what a national wireless emergency alert system test, which will take place from 10 to 11 a.m..

Phones will buzz loudly and an accompanying text will read, “A test of the Fairfax County Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action required.”

Other participating jurisdictions include Loudoun County, the City of Alexandria, the City of Arlington and the City of Falls Church.

A back-up test date is set for Monday (April 9) between 10 and 11 a.m.

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County Responds to Requests by RA Board, Community Coalition to Change Reston Master Plan

County staff rejected any changes that affect land use, density or intensity recommendations in Reston Master Plan until after 2019, responding to requests by Reston Association’s Board of Directors and the Coalition for a Planned Reston (CPR) to the planning document.

The county’s written response comes as officials prepare to push forward plans to increase Reston’s population density from 13 persons per acre to 16 in Reston’s Planned Residential Community.

Plans were staunchly opposed by residents in community meetings, while supporters contend the increase is necessary to implement Reston’s Master Plan, which posits major growth potential for the planned community.

Fred Selden, the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning director, wrote that the county is only open to considering clarifications, correcting oversights or editorial tweaks — emphasizing that the plan was the result of a six-year study, recommendations from a 50-member task force, and a significant public engagement period.

“Recognizing the time, energy and community commitment that go into our multi-year land use studies, it has long been the county’s practice not to amend these new plans within the first five years of their adoption,” Selden wrote.

In a point-by-point outline responding to RA’s November 2017 letter and CPR’s February letter, Selden said the county is monitoring plan implementation, including the pace of development and public facilities, schools, parks and road.

The growth of development and resulting infrastructure needs and strains has been cited as a central concern for CPR and RA’s board. County staff reiterated their willingness to work with community groups and stakeholders to address concerns.

Noting that the plan already contains controls to manage development, staff said they will work to develop a phasing plan that will tie future development with specific infrastructure and public facility needs.

The letter also noted the county’s willingness to amend a portion of the plan that allows 50 or more dwelling units per acre, resulting in “unlimited development.” The county is also willing to more explicitly state that redevelopment is recommended in non-residential, mixed-use areas in village centers, not stable residential neighborhoods.

Staff also committed to monitoring the implementation of the Reston Plan and providing a progress report for Reston similar to one performed for Tyson. Staff noted they were open to seeing an overall maximum population, but did not indicate if they agreed with CPR’s recommendation of 120,000.

Other recommendations were flatly rejected, including CPR’s request to require 20 percent of all future dwelling units to be affordable, other requests to reduce the density of dwelling units, and a request to delete language that allows redevelopment of St. Johns Woods.

An attempt to remove the road connection between American Dream Way and Isaac Newton Square — a mapped road across Hidden Creek County Club — was also not favored by staff. The option for the road is necessary to reduce congestion at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue, county staff said.

The complete letter is below:

Department of Planning and Zoning Response to CPR, RA, Hudgins by Fatimah Waseem on Scribd

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Empty offices turn — The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved plans to convert empty offices in suburban neighborhoods without a site specific change to the comprehensive plan. [Fairfax County Government]

Sweet Leaf opens today — The locally owned chain opened its seventh location at Reston Metro Plaza at 8 a.m. today. [Reston Now]

Minor crime updates — A cell phone was taken from a business, cash was taken from a car on Library Street and items were taken from a business on Sunset Hills Road. [Fairfax County Police Department]

American Red Cross blood drive today — The blood drive will run from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. today at the library. [Reston Regional Library]

A reminder about the election — Voting for Reston Association’s Board of Directors’ election ends on Monday. [Reston Association]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Monday Morning Notes

Light it up — Snag a few free LED light bulbs. The giveaway is taking place in April and May at six Fairfax County libraries. [Fairfax County Government]

“A Night in Paris” Wine Dinner — Transport yourself to France with a five-course seasonal menu at Mon Ami Gabi from 6-9 p.m. today. Each course will be paired with French boutique wines. [Mon Ami Gabi]

$15.5 Billion for Metro — Where does it go and how does Metro plan to spend it? [The Washington Post]

Job opportunity in Herndon — The Herndon Adult Day Health Care Center is looking for a Spanish instructor. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Six things to know after the windstorm — All you need to know about trees, power outages, food safety, and more. Let’s hope things can get back to normal soon. [Fairfax County Government]

Tackling traffic on Sunset Hills Road — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on plans to realign the road today at 4 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Online voting for Reston Association elections is live — To cast a vote in the election for RA’s Board of Directors, visit RA’s website. Paper ballots were mailed yesterday. [Reston Association]

Travel “Into the Woods’ with Herndon students — Tickets are on sale for the performance by Herndon High School Theatre from April 13 through April 21. [Herndon Drama]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Community Leader, Civil Rights Advocate Remembered — “The letters and cards that Rev. Frederick Lowry’s family received after his death kept circling back to the same sentiments: how kind he was, how much he cared, his sense of humor,” writes Angela Woolsey. Lowry died due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Dec. 25. He was well-known for his 14-year tenure as director of the Community Ministry of Fairfax. [Fairfax County Times]

Ten Things You Should Know about Olympic Speedskater Maame Biney — The Reston native is headed to the Olympics. The 17-year-old speedskater is the first black woman to land on a spot on the U.S. Olympic speedskating team. [NBC4]

County Hosts Community Meeting on Plans to Convert Empty Office Buildings into Other Uses — The county is holding a meeting today at 6 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway) to discuss a comprehensive plan amendment that would allow empty office buildings to be converted for other uses. An attempt to carve a special exemption for Reston when the first phase of the amendment was introduced failed last year. [Fairfax County Government]

Build a Birdhouse Tomorrow at Walker Nature Center — Children between the ages of 7 and 12 can get their hands busy tomorrow from 11 a.m. to noon at the center. Attendees will practice basic woodworking skills by constructing a birdhouse. Tickets are $7 for Reston members and $9 for all others. [Reston Association]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Modernization of Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Underway — Last year, the county launched a major initiative to update its 40-year-old zoning ordinance. The first community meeting on the project, “zMod,” is set for tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway). [Fairfax County Government]

Teenager Charged in Killing of Reston Couple Taken to Detention Center — The 17-year-old Lorton teenager charged with killing a Reston couple in late December and then turning the gun on himself has been transferred from the hospital to Fairfax County’s juvenile detention center. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Smoke Alarm Alerts Occupants to Herndon Townhouse Fire — Local firefighters contained a townhouse fire on the 2400 block of Corn Crib Court in Herndon on Sunday. Seven occupants in the house at the time of the fire safely evacuated the house. Damages are estimated at $50,000. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

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Saturday Parking Fee at Wiehle-Reston East Draws Resistance

Fairfax County officials are pushing back against a move by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to charge for weekend parking at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Beginning Feb. 5, WMATA plans to charge a $2 fee parking for Metro users who park in the Metro garage or lot on Saturdays. Parking is currently free at the 2,300-space garage, which is owned by Fairfax County.

“Over the past several years, WMATA’s image has been significantly tarnished. Charging for parking on Saturdays, especially when there are so many reasons not to charge, will not improve WMATA’s image,” county staff wrote in a statement.

The county’s Board of Supervisors, which must approve approve parking changes before they are instituted, will consider the matter at a Jan. 23 meeting. The county currently contracts with WMATA to remotely monitor parking garage gates and fare collections while WMATA maintains equipment and processes SmarTrip and credit card payments.

County staff charging fees could decrease weekend ridership — especially when demand for parking is already low on weekends.

“WMATA may actually lose more many from lost rail fares than it gains from the new parking fee,” according to a statement.

Staff listed other reasons to oppose the parking fee:

  • Requires additional costs to maintain equipment and oversee personnel.
  • Discourages new riders, who often try Metro on weekend, from using the service.
  • Is inconsistent with the region’s goal of providing alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.
  • Discourages Metrorail trips, ultimately increasing weekend congestion and air pollution.
  • Makes an already challenging commute for weekend riders — who often deal with delays due to maintenance work on weekends — even harder.

In a statement, WMATA said charging for weekend parking will “allow Metro to maximize utilization of parking facilities without increasing the daily parking rate for Metro customers on weekdays.”

WMATA is also planning to extend the hours of parking fee collections on weekdays — a move the county officials support. Charges for parking will begin at 7:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. On Fridays, fees will continue through 2 a.m. instead of 1 a.m.

Additional fees collected through the change will generate additional revenue that will help pay off debt service payments on bolds sold to fund additional Metrorail parking. The garage was built by Comstock Partners’ through a public-private partnership with the county.

Comstock’s Reston Station development, a major mixed-use project, sits above the garage.

File photo.

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Monday Morning Notes

Rollicking Roundup Playtime at Frying Pan Farm Park — Children and their caregivers can attend a free morning session of playtime at the park on 2709 West Ox Road tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow. This session’s theme is vehicles. For more information, call 703-437-9101. [Fairfax County Government]

Free Screening of McFarland, USA Today at 10 a.m. — CenterStage Cinema (2310 Colts Neck Road) presents a free screening of McFarland, USA, a movie based on the 1987 true story of novice runners from an economically challenged town in California’s Central Valley who attempt to build a cross-country team. A free continental breakfast will begin at 9:30 a.m. [Reston Community Center]

Reston’s Used Book Shop Celebrates 40 Years — The book store held an anniversary open house on Sunday to celebrate 40 years of operation in Reston. The shop is currently located at 1623 Washington Plaza and first opened on Jan. 7, 1978. [Reston’s Used Book Shop via Facebook]

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Thursday Morning Notes

Holiday Toy Distribution Set for Today — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will host a toy distribution today to offer toys to more than 350 children at 3304B Culmore St. in Falls Church. The distribution will begin at 10 a.m. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Fairfax County Park Authority and Pathways Sign Agreement — The partnership will allow adults with disabilities to intern in programs and activities by FCPA. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide competitive employment chances for qualified individuals. For more information, contact the pathways to careers employer relations coordinator John Gyourko at 571-249-9468 or [email protected]. [Fairfax County Government]

Free Wine Tasting on Friday at 1194 Market St. —  Celebrate the holiday season at Boxwood Estate Winery’s Trellis with a free wine tasting sponsored by The Tasting Room from 7 – 10 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Fitness Challenge Offered for the New Year — Start the new year with a 30-day fitness challenge at Reston Community Center Lake Anne.  Participants will perform a selected fitness activity for 30 minutes. At the end of each week, a drawing will take place for participants who perform and log in at least five days of fitness activities. The log will be maintained at RCC Lake Anne. [Reston Community Center]

Pop Up Tea Shop Opens in Herndon — Every Saturday, Elden Street Tea Shop will hold a pop up shop at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The opening of a brick-and-mortar store in the Junction Square mixed-used building in historic downtown Herndon is set for the spring of 2018. Pre-opening tea selections include chai, herbal, rooibos, green, black and seasonal specials. [The Connection]

Local Food Service Operations Recognized for Outstanding Food SafetyAtrium Catering & Design, a Herndon-based business, and Simply Elegant, a Reston-based business, were recognized for outstanding food safety in the annual 14 Carrot Gold award this week. Businesses were selected from more than 3,400 permitted establishments inspected each year by the health department. [Fairfax County Government]

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