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.”
Don’t be surprised when your phone gives off a loud buzz on April 5 between 10-11 a.m.! We (and the whole DC region) will be testing the Wireless Emergency Alerts system. It’s only a test, no cause for alarm. https://t.co/dLJJ4BNoyn #NCRWEA pic.twitter.com/kKd4xrR6KH
— Fairfax County Government (@fairfaxcounty) April 4, 2018
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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]
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.
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]
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]
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 Safety — Atrium 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]
The authority will hold a public information meeting on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lake Drive) to discuss possible revisions to the park’s master plan. The process establishes the longterm vision for how the park will be used in the future and current unmet needs.
Updates come as demand for more recreation and park options grows, according to county officials. The current plan, which was launched in 2001, is outdated as additional parcels and structures have also been added to the park since its creation. Roughly five acres along Hunter Mill Road were also added to the park within the last decade.
“The plan will focus on the features of the added property, potential new facilities, and reevaluating existing facilities to see if they are still meeting the community needs and preferences,” said Judy Pedersen, the authority’s spokeswoman.
The meeting in November will introduce the project to the community and include time for community input as the authority assembles a draft concept plan. At a second meeting, staff will present the draft plan to the community and hear feedback, after which the Park Authority Board will make a decision about the final master plan.
The plan will also recommendations for land uses of recently acquired parcels and potential new facilities, Pedersen said.
“Ultimately, the purpose of the master plan revision is to determine how to best incorporate the newly acquired acreage and determined needs within the existing framework of the park,” she said.
While the master plans lays out a refined vision for the park, it requires capital funding for complete implementation.
The park, which was originally a dairy farm in the early 1900s, currently includes a 20-acre lake with fishing, boat rentals, a carousel, athletic fields, picnic shelters, a skate park and campgrounds. The authority acquired a 292-acre parcel in 1966 and a 129-acre parcel in 1972.
As of mid-October, the authority owns or cares for more than 23,000 acres or roughly nine percent of all open space in the county.
The authority is accepting public comments and questions through Dec. 1 via email at [email protected]. For more information on the planning process and for project updates, visit the county’s website.
Fairfax County Police Department’s Citizens Advisory Committee Meets Tonight — Join the committee for its monthly meeting at the Reston Police District Station (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) at 7 p.m. The body is designed to improve communication between residents and local police officers. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Film Screening, ‘Art of Community’ Reception on Thursday — Public Art Reston and Reston Historic Trust & Museum will co-host a reception to celebrate the exhibit “Reston: The Art of Community” at the Reston Historic Trust & Museum (1639 Washington Plaza) from 5:30 – 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public. [Public Art Reston]
VolunteerFest Begins On Saturday — Volunteers can participate in volunteer projects throughout Fairfax County from gardening to painting. Last year, more than 500 volunteers participated in the project, donating more than 1,600 hours of their time. [Volunteer Fairfax]
(Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 3:25 p.m. to clarify information about when the construction will begin and how long the facility will be closed.)
Upgrades to the Reston Community Center’s aquatics center are expected to begin in early 2019.
RRMM/Lumire, an architecture firm selected by Fairfax County in July, will submit an assessment of the Terry L. Smith Aquatic Center‘s current conditions and recommendations about renovations to the county and the RCC’s Board of Governors by the end of the month.
The $5.5 million price-tag for the project includes $3.5 million for construction and roughly $2 million for permitting, architectural and engineering costs, according to RCC director Leila Gordon. The cost also includes related studies of soil conditions and other pre-existing conditions issues that will need to be examined fully before the full architectural and engineering design is accomplished, Gordon said.
Gordon previously told Reston Now the project would not impact tax rates.
The proposal calls for using the existing footprint of the center for a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool with an attached family pool, as well as a separate warm-water therapy pool.
According to information provided by Gordon, the entire calendar year of 2018 will be taken up by pre-construction activities.
“We hope, in fact, that the maintenance we did this year will allow us to remain open continuously through December 2018,” Gordon said. “The construction start date is not until January 2019.”
The project is expected to be completed around October 2019.
“We’re pleased with the process so far and the support we’re getting from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and the Department of Management and Budget,” she said. “We’re pleased with the architectural and engineering team that’s working on the project and we hope to remain pleased.”
RCC’s Board of Governors expects to discuss the architecture firm’s report this month.
Reston-based security firm accused of smuggling, human trafficking in Iraq — A scathing Associated Press story that came out Wednesday accuses a Reston-based contractor of allowing some risky operations to take place while being paid hundreds of millions of dollars to provide security to an F-16 air base in Iraq, and then firing independent investigators that uncovered it. The investigators told the AP that U.S. security personnel “turned a blind eye” though they were fully aware of prostitutes and alcohol being smuggled into Baghdad and onto the base, as well as not interfering when they witnessed power generators being stolen off the base by local militia and driven away on huge flatbed trucks. [MSN.com/Associated Press]
Reston Chamber Seeks Nominations for Annual Business Awards – The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual ACE awards (Awards for Chamber Excellence). The awards recognize outstanding member businesses that demonstrate “excellence, innovation and community involvement” while supporting the Chamber’s mission. Categories include Small/Medium/Large Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and more. Nominations can be submitted online through May 12. Winners will be announced at the ACE Awards in June. [Greater Reston Chamber]
County to review policies after some rack up more than $100,000 in overtime pay — County supervisors are reviewing departmental staffing and pay policies after a review of the books revealed that more than 1,700 county employees earned more than $100,000 last year, in large part due to overtime pay. Several employees are said to have made more than $100,000 just in overtime pay alone, and some even doubled or tripled their salary. Supervisor Pat Herrity said especially with first responders, so much overtime presents safety concerns. A review is now being conducted to determine if hiring additional staff will reduce the need for so much overtime. [WTOP]
Teen arrested for shooting BB gun at occupied car in Herndon — A 19-year-old man was arrested after firing multiple shots from a BB gun at an occupied car in Herndon. The teen is being held in Fairfax County jail without bond. [Herndon Patch]