Reston, VA

The Town of Herndon is considering a plan to allow Peppertree Montessori School to open at 400 Herndon Parkway.

An application asking for a special exception that would permit the opening of a private school or daycare at Sugarland West Business Center is slated to be discussed at today’s Planning Commission work session.

A special exception is needed since the school would lie in the Office & Light Industrial zoning district. The other occupant of 400 Herndon Parkway is Honeywell, an aircraft parts manufacturer.

According to the staff report, a recommendation from staff not been made yet to the Planning Commission.

This is due to a revised plan from the school detailing parking location, logistics of child pick-up/drop-off, and the size/location of the fenced play area still being needed. It is expected to be provided prior to the public hearing, which is set to take place on March 22.

The Peppertree Montessori school would use the existing building and no construction would be needed at this time, a Montessori school official confirmed. It’s simply an “occupancy change.”

Because of this, if approval happens soon, the school could start accepting students and open as soon as May, a Peppertree Montessori representative told Reston Now. Everything is currently “on track” for this to happen. The school is also currently scheduling site visits and tours.

Montessori learning is one that’s focused on individualized, personalized, student-led learning based on principles developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori in the early 20th century.

The proposed 4,951-square-foot school would hold up to 50 students, ranging in ages of newborns at 6 weeks of age to eight-year-old third graders. An outdoor fenced-in play area is also expected to be added.

Screenshot via Herndon Planning Commission Staff Report

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Due to uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, the Town of Herndon is taking a precautionary approach as it develops its capital improvement program for the next six years.

In a memo to the town’s Planning Commission, staff noted that the latest plan prioritizes a handful of projects and delays others, noting that there are “major uncertainties” facing the plan.

“It may be viewed as a best-case scenario and the commission should recognize that the Town Council could face a decision to sequester all or part of the project funding,” staff wrote in a memo to the commission.

Town Manager Bill Ashton has suggested prioritizing three or four projects in case funding sources fall through. Projects were prioritized based on legal or contractual obligations, whether or not the project served a public safety priority, or if federal, state, and local timelines required the project to move forward.

This year’s plan includes the following new projects

  • Herndon Parkway and Sunset Park Drive intersection improvements
  • Police parking lot expansion
  • Replacement of roof and four HVAC units for the building located at 1481 Sterling Road
  • Design and construction of energy conservation measures at Herndon’s four major buildings
  • Town Shop underground fuel storage tanks

The Town’s Capital Improvement Program becomes a part of the town’s annual operating budget. It is a planning document used to detail funding sources through major project stages from design to construction.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A 50-member church proposed for 459 Herndon Parkway is nearing approval by the town of Herndon’s planning commission.

In November, Christ Fellowship Church applied for a special exception to take up residence in suites 7 and 8A at a facility owned by Parkway Crossing Condominiums.

A special exception is needed because religious institutions are not allowed in any of the town’s zoning districts. 459 Herndon Parkway lies in the office and light industrial zoning district.

However, parking concerns delayed a vote in December until later this month.

Earlier this week, though, planning commission staff said they’d recommend approving the application, provided certain conditions are met. Many on the commission also seemed to be in agreement that once the special exception is up for a vote, they’d vote to approve.

Concerns were brought up that discussion of parking logistics should actually be between the church and the condo association, rather than be subjected to a debate during the town’s planning commission meeting.

In mid-November, the condo’s Board of Directors voted to begin a study to explore ways to relax parking restrictions on first-floor condo units. This could open up more spots for the church.

That study is ongoing, according to the planning commission staff.

As for certain conditions, prohibiting daycare or school use and limiting the attendees to 44 at a time are the recommendations of the staff.

The church would be allowed to submit separate special exception applications for both of these in the future.

Christ Fellowship Church has been part of Herndon for almost 30 years and was worshipping at Arts Herndon, a local art gallery 750 Center Street. Currently, they are worshipping virtually.

The church has approximately 50 members, no full-time staff, and one part-time staff.

Photo via the handout/Town of Herndon Planning Commission 

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A decision on Christ Fellowship Church, a church planned on 459 Herndon Parkway, has been delayed to late January.

The church is working with the Parkway Crossing Condominiums to sort out a pending parking issue, according to a Dec. 14 meeting with the Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission.

The church, which has been a part of the Herndon community for almost 30 years, currently has roughly 50 members. The new facility, however, would accommodate a growing congregation. If plans are approved, the church will occupy suites 7 and 8A at the condominium’s facility.

In mid-November, the condominium’s Board of Directors voted to begin a study to explore ways to relax parking restrictions on first-floor condo units. The applicant is currently working with the condominium to work through parking rate restrictions.

Currently, the condo association is working out ways to increase the ratio of parking units for first-floor units. The applicant anticipates that the parking ratios allotment will be sorted out by the commission’s Jan. 25 public hearing.

Photo via the handout/Town of Planning Commission 

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The Town of Herndon is currently considering plans to welcome a new church to the neighborhood. A planning commission public hearing took place virtually to discuss the arrival of Christ Fellowship Church this week.

In Herndon, religious institutions are typically not allowed in any of the town’s zoning districts. The church is applying for a special exception to permit a religious institution with a capacity of 300 persons, according to the Planning Commission’s Staff Report.  

The church plans to occupy suites 7 and 8A at the Parkway Crossing Condominiums (459 Herndon Parkway).  

Christ Fellowship Church has been a part of the Herndon community for almost 30 years, according to the staff report. As of now, the small congregation has approximately 50 members, no full-time staff members and one part-time staff member.

The church plans to hold small gatherings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some activities taking place on weekday evenings, but primarily over the weekends. 

Photo via handout/Herndon Planning Commission 

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Stanley Martin is seeking to redevelop four 1980s office buildings on 1145 Herndon Parkway into a residential development.

The plan, which would require rezoning the 8.8-acre property, heads to Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m..  The proposal includes 85 townhouses and 56 stacked townhouses, which are also known as two-over-twos, along with 352 parking spaces.

The developer says the buildout of the project would be separated over “a relatively long period of time.” In the first phase of the project, Stanley Martin would retain one office building, which is home to a tenant on a long-term lease. In the second phase, the second office building will be redeveloped.

Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is planning, including a two-way cycle track and sidewalk along Herndon Parkway.

In an Oct. 5 report, the town’s staff indicated it is “keenly interested” in how the development would cater toward those earning within 60 to 100 percent of the Area Median Income, which is often referred to as the “missing middle” for housing affordability.

The town’s staff has not determined its decision on the project due to ongoing evaluation of engineering issues and the continuing Traffic Impact Analysis.

Image via handout/Fairfax County Government

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The Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission unanimously approved a request by a DC-based real estate firm to splinter the ownership of an office park located at Springpark Place.

Penzance is seeking the town’s permission to subdivide the property from four parcels with eight buildings to eight lots, each  one building of its own.

No changes to the density and the overall revitalization plan, which is under review by the town, are proposed.

At a meeting last night (Monday), commission members unanimously approved the plan after town staff and the developer ironed out details surrounding maintenance, infrastructure, and proffer conditions.

Commissioner Sean Regan expressed some concerns about options for recourse if issues arise due to the presence of multiple owners.

“Who does the town go too for resource?” Regan said.

Town staff said the presence of a new property owners’ association would help mitigate any concerns. Additionally, the rezoning application requires the formulation of proffer conditions and more legal documents that provide the tow with more tools to address any issues.

“We would go after as many as we can,” said David Stromberg, the town’s zoning administrator.

Currently, all parcels and buildings are owned by Penzance, which hopes to sell off some of its buildings.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Penzance, a DC-based real estate firm, is setting itself up to sell off parts of Spring Park, an office park located at Springpark Place.

The developer is seeking the Town of Herndon’s permission to subdivide the property, which currently has eight buildings on four parcels, into eight lots with each lot containing a building and some site improvements.

Currently, all the parcels and buildings are owned by Penzance. The company hopes to sell “some of the buildings” while “some” will remain under control by Penzance, according to a Sept. 14 application by the firm.

“It is unclear at this time how many that is,” according to the application.

The Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the issue today (Monday) at 7 p.m.

At a previous meeting this month, staff said the possibility of multiple owners raised concerns about future maintenance of shared infrastructure as well as the lack of existing and shared parking.

The town is also currently reviewing a plan by Penzance for minor site improvements to the office park.

The office park is located within a mile of the firm’s planned major mixed-use neighborhood near the future Herndon Metro Station.

Photo via handout/Town of Herndon

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The Town of Herndon is exploring new transportation projects for South Elden Street, Central Elden Street, and the creation of the Metrorail Station Promenade as part of budget planning for capital projects.

In a draft proposal for the FY2021-FY2026 Capital Improvement Program — which creates a six-year schedule for public improvements — the town will pursue five new projects, in addition to 43 ongoing initiatives.

The Town of Herndon is exploring funding opportunities for transportation projects for South Elden Street, Central Elden Street, and the creation of a signature plaza area near the Herndon Metro Station as part of budget planning for capital projects.

In a draft proposal for the FY2021-FY2026 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) — which creates a six-year schedule for public improvements — the town will pursue 48 projects, including five new ones.

The signature plaza area with a public space that extends from the entrance of the Herndon Metro Station to Herndon Parkway is planned. The project, “Metrorail Station Promenade,” will include “rich streetscape and areas for outdoor activities” in order to activate the space.

The plan also includes updates to South Elden Street to replace the undivided five-lane street with a median and left-turn lanes, as well as new pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Pedestrian safety improvements to improve Central Elden are also planned. The town has submitted an application to receive state funding for this project.

Other new projects include security improvements for town facilities and updates to a police server room.

Staff noted that the $54 million total is a big jump from the FY20-25 CIP. But the total net increase is similar to previous years if town matching funds for more than $65 million for Elden Street and Spring Street are taken into account. The current $54 million.

In a memo to the town’s Planning Commission, staff noted that changes to the draft CIP are expected as the town manager finalizes the budget and makes recommendations to the Herndon Town Council.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal today (Monday) at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers Building (765 Lynn Street).

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr 

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The Herndon Town Council formally adopted changes to its comprehensive plan.

At a Tuesday (Jan. 28) meeting, the council approved changes recommended by the town’s planning commission and staff.

The updated plan incorporates a new chapter on economic development and clarifies that the plan should be reconsidered up to 2024, by which time downtown Herndon is expected to be built out.

Other changes include:

  • Pursuing a cooperative relationship with the county and regional entities for public infrastructure
  • Continued assessment of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities
  • Advancing pedestrian and multimodal facilities, including Van Buren Street improvements, trail lighting along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail
  • Ensuring residents with a half-mile from a park have access by all forms of transportation
  • Replace “heritage” with “historic” when referring to heritage preservation efforts.

Virginia’s code requires the review of comprehensive plans at least once every five years.

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The Herndon Planning Commission unanimously approved an application to seek state funds for major improvements along Elden Street between Center Street and School Street on Monday (August 26).

At the meeting, the commission approved the $1.8 million project, would brings critical pedestrian improvements to the area. Improvements include wider sidewalks, new curb ramps, landscaping, new crosswalks and new pedestrian signals at the intersection with Grace Street.

The town is seeking federal funding for the project through a set-aside application that can only be used for projects that address unsafe conditions, are near local schools, and cary significant volume of traffic.

“It is a very treacherous walk and so this is a very much needed improvement for our downtown and for that important corridor,” said commission chairwoman Melissa Jonas.

The project adopted a new name — Central Elden Street Walkability Improvements — to capture the scope of the project with more precision.

“We wanted this name to kind of stand out,” said Michael Wallick, the town’s transportation planner.

Commissioners clarified that improvements at the intersection of Center and Elden street — which has a large number of accidents in comparison to other local intersections — will be addressed by another project.

One resident said the median along that road is not wide enough to accommodate delivery vehicles that pull up at the median to unload deliveries. The planned width of that median is 11 feet — one foot more than the minimum state requirement, said John Jay, a civil engineer with the town.

Jay also noted that putting utilities underground is too costly and would exceed the budgeted amount of up to $2 million.

Image via handout/Town of Herndon

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Town of Herndon officials have launched a process to review the town’s comprehensive plan, a planning document that guides current and future development.

The comprehensive plan, which state law states must be reviewed by the local planning commission at least once every five years, will head to the town’s planning commission for review.

Although dates have not been announced, the commission plans to review public input and make suggestions on changes to the plan. The commission will then draft a resolution for the town council that states the plan’s priorities and direction. By law, the Herndon Town Council is not required to take action on the resolution.

In previous years, the town has incorporated major changes to the plan, including planning for downtown Herndon and areas near the Herndon Metro Station.

The following amendments have been approved in recent years since the original plan was adopted in 2008:

  • Downtown Master Plan
  • Downtown Streetscape Map
  • Metrorail Station Area Plan
  • Cycle Track on Herndon Parkway
  • South Elden Area Plan

Changes to the future plan could include updating the parks and recreation chapter, sustainability policy, multigenerational planning, and economic development.

Residents interested in submitting their comments and suggestions on the plan can email [email protected].

Image via Herndon Planning Commission

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Monday Morning Notes

Safety Reminders as School Begins — As the first day of the school year begins today, state officials are reminding residents to be careful as more pedestrian and vehicular traffic returns to neighborhoods and around schools. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Elden Street Sidewalk Funding Goes Before Commission — The Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on an application to seek state funding for improvements to the sidewalks of Elden Street. [Town of Herndon]

Reston Association Board to Review Budget — The board is expected to discuss and review the first draft of the 2020-2021 budget at its September 26 meeting, which takes place at RA headquarters at 6:30 p.m. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission unanimously approved plans to bring a vocational school for entry-level healthcare fields to the Crossroads (1037 Sterling Road) on Monday night.

Divine Healthtech Institute can operate on the property under specific conditions. No classes will be offered before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m. and class sizes will be restricted to five students.

Commissioners said they worked through conditions on the project in order to alleviate parking concerns and limit traffic to the building, which already has a number of tenants.

“The parking situation at that location was the focus of considerable discussion at our work session and I’m personally satisfied in keeping with the staff conditions,” said Vice Chair George Burke.

The project heads to the town’s council for final approval.

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A vocational school for entry-level healthcare fields could be coming soon to the Crossroads (1037 Sterling Road, Suite 101).

The town’s planning and zoning staff recommended placing several restrictions on the proposal to open a Divine Healthtech Institute prior to approval. Vocational schools require a specific exemption from the town to operate in this area.

Conditions include holding no classes before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m. and allowing town officials to inspect the property during “reasonable hours.”

Staff maintains a level of concern with allowing multiple uses within one condominium suite from a general standpoint. In this specific case, staff believes the proposed use is similar enough to the existing use that any potential negative impacts could be mitigated by placing conditions on the approval,” according a the March 13 staff report.

If approved, the school would only be allowed to offer one class at a time in the 300-square-foot location. The condominium suite where the school would be located has a hodgepodge of uses, including two offices that are used for Nathan Travel and Cargo, a travel agency.

Rev. Leonard Chukwujiioke, a school administrator, said each class will have only five students. Weekend programs will be by appointment only. A morning and evening class will be offered on weekdays.

Most recently, the Herndon Town Council denied a plan to bring a mini-mart to the Crossroads last year. Plans for a barber shop were withdrawn after the town conditioned approval of the application with several requirements. The operation of a personal service business was approved last year.

The town’s Planning Commission will consider the plan at a 7 p.m. public hearing today (May 13).

Photo via handout/Town of Herndon

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