Reston, VA

The Herndon Town Council is in the process of reviewing initiatives to actively pursue and discuss.

The council met Tuesday night to discuss members’ proposed strategic initiatives for the town. The initiatives fell in five categories: fiscal, transparency, inclusion, reform and long-term.

Inclusion initiatives include sponsoring or encouraging multicultural festivals and enacting a long-term recruiting effort to have elected officials, appointed officials and senior staff representative of the cultural diversity.

“It’s a strength of our town, our diversity. It’s the beauty of our town,” Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila said.

The inclusion initiatives also involve creating a greater excellence and vibrancy by developing unique multicultural activities and creating picnic areas from banks of waterways.

“The reason we brought this item here is Herndon itself is a minority majority community right now. And we want to celebrate the diversity we have,” Council member Pradip Dhakal said. P”We have the diversity, but we want to create a kind of unity in that diversity.”

Town manager Bill Ashton concluded from the council’s discussion that the town would pursue the creation of a multicultural board. The board will be a point of discussion after reviewing similar entities in Leesburg and Fairfax to bring a model back to the council.

Transparency initiatives encompassed five items for review. Those included ensuring audio and video recording for all meetings, dedicating resources for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and making all records available to the public. Another initiative included creating transcripts of town council meetings.

Following a discussion from the council members and Ashton, they agreed to temporarily table creating transcripts of meetings to first review state requirements and the town’s ability to do so.

“On the transcripts, I know there’s also state limitations and requirements as to where we have to store these things,” Mayor Sheila Olem said.

“It’s very easy to say that we’re just going to have exact transcripts, but we also need to get the pricing on these items and whether or not our current availability with where we’re required to store them is going to accept us morphing these things into much larger documents.”

Ashton added that his office would work to provide an analysis of what a closed meeting recording would look like now and when the council eventually returns to gathering in person. He also concluded that his office would review the requirements to improve the FOIA process.

Reform initiatives were broken into three portions: housing, operational and council.

The housing reform issues included a handful of initiatives under the Historic District Review Board (HDRB). Those initiatives are analyzing district definition and regulations, gaining a better understanding of what’s necessary to maintain a historic district status and reforming the historic overlay district.

Another housing reform initiative that was discussed was to gain a greater understanding of the housing price ranges in the town and the tools it has to implement housing policy. This initiative involves reviewing accessory dwelling units, workforce dwelling units, affordable dwelling units, and housing allowances for teachers and first responders.

The final points for housing reform included setting a benchmark of the housing stock in the town against the county and investing in Herndon’s current neighborhoods.

Ashton proposed putting together an informational discussion item for a future work session on the district to then define what reforming the historic overlay district would entail.

“As I’ve often said, you can’t get to where you’re going until you know where you are first, then you set your objective and charge your path,” Ashton said.

The operational reform initiatives included retraining and redeployment of staff, modernizing town staff presentations and examining community development regulations.

“Staff retraining and redeployment, for me, that’s just making sure – I know we do this to an extent – we have a well funded pipeline of development and training or education, certifications, for people on staff to either do lateral moves or upward moves and certainly continue that investment in our people,” del Aguila said.

Another portion of the operational reform is taking into account the timing of traffic lights to improve cross-town flow. Ashton clarified that this issue has been recognized and the town is undertaking two intersection projects this year to help alleviate some of the flow. One of the projects will be at Monroe Street and Elden Street and the other at Center Street and Elden Street.

The final portion of reform regarding the town council comprised of creating voting district, changing how the town council operates, and empowering the council to set its agendas.

After reaching a proposed deadline to end the meeting at 10 p.m., the council tabled discussion on fiscal and long-term initiatives for another 7 p.m. meeting on Feb. 9.

Long-term initiatives set to be discussed include an update on the 2035 Vision. Proposed initiatives also include reviewing funding of capital improvement plans for transportation, long-term regional effort to reduce cut-through commuter traffic, and investing in closing gaps in pedestrian and bicycle routes even when no developer funding exists.

Proposed fiscal initiatives to be discussed include undertaking effective short-term and long-term budgeting to match immediate and long-term needs without excessively inconveniencing town residents. Other initiatives gathered from the council encompassed protecting town staff from layoffs if practicable, utilizing reserves to offset budgetary shortfalls and possibly avoid raising taxes during “this financial crunch for citizens and businesses,” according to a presentation of the council members’ proposed initiatives.

A final fiscal point of discussion is focusing on services such as trash and recycling, road work and repair as well as water and sewer, and police functioning.

Image via Town of Herndon

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Due to construction delays, the Herndon Town Council has to approve a special exemption for plans to move forward on the building of a telecommunications tower on 525 Grove Street.

Originally approved in April 2019, the monopole was to be built by the telecommunications company T-Mobile.

However, both the pandemic and a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint last April, has prevented construction from even beginning.

A condition of the April 2019 agreement was that a final building inspection needed to be completed within 18 months. In September 2020, T-Mobile requested the extension and special exemption.

In October, the company submitted their architecture plans to build a monopole that’s between 120 to 125 feet tall enclosed by a 15 feet by 100 foot long ground equipment facility.

The structure would butt up against the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, be “minimally visible” from Grove Street, and not interfere with residential properties. The site is also already being used by an electrical substation.

This is also a good site for the monopole, according to T-Mobile’s application, because there’s a need for cell service congestion in the area.

Overall, the plans have not changed since the initial April 2019 agreement and the tower will have a similar design to the one likely to be built near Herndon High School.

The Town Council staff supports the approval of the special exemption, which would provide an extension of six months and expire on April 23, 2021.

The exemption was discussed by the Town Council earlier this week at a work session and will be voted on at Tuesday, Jan 26 public session.

Photo via handout/Google Maps

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Cesar del Aguila, the newly-elected vice mayor of the Herndon Town Council, is emphasizing the need for transparency and more long-term planning as he laid out his priorities for his 2021-2022 term.

At a recent Herndon Town Council meeting, Del Aguila said that all closed-door meetings should be recorded and the town should make an extra effort to record meetings with developers and special interest groups, as well as offer transcripts of work and public sessions. If needed, staff could submit a summary write up of discussions.

He also encouraged staff to keep a log of all records and make records related to all decisions available to the public. He also stressed the need to make public information requests ‘as inexpensive as possible.’

‘If the public records are available, let’s make them available,’ he said.

Institutional reform and reorganization was also encouraged by del Aguila. For example, he suggested the creation of an independent heritage preservation entity. He also hopes to create an independence office of code enforcement related to crowded streets and rental properties.

In order to improve longterm planning, del Aguilda also encouraged all departments to prepare a long-term, five-year plan and create a mechanism for quarterly roundtable meetings between departments.

With a newly-elected council now taking the lead, del Aguila also noted that there is no formal on-boarding process.

Other concerns include broad-level issues like speeding in neighborhoods, unkempt properties, traffic rules in the downtown area and gun safety.

He also suggested that the town create a multicultural board to manage events like Friday Night Live and the Multicultural Folk Festival. Other suggested ideas include expanded use of the community center and the creation of a business development office.

Del Aguila is serving his second term on the council. In the past, he has served on the town’s pedestrian and bicycle committee and the interview subcommittee.

The council member was also the town’s representative to the Dulles Area Transportation Association and the Phase II Dulles Rail Transportation Improvement District Commission Board.

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Like other towns throughout the state and country, the Town of Herndon’s budget has been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than counties as other larger municipalities.

But Jennie Tripoli, the town’s finance director, hopes things will “start to turn the corner” over the summer as vaccinations and warmer weather bring more normal conditions to the area.

At a recent Herndon Town Council meeting — the first session with newly-elected members and Mayor Sheila Olem — Tripoli said that the town had to sequester roughly $5.5 million in funding in fiscal year 2021. In the next fiscal year, the town hopes to transition from surviving to reviving itself.

The currently authorized budget for FY2021 is roughly $33.3 million, a figure that is short of projections by roughly $450,000. The town received $2.4 million in funding from the federal CARES Act.

But like other towns, Herndon was excluded from the latest round of federal funding.

The challenges posed by the pandemic are unique to the town. Unlike the county, the town relies heavily on excise taxes like the meals tax for funding.

The town took big hits in many sources of revenue. For example, revenues from fines and forfeitures decreased by 44 percent, when reductions of roughly 10 percent were originally anticipated. Similarly, fees from services for parks decreased by 91 percent instead of the original 56 percent decrease projected by staff.

As the town looks toward preparing the FY2022 budget, Tripoli cautioned that much is still uncertain about the budget, consumer habits, the path of the virus, and vaccinations.

So far, the county is expecting a three-percent increase in revenues from residential real estate taxes. However, a 10 percent decrease in non-residential retail and hotels, as well as local taxes like meals and transient occupancy, is still expected for the next fiscal year.

Fees from building inspections are also expected to normalize, she said.

“We’re still in unprecedented economic uncertainty,” she said, adding that the hope is “gradual recovery” begins in the summer of this year.

The town council is expected to hold additional work sessions on the budget later this month.

Image via Herndon Town Council

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The Herndon Town Council has unanimously voted in favor of naming Cesar del Aguila as vice mayor for the 2021-2022 term.

The resolution passed unanimously. As a matter of tradition, the council member who receives the most number of votes during the Nov. 3 election is given the position.

He won the election with 13.69 percent while incumbent Pradip Dhakal trailed with 13.48 percent of the total vote, according to election results.

Del Aguila is serving his second term on the council. In the past, he has served on the town’s pedestrian and bicycle committee and the interview subcommittee.

The council member was also the town’s representative to the Dulles Area Transportation Association and the Phase II Dulles Rail Transportation Improvement District Commission Board.

Del Aguila also held several sales positions, including regional vice president of sales at Conga. He also serves as a volunteer certified reserve deputy sheriff with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office.

He has lived in Herndon since 2007.

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Monday, Jan. 4

  • Equity Matters — Reston Community Center’s CenterStage will screen Harriet, a movie about Harriet Tubman. The show, which is free, begins at 10 a.m. Registration is required.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

  • Housing Discussion — The Herndon Town Council is hosting a discussion on housing policy tomorrow. The panel discussion, which begins at 10 a.m. online, will feature comments by a panel of three experts, including state Sen. Barbara Favola, state Sen. Jennifer Boysko, and Jeff Gore, a consultant who represents clients involved in housing issues. Anyone who wishes to participate can register online

Wednesday, Jan. 6

  • Reston Farmers Market — Enjoy fresh produce and farm favorites at the Reston Farmers Market, which is located at 11900 Lawyers Road.

Thursday, Jan. 7

  • Mathnasium Open House — The center’s directors will take part in an hour-long discussion on the program from 6-7 p.m. via Zoom.

Saturday, Jan. 9

  • Make a Bird Feeder — Learn how to make a bird feeder while learning about different kinds of birds at Lake Fairfax Park. The workshop takes place from 1-2 p.m.
  • Planning for a New Baby — Reston Hospital Center is hosting a virtual session from 10 a.m. to noon on how to prepare for your baby.

Sunday, Jan 10

  • Raptors Up Close — In this activity for all ages, residents will explore nature with naturalists at the Walker Nature Center from 2-3 p.m. Registration is required online.
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The Town of Herndon’s historic district officially has a new name and updated guidelines

The Herndon Town Council unanimously voted to change the name of the Historic Preservation District, which is generally located in and around downtown and the northern areas of Herndon, to the Historic District Overlay.

In a release from earlier this month, the town stated that that the new name “allows for clearer identification of the district and conforms to the typical term used for similar districts throughout Virginia anD the nation.”

The town worked with Work Program Architects and Commonwealth Preservation Group to adopt the new guidelines, which generally offer a “clearer basis of evaluation for staff at the Historic District Review Board,” according to a statement released by the town of Dec. 1.

“The new guidelines are easier to navigate, provide material flexibility and include a resource guide for property owners.”

Applicants now have more flexibility to design and building additions to existing buildings. An engineered site plan is not required for some additions. Applications for some exterior modifications will go to staff for approval instead of work sessions or public hearings.

The guidelines also include a new process guide for property owners as well as different options to improve or modify district properties.

The project consultants interviewed 143 total participants prior to going through with the changes, including 110 homeowners and residents and 15 commercial property and business owners.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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The Herndon Police Department plans to join a regional team that will investigate officer-involved investigations, a move that the department hopes will create an expert-led, independent and objective process for investigations.

For over a year, police chiefs from Northern Virginia worked to create a Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) to investigate officer-involved critical incidents like police shootings, use-of-force incidents that result in death or life-threatening injuries, police officer suicides, and in-custody deaths.

At a Herndon Town Council meeting on Dec. 1, Police Chief Maggie DeBoard said the team would boost public confidence in the investigation process, rule out potential conflicts of interest, and create a process for objective investigations.

“It’s a way for us to make sure these are done independently without bias, which really has been one of the outcries of police reform across the country,” DeBoard said.

Currently, HPD works with the Fairfax County Police Department to address similar issues. Absent a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), DeBoard said the process is challenged by FCPD’s limited availability if multiple incidents require a prompt investigation.

DeBoard also noted that HPD can develop the expertise of its staff by taking part in investigations of other jurisdictions.

Alexandria recently pulled out of the proposed team because of delays in bringing the project forward to its City Council. But 11 other jurisdictions have committed to take part in the task force:

  • Arlington County
  • Falls Church
  • Fairfax
  • Leesburg
  • Manassas
  • Manassas Park
  • Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police Department
  • Prince William County
  • Purcellville
  • Vienna

Members of the Herndon Town Council agreed with the need for the program at the meeting.

According to a Dec. 1 staff report, taking part in CIRT will not result in additional expenses, other than overtime expenses that are already allocated  in HPD’s current budget.

CIRT will not investigate car crashes that result in death, unless the car itself was used as deadly force. Completed case investigations will go before the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who will decide whether to prosecute any individuals.

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After decades of discussion, proposals and delays, the town of Herndon has approved a final amendment to its comprehensive agreement with Comstock Holding Companies, Inc. to redevelop downtown.

On Tuesday night, the town council unanimously approved a resolution to amend the existing comprehensive agreement it entered into with Comstock in 2017.

“We are taking a leap of faith that this will inject into the downtown a needed sort of vibrancy that we all hope it is,” council member Cesar del Aguila said.

“But let’s be clear, there are no guarantees here. But I think we’ve done all the right things. The ballroom is rented, the orchestra is playing, now it’s time to see if we can dance.”

Elements of the initial agreement still include redeveloping town-owned land into a mixed-use project with 273 apartments and approximately 17,00 square feet of retail space. It also includes a 16,265-square-foot arts center and a parking garage with 726 spaces.

The amendment – which was presented to the council during a work session on Nov. 10 –  establishes a variety of matters. Those items include a sunset date of Dec. 15 by which time the town and Comstock must close on Comstock’s purchase of the 4.675-acre property.

The amended agreement adjusts the date by which Comstock must have the project under construction to Dec. 31, 2021. However, Comstock does retain the right to pause the start of construction up to two years due to market conditions and other complications, including issues arising from COVID-19.

Also included in the amendment is an increase in the parent corporate guarantee by $5 million to $10 million to cover the arts center and the parking.

“The parent guarantee refers to Comstock’s parent corporation putting forth the guarantee of $10 million to cover this project were Comstock Herndon LLC to default,” town attorney Lesa Yeattes told the council.

“So, this is a key component of the amendment and gives the town much more safety than it had previously in the additional $5 million guarantee.”

The amendment also provides licenses to the town to continue utilizing the property following Comstock’s purchase for the existing art space and public shared parking.

It also provides priority recordation of a parking easement on the site that will act as insurance for 162 parking spaces for the town regardless of the loan on the property.

A final part of the amendment permits Herndon to refund a portion of property taxes for the area used for arts purposes. The amendment includes a 10-year tax refund to the arts district that is estimated at $1.9 million over that time, wherein the estimated tax return above refund would be $1,165,000.

“The town receives no tax benefit on this site currently,” town manager Bill Ashton said.

“And the town will not receive any benefit as long as the town owns the property. Only when it is redeveloped will the town ever see any of this tax benefit.”

As a part of the amendment, the town council will vote to appropriate funds required prior to closing during its December public session.

“Bringing this project to fruition has been a priority for me and for the town council,” Mayor Lisa Merkel said in a press release.

“This adopted amendment establishes specific parameters by which we are moving forward. We greatly appreciate Comstock’s collaborative spirit as well as the many town citizens and business owners who continue to advocate for this transformative, energizing redevelopment project. Herndon’s bright future is now!”

Image via Comstock

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(Updated at 1:20 am) Newcomer Roland Taylor appeared to be edging out Vice Mayor Sheila Olem in the Town of Herndon’s mayoral race according to preliminary state elections results through 10 p.m. today.

But as the final precinct result from today’s votes poured in, Olem boasted a double-digit lead over Taylor with 61.5 percent of the vote. Taylor secured just 37.8 percent of the total vote. Most of the night, he maintained a two-percent lead over Olem in what appeared to be a close race.

County spokesperson Brian Worthy told Reston Now that a data entry error significantly skewed the results of the town’s race. In both races, the results flipped dramatically.

“Our previous numbers were off as a result of data entry error so you’ll see a big decrease in numbers,” Worthy said.

So far, there are extremely tight margins between eight candidates running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council. The leading candidate — Cesar del Aguila — is leading the pack with 13.6 percent of the total votes while Stevan Porter is coming in last, with 10.7 percent of the total votes.

Here’s the breakdown of how all candidates are faring so far:

  • Cesar del Aguila: 13.66 percent
  • Pradip Dhakal: 13.51 percent
  • Sean Regan: 13.16 percent
  • Naila Alam: 12.29 percent
  • Signe Friedrichs: 12.27 percent
  • Jasbinder Singh: 12.25 percent
  • Clark Hedrick: 10.92 percent
  • Stevan Porter: 10.66 percent

Most election results for Fairfax County are not expected to come in until later today, according to county spokesman Brian Worthy.

Tuesday’s results do not account for the more than 404,000 early votes and absentee ballots cast. That number may be enough to sway the outcome of close races like the Herndon Town Council contest. 

Even in years when record numbers of mail-in ballots were unaccounted for, the race was extremely tight. For example,  in the 2018 Herndon Town Council race, candidate Joe Plummer lost to Bill McKenna by just 22 votes.

The county, which has the most number of early ballots cast of all jurisdictions in the state, will process mail-in ballots that were received by 7 p.m. today but not counted tonight and ballots postmarked on or before Election Day until around noon on Friday.

That means the final results of the Herndon Town Council race may not be clear until Friday afternoon.

Fairfax County voters came out in droves over the last few weeks to cast their ballots. In early voting alone, 51 percent of registered voters cast a vote. As of 4 p.m. today, the county reported a turnout of 70.7 percent of the county’s 787,000 registered voters. 

So far, voters appear to favor Joe Biden for the presidential race. The Association Press has declared Virginia a win for Biden. 

In Fairfax County, the electorate appears to have loosened its Democratic sway. In 2016, Fairfax County voters went for Hillary Clinton by giving her 63 percent of the vote. President Donald Trump secured just under 30 percent of the total vote in the county. 

But this year, 52 percent of Fairfax County voters favored Biden with a more even split for Trump, according to results from 243 of the county’s 244 precincts. This number reflects votes cast today only.

Sen. Mark Warner (D) is projected to win reelection to a third term, beating out Republican Daniel Gade who had been polling well behind Warner into Election Day. The Association Press called the race at 7 p.m. Reps. Don Beyer (8th District) and Gerry Connolly (11th District) are ahead in their respective districts while incumbent Jennifer Wexton (D-10th District) is currently trailing Republican challenger Aliscia Andrews.

This story will be updated.

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The redevelopment of downtown Herndon into a mixed-use project by real estate developer Comstock and the Town of Herndon is set to transform a portion of the downtown area.

But as some buildings long vacated by property owners sit in suburban malaise, the Town of Herndon is considering more ways to further revitalize the area.

At a meeting Tuesday night, the Herndon Town Council discussed a plan to create tax incentives for specific areas in downtown Herndon by creating a new zoning term — art-focused redevelopment — that would entitle some developers and property owners to economic incentives like tax rebates for up to a decade and reduced water availability fees.

In order to qualify as an arts-focused redevelopment project, the project must be located in the town’s Planned Development Traditional Downtown zoning district, which is depicted in the map below.

In response to questions about the financial implications of the policy, town manager Bill Ashton clarified that the incentive program creates an additional tool for the town’s toolbox to encourage economic development.

“We will end up no worse than where we are,” Ashton told the council last night.

He says that new property owners in the area have expressed interest in redevelopment but need additional incentives to proceed with new projects.

“It is difficult to activate them because the incentives aren’t there for redevelopment,” Ashton said.

In some cases, properties in the area have long sat vacant. The Ice House Cafe and Bar in downtown Herndon has been closed since late 2018, for example.

Councilmember Cesar del Aguila pressed staff for more clarity on how the policy would secure the town’s financial position.

Town Attorney Lisa Yeatts noted that the policy would result in “long-term gain” for the town.

Ashton added that it is difficult to determine the extent of the payoff because the answer depends on interest in the program as well as the type of projects suggested.

The Herndon Town Council is expected to vote on the proposal at a meeting next week.

Image via handout/Town of Herndon

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The Herndon Town Council is considering a move to create new incentives for art-focused redevelopment projects.

The language of the proposal applies to projects in downtown Herndon, but a town spokesperson did not indicate how the plan applies to the stalled redevelopment of downtown Herndon, which is a joint effort between the town and Reston-based company Comstock.

Economic incentives include:

  • A 50-percent reduction in fees for water, sewer and building permits in the initial establishment of the project
  • An annual rebate of up to 100 percent of real property taxes linked to the total. Redevelopment project for taxes due to the town for up to a decade.
  • Exceptions that allow a reduced number of parking spaces required for multi-family residential use
  • Deferral of developer contribution for recreational amenities

“These amendments create additional opportunities to expand the type, quantity and quality of. Art offerings to town residents and increase the town’s presence as a destination for art activities,” according to an Oct. 20 staff report.

It’s unclear how the incentives will be applied to the redevelopment project in downtown Herndon. A town spokesperson did not provide comment by the publication deadline.

The $85 million redevelopment project, which includes a new arts center, would transform nearly 4.7 acres of land in downtown Herndon into a vibrant mixed-use district.

A meeting on the matter is set to take place today (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.

 Image via handout/Comstock

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Monday Morning Notes

Cornerstones Chats with Town of Herndon Candidates — The Reston-based nonprofit organization interviewed candidates for the Herndon Town Council and Mayor. Interviews were conducted by Stephen Smith Cobbs, a member on the Board of Directors and a pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon. [Cornerstones]

Volunteers Build Reston Girl with Leukemia a Playset — Volunteers from Dominion Team Energy team u with the ROC Solid Foundation to build a four-year-old Reston girl with leukemia a playset in her backyard. [WJLA]

Around Town: Judge to Hold Trial on Plans to Remove Lee Statue — “A lawsuit seeking to prevent Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam from removing an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond is scheduled to go to trial Monday.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Campaign contributions to the Town of Herndon’s mayoral and town council races have been relatively sparse with Election Day just over a month away.

Campaign finance reports filed with the Virginia Department of Elections on Sept. 15 show that Sheila Olem and Roland Taylor, the two candidates seeking to replace outgoing Mayor Lisa Merkel, have received $925 and $957, respectively, in total contributions since January.

According to her latest campaign finance report, which covers the period from July 1 to Aug. 31, Olem received a $250 donation from Fairfax City Councilmember Janice Miller on Aug. 1. She also loaned $500 to her campaign in July and has gotten $175 in small cash donations since January.

Taylor, a public servant in local law enforcement, is responsible for all of the financial donations to his campaign.

By contrast, Merkel, who announced in January that she will step down at the conclusion of her fourth term as Herndon’s mayor, received more than $17,500 in contributions for all three of her reelection campaigns, topping $20,000 in both 2014 and 2016, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Olem, who currently serves as Herndon’s vice mayor, attributes the sluggish rate of donations to the town’s mayoral contest to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, which is driven by close contact between people and, as a result, has limited candidates’ ability to interact with voters in-person.

Olem says she tries to keep supporters updated through email and Facebook, but she is aware that not everyone uses social media, and emails will not reach people unless they are on her campaign’s mailing list.

“That’s the most difficult part of it, and I don’t think that’s good for the voters,” Olem said. “I usually have several events, and then people will come and chat with me, and they’ll give donations. It’s just really hard this time.”

Sean Regan leads candidates for the Herndon Town Council in terms of campaign contributions.

A member of Herndon’s Planning Commission since 2012, Regan is one of 10 people vying for a seat on Herndon’s six-member town council.

The $6,710 in campaign contributions that Regan has reported to the state since January is more than twice as much as what any other candidate has accumulated, though much of that money comes out of his own pocket.

In addition to receiving $700 in cash donations, Regan has given $6,000 to his campaign in the form of a $2,000 direct donation and two separate $2,000 loans.

While Regan has the highest cumulative total of contributions, rival town council candidate Stevan Porter has attracted the most donors, receiving $2,583 from 18 different contributors as of Aug. 31.

Financial support for Porter’s campaign has mostly come from individual donors, but the IT professional and paramedic has also reported two separate $100 in-kind contributions from the Libertarian National Committee for the use of an eCanvasser campaign management system.

Total contributions to the other Herndon Town Council candidates’ campaign include:

Naila Alam, Bessie Denton, Pradip Dhakal, and Syed Iftikhar have not reported any campaign contributions as of Virginia’s Sept. 15 filing deadline for candidates who will be on the ballot for this November’s election. Denton and Iftikhar withdrew their candidacy after the results of the local Democratic caucus.

Virginia law requires that candidates seeking public office disclose all campaign contributions and expenditures to the state.

Full campaign finance reports for Herndon’s mayoral and town council candidates are available on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Image via Town of Herndon

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The Residence Inn on 315 Elden Street in Herndon could be transformed into an affordable housing development. 

The new owner of the hotel is seeking to repurpose the property into a 166-unit residential development. According to preliminary plans, 55 percent of the units would be dedicated as workforce housing.

Before the traditional approval process can begin, the Town of Herndon’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan requires an amendment to the land use map, which would change the property from the business corridor classification to adaptive area-residential.

The Herndon Town Council will consider a proposal to refer the matter to the town’s Planning Commission. Public hearings will follow at a date that has not yet been announced.

In meeting materials, town officials indicate that the proposal could address a shortage of affordable housing in the area.

The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) in the Herndon Council Chambers Building (765 Lynn Street).

Image via Google Maps

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