Give transit a try — Fairfax County officials are encouraging residents to go car-free for a day and try an alternative to drive-alone commuting. If you take a pledge to take transit during the week, you could win a year of free transit service from a participating Virginia transit operator. [Fairfax County Government]
A special text from the president for Oct. 3 — A national alert test originally set for Thursday has been postponed to Oct. 3 due to the ongoing response to Hurricane Florence. It’s the first-ever national test of the country’s Wireless Emergency Alerts system. [Fairfax County Government]
Housing affordability meeting postponed — Tomorrow’s meeting on ways to boost housing affordability in the area has been postponed. A new date has not been scheduled yet. The meeting concerns phase two of the Communitywide Strategic Plan. [Fairfax County Government]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
County officials are seeking the public’s feedback on how to increase housing affordability in Reston and surrounding areas.
At a meeting on September 20 (Wednesday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Tom Fleetwood, director of the Fairfax County’s Department of Housing and Community Development, will discuss the second phase of the county’s Housing Community-wide Housing Strategic Plan.
The meeting will take place in the lecture hall at South Lakes High School from 7-9 p.m.
The second phase of the plan aims to offer ways resources can”act as a catalyst for new affordable housing production and quality affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation,” according to the county.
The overall plan, recently adopted by the Board of Supervisors, was drafted by county staff and a group of stakeholders, including nonprofit leaders and the business community, to pitch strategies to address future housing needs. The policy is designed to reinforce the county’s economic development strategies and approaches to ensure racial and social equity across all county services.
The plan seeks to end homeless in a decade, provide affordable housing to special needs population, meet affordable housing needs for low-income, working families and increase workforce housing through creative partnerships and policy arrangements.
Phase one of the plan includes 25 short-term strategies that can help create more housing options without major policy changes or significant revenue sources. Phase two of the plan will offer longer-term strategies to develop new tools, policies, and resources to boost affordable housing options.
The Herndon Planning Commission will host a panel discussion on the preservation and enhancement of the town’s housing diversity on September 5. Panelists, which will include Fairfax County Officials and Shelly Murphy, CEO of Wesley Housing, will discuss how to preserve and protect housing diversity in the area.
The event is designed to help the town prepare for the arrival of the Silver line is 2020. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers (765 Lynn Street).
Other panelists include Tom Fleetwood, director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community development and Cynthia Bailey, deputy county attorney.
“Our aim is to listen, learn and then recommend to the Town Council appropriate goals and objectives toward maintaining the housing diversity that is a hallmark of neighborhoods in Herndon,” said Planning Commission Chair Melissa Jonas.
Jonas hopes the event will help the commission better understand the benefits of housing diversity and navigating pressures created by Metro’s arrival.
The event is free and open to the public.
Photo by Cornerstones
Combined Properties, a D.C.-based company, has acquired Homestead at Reston, a 200-unit apartment complex at 12265 Laurel Glade Court. The deal was closed for $41 million and the company has renamed the complex to Reston Glade.
The complex could be upgraded in the future, although no plans are definitive, according to the company.
“Reston Glade will become a community known for its location and amenities, while still providing value for its residents,” said Ronald Haft, chairman of Combined Properties.
The property was formerly known as Homestead at Reston. In a statement, Combined Properties touted Reston as “one of the most desirable submarkets in the Washington, D.C. region area.”
Gary Scott, the company’s vice president of national acquisitions, said Combined Properties is positioning itself to acquire more residential complexes in the future.
The company has nine mixed projects in its portfolio. Nearby, it owns Sugarland Crossing in Sterling and McLean Plaza in McLean.
Good news for Caps fans — “On the Silver Line, the last train will leave Metro Center at 12:27 a.m. heading to Largo Town Center and at 12:21 a.m. heading to Wiehle-Reston East… Game 3 starts at 8 p.m. and Metro’s regular closing time is 11:30 p.m., but Metro’s CEO Paul Wiedefeld announced that Metrorail will remain open for an additional hour thanks to Exelon and Pepco.” [WTOP]
Police investigate double homicide near Town of Herndon — “The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a double homicide at a café in Sterling near the Loudoun County and the Town of Herndon line. Around 1:45 a.m. Monday Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the Pharaoh Café located in the 46000 block of Old Ox Road for a report of a shooting. Two victims lost their lives at the scene. A person of interest attempting to leave the area was detained by deputies responding to the scene.” [Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office]
Absorbing Amazon headquarters in an area with gridlock and high housing costs — “Northern Virginia, the District and Montgomery County are among the 20 finalists. Amazon may narrow the list further in coming months and is expected to decide by the end of the year… But many residents fear that winning the prize would actually exacerbate all the things they hate about living in the region: horrendous traffic, expensive housing, crowded schools and gentrification.” [The Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
The county has formally accepted redevelopment plans for Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable housing senior community on North Shore Drive.
Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation envision the proposal will enhance senior housing residential opportunities, diversity housing types and revitalize Lake Anne Village Center.
“All existing affordable housing units will be replaced in a new, more efficient modern building with better amenities to serve its senior population. This proposal remains true to Robert E. Simon’s vision to provide communities comprised of a diverse residential population in a sustainable environment,” according to a proposal filed with the county last month.
The new plans call for replacing all 240 apartment units in the existing 1970s-era facility. Amenities include a social hall, crafts room, fitness room, wellness center, a game room, two plazas and community gardens.
The remainder of the property will include up to 74 townhouses, diversifying the types of housing and serving as a transition to the established townhouse community to the west, the proposal said. Townhouses will have garages and surface parking for visitors.
New residents will access the buildings through North Shore Drive. Surface parking and an underground parking garage will offer 92 parking spaces.
Residents would remain in their current living space until the new facility is complete, and after they are transferred the old buildings would be destroyed. The portion of the property left unused would be sold for residential development, and the proceeds from the sale would help support the cost of the project.
The collaboration between Fellowship Square and CPDC comes after several years of on-again, off-again plans for redevelopment of the property. Most recently, in 2013, the foundation had an agreement with Cafritz Interests and Novus Development for new housing on the site. That effort fell through by September 2014, which the foundation said was “due to our inability to advance our land use proposal in a manner that will produce the best possible outcome for our residents.”
Renderings via Handout/Grimm and Parker
Herndon PD Plays Soccer with Students — In what has become an annual tradition, on Monday the Herndon Police Department took on eighth-grade students from Herndon Middle School in a soccer match. HMS led 2-0 at halftime and was able to stave off an HPD comeback effort to win, 3-2. [Herndon Police Department/Facebook]
Changes Possible for Section 8 Program — The Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development will host a listening session tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) to discuss how current and future federal budget reductions are expected to have a significant impact on the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. [Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority]
‘CarFit’ Helps Seniors in Vehicles — A Fairfax County Police Department program provides a checklist to help older drivers be more comfortable and safe as they drive. In an 8-minute video, the program is explained and demonstrated. [Fairfax County Police Department/Facebook]
RSVP Seeks New Volunteers — The region’s largest volunteer network for people 55 and older will hold an orientation event for prospective volunteers on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 1:30 p.m. at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive). [RSVP Northern Virginia]
Buses Will Be on Holiday Schedule Monday — If you plan to ride the Fairfax Connector on Columbus Day, make sure you’re aware of any route changes that may be in effect. [Fairfax Connector]
Image courtesy Herndon Police Department on Facebook
Jo-Ann Duggan, the Director of Outreach at St. John Neumann Parish, knows there are people struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
“Yesterday, I was speaking to someone who was trying to find housing for a friend of hers who has three children and earns $23,000 a year,” Duggan said Wednesday. “She works in retail. She’s a single mother.”
St. John Neumann Parish (11900 Lawyers Road) will play host Thursday to a meeting with the Housing Matters program, opening the conversation about the need for affordable housing in Fairfax County.
The goals of the meeting, which will take place from 7-8:45 p.m. at the parish’s auditorium, include helping residents understand how housing can affect other facets of a community. Other related topics will include a discussion of how much affordable housing is needed for an economically sustainable Fairfax County.
Duggan is hopeful that the Housing Matters program will receive lots of community input to help alleviate the housing struggles of many residents. Duggan first heard of the program from John Horejsi, who works for Social Action Linking Together, a legislative advocacy group. Horejsi attended a Housing Matters program and thought it would be worthwhile to bring to the church.
“Housing Matters is all about safe and affordable housing so that communities can thrive,” Horejsi said. “When you achieve that — when you have safe and affordable housing — the families do better, there’s more upward economic mobility, the kids do better in school. We all benefit.”
Horejsi explained that when there is affordable housing, more businesses are attracted to the area due to its stable workforce. He said that currently, the average rent in Fairfax County is $1,700-$1,800 a month, while half of the jobs in the area reap less than $50,000 a year. Rents are increasing while salaries are not. Horejsi explained that as rent gets more expensive, workers start to move away.
“If the workers in our community whom we need can’t afford to live here, then they’re just going to clog up all the roads and that’s going to create more air pollution,” said Horejsi. “Doing nothing [for affordable housing] is going to cost a lot more in the long run.”
Thursday’s meeting will feature a presentation from Vin Rogers, the division director for the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development. After Rogers speaks, facilitators will help lead conversations among groups of attendees. Feedback and input will be encouraged during these group discussions.
“It’s going to be a dialogue first of all,” Horejsi said.
Duggan said she anticipates 50-100 people to turn up at the meeting. Anyone interested in the meeting is encouraged to fill out a survey about housing in the area.
Chart via Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development
The goals of the plan, according to Fairfax County, include:
- To create a shared community vision of how housing supports local economic growth and community sustainability
- To quantify the housing needed to sensibly accommodate future growth
- To develop specific, measurable and actionable strategies for meeting countywide housing goals
- To identify the program and policies, and specific funding sources, that will be required to address housing needs in 5, 10, and 15 years
The plan will be led by the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee will oversee it. The community meeting at SLHS this month is part of a communication plan by HCD to “engage residents and stakeholders throughout the entire process.”
The stated goal of the HCD is to complete the strategic plan by December and implement it in 2018.
The meeting will be held Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall at the high school (11400 South Lakes Drive).
A long-tabled plan to build a senior citizens housing development at 2222 Colts Neck Road may be getting ready to be resurrected — with some changes. The site’s owners, approved years ago to build senior citizen independent living apartments, now hope to amend that plan and build some apartments, along with an assisted living facility.
The site of the former United Christian Parish church was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for the independent living apartments in 2007. But with the housing downturn and general economic slowdown occurring soon after, the plan never got started.
However, developer Colts Neck Road LLC recently filed plan changes for the 4.3-acre site across from Hunters Woods Village Center.
The company filed a Development Plan Amendment, a Proffered Condition Amendment and a Planned Residential Community Plan Amendment to revise the approval of 210 independent living units to allow for 119 of the approved independent living units to be replaced with an assisted living facility.
United Christian Parish formerly had three sites in Reston, but over the last decade has sold two of them. One is the site on Colts Neck. The other, on Ridge Heights Road, became Sunset Hills Montessori’s headquarters. The remaining one is at 11508 North Shore Drive.
The Colts Neck site is also located close to the Hunters Woods Fellowship House, senior citizen independent living that is subsidized by the Fellowship Square Foundation.
Reston has two current assisted living facilities — Sunrise Assisted Living on Fountain Drive and Tall Oaks Assisted Living. There is no skilled nursing care facility in Reston after Cameron Glen Care Center closed in 2014.
Colts Neck Road LLC will have to take its new plans to the Fairfax County Planning Commission, as well as the Board of Supervisors and Reston Association’s Design Review Board, for approval. No hearing dates have been set.