(Updated 1:36 p.m. to remove an event that has already passed)
Warming up to solar? – Fairfax County is holding a free information session today, and will be offering real estate tax credits, solar energy systems discounts, and more to home and business owners. (WTOP)
The throwback comments section – A Reston resident had their Letter To The Editor published in The Washington Post. The topic? The split between Reston and the rest of Fairfax County about density and proposed growth. (The Washington Post)
Everyone’s a critic – A theater review of Reston Community Player’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. Sounds like it was a good time. (Maryland Theatre Guide)
We’re taking a hiatus – Our morning newsletter will be taking a break through May 10, as the editor is away. ARLnow’s assistant managing editor, Bridget Reed Morawski, will be stepping in to cover Reston.
The photo in the morning newsletter was provided with a caption that it is a Great Blue Heron. Another reader has chimed in to say that it is actually a Great Green Heron. Additionally, the Reston editor will be returning May 10, not May 8.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user vantagehill.
New Year’s Eve Glow Skate at Reston Town Center — Glow sticks will be available from 6 – 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at the RTC Ice Skating Pavilion’s ‘Glow Skate.’ [Reston Town Center via Facebook]
‘Color Me Happy’ at Reston Regional Library on Jan. 10 — Relax, unwind and color your cares away at the library’s adult coloring session. Coloring pages and pencils will be provided. The session takes place from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in Reston Meeting Room 2. [Fairfax County Government]
A Look Inside: One Reston Town Center — Akridge, a commerical real estate company, plans to deliver an “iconic landmark” at 1760 Reston Parkway that include a six-story atrium lobby, an outdoor plaza on the seventh floor and a rooftop lounge and terrance. [Washington Business Journal]
Where to Eat, Shop and Explore in Reston and Herndon — The Washingtonian breaks down the best place to have a bite or swing by shopping the local area. Top picks include ArtSpace Herndon, Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon Historic Walking Trail and Scrawl Books. [The Washingtonian]
In a slim 6-5 vote, the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee denied a proposal to bring a 20-story high rise with up to 150 residential units to 1801 Old Reston Avenue this week.
Renaissance Centro 1801 LCC will reappear before the committee with revisions to the proposal, which attempts to rezone roughly 1.5 acres of space currently home to a three-story office. The proposal includes 126 market rate units and 24 workforce units.
Committee members who voted against the plan said it did not conform with the county’s comprehensive plan, especially because it is roughly 85 feet taller than Stratford Condominiums to the south of the property.
Other members indicated the applicant is still determining how the project will meet the county’s workforce housing requirements and information about the removal of a proposed right-in entrance along Reston Parkway remained unclear.
Members who supported the plan indicated that the overall proposal was appealing and lauded improvements to the building’s architecture.
Rob Walker, the committee’s chairman, noted that the body was applying additional scrutiny to future application because projects in Reston are becoming “much more complex.”
“Therefore, future applications will most likely fall under additional scrutiny by our Committee in order to ensure the values of the Reston community are being met and whether or not the communities concerns are being addressed,” Walker said.
Promotional material describes the project as luxury condominium units. The proposal is an example of infill development.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on the proposal for Dec. 6.
Photo via handout
Herndon Center Pitched for Amazon’s Second Headquarters — As other jurisdictions make similar bids, local officials will make a combined offer for Amazon’s headquarters to be located on the 26-acre Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon. [Washington Business Journal]
Reston Man Killed in Plane Crash Remembered by Industry — Steven B. Zaboji, who died Saturday in a plane crash near Front Royal, is being remembered as “one of the most iconic manufacturer sales representatives in the consumer electronics industry.” He was the owner of Balaton Marketing, which represented the Yamaha line of electronics and other well-known brands. [Strata-Gee.com]
RA Seeks Volunteers for Halloween Event — Reston Association is looking for volunteers to help with the “Halloween House & Trick-or-Treat Trail,” the Walker Nature Center’s annual Halloween event. The program runs on Oct. 27-28 from 5-9:30 p.m. [Reston Association]
Public Art Reston to Celebrate 10th Anniversary — The nonprofit organization, which formed in 2007, will celebrate its 10th anniversary Nov. 9 with a fundraising event, which will include live music, refreshments, a live auction and a raffle. Public Art Reston’s mission is to inspire a new commitment to public art in order to support community arts and culture in Reston. [Public Art Reston/Facebook]
Registration for Free Disaster-Preparedness Training Open — The Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department is providing free Community Emergency Response Team training, a program that trains residents on disaster response skills like fire safety, light search and rescue and disaster medical operations. The program takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays from Nov. 6 through Dec. 6, from 7-11 p.m. each night. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Money magazine today released its list of the best places to live in America and, once again, Reston made the cut.
The community, which was No. 7 on list in 2012 and No. 10 in 2014, came in this year at No. 29 on the Top 100. (In 2016, Reston was ranked No. 28 as part of an entry that included the entire Hunter Mill District of Fairfax County.)
Of the three Virginia communities on this year’s list, Reston ranked the highest. It is just above nearby Ashburn, which placed at No. 30; and Midlothian, located near Richmond in Chesterfield County, at No. 49.
Reston is also the highest-ranked community in the DC Metro, with the area’s only other nod coming for Rockville at No. 39.
According to the writeup from the Money magazine, which is published by Time Inc.:
Reston was once just an idea. In the early 1960s, architect and economist Robert E. Simon mapped out a vision for a community that upheld open space, recreational facilities, and aesthetic beauty.
Today, the thriving Washington, D.C., suburb offers a woodsy atmosphere that includes expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths. Over 50 miles of pathways were designed to weave in and around its communities to increase pedestrian safety and to ensure that most residents’ homes were no more than a half-mile walk to village centers.
Reston Town Center, the community hub, provides an array of dining, entertainment, and shopping venues, along with headquarters for ComScore and Rolls-Royce North America; the town is also the site of a Google office and five of the largest venture capital firms in Virginia, as well as a Metro rail station for Washington commuters. Those help keep the town’s unemployment rate well below the national average. — Gabriela Fernandez
(Editor’s Note: While the writeup refers to Reston as a town, it is not an incorporated community, but rather a census-designated place.)
According to Money magazine, this year’s list includes communities with populations between 10,000 and 100,000. After they “eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85 percent of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity,” the list’s creators were left with about 2,400 communities from which to choose.
To find the top 100, they “considered data on each place’s economic health, cost of living, public education, crime, ease of living, and amenities, all provided by research partner Witlytic.” Realtor.com helped compile the list by contributing data on housing market costs and growth.
Take a look at the full list, topped by the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, and let us know what you think of the ranking.
A Reston-based senior living company has filed plans to build a new facility at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston.
Kensington Senior Development, LLC’s application was received by the Fairfax County Planning Department last week.
According to the application, Kensington Senior Development has filed a Planned Residential Community (PRC) plan concurrent with a Special Exception for an assisted living facility at that address, which is about 675 feet east of the intersection with Soapstone Drive.
Currently located at 11501 Sunrise Valley is Good Beginnings School, a private preschool, day care and kindergarten. The building has not been sold. The redevelopment plans do not include the Sunrise Valley Convenience Center stores next door.
A 42-year-old man told police he was walking home from work in the 12000 block of Greywing Square about 10:45 p.m. when he heard gunshots.
The man then realized he had been shot in the upper body. He was taken to Reston Hospital, where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries, said FCPD spokesman Don Gotthardt.
Police searched for the suspect, described by police as a thin black man wearing all black clothing, via helicopter, K9 and ground units.
The suspect has not been located, Gotthardt said Thursday morning. It is unknown if the suspect and victim know each other, he said.
Community members, corporate partners, faith communities and local officials will gather Wednesday night at South Lakes High School to kick off the new Reston Opportunity Neighborhood (ResTON) initiative.
Started by Fairfax County, the Opportunity Neighborhood movement aims to identify areas of need, and provide resources that will allow all children to gain a strong academic foundation, family resilience, and “a culture of engagement and success,” representatives said.
The first neighborhood to join Opportunity Neighborhood was Mount Vernon in the Alexandria area. Reston will be the second neighborhood to become part of the program.
Hunter Mill District County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is a big proponent of ResTON initiative, and will be participating in Wednesday night’s kick-off event, along with Fairfax County School Board Representative Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill).
“I believe children need resources that will allow them to excel,” Hudgins said in an email. “Opportunity Neighborhood is about improving the lives of children and youth, by bringing together County services, school resources and our community partners in cooperative framework. Through this collaboration, we can provide families with a seamless pipeline of programs, services and supports.”
One example Hudgins offered was ensuring that all children have safe and reliable transportation to and from school, and to enriching community events and places like their local recreation centers.
“Lack of transportation can hinder a student’s ability to stay after school to get extra assistance from a teacher or participate in an activity that can shape life skills,” Hudgins pointed out.
“And by transportation, I mean it might not be a train or bus. It could be as simple as a sidewalk that allows a child to walk to their local community center,” she added. “RestON will enable us to identify these issues and bring all of our resources to help solve these broader community issues.”
The ResTON kick-off event takes place Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., at South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Dr. in Reston.
Questions can be directed to Bill Threlkeld of Cornerstones at 571-323-9579 or [email protected].
Photo courtesy Cornerstones.
Muna Osman Jama, 36, of Reston and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Washington, were found guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization after a bench trial in front of U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in Alexandria.
“Providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations is a very serious crime,” Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “These women funneled money to a terrorist organization which was conducting a violent insurgency campaign in Somalia. National security is the top priority in this office and we will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who provide material support to terrorists.”
According to court records, the defendants would refer to the money they sent overseas as “living expenses,” and they repeatedly used code words such as “orphans” and “brothers in the mountains” to refer to al-Shabaab fighters, and “camels” to refer to trucks needed by al-Shabaab. The money transfers often were broken down into small amounts as low as $50 or $100, and the funds were intended for use by al-Shabaab insurgents operating in Somalia.
FBI officials also said the two “recruited, solicited, and advised an online group located in multiple countries as to how and where to transfer funds to this terrorist organization.”
“Today’s guilty verdicts send a message that facilitation of financial support to a designated terrorist organization equates to terrorist activity itself,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Jama and Dhirane sent money to financiers of al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya. The defendants also organized what was called a “Group of Fifteen,” which included women from Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Canada, as well as Minneapolis.
The “Group of Fifteen” met regularly in a private chatroom that Jama established to organize and track monthly payment of money to the “Hargeisa side,” which was used to finance al-Shabaab military operations in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, and the “Nairobi side,” which was used to fund two al-Shabaab safehouses, court documents stated.
One of the safehouses was used by al-Shabaab to store weapons and to prepare for attacks. The other was used to treat al-Shabaab fighters who had been wounded in battle.
A substantial part of the government’s case consisted of recorded telephone calls and other communications among the “Group of Fifteen.” These recordings demonstrated that the women had close connections with al-Shabaab leadership and were privy to non-public, inside information concerning al-Shabaab activities.
Jama and Dhirane were recorded as they laughed as the carnage at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi was still taking place. Dhirane and co-conspirator were also recorded as they laughed at the Boston Marathon Bombing before it became known who committed the attack.
Jama and Dhirane each face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when sentenced on Jan. 19, 2017.
Capital Bikeshare officially launched in Fairfax County on Friday, with nine stations in Reston and eight in Tysons Corner now available to add another mode to the area’s multimodal transportation.
By the time local officials such as Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va 11th), County Supervisor Sharon Bulova, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Del. Ken Plum cut the ceremonial ribbon at Reston Station at 2 p.m., it was most certainly not biking weather as rain began to fall and wind began to blow.
Nonetheless, the bikeshare stations will now offer a new way to get around Reston, 24 hours a day, rain or shine. The county plans to have a total of 29 stations soon (15 in Reston), said county bicycle program manager Adam Lind.
“To be able to stand here with well on the way to 30 bikeshare stations in Fairfax County less than two years after the feasibility study is really a testament to the hard work and effort that went into this,” said Lind.
“Bikeshare is really another transportation option. It is really about solving that last mile of getting people from transit to where they live and work. That is why we concentrated bikeshare from here to the town center.”
Stations that opened Friday include the YMCA Fairfax County Reston; Reston Town Center Transit Station; Reston Regional Library; Reston Station; Temporary Road and Old Reston Avenue; Library Street and Freedom Drive (Reston Town Center); New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive (Reston Town Center); Sunset Hills and Old Reston Avenue; and Town Center Parkway and Bowman Towne Drive.
The Reston and Tysons bikeshare operations join the more than 400 stations in the Capital Bikeshare network.
Hudgins said Reston was a natural place to put Fairfax County’s first bikeshare system.
“Reston is a well-connected place,” she said. “We have the [Metro] station, the town center, the village centers and the W&OD Trail. In less than three miles, you can go any of those places. This will be a real connector.”
Hudgins said multimodal transportation has been on the minds of county officials since they started planning for Metro here years ago.
“When we started planing for transit, we said ‘we have got to find out how t0 connect people to transit. We knew that biking would be another option for us. When Reston developed under [founder] Bob Simon — I think he is up there cheering — our village centers are within three miles of transit. This kickoff is just the beginning for us.”
Visit Capital Bikeshare online to see membership options, rates and how to use the system.
Photos: Top. Del. Ken Plum (second from left), Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova and Rep. Gerry Connolly among VIPS cutting bikeshare ribbon in Reston; Bottom, Bikeshare station at Reston Station.
The man, 20-year-old Devante Harris of Reston, was at a red light at Wiehle Avenue and North Shore Drive Tuesday at 10:48 p.m.
An officer was behind Harris at the light as he turned right on red in violation of a posted sign. The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop but the Honda fled and a brief pursuit ensued, police said.
Harris lost control and crashed near Association Drive; he then fled on foot. The Fairfax 1 helicopter and a K9 team responded to assist in the search for the fleeing suspect.
When K9 located the suspect, he “was combative, refused to comply with the officer’s commands, and was bitten by the K9 dog,” police said.
Harris was transported to Reston Hospital Center for treatment. Upon his release, he was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and charged with felony speed to elude, reckless driving, disregarding a highway sign, driving on a suspended license and improper registration.
Photo: Devante Harris/FCPD
There are 19 reasons to vote absentee. Among them:
- Student attending college or university outside of locality of residence in Virginia
- Spouse of student attending college or university outside locality of residence in Virginia
- Business outside County/City of residence on Election Day
- Personal business or vacation outside County/City of residence on Election Day
- I am working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Election Day
- I am a first responder (member of law enforcement, firefighter, emergency technician, search and rescue)
- My disability or illness
- I am primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill family member confined at home
- My pregnancy
- Confined, awaiting trial
- Confined, convicted of a misdemeanor
- An electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
- I have a religious obligation
- Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
- Spouse or dependent living with a member of Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
- Temporarily residing outside of US
- Temporarily residing outside of US for employment or spouse or dependent residing with employee
- Authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place
The North County Government Center polls will be open Monday – Friday, 2-8 p.m through Nov. 4; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 5.
If you want to vote by mail, not that the U.S. Postal Service has changed its delivery standards and First Class mail delivery is now two to five days. Standard delivery is now two to nine days.
The Fairfax County Office of Elections advises taking this into consideration and allowing ample time to apply for and mail-in your absentee ballot so that it is delivered to the Office of Elections by Election Day, Nov. 8 by 7 p.m. If you still need a ballot you can apply online.
Absentee ballots are counted on election night after 7 p.m. (when polls close) and included with the other 243 precinct results, says the Fairfax County Office of Elections.
Monday is also the last day to register to vote in Virginia. Go to Vote.Virginia.Gov to register or update registration.
Meanwhile, here are some stats from Fairfax County (through Wednesday)
Absentee ballots cast to date:
In-person – 9,299
Mail-in ballots received – 6,216
Total – 15,515
(For reference, in 2012 the final total of absentee ballots cast was 92,540).
Absentee ballots mailed out – 33,630
Who is ready to ride?
Capital Bikeshare will launch its first Fairfax County operation next week, bringing 29 stations to Reston and Tysons.
You may have seen the bikeshare stations being installed at locations such as Reston Station, Reston Town Center and the Reston Regional Library.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the $1.7 million program for Reston and Tyson last January. In late 2015, the supervisors OKed the county’s application for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s FY 2017 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grant Application, which gives $400,000 as seed money for bike share program. That money will go to pay for needed equipment such as bicycles and station hardware.
There will be 132 bicycles in Reston at 15 stations located between the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station and Reston Town Center; and 80 bicycles available in Tysons at 11 stations located east of Route 7, north of Route 123, and south of the Dulles Toll Road.
There will be a ribbon cutting at Wiehle-Reston East on Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Fairfax County Bicycle Program Manager Adam Lind.
Here is where Reston’s bikshare stations will be located:
- Wiehle-Reston East Metro Plaza (two locations)
- Old Reston Avenue / W&OD
- North Shore Drive and Temporary Road
- Sunset Hills Road
- Reston Town Center Transit Station
- Reston Executive Center
- Market Street and Town Center Parkway
- Reston Town Center Ice Rink
- Reston Town Center Town Square
- Reston Hospital
- Reston Regional Library
- New Dominion Parkway
- Spectrum Center
- Lake Anne Elementary
- Lake Anne Village Center
Read more about how to join or use Capital Bikeshare on the company’s website.
If you are a registered voter in south Reston, there is a good chance a sample ballot sent to you by the Fairfax County Office of Elections is incorrect.
Voters on Friday received official election mail from the county in advance of the Nov. 8 general election. The information for president, the meals tax, and on Virginia constitutional amendments and bonds is correct.
The ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives is wrong.
Voters in five precincts in the South Lakes-Hughes-Hunters Woods area received sample ballots with information for Virginia’s 8th District, where Rep. Don Beyer (D) is seeking re-election against Charles Hernick (R) and Julio Gracia (I).
Those precincts are in Virginia’s 11th District, where Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), is running unopposed for re-election to the House.
Reston was a member of the 8th District for 20 years, returning to the 11th in Virginia’s 2011 redistricting.
Anyway, consult a correct sample ballot on Fairfax County’s website.
The Reston advisory group looking at ways to raise $2.6 billion to fund Reston road improvements over the next 40 years says it is strongly opposed to a special tax district for new development in Reston’s transit station areas.
The Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group (RNAG) last month approved a document containing high level feedback on the funding plan. It will provide an update to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee on Tuesday.
Public revenues should be responsible for the roadway improvements and private revenues would be responsible for intersection and grid improvements.
Tax Districts should be removed from further discussion — there is unanimity from the group that a tax district is unrealistic and should be taken off the table.
The transit areas are expected to see the greatest level of development — and will need the most street grid, lane additions and traffic signals, among other improvements — as Reston grows over the next three decades.
FCDOT’s Janet Nguyen has said $1.34 billion in transportation projects will likely come from shared public and private contributions. That money would go for road widening, intersection improvements, the Soapstone overpass, and an Dulles Toll Road underpass near Reston Town Center, among other projects.
The $1.28 billion grid network in the transit station areas — which the RNAG is currently studying — would mostly be funded by developers (and a possible service district, not a special tax district. A service district is imposed by the Board of Supervisors on a geographic area.). An urban grid is important to improve walkability and slow traffic, transportation officials say.
The county and RNAG have been looking at a variety of scenarios to fund the projects. Among the suggestions has been creating a tax district similar to the Metro special tax district or a service district, similar to Tysons (rate is .05 cents per $100 of tax assessment).
A service district is established by the Board of Supervisors and does not need to be approved by residents.
The Board of Supervisors hopes to approve a funding plan by late 2016 or early 2017.
See the Tuesday presentation prepared by FCDOT on the Fairfax County website.
See a list of expected big-ticket Reston road projects below.