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by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 11:30 am 19 Comments

A zoning change to allow for more development and accommodate population growth was discussed during The Kojo Nnamdi show Wednesday — a conversation that painted the ongoing issue as a microcosm of a perennial debate on how to manage development, growth and public infrastructure.

Leslie Johnson, zoning administrator for Fairfax County, said the zoning change, which would increase the population density per acre from 13 to 16, along with a host of other changes that implement the Reston Master Plan, a planning document that lays out the vision for the area, said Fairfax County officials are working hard to ensure development matches the pace of public infrastructure.

She also noted the county is aware of the need to preserve already stable residential neighborhoods that surround areas along the Metro that are targeted for growth.

“We can’t stop development waiting for the roads to be built,” Johnson said, adding that the county recently developed a funding plan for road infrastructure and developers are helping in tandem.

Johnson noted that the zoning change was consistent with master plans adopted in 2014 and 2015. She also said she was encouraged by vehement opposition that surfaced in two community meetings earlier this year.

“It’s a good sign that people are engaged because we get criticized for not engaging enough. I think peoples’ voices need to be heard,” she said.

Nimbyism is not the rallying point for people opposed to the zoning change, according to some residents.

Terry Maynard, co-chair of Reston 20/20, a citizen activist group that is against the proposal, said many people are opposed to the scope of development, not development itself.

Absent adequate public infrastructure for current residents, allowing more population density in pockets in Reston damages residents’ quality of life. He also noted projections about population increases as a result of the zoning change do not account for growth from affordable housing units and bonus density allowed for some developments.

“The Reston Master plan is very weak in defining infrastructure needs for the community in sharp contrast for a similarly-prepared plan for the Tysons area,” he said.

The cart-before-the-house argument has been echoed in community meetings.

But, to some extent, the zoning change is an exercise in how open communities are to change, especially as the county is in “a state of transition” in anticipation of Metro, which the county has been preparing for for the last 20 years, Johnson said.

Amendments to the zoning change are expected. The county is leaving the board with the flexibility to determine what population density between 13 and 16 per acre is most feasible, she said. Johnson also said the county was open to changing the maximum number of residential units allowed per acre.

A round of public hearings are expected to begin early next year.

Virginia, unlike Maryland, is a conditional zoning state, which means it lacks the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, a mechanism that attempts to manage growth by ensuring adequate roads, schools and public facilities are in place as development occurs. APFO laws vary by state and county.

A complete recording of the show is available online

by Fatimah Waseem November 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

The access road to the Herndon-Monroe commuter garage, which runs from Sunrise Valley Drive to the Herndon-Monroe park and ride facility, will shut down from Friday through Sunday, Nov. 26.

Access is limited due to the construction of a new parking garage for the future Metro Silver Line Herndon station. To use the current garage, commuters can enter through the Dulles Toll Road, a detour that requires a payment of $1, according to a county press release.

The roughly $45 million project is expected to cause major delays on routes that serve the park-and-ride facility. The following stops served by routes924, 926, 927, 937, 950, 951 and 551 will be missed:

  • Stop #3495 at Colt Brook Drive

  • Stop #3541 at Milburn Lane

  • Stop #3566 at Thunder Chase Drive

Commuters using these stops take buses at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride facility. Bus bays are still accessible through the garage entrance.

The new 2,007-space garage includes a pedestrian bridge to the Metrorail Silver Line station, connections the existing 1,745-space Herndon-Monroe parking garage and bicycle storage facilities. The project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2019.

A groundbreaking ceremony last year celebrated the launch of the project, which is managed by Fairfax County. HGA Architects is the firm designing the project.

For more information on the impact of the project, call 703-339-7200 or 703-339-1608. Questions can also be addressed to [email protected]

Rendering courtesy of Fairfax County

by Dave Emke October 18, 2017 at 11:30 am 44 Comments

Users of the Dulles Toll Road can expect to pay more in 2019, according to a 2018 draft budget presented to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board today.

No increase from the $3.50 toll ($2.50 at the plaza and $1 at the ramp) is planned in 2018; however, it is expected to jump to $4.75 the following year. Numbers presented by the Board’s Finance Committee show that is only the beginning of the hikes.

In 2023, the toll is projected to go up to $6. Additional jumps of $1.25 or more are projected every five years for the following two decades, resulting in an $11.25 toll in 2043.

The toll last increased in 2014, when it went up from $2.75 to the current rate. It steadily increased each year from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, the toll was $1.25 (75 cents at the plaza and 50 cents at the ramp).

Tolls are used in part by MWAA to help fund the expansion of Metro’s Silver Line. Nearly half the cost of the construction, about $2.8 billion, is being paid by Toll Road fees.

by Dave Emke October 2, 2017 at 9:00 am 10 Comments

Herndon Woman 10 Years Into Breast Cancer Fight — On her 50th birthday, Anita Hyman got the call that she had breast cancer. After a mastectomy, she is now celebrating her 60th birthday with her family. [WUSA]

SLHS Band Honored — The South Lakes High School marching band won first place in its class for best music, overall effect, percussion and visual at the USBands NOVA Regional recently. [South Lakes Band/Twitter]

Bulova Among ‘Most Powerful Women’ in DC Area — Washingtonian says Bulova’s “role in getting the Silver Line’s first phase completed, despite Metro’s budget problems” has cemented support for her. [Washingtonian]

No Change in County Unemployment Rate — The unemployment rate in Fairfax County in August was 3.1 percent, unchanged from July. That’s ahead of the 3.8 percent rate in Virginia and the 4.5 percent rate nationwide. [Inside NoVa]

Reston Company Provides Tablets to Inmates — Reston-based Global Tel Link is working with jails, including in Indiana’s Allen County, to provide secure tablets to inmates. The inmates are using them for communication, music, games and other activities. [Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette]

by Dave Emke September 29, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

24-Minute Wait Times for Metro This Weekend — Silver Line trains will run only between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, every 24 minutes, to coordinate with the work on the Orange and Blue lines. [DCist]

Theater Costumes Available — NextStop Theatre Company will hold its annual costume sale Saturday from 7-11 a.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). According to the theater, items available include “wedding dresses, to furs, to Cinderella’s ball-gowns, to stunning men’s suits” along with sweaters, vintage jeans and other items. [NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook]

Ted’s Bulletin Owner Will Sell — The future of the chain, which includes a restaurant in Reston Town Center (11948 Market St.), is unclear as Matchbox Food Group prepares to sell it to &pizza co-founder Steve Salis. [Washington Business Journal]

Transformers Fans Descending Upon Reston — TFcon, a “Transformers” fan convention, is being held for the 16th time. It has been held almost exclusively in Toronto area; however, this year, it is being held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.) today through Sunday. [TFcon]

by Dave Emke September 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Deadline for RA Board Candidacy is Today — Anyone interested in being considered to fill the At-Large seat vacated by Ray Wedell needs to submit a statement of candidacy by noon today. The remaining term on the seat runs through April. [Reston Now]

Silver Line Was Single-Tracking This Morning — An arcing insulator at the Rosslyn Metro station early this morning caused single-tracking on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines. [WUSA]

‘Safety Stand-Down’ Slowed Metro Thursday — Riders experienced woes Thursday morning on the Metro as maintenance inspections of 7000-series rail cars were temporarily suspended, raising union concerns and leaded to fewer available cars. [WTOP]

Letter: Redistricting Needed After 2020 — John Lovaas, of Reston, says residents need to get involved in the fight to end gerrymandering and “take back our democracy.” [Fairfax Times]

Full Presentation from Wednesday’s Community Meeting — The full PowerPoint presentation from Wednesday’s forum to discuss the potential ramifications of a zoning ordinance amendment that would raise the cap on population density in Reston has been made available. [Reston 20/20]

by Dave Emke September 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Food Collection Helps Herndon Students — Nonprofit organization Food for Neighbors collected food on a recent Saturday at Plaza America, with items collected going to students in need at several county locations, including Herndon middle and high schools. The program is working to add other schools, including South Lakes High School, to its efforts. [Fairfax County Times]

County Task Force Rides Out Maria — Virginia Task Force One, Fairfax County’s elite urban search and rescue team, has been busy this past month assisting with efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They were scheduled to go to Mexico to help following this week’s earthquake there, but instead find themselves waiting out Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. [WJLA]

Metro Lines Slow This Weekend — Work west of Foggy Bottom means the Orange, Blue and Silver lines are only scheduled to run every 24 minutes this weekend. The Silver Line will only run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston. [WTOP]

New FCPS Superintendent Talks About Goals — Dr. Scott Brabrand says there’s work to be done in the district, including diversifying the workforce and scaling back demands on teachers. [Washington Post]

by Dave Emke September 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Va. Transit Ridership Continues Downward Trend — Usage of the Metro’s Silver Line stations at Reston and Tysons is increasing, but that’s one of the few bright spots for public transportation ridership in the region. [WTOP]

Board to Determine Fate of Wedell’s Seat — Following Ray Wedell’s resignation from the Reston Association Board of Directors last week, remaining board members have a decision to make about whether to fill the seat and, if so, how. The term on the now-vacant seat runs through April. [Reston Association]

Reston Sisters Make Jewelry for Good Cause — A pair of local girls founded their own charity project, Rays of Hope, in 2012. They make jewelry out of shells they find on the beach in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and sell it to benefit CancerFree KIDS, a cause they became passionate about when their cousin was diagnosed with leukemia. [Connection Newspapers]

County Expands On-Scene Mental Health Work — The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board recently added a second fully operational Mobile Crisis Unit, part of the county’s “Diversion First” initiative to offer alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness and other disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low-level offenses. [Fairfax County]

by Dave Emke August 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Silver Line Only Running To Ballston — There will be no trains Saturday or Sunday between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle. This means Silver Line trains are only scheduled to run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, where riders can transfer will need to transfer to the Orange Line to continue their trips. [WTOP]

DMV Looking at Change in Renewal Reminders — About 120,000 customers who have online DMV accounts, and whose vehicle registrations expire in October, will receive a yellow postcard as a renewal reminder instead of full-size packets. The state DMV is testing the efficiency of the change in an attempt to save costs. [Virginia DMV]

Former Local Teacher, Administrator Has New Job — Jennifer Hertzberg is taking over this year as the principal of Flint Hill Elementary School in Vienna. Among Hertzberg’s previous jobs were as a teacher at Floris Elementary School and an assistant principal at Forest Edge Elementary School. [Inside NoVa]

SLHS Grad Takes Football Coaching Position — Former South Lakes High School gridiron star Chris Royal, who had a stellar career playing at Marshall University, will be working this season as the cornerbacks coach at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Royal is also the older brother of NFL wide receiver Eddie Royal. [The Morehead News]

Time to Go Back to School — Pat Hynes, Hunter Mill District representative on the Fairfax County School Board, has issued a video statement welcoming students and their families to the 2017-18 school year. [YouTube]

by Dave Emke July 31, 2017 at 9:00 am 21 Comments

Silver Line Struggling to Maintain Riders — Phase 1 of Metro’s Silver Line expansion fueled an unprecedented building boom in areas adjacent to its five stations, the Washington Post reports. However, the line has struggled to attract riders in the three years since it opened. Only the Wiehle-Metro East station is even close to projected ridership numbers. [Washington Post]

Remembering Bob Simon — In a piece for an English-language Indian newspaper, Manish Nandy remembers the stories Bob Simon told him during daily walks around Lake Anne. [The Statesman]

‘White Liberals Give Themselves Too Much Credit’ — In an opinion piece for an “intersectional feminist” magazine, a Restonian looks back on the death of Nabra Hassanen, saying that hate lives here and everywhere. [Wear Your Voice]

Work Today at Park & Ride — The access road to the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride will have daytime lane closures for paving from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Drivers should watch for flaggers, who will help direct traffic around the lane closures. [Fairfax County]

Teavana Stores Shutting Down — Starbucks announced last week will close all 379 of its Teavana stores, which it says have been underperforming. This will include the store in Reston Town Center (1826 Library St.). [CNN Money]

Get Ready for Terraset — All rising Terraset kindergarteners are invited to the Terraset playground from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in August to meet classmates and play on the new Terraset playground. The August kindergarten play dates are sponsored by Terraset Elementary School and Terraset Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Representatives from the PTO will be on hand Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 to answer parent questions. No RSVP is required. [Terraset Parent Teacher Organization]

by Kalina Newman July 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm 28 Comments

According to a quarterly update provided Wednesday to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, construction of the Phase 2 of the Silver Line extension to Loudoun County has passed 60 percent completion.

Capital Rail Constructors reports that after nearly 4.4 million manhours of work, 61.12 percent of construction is done. They say the design process is 99.97 percent done.

The facility construction of the Reston Town Center station has continued with steel erection that started in May and will continue through August. Mechanical work projected to happen until fall 2018.

The Herndon Station will wrap up its metal decking by the end of August and start work on the roofing and skylights. The facility work of the station is estimated to be completed by this fall.

The MWAA is overseeing construction of the 11.4-mile project, which began in July 2013 and consists of six stations from the Reston Town Center station to the Ashburn station.

Despite the station construction steadily moving forward, the Silver Line extension will not be done for another three years. Construction on the cable trough is only 44 percent complete, and there are other track adjustments to make before everything is finalized.

WTOP reported earlier this week that the series of delays that pushed the opening back to 2020 will cost $95 million. The delays are being caused by a series of design changes, including safety-related work.

by Dave Emke July 12, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

A power problem at the Rosslyn Metro station gummed up morning commuter transit on the Silver Line.

Metro’s official information feed reported the issue on Twitter just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Silver Line trains from Wiehle-Reston East were stopped at Ballston, and riders were asked to transfer to Orange Line trains to continue their commute. The problem was reported fixed within 20 minutes; however, riders continued to report delays and other issues at the Ballston, Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom stations through about 9:30 a.m.

The issue appeared to be cleared up by about 9:45 a.m.

by Dave Emke July 7, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Vendors Sought for Multicultural Festival — Reston Community Center is seeking arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and civic organizations of all cultures for the 17th annual Reston Multicultural Festival. The festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 23 at Lake Anne Plaza. Applications are being accepted through July 28. [Reston Community Center]

Covered Bridge Renovated — In its latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association shows off the work that has been done on the covered bridge on the RA trail system near Lake Anne. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Metro Work This Weekend — The Silver Line will only run to Ballston this weekend. In addition, new Metro hours go into effect tonight. The system will close at 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, but is only open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays. [WTOP]

Toll Road Work Rescheduled — Due to poor weather, the detour diverting traffic heading to the Fairfax County Parkway from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road exit ramp through the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride north parking lot was canceled last night. It has been rescheduled for Sunday night, July 16. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

by Kalina Newman June 29, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Jazz Music Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by contemporary Brazilian jazz band Origem. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Metro Employees to Thank Riders Today — Nearly 700 Metro administrative employees will be at Metrorail stations during the afternoon commute today to “personally thank” customers for “their support and continued ridership” during SafeTrack. [WMATA]

Connolly Goes After Nikki Haley — The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations had to defend herself Wednesday when Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) targeted her actions at the U.N. [Washington Free Beacon]

Single Tracking to Cause Long Metro Waits — Starting Saturday until closing time Sunday, Silver Line Metro trains will operate just every 26 minutes. Fare hikes are also in effect, with $2.25 the minimum to ride the Metro. There will be no track work on the Fourth of July. [DCist]

MOM’s Organic Market to Celebrate 30th Anniversary Sunday — All MOM’s Organic Market locations will celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary with tastings and family activities. Locally, there is a store at 424 Elden St., Herndon. [PR Newswire]

Fairfax Police Inform About Snake Safety — With warm weather, snakes become more active around the area, so it’s beneficial to know which snakes are venomous and which are harmless. [Fairfax County Police Department]

File photo courtesy Carole Burnett

by Dave Emke June 26, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Ribbon Cutting for Clothing Store — Scout & Molly’s (11944 Market St.) hosted its official ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning. Among attendees were Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, representatives of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and more.

Summer Meals Program Starts Today — The Free Summer Meals for Kids Program provides free, healthy meals to children ages 5 to 18 at designated meal sites in Fairfax County. [Fairfax County]

Officials Talk Metro, Fields, More — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and more addressed the Vienna Town Council recently to give updates on the Silver Line, placement of athletic fields and more. [The Connection]

Kids Can Earn Prizes for Reading — Kids who complete the summer reading adventure at any Fairfax County library by Sept. 2 can win a coupon book with dozens of free and discounted fun treats like ice cream and miniature golf. [Fairfax County]

Image courtesy Powers Brand Communications LLC

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