by Fatimah Waseem March 23, 2018 at 2:30 pm 0

Prepare for overnight closures on of Sunset Hills Road from Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The eastbound lanes of Sunset Hills Road near the intersection of Town Center Parkway will be closed. The westbound lane of the road will be reduce to one right thru lane as two-way traffic runs through the area.

The lane closure is necessary as construction crews working on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project deliver large, heavy equipment to a nearby power substation that will power the future Reston Town Center station on the Silver Line. A crane will place the items on the south side walk.

Police will remain on site and plan to direct eastbound traffic onto the right westbound lane.

Here’s more from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority:

Beginning at 10 p.m. each night, eastbound Sunset Hills Road traffic will be diverted to westbound Sunset Hills Road at the intersection of Town Center Parkway.

Westbound Sunset Hills Road will be separated by traffic control devices (i.e. cones or drums) to safely facilitate two-way flow of traffic.

Eastbound Sunset Hills Road will be closed east of the detour.

A crane will be positioned on the south sidewalk and the sidewalk will be closed in this location.

The detour will end just west of Reston Parkway.

No later than 5 a.m. each morning, Sunset Hills Road will be returned to normal traffic flow; however, the crane will remain in place and the sidewalk will remain closed until work is completed.

All plans are subject to change due to weather.

Photo via MWAA

by RestonNow.com March 14, 2018 at 3:45 pm 12 Comments

Longtime Reston Town Center tenant The Bike Lane plans to relocate to 11150 Sunset Hills Road in May.

The new location will allow the business to capitalize on direct access to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The space will also incorporate a coffee bar and micro brewery, in addition to free parking for customers.

“We are relocating because our 10 year lease is up and we feel our new location will better serve our customers.  Our new location on Sunset Hills has direct access to the W&OD trail and local mountain bike trails,” said Anne Mader, who co-owns the shop with her husband, Todd.

Mader said the store’s exact opening date is not final, but the new store will likely be open in late May.

Muse Paintbar, a wine-and-paint restaurant, will replace The Bike Lane’s location by the fall, according to a company representative.

In January 2017, The Bike Lane announced it was actively seeking a new home following RTC owner Boston Properties initiated its ParkRTC paid-parking system.

by Fatimah Waseem March 8, 2018 at 2:45 pm 23 Comments

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved plans to realign Sunset Hills Road this week, pencilling in planning language caught in gridlock the proposal hopes to prevent.

Although the project remains far from groundbreaking, the board’s vote approves the realignment of Sunset Hills Road to Crowell Road — a move board supervisors said preserves the character of the surrounding residential area while calming current and future traffic. A roundabout will act as the intersection control and Hunter Mill Road will be converted to four continuous lanes from the realigned area to the Dulles Toll Road’s westbound ramps. 

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the plan balances the community’s interests while calming traffic in a “critical” area long-slated for improvements. Still, Hudgins hinted much more remains to be done to calm traffic in surrounding areas. 

“I would love to say we’re finished,” she said.

The issue boasts a long and beleaguered history. Proposals have been in county’s books since 1975, when an alignment similar to the current plan was approved.

County staff pitched the plan after a two-year public engagement period yielded seven options, including a no-build alternative. Staff narrowed options to three possibilities, two of which were struck down because they fell in the path of a Metrorail power station or would have required purchasing land from Reston Presbyterian Church. 

“We wanted to come up with a solution that helped preserve the character north and the roundabout really does that,” said Kristin Calkins, who works with the county’s transportation department.

The addition of the roundabout increases the total price tag of the project by around $3 million. No comprehensive cost analysis has been conducted to date.

Some residents expressed satisfaction with the plan after the county’s Planning Commission added language to push the realignment east of the Edlin School, restrict the alignment past north of Crowell Road, and maximize the distance between the new Sunset Hills Road and the adjacent Hunting Crest Community when the road is designed.

Lauding community engagement by Hudgins and Planning Commissioner John Carter, Raj Jain, president of the Hunting Crest Homeowners’ Association, said the changes addresses the community’s concerns about traffic noise and safety. He suggested completing a noise impact and mitigation study during the design phase of the project.

But others like Benise Ungar, vice president of the Hunting Creek Homeowners’ Association, said amendments to allay community concerns carried no legal weight.

Citing her appreciation for the county’s “good faith efforts,” Ungar said the roundabout “will be massive and not compatible with the surrounding area.” She also said residents and property owners impacted by the plan have publicly stated they will not sell their land to make way for the project.

Staff conceded the plan was an imperfect solution. The approved plan adds language into the county’s comprehensive plan. The roundabout is not a prescriptive solution — only  the “preferred solution.”

Information on the following phases, including designing, was not immediately available.

by Fatimah Waseem March 6, 2018 at 9:00 am 13 Comments

Six things to know after the windstorm — All you need to know about trees, power outages, food safety, and more. Let’s hope things can get back to normal soon. [Fairfax County Government]

Tackling traffic on Sunset Hills Road — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on plans to realign the road today at 4 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Online voting for Reston Association elections is live — To cast a vote in the election for RA’s Board of Directors, visit RA’s website. Paper ballots were mailed yesterday. [Reston Association]

Travel “Into the Woods’ with Herndon students — Tickets are on sale for the performance by Herndon High School Theatre from April 13 through April 21. [Herndon Drama]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

by Fatimah Waseem February 16, 2018 at 10:15 am 22 Comments

Relief could be on the way soon for drivers who frequent Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Toll Road.

Last night, the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved long awaited plans to tackle traffic backups by realigning Sunset Hills Road to Crowell Road.

The plan also includes adding a roundabout as an intersection control. Hunter Mill Road would become a four-lane road between the intersection of Crowell Road and Sunset Hills Road to the Dulles Toll Road’s westbound ramps.

John Carter, the Hunter Mill District’s planning commissioner, compared the new plan to George Washington Parkway. Conceding the comparison was imperfect, he said the changes feature sweeping curves, major setbacks of 400 feet from houses to the road and a commitment to preserve a pond and a forested resource protection area.

The plan passed by the commission includes several amendments to address concerns raised by the Hunter Mill Defense League and the Hunting Crest Homeowners Association. Changes include:

  • Beginning realignment to the east of the Edlin School and extending no farther than Crowell Road
  • Maximizing the distance between the realigned road and the Hunting Crest community
  • The inclusion of a roundabout as a preferred alternative
  • Modifying transportation maps to include a cul-de-sac on Hunter Mill Road

The county’s Board of Supervisors will hear public comment on the plan on March 6 at around 4 p.m.

Since 2014, the county held several community meetings to lay out traffic management alternatives. The latest plan is a mix of several options, but departs from previously discussed plans, which the county indicated no longer work.

Carter said the county’s studies clearly indicate the current plan is the “better method to calm traffic in this area.”

Photo via handout

by Fatimah Waseem November 8, 2017 at 2:45 pm 24 Comments

Plans to extend Soapstone Drive could move forward as Fairfax County officials seek public comment tonight on the project, which would create an additional crossing on the Dulles Toll Road for cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

At Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive) from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., the floor will be open for the public to comment on a environmental assessment completed as part of a multi-step process since the Board of Supervisors approved the project in 2014. The study examines the potential effects of the project for properties listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historical Places, the country’s official list of historic sites worthy of preservation.

The new roadway will provide a half-mile extension between Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road and a new crossing over the Dulles Corridor. County officials have said the project is necessary to tackle congestion on Wiehle Avenue, limited access for buses to Wiehle-Reston East Station and the lack of connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.

Completed in August, the assessment reviews impacts of the project on surrounding land. For example, the assessment finds the project rests within 200 feet of on two sites with hazardous materials and would result in increased noise for two areas near the project.

Overall, the assessment concludes the project will not “contribute substantially to cumulative impacts, particularly in light of the efforts to minimize adverse impacts of the project and other mitigation measures to be implemented.”

Following the public hearing, the county will revise the assessment as needed and submit it to the Federal Highway Administration, the body which will make a decision about the feasibility of the project.

In 2014, the county’s supervisors included $2.5 million for the preliminary design of this project as part of its Six Year Transportation Project Priorities. At that time, they also put the project — estimated to cost $91.75 million — on the county’s list of high-priority projects for 2015-20.

More information on the project is available on the county’s website. Written or oral comments may be submitted at the hearing or in writing within 10 days after the hearing to [email protected]. Include “Soapstone Connector” in the subject line.

by Dave Emke October 10, 2017 at 2:45 pm 8 Comments

Signs now in place at the future home of Nando’s Peri-Peri (12120 Sunset Hills Road) indicate the Portuguese-style chicken restaurant will open later this year.

The windows at the new storefront within the RTC West development are now adorned with advertisements for the coming restaurant. The largest reads that the fast-casual restaurant’s opening has been scheduled for “Fall 2017.” Others encourage future customers to send their email address to “make a date” with the restaurant, and future employees to text “RESTON” to 41-411 for information about job opportunities.

We emailed a Nando’s spokesperson for additional information about the opening date of the restaurant. We were told there will be “big news in Reston shortly.”

According to promotional information, Nando’s has about 1,200 restaurants in 23 countries on five continents. It was founded in 1987 in South Africa, and first came to the United States in 2008 with a DC location. Other area restaurants include at One Loudoun and in the Mosaic District.

Also in the RTC West development, Starbucks (12130A Sunset Hills Road) opened this week. Meanwhile, progress continues at Mezeh Mediterranean Grill, which will be located next to Nando’s.

by Dave Emke October 6, 2017 at 10:15 am 3 Comments

UPDATE: The Starbucks location opened Monday, Oct. 9.

Another new Starbucks will soon open in Reston.

Signs inside the future coffee shop at 12130A Sunset Hills Road, within the RTC West development, indicate that the new Starbucks will be ready soon. The storefront is attached to Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, which opened in August.

A spokesperson for RTC West developer JBG Smith said she could not provide an exact opening date for the Starbucks. An “opening soon” sign hangs inside, visible through the front windows. Several “Now Open” sandwich boards are also stacked inside, ready for deployment.

This will be the ninth Starbucks in Reston, joining locations at North Point Village Center, South Lakes Village Center, Hunters Woods Village Center, Reston Town Center, the Spectrum shopping plaza, Plaza America, Reston Station and inside Target.

Six additional restaurants are also planned for the development. Significant work has been done at the sites of the future Nando’s and Mezeh restaurants, which have been in the plans since April 2016. Other coming restaurants, which were announced earlier this year, include BGR The Burger Joint, Punjabi by Nature, The Black Squirrel and Honeygrow.

by Dave Emke August 28, 2017 at 11:30 am 7 Comments

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant is now open at 12130 Sunset Hills Road, marking the official opening of the RTC West restaurant and retail complex.

In March 2015, JBG Companies (now JBG Smith) announced that Cooper’s Hawk would be the anchor tenant of the 40,000-square-foot RTC West development. With its opening this morning, the Reston location becomes the 30th Cooper’s Hawk restaurant in the nation. It is the third in Virginia.

The 9,365-square-foot restaurant also features a 522-square-foot mezzanine area. It has “a lively tasting room and market, indoor dining for 196 guests, outdoor dining for seating for 146, and a private event space that can accommodate up to 44,” according to a recent press release from the restaurant. More than 200 employees were hired this summer.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new restaurant was Saturday night, Around Reston reports.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Reston opens today, Aug 28! Ribbon cutting was held Saturday night. In attendance,…

Posted by Around Reston on Monday, August 28, 2017

The restaurant’s menu includes items such as candied bacon and artisan cheeses; gnocchi bolognese with braised short rib; Southern hot chicken; pan-roasted barramundi; shrimp and scallop risotto; and wild mushroom-crusted chicken. In addition, more than 40 wines — produced at the Cooper’s Hawk winery in Illinois — are available to customers. Each menu item has a wine-pairing suggestion.

One of the restaurant’s most popular features, its representatives say, is its Wine Club. Members are privy to special wine offerings each month, as well as monthly Wine Club dinners and tastings.

Cooper’s Hawk will be open at 11 a.m. each day. Closing times are 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 9 p.m. Sundays.

Work also continues on other buildings in the RTC West development that will soon house six more restaurants, a nail salon and a Starbucks. The other restaurants on site will include Punjabi by Nature, The Black Squirrel, Honeygrow, BGR The Burger Joint, Mezza Mediterranean Grille and Nando’s Peri-Peri.

by Dave Emke August 21, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

(This article was updated at about 4:15 p.m. after Fairfax County Fire and Rescue provided a press release on the incident.)

Work is continuing as usual today at Bechtel (12011 Sunset Hills Road) after a Sunday fire on the building’s 11th floor.

Affected employees remain at work Monday but have been moved to other areas of the building, said Iva Zagar, Bechtel spokesperson.

“[Our facilities team] has been really helpful to the people who have been affected, to point them in the right direction,” she said. “I haven’t heard that anybody can’t do work, so everything is smooth this morning.”

The two-alarm fire before 8 a.m. Sunday at the One Reston Overlook building was electrical in nature, said Bill Delaney, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue public information officer. It involved a junction box around a set of work stations, he said, but how the box failed remains under investigation.

“They know it started there, but they’re still trying to figure out exactly what occurred,” Delaney said.

A restoration crew is at the site Monday working to clean up damage caused by the flames and accompanying smoke. According to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, damages from the fire are estimated at about $40,000. About 20 employees were working in the building at the time of the blaze; however, no one was reported injured.

“The good news is, the fire sprinklers did their job — they were able to contain the fire,” Delaney said. “Then our folks got there and were able to put the remainder of the fire out, but it did generate a good deal of smoke, and there was some damage as well from the actual flames.”

Light smoke damage was also reported in the 12th floor, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Bechtel is the largest construction and civil engineering company in the United States, and is one of the largest privately owned companies in the nation. Its Reston location is its nuclear, security and environmental business office.

by Dave Emke August 20, 2017 at 10:15 am 1 Comment

A two-alarm fire Sunday morning on the 11th floor of a building in the 12000 block of Sunset Hills Road has been contained, officials say.

The fire started in a cubicle, Deputy Chief Dan Shaw said.

“Upon arrival, [firefighters] found a working fire on the 11th floor,” he said. “The fire was being contained by a sprinkler system that had successfully activated.”

Units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue stations 4 and 36 responded. The second alarm was sounded for resources, Shaw said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. We will provide more information when it becomes available.

by Dave Emke August 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm 17 Comments

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant will open its new Reston location in 10 days.

A permit to operate the eating establishment at 12130 Sunset Hills Road, in the RTC West commercial development, was issued by Fairfax County this week. Signage outside the front door of the restaurant advertises its Aug. 28 opening, as previously announced.

The 9,365-square-foot restaurant also features a 522-square-foot mezzanine area. It will feature “a lively tasting room and market, indoor dining for 196 guests, outdoor dining for seating for 146, and a private event space that can accommodate up to 44,” according to a press release issued this week by the restaurant. The Reston location — its third in the DC Metro area — will be led by general manager Ryan Delisi and chef Laurence Cohen.

Also from the release:

The concept is built upon [CEO Tim] McEnery’s passionate core belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections. His restaurants are home to 250,000+ Wine Club members, who enjoy limited production Wines of the Month, travel and dining experiences among other benefits.

[Chef Laurence] Cohen works closely with corporate-based Executive Chef Matt McMillin to ensure the utmost in quality and presentation of the expansive contemporary American menu. Utilizing peak of season ingredients, the restaurant’s scratch kitchen selections include a carefully crafted array of food and wine pairings, each listed with a bin number to guide guests’ selections of their perfect wine match.

The release names some of the restaurant’s menu favorites including candied bacon and artisan cheeses; gnocchi bolognese with braised short rib; Southern hot chicken; pan-roasted barramundi; shrimp and scallop risotto; and wild mushroom-crusted chicken.

In addition, the restaurant’s wide selection from its winery is celebrated in the release:

The company, which imports grapes from the best vineyards across the globe to produce more than 40 varietals in its Countryside, Illinois winery, has been honored with more than 450 wine awards. Crafted to please a range of palates, Cooper’s Hawk wines include selections that are accessible for those new to the world of wine, as well as complex and full-bodied options for more seasoned drinkers. In addition to the wine menu, guests can choose from a selection of craft cocktails and sangrias made with Cooper’s Hawk wine. These include inventive takes on a classic Collins cocktail (Harvest Peach Collins made with Slaughter House Whiskey), a Caipirinha with Cooper’s Hawk Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as creative martinis such as a Blood Orange Paloma Martini (Casa Noble Tequila and Cooper’s Hawk Prosecco).

Beginning Aug. 28, the restaurant will be open at 11 a.m. each day. Closing times are 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 9 p.m. Sundays.

Earlier this summer, Cooper’s Hawk began the process of hiring more than 200 employees for the restaurant. Training of those workers is currently underway.

Work also continues on other buildings in the plaza that will soon house six more restaurants, a nail salon and a Starbucks. The other restaurants on site will include Punjabi by Nature, The Black Squirrel, Honeygrow, BGR The Burger Joint, Mezza Mediterranean Grille and Nando’s Peri-Peri.

The restaurant and retail space is the first phase of development for the site, which is bordered by Town Center Parkway to the east, the W&OD Trail to the north, and the plaza that contains Chick-fil-A, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Chipotle and more to the west. Property owner JBG announced last year that it has further plans for the site, including two multifamily residential buildings and three more office buildings.

by RestonNow.com May 9, 2017 at 11:30 am 1 Comment

Post Trail LLC, the company that owns the low-rise office buildings located at 11150 Sunset Hills Road, has filed for a Special Exception permit in hopes of opening a new cycling business.

The property is currently home to a 51,825-square-foot, four-story office building, which includes the offices for the well-known local charity Cornerstones.

According to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office, Post Trail LLC wants to build a 6,841-square-foot retail business for bicycle sales and repairs.

According to the permit application, no exterior changes to the building would be made.

Another business, Virginia Retina Specialists, also applied for permits last year to set up residence in the office building.

Image of 11150 Sunset Hills Road from Google Street View




by Dave Emke April 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Giving Back to Emergency Responders — Firefighters from Station 25 presented a certificate to a Reston woman who adopted a fire hydrant in her neighborhood. The woman was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in 1994 and credits emergency crews including fire units with saving her life, and she has loved and supported them ever since. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Guinea Pigs on Twitter Thanks to Local Students — At Ideaventions Academy, a specialized STEM school in Reston, students have built a computer and are using censors to get classroom pets to tweet out randomized messages. You can follow along @PepperNCaramel. [WUSA]

County Map Shows Youth Crash Locations — A map released Thursday by Fairfax County plots the locations of all 1,840 vehicle crashes involving youth drivers (ages 15-20) in 2016. In Reston, locations including Sunrise Valley Drive, the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, and the intersection of Reston Parkway and Route 7 had the most incidents. [Fairfax County]

Another Capital BikeShare Station Opens — An 11-dock Capital BikeShare location has opened on Town Center Parkway near Sunset Hills Road, at the RTC West complex. [Capital BikeShare/Twitter]

Map courtesy Fairfax County

by Dave Emke March 22, 2017 at 11:30 am 49 Comments

Rendering for Golf Course Overlook/Credit: olf Course Overlook LLC

Proposed rezoning of Golf Course Plaza, a three-acre parcel on the west edge of Isaac Newton Square, is scheduled for a Fairfax County Planning Commission hearing June 21.

Location of planned high rise near W&OD and Hidden Creek/Credit: Golf Course Overlook LLCThe proposal, which first came to light in May 2016, would see the property (11480 Sunset Hills Road) become the home of a 392,600-square-foot multifamily residential structure with three levels of underground parking. Currently on the parcel is a three-story office building and a surface parking lot.

The residential building would feature 413 units. Developer Golf Course Overlook LLC seeks to rezone the property from I-5 (General Industrial) to Planned Residential Mixed-Use. According to the summary of Reston Association’s March land development tracker, it is “unclear whether any commercial uses would be retained” on the property.

The site is between the W&OD Trail and the fourth hole of the Hidden Creek Country Club golf course. It is about a third of a mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. According to the land development tracker summary:

“The site is located in the Wiehle Station Transit-Oriented Development District and designated Residential Mixed Use, which seeks to retain a 75/25 mix of residential and non-residential uses respectively, at intensities of up to a 1.5 FAR [Floor Area Ratio]. Isaac Newton Square is planned to be home to 3,200 (of the 4,600) residential units for this district.”

A county staff report on the project is to be released June 6. Signs advertising the hearing are to go up May 31.

Images via Golf Course Overlook LLC


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