Reston, VA

If the person next door is always ready to lend a helping hand or make your day better, Town of Herndon officials want to hear from you.

The town is accepting nominations for its Good Neighbor Award. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31.

Only town residents can nominate a family member, friend or neighbor how makes noteworthy contributions toward the quality of life in local neighborhoods, according to the town. Recipients must be residents of the Town of Herndon and cannot have performed acts of good neighborliness for paid employment.

The town mayor and council will recognize Good Neighbor Award recipients at a future public meeting and all recipients will receive a commemorative gift.

Nominations can be submitted online.

The award is part of the town’s Cultivating Community initiative, which aims to encourage beautification and the enrichment of quality of life in the town’s neighborhoods.

Photo via Town of Herndon Government

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In the latest five-year of the Town of Herndon’s comprehensive plan, town officials are considering a handful of changes to update the master planning document that is reviewed every five years.

The Herndon Town Council will discuss the changes, which were recommended by the town’s Planning Commission, at a meeting tonight (Jan. 7). The comprehensive plan guides present and future development of jurisdictions in order to promote the health, safety, and welfare of its residents.

While some suggested amendments tweak references and names, some planned changes emphasize the prioritization of multimodal approaches for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, cooperation with Fairfax County and Loudoun County officials regarding nearby transit-oriented areas, and assessment of recreational facilities.

Other suggested amendments cover the following topic areas:

  • Cooperation with nearby jurisdictions for major public services like schools, fire and rescue and libraries
  • Ensuring town facilities “meet the needs of all ages and abilities”
  • Providing housing choices including mixed-use neighborhoods with transit
  • Accessible parks for residents
  • A roadmap to address policies related to climate change
  • A plan chapter on economic development
  • Emphasis on universal design for individuals with varying abilities

The council will meet at 7 p.m. tonight in the Herndon Council Chambers Building (765 Lynn Street).

Photo via Town of Herndon

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On Jan. 14, 1879, the Town of Herndon was officially incorporated, marking 141 years since its incorporation this month.

To honor its birthday, the Herndon Town Council plans to proclaim that day as the “Herndon Town Incorporation Day”:

“Further, the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Herndon, Virginia, hereby express appreciation to mayors, councils, members of the Herndon Historical Society, town staff, and volunteers, who ~ both in the past and in the present ~ continually strive to preserve and document the history of the Town of Herndon, and encourage the public’s interest in our distinct heritage.”

The motion is up for a vote at the council’s meeting tomorrow. Every 10 years, the council presents this proclamation to Herndon’s Historical Society. The next presentation is set for 2029 for the town’s 150th anniversary.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Fairfax County fire investigators say that the auto-ignition of cooking oil caused a house fire in the Town of Herndon on Jan. 1.

The fire broke out around 2:44 a.m. in the 1400 block of Cuttermill Court. The incident caused roughly $93,750 in damages, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue DepartmentThe fire was caused by cooking oil that spread to nearby combustibles in the kitchen.

Three people were at home when the fire broke out. No injuries were reported.

Fire and rescue officials urge residents to ensure smoke detectors are working inside homes.  In this incident, residents were awakened by the sound of a smoke alarm.

The firefighters and paramedics of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would like to remind all residents that half of all fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Working smoke alarms save lives.”

File photo

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Local police are encouraging residents to be wary of porch pirates in Reston and Herndon. An increase in package thefts is often seen when holiday shopping is in full swing this time of year.

The Fairfax County Police Department issued the following tips to avoid package thefts:

  • Ask a neighbor to hold a package if you’re unable to pick it up
  • Ship packages to your workplace or a nearby store
  • Sign up for delivery alerts and require a signature, if possible.
  • Purchase a lockbox for your front porch or a mailbox with secured access

A recent study found that nearly 26 million Americans reported having holiday packages stolen from their doorstep or porch.

Photo via Unsplash 

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Property owners who rent their sites through short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO must follow new regulations effective Feb. 1.

Property owners in the Town of Herndon must register with Fairfax County and pay $200 to receive a two-year permit to operate the rental. The Town of Herndon’s regulations, which were approved by council members earlier this month, are similar to legislation adopted by Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors this year. Discussions have been underway since June 2018 in the town.

In order to receive the permit, sites will be inspected. A $500 fee is charged for failing to register. Owners must live at the location for at least seven months, provide proof of residency, and provide notice to homeowners associations.

Homes can be rented out for a maximum of 90 nights — 30 more nights that the cap set by Fairfax County. A maximum of six adults under one contract can use the sites. A single rental period must be less than 30 days.

The town council also set operational requirements, including the prohibition of events, the presence of a fire extinguisher, and dedicated parking spaces.

The Town of Herndon’s short-term rental application is available online.

Photo via Airbnb

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Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna, a nonprofit that supports aging in place, recently expanded its programs to help seniors in Herndon and Reston.

The group assists the seniors by providing free rides, social outreach and other resources. The group decided to expand around October, a spokesperson told Reston Now.

Susan Garvey, the executive director of the center, lives in the area and noticed a lack of free resources for the elderly community, the spokesperson said.

“The uptick in ride requests have been promising,” the spokesperson said, adding that people who answer the phones are kept busy. “It was a wise step to take.”

The group announced its expansion to Reston and Herndon in its quarterly newsletter, which was published this fall.

Shepherd’s Center receives its funding from donations, fundraisers and corporate sponsors. Anyone who wishes to donate to the center can do so online.

Seniors or others interested in free rides, programs for veterans and various resources can call the center at 703-281-0538.

Photo via Sheperd’s Center/Facebook

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The Herndon Town Council is considering plans to regulate electric scooters.

The proposal, which would require companies to seek licenses and permits to operate scooters in the town, is part of a statewide push to enact licensing requirements throughout the state.

This year, state lawmakers passed legislation requiring jurisdictions to set licensing requirements or ensure the devices were permitted according to state law.

If the town’s legislation is approved, all companies would be required to reach an agreement with the town to operate electric scooters in the town’s rights-of-way before a permit for operation is considered.

The council is expected to discuss the proposal at a meeting today (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).

Photo via Unsplash

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The Town of Herndon has appointed its first-ever risk manager.

Fox Simkins, who previously worked with GEICO’s claims liability management team, was appointed to the newly created position this week.

As risk manager, Simkins is responsible for planning and managing the town’s insurance and risk programs, including risk management programs like workers’ compensation, injury management, and liability management. She will also analyze the town’s risk management processes, including reviewing risk elimination measures and determining controls.

“The establishment of this position fulfills a primary objective of the Town Council, to ensure that the town operates in a manner that optimizes productivity on behalf of citizens while mitigating unnecessary  risk,” said Town Attorney Lesa Yeatts

Here’s more about Simkins from a media release:

Fox Simkins held positions of increasing responsibility at GEICO, culminating in a seat on the insurance company’s Claims Liability School management development team. In that role, she was responsible for developing curricula for supervisory programs and instruction, as well as  managing their execution; working with multiple departments on regional and national compliance in risk management procedures; serving as a lead negotiation instructor; and working with company leadership on risk management issues. She was also a founding member of GEICO’s national training center. 

Simkins has a B.A. in political science from Hofstra University. She begins her position on Dec. 2.

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A new five-story hotel, which will house two separate hotel business, has been proposed on vacant property on Sunset Park Drive.

Shamin Hotels is proposing to build the hotel on 232 Sunset Park Drive. The 151,00-square-foot building would be home to a Hilton Garden Inn and Home 2.

“The building is a delicate merge between the two hotels, providing an individual identity for each hotel, while creating a cohesive building design,” according to the proposal.

The 250-room hotel complex will include an indoor pool, health fitness room, and meeting spaces, among other features. The concept was first discussed at a Town of Herndon meeting in 2014.

The Town of Herndon’s Architectural Review Board will consider the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday (Nov. 6) at 7:30 p.m. in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).

Photos via handout/Town of Herndon

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The Town of Herndon will no longer collect glass during curbside pickup, joining the county in an effort to shift glass recycling to purple dumpsters throughout the county.

While Restonians can drop off glass recyclables at the Reston South Park and Ride lot, Town of Herndon residents can head over to a purple dumpster at town’s public works complex (1479 Sterling Road).

Fairfax County officials shifted to the purple bins as part of a regional glass recycling program called the “Purple Can Club.”

Officials note that recycled glass often ends up in landfills because it breaks doing the transportation process and mixes with other recyclable materials.

Residents can drop off all types of emptied glass containers — including bottles and jars. Residue should be removed from the materials before recycling.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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The Town of Herndon has a number of openings for local advisory committees, boards, and commissions.

Town residents are encouraged to apply to open positions in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) — which aims to promote safe walking and bicycling in the town — and the Fairfax County Athletic Council. One resident will represent the town on the athletic council, which is an advisory body that sets policies and priorities to improve sports programs in the county.

Middle and high school students can also serve on the Herndon Youth Advisory Council, which advises the council on issues and decisions relevant to youth. Students who either live in the Town of Herndon or attend Herndon Middle and Herndon High schools are encouraged to apply.

Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said the youth council is a critical way to engage Herndon’s youth, especially as the town’s population increases in number and diversity.

“This is a great way for middle and high school students to develop lifelong habits of community activism,” Merkel said. “The voices of our young people are important and need to be heard.”

Applications are available online and at the clerk’s office in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).

Image via Town of Herndon

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Town of Herndon officials are looking for ways to improve pedestrian safety and mobility.

At a Tuesday meeting, Herndon Town Council members reviewed the Herndon Pedestrian Plan, a strategic document that identifies deficiencies in the town’s pedestrian infrastructure and creates a framework to improve pedestrian safety.

The plan highlights the following challenges to create a walkable community:

  • Poor connectivity between neighborhoods
  • Vehicle-oriented site design and separated land uses
  • Existing streetscape with low attention to pedestrian comfort
  • A lack of crosswalks across blocks
  • Existing pedestrian paths with accessibility issues

Roughly 12 percent of right-of-way areas in Herndon do not have sidewalks, largely due to the result of piecemeal development and physical obstructions, according to the plan.

Herndon has largely been fully developed so the best opportunity for any significant changes to its street pattern can only occur through coordinated redevelopment,” the plan states.

Like in other jurisdictions, almost all pedestrian injuries happen at crosswalks. In the Town of Herndon, nine in every ten accidents involved a pedestrian within vehicle travel ways.

The plan hones in on several areas in the town that need improvements, including installing missing sidewalks and ensuring existing sidewalks are ADA-compliant on both sides of Locust Street.

Bryce Perry, the town’s Deputy Director of Community Development, said the plan is intended to serve as a guiding document for developers, staff and other interested stakeholders as they contemplate pedestrian improvements.

Some council members expressed the need for town staff to incorporate additional projects. For example, while the plan includes suggested improvements to Nash Street’s sidewalks, it does not directly address the intersection of Nash and Spring streets.

Perry noted that specific requests for improvements can also be discussed as part of the capital improvements budget.

A draft of the plan is available online.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Brookfield Breaks Ground on $1.4 Billion Development — “Brookfield Properties celebrated the groundbreaking Monday for Halley Rise, a $1.4B project on the site of a 36-acre Reston office park.  The development’s first phase, scheduled to deliver in 2022, will feature 640 residential units, 450K SF of office and 200K SF of retail. The retail will be anchored by Wegmans, which is bringing its smaller urban grocery store concept to the project, and Pinstripes, a restaurant with a bowling alley and bocce court.” [Bisnow]

Metro Investigates Monday Train Collision — “The investigation into the cause of a low-speed train collision outside Farragut West is ongoing, including analysis of railcar data recorders, control center event logs, and signal system playback.  While Metro has not yet identified the root cause of the incident, investigators have found no evidence of a signal system failure and have ruled out “loss of shunt” as a cause.”  [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Annual Fiscal Year 2019 Report for Town of Herndon — Herndon Town Manager Bill Ashton presented findings and progress on different measures at a meeting in late September. The report highlights progress on major initiatives undertaken by the town in the last fiscal year. [Town of Herndon]

Early Bird Ticket Rates for Reston Home Tour Ending Soon — The $25 rate for the Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s annual Reston Home Tour is in effect until Friday (Oct. 11). The tour takes place on Saturday, Oct. 9. Regular price tickets are $30.  [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Photo by Dario Pipair/Flickr

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The Town of Herndon is working with Cornerstones to provide a free workshop for owners.

The workshop, which is set for Sunday, Oct. 6, will guide attendees through the many issues of owning and maintaining a home.

The event is set to take place at Herndon Community Center from 1-3 p.m. Contractors, housing specialists, real estate brokerage and attorneys will present information about preventive maintenance, home repairs, foreclosure prevention, and legal documents.

Attendees can RSVP by emailing [email protected]. Space is limited.

Cornerstones is a local nonprofit organization that helps resident overcome economic challenges.

Image via Google Maps

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