Newsletter
Rep. Don Beyer (left) faces challenger Victoria Virasingh in the Democratic primary (via Office of Rep. Don Beyer, Victoria Virasingh/Facebook)

Fairfax County will kick off early voting for the June 21 Democratic primary tomorrow (Friday), but with only one race on the ballot, turnout will likely be muted.

Incumbent Don Beyer faces political newcomer Victoria Virasingh in the 8th Congressional District. It will be the county’s first primary under new district maps drawn and approved by the Virginia Supreme Court last December.

The new 8th district covers eastern Fairfax County from McLean to Mason Neck, including Falls Church, Bailey’s Crossroads, Annandale, Rose Hill, and much of the Mount Vernon magisterial district. It also represents Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

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Vienna police car (via Vienna Police Department/Facebook)

A driver began yelling and acting aggressively to another man walking a dog around 6:45 a.m. on Feb. 9, Vienna police say.

The incident allegedly occurred in the 1400 block of DeSale Street SW. Police report that it began when a resident was on the sidewalk, waiting for a vehicle to pass so they could cross the street.

Per a police summary:

The driver of the vehicle was agitated and began yelling at the resident, then drove away. A few minutes later, the vehicle returned. The driver parked in front of the resident’s home and continued to act aggressively. The driver grabbed a hatchet from the trunk of his vehicle and began chasing the resident.

Tensions were quelled when family members came out of the home, and the driver got back into the vehicle and drove away.

Police said they advised the dogwalker of the warrant process if he wished to pursue charges.

Warning about Car Thefts

In other news, the Vienna Police Department continues to warn that the D.C. region, including the Northern Virginia area, has seen increased vehicle thefts and tampering incidents.

The department received a number of vehicle theft reports over the past week. In one incident on Feb. 13, a worker found that the rear window of her vehicle, which was parked behind Taco Bamba (164 Maple Avenue W), had been smashed and her purse stolen.

Items reported stolen in other vehicle larceny incidents include a Swiss army knife, a piece of jewelry, and coins.

The VPD advises community members to lock doors of residences and garages and to report suspicious activity or persons at 703-255-6366 or, in the event of an emergency, 911.

Photo via Vienna Police Department/Facebook

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The McLean Citizens Association is hosting an online forum Feb. 28 to give people a chance to ask questions to local government and school leaders.

The meeting will come less than a week after Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill is scheduled to present his proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 on Tuesday (Feb. 22).

Hill projected in November that the county will see “robust” revenue growth in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, due primarily to growth in the real estate tax base.

However, the forecast also anticipated a $40.7 million shortfall, noting that a tax relief expansion could reduce revenue by $12 million.

The MCA’s annual forum will occur from 7 to 9 p.m. with Hill, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, and chief financial officers for the county and Fairfax County Public Schools slated to attend.

Those seeking to ask questions must register, as attendance will be capped at 100 people. But the group will also livestream the event on its Facebook page.

Both the county Board of Supervisors and FCPS pass their own budgets. Superintendent Scott Brabrand presented his proposed budget for the school system on Jan. 13, and the school board discussed it at a work session on Feb. 8.

The school board is scheduled to adopt an advertised budget on Feb. 24.

In the past, MCA’s budget forum has provided insight into tax implications of the county budget and how limited funding sources, including federal COVID-19 relief measures, will affect revenues.

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Collection truck (via Fairfax County)

Same-day deliveries have become increasingly popular, thanks to companies like Amazon and Uber Eats, but that convenience could come at a cost for local governments.

The Town of Vienna’s sanitation division operating budget — which includes collection workers, landfill fees for waste and recycling, and other costs — has remained around the same in recent fiscal years: $1.850 million in 2019, $1.925 million in 2020, and $1.871 million in 2021.

However, Vienna Town Council representative Steve Potter told the Virginia Mercury last month that the uptick in shipping has meant additional costs for governments due to the amount of nonrecyclable packaging as well as the need for personnel and facilities to recycle cardboard boxes and other materials.

Del. Mark Keam, whose district includes the Town of Vienna, and other state legislators tried to intervene with bills that would have required businesses to pay an environmental fee based on packaging, but the proposals failed to go forward in a House subcommittee.

Potter didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services shared a similar sentiment.

“It is intuitive that the increase in home delivery services over the past few years has had an impact on waste generation and composition,” department spokesperson Sharon North said in a statement.

Even if people want to recycle, there are still setbacks. Most of the plastic packaging in which customers get items isn’t recyclable in the region, according to Fairfax County.

While the pandemic shifted people away from workspaces, reducing commercial use, future annual reports from the state could provide a clearer look at the trash and recycling habits of residents and businesses.

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The Ashby at McLean (via Google Maps)

The Ashby at McLean apartment building is one step closer to converting most of its commercial space into additional residential units.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended on Wednesday (Feb. 2) that the Board of Supervisors allow the downtown luxury building to add up to 18 apartments, bringing it up to 274 residential units.

Property owner WashREIT’s project would repurpose nearly 24,000 square feet of commercial space in the building at 1350 Beverly Road. At least 8% of the new units will be affordable.

The proposal initially drew concerns from county wastewater staff that the added units could strain a sewage pipe, adversely affecting other residents in the area, said Planning Commission Vice Chair John Ulfelder, who represents the Dranesville District.

“They were concerned that the addition of even just 18 residential units to this section of sewer could…start to cause backups,” he said.

The sewer pipe at issue is 192 feet long and 8 inches in diameter, feeding into a larger line. According to Ulfelder, wastewater staff determined that an end section, located about one-third of a mile away from The Ashby, was “at its limit.”

At first, a 12-inch-wide pipe was proposed to address concerns, but county staff and WashREIT later decided that a 15-inch pipe could be used instead. The company agreed to a proffer in which it would pay for the upgrades but could then impose surcharges on its apartment units.

WashREIT first sought to convert The Ashby’s commercial space into housing a decade ago, but the project stalled and was later put on hold, as Fairfax County revised its plan for McLean’s Community Business Center.

The resulting Comprehensive Plan amendment was approved in June, allowing increased density in the 230-acre downtown area. The county is now inviting the public to weigh in on design guidelines for future development.

The Ashby project will now go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and final approval today (Tuesday).

Photo via Google Maps

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Musicians Michelle Lundy, Carole Bean and Ruth Wicker (courtesy Beau Soir Ensemble)

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday, Feb. 7

  • FCA Artist Cafe and Critique — Noon-2 p.m. at Falls Church Arts Gallery (700-B West Broad St.) — Join Falls Church Arts for its monthly discussion and critique group. Attendees must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask.

Tuesday, Feb. 8

  • Make 3 Valentine Cards Take and Make — 10 a.m.-9 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) — Kids ages 3 to 6 can make and exchange Valentine’s Day cards all day.
  • On Deck with Mercury — 6-7 p.m. at Foster’s Grille (138-A Maple Ave. W) — Per the Vienna Happenings newsletter, Town Manager Mercury Payton and the town’s finance staff will discuss the budget and fiscal forecast for the coming year at this monthly community forum.
  • Black Falls Church & Fairfax County — 7-8 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library — Learn about local Black history from Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation founder and director Edwin Henderson. Registration is required.

Wednesday, Feb. 9

  • Cary Morin, Jay Bird — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) — A guitarist-singer-songwriter show features Morin’s Native Americana folk-rock and Bird’s Americana bents. Cost is $15. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 10

  • Solace Outpost Trivia Night Thursdays! — 7-9 p.m. at Solace Outpost (444 W. Broad St.) — Pour House Trivia brings its Thursday night game to this Falls Church brewery. Repeats on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Friday, Feb. 11

  • Epidemics of the Past — 10-11 a.m. at Historic Huntley (6918 Harrison Lane) — Learn about how past epidemics transformed society while taking in a scenic view from this 19th century villa in Huntley Meadows Park. Register in advance for the program, which costs $8.
  • Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus Live! — 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — A one-man comedic performance, featuring theatre, stand-up and vignettes, embodies the differences between sexes. Tickets start at $64.

Saturday, Feb. 12

  • Tysons Camp and Activities Expo — 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Rd.) — Families can find summer camp and activity options at this annual expo where they can meet staff from local and sleepaway programs. The free event will be set up in Fashion Court near Macy’s.
  • Multigenerational Bingo — 3-4 p.m. at Dolley Madison Library (1244 Oak Ridge Ave.) — Kids, teens and adults can compete for prizes. Registration is highly recommended.

Sunday, Feb. 13

  • Beau Soir Ensemble — 2 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — A flute, viola and harp trio brings together classical and diverse sounds. Cost is $5 for MCC district residents and $10 for others.
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A map of the Route 7 segment between Chain Bridge Route and I-495 that the Virginia Department of Transportation is studying for improvements (via VDOT)

For all its transit-friendly aspirations, Tysons remains decidedly car-oriented. Take the seven-lane gauntlet that is Route 7 (Leesburg Pike), where evening rush-hour backups can extend for blocks and crosswalks feel like dares.

With uprooting one of the region’s major thoroughfares presumably out of the question, state and local transportation staff hope to at least improve the situation with an ongoing study of Route 7 between Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and I-495.

In partnership with Fairfax County, the Virginia Department of Transportation is now seeking input on ways to minimize crashes, relieve congestion, and improve pedestrian and bus facilities in the corridor.

The online survey is open through Feb. 16, as officials finalize a plan to address safety and traffic issues.

State officials suspect congestion is a primary factor in numerous crashes. From 2015 to 2019, this stretch of road saw five crashes resulting in severe injuries, 90 other injuries, and 141 more incidents involving property damage.

Possible solutions include removing service roads and adding a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists, upgrading crosswalks and curbs, and widening a median for future bus rapid transit or BRT lanes.

The study is part of a new Project Pipeline launched last year by the Commonwealth Transportation Board that seeks to streamline high-priority projects. With the program, officials will prioritize limited funding for a handful of projects in the state, including Route 7.

The improvements recommended by the study will tie into plans to widen Route 7 to accommodate express bus lanes, according to Allan Fye, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission’s director of programs and policy.

[These] efforts support the ultimate goal to provide high-quality, high-capacity BRT service along the Route 7 corridor,” he said in an email.

Plans to bring dedicated bus lanes to Tysons have been in the works for years.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a BRT route last July that’s being incorporated into NVTC’s larger effort to develop a bus service from the Spring Hill Metro station to Alexandria’s Mark Center.

The Envision Route 7 planning process began in 2013 and moved into its fourth phase in October with a mobility study looking at the proposed route from Tysons to Seven Corners. The study is expected to be complete by June 2023.

“NVTC has and continues to work closely with [the Fairfax County Department of Transportation] and VDOT,” Fye said. “Our close coordination allows us to leverage each other’s work to advance the overall BRT project while providing strategic opportunities to advance key segments that may allow service to begin in phases.”

After collecting public input from the Project Pipeline survey, VDOT will examine how to fund the upgrades from March to July this year.

Photo via VDOT

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Ilia Malinin, a 17-year-old junior at George C. Marshall High School in Idylwood, is serving as the first alternate for the men’s singles team at the Olympic Games this month.

The placement is an honor itself, but with sports continuing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a higher than usual chance that Malinin could compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which will kick off with the opening ceremony at 6 a.m. tomorrow (Friday).

“As an alternate this year, anyone at any time could test positive, so you just have to be ready to go,” Malinin told Fairfax County Public Schools for a blog post.

Malinin’s parents both competed in the Olympics and had illustrious careers in singles figure skating.

His mother, Tatiana Malinina, finished eighth at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan while representing Uzbekistan. His father, Roman Skorniakov, also represented Uzbekistan at the 1998 Games and again in 2002 in Salt Lake City. He finished 19th each time.

Last month, Malinin won second place at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, earning him a silver medal. But U.S. Figure Skating chose Jason Brown, Nathan Chen, and Vincent Zhou for the men’s singles team, a controversial decision that left many heartbroken.

Team selections can include subjective factors, though, and the committee looks at multiple competitions of skaters.

The Games run through Feb. 20 with primetime TV coverage on NBC. Live-streamed events will be available through the network’s Peacock streaming service, among other options.

The ice skating schedule has the men’s singles program starting tomorrow with the medal event on Feb. 10.

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A fledgling company almost as young as the toddlers and other kids it seeks to outfit is opening a store in Merrifield this month.

LooLous is opening at the Mosaic District next to the clothing store South Moon Under. The company’s owner, Savin Ghaderi, told Tysons Reporter that it will officially open next Monday (Feb. 7).

The business formed last October but kicked off social media campaigns on Instagram and Facebook in 2020. Its website features clothing and items for purchase, with shipping taking one to two business days in the D.C. region.

“Growing up in the area, and operating as a small business, we wanted to do our part to contribute to our local economy, while providing a seamless shopping experience for every consumer — in particular busy moms who are looking for unique, fun pieces for their little ones,” Ghaderi said in an email.

The brand features cardigans and jackets, accessories such as Paris berets and dresses for kids as young as babies.

This will be its first brick-and-mortar store.

“Mosaic District was the ideal location for us as it allows us to provide our consumers with a boutique shopping experience that is exclusive yet also accessible,” Ghaderi also wrote.

The store is where the jewelry shop Alex and Ani was located before it closed the District Avenue location in 2020.

LooLous will have a grand opening event on Feb. 12 that will include refreshments, light snacks and raffles for all.

Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.

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Jessie and Katey’s finished mural on The Loft at The Boro (courtesy The Boro)

Several companies in the Tysons area have earned bragging rights for their efforts to reduce vehicle trips.

The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research announced its annual lists of the Best Workplaces for Commuters and Best Sites for Commuters on Thursday (Jan. 27), recognizing employers and urban projects across the country that promote transit, carpools, vanpools, and telework.

“Receiving this designation is a significant accomplishment,” Best Workplaces for Commuters program manager Julie Bond said in a press release. “Employers named to the list demonstrate a strong commitment to their employees by providing outstanding commuter programs, like telework, discounted transit passes, bicycle-friendly amenities, rideshare solutions, and emergency ride home programs.”

Awardees in the immediate area includes the following:

  • ActioNet
  • Archer Hotel Tysons
  • Bart & Associates
  • Citizens’ office at Fairview Park
  • Cvent
  • FH+H
  • Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
  • IronNet Cybersecurity
  • KeyLogic
  • KPMG
  • QOMPLX
  • Ross, Langan & McKendree
  • Slalom
  • SpinSys
  • Strategic Resources, Inc.
  • The Boro (Best Site)
  • The MITRE Corporation
  • Towers Crescent (Best Site)
  • Tyson Corner Center’s Access Tysons concierge service (Best Site)
  • Wells + Associates

The first Best Workplaces for Commuters list was unveiled in 2002 by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation as an outgrowth of a federal commuter choice initiative started in 1999, according to the program’s website.

The Center for Urban Transportation Research took over the program in 2007.

To get the designation, employers must meet environmentally friendly standards and pay membership dues. 

According to its website, workplaces must meet criteria across three tiers.

To qualify, an employer must offer one primary benefit, such as employer-paid tax-free transit or vanpool passes, teleworking, bicycling or parking cash-out (enabling workers to trade free parking for its cash equivalent).

Other standards, such as supporting benefits and commitments, must also be met.

There’s flexibility for how those standards are met, though, so if a place doesn’t have bicycle racks or shower facilities, it could still fulfill the criteria with other benefits, such as bus stop amenities and an on-site business center.

The Best Sites designation is for commercial developers, shopping malls, corporate campuses, and other developments with multiple employers.

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