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It’s mid-December and the Holiday events season is in full swing around Tysons.

In Vienna, the Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast tomorrow, Saturday, at 400 Center St. S. From 8 a.m.-12 p.m., the department will be serving pancakes, sausage, bacon, juice, and coffee. At 9:30 a.m., Santa Claus will arrive to green children or adults at the breakfast, and is scheduled to stay until 11 a.m.

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to provide a free photo of your child and take a set of fingerprints using clean, inkless technology to help authorities in missing child situations.

Tours of the fire equipment at the station will be held at 9, 10, and 11 a.m.

But for the pancake averse, there’s plenty more to do across Tysons, including a live Christmas event featuring Chewie the camel.

Tonight (Dec. 14)

  • 70’s Disco & Funk Holiday Party (8 p.m.) — Jammin Java at 227 Maple Ave E. in Vienna is hosting a 70’s themed party with hits from James Brown, Donna Summer, the Jackson Five and more. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for dinner and drinks, with prizes awarded for best 70’s holiday-inspired outfit. The dance party starts at 8 p.m.
  • 80’s Christmas Party (8 p.m.-2 a.m.) — The Palladium’s weekly 80’s party turned holiday themed tonight at 1524 Spring Hill Road. Attendees must be 21 to enter, but tickets reserved in advance are cover-free.

Tomorrow (Dec. 15)

  • Holiday Jam at Records and Rarities (2-8 p.m.) — The record shop in the Tysons Corner Center mall is hosting a holiday themed party featuring a lineup of live DJs.
  • 2nd Annual Festivus Celebration (8 p.m.-2 a.m.) — The Tysons Biergarten at 8346 Leesburg Pike is throwing a Festivus celebration. The party includes a “re-gifting” table, where unwanted gifts can be dropped off and donated to charity.

Sunday (Dec. 16)

  • Live Nativity (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) — The McLean Presbyterian Church at 1020 Balls Hill Road is hosting a live nativity scene featuring real animals, like Chewie the camel, that children can pet.
  • Orangetheory Fitness Tysons Grand Opening (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) — Tysons’ newest workout studio will host a grand opening celebration at its 1430 Spring Hill Road location. The event will include food, drinks, music, and a raffle.

Photo via Facebook

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A proposal to restore late-night Metro hours, cut three years ago to allow for more evening maintenance, was delayed last night (Thursday) at the end of a rough week for the Silver Line.

Prior to 2016, Metro closed at midnight on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends, but in 2016 the evening hours were reduced as part of the “SafeTrack” maintenance project to an 11:30 p.m. closing time Monday-Thursday, 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 p.m. on Sundays. But those changes had only been scheduled to last one year, and in 2017 the reduced service hours were renewed for another two years.

While there had been talk of restoring the earlier service hours, the Metro Board of Directors deferred a vote over restoring late hours until early 2019 to allow for greater study on how the hours would impact track maintenance.

Track maintenance is a particularly pertinent issue for those who live along the Silver Line. On Tuesday, service on the Silver Line was reduced from the Wiehle station to Ballston after a cracked rail forced trains to single-track in the middle of the afternoon rush.

D.C. Council members have repeatedly stated concerns that the lack of late-night Metro service left hospitality and restaurant workers without a means of getting home.

Frank Shafroth, the director of the Center for State and Local Leadership at George Mason University, said ensuring reliability is currently a higher priority for the Metro than restoring late night hours.

“The difficult challenge is the recognition that the growth of Uber et al has created pricing challenges for Metro, so Metro’s key issue in order to remain fiscally fit is to ensure riders of its reliability,” said Shafroth in an email. “Currently, whenever I go to [the George Washington University Hospital], it is 15 minutes by walking and Metro: there is no way I could do that, find parking competitively. [The Board] is focused precisely on the critical issue of making reliability its priority. Once that is certain, then it can build on that to restore late night hours.”

In other Silver Line news, the already behind-schedule expansion project also faces further delays as hundreds of rail ties installed along the second phase of the project were discovered to be flawed.

A man who faked records to hide faulty Silver Line concrete panels was convicted, and sentenced to one year in prison and required to pay $700,567.11 in restitution.

Despite this, Metro ridership is still on the rise in Tysons despite downward trends for the rest of the system.

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved new zoning rules to try and make building elderly care facilities easier.

At its Dec. 4 meeting, the board approved a new zoning district and land use category for continuing care facilities.

The change creates a special set of zoning requirements for retirement communities and nursing facilities. Such facilities frequently combine residential and medical care operations, which were previously not allowed under Fairfax zoning code.

The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) expressed support for the new zoning regulations, but also noted that there were concerns that the new proposals could create development incompatible with low density residential neighborhoods.

We recognize the need for more senior housing and related facilities in an aging county, but also insist on rules that reasonably protect the character of low-density residential neighborhoods,” MCA said in a press release press release.

The MCA resolution called for limits on waivers granted to projects with regards to issues like open space and sufficient parking.

The MCA wasn’t alone in its concerns about the added density. The zoning ordinance includes a maximum building height of 75 to 100 feet tall. Clyde Miller, President of the Holmes Run Valley Citizens Association, spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting to express concern that the density bonuses granted to for-profit senior living facilities were originally intended to be used by nonprofits.

“The proposal jeopardizes single family residential districts with crowding, overall buildings, bulk and congestion,” said Miller. “Proposed density bonuses should be eliminated.”

Continuing care for elderly residents is an issue of particular importance to McLean, where 30 percent of the population is age 55 or older. McLean’s older population is disproportionately large compared to the rest of Fairfax County, where the median age is under 40.

The county has made some progress in providing senior living recently. In October, new affordable senior living complex The Fallstead opened in McLean after a decade of planning and funding challenges.

But McLean also has a history of struggling with the scale of elderly care facilities. In 2017, the Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal by Sunrise Senior Living to build a 73-room facility on a 3.79 acre lot in McLean after three years of arguments from local citizens that the facility would add to local traffic in an area already overburdened by schools, houses or worship and other senior centers.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting, McLean District Supervisor John Foust praised the MCA resolution and said he shared their concerns about waivers for parking.

“I ran some numbers, and it looks like it can work so I’m comfortable enough to vote for this,” said Foust, “but I understand we’re taking another look at all of this as part of a parking zoning ordinance amendment. This will be reviewed and we will look in great detail at this.”

Foust also noted that, depending on public transportation access, the Board of Supervisors can require additional parking for developments.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the zoning change.

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It’s a new week with a new crop of job opportunities opening up in Tysons, with management positions available in everything from cybersecurity to opera.

The Taste of UrbanSpace food hall that opened last week in the Tysons Galleria is searching for an assistant food hall manager. According to the job posting:

We are looking for passionate and operations-savvy Assistant Manager to oversee A Taste of Urbanspace. You will be the [general manager’s] right hand, liaising with vendors and the rest of the in-house team to ensure a superior guest experience through smooth daily operation and quality facilities maintenance.

Applicants should have experience in food management, but most of the other requirements are along the lines of “a strong instinct for hospitality” and “a strong communicator and team player.”

For those looking for a different sort of management position, Capital One is looking for a manager in the Transformation and Optimization Team. This work would primarily involve handling security operations, engaging vendors, and working closely with the intelligence and security operations teams.

Applicants should have experience working in cybersecurity technology with either a bachelor’s degree or military experience and several years of experience in various IT or system analysis fields. An MBA or Master’s degree are preferred.

For those looking for a more artistic type of management, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is looking for an assistant director for artistic operations, particularly for opera and classical programming. The assistant director would help manage classical programming activities at the Filene Center as well as managing the opera operations, from auditions to managing artistic housing.

There’s several job openings related to animal care. PETCO in Vienna is looking for a dog trainer or dog trainer apprentice for those interested in enhancing communication and teamwork between dogs and their owners. An aquatics specialist is also needed to provide care and aquatic life education to prospective owners and to care for the animals.

Meanwhile Dogtopia in Tysons is looking for a general manager, a front desk coordinator, sales manager and canine coach. Among the job benefits are that dogs are always allowed to come to work.

Other jobs around the area this week include:

  • Babysitter — A sitter is needed for morning work in Vienna from 6-9:15 a.m., Monday through Friday with every other Friday off. The job would include getting a 2 and 8 year old dressed and ready for school, making breakfast, cleaning dishes, light room cleaning and driving the children to school. The job would pay $15 per hour and starts in early January.
  • Pilates Coordinator — Equinox is looking for applicants to help manage pilates sessions at their studio in Tysons Corner. Applicants must be certified in Pilates training and have experience in customer service.
  • After School Chess Instructor — Chess Wizards in Vienna is looking for tutors to teach elementary school students the fundamentals of the game. The work is part time, paying $60-65 per hour with between 1-5 one-hour classes per week. Instructors will need experience in maintaining an organized and ordered classroom and an ability to make chess fun.
  • After School Minecraft Instructor — Fairfax Collegiate is offering courses teaching students basic engineering and programming, either through Lego robotics or Minecraft. Instructors in these classes should have at least one year of college experience, experience in the course material, and ideally experience in handling younger students. The job is part-time and pays $45-50 per hour.

Additionally, several of the Alarm.com jobs from last week remain open to applicants.

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After featuring Art Garfunkel in November, The Barns at Wolf Trap continues its string of one-half of classic rock duos with John Oates in January. If you’ve wanted to hear at least half of 70’s-80’s pop duo Hall and Oates performed live, here’s your chance to make your dreams come true.

Oates will be performing a mix of earlier hits and songs from his recent roots-focused solo project Arkansas, with The Good Road Band.  Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Jan. 17 and 18. Tickets range from $42 for side balcony or rear orchestra, or $47 for prime balcony.

The Verve Pipe, alternative rock band with chat-topping 1996 hit “The Freshmen”, will also be performing at The Barns at Wolf Trap on Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.

Toots & The Maytals, the band whose 1968 single “Do the Reggae” is credited with popularizing the term reggae, is also scheduled to hold an “intimate acoustic set” on Jan. 16. Tickets are $55 for prime seats or $50 for rear orchestra or side balcony.

The list of Wolf Trap events in January:

The full Wolf Trap schedule is available online.

Photo via Wolf Trap

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This Saturday, the McLean Police District Station is hosting a “Stuff the Cruiser” food drive.

The cruiser will be located at the Giant Food at 1454 Chain Bridge Road. The idea is to bring enough food and other goods to fill one of the Fairfax County Police Department’s cruisers. The supplies will be donated to the Share of McLean Food Pantry.

Share of McLean is a nonprofit organization established in 1969 to meet the needs of those less fortunate in McLean and surrounding Northern Virginia localities. The organization is all-volunteer and relies on donations. In addition to the food pantry, the organization also collects clothes and furniture to give to those in need.

According to their website, the organization distributes 700 bags of groceries and 200 bags of clothing each month.

If you are unable to attend the food drive on Saturday, the organization also accepts food donations at the McLean Baptist Church on 1367 Chain Bridge Rd, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Police say the food drive currently needs:

  • Breakfast cereal
  • Applesauce
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned foods
  • Canned pasts sauce
  • White sugar
  • White rice
  • Dried beans
  • Vegetable oil
  • Crackers and snacks
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Granola bars
  • Dried pasta
  • Single toothbrushes
  • Shampoo
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Toilet paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers
  • Laundry soap

Photo via Twitter

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Changes don’t happen quickly at Breakaway Fitness. The walls are all mustard-colored brick and there’s not a TV in sight.

Co-owner Christa Dalakis takes pride in the facility being an “old school” type of gym. But after 17 years of operating in Tysons, starting next year the gym will be going through some changes.

The big one is the gym will be nearly doubling in size, consolidating its operations currently spread out in two locations into one, expanding the facility at 1524 Spring Hill Rd onto a second floor. The gym will also start selling memberships for the first time.

“So right now, we just do appointments,” said Dalakis. “With new membership, you can come in on alternate days of training or just use membership without training.”

Formerly, clients who came in for training sessions could de facto come in on other days to work out, but with the new expansions Dalakis said she thought it was fair to start charging a membership for that.

Memberships are $50 per month for the rest of the year for those who purchase in January or $75 per month for those who purchase after January. Training sessions are priced separately, though Dalakis says the first session of training is free.

There’s no less than 16 gyms in the Tysons area, but Breakaway Fitness is a “mom and pop” type gym that bears little resemblance to the state-of-the-art workout centers or yoga studios across the area. It’s a distinction Dalakis wears proudly.

“We’re ‘Cheers’ without the beers,” said Dalakis. “You walk in and everybody knows your name. It’s a home feel.”

The block Breakaway Fitness inhabits is one of Tysons’ last refuges for independent businesses in an area increasingly overrun with upscale development and a flood of national chains. The new upstairs location is located next door to the 1st Stage Theater and over The Palladium, a nightclub that opened earlier this year.

“It’s a type of gym that doesn’t really exist anymore,” said Dalakis. “There’s not a lot of frill.”

The new upstairs will be an open turf area where people can run or lift weights. The downstairs will mostly be used for classical power lifting. The expansion will also add locker rooms for the gym. Dalakis says the old school atmosphere will remain the same, though.

“There’s no TV’s on our ellipticals,” Dalakis says. “You’re there to work out.”

The new joint location means that Dalakis can once again work alongside her husband, who had formerly been handling training at the other gym location a few blocks away.

“Now that in the same location, going to bring back even more of the family atmosphere,” said Dalakis. “It’s hard to explain what we bring to the table, but anyone feels comfortable when they step into our place of business.”

The new gym location and new membership requirements will start on Jan. 2. Dalakis says the gym will have a grand reopening celebration, but hasn’t selected a specific date yet.

Photo via Facebook

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You’re cordially invited to the Town of Vienna’s holiday reception tomorrow (Friday) afternoon from 4-6 p.m. No RSVP necessary.

The reception will be held inside the Vienna Town Hall at 127 Center Street S. The annual party is scheduled to be attended by the Town Council, in case you’re one of the commenters with strong opinions on the school trailers or the log cabin removal discussed earlier this week.

The reception will include light refreshments and musical performances.

If you’re looking for more holiday festivities around Vienna, on Sunday (Dec. 16), The Insight Shop will host its annual Sing-Along on the Town Green at 144 Maple Ave E. The Sing-Along will run from 5-6 p.m. with hot beverages served to keep attendees warm.

Photo via Facebook

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) Enjoy the free street parking in Tysons while it lasts, because its days may be numbered.

At a Fairfax County Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) discussed plans to hire a professional parking consultant to explore parking management in Tysons and nearby Reston.

“The intent is to pilot parking management in these areas and expand to other areas as appropriate,” said Henri Stein McCartney, a transportation planner with FCDOT

McCartney said the goal of the study is to determine whether to implement on-street parking restrictions in Tysons and if so, what form those restrictions will take.

“The goal is timely turnover of spaces to encourage space availability,” said McCartney. “Numerous studies show motorists will circle [the] block searching for free on-street parking. [Parking restrictions] reduce number of cars searching for on-street parking. If paid for parking implemented, revenues could enforce parking rules.”

The study would also look at whether to implement paid parking or time restricted parking. Paid parking could take the form of a mobile kiosk or an app, like ParkMobile.

The second option would be time restricted parking, which could either be free or paid. However, McCartney said timed parking often requires more intensive enforcement efforts, with officers needed to monitor timed parking zones.

McCartney said FCDOT had not yet determined how much revenue paid parking could generate in Tysons.

FCDOT staff said the first area of study will be Tysons. Both the county’s comprehensive plan and urban design guidelines call for some form of “managed parking on future grid streets” in Tysons. FCDOT is apparently eyeing the new streets constructed at Boro development as some of the first “managed streets” in Tysons.

Implementation of paid parking in areas like the Reston Town Center has been controversial, to say the least.

McCartney said the study will have to also make sure the parking restrictions don’t push cars into the neighborhoods surrounding Tysons.

“This is inevitable, but it’s something we need to walk into very carefully,” said Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity. “Parking fees drive behavior. We have the real life example of Reston when they implemented those fees and all the angst it created… and loss of revenue.”

Herrity emphasized that any study of paid parking will have to involve close communication with the business community.

“The mistakes made in the past can be a helpful learning process,” said Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

Hudgins said one of the biggest lessons from the Reston Town Center parking fiasco that should be applied to Tysons is specifying the goals of parking management, like whether the paid parking is a way of raising revenue or managing transportation.

Even before the recommendations come in, the committee seemed supportive of some form of paid or timed parking restrictions. From Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova:

“Tysons is an urban area that is being developed. It’s important that we manage the parking. In most urban areas that is done. The last thing you want to happen would be people to park on the streets all day long as employees and then customers and people doing business in Tysons don’t have a place to park for a relatively short period of time. It is a complicated issue and we’re doing the right thing starting with a consulting study.”

The study will be measuring on-street and off-street parking supply and demand and model future demand based on approved development plans. In the end, it will recommend appropriate strategies and an implementation plan.

FCDOT staff said an update on the study will be given between six to nine months later, but the recommendations won’t be available for at least another year.

The estimated cost of parking study is $100,000.

Image via Fairfax County Department of Transportation

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Morning Notes

Building Near Spring Hill Metro Purchased — “Transwestern today announces it brokered the sale of Tysons Pond II, a 67,151-square-foot, free-standing office building located at 1604 Spring Hill Road in Tysons… A private investor purchased the 70 percent leased asset for $10 million.” [Citybizlist]

Nantucket Bay Scallops Season in Tysons — “Nantucket Bay scallops are in season and Eddie V’s of Tysons Corner has a special scallop dishes that are available for a limited time.” [WUSA 9]

Jerry Gordon Reflects on Retirement — “Jerry Gordon has two weeks left on his job as the president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Authority, and his office is so empty it echoes… After 31 years on the job, Gordon is transitioning out of a role that led Fairfax to become a superstar in economic development.” [Washington Business Journal]

More Silver Line Phase 2 Problems — “Hundreds of concrete rail ties installed at track crossovers along the second phase of the Silver Line are flawed, officials say, a problem that could further delay the multibillion-dollar rail project that is already 13 months behind schedule.” [Washington Post]

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