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What’s Coming to Wolf Trap in November?

November at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a season of returns for classic rock legends.

Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers behind hits like “Be My Baby,” will be performing on Friday (Nov. 9) and Saturday (Nov. 10). Ticket are $50 for rear orchestra or side balcony or $55 for prime orchestra or prime balcony.

Hot Rize, a popular 1980’s bluegrass band, will play at Wolf Trap on Nov. 17 as part of the group’s 40th-anniversary tour. Tickets range from $45 to $60.

The following three nights will feature Art Garfunkel, a solo artist and part of the iconic Simon and Garfunkel duo. Concerts will be held Nov. 18, 19 and 20 with prices ranging from $80 to $95.

The list of Wolf Trap events in November:

The full Wolf Trap schedule is available online.

Photo via Wolf Trap

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Registration Open to Join the McLean Winterfest Parade

Ever wanted to march in a parade? Registration is now available to join the annual McLean Winterfest.

The parade is scheduled to be held along Old Chain Bridge Road on Sunday, Dec. 2 as part of the 10th annual Winterfest. Check-in for the parade starts at 2 p.m. and the parade itself will begin at 3:30 p.m.

From 2-5 p.m., Old Chain Bridge Road from Fleetwood Street to Elm Street will be closed for the parade.

The parade will feature an “official” Santa Claus, so others in Santa costumes not be allowed in the parade. Also, pets that are not a part of rescue organizations are not allowed to march without prior written approval from parade officials.

A full list of rules for those marching or driving in the parade is available online.

Photo via McLean Winterfest

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Creek Restoration Flows Back to Vienna Town Council Tonight

At its meeting tonight (Monday), the Vienna Town Council is set to vote on a funding agreements for two major environmental restoration projects.

The larger project is the next phase of the Hunter Branch Stream restoration project, estimated to cost $1.92 million.

The project will restore 1,800 feet of the stream along Nutley Street SW. The first phase of the project, completed in 2016, worked to combat the erosion of another part of the stream and add native plant species. The stream is located within the Chesapeake Bay, Accotink Creek and Potomac River watersheds, with the ultimate goal of the project being the reduction of sediments and pollutants flowing into those larger bodies of water.

Design work is expected to take place throughout fiscal year 2019 with an estimated cost of $400,000.

The other funding agreement is for the Tapawingo/Kingsley Urban Bioretention Project, will build bioretention along Meadow Lane SW where it intersects Tapawingo and Kingsley roads. The new bioretention areas will extend the curb and add new environmental control measures aimed at treating storm runoff from the street.

The bioretention project is expected to cost $200,000.

The funding for the projects come from an agreement with Fairfax County.

Photo via Facebook

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Want to Live in Tysons? Here Are the Current and Future Options

Finding a place to live in Tysons can be difficult, even outside of the problems with affordable housing.

Jonathan LaCroix from the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce noted that the ratio of jobs to housing units in the area is lopsided, with roughly 100,000 jobs but only 19,000 residents. So for those hoping to live a little closer to where they work the housing market can be scarce and expensive.

To help, Tysons Reporter has put together a list of apartments and condominiums available to rent or buy currently and a look at housing coming down the pipeline over the next few years.

According to apartments.com and other sources, these are the places in Tysons that are available for rent:

Several apartments and condominiums are clumped together at Park Crest just north of Tysons Galleria:

Other existing condo buildings include:

There are several apartment complexes currently in development:

  • Westpark Plaza – Four planned buildings with a planned 1,300 residential units in two of them
  • The Boro – Several mixed-use development buildings — including the “Rise” apartment tower and “Verse” condominium tower — near the Greensboro Metro station
  • The Monarch – A planned luxury condominium building
  • Tysons West Phase III – A planned development hub that will include 669 residential units
  • Residences at Tysons II – A planned pair of 30-story residential towers adjacent to Tysons Galleria
  • Lumen – A 32-story residential tower with 398 apartment units planned for completion by the end of 2018 and open for renting spring 2019.

Apart from the above list in and around central Tysons, there are also a number of other residential options just east of the Beltway with McLean and Falls Church mailing addresses, including but not limited to: Tysons View, Tysons Glen, Eaves Fairfax Towers, the Oaks at Falls Church, PeachTree of McLean, Tysons Landing Apartments, Regency at McLean condos, Encore of McLean condos, the Colonies of McLean condos, the Commons of McLean, the Gates of McLean condos, McLean Chase condosRenaissance 2230 condos, and the Fountain at McLean condos.

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The State of Affordable Housing in Tysons

Affordable housing in Tysons is different than the rest of Fairfax County.

Affordable housing across the rest of Fairfax County, and much of the region, is grouped into apartment complexes with units set aside to cater to those at the lowest income levels. But in Tysons, affordable housing is filling the new high-rises.

Abdi Hamud from Fairfax County’s Affordable and Workforce Dwelling Units Program met with the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce earlier today (Friday) to explain the state of affordable housing in Tysons.

Starting in 2010, the Board of Supervisors adopted a policy that would create workforce dwelling units (WDU) in the mid- and high-rise buildings except from other local affordable housing programs.

In total, there are nearly 500 total WDU in Tysons, according to Hamud.

On the rental side, the WDU program covers area median incomes (AMI) at a broader level than other affordable housing programs. The cost of living in Tysons often exceeds the AMI. While Fairfax’s primary affordable dwelling unit (ADU) program serves those at 50 or 70 percent of the AMI, in Tysons the WDU covers incomes from 60 percent through 120 percent.

At least 20 percent of the rental units inside the new mid and high-rise apartments in Tysons must be WDU, with specific percents broken up by income brackets.

  • Two percent of all units must be accessible to those at 60 percent of AMI
  • Three percent of all units must be accessible o those at 70 percent of AMI
  • The remaining 15 percent of  WDU units must be broken equally into 80 percent, 100 percent and 120 percent of AMI

A policy is also in place for WDU in units that are for sale, but Hamud said there haven’t been any yet and none are planned for the near future.

Hamud said one of the largest problems facing Fairfax is the demand for affordable housing far exceeding the supply. According to Hamud, other affordable housing waitlists in Fairfax and across the state are so full they are being closed. But in Tysons, with new projects constantly in development, Hamud said the waiting lists are substantially shorter and easier to access.

Even with this affordable housing program, Larry Rockwell from The Arc of Northern Virginia noted that “affordable housing” can still be too expensive for many living in the area.

The Arc helps support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, many of whom Rockwell said struggle to find affordable housing because the stigma of disabilities leaves higher paying work inaccessible to them. With the expenses many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities face, or for students getting started in the workforce with loan payments, even the affordable housing in Tysons can exceed the advised 30 percent of a salary that should go to housing.

Still, in a region with rents of $2,000 or $3,000 per month, Hamud said it’s important to have tools available to try and help the new workforce of Tysons find a place to live. The county is currently looking at what has been working with the WDU program and what hasn’t, he said.

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Fairfax Firefighters Hosting Open Houses This Saturday

To mark Fire Prevention Week, fire stations all across Fairfax County will be opening their doors to the public this weekend.

From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, every fire station in Fairfax will be open, with members of the public invited to meet firefighters, see the fire trucks, participate in activities and learn about fire safety.

Fire stations inside our coverage area include:

  • Fire Station 1 in McLean (1455 Laughlin Ave.)
  • Fire Station 29 in Tysons (1560 Spring Hill Road)
  • Fire Station 13 in Dunn Loring (2148 Gallows Road)
  • Fire Station 2 in Vienna (400 Center Street)
  • Fire Station 30 in Merrifield (8739 Lee Highway)

For those in Tysons, it will also be a chance to wish your local Fire Station 29 a happy 40th birthday.

A map of all Fairfax County fire stations is available online.

Photo via Twitter

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One Year Left for Vienna’s Last Sports Card Shop

If you didn’t know it was there, it would be easy to miss A.J.’s Sports Stop. The tiny shop is a slightly removed from Maple Avenue, and overshadowed by the larger abandoned Marco Polo Restaurant next door.

But for any lover of sports cards or tabletop games, inside is a treasure trove — and one that could disappear within a year.

Rick Lucian, one of the owners, said that the store has been tucked away off Maple Avenue since 1980. Lucian joined the store ten years ago, having grown up with a love of sports cards.

The store is an assortment of odds and ends related to all sorts of sports or geeky memorabilia. There’s Warhammer figures on a front shelf and comics nearby, plus board games.

“Magic: The Gathering is the biggest item that we sell,” said Lucian. “Magic has grown a lot over the years.”

But the real focus of the store is trading sports cards, baseball in particular.

Lucian says the store makes a special effort to be friendly to new card collectors. To those who are just starting out, Lucian says to just pick your favorite team and start collecting, like grabbing a packet of Nationals cards.

The arrival of eBay and overproduction of sports cards has hurt the collecting industry since its heyday prior to the turn of the century. Lucian says the store has adapted to keep up with the times, but the plans for changes along Maple Avenue could mean the end of A.J.’s, at least in its current location.

Lucian said developers are working on a plan to redevelop the Marco Polo site, and it seems inevitable that their store will get caught up in that.

“Most likely we’ll only be here for another year,” said Lucian. “They’re looking to demolish and build something new here. So we’re looking around for a new storefront and we would like to stay in Vienna, but the rents are high.”

In the meantime, Lucian says the store will continue to be Vienna’s one-stop shop for cards and tabletop games.

In an era of constant electronic stimulus, Lucian said there’s still something special about a kid opening up a pack of baseball cards.

Photo (2) via Google Maps

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Citizens Take Fairfax County to Court Over Airbnb Regulations

One month into Fairfax County’s new regulations on short-term lodging, a group of local citizens are suing to have the regulations voided.

On July 31, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Short-Term Lodging (STL) Zoning Ordinance Amendment aimed at regulating home-sharing inside Fairfax, most commonly carried out through the websites Airbnb and VRBO.

Short-term lodging operators must apply for a $200 two-year zoning permit, and homeowners or community associations can still prohibit lodgings within their subdivision or development.

The new requirements went into effect on Oct. 1, along with a series of new regulations on short-term lodging:

  • Homes cannot be used for STL more than 60 nights per year.
  • The maximum number of lodgers per night is six adults.
  • The maximum number of rental contracts per might is one, so all lodgers must be associated with the same contract.
  • Any events or activities like parties, meetings, or luncheons where there may be direct or indirect compensation is prohibited.
  • All advertisements must include the STL permit number and identify the location of parking.
  • STLs cannot be set up in detached structures
  • A new Transient Occupancy Tax must be collected for each rental contract by the end of each month following the reporting month. A monthly return must also filed even if no taxes are due. If receipts exceed $10,000, a Business Professional and Occupational License is required.
  • STL operators must be permanent residents of the property and obtain written consent from property owner (when applicable).
  • Maintain a guest log including name, address and telephone number of all lodgers to be made available to any County employee upon request.
  • All STLs are required to be open for inspection during reasonable hours.

The 36 Fairfax residents collectively suing the County say the Board of Supervisors overreached and the move is the latest in a two-year trend of the county targeting STL.

In 2017, the General Assembly enacted a code allowing localities to establish a short term rental registry and require operators to register annually. Localities are also allowed to charge a fee for registration.

According to the Fairfax County website, the code prompted the Board of Supervisors to analyze short-term lodging in Fairfax and make zoning changes to allow STLs while maintaining the overall character of residential neighborhoods.

But the lawsuit says the requirements that nearly all of the other regulations, like the requirement that operators be permanent residents and the requirement of a guest log book, all exceed the authorities explicitly granted by the state.

As Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, one where the localities can only engage in activities explicitly sanctioned by the state government, the lawsuit alleges that Fairfax’s actions constitute an overreach.

Among the allegations are claims that the STL ordinance constitutes unlawful piecemeal downzoning, a violation of due process, and that the requirement that homes be open for inspection constitutes authorization of unlawful search and seizure.

According to the Fairfax Circuit Court clerk’s office, a hearing for the case is scheduled for Nov. 1 at 8:30 a.m.

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Map: Planned and Ongoing Transportation Projects in McLean

Tysons Reporter has put together a map and list of planned and ongoing transportation projects in McLean.

During their Sept. 25 meeting, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a status report on transportation projects throughout the County. Included in the report is an updated list of all ongoing and planned transportation projects.

McLean, part of the Dranesville District, begins on page 443. Most of the projects planned for McLean are new sidewalks, aligning with Fairfax County’s goals of making McLean more walkable.

Projects in the pre-construction phase are marked in blue. Projects currently undergoing construction or scheduled to begin in October are marked in red. Projects that have not begun their design process were not included.

In Pre-Construction:

  • Intersection of Balls Hill Road and Old Dominion Drive: A project is currently being designed to make intersection improvements, including a potential roundabout and pedestrian facilities. The design process is expected to end in December. Land aquisition activities are underway to secure the land at the intersection for development. Current funding for the project is $200,000.
  • Chesterbrook Road Sidewalks: Three small sidewalk extensions are planned along Chesterbrook Road in McLean. Project scoping and initial coordination for these projects are expected for summer 2019. Each walkway extension is priced at $1 million.
  • Sidewalk on Georgetown Pike: 700 feet of a ten-foot wide sidewalk is planned for the east side of Georgetown Pike south of Colonial Farm Road. An additional 350 feet of five-foot wide sidewalk is planned for the east side of Route 123 and Potomac School Road. The project is currently undergoing land acquisition with construction beginning in April 2020. Current estimate of project cost is $1.3 million.
  • Sidewalk on Idylwood Road: 200 feet of five-foot wide sidewalk is planned for Idylwood Road near Falls Church between Norwalk Street and Eastman Drive. Final design for the sidewalk is underway and expected to be completed by July 2019. Construction is scheduled to begin April 2020 and continue through October 2020. Current estimated cost of the project is $300,000.
  • Kirby Avenue Sidewalks: 520 feet of sidewalk connecting Chesterbrook Elementary School to Halsey Road along the south side of Kirby Road. The project is currently in land acquisition with construction scheduled to begin in March 2019 and finish in December 2019. Three additional sidewalk projects are planned along Kirby Avenue.  The total project cost is estimated at $925,000.
  • Lewinsville Road and Spring Hill Road Intersection: Improvements to the intersection in design and expected to be completed in December. The aim is to improve traffic flow and safety and add pedestrian crosswalks. All construction dates are still to be determined. The total project cost is estimated at $15.8 million.
  • Magarity Road Sidewalk and Crosswalk: A new eight-foot wide sidewalk is planned for the south side Magarity Road near Tysons between Lusby Place and Peabody Drive and one new crosswalk. The project is still in design until November 2020. Total project cost is estimated at $2.3 million.
  • Westmoreland Street and Rosemont Drive Bike Lanes: A 400-foot widening of Westmoreland Street to add bike lanes is currently in the design. Construction is expected to begin in November 2019 and finish in August 2020.

Under Construction:

  • Baron Road Walkway from Dead Run Park Trailhead to Douglass Drive: Construction of a new sidewalk is underway along Douglass Drive where it insects the Dead Run Park Trailhead, including a new curb and gutter. Construction is expected to be finished this month. The project budget is $700,000.
  • Birch Street Sidewalk: 700 feet of new sidewalk construction is planned for the west side of Birch Street from Grove Avenue to an existing sidewalk. Construction began in September and will continue until June 2019. The total funding the the project is currently $1 million, with an estimated total cost of $1.8 million.
  • Chesterbrook Road Sidewalk: Utility relocation is currently ongoing for a five-foot concrete sidewalk on the south side of Chesterbrook Road. Construction on the project is expected to finish in April 2019.
  • Sidewalks on Dolly Madison Boulevard: Construction started in September for two five-foot sidewalks along the south side of Dolly Madison Boulevard. The first length, from Chain Bridge Road to Kurtz Road, is estimated to be completed by May 2019 and cost $450,000. The second, from Old Dominion Drive to Beverly Avenue, is scheduled for completion in June 2019  and will cost $450,000.
  • Kirby Road Sidewalk: A six-foot sidewalk on the north side of Kirby Road is beginning construction this month and is scheduled to finish August 2019. The total estimated cost is $1.75 million.

Photo via Fairfax County. Map via Google Maps

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Halloween on the Green This Saturday In Vienna

Halloween on the Green, a free family-friendly halloween celebration, is coming to Vienna this Saturday (Oct 13).

From 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., activities sponsored by Vienna Parks and Recreation will fill the Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave E). Activities include:

  • Crafts and games
  • Storytelling with Patrick Henry librarians
  • Moon bounces
  • A petting zoo
  • A visit from the Vienna Singing Princesses
  • An applesauce-making demo, courtesy of Historic Vienna, Inc.
  • Pumpkin carving and painting.

The event is aimed at children ages two through ten. In the event of inclement weather, call 703-255-7842 for updates on the status of the celebration.

Photo via Facebook

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