Teen Arrested after Police Chase on I-495 — Virginia State Police arrested an 18-year-old from Portsmouth on multiple charges, including abduction and possession of a concealed weapon without a permit, after he reportedly led a state trooper on a chase in a stolen car on Friday (June 18). The trooper attempted to pull over a Honda Civic going 80 mph in a 55 mile-per-hour zone on Interstate 495, leading to a chase that ended when the Honda rear-ended a trailer on Lee Chapel Road. [WTOP]

Work Begins Today on McLean Field Conversion — “Work is scheduled to begin Monday to convert the existing soccer field at Holladay Field Park in McLean to synthetic turf. Crews will also install stormwater and drainage features and other site improvements. It’s expected to be completed in October.” [Fairfax County Park Authority/Twitter]

The Langley School Breaks Ground on New Facility — “On June 18, The Langley School officially broke ground for a state-of-the-art new building on its 9.2-acre campus…Called the Crossroads Building, the facility is scheduled to open in fall 2022 and will house the preschool, junior kindergarten, kindergarten, fifth grade, and after-school programs, along with a library/media center and a multipurpose space.” [The Langley School/Patch]

Vienna Completes New Public Art Project — “Come on out to the latest project by the Vienna Public Arts Commission and get your picture taken with butterfly wings! The display, painted by Madison graduate Myles Temple, is by the batting cages at Caffi Field.” [Town of Vienna/Facebook]

Comedian Puts on Father’s Day Show for Jammin’ Java — “Vienna native Allan Sidley likes to make a room laugh. Despite his stage fright, Sidley got into stand-up comedy seven years ago, and has been bringing laughter to people’s lives ever since. Sidley likes to look at life with the perspective of laughing makes things better.” [Fairfax County Times]

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The weekend is almost here. Before you starting reading up on Fairfax County’s history or head to bed for some much-needed sleep, let’s revisit recent news from the Tysons area that you might’ve missed.

These were the most-read stories on Tysons Reporter this week:

  1. BREAKING: Shooting in Vienna under police investigation
  2. A guide to free outdoor concerts around Tysons this summer
  3. Man dies after shooting in Vienna; police investigation ongoing
  4. New law will change the rules of the road for drivers and bicyclists starting July 1
  5. As developer plans to fix West Falls Church Metro area, pressure builds on county to fix nearby traffic issues

Ideas for stories we should cover can be sent to [email protected] or submitted as an anonymous tip. Photos of scenes from around the community are welcome too, with credit always given to the photographer.

You can find previous rundowns of top stories on the site.

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After being adapted for emergency uses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Container Store in Vienna could undergo another transformation.

The vacant storefront at 8505 Leesburg Pike near the Greensboro Metro station could be used by the Tysons Partnership and Celebrate Fairfax, Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives Director Rebecca Moudry told Tysons Reporter.

The building is 19,260 square feet in size and has approximately 95 parking spaces. The Container Store previously used the space before relocating to 8459 Leesburg Pike in 2018.

The county acquired the space in 2019 for $16.6 million with the hopes of using it to support innovation and entrepreneurship and create a vibrant destination for residents and visitors. Those goals remain and could be realized by this fall, Moudry says.

When the county requested proposals for the space before the pandemic, development officials suggested the property could host temporary or “pop-up” community-oriented events, arts and cultural special events, innovation hubs or exchanges, or civic and cultural programming that complements and supports primary uses of the property.

Over the past year, it has been used for storage, including for personal protective equipment, and it was designated as a hypothermia shelter from Dec. 1 to April 1.

“As we plan for reopening and economic recovery, placemaking, local businesses and community engagement will play vital roles in this work,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a statement. “The county owned building at 8508 Leesburg Pike is uniquely situated to serve the growing residential and business community in this area of Tysons, and we are currently reviewing proposals to provide such opportunities.”

A representative for Tysons Partnership, the nonprofit group charged with implementing the county’s vision for Tysons, had no update on the plans as of mid-June, and Celebrate Fairfax did not immediately respond to a message.

“I hope to be able to see this site activated in the coming months, both with its indoors and outdoors spaces,” Palchik said in her statement.

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Map of the West Falls Church Metro development sites (photo courtesy EYA)

Concerns raised by both local citizens and Fairfax County Planning Commission members over the impact of a new West Falls Church Metro station development plan prompted the commission to defer a vote on the project on Wednesday (June 16).

The West Falls Church Metro station is one of the most underutilized stations in the Metro system, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has enlisted developer EYA to turn the site into a mixed-use development.

The plan was endorsed by a task force appointed by Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, but at Wednesday’s public hearing, several nearby residents and civic association representatives spoke out with concerns about the project — though others praised it as an improvement over the existing space.

“There are several focused criticisms and concerns raised about the current proposal by the [McLean Citizens Association] and by some of the nearby residents, who feel that we need to go further than this plan suggests,” said Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder.

Much of the criticism focused around the effect of traffic brought by the project on nearby roads that the county acknowledges were not made to support a sizable increase in density.

Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina said she was concerned that the plans fail to adequately address pedestrian safety.

“The text I see in the pedestrian area talks about convenience and comfort: it doesn’t talk about safety,” Cortina said. “This is life and death. We have to call out safety where we have pedestrian sections because that should be a priority.”

County staff said a follow-up study will look at identifying funding for pedestrian safety and traffic improvements for nearby streets that are outside of the scope of the current project but will still likely be affected by it.

“Haycock Road and Route 7 prevent a lot of people from crossing safely [to the Metro],” said Tim Kutz, a transportation planner with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. “That’s something we’re going to look at further in the transportation plan looking at the surrounding neighborhood. It’s important that people have an opportunity to bike and walk safely…A lot of older neighborhoods don’t have sidewalks, don’t have crosswalks, and don’t have connectivity.”

Kutz said the funding for those future pedestrian improvements is something the county would “have to explore” later.

Some nearby residents commented that they support the project, notably Cheryl Smith, who represented the Gates at West Falls Condominiums and served as the majority vote for the West Falls Church TSA Task Force.

Smith argued that the project would be a net increase in terms of quality of life for those surrounding the project, but others disagreed.

“The WMATA site is not suitable,” said Adrienne Whyte, representing the recently-launched Reclaim Fairfax County group. “This is a lovely but limited fiction.”

Whyte said the West Falls Church Metro station is intended to be a neighborhood-serving station rather than a site for significant developments.

In the middle was Phil Cooke from the McLean Citizens’ Association, who said the MCA supported the developer’s plans, but with the provision that the county must further study ways to address the potential consequences of increased density and congestion.

“[This] will strain Route 7 congestion further than it already is,” Cooke said. “Folks will seek to avoid Haycock and Route 7 and exit the back way, increasing local congestion.”

At Ulfelder’s suggestion, the board voted unanimously to defer its decision on the comprehensive plan amendment to the June 30 meeting, to collect further feedback and reflect on public comment before the Commission votes on the project.

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If you’re in the market to buy a house in the Tysons, McLean and Vienna areas, you’ve got options to explore.

According to Homesnap, there are 149 homes for sale, with a median list price of $465,000.

Here are a few open houses taking place this weekend:

Photo via Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

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Updated at 2:40 p.m. — The electronic device discovered outside of CIA’s Langley headquarters, leading to a two-hour closure of Route 123, turned out to be innocuous, a CIA spokesperson says.

“The investigation identified the small electronic device by our front gate to be a remote for a dog training collar with no security implications,” CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay told Tysons Reporter in a statement. “Our front gate is all clear, and the matter is resolved.”

Updated at 1:30 p.m. — Route 123 has reopened in front of the CIA in McLean, the Fairfax County Police Department says.

The road was closed for roughly two hours while the intelligence agency investigated “a small electronic device” found outside its headquarters with support from local police.

“In coordination with our law enforcement partners, we’re investigating a small electronic device found outside the secure perimeter of CIA Headquarters near our front gate,” CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay said in a statement. “Consistent with our standard protocols, we’re taking the appropriate security precautions, which include closing the front gate to CIA Headquarters.”

De Haay said the CIA will update its statement as more details about the situation become known.

Earlier: Route 123 is currently closed to traffic around the CIA headquarters in McLean.

The Fairfax County Police Department said just after 11:20 a.m. that Dolley Madison Boulevard has been shut down between Georgetown Pike and Savile Lane “for law enforcement activity in the area.”

A traffic alert from Fairfax County says drivers should “expect delays for an undetermined amount of time.”

Just last month, Route 123 was closed in the CIA headquarters area in response to a security incident where an individual reportedly attempted to drive through the gates and was stopped by armed guards.

That incident concluded when an FBI agent who responded to the scene shot the man, who later died from his injuries and has never been publicly identified.

The CIA directed follow-up inquiries about the incident to the FBI, which said it was conducting an internal review of the incident in accordance with its policies for shootings involving agents.

The FBI told Tysons Reporter on May 20 that it had no further information or comment beyond its public statement, reprinted below, announcing the individual’s death.

The subject involved in the shooting incident outside CIA Headquarters at approximately 6 p.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021, died from his injuries after being transported to the hospital. The FBI reviews every shooting incident involving an FBI special agent. The review will carefully examine the circumstances of the shooting and collect all relevant evidence from the scene. As the review remains ongoing, we cannot provide any additional details at this time.

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Outside the Fairfax County Courthouse (via Google Maps)

A civil engineer for the Fairfax County government has been accused of soliciting sex from an underage boy online.

Francesco Lauretti, 46, of Vienna, was allegedly caught in a sting operation for a felony charge regarding computer solicitation. Police say he proposed sex with a minor under 15 years of age and was arrested March 30, about a week after the alleged offense.

Following an arraignment on March 31, the Fairfax County General District Court held a preliminary hearing last Wednesday (June 16) and moved the case to the county’s circuit court for a grand jury to determine if there is probable cause.

Lauretti has been on paid administrative leave from his job with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation since March 31 “pending the outcome of an ongoing internal investigation,” according to the county.

An attorney for Lauretti argued that he should be released without a bail stipulation that required him to not use the internet, a restriction that can be imposed on other defendants.

The attorney said in a court filing that Lauretti has been seeing telehealth providers virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an internet ban would also result in the defendant’s imminent unemployment.

His current attorney, Michael Sprano, said he did not have any comments to make presently.

The charge is a Class 5 felony that involves using a communications system or other electronic means to solicit “with lascivious intent” a person that the accused knew or had reason to believe was a child less than 15. If the offender is more than 7 years older than the child, as in this case, a conviction carries a minimum prison sentence of five years.

According to a court document filed earlier this year, Lauretti has a wife and kids.

Photo via Google Maps

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Construction has begun again on the Monarch, the luxury condominium high-rise being build as a part of the Arbor Row development in Tysons.

The Monarch team announced yesterday (Thursday) that Hoar Construction has been hired as its new contractor, and construction is expected to be completed in mid-2023.

Renaissance Centro, the building’s developer, split with its previous contractor in 2020, and construction had been on hold until Hoar’s recent hiring.

Hoar has experience working on residential buildings in Tysons, having built the nearby Lumen apartments which opened in 2019.

Activity at The Monarch is visible once again, with Hoar Construction starting to work on the building’s site, including pouring concrete for a parking garage, that will continue throughout the summer. A crane to start building vertically will be erect by the end of the summer, according to a spokesperson for  Monarch.

The building is set to be over 250 feet tall with 101 condos inside. It is part of the Arbor Row mixed-use development being built near Tysons Galleria.

A sale gallery for The Monarch is located at 1650 Tysons Blvd Suite 905 and is open on Friday and Saturday from 11-5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information or appoints call 703-734-2020 or visit their website.

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Offensive KKK Flyers — Bigotry-filled flyers aimed at the Fairfax County School Board were found earlier this week in the Springfield and Sully Districts, apparently distributed by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. School board members and local leaders, including Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and the president of the county’s NAACP chapter, denounced the flyers, which are under investigation by county police and the FBI. [Patch]

County Government Observes Juneteenth — Fairfax County government offices are closed today in recognition of Juneteenth, which falls on Saturday (June 19). Fairfax County Public Library branches are closed, as is the McLean Community Center, but many park facilities are open, and the county’s trash collection services will proceed as normal. [Fairfax County Government]

Athletic Training Facility Opens in Falls ChurchCapital City Sports Academy will hold a grand opening ceremony from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) for its new, 4,500 square-foot sports training facility at 3431 Carlin Springs Road. Attendees can meet the owners and coaching staff, take a tour of the facility, and win two months of free classes. [Capital City Sports Academy/Instagram]

Volunteers Clean Up Vienna Park — “As Vienna Little League prepares to host Virginia’s Little League Major Baseball State Tournament in July, George C. Yeonas Park is getting a facelift with the help of two dozen sweaty and hard-working volunteers. On Thursday, around 25 volunteers who work for Dominion Energy showed up at Yeonas Park to tackle projects to improve the fields and other facilities.” [Patch]

Great Falls and North West Street Sidewalks Extended — “After much effort by @fairfaxcounty and @FallsChurchGov staff, and local residents, today we celebrated completion of the NW Street and GF Street sidewalk extensions. It was a beautiful day and I am so glad we were able to gather together in person!” [Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust/Twitter]

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A real tennis court in the U.K. (via Herry Lawford/Flickr)

A multimillion-dollar indoor tennis facility is slated to come to the Westwood Country Club in Vienna.

The club is seeking to replace its existing tennis bubble with a new facility that would have three indoor tennis courts as well as court tennis, also known as real tennis, a rarity in the U.S. and the world.

“The court tennis facility will be one of less than 50 in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to introduce the sport at Westwood,” Bryan Stone, the club’s general manager, said in an email.

According to the club, the project will cost around $5.5 million to $6 million.

The club expects to host national as well as international tournaments. Outside the U.S., court tennis is only played in the United Kingdom, France, and Australia, according to court tennis groups. Players can use the walls in court tennis in a manner similar to other indoor racquet sports.

Stone wrote that demolition of the existing four-court bubble should begin in mid-July and a pre-engineered metal building would begin to be erected in late August or early September.

A rendering shows the proposed (and subject to change) indoor racquet facility at Westwood Country Club (courtesy Westwood Country Club)

“If all goes according to plan, we expect the project to be completed in May of 2022,” Stone wrote.

The new 31,240 square-foot facility would have a lower gallery and an upper-level mezzanine both for spectators. It would be available to members and their guests.

Architectural plans for the facility say that it will connect with the first-floor lobby of the country club’s adjacent poolhouse to create “a cohesive entrance experience.” There will also be a tennis pro shop in the new building.

The project is slated to go before the Town of Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review when it meets at 7:30 p.m. today (Thursday).

Photo [1] via Herry Lawford/Flickr

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