Tysons, VA

A newly proposed senior living community in McLean aims to promote aging in place.

Tri-State Chain Bridge Road wants to build 33 townhouse-style units on just over 3 acres on the north side of Chain Bridge Road near Westmoreland Street. The townhomes would be for seniors ages 60 and up.

Lori Greenlief, the land use planner with McGuireWoods who is representing the applicant, said that the proposal fills a need for senior living in McLean, noting that several options in the area are multi-family, four- to seven-story buildings.

Roughly 15% of the units will be affordable, and all of the units would be designed for aging in place with one-level living and options for an elevator and live-in caregiver suite, according to a document from the applicant to the county. The proposed community would also have a 3,600-square-foot amenity building for gardening classes, on-site physical therapy appointments, a fitness center and more.

Tri-State Chain Bridge Road said that the proposed independent living community is about one-fourth of a mile away from McLean’s downtown area.

More from the applicant:

Supported by the 50+ Community Action Plan Initiatives for housing and the well-documented need for senior housing in the Policy Plan of the Comprehensive Plan, this community will offer area residents the opportunity to remain in the McLean/Great Falls area and age-in-place in a purpose-built community designed for seniors.

The community will provide the array of amenities and services desired by the older adult population with homes designed to allow residents to age-in-place. Both the 50+ plan and the Comprehensive Plan highlight the need for options for seniors and the attached product proposed in this application will provide an alternative to the multi-family independent living lifestyle.

The focus of this community will be to create an atmosphere where residents will be able to interact for weekly or daily dining, classess, and a myriad of recreational and educational activities, with like-aged and like-minded people who are dealing with similar lifestyles and issues. At the same time, they will have the freedom to own their own space.

This community will be a safe space in that if there arises a need for added security, such as a pandemic, residents will be able to insulate within the community in their own homes but stay in community. This type of community will become more and more important as our seniors adapt to the “new normal.”

The applicant recently submitted the proposal to the county, which will get reviewed by county staff. Once accepted, the county website will add the scheduled hearing dates for the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

So far, Tri-State Chain Bridge Road has reached out to the surrounding neighborhoods and the McLean Citizens Association (MCA), Greenlief said.

Scott Spitzer, the chair of MCA’s Planning and Zoning Committee, told Tysons Reporter that the committee is currently evaluating the application.

Winnie Pizzano, the president of the Stoneleigh Homeowners’ Association, told Tysons Reporter that she has heard support for the project from her board, which oversees 134 townhomes.

“It’s obviously needed given the demographic is so much older in McLean than anywhere else,” Pizzano said, adding that it will be a good alternative to assisted living for people looking to downsize.

Greenlief noted that the proposal is in its early stages and that there is plenty of room for citizen input. Some aspects of the proposal are still getting figured out, like specifics around what “60+” will mean, Greenlief said.

People who want to provide feedback can contact Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, Greenlief at McGuireWoods and Tri-State Chain Bridge Road. Once a staff coordinator is assigned, people will also be able to reach out to the county staffer.

Map via Google Maps

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Clothing Retailer Closing in Tysons Corner Center — “Five Justice stores are set to close in the D.C. area, along with two Lane Bryant locations, two Catherines locations, one Loft Outlet and the Lou & Grey store at Tysons Corner Center.” [Washington Business Journal]

Signed, Sealed, Delivered — “Fairfax County Planning Commission members on July 29 unanimously approved a comprehensive sign plan for the new Archer Hotel in western McLean on the edge of Tysons, after the applicant reduced the size of several proposed signs.” [Inside NoVa]

Local Man Drowned — “A 21-year-old Vienna man drowned in Lake Anna on Saturday, the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday.” [Inside NoVa]

Special Election in Falls Church — A special election to fill the late Daniel Sze’s council seat will be held as part of the general election on Nov. 3. [Falls Church News Press]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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A trio of Fairfax County Board Supervisors has pushed for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force.

The task force was created through a board matter during a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on July 28. Chairman Jeff McKay and supervisors John Foust, Dalia Palchik, who represent the Dranesville and Providence districts, noted that the task force is essential in order to preserve affordable housing, especially as older multifamily rental and mobile home communities are threatened by demolition or redevelopment.

“These trends are slowly eroding the county’s market affordable housing stock and forcing families and individuals out of the communities where they work,” the board matter states.

The move comes as the county continues discussions on ways to improve its affordable housing and workforce dwelling unit policies. In 2016, the board calls for the development of a housing strategic plan that offers guidance on how to strengthen and preserve affordable housing.

According to an analysis by the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech, there are 9,500 housing units in Fairfax County that are considered market affordable and target households earning 60 percent of the area median income and below.

The county is aiming to ensure that no market affordable housing units in the county are lost — a recommendation provided by the board-created Affordable Housing Resources Panel.

The board matter calls on the task force to develop a comprehensive preservation plan. The task force will provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the following issues by the end of the first quarter of 2021:

  • “Definitions for the types of preservation that can occur in communities;
  • typology of properties at risk and characteristics to guide prioritizing properties or
  • neighborhoods in need of action sooner; and
  • a comprehensive set of preservation strategies that includes recommended policies and
  • tools to achieve the county goal of no net loss of affordability.”

“The way to ensure no net loss is through clear articulation of preservation strategies,” the board matter states.

The task force will include a variety of stakeholders, including the private sector, county officers and local planners.

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Tysons Company Reduces Workforce — “MicroStrategy Inc. (NASDAQ: MSTR) cut its workforce by 6% in early July as the company adapted to the business changes brought about by the continued spread of Covid-19 — and its recent cuts helped increase profitability for the Tysons business intelligence software company.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pizza Chain Struggling — “California Pizza Kitchen has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as the chain has been unable to surmount the challenges posed by a steep drop in sit-down dining due to the coronavirus pandemic… California Pizza Kitchen has five locations in Greater Washington, in Pentagon City, Bethesda, Tysons Corner Center, Fairfax Corner and Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg – all currently reopened in a limited capacity.” [Washington Business Journal]

Women’s Suffrage Month — “Fairfax County supervisors, after first being chided by one member, agreed July 28 that all the board’s members would sign a proclamation declaring this August as ‘Women’s Suffrage Month’ in the county.” [Inside NoVa]

Planning Commission OKs three-house subdivision — “Satisfied with planned noise-reduction measures, Fairfax County Planning Commission members on July 22 unanimously recommended the Board of Supervisors approve a three-home subdivision just north of Tysons.” [Inside NoVa]

Photo courtesy Joanne Liebig

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proposed late-night cafe along Leesburg Pike will head to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Last night, the Fairfax County Planning Commission OK’d rezoning plans for the proposed sit-down restaurant on the first floor of the commercial building at 7787 Leesburg Pike.

According to county documents, the restaurant would be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. every day, employing four people and serving up to 72 customers. The second story of the building would continue to be used for office space, county staff said.

“We believe there is a void in this area in terms of cafes and restaurants,” the applicant told the Planning Commission last night, noting that the nearby dining options are not open late at night.

The applicant said that the restaurant, which would be located in Tysons’ East Side neighborhood, aims to complement the area’s continued urbanization.

“We want to establish ourselves there as a to-go location for food in the area,” the applicant said.

Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, said in brief comments that he agrees with county staff’s recommended approval of the proposal, saying that it will support surrounding offices and contribute to the transformation of Tysons.

As for concerns about traffic, the applicant and county staff said that the restaurant’s focus on evening dining is not expected to impact traffic along Leesburg Pike.

“We do anticipate to generate any more traffic than is usual [for that area],” the applicant told the commissioners.

Image via Google Maps 

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The Fairfax County Park Authority Board plans to present an award to Meridian Group for helping to create Quantum Field in Tysons.

The Meridian Group, which is behind the new Tysons development called The Boro, teamed up with the county’s Board of Supervisors and Park Authority to transform a former parking area into Quantum Field as a proffer agreement for The Boro.

The multisport athletic field fits into the vision for “a robust park system” in Tysons, according to the county’s announcement about the award on Tuesday (July 28).

The development company will receive the Harold L. Strickland Partnership and Collaboration Award, which is named after a former Park Authority board member and honors teamwork to add state-of-the-art facilities, during a virtual ceremony in November.

More from the county:

Through this unique partnership between developers and park planners, Meridian agreed Quantum Field would be operated by the Park Authority and built in accordance with FCPA standards. The agreement stipulated that Meridian would maintain ownership of the property and grant an easement to the FCPA, outlining the terms of maintenance and operation of the field. This partnership allowed Meridian and FCPA to overcome challenges with the site related to utility easements and the field’s location adjacent to the Capital Beltway.

The field, which opened in 2019, is built with synthetic turf and has a playing surface of 180 feet by 360 feet. It offers play for five sports and includes black vinyl perimeter chain-link fencing, concrete walkways, bleacher pads, parking lot lighting, sound-containing walls and landscaping.

Because it was built with synthetic turf, Quantum Field allows for year-round use and is not affected by weather to the degree of natural turf fields. Lighting allows for extended use into the evening hours. Concrete walkways make it accessible for all; landscaping enhances its aesthetic appearance; and the sound barriers benefit area residents who are not using the field.

The field, along with the county’s other athletic fields, is open for organized and permitted use as long as people follow COVID-19 guidelines from the governor, local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the county.

Synthetic fields can accommodate up to 250 people as long as people keep 10 feet away from each other when possible and officials, coaches and players undergo a COVID-19 screening before entering the fields.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority/Flickr

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The Fairfax County Police Department has launched a new webpage to help investigate cold cases in Fairfax County, which include several in the Tysons area. 

The platform houses case information spanning 60 years in the hope that anyone with information will come forward to help resolve the cases. Cold case detectives are asking the public to provide any information about the cases — no matter how small.

“We are committing countless hours and all available resources to close these cases and provide long-awaited answers to victims’ families, and bring those who committed these awful crimes to justice,” said Major Ed O’Carroll, the bureau commander of major crimes.

The website currently provides a limited list of cases, including several local ones. More cases will be added as detectives comb through existing incidents.

Cases are categorized by decade and include a description of the incident, a photo and the date of the incident. As of today, 20 of the cases occurred in the Tysons area — mostly in and surrounding Falls Church. 

In 2001, the remains of a woman were found near a drainage ditch on the 1500 block of Lincoln Circle in McLean.  The woman was likely shot, according to police. Jewelry and clothing were found at the scene. 

In other cases, the identity of the victim is known. For example, Jerome McKagen was found shot to death in his Tysons home on George Washington Road in 1992. 

Another incident that rocked the local community was the mysterious death of a couple and their 16-year-old son in 1999. Faud Taima, 63, Dorothy Taima, 54, and their son Leith Taima were found dead in their home. Faud was involved in business dealings in Iraq. 

To provide information, people can:

  • contact the Major Crimes Bureau: 703-246-7800, option 8
  • submit tips anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by texting “FCCS” plus tip to 847411 or online
  • download the Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”

The police department says that anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100-$1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest.

The cold case squad was founded in 1995 and is housed under FCPD’s major crimes bureau. It investigates unresolved homicides and sex crimes in Fairfax County.

Photo via Bill Oxford/Unsplash

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“Relay,” a new autonomous electric shuttle, made its first test run throughout Merrifield’s Mosaic District yesterday. 

Relay is a free, driverless transportation option that will take people from the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station to the Mosaic District. 

Yesterday’s testing was the beginning of a mapping process to teach the vehicle its route. In the learning process, the shuttle needs to stay on its route down to the millimeter, according to Dominion Energy’s Innovation Strategist Julie Manzari.

Testing and mapping usually take a few weeks or more with autonomous shuttles depending on the complicated nature of the route, according to Manzari. The route Relay will be taking is especially interesting due to busy roads. 

The project was launched by Fairfax County and Dominion Energy in partnership with EDENS, Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation and Department of Transportation, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and George Mason University.

Transdev will be in charge of the management and maintenance of the vehicle, which was made by EasyMile, according to the county’s website

In a YouTube video, EasyMile engineer Nathan Ramsey said that the shuttle has several different braking systems, uses GPS and has a LiDAR system, which observes the environment with infrared lasers.

“Using LiDAR, the vehicle can’t miss objects. It will see everything around it, and it will respond accordingly,” Ramsey said. “So if it needs to slow down or stop because somebody runs out in front of it — even if they dart out in front of it just a couple, mere feet — the vehicle will have no trouble stopping or slowing.”

Ramsey said that he believes the shuttle is safer than human drivers, noting that the technology can respond safely to human error.

The shuttle will be enforcing mask requirements and separation as much as possible to ensure COVID-19 safety. They plan on keeping a seat between each passenger and requiring passengers to wear their seatbelts, according to Manzari. 

“We have a lot of enthusiasm around the project,” said Manzari. “People are very curious about autonomous vehicles.”

Photo courtesy Peggy Fox/Dominion Energy

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Fairfax NAACP Head May Run for Lt. Governor — “Fairfax County NAACP president Sean Perryman announced an exploratory bid for the position of lieutenant governor Monday, explaining that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic crisis had catalyzed his run.” [WTOP]

Upzoning in Tysons — “While there are advantages and disadvantages relative to replacing single-family zoning with two- to four-unit zoning, Tysons’ plan may provide an alternative model for suburban upzoning in locations where eliminating single-family zoning runs into political roadblocks.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Gym Eyeing Tysons — “United Kingdom-based gym chain PureGym will open its first location in the United States in Springfield… Parties are now drafting construction drawings for the Springfield location to apply for permits with Fairfax County, the source said, adding that PureGym is eyeing more locations in the region, including in Tysons.” [Washington Business Journal]

Renamed School Holiday — “The Fairfax County School Board has voted to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the previously approved 2020-21 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) school year calendar as well as the yet-to-be approved 2021-22 school year calendar. The 2021-22 calendar is scheduled to be adopted in September.” [FCPS]

Photo courtesy Joanne Liebig

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Falls Church Councilmember Dan Sze has died after a battle with esophageal cancer.

The announcement Tuesday night of Sze’s passing comes a week after Mayor David Tarter shared at a City Council meeting that Sze had cancer.

Sze was first elected to the City Council in 2006 after serving as the city’s vice chair of the Economic Development Authority from 2002-2006. Sze served as a councilmember from 2006-2010 and from 2014 until his death.

Sze served on a variety of local and regional boards and commissions, including as a member of the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and the chair of Virginia Municipal League’s State Committee on Environmental Quality, according to a press release from the city.

The city will lower the city flag outside of City Hall to half-staff for a week to honor Sze and hold a moment of silence at the Aug. 10 meeting, according to the press release, which included tributes from his colleagues.

“The news of Dan’s passing has hit me hard,” Tarter said in the city’s press release. “He was a friend who cared deeply about the best interests of our city and its residents and tirelessly advocated for its betterment. He will be sorely missed. On behalf of the City Council, we mourn his passing and send his wife, Elisabeth and family our deepest condolences.”

The press release highlighted Sze’s work for stronger environmental efforts within and outside of the city. Serving the city, Sze encouraged the city to install LED streetlights and purchase renewable energy, while pushing developers to add green roofs and meet higher LEED standards.

The press release shared his efforts outside of City Hall:

Mr. Sze had an accomplished career that included federal government service. He was responsible for major policy and regulatory initiatives under six American presidents. At his last assignment, Mr. Sze was with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as Deputy Director of State Energy Programs.

After leaving full-time employment, Mr. Sze regularly lectured on sustainability strategies, worked on clean energy initiatives, was involved with several international start-ups, and was a consultant to businesses, organizations, and government.

“His staff and Council colleagues will certainly miss his intelligence, his hearty greetings, and the jovial conversations they shared with Dan,” City Manager Wyatt Shields said. “He was a one-of-a-kind public servant, and we know his legacy will live on in the many projects he championed.”

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