Tysons, VA

Vienna police say a resident is concerned that wannabe dog owners are barking up the wrong tree for their puppy pick-ups.

“A resident advised that on two separate occasions, people have arrived at his residence to collect a puppy they have purchased,” Vienna police say. “The resident is concerned that scammers may be using his address while defrauding people.”

The incidents occurred between Jan. 8-12 in the 400 block of MacArthur Avenue NE.

In a separate incident, police say that someone spray-painted the playground equipment at the Tot Lot (Branch Road and Locust Street SE).

The vandalism occurred sometime between 10 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 12, and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13, police say.

Photo via Facebook

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Happy Friday! Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

New Tenants in Tysons — Bisnow has a roundup of the new businesses that signed leases to come to Tysons. [Bisnow]

Metro Metrics Released — “People are returning to Metrorail but avoiding Metrobus, according to 2019 figures released Wednesday by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority suggest.” As for Metrorail, the fastest-growing stations were McLean, up 28%, and Greensboro, up 22%. [Washington Business Journal]

New Fitness Event in McLean — “The McLean Community Center is introducing a new event to help people work toward their goals. Be Fit McLean Health and Wellness Fair will happen from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18.” [Patch]

AJ Madison Showroom Opens in Tysons — “Michael Gross, Isaac Gross and Rabbi Chezzy Deitsch, together with a minyan of Chabad Tysons congregants, got together to open up a new premium appliance showroom.” [Connection Newspapers]

Sneak Peek: Tysons Reporter plans to cover the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals’ public hearing for Newport Academy’s proposed treatment facility along Kurtz Road in McLean.

Weekend Send Off: Let Tysons Reporter know what your plans for the weekend are in the comments section.

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In a newsletter to constituents today, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said a meeting in March will solicit community input on the American Legion Bridge.

Currently, the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension project — a.ka. 495 NEXT — would extend the 495 Express Lanes north from the I-495 and Dulles Access Road interchange up to the American Legion Bridge and add two new tolled express lanes in each direction.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is set to present the results of the 495 NEXT environmental study and traffic analysis on Thursday, March 12.

Foust’s newsletter said that “one of the biggest transportation challenges in the McLean area is the congestion caused by inadequate capacity on the American Legion Bridge and the Maryland side of the Beltway.”

More from the newsletter:

In early 2019, VDOT signed a nonbinding Development Framework Agreement with Transurban. Delivering the project through this public private partnership would mean that no public funding by the Commonwealth is needed to extend the Express Lanes network. If approved, the project will replace Live Oak Drive, Georgetown Pike, and Old Dominion Drive Bridges and allow for the installation of pedestrian/bike facilities along the corridor. Construction could begin as early as 2021.

Virginia officials have been cautious about moving forward with the project because without replacing the American Legion Bridge, bottlenecks and congestion will only be relocated, not resolved.

A major development occurred late last year when Virginia Governor Northam and Maryland Governor Hogan announced “The Capital Beltway Accord.” The agreement is a commitment to work together to create a new, unified Capital Beltway and replace the aging American Legion Bridge. The cost of the bridge project is expected to be $1 billion and both states will contribute to the cost through public-private partnerships. The private entity will pay the upfront costs in exchange for future toll revenue meaning toll payers rather than taxpayers will foot the bill.

The new bridge will have four express toll lanes, in addition to eight free lanes, as on the current span. The tolls will fluctuate based on congestion, rising to keep traffic flowing freely. Construction could begin in 2022 and would likely take five or six years.

The next key piece of the puzzle is ensuring that the widening of I-495 just over the bridge in Maryland is done in coordination with the bridge project. Governor Hogan recently obtained a key vote to advance a plan to widen the Beltway from the American Legion Bridge to the Interstate 270 spur, and along the lower part of I-270 between the Beltway and Interstate 370.

“I am excited that we are making progress on addressing congestion issues that have plagued our communities, but I want to be sure that the project is done in a way that actually addresses our problems, rather than just moving them,” Foust said in the newsletter.

At the March 12 meeting, attendees will be able to provide input during a public hearing.

The meeting is set to run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Langley High School in McLean (6520 Georgetown Pike).

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How young people live, work and play in Tysons dominated two panels at a Bisnow event earlier today.

The Bisnow event was held at Boro Tower, bringing together real estate professionals to talk about the future of Tysons. When thinking about what will make Tysons appealing now and several years from now, developers and real estate investors said they want to make decisions that will encourage young professionals to come to the area and stay.

The first panel kicked off a discussion of office space, with panelists lamenting that people who come to work in Tysons leave in the late afternoon and don’t stick around.

“Millennials do not want to be in a nondescript office building that is hard to get to,” Mukang Cho, the CEO of Morning Calm Management, said.

As far as nightlife goes, Gary Block, the chief investment officer of The Meridian Group — the developers of The Boro, said that innovative concepts with bars and restaurants can bring people together when the sun goes down.

“You wouldn’t think the second story of a grocery store would be a destination for a bar,” Block said, referring to the popular High Point bar in The Boro’s Whole Foods.

Block said that people who live, work or arrive at The Boro can expect activities in public spaces throughout the week.

The combination of walkability, entertainment options, shopping, apartments, office spaces and fitness opportunities make The Boro a neighborhood, Block said. Or, as a sign on a window in the Boro Tower said, “Tysons’ First Neighborhood.”

Deirdre Johnson, the vice president of Federal Realty, agreed, calling The Boro the “new Tysons downtown.”

While Tysons’ identity has long rested on its malls — especially Tysons Corner Center, Johnson said that residents are moving away from being “mall-centric.”

Outside The Boro, Block said that Eddie V’s Prime Seafood (7900 Tysons One Place) is “packed” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Juliann Clemente, the president of Clemente Development, said that the new members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recognize that Tysons will appeal to millennials.

Clemente urged the audience to reach out to the new board and share their dreams, desires and concerns about how to improve Tysons.

Christopher Auth, the divisional vice president of PS Business Parks, said that walkability and green space help attract people. Thinking big, Auth said that he would like to see a university in Tysons — an idea that several other panelists agreed with.

While walkability might sound like simply an infrastructure issue, Johnson said that planners “have to give someone a reason to walk across the street.”

The panelists mentioned how a new grid of streets in Tysons facilitate walkability and connect communities.

“When little neighborhoods pop up, it creates a sense of place,” Cho said.

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For people looking to get to D.C. for the 2020 Women’s March, event organizers created an option for attendees to ride together and save the hassle of driving or commuting by themselves.

The Rally Ride option allows people to gather at various locations in a 270-mile-radius of downtown D.C, including Falls Church on Saturday (Jan. 18) and catch a bus that will take them to and from the event, according to the event page.

Round trip tickets cost $20.20 and are subsidized from donors, according to the event page.

The Falls Church bus will pick passengers up at 6751 Wilson Blvd, near the Eden Center and PB Station around 8:25 a.m.

At one point, there was also a bus from McLean, but it was canceled without explanation.

Each bus will consist of roughly 40 passengers and drop guests off at Independence Ave SW & 3rd Street SW at the location of the march, according to Rally Ride’s website.

Passengers are encouraged to book their tickets quickly because busses with less than 40 passengers will be canceled. People who pre-registered for busses that did not meet minimum demand will receive a notification and will not be charged for the trip, according to the event page.

Image via Women’s March/Facebook

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Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) has introduced a house bill that would let the Town of Vienna require developers to meet tree requirements 10 years sooner than other jurisdictions.

His proposal, which was filed last Monday (Jan. 6) comes months after Wawa received backlash from residents for chopping down trees it wasn’t supposed to in the Town of Vienna.

Vienna officials are currently working on a plan to prevent anything similar from happening again.

The bill would allow:

the Town of Vienna, by ordinance, to require that a subdivision or development provide for the preservation or replacement of trees on the development site such that the minimum tree canopy 10 years after development is projected to meet specified coverage criteria.”

Currently, the criteria apply to coverage 20 years after development.

The measure has been referred to the Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns.

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As Tysons grows, so do the opportunities for tourism around the area.

Visit Fairfax, a non-profit organization that works to encourage tourism around Fairfax County, plans to promote a series of new initiatives to boost visitation in 2020, according to President and CEO Barry Biggar.

Among the upcoming changes, the organization plans to capitalize on student and international markets and expand capabilities to host large conferences in Tysons, Biggar told Tysons Reporter.

Biggar brought up how many locals see the constant construction in Tysons as a negative thing, but said perception changes depending on who he asks. For example, he said many international travelers see it as a sign of prosperity within a community.

As someone in charge of oversight for the marketing, sales and visitor services for Visit Fairfax, Biggar monitors larger trends across the county.

Fairfax County made over $3.2 billion in 2018 from tourism, according to Visit Fairfax’s website, which also noted that the county brings in the second most money for tourism in Virginia.

Though there are not yet statistics available for Tysons specifically, Biggar said he hopes to break down the numbers within the next year.

“When I think of Tysons, I think immediately of the opportunities we have for business travel,” he said. 

A large reason for the uptick in corporate and business events being held in Tysons, according to Biggar, is partially thanks to the expansion of the Silver Line to Tysons in 2014 and its upcoming expansion to the Dulles International Airport.

“Come 2020 we will have Silver Line service all the way to Dulles. Having that access all the way to Tysons or Reston will be significant in growing the business travel market,” Biggar said.  

Currently, the Sheraton Tysons ranks as the largest venue for conferences and events in the entire county, according to Biggar. But, Biggar hinted that this may soon change as the skyline view keeps shifting and making way for new developments like the Capital One Hall, which promises space to host not only corporate events but also theatrical productions.

Around Fairfax County as a whole, Biggar said Visit Fairfax is currently in the process of writing proposals to host an upcoming National Senior Games, which is a bi-yearly event under the United States Olympic Committee to bring together senior citizens from across the U.S. to compete in athletic challenges.

He said that Visit Fairfax wants to host more reunions for members of the military and armed services, because of Fairfax County’s proximity to Arlington Cemetery and the upcoming National Army Museum in Fort Belvoir.

Now, Visit Fairfax is working with the Tysons Partnership, an organization that promotes social and economic development of Tysons, to coordinate marketing efforts and help one another.

“We know them very, very well and will assist them with any information or intelligence that they may need,” Biggar said. 

One of the major gaps around Tysons, Biggar said, is the lack of live entertainment and nightlife. He said that the Capital One Center and other upcoming businesses are already planning to fill this niche market.

“If we look at Tysons Plaza or even Merrifield to see how they use their central green space to bring in performers, all of the development that is happening in Tysons should look at incorporating that,” he said.

“It brings about energy and creates an ongoing desire to go back and see what else is happening.”

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Demolition is expected to happen soon on the house on city-owned property that will soon be a park in Falls Church.

City Manager Wyatt Shields told the Falls Church City Council on Monday (Jan. 13) that the city is in the process of finalizing the agreement to tear down the house on the 2-acre property at 604 S. Oak Street.

Known as the Fellows Property, the site is located near the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

City officials say the recent purchase will preserve the property as open space and possibly serve as a future school use.

The property is set to become usable park space, according to the city’s 2019-2024 Capital Improvements Program.

More from the CIP:

Until a Master Park Plan is developed, the funding needs are unknown. However, there has been preliminary thought of open natural space for family use to include amenities such as a walking trail, picnic area, a disc golf course and the possibility of a much needed community garden plot. The funding needs listed is similar to the cost of the project at West End Park as they will likely have a similar scope.

“It is a site with wonderful old trees, tulip, oak, magnolia, cherry,” Shields said about the site. “The home is not protected by the historic preservation ordinance, as it misses the cut off age by a few years.”

The demolition costs are accounted for in the budget requests and the work is set to start this month or February, Shields said.

Image via Google Maps, image via City of Falls Church

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Late this morning, a vehicle ran into the window of a building in downtown McLean.

The incident occurred in the 1400 block of Center Street shortly before noon, according to a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue spokesperson.

An adult male driver drove into the front of a building, causing “minimal” damage, a Fairfax County police spokesperson said.

No one was injured, according to the fire department spokesperson.

It is unclear at this time what caused the incident. The fire department spokesperson said that there will be a police investigation.

The police spokesperson was not able to share the type of vehicle and specific building address.

Catherine Douglas Moran contributed reporting

Map via Google Maps 

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors kicked off its first meeting in 2020 by voting to support equal taxing authority.

Yesterday (Tuesday), Chairman Jeffrey McKay and Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw jointly proposed asking the General Assembly to support equal taxing authority.

Currently, counties have less taxing authority than cities and towns in Virginia.

“The local tax structure in Virginia has become outdated, and limitations on counties’ ability to raise revenues from diverse sources has resulted in an over-reliance on property taxes to fund core local government programs and services,” according to the board matter from McKay and Walkinshaw.

McKay and Walkinshaw argue that counties would be able to invest more in education, transportation, public safety and human services with equal taxing authority.

“Virginia relies more on local taxes and revenues for funding government services than most other states,” the board matter says. “Relying too heavily on one source of revenue leaves counties vulnerable to downturns in the real estate market and population shifts.”

The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) has been pushing for equal taxing authority for the 2020 General Assembly session. Montogomery County’s board recently voted to support equal taxing authority.

“Having served on the VaCo board for a number of years, this is one of the few issues that we can truthfully say has overwhelming support from virtually every county in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McKay said before the vote.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity — the only Republican on the Board of Supervisors — disagreed.

“It does not have overwhelming support in the Springfield District,” Herrity said. “I think what we have is more of a spending problem than a revenue problem.”

The board voted 9-1, with Herrity voting “no,” to support the proposal.

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