An 18-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to a fatal shooting in the Fairfax Village Apartments on Saturday (March 25).
Fairfax County police officers were called to the apartment complex in the 10400 block of Viera Lane in Oakton at 7:47 a.m. by a family member of the victim who reported the shooting to 911.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department, the family member was in the apartment’s bedroom when they were awoken by a gunshot. They found Javier Gomez, 20, of Fairfax lying on the living room floor and saw the suspect — identified as Darren Cruz Colindres, 18, of Vienna — running out of the apartment.
“This is not a domestic-related shooting, but the suspect is known to the family,” FCPD Lt. James Curry said in a media briefing that morning.
Cruz Colindres had apparently been staying at the apartment overnight, police said.
When officers got to the scene, they found Gomez on the floor with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the upper body and administered medical aid until Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel arrived to transport him to a hospital, where he later died.
Officers and detectives tracked Cruz Colindres to a home in the 2700 block of Pleasantdale Road in Merrifield, according to the FCPD, which reported just before noon that a suspect had been taken into custody.
In addition to second-degree murder, Cruz Colindres has been charged with the use of a firearm while committing a felony.
No firearm has been recovered yet, as of 5 p.m. Saturday, when the FCPD issued its news release.
“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy in the coming days to determine the cause and manner of death,” the police department said. “Detectives continue to conduct interviews, collect video surveillance and process evidence recovered from the scene.”
The FCPD says anyone who may have information can contact its Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS) and online.
This was Fairfax County’s second homicide last week after a couple was found dead on a Reston trail on Wednesday (March 22) in what police believe was a murder-suicide incident.
Vienna Ice Skater Gets Bronze at World Championships — “Japan’s Shoma Uno repeated as world figure skating champion, performing the total package of jumps and artistry immediately after 18-year-old American Ilia Malinin attempted a record-tying six quadruple jumps in his free skate to earn the bronze medal…Malinin is the only person to land a quad Axel in competition and did so again Saturday.” [NBC Sports]
GMU Students Petition Against Youngkin Speech — “George Mason University students are petitioning against the college’s decision to host Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin as the graduation commencement speaker in May. Senior Alaina Ruffin started the petition Thursday…The petition has received more than 4,000 signatures since then.” [WTOP]
GW Parkway Repairs Delayed — “Emergency repairs to the concrete pavement in the southbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway near Waynewood Boulevard will take place the weekend of March 31 instead of March 24 due to the inclement weather forecast [last] weekend, according to the National Park Service” [On the MoVe]
Metro Police Add Body Cameras — “Metro Transit Police will start wearing body-worn cameras in a new program being rolled out starting in April…According to Metro, there will be a total of 315 Metro officers wearing body-word cameras by the end of the summer.” [WTOP]
Reston Man Accused of Scamming Businesses — “A man from Reston, Virginia, is accused of helping scam more than a million dollars from businesses across the country using hacked or fraudulent emails. Federal investigators said Patrick Allen Womble helped scam eight businesses out of at least $1.3 million from September 2020 through April 2021 using a business email compromise scheme.” [WTOP]
Three Arrested for Vienna Restaurant Robbery — “A February burglary at a family-owned restaurant in Vienna has led to three arrests. On Feb. 28, Skorpio’s Maggio’s Greek Family Restaurant at 421 Maple Avenue E. reported a burglary that happened the night before.” [Patch]
Former South Lakes HS Classmates Teach Auto Classes Together — “When sophomore Dominic Prakash and freshman David Plum became friends during auto mechanics classes at Reston’s South Lakes High School 40 years ago, they had no inkling of what the future held. But today, the two are still side by side, teaching auto technology in adjoining classrooms at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Charitable Donation Site Now Open in Kings Park — “Cut the ribbon for the new Green Drop donation bin location at the Kings Park Shopping Center. Green Drop provides a win-win for our residents, they have a way to recycle useful items and at the same time contribute to great organizations like the American Red Cross.” [Pat Herrity/Twitter]
It’s Monday — Possible light rain in the afternoon and evening. High of 57 and low of 47. Sunrise at 7:02 am and sunset at 7:28 pm. [Weather.gov]
The sun will shine into the night this Saturday (March 25), as the McLean Community Center hosts its first-ever Fiesta del Sol.
The inaugural celebration of Latin American and Caribbean cultures will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:45 p.m. before the doors at 1234 Ingleside Avenue open 15 minutes later.
According to a media advisory, anticipated ribbon-cutting attendees include county officials, MCC staff, and representatives of Latin American and Caribbean embassies, businesses and nonprofits in the area.
MCC partnered with Stafford-based VIP Impressions Event Planning to organize the festival, which will have live music, food, drinks, and local business and artisan vendors until 9 p.m.
“We are looking forward to a super fun evening with a Latin beat,” MCC Special Events Manager Catherine Nesbitt said in a press release. “We will celebrate the cultural wonders of Latin American and Caribbean traditions through live music, dancing, great food and art.”
Admission to the festival is free, but tickets will be sold on-site for food and beverages, including alcohol for those 21 and older. Prices will range from $5 to $15 per item.
The tapas menu comes from Pikoteo, a Latin American eatery that recently opened in the former TAV Mediterranean Bistro spot at 6811 Elm Street.
Proceeds from the festival will go to The Institute for Building Agency, a nonprofit that provides civics education and training to people of color. The woman-led organization was chosen as the beneficiary in honor of Women’s History Month, according to MCC.
Here’s more from the community center on the evening’s scheduled performers:
Following a ribbon cutting and official opening of the event at 4:45 p.m., the festival kicks off with Salsa Guy Richmond, who will offer a demonstration of basic bachata, salsa and merengue dance steps. He will present a demonstration 20 minutes before each band performance. D.C.-based DJ Leo will work his magic to keep the party going. Laura Sosa and the Pa’Gozar Latin band will perform bachata, a form of Dominican music, at 5:30 p.m. Originally from Peru, lead singer, Laura Sosa, has created a band that emulates the rich and varied music of South America and the Caribbean. These talented musicians and excellent vocalists are sure to get patrons on the dance floor.
At 6:30 p.m., Izis, La Enfermera de la Salsa performs. Originally from Puerto Rico, Izis is now a nurse in the United States Army, where she has served for 15 years. The band recently released a new Christmas album, “My Favorite Things,” that features a salsa beat. Pablo Antonio and La Firma rounds out the evening with a performance at 8 p.m. Originally from El Salvador, Pablo Antonio began performing at age 10 in Arlington. His band generates a celebration of merengue that has won fans nationally and internationally.
A day after neighboring Arlington County made waves by ending single-family exclusive zoning, Fairfax County saw its own zoning reforms reversed two years after they were approved.
The Virginia Supreme Court declared the county’s Zoning Ordinance Modification Project (zMOD) void yesterday (Thursday) because the new code was adopted at a mostly virtual meeting — a ruling could have consequences for other actions taken during the first years of the pandemic, as noted by Inside NoVA, which first reported the decision.
The county is now operating under its previous zoning ordinance, which had been in place since 1978, according to the zoning administration division’s website.
“We are currently evaluating the Virginia Supreme Court decision and considering our options,” Tony Castrilli, the county’s director of public affairs, said. “In the meantime, the 1978 Zoning Ordinance is presently in effect and available for reference on the County website.”
In a 29-page opinion, Justice Wesley Russell sided with four residents who argued that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act’s open meeting requirements by not holding an in-person public hearing or vote.
The county contended that an ordinance adopted on April 14, 2020 gave it the flexibility to hold public meetings on the zoning update and other subjects electronically during the Covid state of emergency.
The Supreme Court disagreed that the ordinance allowed the county government to conduct all regular business electronically, finding that the zoning update doesn’t qualify as “necessary to ensure the continuation of essential functions and services.”
“The modification of a 40-year-old zoning ordinance after a five-year revision process does not satisfy this standard,” Russell wrote. “It is not a time-sensitive matter, and its adoption is not and was not necessary to allow the County to continue operations.”
The residents behind the lawsuit — David Berry, Carol Hawn, Helen Webb and Adrienne Whyte — filed a complaint in Fairfax County Circuit Court on March 5, 2021 seeking to prevent the board from adopting zMOD at a public hearing on March 9, 2021.
The circuit court denied the request and ultimately dismissed the complaint on Sept. 9, 2021, stating that it had been rendered moot by the adoption of zMOD on March 23, 2021 and that the county board’s emergency powers gave it the authority to act at an electronic meeting.
According to Russell’s opinion, the circuit court found that zoning “is inherently an essential act of local government” that’s especially “critical…in the context of a national emergency and state emergency because civility between neighbors is the foundation of domestic tranquility.”
In overruling the lower court, Russell pointed to the five years spent on the zoning code update, which began in 2016, and the fact that the previous ordinance had been in place for 40 years as evidence that its passage wasn’t time-sensitive and, therefore, not “essential”:
Everything about the history of Z-Mod suggests that the adoption of Z-Mod could have waited days, weeks, or months without throwing the County’s operations into even minor distress let alone chaos. Simply put, the consideration and adoption of Z-Mod was not time-sensitive, and thus, acting on it in March 2021 was neither essential nor necessary to allow for the continued operations of Fairfax County government.
The court acknowledged that Virginia adopted a new law more broadly allowing virtual public meetings during states of emergency, but that didn’t take effect until Sept. 1, 2022. The opinion doesn’t comment on the substance of the zoning changes.
Publicly launched in 2017, zMOD was intended to simplify and improve the accessibility of the existing code, which topped 1,000 pages in length.
The county also sought to update the document to better reflect modern trends in land use and development, introducing new categories like solar power facilities that didn’t exist in the 1970s and eliminating ones no longer considered relevant.
Proposals to ease restrictions on accessory living units and home-based businesses and limit the heights of flag poles emerged as the most controversial elements, inspiring five-hour-long public hearings before the board and Fairfax County Planning Commission.
As it determines how to proceed, the county says individuals and businesses can refer to the Department of Planning and Development website for updates.
In response to calls for additional legal assistance, Fairfax County is poised to establish a self-help resource center in the library of its courthouse complex.
At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (March 21), the board approved a board matter that would allocate $96,000 in fiscal year 2024 to support the project. The board matter was proposed by Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk and Chairman Jeff McKay.
Reportedly the first of its kind in the state, the center would provide legal information, referrals, forms and resource materials on topics related to court issues. The board matter states that it would serve as an alternative option for people who can’t afford legal services and don’t have pro bono help available.
“In my District, we have had constituents contact my office desperate for legal differential last hey are unable to obtain legal aid services. In one instance, a child custody case, the parents had no idea what to expect at their court hearing and thus were not able to prepare for or understand the court process,” Lusk said in the board matter.
First pitched by the Fairfax Bar Association, which runs the law library, the proposal is being led by Fairfax County General District Court judges Susan Stoney and Dipti Pidkiti-Smith.
A 2019 study by the bar association found that the cost of hiring an attorney and the belief that cases can be handled alone are among the top reasons litigants didn’t have a lawyer.
“Access to justice for self-representative litigants is a significant issue facing the legal community today,” the board matter said.
Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity noted that the challenge is not limited to “Black and brown communities.”
Responding to Herrity, McKay emphasized that the board matter specifically refers to economically challenged residents and other communities who are most in need.
He said that statement was “absolutely factual” and “all encompassing.”
Police took two people into custody yesterday (Thursday) after a reported armed robbery in Great Falls turned into a dizzying pursuit from Tysons to Herndon and back again.
Officers were called to the Safeway at 9881 Georgetown Pike at 12:05 p.m. for a report of a man and a woman stealing merchandise, the Fairfax County Police Department says. The suspects allegedly pointed a gun as they left the store.
According to the initial police dispatch, the individuals took Tide detergent from the store. The vehicle tag was traced to a man with an outstanding felony warrant for robbery in Prince William County.
“The two left in a car with a child in the backseat. Officers saw the car and attempted a traffic stop that resulted a pursuit,” FCPD spokesperson Sgt. Jacob Pearce said.
Per scanner traffic, the chase began on southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway) at Georgetown Pike before exiting to the westbound Dulles Toll Road toward the airport, as officers asked for a helicopter to assist.
After feinting an exit multiple times in the Reston area, the driver turned off at Centreville Road in Herndon and swung back around to the eastbound toll road. The screech of tires can be heard on the police radio.
“Do not PIT the vehicle,” a supervising officer said, referring to a maneuver used by law enforcement to stop moving vehicles. “At most, try to bring the car to a stop slowly. I do not want any reckless driving behavior to endanger the child’s life inside the car.”
The pursuit continued into the Dulles Toll Road’s airport lanes and exited onto Route 7 (Leesburg Pike), where the driver jumped a curb to cross from the eastbound to the westbound lanes.
After turning onto Trap Road, back onto the toll road, and off at Dolley Madison Blvd in McLean, the chase made its way onto the Beltway and finally ended in the northbound lanes near Lewinsville Road, where the driver was arrested.
: Wreck on 495.https://t.co/ZCXBmMXPPj
— Henry Bright (@HCBright10) March 23, 2023
The woman was also taken into custody, according to the FCPD.
“No injuries were sustained as a result of the incident,” Pearce said. “The child is safe and is currently with caregivers. No crashes were reported during the pursuit. Detectives are actively investigating. The names and charges will be released once charged.”
Close to 40 police vehicles were involved in the chase, including both local and state agencies, according to a tipster who said they followed part of the saga on Route 7 and the Dulles Access Road. At one point, an officer said on the radio that there were “too many vehicles” in the pursuit.
Photo via @notaveryh/Twitter. Hat tip to Alan Henney, Henry Bright and KKirkhart.
Supreme Court Tosses County Zoning Update — “The Virginia Supreme Court has voided a massive zoning modernization plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2021 because the board’s approval occurred during a virtual meeting. The court’s ruling, issued Thursday, could call into question scores of routine decisions made by local governing bodies during the first 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Inside NoVA]
D.C. Cherry Blossoms Reach Peak Bloom — “The National Park Service announced that Washington’s cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin reached peak bloom Thursday. Peak bloom occurs when 70 percent of cherry tree buds are flowering…The National Cherry Blossom Festival started Monday in coordination with the flowering of the cherry blossoms.” [The Washington Post]
Fire Department Advises Properly Disposing of Cigarettes — “During March, there have been two significant house fires caused by improperly discarded smoking materials…In addition, there have been a few, relatively minor, fires caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. Improperly discarded smoking material fires are totally preventable!” [FCFRD]
Public Hearings Set on Parking Changes — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors say they will take the time to get proposed ‘Parking Reimagined’ zoning, policy and procedural changes done right, rather than force them through despite concerns that continue to fester in the community.” Public hearings will be held by the planning commission on April 19 and the board on June 6. [Gazette Leader]
Tech Industry Finds Home in Northern Virginia — “HQ2 may be facing a hiccup, but local tech companies specializing in defense contracts, AI, space, cloud computing and healthcare are thriving. Northern Virginia is home to 17,000 tech companies, nearly half of them in Fairfax, a concentration that has led to an insatiable thirst for workers.” [FCEDA]
Park Authority Calls for One Hour Without Lights — “The Fairfax County Park Authority is encouraging participation in the annual One Dark Hour event, Saturday, March 25…To participate in One Dark Hour, simply turn off your outdoor lights on Saturday, March 25, between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.” [FCPA]
Herndon HS Band to Play at Pearl Harbor — “It’s a big year for the Herndon High School Band: The Pride of Herndon which is celebrating its 75th year as a band. Amidst the celebrations, the band received the invitation to be Virginia’s ambassador at the 2023 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.” [Patch]
Hayfield SS Graduate Reflects on Journey to NASA — “Hayfield Secondary School alum Swati Mohan is making history as an aerospace engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Mars 2020 mission. But in high school, Mohan didn’t imagine that’s where her career was going…until she was inspired by her FCPS physics teacher and two vastly different Science Fair projects.” [FCPS/Facebook]
It’s Friday — Rain throughout the day. High of 71 and low of 48. Sunrise at 7:07 am and sunset at 7:25 pm. [Weather.gov]
(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) The Fairfax County police officer who allegedly fired the gunshot that killed Timothy McCree Johnson outside Tysons Corner Center last month will be fired, Chief Kevin Davis announced this afternoon (Thursday).
Davis didn’t identify the officer removed from duty, but the Washington Post reports that Sgt. Wesley Shifflett, a seven-year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department, is believed to have fired the fatal shots.
The announcement was made at a 1 p.m. press conference, where the FCPD publicly released surveillance and body camera footage of the Feb. 22 encounter, which began with Johnson allegedly shoplifting a pair of sunglasses from Nordstrom and evolved into an extended foot chase.
“As a parent, my heart is still broken,” Melissa Johnson, Timothy’s mother, said. “I feel like I can just breathe a little bit lighter after hearing the announcement today, but we’re still waiting to see exactly what’s going to happen.”
The second officer involved — previously identified as eight-year veteran James Sadler — has been kept on modified restricted duty as a criminal investigation into the shooting continues.
Carl Crews, a lawyer representing Johnson’s family, called Shifflett’s firing an “appropriate” move for an apparent violation of the FCPD’s use-of-force policy.
“But we’re not satisfied,” Crews told FFXnow. “The process needs to continue. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office needs to indict. There needs to be a charge against the officer, because a life was taken wrongly.”
The FCPD policy permits the use of deadly force against someone who’s fleeing if they’re suspected of committing a felony and their escape could pose a “significant threat” to others.
It’s unclear exactly where Johnson was in relation to the pursuing officers from the over eight-minute video compilation that the FCPD released. Shifflett can be heard saying that Johnson is going into the woods and yelling “get on the ground.”
He then appears to trip on the underbrush and says “Stop reaching.” The body camera’s lens gets briefly covered up as Shifflett reports “shots fired,” though the video needs to be slowed down and digitally enhanced to hear the three “pops” of gunshots.
Johnson did not have a weapon.
Police have confirmed that both Shifflett and Sadler fired their weapons, which means they both need to be held accountable, Crews argues.
“If [the other officer] was involved in the shooting, firing his weapon…he also violated the Fairfax County police officer policy for the use of deadly force, so he should be fired as well,” Crews said.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay confirmed that a notice of separation was served to one of the officers involved, expressing support for Davis’s decision in a lengthy statement that called the released video “disturbing.”
“I know Mr. Johnson’s family members are still grieving the death of their loved one, and I grieve for them,” McKay said. “Understandably they are also demanding answers. I hope the continued progress in this case will bring them a level of assurance that Fairfax County has heard them and is working transparently and with integrity.”
In a statement released prior to the press conference, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said he expects to make a decision on whether to pursue charges against the officers “in the coming weeks.”
Later today, the FCPD will release body camera footage of the death of Timothy McCree Johnson.
CA Descano’s statement: pic.twitter.com/Gdk6sNwTei
— Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Descano (@FairfaxCountyCA) March 23, 2023
“I have seen and am devastated by the body-worn camera footage showing yet another death of a Black man at the hands of police,” Descano said. “My heart grieves for the Johnsons, who lost a beloved family member over an incident involving a pair of sunglasses. Like many members of our community, I sincerely hope to see the day when police shootings are a thing of the past.”
His office said it had no further comment when asked about the FCPD’s anticipated firing of an officer.
After shootings by police officers spiked last year, the FCPD has agreed to undergo a review of all shootings since 2021 by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum, which will also provide recommendations on a possible policy dictating when officers can engage in a foot pursuit.
Saying she’s thankful for the “love and support” her family has gotten from the community, Melissa Johnson expressed support for a foot pursuit policy and any other changes that could prevent future violence.
Clear policies and training that ensures those policies are followed would make officers safer as well, she noted.
“This is not against law enforcement at all. This is some officer that did not adhere to their policy, and unfortunately, my son is not here any longer,” she said. “But now that that has occurred, what can we do so that another parent does not have to endure what we’re having to endure right now?”
Fairfax County could be taking some notes from New York City and Portland as it tries to turn back the surge of recent pedestrian fatalities.
The Board of Supervisors directed the Fairfax County Department of Transportation on Tuesday (March 21) to review turn-calming measures from other jurisdictions, discuss options with the Virginia Department of Transportation, and come back to the board’s transportation committee with an analysis of how that can be implemented.
“Over the past several years, this Board has taken significant steps to prioritize pedestrian safety,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “Despite these efforts, there were still sadly 32 pedestrian fatalities in Fairfax County on our roads in 2022, the highest number since consistent statistics started being collected in 2010.”
As FFXnow reported last week, FCDOT’s Trails, Sidewalks and Bikeways committee (TSB) delved into the issue and asked the Board of Supervisors to prioritize additional safety measures along major arterial roadways throughout Fairfax County.
“The first is a turn calming, like in New York, San Francisco and Portland,” McKay said. “These programs can reduce turning speeds and thus pedestrian fatalities.”
Left-turn calming aims to reduce turning speeds, eliminate sharp turns, and create “hardened centerlines” that use rubber speed bumps to slow drivers.
McKay said county staff’s report on turn-calming should also include an estimate of the cost.
The second item is a request that no crosswalk at the site of a pedestrian fatality be eliminated unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
The question of eliminating crosswalks took some board members by surprise until Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw explained that the TSB letter references the planned elimination of a crosswalk at Braddock Road and Kings Park Drive in West Springfield.
Walkinshaw explained VDOT intends to move the sidewalk to a safer location.
“The plan is to eliminate that entire signalized intersection and move the crosswalk to a different and safer location, where it’s separated from the turns from Kings Park Drive onto Braddock Road,” he said.
Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn noted that, in addition to turn-calming and prioritizing crosswalks, the county also has an ongoing speed camera pilot program.
“I would also note that we are doing our speed camera pilot, which is also getting underway,” Alcorn said. “It underscores that this is really a tough problem…We need to look and see what else can we do to make our streets safer.”
The residential building coming to 6707 Old Dominion Drive will be modest — at least compared to the high-rises going up in Tysons to the south — but it has already altered the future of downtown McLean.
Contractor Trinity Group Construction anticipates beginning work next week on the nine-story, 44-unit project, which will replace the parking lot behind a three-story office building whose current tenants include Chipotle and Fresh Baguette.
“It’s great to finally be here,” property owner Winthrop Investment Group head Hans Schmidt said after a ceremonial groundbreaking yesterday (Wednesday). “…Folks conceptualized this project back in 2016, and here we are in March of 2023, and we’re finally moving dirt. We’re really excited about it. We think it’s going to be a great project.”
The 94,000-square-foot building will stack five stories of condominiums — including five units of workforce housing — on top of a parking garage with four above-ground levels and one-and-a-half underground levels, according to a Trinity spokeperson.
Per a development plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2018, amenities will include a 3,850-square-foot roof terrace for residents and a combined 6,100 square feet of public open space from a corner park and a plaza park.
The garage will serve the new residents as well as tenants and visitors at the adjacent office building, which will remain in place, Schmidt confirmed.
Both the developer and local officials admit that shepherding this particular project into being was difficult, from a fraught battle to amend the county’s comprehensive plan to more recent supply chain issues and related cost increases.
“We’ve been working for the past eight months with [Winthrop], finally got it to where it was affordable,” Trinity CEO Mil Wallen said.
One of the biggest challenges was the need to establish a temporary parking plan for office tenants during construction, according to Schmidt, who said the development “would’ve been dead” if no parking sites were found.
Fortunately for Winthrop, three local churches — St. John’s Episcopal Church (6715 Georgetown Pike), St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church (6801 Georgetown Pike) and St. John the Beloved Roman Catholic Church (6420 Linway Terrace) — have agreed to let commuters use their parking lots, providing a total of 140 spaces.
During construction, which is expected to take about 18 months, drivers will have access to valet service as well as a shuttle that will travel to and from the off-site parking areas. Some on-site spots will also remain available.
Wallen says the shuttle and valet service will “start as soon as necessary,” which may not be the instant construction begins next week.
“We’ll have fencing up that will guide traffic all over the place,” he said. “It’ll be a little congested, but I think it’ll be okay.”
Potential parking and traffic issues were part of why the project initially struggled to win over some community members, who argued it was incompatible with the surrounding, mostly lower-lying buildings.
That debate helped inform the county’s roughly four-year-long overhaul of its plan for downtown McLean.
“I think we learned some good lessons along the way, and hopefully, the next project that comes forward will move much smoother,” said Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who represents McLean.
The residential building “will be a fantastic example” of what a revitalized downtown could look like, Foust says, telling FFXnow that the planned parking garage “is the way to go” compared to the “ugly” surface lots currently prevalent for commercial properties.
“This project will contribute to helping us achieve our vision for downtown McLean, which is more vibrancy, more pedestrian, ground-level activity, more people actually living in downtown McLean,” Foust said. “On top of that, it’s going to be a beautiful addition to the visual of downtown McLean.”