The solar power installation company Ipsun Solar at the 2023 Vienna Green Expo (courtesy Town of Vienna)

In Fairfax County, sheep mow lawns, beekeepers remove misplaced swarms and gardeners teach the community.

The Town of Vienna will feature organizations that do all that and more at its annual Green Expo at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE). Sponsored by the town’s Conservation and Sustainability Commission, the expo is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 18 — four days before Earth Day.

Local company LambMowers, which provides “professional grazing services,” is sponsoring an outdoor exhibit of ewes and lambs, per a press release. Live birds of prey will also be on the scene, courtesy of volunteer organization Secret Garden Birds and Bees.

Other exhibitors at this year’s expo include Fairfax Master Naturalists, Fairfax County’s chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, multiple garden clubs and an individual who raises chickens at home.

“More than 30 local exhibitors will be on hand with information about green landscaping ideas, composting, recycling, energy efficiency, solar power, water conservation and more,” the town said in its press release.

One expo attendee will walk away with a free home energy audit valued at $595. Home energy audits find cost-effective ways to boost energy efficiency, according to the Energy Star program from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Attendees can also talk to local experts about sustainability, with scheduled “Ask Me Anything” sessions that will cover topics such as recycling infrastructure and native plants.

For example, horticulturist Barbara Ryan will review how residents with yards can incorporate native plants and sustainable practices. Ryan owns the local landscaping company, Chain Bridge Native Landscapes.

After the Green Expo, Fairfax County residents can mark Earth Day on Saturday, April 20 at Earth Day Fairfax, a festival featuring volunteer opportunities, live music, farm animals and more. That event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sully Historic Site in Chantilly (3650 Historic Sully Way).

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Morning Notes

The Ritz Carlton and Tysons Galleria from Route 123 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Chantilly Man Charged with Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material — “Detectives from our Child Abuse Squad began investigating William Riddell, 40, of Chantilly after it was reported he may have had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor in Fairfax County.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

House Fire Injures Two Children — “A community is clinging to hope after a horrific house fire in Clifton, Virginia, badly injured two young children Wednesday, neighbors say. Two people were rushed to a hospital with life-threatening injuries after being pulled from a burning home in the 13900 block of Whetstone Manor Court, Fairfax County Fire & EMS said. Three others have lesser injuries.” [NBC Washington]

Reston Hospital Expansion Continues — “Reston Hospital Center’s ongoing expansion won’t slow down. That’s the message from CEO Nathan Vooys, who took over the top role on March 4. The hospital, owned by HCA Healthcare, plans to build a freestanding ER in Leesburg, Vooys told me in an interview. It is targeting an opening by the end of 2025 or into 2026.” [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Startup Lands Big Funds from Arlington Firm —Reston software engineering firm Raft LLC has received more than $60 million in new funding to build out its product line and hire more senior executives to bring in business. Arlington private equity firm Washington Harbour Partners LP announced the strategic investment in the 6-year-old government contractor Wednesday.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Thursday — Expect showers mainly after noon, with patchy fog developing after 3pm and a high near 69. The southeast wind will blow at 9-13 mph, gusting up to 22 mph, and a 70% chance of precipitation. New precipitation amounts up to a quarter of an inch possible. Thursday night, showers and a potential thunderstorm are expected before 2am, followed by scattered showers and thunderstorms until 5am, with chances of more showers and thunderstorm after 5am. Patchy fog may occur before 2am, the low will be around 57, and southeast wind at 11-16 mph, gusting up to 25 mph. Precipitation chances are 100%, with rainfall amounts between a quarter and half an inch possible. [NWS]

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Vienna restaurants Bazin’s on Church and Bazin’s Next Door (111 Church Street) will close later this month after the restaurant space was sold to new owners.

After 18 years, owner Julie Bazin said she and her husband were looking forward to traveling and spending time with family and friends, while new ownership takes over the location.

“Patrick and I have sold Bazin’s and Bazin’s Next Door and our last day will be Saturday, April 27th,” Julie Bazin said told FFXnow. “We will be forever grateful to this wonderful community and our team for an amazing 18 years!”

Julie Bazin said she’s excited for the new owners to come in and she’ll continue to support whatever restaurant comes next. No new restaurant concept has been officially announced.

The restaurant was known, in part, for its extensive gluten-free menu after Chef Patrick Bazin was diagnosed with Celiac disease, Patch wrote.

Julie Bazin said new ownership will take over on May 1.

Photo via Bazins on Church/Facebook

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Fairfax Planning Commissioners and Tysons-based developer Cityline Partners are at a stalemate over the inclusion of workforce housing in the newly proposed Arbor Row high-rise.

Last week, commissioners opted to postpone their vote on a proposed 23-story, 270-foot residential tower at Arbor Row, set to house up to 240 units and 8,500 square feet of retail space, after county staff voiced objections about the developer’s refusal to include workforce dwelling units in the new building.

Instead, Cityline Partners has proposed either building workforce housing several miles away or making a one-time cash contribution between $4.17 and $.76 million to the county’s housing trust fund program.

“Overall, the applicant’s proposed fixed cash contribution even with a one time adjustment is not in conformance with the comprehensive plan and does not fully address the affordable housing need generated from this development,” Department of Planning and Development staff member Sunny Yang said during the April 3 Planning Commission public hearing. “So, for all these reasons, the staff is not supportive of this application.”

Initially approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2012, Arbow Row spans 19.4 acres near Tysons Galleria on Westpark Drive. The development originally envisioned 2.6 million square feet of mixed-use development, including residential, retail, hotel, and office space.

Two residential buildings, including the Monarch condominiums and Nouvelle apartments were completed last summer. The Mather, a two-building senior living facility, has finished one of two planned high-rise apartment buildings.

However, the developer decided to scrap the office building, also referred to as “Block C2,” following a decreased demand for office space.

“An office [building] is not gonna happen — we don’t believe — anytime soon,” Lynne Strobel, a land use attorney with the law firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, told commissioners during the public hearing last week. “I don’t think any of us believe that. There’s no demand.”

In addition to a new residential high-rise, the developer plans to build several amenities, including a 3-acre park, urban plaza, playground, lawn area, pavilions, and public art, according to the application.

Although commissioners commended the applicant on the design, they concluded more work needed to be done to figure out a solution to the issue of incorporating workforce housing in the project, increasing the cash contribution or moving the proposed offsite housing closer to the Tysons Corner Metro Station.

“The intent of the [workforce dwelling unit] program is to get the units at the same time and to create these mixed-income communities, and that’s that’s the problem,” Hunter Mill District representative John Carter said. “The other issue is to get the units in the same neighborhood close by and when I hear things like five miles away. It’s concerning.”

Strobel contended that integrating workforce housing could impose an unfair burden on purchasers buying a condo at a reduced price, as they would face substantial additional costs through hefty condominium fees.

“What happens when the affordable owner has condominium fees of an additional $12,000 a year and can’t afford that, and then he has to sell the unit, and when he sells the unit, he doesn’t get all of the equity?” she said. “Usually, you build equity over time. What if he has to sell a unit within three years? Is he better off than an affordable housing purchaser? I don’t think so.”

Sully District Planning Commissioner Evelyn Spain asked staff whether it was possible to reduce the condominium fees to make the units more affordable. However, Strobel pointed out that under the Virginia Condominium Act, the fees must be assessed and divided equally among the homeowners.

“[Affordable housing] does come at a cost, and the issue is in this type of building construction: steel and concrete, costly construction, very expensive units,” Strobel said. When you have expensive units, people expect a highly amenitized building, and the condominium fees become high. How do you make that work with affordability with the new condominium act that doesn’t allow a difference in fees? That’s the whole issue and the problem.”

Staff told commissioners they have also considered adjusting the pricing of the unit itself, but Strobel noted that that would be unfair to the developer, who would be taking a loss.

“That penalizes whoever is providing those units because they won’t be able to charge a reasonable price for them,” she said.

Unable to decide on the matter, commissioners asked the applicant to continue working with staff on a suitable compromise.

The applicant has not set a specific date but requested the opportunity to present their case to the commission again before its next company board hearing, which is scheduled for mid-May.

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Morning Notes

Lake Anne Plaza fountain in Reston (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Cleanup continues after jet fuel spill at Fort Belvoir — “Fort Belvoir environmental workers and specialized contractors this week cleaned up hundreds of the approximately 2,300 gallons of fuel spilled from the April 3 accident involving an overturned fuel truck…” [Inside NoVa]

Fairfax County Board Chair calls Youngkin’s Metro Funding Cut ‘Beyond Troubling’ — “The Youngkin Administration’s decision to remove additional Metro funding from the General Assembly’s proposed state budget is beyond troubling. The money the Administration believes Northern Virginia can use to make up the gap is inadequate for the funding problems Metro is facing. In order to fund the system, WMATA would have to implement drastic cost saving measures such as closing stations, increasing fares beyond what people will accept, or other avoidable measures.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Dolly Parton’s free books program expands statewide — “The country singer’s Imagination Library will offer children up to the age of 5 one free book a month through the mail.” [VPM]

It’s Wednesday — Showers are likely before 8am, followed by mostly cloudy skies and a high near 76 with a southwest wind around 7 mph. There’s a 60% chance of rain with potential amounts less than a tenth of an inch. For Wednesday night, there’s a chance of showers before 11pm, mostly cloudy conditions, a low around 61, and a southeast wind at 3 to 5 mph. The chance of precipitation is 30%. [NWS]

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A condominium building is under construction at 6707 Old Dominion Drive in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County is moving forward with a new ordinance change that would step up the preservation of mature trees, shorelines and wetlands.

The change is part of bringing Fairfax County in line with state revisions to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Arena Designation and Management Regulations that were adopted by the State Water Control Board.

The Fairfax County website said it will add criteria regarding:

  • the preservation of mature trees
  • Coastal resilience
  • Adaptation to sea level rise and climate change

Getting into the specifics, the new regulations say mature trees can only be removed where necessary and where trees are removed, they must be replanted “to the maximum extent practicable.”

New provisions for climate change require consideration of sea-level rise and storm surge into land development. According to the County website, that means:

  • Require Resiliency Assessment for all RPA encroachments as part of WQIA
  • Based on assessment, require conditions based on a consideration of the impacts, including the use of best management practices

The resilience assessment is based on projections for the next 30 years to identify the impacts of sea level rise, storm surges and flooding.

“Based on the Resilience Assessment, the county may require conditions, alterations and adaptation measures,” a staff presentation said.

The changes are headed to the Planning Commission on May 22, then to the County Board this summer. A staff presentation said the plan is to have the new changes in place by this September.

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The 2024-2025 season of Broadway on Tysons at Capital One Hall will include “Chicago” (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Tysons is the business hub of Northern Virginia, and there’s no business like show business.

Four Broadway shows will be coming to Capital One Hall as part of the 2024-2025 season of Broadway in Tysons.

The shows will be, both in order that they’re coming to Tysons and in worst-to-best order of quality: Shrek the Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away and Chicago.

Tickets will go on sale starting Monday, May 6 at 10 a.m.

This is the fourth year of Broadway in Tysons. One show from the current season, Little Women, will run from May 17-19.

According to the release, the schedule for the upcoming season is:

Shrek The Musical: September 20-22, 2024

“Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek…” And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Yes, your favorite ogre is back in the hilarious stage spectacle, SHREK – THE MUSICAL. This Tony Award®-winning musical brings all the beloved characters from the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks animated film to life.

Dear Evan Hansen: October 18-20, 2024

Declared “one of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history” by The Washington Post and “an anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond” by NBC Nightly News, DEAR EVAN HANSEN is a Tony- and Grammy-winning “Best Musical” sensation and the first contemporary musical about connection in the digital age.

Come From Away: January 31 – February 2, 2025

On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all. This stirring and inspiring musical takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of the small town in Newfoundland that opened their homes to 7,000 stranded travelers on 9/11. During that fateful week, cultures clashed and nerves ran high – but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. Celebrate the best of humankind and the best in all of us at COME FROM AWAY.

Chicago: May 30 – June 1, 2025

CHICAGO is still the one musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmy-shake: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one showstopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. In the whirlwind of Chicago’s Jazz Age, two of the Cook County Jail’s most notorious murderesses—vaudeville star Velma Kelly and chorus girl Roxie Hart—become fierce rivals as they compete for headlines amidst a media frenzy. Broadway’s longest-running musical has been razzle dazzling audiences for 27 years, and after more than 10,000 performances, 6 Tony Awards®, 2 Olivier Awards, and a Grammy®, we’re just getting started. Come on, babe! Head to CHICAGO! We’re hotter than ever.

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In less than two years, the flooding that plagues Old Courthouse Road at Besley Road during every rain storm should be relegated to the past.

Construction has been underway since February to realign the intersection on the border of Tysons and Wolf Trap, giving it a literal boost with a bridge and other design and safety improvements.

In addition to replacing a “substandard” culvert with a bridge over Wolftrap Creek, the project will elevate and reconstruct about 1,000 feet of Old Courthouse Road and shift the Besley Road alignment east, according to a Fairfax County Department of Transportation presentation.

It will also add pedestrian improvements, including a crosswalk and refuge island east of Besley Road and walkways on both sides of Old Courthouse Road. The south side will get an 8-foot-wide shared-use path, while on the north side, a 5-foot-wide, concrete sidewalk will transition to an 8-foot shared-use path that connects to Spring Lake Trail, FCDOT spokesperson Freddy Serrano says.

Designed to accommodate a 25-year flood event, the project has been in the works for almost a decade now. FCDOT submitted preliminary plans back in 2016 and held its final community meeting on the design in February 2018.

The project is being funded by county bonds approved by voters in 2014. Its estimated cost of $15.5 million includes $11.4 million for construction.

Fort Myer Construction Corporation, the county’s contractor, is working in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s right-of-way from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, according to Serrano.

Outside the right-of-way, construction hours are between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“There are a variety of phases to the project and impacts to traffic will vary depending on the phase of construction,” Serrano said. “There are short segments of road closure where traffic will alternate through the construction zone during some of the construction activities.”

Besley Road will be closed during the fourth phase of construction, which will focus on a 150-foot stretch of the road and is expected in the spring of 2025. FCDOT has proposed detouring traffic onto Arabian Avenue.

Construction of the overall project is scheduled to finish in December 2025.

Read more on FFXnow…

Morning Notes

Vienna baseball field at dusk (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

No Officers Charged in Fatal Shooting of Man Experiencing Mental Health Crisis — “A northern Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office announced that no officers are being charged in the fatal 2022 shooting of a man experiencing a mental health crisis in Fairfax County. Just before 7 p.m. on July 7, 2022, Fairfax County police responded to a home in the 6900 block of Arbor Lane in McLean where callers had reported that a man was having a mental health episode.” [FOX 5]

Bill Pitches Renaming Washington Dulles — “House Republicans have introduced a bill in Congress that would rename Washington Dulles International Airport, located in Sterling, Virginia, near D.C., to ‘Donald J. Trump International Airport.’” [ABC News]

Toddler Storytime with a Cop — Reston Regoinal Library will host early literacy story time with a cop at the library from 10:30-11 a.m. [Fairfax County Library]

Daytime Road Closures in Oakton — “Vale Road (Route 672) between West Ox Road (Route 608) and Fox Mill Road (Route 665) will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, Wednesday, April 10 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to replace a drainage pipe, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]

Scam Jam Returns to Fairfax County — The county is hosting a afree event to educate the community about scams in the area. The event is set for Friday, April 19 from 9 a.m. to noon at the government center. [Fairfax County Government]

It’s Tuesday — There’s a slim possibility of rain after 2pm, with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures reaching up to 76°F. The calm wind will shift to a southward direction at around 6 mph in the afternoon. Precipitation chances stand at 20%. For Tuesday night, rain is more likely, particularly after 8pm. The sky will remain cloudy and temperatures will drop to around 59°F. South winds will continue at 6 mph with a 40% chance of precipitation. [NWS]

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