Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479.

Spring is a magical time in the D.C. Metro area, where cherry blossoms bloom, temperatures warm up, and outdoor activities abound.

Whether you’re a local Fairfax resident aspiring to become a D.C. tourist or just ready for some spring fun around the area, there are plenty of exciting things to do and explore during this vibrant season.

Become an Outdoor Explorer

Take advantage of the mild weather to explore the region’s parks and outdoor spaces. Visit Great Falls Park for breathtaking views of the Potomac River and hiking trails, or head to Shenandoah National Park for a day of scenic drives and wildlife spotting. Additionally, local parks like Burke Lake Park, Rock Creek Park, and Theodore Roosevelt Island offer serene settings for picnics and outdoor recreation near Fairfax County.

Become the Historian of the Family or a Museum Junkie

Spring is an ideal time to explore the area’s wealth of museums and historic landmarks. In Fairfax County check out the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, Reston Museum, Lucy Burns Museum, Gunston Hall, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

Of course, you can also wander through world-class museums in D.C. that are free, such as the National Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art, to immerse yourself in art, culture, and history. Don’t forget to visit iconic landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Hill for a glimpse into the nation’s past and present.

Outdoor Dining and Farmer’s Market Guru

Indulge in the diverse culinary scene of Northern Virginia and D.C. by dining al fresco at local restaurants and cafes. Many establishments offer outdoor seating options, allowing you to savor delicious meals while soaking up the sunshine. Additionally, explore the vibrant farmers’ markets in the area, such as Mosaic, Fairfax City, Reston, Eastern Market and Dupont Circle, to sample fresh produce, artisanal goods, and gourmet treats.

Outdoor Festivals and Events

Spring brings a flurry of festivals and events to the region, celebrating everything from music and art to food and culture. Attend the Virginia Gold Cup, a beloved horse racing event held in May, or explore neighborhood festivals like the Manassas Spring Carnival, Earth Day Fairfax, Shipgarten’s Sour & Gummies Festival, and Reston StreetFest. Check local event calendars for the latest happenings and plan your spring itinerary accordingly.

With its array of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, and culinary delights, spring in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. offers something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re admiring flowers blooming, exploring historic landmarks, or indulging in local cuisine, make the most of this season in our area!

Sharmane Medaris | Live Fairfax | www.soldbysharmane.com | [email protected] | @soldbysharmane | 813-504-4479 | 374 Maple Avenue Suite 202, Vienna, VA 22180

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Symmetry Salon Studios, a local salon chain with locations around Maryland, has opened a new location at the edge of Vienna, near Dunn Loring.

The new salon is in the Cedar Park Shopping Center at 262 Cedar Lane in Vienna. It’s the first Symmetry Salon Studios location in Virginia.

Staff at the salon told FFXnow the location had a soft opening last month, but the official grand opening is on Tuesday, April 23.

“The Symmetry team is thrilled to provide a premium salon rental experience to solo-preneur stylists seeking to elevate their businesses in one of the most prestigious counties in the nation,” Founder and CEO Tom Ruder said in a release.

The new salon features 23 studios in a 4,000-square-foot space. The salon also boasts “high-end salon furniture such as LED mirrors.”

Photo via Cedar Park Shopping Center/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Morning at The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

County Sues Owners of Burned Annandale Buildings — “Fairfax County has filed suit against the owners of the buildings on Columbia Pike in Annandale that had been destroyed by a fire more than a year ago. Meanwhile, the property owner has lined up a demolition contractor, but the work can’t proceed until the gas is cut off, according to a county official. The Department of Code Compliance (DCC) has reached out to Washington Gas and arranged for Long Fence to put up new fencing.” [Annandale Today]

Park Authority to Join Earth Day Celebrations — “Combining efforts with the reusables experts at r.World, the Park Authority will distribute reusable cups and food containers to food and beverage vendors around the site to fill with their respective food items when orders are made.” [Fairfax County Government]

Survey of McLean Citizens Association Released — “Respondents to a recent McLean Citizens Association (MCA) membership survey urged the group continue advocating for responsible development, limited county spending, school accountability, transportation improvements, more parks and recreational opportunities and tree preservation.” [Gazette Leader]

McLean Basketball Court to Get Facelift —The Fairfax County Park Authority is pleased to announce renovations to McLean Central Park Basketball Court beginning this week. Work crews with contractor ATC will be mobilizing on-site to prepare for work.” [Fairfax County Government]

Venture Capital Firm Relocates HQ to Tysons —Veteran Ventures Capital, a veteran-led and -owned capital firm, will be moving its headquarters from Knoxville, Tennessee to the Boro Tower on Broad Street, according to news reports. The new HQ is steps away from the Greensboro Metro Station and Tysons Galleria.” [Reston Patch]

It’s Friday — Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected early in the day, followed by a chance of showers between 8am and 11am, and the possibility of showers and thunderstorms returning after 11am. The weather will be partly sunny with a high near 68, accompanied by a west wind of 14 to 16 mph and gusts up to 30 mph. There is a 40% chance of precipitation. Friday night’s forecast includes a chance of showers before 2am, with mostly cloudy skies and a low around 49. The west wind will be around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph and a 30% chance of precipitation. [NWS]

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Anyone traveling overnight around I-66 in Vienna may have to take some substantial detours.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said overnight closures are planned on Nutley Street S and the I-66 ramps connected to it.

The closures are planned starting tonight (Thursday) and will occur again tomorrow (Friday) and Monday (April 15). The closures will start at 10 p.m. and continue until 5 a.m.

The closure means drivers on Nutley Street will need to take a detour around Virginia Venter Blvd to get around the interchange.

VDOT said the work is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project. The work is weather-dependent and could be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.

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McLean-based Golden Boot Soccer has been a leader in youth soccer skill development and fun for nearly 30 years, and this summer features even more of their popular camps.

These morning, half-day and full-day programs for ages 3 to 13 combine positive, professional trainers with engaging activities and challenges, often featuring their signature cogno-technical approach.

“Cognitive training is a fancy way of saying we train the body and brain together,” says Golden Boot president and founder Tamir Linhart.

Tamir Linhart

“Our specialized curriculum improves soccer intelligence, reaction time, decision-making, situational awareness, and memory, while also developing technical skills such as passing, receiving, dribbling and finishing. The result is players who are always thinking ahead and are able to make positive and intelligent decisions on the field.”

Cognitive training is folded into each Golden Boot session, using innovative and creative activities appropriate to each level.

This summer, Golden Boot offers a variety of options for all ages and levels, including special camps for travel players, a VIP week featuring college and professional coaches, and an international week focused on Italian pro clubs. Most weeks feature morning Lil’ Boots camps for ages 3-4 and 5-6, plus half-day or full-day options such as Ball Mastery (ages 7-8), Positive Touch Footskills (ages 9-13), Art of Scoring Goals (ages 9-13) and Goalkeeper Training (ages 8-13). All full-day camps include indoor access, giving players air-conditioned breaks throughout the day.

“We plan our schedules with kids’ needs in mind,” explains Linhart.

In addition to Fairfax, Golden Boot has more camps planned in McLean, Vienna, Burke and Arlington, plus weekly skills classes on Saturday mornings.

If there’s one thing that’s constant at Golden Boot, it’s their commitment to innovation and growth.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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).

Read more on FFXnow…

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.

Read more on FFXnow…

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.

Read more on FFXnow…

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