Tysons Corner, VA

Self-proclaimed naturalists in the City of Falls Church may soon have a new volunteer opportunity.

The city’s Tree Commission wants to create a volunteer program where people can assist in counting, categorizing and measuring over 10,000 trees within the city limits. Though the program is still in the works, commissioners said at a meeting Wednesday (Aug. 21) that they want the it to be inclusive of all age groups and time availabilities.

“We are hoping this will be a popular program because you can choose your own hours. You don’t have to come to an event, and you can do it when you find it convenient,” Kate Reich, the staff liaison and city arborist, said.

The commission currently contracts with a pruning company that charges based on tree size, and is hoping to sort tree circumferences into categories, so that the commission can get a more reliable cost estimate for tree care.

While they are still standardizing training and finding a user-friendly way to collect data, Reich said the program should begin in September. The volunteers will be given special measuring tapes that show circumference size so they won’t need to do any extra math.

Amy Crumpton, who is certified by the Arlington Master Naturalist program, will lead the volunteer group.

“The USDA Forest Service has programs they call i-Tree, where they can assess environmental benefits of an urban forest when you plug in great wads of data,” Reich said.

The commission said the new program will work to fill in this database and help the city government calculate the cost of tree care.

Though the database is live now with information gathered from a few years ago, the commission is working to fix some bugs.

Each volunteer will have a login to the system so organizers can keep track of hours and ensure that the user’s data is accurate. Users will also be able to report areas that could use some extra greenery, the commissioners said.

“It would be nice if we could expand it, to say the Boy Scouts or something,” Reich said, adding that this would be a great service opportunity for them.

When the program is finalized, Crumpton will create a SignUpGenius for volunteers. Though they will limit the number of volunteers for beta testing, they hope to eventually expand the network.

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The U.S. Park Police Chief Robert MacLean said yesterday (Wednesday) that he is stepping down.

The announcement came nearly two years after a fatal shooting of a Tysons man by U.S. Park Police that politicians and community members are still trying to get answers to.

The FBI has been investigating the Nov. 17, 2017 shooting where two U.S. Park Police fired into a Jeep Grand Cherokee and hit Bijan Ghaisar, a 25-year-old.

MacLean told Fox 5 DC that he is met with the Ghaisar family shortly after the incident to provide them with more explanation and that he is leaving the case to the FBI to “bring that impartiality and objectivity.”

MacLean worked for the Park Police for nearly 30 years, having positions in both the operational and administrative areas, according to his bio. He was selected to be the acting police chief in December 2013.

According to Fox 5 DC, he has a job lined up at the Office of Law Enforcement and Security at the Department of Interior.

Image via C-SPAN

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Brandywine Realty Trust is looking to upgrade office space by Tysons Galleria.

The real estate firm announced on Twitter yesterday (Wednesday) that it’s renovating its space at 1676 International Drive #1350.

“We’re elevating 1676 International with a Penthouse full of amenities,” the tweet said.

The new space will include a lounge, 120-person conference center, living room, fitness center and open-air conservatory.

The building houses companies including BAE Systems, KPMG and the consulting firm Savon Group.

Image via Google Maps 

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Falls Church city officials say now that the city’s housing guidelines have been updated, the real work begins.

On Aug. 12, the City Council unanimously voted in favor of new affordable housing and demographics chapters as the city staff works to update its Comprehensive Plan.

“Revisiting the city’s zoning ordinances is an appropriate thing to do to make sure the rules of the game support the goals the city is trying to work toward,” Paul Stoddard, the city’s planning director, said. “Housing doesn’t operate in a free market. It is heavily constrained by local regulation.”

These approved changes come after months of work and revisions from committees, including the Housing Commission and Planning Commission. Now, city leaders are calling on the public to speak up — to ensure that the plan is implemented.

Housing Commissioner Pete Davis, who acted as an ally for the plan throughout its development, said he emphasized the importance of affordable hosing amendments that will address Falls Church’s “crisis.”

He asked the Planning Commission to “keep affordable housing in the forefront of [its] mind” during an address on Aug, 5.

At the same meeting, commissioners noted changes to the proposal since the group last met, with key adaptions including the addition of religious organizations as a partner to ease housing burdens, a revised definition of median income, the inclusion of accessory dwellings as a solution and acknowledgment that it will take the entire community to solve the issue.

Davis said that the next steps require community members to speak up about affordable housing and continue to put pressure on the Falls Church City Council.

Within increasing pressure from Amazon’s HQ2 coming into the area, Davis said that city officials and community members can no longer remain passive and wait to see how the market reacts — they must act now and push for more affordable housing units.

“We cannot take a hands-off approach anymore,” Davis said.

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Look around Tysons and you’ll find art near every Metro station.

Tysons Reporter has rounded up the outside artworks in the area that are Instragram-worthy and easy to walk to.

“Early Bird”

Maybe you’ve spotted the dozens of bronze birds scattered around The Plaza outside Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road). If you haven’t — just take a look around at the seating and railings.

The birds depict five species — the morning dove, the red-tailed hawk, the robin, the crow and the cardinal — and were created by a trio of George Mason University artists, according to the university. In total, there are 63 birds.

Fun fact: “Early Bird is the name of Intelsat’s first communications satellite. It was launched into orbit on April 6, 1965,” according to the university.

“The Thought”

It’s hard to not notice the nearly 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture outside the Walmart (1500 B Cornerside Blvd) in Tysons West where an enormous face rests its chin on a hand.

Robert Cole created the structure with copper pipe before covering it with welded bronze plates. His assistant, Josh Yavelberg, helped with the creation of the piece, according to the D.C.-based Robert Cole Studios.

Cole, who had art at other Metro stations and around the D.C.-area, died in 2013.

“Solar Sails”

Known for his use of glass, artist Ray King created “Solar Sails” outside the Tysons Corner Metro station (1943 Chain Bridge Road) in 2015. The laminated glass panes and tension pulled steel measure 50 feet long outside, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

“By creating dynamic interactions with the sun and refracting light into colors — rainbow-like emanations that shift and change as the viewer moves or as the light source changes — King creates an environment that appeals to viewers’ sense of wonderment and delight,” WMATA’s website says.

“Hoop-La” 

Alice Aycock created the aluminum and powder-coated steel sculpture in front of the Capital One headquarters (1680 Capital One Drive) by the McLean Metro station.

According to a description from Capital One:

For the Capital One project, Alice tried to visualize energy, thoughts and ideas as a series of spiral vortexes gathering momentum — each emerging from the vortex below as whirlpools of thought. She designed the work to appear to spin off into the air, forming a dynamic, three-dimensional mixture of forms.

The sculpture is a metaphor for the way ideas connect in energetic and unpredictable ways in the pursuit of knowledge.

Much of Alice’s work in both public and private spheres has been a meditation on the philosophical ramifications of technology, from the simplest to the most advanced tools. Many of these works have incorporated images of the wheel and turbines and references to energy.

“Voyagers”

Located on the ground level at the McLean Metro station mezzanine (1824 Dolley Madison Blvd) are 26 laminated glass panels. Martin Donlin hand painted and airbrushed the panels, which include etchings of poetry from Virginia Poet Laureates, in 2015.

“‘Voyagers’ represents both the physical and cognitive idea of travel and transportation,” the WMATA website says.

“Eccentricity”

Standing 40 feet tall, the stainless steel and concrete work by Barbara Grygutis greets people outside the west entrance pavilion plaza outside the Spring Hill Metro station (1576 Spring Hill Road), according to WMATA.

More from WMATA about the sculpture:

This large iconic columnar sculpture and plaza demarcate the Spring Hill Road Station along WMATA’s Metro Silver Line. The sculptural form displays shifting moiré patterns as the viewer moves about the piece — from pedestrians at ground level and above on the train platform, to vehicles and bicyclists passing at varying speeds. The plaza includes an offset concentric ring design in two shades of concrete with poetry by previous Poet Laureate of Virginia Lee Pelham Cotton in aluminum within the concrete. In the evening, the pillar is illuminated to create a peacemaking feature around the clock.

WMATA commissioned Grygutis to create the piece, which was finished in 2016, according to the artist’s website. People can see it driving or walking along Leesburg Pike by the Metro stop.

“Tysons Luxury Lilies”

People getting off the Greensboro Metro station and folks heading to the Tysons Biergarten have surely seen the massive mural featuring water lilies at 8346 Leesburg Pike.

Created by Lawrence Atoigue, professionally known as Naturel, the 100 by 200 foot mural was launched in 2016 as part of a placemaking effort by Tysons Partnership.

The mural, located on a wall owned by Beacon Capital Partners, was inspired by Claude Monet’s “Water Lily” series, according to Tysons Partnership.

“Technology Triangle Colonnade”

Columns standing 21 feet tall are located on opposite sides of Leesburg Pike at the Greensboro Metro station (8304 Leesburg Pike). David Dahlquist created the metal, fiberglass and concrete columns with LED lights in 2016.

“The symbolic triangle, representative of the connection of government, industry, and consumer, becomes a dramatic iconic marker,” according to the WMATA website. “The sculptural columns create a dynamic connection to the station.”

People who look closely can spot the poetry by Virginia Poet Laureates in the bands around the base of each column.

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The new Bad Axe Throwing location is offering free throwing lessons to celebrate their grand opening in Merrifield — but only for one weekend.

The new location at 2985 District Avenue, Suite 195 began accepting reservations on last Monday (Aug. 12) and offers an opportunity for participants to try their hand at the sport. The weekend after Labor Day (Sept. 6-8), the location will wave its normal $27 per person fee.

Though patrons cannot reserve dates for the free weekend, they are invited to come for a drop-in session from 5-11 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 6), 12 -11 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 7) and 2-9 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 8).

“Our mission is to bring the thrill of a traditional Canadian backyard pastime to urban communities,” the company’s website said.

Anyone curious about the facilities that cannot make it on a free-day, can visit by booking an hour-long session online.

The website suggests that participants wear comfortable athletic clothes. While anyone can come, the company said that people should be strong enough “to throw a soccer ball over their head.”

The company originated in Ontario, Canada where it was founded by CEO Mario Zelaya in 2014. Today, the business has over 40 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to the website.

Photo via Facebook/Bad Axe Throwing

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A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is now in effect for Fairfax County.

The National Weather Service issued the watch at 3:25 p.m. today (Wednesday). It will last until 10 p.m.

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The company behind A Taste of Urbanspace in Tysons Galleria is facing a lawsuit for allegedly stealing a retail brokerage firm’s “intellectual capital.”

District Equities filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that Urbanspace Tysons LLC, “entered into an agreement with District Equities to help find retail vendors for the food hall, utilized the brokerage firm’s proprietary market knowledge and business relationships, and then terminated the agreement,” Bisnow reported.

District Equities was started by Great Falls resident Steve Gaudio in 2015.

The two companies worked together from the fall until Urbanspace terminated District Equities’ agreement, activating the noncompete clause that said District Equities cannot work on another food hall for two years, the article said.

District Equities “says the damages would be at least $75,000, a threshold that gives it jurisdiction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia,” according to the Bisnow article.

Urbanspace Tysons LLC opened A Taste of Urbanspace in December, replacing celebrity chef Mike Isabella’s series of restaurants known as Isabella Eatery.

Recently, A Taste of Urbanspace has seen some changes.

Danielle’s Desserts closed for good at the mall earlier this month after its owner told Tysons Reporter that she wants to focus more on her health and family.

Meanwhile, Eater reported that Ice Cream Jubilee seems to have disappeared from the Tysons spot and is no longer listing it as one of its locations.

Lady M Cake Boutique is moving from its pop-up in A Taste of Urbanspace to a permanent spot on the second level of the mall.

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New speed humps are coming to the windy Bellview Road in McLean next month.

Known for its cut-through traffic use, the two-lane road runs from just north of Wolf Trap to Georgetown Pike, bisecting Old Dominion Drive along the way.

The upcoming traffic calming measures will add seven speed humps along the road.

“The speed humps on Bellview will be installed in coordination with planned repaving, which is expected to take place the third or fourth week of September,” Jennifer McCord, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told Tysons Reporter.

Another McLean road will also undergo traffic calming measures.

In July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved two speed tables, longer, flat-topped version of speed humps, for Youngblood Street.

Youngblood Street connects a residential area in Chesterbrook Gardens to Westmoreland Street.

“[The Fairfax County Department of Transportation] is finalizing plans for installation, and will then send to the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services,” FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger told Tysons Reporter. “The timeline for completion could be fall 2019.”

Image 1 via Google Maps, image 2 via FCDOT, map via Google Maps

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Luxury for Less: August 21

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

It’s been quite a busy year but the market finally appears to be slowing just a bit.

Teachers are hard at work getting ready for the school year to begin and Fairfax County schools will officially start back next week. This means that sellers are getting serious before the holiday season is upon us and the market slows to a crawl. This week’s featured home is a wow home for sure. Who needs to leave home when you have a 5,000 bottle wine cellar, a gym, a bar, a recreation room and a backyard to die for.

This home in Great Falls is a stunner and is now reduced in price by nearly a half million dollars. Enjoy peace and tranquility next to your koi pond and truly get away from the hustle and bustle.

9110 Dara Lane Great Falls (Reduced $450,000)

Check out the rest of this week’s Luxury for Less listings:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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