Tysons, VA

Golden Rule, a housesitting service, began in 2018 and expanded to serve clientele in the Northern Virginia area, with a focus around McLean.

Today (Dec. 11), company founder Dan Lender stood in front of fellow entrepreneurs at the 1 Million Cups Fairfax event in Tysons and pitched his company to the room, seeking advice and recommendations on how to better serve his existing clients.

Currently, the company helps around 20 clients to watch their homes, property and occasionally apartments while they are gone for extended periods of time.

Feedback from the event included ways to target his ideal market and focus efforts on specific services.

The clients of Golden Rule consist primarily of people over 50 who spend several months out of the year away from their homes because of vacation or work, Lender said.

Golden Rule staff offer different services for almost every client in order to meet the individual needs, Lender told Tysons Reporter.

The group specializes in services that accompany security measures from larger companies like ADT. Instead of just monitoring the property, Golden Rule will send someone in-person to survey the property, take pictures of things that seem a miss and take care of various tasks.

“You still need eyes and ears on the street,” Lender said, adding that through ADT will call the police, they won’t send someone in person to take care of the property.

After each visit from a Golden Rule representative, the company will send an email to the owner with updates.

The company’s name was inspired by the philosophy of the golden rule “treat others like you’d want to be treated.”

Lender told Tysons Reporter that the company channels this philosophy into their work and treat every client’s home or property like it is their own.

In an attempt to cater to the individual needs of customers, Golden Rule even transported a car for a client and took care of a greenhouse.

When it comes to pricing for the service, it depends completely on what is requested by the client. Though they have basic price points for hourly service and a basic set up fe.

“A lot of our customers recognize the value and they don’t even ask price,” Lender said.

Going forward, Lender told said that although they want to expand, they also don’t want to scale too quickly and jeopardize the quality of the company’s services.

“We don’t cut any corners,” he said.  

Photo courtesy Dan Lender

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Officials from Fairfax County Public Schools announced yesterday (Tuesday) that the county plans to expand the use of solar energy across 87 FCPS schools and facilities.

The new contracts, which are known as solar power purchase agreements (PPA), with service providers are the largest “solar PPA initiative by a local municipality in Virginia to date,” according to a press release from Fairfax County.

“Our move toward solar reinforces the School Board’s commitment to our environmental stewardship responsibilities,” said FCPS School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders in a statement.

The following area schools are being considered for solar modifications:

Vienna

McLean

Falls Church

Merrifield

Photo via Flickr / Minoru Karamatsu 

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Luxury for Less: December 11

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.

This week we’re featuring an excellent value home. 501 Arnon Ridge Court Great Falls (Reduced $50,000) is situated on a two-acre lot and offers main level living. At nearly 3,000 sq. ft., this home provides plenty of space to spread out. If you’re looking for a great value with plenty of land, 501 Arnon Ridge Court is a great option.

If you’re seeking a large lot with a home to expand, Arnon Ridge is surrounded by multi-million dollar homes so the sky is the limit! You can pop top, add an addition, or even build your dream home.

To see this beautiful home or any of the other homes on the market in the D.C. area, please contact Brandy at [email protected] or 571-263-0206.

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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Snow and colder weather have now descended upon the Northern Virginia area.

Forecasters expect rainy weather later this week and temperatures dipping into the 30s.

For locals gearing up for more wet, wintry weather, Fairfax County has a “Guide to Snow” with information ranging from shoveling to driving tips.

Winter officially begins next Saturday (Dec. 21). Let Tysons Reporter know if you are ready for winter weather.

 

 

 

 

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Starting next week, people can get free Lyft rides during the holiday season from the ridesharing app’s partnership with a local nonprofit to combat drunk driving.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is sponsoring the free rides starting next Friday (Dec. 20), according to a press release from WRAP.

Local residents in the D.C. area ages 21 and older can use a promo code for rides up to $15 from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. in Lyft’s D.C. coverage area, which includes all of Fairfax County.

Riders can find the codes starting at 9 p.m. on Dec. 20, 27 and 31. on SoberRide’s website. The program is set to run to Jan. 1.

Last December, 1,988 people in the D.C. area used WRAP’s SoberRide program, the press release said.

“More than a third of all U.S. traffic fatalities during the holiday season in 2018 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” WRAP’s President Kurt Gregory Erickson said in the press release.

Image via Washington Regional Alcohol Program

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A tax reduction for small distilleries across the country is about to expire on Dec. 31 — potentially leaving local businesses like the Falls Church Distillery uncertain of the future.

Earlier this year, Michael Paluzzi, the owner of the Falls Church Distillery, attended a conference and petitioned members of Congress to pass a bill that would freeze taxes on hard liquor at $2.70 per gallon rather than allowing them to rise to $13.50 per gallon.

The bill garnered 16o Republican cosponsors and 166 Democratic cosponsors, but ultimately did not inspire a legislative change.

Paluzzi said he is disappointed that his efforts with the American Craft Spirits Association didn’t get more support from Virginia politicians.

“We just don’t seem to muster their support for whatever reason,” he said. “The logic escapes me.”

As the looming tax increase approaches in three weeks, Paluzzi said he is preparing to downgrade his dreams of expansion and will focus on fostering his current market in the Virginia, D.C. and Maryland areas, instead of expanding to new states.

For now, many small distillery owners are just trying to stay afloat, Paluzzi said, adding that they will not be able to hire new employees or expand their markets like many planned.

Though he keeps up with newsletters and peers, Paluzzi said he isn’t in contact with people on Capitol Hill. 

“Not hearing anything is always a scary thing,” he said.  

Photo via Falls Church Distillers/Facebook

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A few of the painted wooden benches auctioned off are set to return to spots around Vienna for community use.

Earlier this year, the Vienna Arts Society showcased the benches painted by artists around the town to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary.

The auction on Nov. 2 sold the benches for roughly $50,000. Of the 41 sold, eight of them will find permanent homes around prominent public areas including the Patrick Henry Library and the Vienna Community Center, according to Vienna’s newsletter.

At the auction, Mayor Laurie DiRocco and her husband purchased “Church Street, Vienna VA USA” and plan to place it at the Freeman Store and Museum, the newsletter said. DiRocco was one of seven buyers who donated benches.

Sylvia Spengler, a community member, also donated two benches, the newsletter added.

“We’re so grateful to the Vienna Arts Society for sharing its cumulative talent with the community and we’re thrilled that several of the benches will remain in the public domain,” Leslie Herman, the director of parks and recreation, said.

Other benches which can soon be found around town include:

  • “Sit” and “Play Time” at the Vienna Dog Park
  • “Creative Kids” at Cunningham Elementary School
  • “Pleasures of Vienna” at the Town Green, near the fountain
  • “The Kaleidoscope Cats” at the Vienna Community Center
  • “Unlock the Cosmos” at the Patrick Henry Library

Image via Town of Vienna

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After dozens of meetings on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance, a Vienna Town official proposed a solution to speed up the process.

Earlier this year, the Vienna Town Council extended the moratorium on the MAC zone to June 30 — after pushing the deadline several times.

Councilmember Steve Potter called the work on updating the zoning ordinance a “log jam” and brought forward a motion for a comprehensive reorganization and update of Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances, Chapters 17 and 18 of Town Code, by using a consulting firm.

“It is time for a process check,” Potter told the Town Council last night.

“There have been approximately 75 Town Council and Planning Commission meetings and work sessions plus six MAC ad hoc committee meetings and two community workshops on proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance since 2016,” he said.

Potter’s motion:

I move to direct planning and zoning staff to expand the scope of the Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zone and other proposed commercial zone amendments, as directed by Council to date, to include: request for proposal preparation for the comprehensive reorganization and update of Chapters 17 and 18 of the Town Code; consultant interviews and selection recommendations for consulting firms with national and Virginia experience; and determination of a realistic moratorium period for the MAC zone based upon the scope of work identified.

All pertinent work accomplished to date by staff, committees, commissions, boards, and Council, as well as relevant results from public comments, surveys, and workshops shall be retained and shared with the winning consulting firm for use in development of the aforementioned reorganization and update.

“I think this gives us a chance to kind of fix things correctly,” Councilmember Howard Springsteen said.

Potter’s motion aims to make the regulations organized and easy to understand by using plain language, charts, tables and illustrations, along with consistent with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.

“The project is funded, up to $240,000, through the FY 2019-2020 budget from currently allocated funds and prior reserves,” according to town documents.

The Vienna Town Council approved the motion, which Councilmember Linda Colbert called “a great way to end 2019 and a good way to start 2020.”

Image via Town of Vienna

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Starting next year, motorized scooters will be able to go up to 8 miles per hour in the Maple Avenue and Nutley Street corridors.

The General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year allowing localities to regulate motorized scooters and skateboards before Jan. 1.

The Vienna Town Council approved last night (Monday) a one-year pilot program for shared mobility devices, which include motorized scooters, ahead of the end-of-year deadline.

The devices will be able to go up to 8 mph on the Nutley Street and Maple Avenue corridors and in areas adjacent t0 schools, parks and recreation centers. On side streets, the devices will be able to go up to 20 mph.

Town staff said that it is anticipated that people will use the devices on the sidewalks on Nutley and Maple and in the road on the side streets.

Each operator will be required to be a $5,000 fee to the town and be capped at 150 vehicles per the mode of transportation — motorized scooters or bikes — for each company.

Currently, the town has not capped the number of companies.

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The Fairfax County supervisors representing Tysons and McLean voiced support for a proposed change that would allow residents to access roads with restricted turns during peak-hours.

Currently, a joint program from the transportation departments for Virginia and Fairfax County restricts access to neighborhood roads during peak-hour traffic — including the residents.

Fairfax County has three cut-thru restrictions in place. Four additional ones are at various stages, including:

  • Dead Run Drive/Carper Street in McLean
  • Electric Avenue/Williams Avenue/Overlook Street in the Tysons area
  • Allen Avenue in the Falls Church area

Earlier this year, Virginia General Assembly passed a law allowing local jurisdictions to create a program to issue permits or stickers to residents to make turns into or out of a designated area during certain times of the day when those turns are not allowed.

Now, Fairfax County is considering creating the program with permits.

“Permits would not be available for visitors, caregivers, service providers, non-resident owners, relatives, or other non-residents,” according to a presentation to the Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday).

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has submitted a budget request for fiscal year 2021 to pay for the change.

“We have not received any funding to pay for this,” Henri Stein McCartney, a transportation planner for FCDOT, told the board.

While the supervisors mostly agreed that cut-thru traffic is — as Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay called it — a “bad problem” made worse by navigation software like Waze, they disagreed on whether or not to pursue the proposed change.

Chairman Sharon Bulova said that she is worried about not allowing people who need to get to the homes in the cut-thru area but aren’t residents.

Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross echoed Bulova’s concerns, saying that the program would create an “equity problem.”

“I don’t see anything that is broken here that needs to be fixed,” Gross said.

Gross also said that she does not support the “enormous” cost of the $230,000 software needed for the change.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust argued that residents should have access to the cut-thru areas, saying that the proposed change would allow more people in instead of keep more people out of the areas.

“Not being able to turn into your own neighborhood is what keeps neighborhoods from doing [the cut-thru program],” Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth said. “We need to have some sort of selectivity here.”

Other supervisors, like McKay, voiced indecision on the proposal.

FCDOT now plans to work on a draft ordinance for a Board of Supervisors public hearing.

Photo via Facebook

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