A new fast-food restaurant in Tysons Corner Center wants to help refugees.
Falafel Inc. opened for business at their new location on level one of the mall earlier this week, according to a staff member. Besides just serving an array of Mediterranian fare to customers, the company also provides jobs and food for refugees, according to its website.
“Falafel Inc. is the world’s first falafel quick-service food social enterprise,” according to the company’s website. Tysons Reporter has reached out to learn more about how the proceeds benefit refugees.
Menu items include falafels, hummus, various dips and fries, with prices ranging from $3 to $4.
The company has three spots in the D.C. area and six “coming soon” to Boston, Palo Alton and Los Angeles in California, Amman in Jordan, Dubai and Mexico City.
Falafel Inc. will celebrate its new Tysons spot with a ribbon-cutting on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Falls Church and Vienna residents are concerned that proposed changes to urbanize Fairview Park will worsen traffic and put on a strain on overcrowded schools.
Fairfax County is currently considering altering the Merrifield Suburban Center to turn an office park engulfed by I-495, Lee Hwy and Route 50 into a mixed-use development with more office space, multi-family homes, a hotel, retail and recreational uses.
Fairview Park is currently home to offices — including the four-story-tall HIIT Contracting building — and residential communities by a lake.
County staff said in a report that mixed-use developments are more attractive to employees than single-use office parks. Additionally, the plan amendment would encourage developers to include affordable housing dwelling units or workforce dwelling units, along with senior living and student housing options.
Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, told the Planning Commission that the fact that three of the eight previously planned office buildings have been built points to office parks being out an outdated concept. The offices at Fairview Park had a 29% vacancy rate last year, she said.
At the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s public hearing last night (Wednesday), residents urged the commissioners to scale back the number of housing units proposed for the area and speed up pedestrian and biking improvements, like a pedestrian bridge over Route 50 (Arlington Blvd).
While several residents who testified said they don’t want to see a new building along the man-made peninsula, county staff said that they have language in the plan amendment that would discourage that. If a developer decided to build there, they would be prevented from creating a mixed-use development.
Charlie Hall, who was the task force that helped evaluate the proposed changes, told the commissioners that schools, park and transportation in the area “are under strain.”
While Hall noted that the Planning Commission is probably eager to repeat the “spectacular” Mosaic District, they are “in danger of choking on its success.”
Hall — and several other people — pointed to New Providence and Yancey drives at Fairview Park Drive as a “unique situation” that would require road work to make it safer — especially if thousands of more people eventually come to the area.
The plan currently proposes up to 1,060 dwelling units. Several of the residents who testified said that they prefer scaling back the number of units to 840.
Hall said that he thinks 840 housing units are “economically viable and will create an attractive community.”
Baker, the land use planner, argued that the extra units could help the housing shortage in the area. “We really do feel the need for the 1,060 [units],” she said.
Several residents also raised concerns about the anticipated 119 students the changes could add to the area, saying that nearby schools — like Falls Church High School — are over capacity.
Magaret Irish, representing the homeowners’ association for Carr at New Providence, said that plan amendment would be “the end of quiet evenings in our neighborhood,” in addition to threatening wildlife and trees in the area.
“When does more become enough?” she asked the commissioners. “We need less traffic. We need better infrastructure… We need schools, not wide roads.”
Kevin Warhurst, a McLean resident and member of the Greater Merrifield Business Association said that — while he is sympathetic to residents’ concerns — the changes “will allow [Fairview Park] to grow and thrive.”
“Having a mixed-use is important,” he said.
Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, asked the commission to delay the vote on the plan amendment until next Thursday (Sept. 19) to give the Planning Commission time to review the public comments.
The proposal is set to head to the Board of Supervisors for a hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Images via Fairfax County
The restaurant, known for its traditional Chinese-style dining, will move into an open space at 2980 District Avenue, Suite 110, according to a construction permit application.
The location is preparing to open this winter, a company spokesperson said, adding that owners are still awaiting county approval to redesign the space’s interior.
The original location in Rockville, Md. at 1800 Rockville Pike will remain open for business as the company expands.
Unlimited lunch prices start at $19 and $26 dinner, according to the menu. The price includes unlimited food featuring sliced meats, vegetables and noodles that diners cook themselves in a pot of steaming broth.
The hours of operation for the new location have not been announced yet.
Photo via Facebook
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The Town of Vienna Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify a suspect linked to dirt bike theft along Maple Avenue.
Police tweeted that they are looking for the “subject seen at the Shell gas station (545 W. Maple Avenue) attempting to put a stolen dirt bike into a possible silver 2002 Mercedes CLK320.”
The incident happened around 4 a.m. Wednesday (Sept. 11). Police said the dirt bike was reported stolen from Paris Court SW.
“The subject is a black male, mid 30s, 6’2, slender, short cut beard, bald,” police said. “He was last seen wearing a tan cap, light grey or white shirt and black jeans.”
Image via Google Maps
A woman died after her vehicle ran off of Route 267 in Tysons East and struck two trees early this morning (Thursday).
The fatal crash happened around 2:30 a.m. on westbound Route 267 (Dulles Access Road) just west of Route 123, Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, said.
“A Honda Civic was traveling west on Route 267 when it ran off the road and struck two trees. The impact of the crash caused the vehicle to roll over the guardrail and back into the westbound lanes of the highway,” Geller said.
The woman, who was the only person in the vehicle, died at the scene, Geller said.
Police are still trying to contact the woman’s next of kin and have not released her name.
The crash remains under investigation.
Map via Google Map
As conditions worsen on GW Parkway, some McLean residents question when they will see repairs.
Charles Cuvelier, the new GW Parkway superintendent, told attendees at the McLean Citizens Association (MCA) meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 10) that the parkway will need work to maintain structural integrity.
“After 60 years, the brick and mortar has become porous,” he said.
A community member at the meeting said that she finds the road frightening to drive on. In terms of repairs to potentially dangerous areas, the superintendent said that data about traffic and other roadway incidents are used to identify which areas of the roadway need immediate attention.
He noted that one of the worst areas in terms of damage is Route 123 near Chain Bridge.
In March, a giant sinkhole opened in the region, causing havoc and closures for those who frequent the roadway. To repair much of the road, crews will need to solidify the ground up to 50 feet under, Cuvelier said.
The next steps are unclear since community leaders rely on grants from the federal government for repairs, Cuvelier said. They will submit the next round of grants in 2020, and if approved, construction will likely begin in 2022 to be completed in 2023, he added.
Until now, the National Park Service and Virginia Department of Transportation have been relying on grants of $30 million or less for small maintenance projects, Cuvelier said. He referred to the funding allowance between federal and state funds as a “regional formula.”
Cuvelier said the National Park Service is working with VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to find solutions for repairs. When a community member asked if they could see the correspondence, he replied that they have nothing to hide and community members are free to file a Freedom of Information Act request.
Louise Epstein sits on the MCA board as the chair for the budget and taxation committee. She is also the president of her neighborhood homeowners association, which backs up to GW Parkway.
“The problem is that we are relying, unfortunately, on hope. I’m sort of a cynic and I don’t like to rely on hope,” Epstein said, “Things are falling apart, and we need to figure out what’s going on.”
She added that she doesn’t think federal grant money will be enough to fix the problem, saying that the community needs to begin brainstorming new ways to come up with funding to fix the highway.
“We have to look for other ways to get that money sooner,” Epstein said.
Drivers can expect delays this morning from a crash along Route 123 between I-495 and the Dulles Connector Road in Tysons.
A traffic camera showed what appeared to be the front end of a red vehicle rammed into the back of a white vehicle around 9 a.m. Police are on scene.
Traffic was backed up connecting the Dulles Connector Road to Route 123, according to Google Maps.
Image via Virginia 511, map via Google Maps
The Tysons area is under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, which includes the D.C. area.
The warning will last until 5:45 p.m. People can expect winds up to 60 miles per hour with “quarter size hail.”
More from the National Weather Service:
At 4:57 PM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from near Great Falls to Fairfax to near Bull Run, moving east at 25 mph…
IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Washington DC, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA until 5:45 PM EDT pic.twitter.com/tLVjgUjhhY
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) September 11, 2019
A young Vienna resident is the recipient of a national honor recognizing upcoming leaders in the scientific community.
Siona Prasad recently won the Davidson Fellow Scholarship for her work in environmental science and climate change, which included $25,000 in college tuition assistance at Harvard University, where she began studies this fall.
Leading up to this moment, Prasad said she applied for this award several times in the past and was thrilled when she finally became a recipient.
“My family was very proud and we were all excited about the scholarship,” she said. “It means the world to be recognized for my work.”
She added that being included in the network of other fellows and alumni network is also an honor. Prasad will attend a ceremonial dinner for the award on Sept. 27 in D.C.
The Davidson Scholarship awards young adults age 18 or younger with scholarship money who demonstrate outstanding achievements in the scientific community. Applicants must be either the lead student scientist on a project or conduct it independently, according to the scholarship website.
Throughout her high school career at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, she worked with researchers and professors at the University of Maryland to develop low-cost CO2 sensors that were easy to scale and implement in cities.
These sensors can detect where greenhouse gasses are emitted from within city limits and allow the government and environmental research agencies to ultimately combat the effects of climate change, according to a Davidson Institute press release.
“We have less than a decade to solve the biggest environmental crisis we have ever faced,” she said.
Across D.C., Prasad said she was able to install nine sensors on places like telephone polls and collect data that is now in the hands of University of Maryland professors.
Before the project, Prasad said she was always interested in the environment and was particularly motivated when former President Barack Obama’s asked if this generation is doing all they can to prepare a better future in his 2016 State of the Union address. Prasad said she wanted to answer his query with an honest “yes.”
Prasad said she plans to study computer science and environmental science at Harvard, adding that she’s also interested in entrepreneurship and startup companies.
“Technology is one of the most powerful weapons we have against climate change,” Prasad said.
Photo via Davidson Institute