Tysons, VA

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors kicked off its first meeting in 2020 by voting to support equal taxing authority.

Yesterday (Tuesday), Chairman Jeffrey McKay and Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw jointly proposed asking the General Assembly to support equal taxing authority.

Currently, counties have less taxing authority than cities and towns in Virginia.

“The local tax structure in Virginia has become outdated, and limitations on counties’ ability to raise revenues from diverse sources has resulted in an over-reliance on property taxes to fund core local government programs and services,” according to the board matter from McKay and Walkinshaw.

McKay and Walkinshaw argue that counties would be able to invest more in education, transportation, public safety and human services with equal taxing authority.

“Virginia relies more on local taxes and revenues for funding government services than most other states,” the board matter says. “Relying too heavily on one source of revenue leaves counties vulnerable to downturns in the real estate market and population shifts.”

The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) has been pushing for equal taxing authority for the 2020 General Assembly session. Montogomery County’s board recently voted to support equal taxing authority.

“Having served on the VaCo board for a number of years, this is one of the few issues that we can truthfully say has overwhelming support from virtually every county in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McKay said before the vote.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity — the only Republican on the Board of Supervisors — disagreed.

“It does not have overwhelming support in the Springfield District,” Herrity said. “I think what we have is more of a spending problem than a revenue problem.”

The board voted 9-1, with Herrity voting “no,” to support the proposal.

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(Updated 12/19/19) Last night, the members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors were sworn in.

The 10-member board will see four new faces in the New Year, including Dalia Palchik, the new representative for Tysons.

Here is information on who will be in the seats at the board’s first meeting next year.

Chairman: Jeffrey McKay

McKay was first elected to the board in 2007, serving as the Lee District Supervisor until the end of this year, according to his county bio. Prior to joining the board, he was the chief of staff to former Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman from 1996 through 2007.

McKay beat three challengers to clinch the Democratic nomination for the county board’s chair in the June primary before defeating Republican Joseph Galdo in the November election.

Hunter Mill District: Walter Alcorn

Alcorn will fill the seat of Cathy Hudgins, who served on the board for five terms and announced her retirement at the start of this year. He beat five Democrat challengers in the primary.

Alcorn is a former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner and served on the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. He has also worked as a policy aide in the Providence District supervisor’s office and was the president of the Herndon High School PTSA.

Lee District: Rodney Lusk

McKay’s run for the chair left the Lee District seat open. Lusk beat three Democratic challengers in the June primary.

Lusk has been a Fairfax County employee for the past 29 years — including working for then-Supervisor Gerry Connelly as a land use zoning aide and most recently as the national marketing director for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, according to his campaign website.

Providence District: Dalia Palchik

Palchik grew up in the area after immigrating with her family to the United States at an early age from Argentina. She was elected to the Fairfax County School Board in 2015 and served as the Providence District Representative.

Just days after current Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth announced in December that she wouldn’t seek election, Palchik jumped into the race and defeated four Democratic challengers in the June primary. In November, she beat Republican Eric Anthony Jones.

Sully District: Kathy Smith

First elected to the board in 2016, Smith was re-elected as Sully District Supervisor in November, beating Republican Srilekha Palle.

Previously, Smith served as the Sully District Representative to the Fairfax County School Board for 14 years, including as the chairman three times, according to her county bio. She was also a teacher for seven years and taught in her home state of New Jersey.

Mount Vernon District: Daniel Storck

Storck was first elected as Mount Vernon District Supervisor in 2015 and reelected this fall.

He has developed and owned healthcare, benefits and insurance consulting firms and was previously a school board member from 2004-2015, according to his county bio. Notable resume item: he also was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

Braddock District: James Walkinshaw

Walkinshaw, a former chief of staff to Rep. Gerry Connolly, announced his run for the seat to replace Republican John Cook, who retired. He beat Republican Jason Remer and independent candidate Carey Chet Campbell in November.

Walkinshaw previously volunteered as a mentor to at-risk boys through Fairfax County’s Befriend-A-Child program and joined Fairfax County’s Council to End Domestic Violence, according to his campaign website.

He serves on the Board of the Ravensworth Farm Civic Association and is a volunteer with the Friends of Lake Accotink Park, the bio says.

Dranesville District: John Foust

First elected to the board in 2007, Foust was reelected to represent McLean, Great Falls and Herndon residents on the county board. He defeated Republican Ed Martin in the November election.

Originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Foust has been living in Northern Virginia since 1981 and in McLean since 1987, according to his county bio. Foust worked in steel mills and practiced construction law in Northern Virginia.

Mason District: Penelope Gross

In the November election, Gross was able to keep her seat, defeating Republican Gary Aiken. She was first elected to the board in 1995, according to her county bio.

Previously, she worked as a staffer in various congressional offices, served on the Board of the Lincolnia Park Civic Association and was on the Executive Board of the Mason District Council of Civic Associations, her bio says.

Springfield District: Pat Herrity

Herrity hung onto his seat, beating Democrat Linda Sperling. He was first elected to the board in 2007, according to his campaign website. Herrity’s father was a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

With Cook retiring, Herrity will be the only Republican on the board in 2020.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to have their first meeting in 2020 on Jan. 14.

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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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Plans for a new speed hump aim to slow down drivers near a high school and senior center in Pimmit Hills.

Last Tuesday (Dec. 3), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors backed adding a speed hump to Griffith Road between Magarity Road and Lisle Ave.

The speed hump will be located in front of the building (7510 Lisle Avenue) that houses the Pimmit Hills Senior Center, the Pimmit Hills Alternative High School and the Pimmit Alternative Learning Center.

The county board voted to urge the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) to install the speed hump as soon as possible after residents in the area called for measures to reduce the speed of traffic on the road, according to county documents.

Back in October, FCDOT received support from the nearby community for the traffic calming plan for the road after FCDOT had an engineering study done on the road, the county said.

Now, the Virginia Department of Transportation will review the plan, which is a part of FCDOT’s Residential Traffic Administration Program.

The new speed hump is expected to cost $8,000, according to county documents.

Map via Google Maps 

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Fairfax County plans to roll into the new year with regulations for motorized scooters.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance for shared mobility devices on Tuesday (Nov. 19) after the General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year allowing localities to regulate scooters and motorized skateboards.

The county’s Department of Cable and Consumer Services will regulate the operators of the shared mobility devices. The operators will be required to submit permits and keep their fleets at certain sizes.

At first, operators can have fleets with up to 300 devices, with the possibility of going up to 600 devices if they can demonstrate the demand for the higher limit.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said that he supports having operators start with a lower number of devices that can then be raised.

Starting Jan. 1, people riding scooters in Fairfax County won’t be able to go above 10 miles per hour.

During a public hearing on Tuesday before the board voted, two people testified in support of motorized scooters.

Ronit Dancis, speaking on behalf of the Tysons Partnership, told the board that motorized scooters can help solve the first-to-last mile commuter problem and

Dancis said that Tysons Partnership is worried that the absolute maximum of 600 scooters “will not be sufficient to meet Tysons’ needs” and that the 10 mph speed will be overly restrictive.

Dancis added that county staff said Fairfax County is working with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to create scooter parking docks at the Metro stations.

Paymon Hadjiesmaeiloo, one of the co-owners of the Tysons Biergarten, told the board that motorized scooters are a cost-efficient transportation option for a rapidly growing part of the county. He added that increased mobility from scooters will benefit local retailers and businesses.

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook also summarized feedback from a constituent who said that — while useful devices — motorized scooters have become a nuisance from being abandoned around the Braddock District.

In addition to the shared mobility device regulations, Fairfax County plans to create a complaints process for improper use and abandonment of the devices, according to the county.

“Staff will coordinate [the] implementation of the complaint process with bordering jurisdictions and present a summary in the first year of SMDs in early 2021.”

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The new trails underway along I-66 now have a name: the “66 Parallel Trail.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the name on Tuesday (Nov. 20) for the trails that will be added by the county and the Transform 66 Express Lanes Project.

In addition to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) creating 22.5 miles of express lanes from I-495 to Prince William County, people can expect 11 miles of new pedestrian and bike trails in Fairfax County.

“Trail segments that cannot be accommodated within the highway right-of-way are to be funded by Fairfax County and constructed as part of VDOT’s locally administered projects,” according to county documents.

The county’s Department of Transportation (FCDOT) gathered name suggestions and held two public meetings in the spring. After 1,124 respondents took an online survey with name options, FCDOT staff recommended the “66 Parallel Trail” to the county board.

The names in the survey included:

  • Sixty-Six or 66 Parallel
  • Sixty-Six or 66 Ramble
  • Capital Gateway
  • Dogwood Trail
  • East-West Gateway
  • Heart of Fairfax Trail
  • Kaleidoscope Trail
  • Mid-County Trail

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook jokingly said that he wanted the name to be the “Smyth, Cook, Herrity and Smith Trail” — after the last names of the supervisors whose districts are affected by the name change.

Chairman Sharon Bulova said that “66 Ramble” was her favorite.

Images via VDOT

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Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors wants to team up with the developers behind a Tysons East development on a stream restoration project in Scotts Run.

The partnership between the county and Cityline Partner would let the developer fund part of the project, satisfying its proffered conditions for its Scotts Run project, which would bring a hotel, apartments, office buildings and retail space right next to the McLean Metro station.

When the county approved Cityline’s rezoning application in 2013, the developer agreed to design and construct a stream restoration project in the Scotts Run Stream Valley Park, which is owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, according to county documents.

More from county documents on the proposed agreement:

As part of the Stormwater Capital Improvement Program, the county has finalized designs and is ready to construct a stream restoration project in a section of the Scotts Run that is contiguous with the Cityline Plan (County Project). The county and Cityline want to implement the Cityline Plan and the County Project concurrently…

Under the proposed agreement, the County will solicit bids for the construction of the combined Cityline Plan and the County Project, and, based on the bid, Cityline will choose whether to fund its proportional share of construction costs or construct the Cityline Plan independent of the County Project.

The county says that combining the stream restoration projects will help the work will get done faster and lower construction costs.

“Additionally, stormwater improvement and stream restoration projects for Tysons are included in the adopted Scotts Run Watershed Management Plan and are part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Capital Improvement Program,” the county documents added.

The board is set to vote on the proposed project agreement tomorrow (Tuesday).

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Come January, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to see four new faces — and all of them are Democrats.

Democrat Dalia Palchik defeated her Republican opponent for the Providence District seat, which represents Tysons and Merrifield.

In addition to Palchik, new faces on the 10-member board will include Democrats James Walkinshaw for the Braddock District, Walter Alcorn for the Hunter Mill District and Rodney Lusk for the Lee District, according to unofficial election results.

Voters reelected Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, along with Penny Gross (Mason District), Daniel Storck (Mount Vernon), Kathy Smith (Sully) and Pat Herrity (Springfield).

With Republican John Cook, who represents the Braddock District, retiring, Herrity will be the only Republican on the board.

Current Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay won the board’s chair.

In a celebratory newsletter thanking her supporters, Palchik wrote, “I am proud to be the first Latina to hold this position.”

Palchik, who currently who is the Providence District member on the Fairfax County School Board, ran on a platform focused on education funding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In an interview with Tysons Reporter, Palchik said that she wants to tackle affordable housing — “the number one challenge… in the Tysons area” — and finding solutions to the last mile challenge.

“Big Win” for Democrats

Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34) called yesterday’s election a “big win” for Democrats in Virginia. For the first time since 1993, Democrats took control of both the State Senate and the House of Delegates.

Murphy told attendees at a Democratic watch party last night to think about the “misery we felt” when former Rep. Barbara Comstock won the 10th congressional district.

“We never wanted to feel that way again,” Murphy. “So what did we do? We went out and we won.”

Voters Approve Funding for Public School Renovations

Fairfax County voters also OK’d a $360 million school bond referendum that includes $2 million in planning funds for a new “Silver Line elementary school,” along with:

  • $19.5 million in construction funds for adding an addition to Madison High School in Vienna
  • $49.6 million in construction funds for renovating Cooper Middle School in McLean
  • $1.7 million in planning funds for renovating Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna

Fairfax County uses bonds to pay for renovating and building new schools.

Kalina Newman contributed to this story. 

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(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) School Board member Dalia Palchik defeated Republican Eric Anthony Jones to win the Providence District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Meanwhile, John Foust was reelected to the Dranesville District seat, defeating his Republican opponent Ed Martin. Foust was first elected to the county board in 2007.

Palchik received roughly 70 percent of the vote, while Foust received about 64 percent of the vote — voting figures cited are unofficial.

Palchik celebrated her win at the Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge in Fairfax with Karl Frisch, who won the Providence District seat on the Fairfax County School Board, and Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who won reelection.

Palchik will replace Linda Smyth, who announced last December that she wouldn’t run for reelection this year.

“I’m overjoyed. It’s been a long year,” Palchik told Tysons Reporter. “We’ve come out with a stronger community and a stronger county.”

Meanwhile, at the watch party at the McLean Community Center for Foust and other Democratic candidates, attendees appeared stressed around 8 p.m. when an “error” message appeared on the Virginia Department of Election’s webpage with the live results.

“People who care about our future are being elected to office,” Foust told Tysons Reporter. “I think the type of leadership we need to move forward in Fairfax County is in place.”

Current Lee District Supervisor Jeffrey McKay won the Board of Supervisors’ chair with roughly 65 percent of the vote, beating Republican Joe Galdo.

Democrat Steve Descano won the race for the Commonwealth’s Attorney position in Fairfax. Descano ousted current Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh in the June primary.

Democrat Elaine Tholen won the Dranesville District Seat on the Fairfax County School Board.

More from social media:

Catherine Douglas Moran, Ashley Hopko and Kalina Newman contributed to this story.

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Updated at 4:25 p.m. — As of 4:23 p.m., county-wide turnout is at 25.1% for in-person voters, Fairfax County tweeted.

With just a few hours left before the polls close this evening, Tysons-area voter turnout has steadily increased throughout the day.

Contested races are underway for the Providence and Dranesville District seats and the chair on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

As of 1 p.m., voter turnout was at 15.9% in the Providence District, 18.2% in the Hunter Mill District and 18.4% in the Dranesville District, Fairfax County tweeted.

Around 2 p.m., Tysons Reporter spotted a full parking lot outside George Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike). As of 1:57 p.m., 991 people had voted at the high school.

A polling official at Marshall told Tysons Reporter that it’s been a “great steady flow” all day.

The Chief Election Official at Langley High School in McLean told Tysons Reporter earlier today that most voters tend to come between 5 p.m. and when the polls close at 7 p.m.

Registered voters can find their polling locations with the My Neighborhood Map or through the portal on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Tysons Reporter interviewed the candidates running for the Providence and Dranesville District seats on the Board of Supervisors: Dalia Palchik, Eric Anthony Jones, John Foust and Ed Martin.

Additionally, we have a guide about who is running in the local races for the Tysons area.

Kalina Newman and Catherine Douglas Moran contributed to this story.

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