Tysons, VA

Outside of the occasional bomb threat, life in the southern corner of the Leesburg Pike and I-495 intersection is pretty quiet. The Board of Supervisors is hoping the new Mint Cafe can help bring a little life to the area — but not too much, because they’re not permitted to have live entertainment or music.

The new cafe is planned to replace the first floor of the vacant United Bank at 7787 Leesburg Pike, while the office use on the second floor will continue. The new cafe was unanimously approved at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

“Replacing a vacant business will help to rejuvenate this prominent location,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “The planting of 16 new trees will help to spruce up this property.”

The block along Ramada Road currently features an office building and The Westin Tysons Corner.

The cafe is planned to be a primarily late-evening venue, meaning it won’t impact the notoriously atrocious rush hour traffic along that stretch of Leesburg Pike.

Palchik said the cafe will fit in well with other planned uses in the area, including a planned Residence Inn by Marriott planned to fit behind the cafe.

“A new restaurant and retention of an office use on the second floor will fit well with the pending construction of a new hotel behind this property,” Palchik said.

There’s no word yet on how soon Mint Cafe plans to open.

Photo via Google Maps, rendering via Fairfax County

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A lone brick house at the northern entrance to Tysons since the 1940s could soon become a new trio of homes.

The house, visible to anyone traveling south into Tysons on Leesburg Pike, will be demolished with three new single-family houses built on the site. The property sits directly across Jarrett Valley Drive from the McLean Islamic Center and has belonged to the same family over several generations — long predating the surrounding Carrington neighborhood built in 2000.

The permit for rezoning was reviewed at a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday (Tuesday) due to the new houses’ proximity to the nearby roads. Part of the development plan includes a sound wall separating the homes from the nearby roads to screen some of the traffic noise.

There were no public speakers on the item, except one particularly loud cat who was not listed as a public speaker. The new development was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Photo via Google Maps, aerial photography via Fairfax County

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Flu season is around the corner and regional officials will gather tomorrow morning to discuss the importance of the annual vaccination.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that everyone do their part to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like flu,” a press release said.

The meeting, which begins tomorrow (Sept. 17) at 9.m., will include speeches from Fairfax County officials who encourage members of the public to receive their yearly flu vaccinations, according to a press release.

Those who want to watch the event are invited to do so virtually via Facebook Live.

A recent Tysons Reporter poll said that almost 20% of 494 respondents have already gotten their flu shot for the year while another 66% of respondents that they plan to do so soon.

“Getting a flu shot will help prevent unnecessary illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths and will protect frontline health care workers and conserve scarce medical resources needed to care for COVID-19 patients,” a press release said.

Attendees at tomorrow’s event will likely include:

  • City of Falls Church Mayor David Tarter
  • Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay
  • President and CEO of Inova Health System Dr. Stephen Jones
  • Town of Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert

 Photo via Hyttalo Souza on Unsplash

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved a proposed name change of the McLean Metro station to the McLean-Capital One Hall Metro station, but it isn’t the end of the line for the name change yet.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the change, though several supervisors made sure to clarify the name change was to draw people towards the upcoming performance center and not as advertising for the banking giant whose headquarters the facility is part of.

“This is a very particular situation in which we do have an agreement between the county and Capital One Hall to provide a minimum of 100 days of use,” said Supervisor Dalia Palchik, representing the Providence District. “It’s going to be our very own Strathmore. It’s a very specific request to have this name put on the Metro station so people know we have this asset here in Fairfax County.”

Palchik admitted that at first, seeing the corporate name attached to the Metro station gave her some pause, but concluded: “this is not a slippery slope, this is a very unique situation.”

Supervisor John Foust, representing Dranesville, was similarly supportive of the name and pushed back on the idea that the county had sold the naming rights.

“I’m supportive of the name change, but I don’t support every proposed name change,” Foust said. “This is not selling a naming right to a single corporate entity. It’s not being done for the exclusive benefit of a single land owner. Capital One Hall is a state of the art performing arts center. It will play a significant role in implementing the comprehensive plan for Tysons. It is absolutely in the public interest that we draw attention to this center and by this name change I think we will do this.”

Supervisor Jeff McKay clarified that Capital One would pay for changing the Metro signs and would not be publicly funded.

Though the name was approved by the Board of Supervisors, the proposed renaming will still have to be approved by WMATA, which has its own guidelines for changing a station name.

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A controversy at the library level led to a heated exchanged at Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday) as the Board’s lone Republican pushed back against a motion to ensure the various boards and commissions consider the county’s standards of diversity.

Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay started the meeting with a motion for staff to circulate the One Fairfax policy and training to all boards and commissions and that members sign acknowledgement to confirm they have received and reviewed the policy. The One Fairfax policy adopted in 2017 creates a standard of social and racial equity that the Board of Supervisors committed to considering when making decisions or developing programs and services.

The fight centered around what Supervisor Pat Herrity lambasted as an attack on Phillip Rosenthal, a Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees member who faces calls for resignation from Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and others.

At a July 29 meeting, Rosenthal decried highlighting material about Black Lives Matter and by Muslim authors, Patch first reported.

Backlash to Rosenthal’s comments was swift, but Herrity has vocally defended Rosenthal, who he appointed to the Library Board of Trustees in 2018. At the Board of Supervisors meeting, Herrity defended Rosenthal again and said the motion was a move towards silencing dissent.

“When we try to silence the other side we enter a slippery slope,” Herrity said. “To take someone out because they don’t agree with our political agenda… I think that’s a slippery slope.”

While McKay protested that the board matter wasn’t about an individual person, the text of the item did say “comments made at a recent Library Board of Trustees meeting highlight that we still have a long was to go before we truly become One Fairfax.”

“Things appointee said were hurtful,” McKay said. “I called for his resignation for a lot of reasons.”

Herrity found little support from the other members of the Board of Supervisors, receiving particular rebuke from Dranesville Supervisor John Foust.

“[Herrity] totally misstakes and mischaracterizes the statements Mr. Rosenthal has made,” Foust said. “Everything I hear about Rosenthal is that he’s a decent man who makes many contributions to our community, but his comments at the library board need to be read to understand why so many people were so hurt and why we’re being so misled by Supervisor’s Herrity comments about this.”

Foust ran through a list of Rosenthal’s controversial statements at the library board, which included calling Black Lives Matter activists Marxists and expressing frustration about a reading program aimed at supporting LGBTQ youth.

“To characterize them as Herrity does about the statement for the need for more diverse views in the catalog of books is ridiculous, outrageous, and totally misleading,” Foust said.

Supervisor Dalia Palchik, representing the Providence district, argued that while Herrity had appointed Rosenthal, what Rosenthal said and did reflects on the Board of Supervisors as a whole.

McKay’s motion was passed, with only Herrity voting against it.

Image via Fairfax County

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Your days of parking your boat and camping trailer in the Idylwood neighborhood may be numbered.

If advertisement for a public hearing coming up on Tuesday, Oct. 6, is approved tomorrow, the Board of Supervisors will consider a potential ban on certain large vehicles in Idylwood — a residential neighborhood south of Tysons, sandwiched between I-495 and I-66.

According to County documents:

Fairfax County Code Section 82-5B-2 authorizes the Board to establish a CPD for the purpose of prohibiting or restricting the parking of the following vehicles on the streets in the CPD: watercraft; boat trailers; motor homes; camping trailers; and any other trailer or semi-trailer, regardless of whether such trailer or semi-trailer is attached to another vehicle; any vehicle with three or more axles; any vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 12,000 or more pounds, except school buses used on a current and regular basis to transport students; and any vehicle of any size that is being used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in Virginia Code § 46.2-341.4.

The ordinance would not apply to vehicles parked to discharge passengers, utility generators mounted on trucks, or vehicles parked for less than 48 hours to load up for a trip.

The new parking district is the result of a petition from residents of Idylwood.

Top photo via dave_7/Flicker, map via Fairfax County

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At tomorrow’s meeting, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider (Action 5) using $2.8 million to acquire a section of land to advance the Tysons street grid and turn the group of blocks into a more easily traversable city.

“The County Executive recommends that the Board approve the use of up to $2,790,000 in Tysons Grid of Streets Road Fund revenues for acquisition of a perpetual street easement and a temporary construction easement for Center Street in Tysons,” a staff report said.

The new road would connect Greensboro Drive to Leesburg Pike. The expensive acquisition is part of the county’s ongoing efforts to create a grid of streets connecting the various islands of activity around Tysons.

“Tysons Corner currently consists of large superblocks with a relatively small number of streets,” the county said on its website. “The large block size inhibits transit use, pedestrian and bicycle movement by limiting short, direct connections between points within Tysons. This places excessive reliance on the existing street system to accommodate most trips to, from and through Tysons by use of single occupant vehicles.”

The section will need to be acquired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make “Center Street” happen.

“The offsite portion of Center Street falls partially on US government property, administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which requires localities to provide compensation for obtaining land rights such as perpetual street easements for road construction,” the staff report said. “Appraisals were performed to determine the land value and cost associated with the perpetual street easement and temporary construction easement, and the US Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to the above referenced amount for the land rights.”

Image via Fairfax County

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A new cafe could be coming to a former drive-thru United Bank at 7787 Leesburg Pike.

Applicant Mohamed Rafaei is seeking a permit from the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Sept. 15, to convert the first floor of the building (built in 1980) into a restaurant.

“The proposed sit-down restaurant will replace the first-floor financial institution,” a report on the project noted. “The proposed hours of operation for the restaurant are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., 7 days a week. Approximately 4 employees and a maximum of 72 patrons are proposed.”

The application noted that the second floor of the building is currently an office, which would continue to be in use after the restaurant change. Given that the site is zoned for office buildings and hotels, a special exception is required for a restaurant use, but a staff report said the restaurant could support the surrounding offices and is “in harmony” with the Comprehensive Plan.

There was once a local Tysons establishment called Mint at 8346 Leesburg Pike, next to the former Tysons Biergarten, but it’s unclear if the two are related.

Photo via Google Maps

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors greenlighted changes that will create a mixed-use residential building in Tysons’ Scotts Run development.

Cityline Partners proposed replacing two residential towers with a 25-story building, which will have approximately 447 residential units and ground-floor retail.

“A private courtyard and rooftop terrace with amenities such as a pool and sundeck, landscaped terraces, sitting areas, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and grill and dog run area are also proposed for the building,” the county’s staff report noted.

As for the parking, the new building will be over a parking podium like the two previously approved towers, but will get slightly modified, staff said.

The new residential tower will reside in Scotts Run South — a portion of the development that is bringing new retail, office and residential buildings near the McLean Metro Station.

County staff noted that the change from two buildings to one will not substantially alter the development’s skyline.

The board approved the changes after a public hearing last Tuesday (July 28).

Image via Fairfax County

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A trio of Fairfax County Board Supervisors has pushed for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force.

The task force was created through a board matter during a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on July 28. Chairman Jeff McKay and supervisors John Foust, Dalia Palchik, who represent the Dranesville and Providence districts, noted that the task force is essential in order to preserve affordable housing, especially as older multifamily rental and mobile home communities are threatened by demolition or redevelopment.

“These trends are slowly eroding the county’s market affordable housing stock and forcing families and individuals out of the communities where they work,” the board matter states.

The move comes as the county continues discussions on ways to improve its affordable housing and workforce dwelling unit policies. In 2016, the board calls for the development of a housing strategic plan that offers guidance on how to strengthen and preserve affordable housing.

According to an analysis by the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech, there are 9,500 housing units in Fairfax County that are considered market affordable and target households earning 60 percent of the area median income and below.

The county is aiming to ensure that no market affordable housing units in the county are lost — a recommendation provided by the board-created Affordable Housing Resources Panel.

The board matter calls on the task force to develop a comprehensive preservation plan. The task force will provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the following issues by the end of the first quarter of 2021:

  • “Definitions for the types of preservation that can occur in communities;
  • typology of properties at risk and characteristics to guide prioritizing properties or
  • neighborhoods in need of action sooner; and
  • a comprehensive set of preservation strategies that includes recommended policies and
  • tools to achieve the county goal of no net loss of affordability.”

“The way to ensure no net loss is through clear articulation of preservation strategies,” the board matter states.

The task force will include a variety of stakeholders, including the private sector, county officers and local planners.

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