Tysons, VA

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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Today is the last chance for Fairfax County voters to head to the polls.

More than half of the seats are contested on both the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board.

While many of the Board of Supervisors candidates are incumbents — like John Foust, Penny Gross and Pat Herrity — some new faces are also vying for seats due to officials retiring, like Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth.

Voters will also decide the fate of a $360 million bond referendum for Fairfax County Public Schools.

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(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) Election day is here and Fairfax County voters are out at the polls.

At Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike), two women sitting in the back of the large room where the voting is taking place have been volunteering together for elections for the last 10 years.

Chief Election Officer Amanda Bridges and Assistant Chief Election Officer Virginia Norton said that there has been a “good turnout” so far with 198 voters as of 8:50 a.m. at the McLean school.

“It’s slow but steady,” Norton said.

They expect most voters to come between 5-7 p.m. No issues have been reported at the polling location, they said.

Bridges said that she loves the process of voting, while Norton said that volunteering is “giving back to the community.”

As of 10:30 a.m., the number ticked up to more than 300 voters.

Over at George Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike), more than 600 people have voted so far this morning as of 10:30 a.m., according to Jenne Faubell, the Chief Election Officer at the location.

Outside the Falls Church area high school, Kim Mislock, a canvasser for the Republican Party, told Tysons Reporter that she feels like parents’ voices aren’t being heard when it comes to the Fairfax County School Board.

“I care deeply about the transparency on the School Board,” she said.

“I feel like people are definitely informed [voters],” Dalia Palchik, a current School Board member and candidate for the Providence District seat on the Board of Supervisors, told Tysons Reporter. “Here at Marshall, there has been a steady stream of people.”

The estimated turnout across Fairfax County was 8.4% around 10 a.m., according to the county.

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

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

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.

Catherine Douglas Moran and Ashley Hopko contributed to this story.

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The McLean Citizens Association is looking to steer Fairfax County away from reducing parking requirements at Tysons Galleria and Tysons Corner Center.

The proposal would affect the four largest malls in Fairfax County — the two in Tysons, Fair Oaks and Springfield Town Center — and was based on a review of the parking rates and demand at large regional malls by consulting firm Nelson/Nygaard.

The firm found that less than 65% of the available spaces were occupied during peak times from a parking count for the Springfield mall and analyzing data from the Fair Oaks mall. The study did not evaluate the two malls in Tysons — alarming the McLean Citizens Association.

“Without a study specifically addressing parking at those two malls, the MCA believes it is inappropriate to reduce the parking requirements at those locations,” the MCA wrote in a letter dated Oct. 30 to the Planning Commission.

The letter goes on to state that “it seems that it is frequently difficult to find a vacant space at the two Tysons malls even during normal weekends throughout the year” and advises the county against approving the change without data about the two Tysons malls.

MCA urges the county to drop the two Tysons malls from the proposal and — going forward — only consider changes to the parking when there is a study done specifically for the affected mall(s).

Fairfax County planners support altering the requirement from four to 2.5 or three parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area for the four malls — the recommended change from Nelson/Nygaard.

County staff suggested a rate of 2.8, saying it “is reasonable and will address the oversupply of parking currently experienced at our regional malls.”

The Fairfax County Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing on the proposal next Wednesday (Nov. 13). Unless indefinitely deferred, the proposal would then head to the Board of Supervisors for a hearing on Dec. 3.

Image via Google Maps

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To prepare for the upcoming election, Tysons Reporter looked into how Board of Supervisor candidates in Fairfax County are funding their campaigns. 

Both Democrats in the races for the Providence and Dranesville District Supervisor seats have much larger war chests than their Republican opponents by thousands of dollars.

Tysons Reporter took a look at where the donations to the four candidates’ campaigns are coming from.

Providence District Supervisor Race 

Democrat Dalia Palchik has raised just roughly $110,000 in monetary campaign contributions. 

Major donors include the Jefferson Village Association LP — real estate developers in Bethesda, Md. who have donated $25,000 — and Alison Georgelas, a managing consultant at IBM, with $5,000.

Palchik also received smaller amounts from individuals or organizations like the Fairfax County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics — IAFF Local 2068, who donated $1,500 and openly endorsed her. 

Karl Frisch, who is running for the Providence District seat on the Fairfax County School Board, assisted Palchik with in-kind donations including campaign buttons costing $260.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), around $34,000 of Palchik’s campaign funds came from construction or real estate groups. 

Besides political consulting, one of Palchik’s largest expenses was a $1,700 food tab at Inca Social for a fundraiser.

Republican Eric Jones only reported one $200 donation to his campaign from Andrew Finlayson, a retired veteran and member of the Republican Party in North Carolina. Jones told Tysons Reporter that he paid for the rest of his campaign expenses out of his own pocket.

So far, he spent $7,880 of the roughly $9,700 going towards his campaign.

Jones did not report any in-kind contributions and reportedly spent money on a P.O. box in Merrifield, political consulting and signage, among similar things.

Dranesville District Supervisor Race

This year, Democrat John Foust received $81,000 in monetary campaign contributions, according to campaign finance reports.

About $20,000 came from lawyers, according to VPAP.

Foust’s biggest donors so far include Fairfax County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, who donated $5,500, and several McLean couples.

One couple has donated $9,500 — Sophia Lynn, the head of Crow’s Nest Research Center, gave $4,500, while appellate attorney David Frederick donated $5,000.

Wedding designer and decorator Prabha Bhambri, while Inder Jit Bhambri donated $4,000.

Karen DuVal, who owned a McLean property connected to the War of 1812 and the Civil War, donated $3,500.

He also received $3,000 from Felipe Rodriquez, the CEO of Sterling-based Aeronautical Systems.

Back in September, Foust spent about $1,200 on photoshoot expenses and about $2,300 on the production and design of walk cards.

Meanwhile, Republican Ed Martin — who has missed campaign finance deadlines — told Tysons Reporter that he’s raised about $3,000.

Two campaign finance reports covering April to the end of August say he didn’t raise or spend anything. A new campaign finance report, which was filed yesterday, says that he received $50 in September.

Martin provided Tysons Reporter photos of checks showing the Virginia Republican Victory Fund gave him $500 and the Patriot Republican Women’s Club gave him $50.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Catherine Douglas Moran contributed to this story.

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